Archive for the Norway Category

“A decisive turning point in the crisis of American imperialism” – AIIP is here [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Assassination, Australia, Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Denmark, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Engels, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Obama, Pentagon, Police State, south Korea, Taiwan, Torture, Trotsky, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

1 April 2015

Yesterday was the deadline for countries to sign up as founding members of the China-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It will go down in history as marking a significant defeat for the global foreign policy and strategic objectives of United States imperialism.

Against strenuous opposition from Washington, more than 40 countries have now indicated they want to be part of the AIIB. Major European powers including Britain, France and Germany, as well as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, are on board. Almost all countries in the South East Asian region, which count China as their major trading partner, have also signed up. India is also a signatory, together with Taiwan.

The most significant blow against the US was struck by Britain, its chief European ally, which announced its decision to join on March 12. It opened the floodgates for others to follow, including two key US allies in the Asia-Pacific -— Australia and South Korea. Japan is also reported to be considering joining, possibly as early as June.

The full significance of the US defeat and its far-reaching implications emerge most clearly when viewed from a historical perspective.

One of the chief objections of the Obama administration to the new bank was that it would undermine the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Together with the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, they constituted central pillars of the global economic order established after World War II by the United States, which played the central role in rebuilding world capitalism following the devastation of the 1920s and 1930s and the wars and revolutionary struggles it produced.

Of course, both of these institutions, together with the Marshall Plan for the restabilisation of war-torn Europe, operated to the economic and strategic benefit of American imperialism.

But while America drew enormous gains from the post-war order, it was not narrowly conceived. There was a recognition in ruling political and economic circles that if American capitalism was to survive, it would have to use the enormous resources at its disposal to ensure the growth and expansion of other capitalist powers, above all, those against which it had fought a bitter and bloody conflict.

Post-war reconstruction enabled the expansion of Germany and turned it once again into the industrial powerhouse of Europe. At the same time, concessions to Japan on the value of its currency -— it was pegged at 360 yen to the dollar -— opened up export markets for its industry. The decision to build trucks and other military equipment in Japan during the Korean War laid the foundations for the development of Japan’s auto industry, as it incorporated, and then developed, the advanced production techniques that had been established in the US.

The industrial and economic capacity of the United States, even when it took reactionary forms as in the case of the Korean War, was utilised to facilitate a new phase of global capitalist expansion—the post-war boom.

What a contrast to the present situation! American capitalism is no longer the industrial powerhouse of the world, ensuring the expansion of the capitalist economy as a whole. Rather, it functions as the global parasite-in-chief, as its rapacious banks, investment houses and hedge funds scour the world for profitable opportunities, engaged not in the production of new wealth, but in the appropriation of wealth produced elsewhere, often via criminal or semi-criminal operations.

In the immediate post-war period, the US was the champion of free trade, recognising that the restrictions and beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the 1930s had produced a disaster. Today, through measures such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and similar arrangements being prepared with regard to Europe, Washington seeks to forge exclusivist agreements aimed at protecting the monopoly position of US corporations. America, Obama has stated, must write the global rules for trade and investment in the 21st century.

American influence in the post-war period was not confined to the immediate economic sphere. Notwithstanding all its contradictory features, American society appeared to have something to offer the world as a whole, which had suffered decades of war, fascism and military forms of rule, along with economic devastation.

Again, the contrast with the present situation could not be starker. American democracy, once held up as a beacon for the rest of the world, is a withered caricature of its former self, no longer capable of concealing the dictatorship of the financial and corporate elites.

Social conditions are characterised by deprivation and state violence, reflected not least in the daily police killings. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and in Detroit, once the centre of the American industrial economy, paying the highest wages, water shutoffs are being imposed. The US government carries out torture, abductions, assassinations and mass spying on its own people and others around the world. The country is ruled by criminals who cannot be held accountable for their crimes.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the removal from the scene of its global rival, the American ruling class was gripped by the idea that while its economic position had been severely weakened -— the stock market crash of 1987 was a harbinger of things to come -— American hegemony could nevertheless be maintained by military means.

