Friday, July 22, 2011

Terrorist attacks in Norway

There have apparently been multiple terrorist attacks in Norway.  As of right now, the story is still developing.  Perpetrators and motivations are unclear.  Big Peace, Belmont ClubMichelle Malkin and Legal Insurrection have a number of the bases covered.  I'll leave it to these fine blogs to keep the story up to date, but as the facts develop I do think one item of interest merits examination.

A week ago I did a post titled Where's the Varangian Guard when you need them? about the fears of militant Islam in Norway. The post quoted extensively from a Pajamas Media post by Bruce Bawer titled Oslo Car Fires Highlight Threat to Norway’s Future: A growing Muslim enclave outside of the city is a hotbed of crime and Sharia.  Let's leave aside the most obvious suspects in these attacks for the moment.  Bawer discussed severe problems with Norway's policies of law enforcement:

[...] Norway, although a rich nation, has chosen not to spend much of its wealth on law and order. Talk to Norwegian politicians, professors, and journalists and you’ll soon discover that there’s a lingering sixties-ish view of the police as fascist pigs. Norway wastes millions of kroner ever year on “development aid” that ends up largely in the pockets of corrupt African dictators; it pours millions more into the pockets of non-Western immigrants who have become masters at exploiting the welfare system; for heaven’s sake, the Norwegian government even funds anarchists. It’s not entirely misguided for a Norwegian citizen to feel that his tax money is going less to fight the crime that threatens his home, his self, and his business than to support criminals

Even so, it was a surprise to read on July 11 — the same day that the newspapers reported the car fires — that out of 430 new graduates of the Norwegian Police University College, only fourteen have been offered jobs on a police force anywhere in the country. Fourteen!

Now, you can’t blame this on the economy. Norway is a rich country (which is to say that the government is rich, not the people), and it’s almost the only place in the Western world whose job market hasn’t been decimated by the economic slump of the last few years. No, this situation is the product of state budgetary priorities that are sheer lunacy. A police union spokesman complained that this shamefully low hiring figure represents a total betrayal of promises made by Minister of Justice Knut Storberget. And Roy Vega of notes that Norwegian police strength has declined steadily in recent years to the point where there are now barely over 1.5 officers per 1000 inhabitants. Next door in Sweden, 3500 new positions in the police force have been added in the last five years, bringing the number up to 2.2 (which is approximately the minimum number recommended by the UN).

A few months ago, when I called the Oslo police and asked them to send over a couple of cops for what I considered an important matter, I was told that they wouldn’t be able to dispatch anybody for several days; when I attempted to explain the urgency of the situation, the policewoman on the phone was apologetic but explained that their resources were paper-thin: at the moment, in the whole of Oslo, she volunteered, there was only a single patrol car cruising the streets.

So here’s what we’ve got: a huge part of the national capital that is actively severing itself from the larger community and social order — and a national government that, instead of responding to this aggression with assertive policing, has chosen to steadily cut down on the strength of its police. All I can say is that if you were a government official and you wanted the Islamists to take control of large swaths of the country, this is exactly how you’d go about letting it happen.
If Bawer's report is taken as true, then it suggests the multiple attacks today were meant to overwhelm Norwegian security services to free up one particular target.  This sometimes happens in small towns with limited police services.  About a decade ago in Stowe, Ohio, a group of boys decided to try to rob a bank.  But they wanted a diversion to tie up police to increase their own chances of escape.  So they set a fire to draw away and fire services.

The same tactic may have been used here, which would mean one of the sites today was the real target and the others were diversions.

If that was the case, then Norway's lax law enforcement policy may have encouraged the terrorists in today's attacks.

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