Norwegian PM refuses to let terrorist attacks drive his country to intolerance and paranoid "security"

Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg has vowed not to let the terrorist attacks on his country be used as an excuse for taking away fundamental freedoms. He's treating the attacks as a policing matter (a crime), not as a military matter (that is, something requiring a "war on terror" with concomitant war-footing). He acknowledges that his country will be changed by the attacks, but he's hopes it will be "more open, a more tolerant society than what we had before." My goodness, what I would have given to hear those words sometime in the autumn of 2001.

Norway’s Premier Vows to Keep an Open Society

(via Reddit)

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    1. Cory Doctorow’s a time traveller. He’s travelled back in time on a mission to tell us…
      ….that NOTHING changes in the future.   *sigh*

  1. Presumably you meant “in the autumn of 2001”? Either works, but wishing for them this autumn seems about a decade late…

    That said, kudos to Norway’s PM for saying the right thing. “We will respond to this with more democracy, more freedom.” was the (possibly paraphrased by translation?) version of his statement the day after the attacks.

  2. Still, he’s right. The corners of the Iron Triangle in the U.S. are getting sharper these days, and soon they will make us bleed.

  3. Jens Stoltenberg: “I think what we have seen is that there is going to be one Norway
    before and one Norway after July 22. But I hope and also
    believe that the Norway we will see after will be more open, a more
    tolerant society than what we had before.”

    George W Bush: “Those in authority should take appropriate precautions to protect our
    citizens. But we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing
    our way of life or restricting our freedoms.”

    There’s a big difference between saying and doing, as the world has seen this past decade. Hopefully Norway doesn’t go insane. I have high hopes that they will do the right thing, having been witness to the destruction of everything “USA” stood for these past 10 years.

  4. This is the same guy who said: “if one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we all can show together” just a few days ago.

    We should all be so lucky to have statesmen of such wisdom. Members of the ‘coalition of the (w)(k)illing’ take note. This is how you deal with violence without destroying your society.

    1. No, that was a Teenage girl at Utøya, saying that last bit…. But yes…. Most Norwegians really like to avoid conflict, if at all posssible… 

  5. I guess he ment 2010 when Stoltenberg and Norway voted for the EU data storage directive, centralizing storage of telecommunication traffic data.

  6. Make that most Scandinavians like to avoid conflict. I give full marks to  Jens Stoltenberg and Norway in a very difficult time they are coping admirably well.

  7. I’m glad to hear it; I don’t really understand the oppositions logic.  Paranoia & intolerance were the MOTIVES behind the attack; how would embracing them help protect you?

  8. I think that comparing these two events directly has a lot of problems. For one, if Norway was to treat this as a military matter, who would they claim the war was against? The fanatics of the extreme right wing within their own country? It seems the main reason they are dealing with it differently then the war on terror is that the “enemy” isn’t abroad, so they cannot base their responses on the us vs. them mentality or speak to the patriotism of the people.

    Sadly I doubt they would be in the same mindset had this been an attack orchestrated by al-qaeda.  

  9. Of course you can wage war against internal forces. The Germans had their war against the left wing terrorists, and in Great Britain there was (is) the IRA vs. the Crown forces, etc.

    Of course Norway can chose a hardline, doing massive surveillance and interrogations against everything and everyone rightwing “extremish”.

    Would that lessen the risk for further violence? I’m betting on “nope”.

    1. The British example with the IRA is not a very good comparison. The IRA often operated outside of Britain and operated in some senses as a military force. In any case, do you really think that “treating this as a police matter” means that right wing extremists in Norway will not be monitored etc.? That’s exactly what it means. And because those tools are available domestically, there will be no Predator strikes . . .

  10. Oh, as if the highest standard of living isn’t already enough. Now you have to rub our noses in this. Srsly, how do I become a Norwegian? 

  11. For fairness sake; I believe strongly that if the killings were actually performed by a foreign (i.e. islamist) person, the reactions would have been somewhat more complex/mixed. There were incidents of harassment of muslims several places in Norway until it was known that the perpetrator was actually an “ethnic norwegian” (as we call it). Still, that was a big wake up call in many respects (fear itself (often) being more dangerous than what you fear, “common people’s” prejudice, etc.).  

    1. People forget that the U.S. went through this with Tim McVeigh and has mostly treated similar domestic groups as police matters. I think that implicit comparison between Norway today and the U.S. on September 12, 2001 is somewhat misplaced for this reason.

  12. It’s sad that this happened, but i hope that at least this means people will pay more attention to Norway in particular and Scandinavia in general. Often debate about politics ignores them completely, like the only two possible alternatives are the USSR and a version of the US that would be Rand’s wet dream.

