The heart-stopping events of 22 July 2011 appear to be the work of a far-right ideologue acting alone – Anders Behring Breivik, 32, who bombed central Oslo and shot down children for more than an hour. Every part of this tragedy is astonishing. The carnage of one fanatically driven man. A bombing in the very square used to award the Nobel Peace Prize annually.
Most surprising is this: Friday's atrocities seem to have been of secondary importance to Breivik. The slaughter was a kind of terrorist PR. That is how his rejected request for an open trial should be viewed: a failed attempt to reach a global audience with violent anti-Muslim propaganda. In fact, as claimed in his manifesto: "A trial is an excellent opportunity and a well-suited arena the Justiciar Knight can use to publicly renounce the authority of the EUSSR/USASSR hegemony and the specific cultural Marxist/multi-culturalist regime."
All his actions seem to have been done to publicise his 12-minute video and 1,516 page manifesto, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence". Comprising years of work by a lucid – if violent and racist – mind, it predicts that following a European Civil War there will be a "third" Muslim expulsion completed in Europe by 2083.
But there is another threat. It is not his self-styled "cultural Christianity": this is no more to Christianity than jihadi Islamism is to Islam. No, this is quite simply crusading "Christianism". The danger is one of "broadband terrorism" – using online space to organise an offline terrorist attack. For the manifesto contains a terrorist's DIY kit – how to build bombs, operate weapons and so on. In this, it is similar to a number of terrorist manuals, easily available online.
A case in which I testified last year showed how far this can go: a British, extreme right-wing terrorist, Ian Davison, bought and prepared ricin, a WMD of the sort we invaded Iraq for. He was the first person convicted under Britain's 1996 Chemical Weapons Act, and shows just how dark the internet can be.
Beyond the incitement to hatred, the issue of "broadband terrorism" remains virtually unchecked and on the rise among extreme right-wing groups. This is an urgent issue, in Britain as well as Europe. We need to ask ourselves seriously, for this issue is only going to become worse with time: what are we going to do about broadband terrorism?
Dr Matthew Feldman is Director of the Radicalism and New Media Group at the University of Northampton
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