That was fast.
Based on the hair color and ethnicity of the apparent Utoya Island shooter, mainstream media reports have abruptly swung in the opposite direction and are now openly spinning the notion that the perpetrator was a Norwegian right-wing extremist:
Speculation that the attacks were the work of Islamist militants shot around the world after the twin attacks…
But that assessment began changing as details merged later Friday after police said they had a suspect in custody, who they said was connected to both incidents.
Police confirmed Friday night that the suspected gunman was, in fact, a 32-year-old Norwegian man posing as a police officer; the BBC, citing police, said he was from Utoya.
Magnus Ranstorp, a specialist in militant Islamic movements and research director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College, said it was natural for people to initially conclude that the attacks were the product of a terrorist plot.
“Intuitively, the bombing is al-Qaida-related,” Ranstorp told the Norwegian Nettavisen news service. But the new information about the suspected gunman — especially his nationality — “points to an internal rather than external extremist,” he said.
“With this attack on Utoya, this could just be a crazy person,” Ranstorp said.
Exclusive Analysis, a risk consultancy in London, said reports “could indicate the involvement of a far-right group rather than an Islamist group.“
“Many Norwegians remember what happened in Oklahoma,” says Neumann’s colleague, Stale Ulriksen, director of NUPI. “Everybody started talking about Islamic fundamentalism and then it turned out to be an American right-winger. Norway’s extreme right is small in numbers, but that’s the problem with this kind of attack – it doesn’t take many people to pull something like this off.”
This confirms what Bruce Bawer reported as the police spokesmen’s emotions when announcing the nationality of the Utoya shooter:
Then the police announced that they had arrested a 32-year-old suspect who, they emphasized with what seemed like relief or even joy, was a tall, blond ethnic Norwegian (one police spokesman even called him an “ethnic Norwegian Norwegian,” a turn of phrase that Norwegians would describe as “smør på flesk” – i.e., putting butter on bacon, or, as we’d say in English, gilding the lily). They insisted that the suspect (although they described him not as a suspect but as a “perpetrator”) had no connection to a terrorist group, though when asked about other connections he might have, they seemed to dodge the question.
One can only imagine the backroom politics going on at Norwegian police agencies right around now.
The Norwegian man detained after twin attacks in Norway on Friday that killed at least 17 people has links to right-wing extremism, independent Norwegian television TV2 reported on Saturday, without disclosing its sources.