Oslo and Utoya — some other reading

[ by Charles Cameron — round-up of commentary, varied sources ]


There has been a great deal written already about the events in Oslo and Utoya, and some of the most interesting materials are to be found in slightly out of the way places — and places can be “out of the way” for people because they’re ideologically opposed to one’s own central reading, as Valdis Krebs once notably showed with a social network graph of political book purchases on Amazon.

Accordingly, I am posting a slightly annotated list of pieces that I’ve found interesting over the last couple of days, not including much in the way of major news media, and slanting a bit left since the ZP readership arguably slants a bit right — although as a monarchist jungian zenman myself, I find the whole idea of birds flying with only one wing imaginatively implausible, morally reprehensible and biologically unsound.

In alphabetical order as organized by the titles of the relevant files on my own computer, then, to avoid favoritism:

Breivik and Al-Qaeda by Will McCants on Jihadica. McCants has come in for some unjust criticism recently, this piece is important because he’s among out best AQ specialists, and highlights Breivik‘s interest in AQ which at times amounts to “mirroring” ( see Abu Muqawama quoting Marc Sageman below)

Anders Behring Breivik: Soldier in the Christian Right Culture Wars, by Chip Berlet on Talk to Action. Berlet is an astute analyst from the left, one of the few political analysts with keen insight into apocalyptic and millennial thinkin, and a colleague from Center for Millennial Studies days.  He has various other relevant posts up at Talk to Action.

Why right-wing domestic terrorists are our big blind spot: Let’s start with the media, by David Neiwert on Crooks & Liars features a totally mistaken attack on Will McCants (see above), and included here for that reason. Niewert is best as a monitor of far right militia groups and generally worth reading.

Thomas Hegghammer via Will McCants on Twitter. Hegghammer is a first-class Norwegian terrorism analyst, and his tweeted comments to McCants can be found in McCants’ twitter feed, but will soon disappear — replaced by other tweets worth noting.

What did the Oslo killer want? by Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy — listed here for the brilliant quip quotation from Breivik: “Just like Jihadi warriors are the plum tree of the Ummah, we will be the plum tree for Europe and for Christianity.”  That’s a killer quote.

In response to Norway attacks, right-wing bloggers suddenly demand nuance, by Adam Serwer on the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog. Key quote, slightly redactedfor my purposes: “[ that ] school of analysis, which puts the blame on all Muslims for acts of terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists, has been fully discredited – … – terrorist acts are committed by individuals, and it is those individuals who should be held responsible.” That’s not the whole picture, but it’s a consideration.

Initial Plagiarism Test of Breivik’s Manifesto w/ the Unabomber’s by Jarret Brachman. I’m glad Brachman is doing “plagiarism analysis” of Breivik’s texts — I suggested to Chris Anzalone that he might try some if his university has the facilities — and Brachman has also been “Wordling” Breivik and the Unambomber. If the Open Source Center has translated Musab al-Suri by now, there’s another Wordle project that might prove interesting — and more generally, someone ought to compare al-Suri’s 1500 page A Terrorist’s Call to Global Jihad with Breivik’s similarly extensive manifesto — after all, both of them are espousing what Louis Beam called “leaderless resistance”…

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