The Trail of Evil Can Europe's Populists Be Blamed for Anders Breivik's Crusade?
Part 6: Who Are the People Who Influenced Breivik Intellectually?
Far-right politicians are not the only ones to blame. Even mainstream conservatives must ask themselves how they have contributed to a climate in which a self-proclaimed savior of the world could feel encouraged, and even obligated, to commit such a violent attack. The New York Times even accuses British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel of sowing "doubts about the ability or willingness of Europe to absorb newcomers."
Is Europe under the spell of a murderous right-wing climate of thought? Since July 22, 2011, this question can no longer be answered with a categorical "no." With his manifesto, in which he cites as his sources journalists, thinkers and crackpots of extremely diverse and often incompatible stripes, Breivik has thrown a firebomb into European societies. The debate between the right and the left, between defenders of multiculturalism and the saviors of the West, is what triggered the dangerous spark and the murderous impulse in his head, Breivik claims.
Those who promote his way of thinking now find themselves in the hot seat. According to a message posted on the German-language blog pi-news.net 24 hours after the killings in Oslo and on Utøya, what the killer wrote in his comments on a Norwegian anti-Islam website were "largely things that could also be found in this forum."
'A Conservative Catastrophe'
The letters "p.i." stand for "politically incorrect," which has become a rallying cry for authors of xenophobic writings who seek to distance themselves from the supposed mainstream of politically correct social tolerance and mutual respect.
The blog, founded in 2004 by Stefan Herre, a physical education teacher from Bergisch Gladbach in western Germany, claims to receive 50,000 clicks a day and is seen as the most important anti-Islamic Internet forum in Germany. Prior to the debate over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, Herre was the blog's only author. But then he was joined by others whose numbers are now as unknown as their identity. Since the end of 2007, the Internet presence of the group, which describes itself as "pro-American" and "pro-Israeli," has been hosted on servers abroad, allegedly because of massive threats to which the fighters "against the Islamicization of Europe" felt they were exposed.
Two days after the mass murder, an author with the supposedly humorous pseudonym Frank Furter described the attacks in Norway as "a conservative catastrophe." He argued that the problems that motivated Breivik to commit the attacks are all too real, namely the "ubiquitous integration problems involving many Muslim immigrants, worries about a gradual Islamicization, the growing attitudinal dictatorship from the political left, the loss of values and identity among European people and their presumed 'elimination.'"
Many of the right-wing populist blogs use the legitimate conflict with the values and religion of Islam as an excuse to incite racist Islamophobia.
The pi-news blog includes many reader comments (often written in poor German, sometimes without any commas) similar to this one from a reader with the pseudonym Warwolf: "All I can hope is that when the killing begins here in Germany and Europe, the leftists will be the first to be beheaded. I pray for war."
It's only a few steps from such comments to the insane world of Anders Breivik.
Not Under Surveillance
Nevertheless, pi-news is not a case for Germany's domestic intelligence agency, which monitors extremist activities in the country. "Although we are keeping an eye on the group, the legal conditions for including it in the domestic intelligence report have not been met," a spokeswoman for the agency said last week. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution also argues that because of its explicit support for Israel, the United States and the German constitution, pi-news cannot be classified as a right-wing extremist organization.
This means that people like "Warwolf" and "Proxima Centauri" can calmly prepare themselves for an event by the German right-wing populist party Die Freiheit (Freedom), whose leader, René Stadtkewitz, is closely aligned with pi-news founder Stefan Herre: the appearance by Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders in Berlin on Sept. 3. Oskar Freysinger, a member of the Swiss National Council for the Swiss People's Party (SVP), will also attend the event.
Racists and self-appointed saviors of the world, crusaders and protectors of the West have established connections around the world. In Germany, they include such aggressive provocateurs as Nürnberg 2.0, a website named to invoke the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. It sharply criticizes defenders of Islam -- including Green Party European politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit and SPIEGEL writer Erich Follath -- and argues that they should be "held accountable publicly."
- Part 1: Can Europe's Populists Be Blamed for Anders Breivik's Crusade?
- Part 2: How Does an Average Citizen Turn into a Mass-Murderer?
- Part 3: Is Breivik a Psychopath?
- Part 4: How Does the Perpetrator Justify His Crimes?
- Part 5: Where Did Breivik Derive His Ideas From?
- Part 6: Who Are the People Who Influenced Breivik Intellectually?
- Part 7: How Do Right-Wing Bloggers Defend Themselves Against Accusations that They Bear Part of the Blame?
- Part 8: Is Breivik Different from Other Terrorists Such as Islamists and Anarchists?
- Part 9: Why Didn't Anyone Notice What Breivik Was Planning?