But as Frederick Engels had earlier explained in refuting another exponent of “force theory,” the notion that economic developments—the advance of industry, credit and trade—and the contradictions to which they gave rise could be “blown out of existence” with “Krupp guns and Mauser rifles” was a delusion.

The past 25 years of American foreign policy, based on the use of cruise missiles and drones, combined with invasions and regime-change operations grounded on lies, have produced one debacle after another.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost, as other capitalist powers, great and small, begin to conclude that hitching themselves to the American juggernaut is the surest road to disaster. That is the historic significance of their decision to join the AIIB.

How will American imperialism respond? By increasing its military provocations, threatening to plunge the world once again into war.

Charting the rise of American imperialism in the late 1920s, Leon Trotsky noted that in the period of crisis, its hegemony would operate “more openly and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom,” and that it would attempt to extricate itself from its difficulties and maladies at the expense of its rivals, if necessary by means of war.

However there is another, and, in the final analysis, decisive, aspect to the economic decline of American imperialism, marked so powerfully by the events of yesterday.

For decades, the American working class was disoriented by the idea of a continually rising power -— that America’s “best days” were always ahead. Reality is now coming home with ever-increasing force.

Events are shattering the delusions of the past and will propel the American working class on to the road of revolutionary struggle, creating the conditions for the unification of the international working class in the fight for world socialist revolution.

Nick Beams

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News Analysis: Chances of new talks between Philippine government and communist rebels nil [Xinhua]

Posted in Netherlands, Norway, Philippines on March 30, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Alito L. Malinao

MANILA, March 24 (Xinhua) — While the Philippine government is set to sign a peace accord with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, the chances of concluding a similar peace deal with the Communist Party of the Philippines ( CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), have become nil.

The refusal of the government to release the two captured leaders of the CPP-NPA, Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma, as demanded by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) , has made the resumption of the talks almost impossible.

The NDFP, the political arm of the CPP-NPA, has called on the government to release the two, saying that they are NDFP consultants and are entitled to immunity from arrest.

Tiamzon, who is chairman of both the CPP and the NPA, and his wife, the CPP secretary general, were captured by the Philippine military on Saturday in a remote village in Cebu province in central Philippines along with five top aides…

…But exiled CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison said that the arrests would not cripple the revolutionary movement in the Philippines “because the roots of the armed revolution remained.”

Sison, now an NDFP consultant and based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, charged that Aquino “is more interested in imprisoning a few NDFP consultants and prejudicing the peace negotiations by violating existing agreements like the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

He said that if the Aquino administration no longer respected the JASIG, signed by the NDFP and the government, “then Mr. Aquino becomes responsible for killing the peace negotiations.”

When he assumed the presidency in 2010, President Benigno Aquino III vowed to work out a peace agreement with the MILF and the CPP-NPA.

But it seems that he is more successful in cooling the Muslim rebellion than the communist insurgency in the country…

…The NDFP has been engaged in peace negotiations with the government for the past 27 years, but the talks have not moved beyond minor agreements.

Negotiators of the government and the NDFP held their last meeting in Norway in February 2011 when they failed to reach an agreement particularly on issues over the release of detained communist rebels and long ceasefire.

In May last year, the government peace panel announced the termination of the peace negotiation and blamed on the NDFP’s preconditions and demands.

According to the military, the guerrillas of the NPA have dwindled to about 4,000 from more than 26,000 in the late 1980s. But NPA debunked this claim, saying that their presence is felt in almost all regions in the country.

As if to prove its strength, the NPA has lately staged coordinated attacks and ambuscades against government troops, particularly in the rural areas.

