From Memeorandum River:
Friday, July 22
Reuters broke the story of the bombing in Oslo and the shootings at a nearby summer camp shortly afterward. The attacks took place in mid-afternoon, local time:
A bomb ripped through Oslo’s central government district on Friday and a gunman dressed as a policeman then opened fire at a youth camp on a nearby island, killing at least 17 people altogether.
In the biggest attack in western Europe since the 2005 London transport bombings, seven died when the bomb exploded in the Norwegian capital in mid-afternoon scattering glass, shattered masonry and twisted steel across the streets.
Shortly afterwards, a gunman opened fire at the youth camp of the ruling political party on Utoeya island, north-west of Oslo. Police said at least 10 were shot dead as they fled shooting on the small, wooded island. The island was evacuated and police found undetonated explosives.
The BBC reports that a gunman had been arrested in connection with the camp shootings, and that local police authorities believed that the shootings and the earlier bombing in Oslo were connected.
Brian Ross of ABC News reports that seven people were killed in the Norwegian capital as a result of the blasts — at least one of which was a massive car bomb — and at least 80 people were killed in the second, related shootings, which took place about two hours after the bombings, at a summer camp on an island near the capital. Most of the dead were teenagers participating in a youth meeting at that camp.
The ABC News article also reported that a single individual had been arrested in connection with both attacks: a Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik was identified by the press “as a member of ‘right-wing extremist groups in eastern Norway.’ ”
The New York Times reported that “a lone political extremist” was responsible for the attacks.
In mid-morning U.S. Eastern time (about an hour after the attacks happened — in the middle of the afternoon local Norwegian time), bloggers and media pundits began speculating that Al Qaeda or some other Islamist individual or terror group might be responsible for the attacks — despite the fact that at no point did Norwegian authorities say they had reason to believe that was the case, and at no point did any Islamist individual or group take responsibility for the bombings and shootings.
Max Fisher of The Atlantic was among the first out of the gate. In an article titled “Al Qaeda’s Problem With Norway,” Fisher wrote:
… So far, the cause of the explosion is unknown, as is the culprit.
It’s natural to wonder whether al-Qaeda, the world’s most famous terrorist organization, might have been involved.
But why would the group target Norwegian government infrastructure? Last year, after several immigrants to Norway were arrested plotting terrorist attacks on behalf of al-Qaeda, Thomas Hegghammer and Dominic Tierney wrote “Why Does Al-Qaeda Have a Problem With Norway?” for The Atlantic.com.
At The Moderate Voice, contributing writer Holly in Cincinnati linked to Fisher’s piece in a round-up of initial reaction to the attacks that she titled “Terrorists Hit Oslo.” This was a particularly inexplicable choice of words, given that Holly’s very first link — above her link to Fisher’s piece — was to the New York Times piece that indicated Norwegian authorities were holding “a lone political extremist” in connection with the shootings — and Holly included that part.
Michelle Malkin included a prominently placed update at the top of her post saying that domestic terrorism was suspected, and naming the man who had been arrested. Of course, being who she is, Malkin also trumpeted, further down, the totally irrelevant “news” that Norway had a “Muslim rapist problem.”
The right-wing blogs Sister Toldjah, Wizbang, The Jawa Report, and The Other McCain were all among those who either sneered at the possibility that the bombings and shootings were the work of a single extreme right-wing Norwegian national, or unquestioningly reported others speculating that Islamists were responsible for the attacks, or both.
Powerline’s John Hinderaker went further, writing that “The perpetrators of these attacks have not yet been identified, but they likely were Muslim terrorists.” Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey implied at the top of his post that an Al Gaeda group had taken credit for the attacks, and linked to an AP report that said, in part, “The blast comes as the Scandinavian country has grappled with a series of homegrown terror plots linked to al-Qaida, and six years after an uproar over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in neighboring Denmark.” As far as I could tell from a quick skim, Ed did not mention the arrest of Anders Behring Breivik. Weasel Zippers wrote, “Although the source of the blast is unclear, Al-Jazeera TV notes that Norwegian prosecutors on Tuesday filed a terrorism charge against Mullah Krekar, founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam,” and also did not mention even the possibility that a non-Muslim was responsible, much less the fact that a blond, blue-eyed, nominally Christian, Norwegian national was the actual person responsible for the attacks.
Despite the massive number of candidates for this dishonor — given all of this groundless speculation that Al Qaeda and/or unnamed Muslim individuals or terror groups were responsible for the Norway attacks — The Confederate Yankee gets the prize for the most vile, reprehensible, bigoted, and unapologetically irresponsible commentary on who might have carried out the attacks, and who actually did. In a post titled “Terror in Oslo: Religion of Pedophilia and Infantile Rage Strikes Again,” Bob Owens writes:
We can’t outlaw a peaceful religion, but we sure as Hell can outlaw violent cults.
It’s time we started working on making that happen.
Update: The claims of responsibility from the terror group have turned out to be bogus. It’s a sick person in a sick cult who takes credit for something like this.
Details are sketchy, but it appears that the attacker is a native Norwegian and is responsible for both the bombing in Oslo and the shootings at the youth camp.
He is in police custody.
Norwegian national broadcaster NRK identified the shooter as 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, and he is apparently an anti-Muslim right-wing extremist and Christian Fundamentalist. He is Norway’s McVeigh.
Let the title of this article of this blog post be a warning not to jump to conclusions, even when the crime fits the M.O. and one terrorist group or another within the Islamic Death Cult claims responsibility.
The key difference to remember–while American liberals gloat over the wrong assumptions we made based upon initial claims–is that when so-called Christians embark on crimes of this nature, they are expressly violating one of the key tenants [SIC] of our faith. When Muslims commit mass murder, they are typically following key tenants [SIC; IT’S “TENETS,” BOB] of their faith.
Regardless of the politically focused sideshow, my heartfelt sympathies extend to the families affected by this madman.
Emphasis on the supreme, breathtakingly hypocritical chutzpah of accusing THE LEFT of creating a “politically motivated sideshow.” In a weird and twisted way, you almost have to take your figurative hat off in acknowledged admiration of such amazing dishonesty.