WHILE security forces in many Western European countries have been concerned about a rise in ultra-nationalism, Norwegian authorities appear to have underestimated the threat.
The man charged with killing at least 91 people, Anders Behring Breivik, appears to be a home-grown extremist whose deadly actions were directed at the ruling Labour Party.
The Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang quoted a friend as saying that the suspect turned to right-wing extremism in his late 20s. He had no military background except for ordinary national service and no criminal record, but it seems he was a member of Norway’s far-right Progress Party, which advocates slashing migration.
The party, founded in the 1970s, has become the second largest in Norway.
Remember that 2009 Department of Homeland Security report about the threat of right-wing extremists in America? (PDF doc): Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment:
Working definition of right-wing extremism (footnote, page 2) –
* (U) Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
Recall the loud and prolonged breath-holding, foot-stomping. and pearl-clutching from American conservatives over that report from “the conservative bloggosphere… Gingrich, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, and elsewhere,” as Jake Tapper noted. Tapper reported that Sean Hannity interpreted [the DHS report] as targeting “people who think maybe we’re not controlling our borders” and “people who have pro-life bumper stickers.”
How dare DHS imply there are right-wing extremists in America who could turn violent? Anyone who calls himself a ‘conservative’ is just a real Amurikin, one of the folks! The DHS report spawned the “Proud to be a rightwing extremist” meme that swept the fringe as well as news outlets like WND and Fox News and their mouthpieces. Then these events happened:
- May 31, 2009: Murder of George Tiller
- June 10, 2009: Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting
- February 18, 2010: Austin IRS attack
- January 8, 2011: Tucson shooting (Rep. Giffords was one of Palin’s ‘targets’ on her map)
The conservative wingnuts attempted to pin liberal political / Islamic extremist motivations [same thing to them] on each event. Of course, these are the same people who would argue that Timothy McVeigh was a liberal atheist. The thing is, no one argues that there are leftwing extremists, such as James J. Lee or groups like ELF and ALF or “homegrown” Islamic terrorists like the Fort Hood Shooter. But to try and negate the existence of politically-fueled domestic rightwing extremism is ridiculous and dangerous.
It just seems strange and typical that, along with Norway, our government can’t say too loudly that there has been and always will be a potential danger from homegrown rightwing extremists. However with President Obama in the White House and the fear that a kind of hero-worship of Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, etc. — and the irresponsible things they say and do — might spur some domestic loner into some kind of ‘Manchurian Candidate’ type of action, it’s probably not safe to rattle their cages too much.