Editor: Luan

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“The Nobel Peace Prize for War” by Michael Parenti []

Posted in Afghanistan, BBC bias, distortions and lies, EU, European Union, France, Germany, Iraq, Libya, Nobel Peace Prize, Norway, Yugoslavia - former FRY on October 27, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

18 October 2012


Those who own the wealth of nations take care to downplay the immensity of their holdings while emphasizing the supposedly benign features of the socio-economic order over which they preside. With its regiments of lawmakers and opinion-makers, the ruling hierarchs produce a never-ending cavalcade of symbols, images, and narratives to disguise and legitimate the system of exploitative social relations existing between the 1% and the 99%.

The Nobel Peace Prize would seem to play an incidental role in all this. Given the avalanche of system-sustaining class propaganda and ideological scenarios dished out to us, the Nobel Peace Prize remains just a prize. But a most prestigious one it is, enjoying a celebrated status in its anointment of already notable personages.

In October 2012, in all apparent seriousness, the Norwegian Nobel Committee (appointed by the Norwegian Parliament) bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize upon the European Union (EU). Let me say that again: the European Union with its 28 member states and 500 million inhabitants was awarded for having “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.” (Norway itself is not a member of the EU. The Norwegians had the good sense to vote against joining.)

Alfred Nobel’s will (1895) explicitly states that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The EU is not a person and has not worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies or promotion of any kind of peace agenda. If the EU award looked a bit awkward, the BBC and other mainstream news media came to the rescue, referring to the “six decades of peace” and “sixty years without war” that the EU supposedly has achieved. The following day, somebody at the BBC did the numbers and started proclaiming that the EU had brought “seventy years of peace on the European continent.” What could these wise pundits possibly be thinking? Originally called the European Economic Community and formed in 1958, the European Union was established under its current name in 1993, about twenty years ago.

The Nobel Committee, the EU recipients, and the western media all overlooked the 1999 full-scale air war launched on the European continent against Yugoslavia, a socialist democracy that for the most part had offered a good life to people of various Slavic nationalities—as many of them still testify today.

The EU did not oppose that aggression. In fact, a number of EU member states, including Germany and France, joined in the 1999 war on European soil led largely by the United States. For 78 days, U.S. and other NATO forces bombed Yugoslavian factories, utilities, power stations, rail systems, bridges, hotels, apartment buildings, schools and hospitals, killing thousands of civilians, all in the name of a humanitarian rescue operation, all fueled by unsubstantiated stories of Serbian “genocide.” All this warfare took place on European soil.

Yugoslavia was shattered, along with its uniquely designed participatory democracy with its self-management and social ownership system. In its place emerged a cluster of right-wing mini-republics wherein everything has been privatized and deregulated, and poverty has replaced amplitude. Meanwhile rich western corporations are doing quite well in what was once Yugoslavia.

Europe aside, EU member states have sent troops to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and additional locales in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, usually under the tutorship of the U.S. war machine.

But what was I to expect? For years I ironically asserted that the best way to win a Nobel Peace Prize was to wage war or support those who wage war instead of peace. An overstatement perhaps, but take a look…

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As economy fails, Nobel Prize still favors US [People’s Daily]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Nobel Peace Prize, Norway, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, USA on December 26, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Do you think these booby-prize-awarding Norwegian politicians could be [gasp] capitalist tools of Uncle Sam? It’s a particularly good laugh when one thinks that the current global crisis originated in the US, home of the overwhelming majority of the Nobel Prize in Economics “winners” – Zuo Shou

By Chang Ming (People’s Daily)
December 13, 2011

Edited and Translated by People’s Daily Online

Two U.S. economists were recently awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics at a time when the U.S. economy was facing difficulties and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement was spreading like wildfire across the country.

Fifty out of 69 winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, which was introduced in 1969, are Americans. The U.S. economy has been plagued by financial and debt crises over the past five years, causing great damage to the world economy, but Americans still make up over 90 percent of all the winners of the prize. This phenomenon deserves special attention.

Is the Nobel committee’s preference for American economists fair? Today’s American-style capitalism has become finance monopoly capitalism, in which financial magnates control the country’s economic and political affairs, and real economy has been disconnected from virtual economy. The real economy has been hollowed out, wealth is highly centralized, and unemployment remains high.

