Far right blames BBC for ignoring Breivik’s beliefs
First theydismissed the Norway killer as a lonemadman, now they sayhe was disenfranchised
More than a week after the Norway atrocities, European far-right parties and Islamophobic websites on both sides of the Atlantic have embarked on a new attempt to regain what they clearly regard as the lost moral high ground.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the general tendency amongst these organisations and individuals was to dismiss Anders Breivik as a freakish aberration and a 'lone madman', in an attempt to deny any ideological or organisational connections to him.
Now a new narrative has begun to emerge: not only did these organisations bear no responsibility, but the real culprits are the left-dominated governments and media outlets that ignored the 'concerns' of people like Breivik and left them disenfranchised.
This shift was already evident in a video blog last Friday by Jean-Marie Le Pen, in which the founder of the French National Front attributed primary responsibility for Breivik's crimes to the Norwegian government and society, "which has not taken into account the global danger of massive immigration which is the main reason in this deadly crazy man's thinking".
A similar argument was made by the English Defence League leader Stephen Lennon aka Tommy Robinson in a Newsnight interview last week, in which Robinson initially described Breivik as a "sick individual" before warning Jeremy Paxman that a similar event might happen in the UK unless the public's "concerns against Islam" [sic] were addressed.
Now the EDL has posted an article on its website by the former UKIP parliamentary candidate Paul Weston which blamed the attacks - wait for it - on Jeremy Paxman and the BBC. How so? According to Weston, Breivik "felt he was no longer represented by the political process; that his opinions either counted for nothing or that he could be jailed for even voicing them".
Given that the strongly anti-immigrant Progress Party is now the second largest political formation in Norway, it is difficult to know why Breivik's opinions should have "counted for nothing", let alone that he faced imprisonment for voicing them.
Yet Weston goes on to argue that "the BBC is only too aware that Breivik's views on Cultural Marxism, mass immigration and multiculturalism are shared by millions of Europeans and Britons" and that its refusal to recognise these views means that "Paxman, the BBC and the entire political liberal/left have ensured the inevitability of potential carnage and thus have the blood of future innocents on their hands alongside those of the inevitable psychopathic perpetrator".
Got that? The BBC is an accessory to any act of mass murder that may take place in the future. Nowhere in this torrent of bitter, self-pitying drivel is there the slightest acknowledgement of the influence of organisations like the EDL on Breivik's agenda.
This influence is not just a question of shared ideas. Few 'counter-jihadists' advocate violent means, and many of them have explicitly condemned the use of violence as an instrument of their Islamophobic agenda. But there is often a discrepancy between the way these individuals and organisations present their message in public and the way their messages are understood by their core constituencies on websites and Facebook chatrooms.
Weston has written regularly for the anti-Muslim website Gates of Vienna. In April 2007 he wrote the second of two pieces on the subject of 'Is European Civil War inevitable by 2025?' in which he hypothesised that a "war" between Muslims and non-Muslims would break out somewhere between 2017 and 2030, that it would be fought "initially by civilians, armed not with tanks and machine guns, but with knives, bombs and terror".
This scenario was welcomed by some of Weston's commentators, such as 'Robert in England' who pointed out that "many Britons like myself have large collections of knives and know how to use them" and expressed his determination to "enjoy" what he called "a cleansing of our society". Another British commentator named 'Mission Impossible' described how he would "welcome a chance to kill Arab-Muslims" and see "Mecca flattened".
Mission Impossible's only "quibble" with Weston's civil war scenario is its failure to deal with the "Liberals/Socialists/Feminists who have brought our culture to this low ebb" and whose treachery requires that "the sooner we start neutralising the people MOST responsible (e.g., certain authors and university professors) for their pernicious influences, the better off we shall be".
Breivik was a frequent visitor to Gates of Vienna and other similar websites, and also recommended the targeting of "literature conferences and festivals" and "annual gatherings for journalists" where writers and academics he regarded as traitors could be found.
This loathing of the liberal left was shared by the millionaire EDL funder Alan Lake, who posted an article on his 4 Freedoms website in May 2010 which gleefully looked forward to the time when "liberal twits" would be forced to live in "Islamic enclaves" in which they and their families would be "executed or tortured to death".
This was the febrile atmosphere of bitterness, hatred and hysteria that Anders Breivik imbibed on a regular basis. The bloodthirsty fantasies of violence, annihilation and "cleansing" that percolate through some of these websites is not far removed from those of some of their jihadist counterparts. This world cannot be written off as the faceless venting of anonymous and angry internet commentators.
All the websites to which these commentators contributed had the power to remove such comments and chose not to do so - until it became convenient. Only last Sunday, Gates of Vienna (temporarily) closed its comments section and introduced new guidelines, which precluded "exhortations to commit violence or foment insurrection".
Robert Spencer's comrade-in-arms Pamela Geller, a leading light in the 'counter-jihadist' movement, has engaged in a similar process. On June 24, 2007, Geller published an email from an anonymous Norwegian - who may or may not have been Breivik - on her website Atlas Shrugged. The email warned of an imminent conflagration between Muslims and non-Muslims and included the information that "we are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast".
Since the Norway attacks, this sentence has been removed, but the original can still be found in Google cached versions.
Geller, Spencer and the Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips et al have presented themselves as persecuted "freedom fighters" and accused "the hard left" of "gloating" over the tragedy and trying to silence freedom of speech.
No one is gloating and noone is trying to silence anyone. Responsibility for the murders in Norway ultimately belongs to the murderer who carried them out, not those whose prejudices and hatreds he shared.
But we should not allow the bigots and racists who he cited as inspirations to play the victims - or put the blame on Paxman and the BBC. ·
Comments are now closed on this article