Utoya attack was Norway killer's back-up plan
Anders Breivik admits island camp was not prime target
Sunday 31 July 2011
Even as grief-stricken Norwegians, led by the Crown Prince Haakon, paid their respects yesterday in a private memorial service in Domkirke, the main cathedral in central Oslo, Anders Behring Breivik showed no sign of remorse for one of the most lethal killing sprees by a single person in history.
Last night it emerged that Breivik harboured plans to detonate several bombs in the centre of Oslo including its royal palace. But he was unable to produce explosives in time. During a 10-hour police interrogation Breivik was said to have been more interested in asking authorities how many people he had killed, apparently reacting "without emotion" when told.
Authorities explained how Breivik said that the attacks – which comprised a bomb in centre Oslo and a gun massacre of 69 people on the island of Utoya at least 20 miles away – were actually the contingency plan of a wider plot involving multiple devices across the city. Police would not confirm local reports that the royal palace and Labour Party headquarters were among the targets.
Despite Breivik's efforts, the tragedy has only served to bring Norwegians together in dignified displays of unity.
Oslo was littered with roses yesterday: potent symbols of a people in mourning. Aled Fisher, 24, from Cardiff, a student at the University of Oslo, described the scene, saying: "The centre of town is packed. It's very hot and people are out sunbathing and having a good time.
"Cafés, bars and down by waterfront looks completely normal except for roses everywhere you look. People came back from the memorial on Monday and stuck them in public places, traffic lights, gates. Everywhere you look today you see roses covering things. By the cathedral, there is a large sea of flowers. The memorial services have been events to keep survivors occupied and together."
Norwegian journalists were told by police who interviewed Breivik yesterday that he was eager to know whether his photograph had appeared in newspapers and the exact number of television crew in Oslo. The 32-year-old been prohibited from seeing any media since his arrest.
Although Breivik claims to have spent almost a decade preparing his deadly attack, police say that he does not appear to have shared his plans with anyone. His rampage began on 22 July, when he parked a van loaded with a bomb made from fertiliser outside government offices in central Oslo. Eight people were killed in the explosion. Less than two hours later, Breivik walked into a youth political camp on Utoya island dressed as a policeman and armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle, and embarked on a shooting rampage. He claims to have carried out the attacks as part of a network of modern-day crusaders – the Knights Templar – to launch a revolution against a Europe spoilt by Muslim immigration, and that there are other cells ready to strike. Although it has been established that Breivik had contacted members of the English Defence League (EDL), investigators say they have found no signs of a larger conspiracy.
Britain's National Association of Muslim Police (Namp) will deliver a letter to Theresa May, the Home Secretary, stating that its officers have been targeted by radicalised members of the EDL. It details an unresolved investigation of an unidentified man arrested last year with "quantities of fireworks/devices" alongside names of Muslim police officers circled on whiteboards for attacks.
The letter also outlines concerns that EDL leader Stephen Lennon suggested similar events to those witnessed in Norway could be "years away" if his organisation's concerns were not addressed.
The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that British businessman Alan Lake, a known funder of EDL and other far-right groups in Europe, was filmed on Norwegian TV saying that he would be happy to execute extremist Muslim. He said: "I call them seditious. They are seeking the overthrow of the state. They are not respecting that which respects the state and as far as I am concerned I'd be happy to execute people like that."
Meanwhile, leading charities joined Labour in urging Theresa May to review the Government's recently introduced Prevent strategy and its entire approach to terrorism. It was echoed by comments from Jonathan Birdwell of Demos. "Security services have to examine far-right activities on the fringes more carefully. Politicians need to start speaking about these issues."
To an extent, however, it is still unclear how seriously European authorities should take Breivik's claims of links to others. Police investigations into claims made by Breivik shed fresh light on his tenuous grip of reality and vainglorious self-obsession.
His claims that he once almost gained a seat on Oslo's city council were dismissed as "nonsense" by Joran Kallmyr, who was chairman of the Progress Party's youth wing and is now a vice mayor of Oslo. He claimed Breivik attended just five or six party meetings and barely spoke. "I remember there was nothing special about him that could lead to something like this," said Mr Kallmyr.
Richard Steenfeldt Berg, described as a one-time business mentor by Breivik, said the claims were a "bizarre exaggeration". He added that the only thing he taught Breivik was how to record corporate minutes.
"Yes, I met this monster 11 years ago. No, I did not coach him in any subjects, except for some advice on writing corporate minutes protocol, which he requested fervently," Mr Berg said in a letter on his Facebook page. "No, I have never acted as, nor accepted the role of, any kind of 'mentor' for him."
The conflicts between Breivik's story and reality highlight the delusional tone of the 1,518-page manifesto he released hours before the attacks. He described teen years infatuated with hip-hop, spray-painting buildings with graffiti before apparently reinventing himself as a crusader against Islam. Although former friends confirm Breivik's claims of troublemaking, they add that he was a loner, reluctant to reveal his own thoughts.
Last week his former stepmother, Tove Overmo, said: "If I'd had some kind of suspicion, some kind of idea that something was not right with him, it would have been easier. He left saying 'see you soon' or something like that, something very normal."
Additional reporting by Sarah Morrison and Andrew McCorkell
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