American economists have not worked out any effective solutions to these problems as well as the financial and economic crises. Even the two economist[s] who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics for their research on the cause and effect of government policies on the broader economy do not see any simple solutions to global economic problems.

Given the above facts, it is unconvincing to grant the prize to so many Americans. From the Nobel committee’s bias in assessing winners of the prize in other categories, it is not hard to draw a conclusion that they are partial to U.S. economists because they favor the capitalist system and theories of the United States.

In order to whitewash the flaws in the capitalist system and theories, the Nobel committee mainly made up of Westerners has chosen to ignore the obvious and has deviated from the path of objectivity and fairness.

Facts speak louder than words. A theory’s potential for practical application should be the final criterion for determining if it is scientific. Let us look at the economic development situation of China since its reform and opening up from this point of view.

Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, China has opened up the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, formed the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and established socialism with Chinese characteristics through hard exploration by all ethnic groups under leadership of the Party. We cannot form this unique “Chinese style” and win the Chinese people’s wholehearted support without the direction of these innovative theories.

China is also regarded as “a powerful engine driving the growth of the world economy” and “the leading role of the most significant economic revolution in human history.” For this matter, the socialist economic theory with Chinese characteristics is undoubtedly scientific and should play a part in the theoretical framework governing the world economic system. Only praise from the people is a real prize and only a theory capable of directing people’s practice is a real scientific theory.

We must admit that the Nobel Prize, as a great internationally-renowned prize, played an important role in promoting human civilization and progress in the history. However, some practices in its social prize items have been questioned in recent years, and the authority, fairness and influence of these prize items are weakening.

We clearly know that our theoretical and practical explorations and innovations are not aimed at flaunting ourselves or winning the prize. No “big international prize” will distract China from its own business or weaken China’s confidence on the development road and mode it has independently chosen.

As long as China persists on and further widens its socialist road with Chinese characteristics, enriches and develop its socialist theoretical system and adheres to and improves its socialist system, China will definitely be able to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and make new contributions to human civilization.

Over the past 30 years or so since 1978, China’s economy has maintained a GDP growth rate of higher than 9 percent and has become the world’s second largest economy and top exporting country at the moment, with its foreign exchange reserves ranked first in the world.

In recent years, the contribution rate of China’s economic growth to that of the world has been beyond 10 percent. Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth. China’s sound economic development proves its theory and polices are scientific.

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Carry on the fight against racism [People’s Daily]

Posted in 9/11, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Chattel Slavery, Nazism, Norway, South Africa, US "War on Terror", USA on October 26, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Guo Jisi (China Daily)

Sept. 24, 2011

The UN General Assembly held a high-level meeting in New York on Thursday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. This document, which serves as the international community’s blueprint for action to fight racism, was adopted by consensus at the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa.

However, it is regrettable that several Western countries are boycotting it and even urge other countries to follow suit. But on second thought, it is no surprise, especially if we recall the situation in 2009 at the second World Conference against Racism, also known as Durban Review Conference, when nearly 10 countries refused to participate, and a walkout by about 40 delegates occurred, most of them from Western countries.

It is important to note that the 10th anniversary is not meant to single out any country for criticism or to pour salt in anyone’s wounds. Rather, it provides a platform for all nations to confirm their commitment to the values and principles of equality and non-discrimination and the measures by the international community to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The boycott of the Durban Review Conference and this year’s anniversary is a testimony to Western countries’ hypocrisy and lack of respect for fundamental human rights, including equality and the right to freedom of expression, supposedly strongly defended in the West. It clearly shows the West’s double standards over the issue of combating racism. The withdrawal from the conference by several Western countries exposes some countries’ fears of being held accountable for the implementation of the Durban Declaration.

First, some countries turned their backs with the excuse that the Durban Conference and its follow-ups had been “hijacked” by those seeking to bash Israel. But to the contrary, the noble mission to fight racism and discrimination was hijacked by those who were not willing to address human rights violations they have committed in history. Those with a myopic worldview seek to hold this conference hostage by preventing it from realizing its original objectives.

