Jul 29 2011

Shoot Teenagers, Fight Environmentalists

By Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson. Originally published in the Reykjavík Grapevine.

In a very short time the discourse following last week’s right-wing terrorist attacks in Norway reached both absurd and scary heights, with one of the best examples being American TV and radio host Glenn Beck’s attempt to justify the mass murderer by comparing the social democratic youth camp on Utøya with the Hitler Youth. In Iceland it was the writings of Björn Bjarnason, a right-wing conservative and Iceland’s Minister of Justice from 2003 to 2009.

Only a day after the attacks, Björn, who systematically voiced what he called “the need” for the establishment of an army-like police force when he was Minister of Justice, wrote on his website – one of Iceland’s oldest blog-sites, frequently quoted by journalists – that the Norwegian state, with its powerful secret police force, should have all the necessary tools to fight the threat of terrorism. According to Björn, this police force keeps a strict eye on potential terrorist cells – groups that operate “in service of political ideals” or “under the banner of environmentalism or nature conservation.”

Following this came a paragraph about the current Minister of Interior Ögmundur Jónasson who has talked about granting the police proactive investigation permits to fight against organized crime, political activists and environmentalists supposedly excluded. But as the murderer in Oslo and Utøya had a political agenda, Björn argues that environmentalists are likely to act the same. Therefore he concludes that the en masse slaughter of teenagers should teach the Icelandic authorities a lesson and encourage them to establish a secret police to fight environmentalists.

Anyone who reads through the Oslo-Utøya-murderer manifesto knows that he sees himself as a warrior in a fight for the creation of a conservative, Christian, discipline, fascist, masculine, homo-phobic, militaristic, nationalistic West. Surely he takes a step further than most fascists by using Dark Ages imagery, explicit language and an extremely violent strategy to market his ideas, but his written manifest is only an extreme versions of the same ideas preached by the more sophisticated everyday right-wing conservatives, the Icelandic ones not excluded. Thus it makes sense, if wanting to prevent further mass murders á la Anders Breivik, that one should look deeply into the growing fascist rhetoric surrounding Western political discourse today.

Shooting an islandful of teenagers has never been the tactic of radical environmentalists who usually undertake their actions without threatening life, but in the eyes of Björn Bjarnason and his-minded people, a special secret police force should be formed to step on them and their rights. While some people might want to dismiss what the former justice minister’s writes it should in fact be taken extremely seriously that he finds it reasonable to use the Norwegian mass murder to re-examine his old fight against environmentalists – a fight in which he is far away from being alone. Now it is our responsibility to stop him and his comrades in arms – wherever they are standing politically – from being able to capitalise on last week’s events and thereby realising their fantasies.

2 Responses to “Shoot Teenagers, Fight Environmentalists”

  1. Malcolm Hawkins says:

    Anders Breivik was a dissillusioned and mentally unstable man. It is the only way to explain such a shocking event. Also, his planning and patience to undertake the massacre of youngsters on that island, was the reason why he was not “picked up” in any police/anti-terrorist surveillance.
    Thank God these type of people are very rare in society and it will probably, ideally never, happen again for a very long time.

  2. Gregor says:


    Your argument might possibly fit…

    ….if not for the fact that Anders Breivik left a 1500 pages long political manifesto, which clearly resonates a certain element in today’s political discourse.

    …if not for the fact that through history a lot of people, both those with official power and those who don’t, have executed acts similar to Breivik’s – many of them much more brutal, violent and fatal – which today play a major part in understanding the history of fascism, not as “disillusioned and mentally unstable” but as the creators and followers of certain political ideas and deeds.

    …if not for the fact that after Breivik’s mass-murders many people – including politicians, media-figures and fascist, both militant and “sophisticated” – have voiced their sympathy and understanding if not for his Breivik’s act, then for his beliefs and ideology.

    …if not for the fact that Breivik’s act has already been used as a tool in the propaganda war against the society that Breivik and his like-minded fellows want to destroy – for the society they embrace.

    So Malcolm, honestly… your argument does not fit at all!