Second, some consider the history of the World Conference against Racism “a Durban disaster” as if they are the victims, while in fact it was slave trade, colonization, racial segregation and expropriation of indigenous people’s lands and resources that brought hideous disasters to generations of Africans, Asians and Latin Americans.

Third, as some countries explained that “many states would prefer to forget” the Durban Declaration, the decision to boycott the anniversary event stems from their attempt to downplay and legitimize racial wrongdoings by circumventing international criticism and open discussion. What some countries are doing is nothing short of self-deception. As a Chinese saying goes, with history as a mirror, one can understand the rise and fall of a nation. What we are doing by commemorating the anniversary is not settling old scores or giving a hard time to anyone, but learning from the past, putting things in perspective and being forward-looking in dealing with racism.

Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay were “profoundly disappointed” at the boycotts in 2009. It was contrary to the principles the same countries claimed to uphold. Since the 2001 conference, the international community has made positive efforts in the fight against racism that have produced a number of good practices. But racism has not been eradicated and new forms have since appeared. The so-called democratic societies have experienced an erosion of human rights in the name of the war on terror since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, which is simply an outpouring of intolerance and xenophobia in the first place.

Likewise, the shooting rampage in Norway was triggered by an anti-Islam mindset and xenophobic worldview. The recent British riots were, in part, fueled by institutionalized racism and discrimination. Skinheads and neo-Nazis basing their thinking on racial superiority, bigotry, intolerance and discrimination are lurking again and have menaced numerous Western countries over the past decade.

That said, it is time to stop the sentiments espousing enmity and making vitriolic attacks against each other. It is time to get down to business, identify new forms of intolerance or racism and turn words into action. It is time to renew our commitment to fight all forms of racism, racial discrimination and intolerance that plague many countries and regions throughout the world in a way that appreciates cultural diversity, solidarity and harmony.

The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations.

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No end in sight for crisis of Western capitalism [People’s Daily]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Obama, Portugal, Spain, U.K., USA on September 22, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Guo Ji (Global Times)
September 06, 2011

Recently a series of shocking incidents have happened successively in the West. The US credit rating was downgraded for the first time in a century. The European sovereign debt crisis keeps worsening. A shocking terrorist attack hit in Norway. A serious riot of a kind not seen since the early 1980s broke out in England. All kinds of plights and turmoil show that the Western countries are experiencing a profound institutional crisis after being hit hard by the international financial crisis.

After the financial crisis, the financial deficits and sovereign debt in the Western developed countries climbed to the highest since the end of World War II. The debt’s proportion to GDP increased by 21 percentage points. More than half of the US states are heavily in debt. Some states are on the verge of bankruptcy and have to live by relying on borrowing money.

In the eurozone, the sovereign debt crisis keeps spreading . Following Greece, Portugal and Ireland, its third and fourth largest economy, Italy and Spain are confronted with possible debt defaults. The debt crisis in France is also worrying. Many Western governments are facing a popularity crisis.

US President Barack Obama once claimed that his country had no problems but US politics did. He urged the US Congress to rescue the economy and called on the political leaders to focus on the next generation instead of the next election.

Public opinion holds that what happens in Washington is not only an economic crisis but also a political one. The two parties set political competition above the world’s economic safety and various countries’ interests. It damaged the reputation of the US and also shook the whole world’s confidence in the US political system.

In 2009, the financial deficits of California amounted to billions of dollars. To ease the financial crisis, on May 19 of that year, the California government carried out seven referendums, six of which involved higher taxes and one involving a wage freeze on public servants. In the end, the six involving higher taxes were all rejected and only the remaining one was approved. Let’s hope the US doesn’t chose to default its debts by referendum.

Contained by some countries’ domestic political friction and influenced by the political judgement conflicts between the European countries and the EU, the debt crisis dragged on. It caused distrust in the present political structure and the doubts over its efficiency.

The financial crisis and the anti-crisis measures such as austerity budget made such long-existing problems as welfare, employment and immigration in the European society more obvious and escalating. It led to constant public demonstrations.

European society was destabilized and the multicultural society was in a crisis. For years, the welfare system in the Europe has under pressure. Various countries launched measures of welfare cuts, which triggered dissatisfaction among the public.

Since 2010, there have been many massive demonstrations, such as the anti-austerity demonstration and riots in Greece, the marches staged by hundreds of thousands of people to oppose the rise of retirement age and great strikes in many industries, the English protests against the hikes in tuition fees, the Spanish public’s protest against high unemployment rate and the great marches across the whole of Europe to object to welfare cuts, have been launched.

The numerous public protests are not only because of the welfare cut and the fall in people’s living standard but also to oppose social injustice and object to the common people paying the bill for capitalists’ greed and the government’s incapability.

The flaws of the Western economy and political system have been thoroughly exposed by the impact of the financial crisis. More and more intellectuals believe that the imbalances in the capitalist system may lead to structural crises and continuing economic, political and sociocultural turmoil.

US capitalism has already fallen off its pedestal. Neoliberalism, globalization, and military expansionism have only intensified its contradictions. To some extent, capitalism has reached its limit and the Western political model is being sorely tested.

The rise of newly-emerging nations like China is not only the rise of new economic and political powers but offers new competition over political models and concepts.

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Media Advisory: Seeing ‘Islamic Terror’ in Norway. Learning no lessons from Oklahoma City mistakes [Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting /]

Posted in Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Corporate Media Critique, Media smear campaign, New York Times lie, Norway on July 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

People covering this angle of Norway massacre yellow journalism don’t seem to be drawing the obvious connections here on how many media holdings of odious Rupert Murdoch (Fox News, WSJ, New York Post) are pushing the anti-Islam slanders – Zuo Shou


Right-wing terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik reportedly killed 76 people in Norway on Friday [July 22], by all accounts driven by far-right anti-immigrant politics and fervent Islamophobia. But many early media accounts assumed that the perpetrator of the attacks was Muslim.

On news of the first round of attacks–the bombs in Oslo–CNN’s Tom Lister (7/22/11) didn’t know who did it, but knew they were Muslims: “It could be a whole range of groups. But the point is that Al-Qaeda is not so much an organization now. It’s more a spirit for these people. It’s a mobilizing factor.” And he speculated confidently about their motives:

“…You’ve only got to look at the target–prime minister’s office, the headquarters of the major newspaper group next door. Why would that be relevant? Because the Norwegian newspapers republished the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad that caused such offense in the Muslim world…. That is an issue that still rankles amongst Islamist militants the world over…”

CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank (7/22/11) took to the airwaves to declare that “Norway has been in Al-Qaeda’s crosshairs for quite some time.” He added that the bombing “bears all the hallmarks of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization at the moment,” before adding, almost as an afterthought, that “we don’t know at this point who was responsible.”

On Fox News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor (7/22/11), guest host Laura Ingraham declared, “Deadly terror attacks in Norway, in what appears to be the work, once again, of Muslim extremists.” Even after Norwegian authorities arrested Breivik, former Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton was in disbelief. “There is a kind of political correctness that comes up when these tragic events occur,” he explained on Fox’s On the Record (7/22/11). “This kind of behavior is very un-Norwegian. The speculation that it is part of right-wing extremism, I think that has less of a foundation at this point than the concern that there’s a broader political threat here.”

Earlier in the day on Fox (7/22/11), Bolton had explained that “the odds of it coming from someone other than a native Norwegian are extremely high.” While he admitted there was no evidence, Bolton concluded that “it sure looks like Islamic terrorism,” adding that “there is a substantial immigrant population from the Middle East in particular in Norway.”

An early Wall Street Journal editorial (7/22/11) dwelled on the “explanations furnished by jihadist groups to justify their periodic slaughters,” before concluding that because of Norway’s commitment to tolerance and freedom, “Norwegians have now been made to pay a terrible price.”

Once the alleged perpetrator’s identity did not conform to the Journal’s prejudice, the editorial was modified, but it continued to argue that Al-Qaeda was an inspiration: “Coordinated terrorist attacks are an Al-Qaeda signature. But copycats with different agendas are surely capable of duplicating its methods.”

Many pundits and outlets had to scramble to justify their ideological presumptions in the wake of the unexpected suspect. Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin (7/22/11) had called the Norwegian violence “a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists,” citing Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard’s assertion that “in all likelihood the attack was launched by part of the jihadist hydra.” In a follow-up post (7/23/11), Rubin insisted that even though she was wrong, she was right, because “there are many more jihadists than blond Norwegians out to kill Americans, and we should keep our eye on the systemic and far more potent threats that stem from an ideological war with the West.”

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (7/25/11) likewise argued that we should respond to the horror in Norway by paying more attention to the alleged perpetrator’s point of view:

On the big picture, Europe’s cultural conservatives are right: Mass immigration really has left the Continent more divided than enriched, Islam and liberal democracy have not yet proven natural bedfellows and the dream of a postnational, postpatriotic European Union governed by a benevolent ruling elite looks more like a folly every day…. Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic have an obligation to acknowledge that Anders Behring Breivik is a distinctively right-wing kind of monster. But they also have an obligation to the realities that this monster’s terrible atrocity threatens to obscure.

The New York Times’ July 23 report explained that while early speculation about Muslim terrorists was incorrect,

there was ample reason for concern that terrorists might be responsible. In 2004 and again in 2008, the No. 2 leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden, threatened Norway because of its support of the American-led NATO military operation in Afghanistan.

Of course, anyone who kills scores of civilians for political motives is a “terrorist”; the language of the Times, though, suggested that a “terrorist” would have to be Islamic.

The Times went on:

“…Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al-Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks…”

It is unclear why any of Breivik’s actions would be considered connected in any way to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, which certainly did not invent the idea of brutal mass murder. But the Times was able to turn up another expert the following day who saw an Islamist inspiration for Islamophobic terrorism (7/24/11):

Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view. Like Mr. Breivik’s manuscript, the major Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to defeat the religious and cultural enemy.

“It seems to be an attempt to mirror Al-Qaeda, exactly in reverse,” Mr. Hegghammer said.

To the paper’s credit, the Times’ Scott Shane wrote a strong second-day piece (7/25/11) documenting the influence of Islamophobic bloggers on Breivik’s manifesto:

His manifesto, which denounced Norwegian politicians as failing to defend the country from Islamic influence, quoted Robert Spencer, who operates the Jihad Watch website, 64 times, and cited other Western writers who shared his view that Muslim immigrants pose a grave danger to Western culture…. Mr. Breivik frequently cited another blog, Atlas Shrugs, and recommended the Gates of Vienna among websites.

…Shane’s piece noted that the document, rather than being an Al-Qaeda “mirror,” actually copied large sections of Ted Kaczynski’s 1995 Unabomber manifesto, “in which the Norwegian substituted ‘multiculturalists’ or ‘cultural Marxists’ for Mr. Kaczynski’s ‘leftists’ and made other small wording changes.”

It is not new for media to jump to the conclusion that Muslims are responsible for any given terrorist attack; the same thing was widespread after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings (Extra!, 7-8/95). “It has every single earmark of the Islamic car-bombers of the Middle East,” syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (Chicago Tribune, 4/21/95) asserted. “Whatever we are doing to destroy Mideast terrorism, the chief terrorist threat against Americans, has not been working,” wrote New York Times columnist A.M. Rosenthal (4/21/95). “Knowing that the car bomb indicates Middle Eastern terrorists at work, it’s safe to assume that their goal is to promote free-floating fear,” editorialized the New York Post (4/20/95). It is unfortunate that so many outlets have failed to learn any practical lessons from such mistakes–or question the beliefs that drive them.

Edited by Zuo Shou

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