  13. Certainly sounds refreshing, but this attack sounds like it had a lot more in common with the OKC Federal Building bombing carried out by domestic “terrorist” Timmothy McVeigh than it does with 9/11. It strikes me as an easier tune to sing under those circumstances. Who is he supposed to go to war with?

    1. See, I think you’re wrong to remove McVeigh and Breivik from the same sphere at the hijackers. These are crimes, all of them. A full 19 of the 9/11 terrorists were SAUDIs. Did you see a war anywhere with Saudi Arabia? Did Wolfe Blitzer do a 10 minute segment on the military capabilities of Field Marshall Saleh Al-Muhaya?

      Who were we supposed to go to war with then? No one could answer that, then or now, so Shrubbsey and Lone Cheney went to war with the country where the guy who funded the bombing of the world trade centers was living in a cave. That’s who we went to war with. And it still, to this day, makes NO SENSE and produced NO RESULTS, aside from the deaths of thousands of soldiers, tens of thousands of civilians, rekindled the fear and depravity that war instills in man leading to Abu Gharaib and increased animosity for the U.S. around the world. So mea culpa, there were some results, but not the one we wanted. 10 years of military action didn’t deliver THE GUY.

      Because how did we get the cave-jumper? The intelligence community conducted an international criminal investigation. Detective work is what produced the double-tap. All the bombs we dropped and the drones we piloted did NOTHING.

      Terrorism is a smoke-screen. It is a pretense used by war profiteers and warmongers to instill fear and worry in the minds of a populace in order to advance their aims and their agenda. Terrorists are almost to a one themselves fearful, weak-minded individuals, often poor and underprivileged people brought together by wealthy, influential, well-educated ideologues and brainwashed into committing terrific and horrible CRIMES. I would place good money that a comparative study of the psychological profiles of the 9/11 hijackers and Breivik would find tremendous commonalities in religious temperment, social acceptance, and mental pathologies of persecution and paranoia.

      By 3PM on 9/11/01, sitting in my dorm room, I knew precisely what I wanted to hear from the President of the United States, and like Cory, I am incredibly pleased to hear them now 10 years later, but also extremely sad that it took so long.

  14. Silly Norwegians.  They’re never going to win the war against terror unless they start strip-searching Grandma.  And what’s that baby got in its rattler?  Could it be a bomb?!  Oh, noes!

    Yay Norway!

  15. I often wonder how much more common-sense and awesomeness Scandinavia has to display until we on this side of the Atlantic, oh, you know, LEARN something.

  16. As others have at least intimated: so what? Should we be glad that they are going to treat an attack by a crazed citizen as a criminal matter? That’s what America did when the but flew his plane into the IRS building and when the lunatic Loughner shot Rep. Giffords and others. When a group of foreigners directed by a known terrorist organization commits an attack, it will be different.

    Bush’s first speech: “The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve
    directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement
    communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will
    make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and
    those who harbor them.”

    As opposed to what? “The NYPD and the FBI will be looking into this matter, but be assured, we will be a more open, a more tolerant society than what we had before.”

    Yeah, I’m sure we all wish that had been what he said. /sarcasm

    Bush constantly stressed tolerance and painted the 9/11 hijackers are extremists not representing Islam. We can criticize the policies and laws intended to stop such attacks in the future, but don’t pretend we wanted to hear all about tolerance and openness when a foreign organization attacked us. While we shouldn’t have had internment camps during WWII, the problem wasn’t that Roosevelt didn’t stress how we will be more open and tolerant after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

    1. Tolerance?  Bush declared a Crusade, aka the War on Terror, which would
      “rid the world of evil.”  It’s nice that we have an exit strategy,
      though.  As soon as there is no more evil in the world we can stop
      slaughtering people and restore the Constitution.  Obama is opening a couple fronts per year in the Crusade, but at least he’s smart enough not to call it a holy war.  Yay.

      1. A War on Terror. Never a “Crusade.” That is your own invention. He never equated Islam to evil or terrorism. Go read the speeches. But that is a slightly separate debate from what Doctorow is speaking of: treating something as military matter and increasing security. An exit strategy is nice, though I’m sure you don’t entirely understand the term. And I don’t know how its relevant to the topic at hand. And you think Obama is on a Crusade? As far as restoring the Constitution, it is a terrible precedent Obama has set by attacking a foreign nation without congressional approval on the basis that such action doesn’t count as “hostilities.” Again, that’s not about openness, tolerance, or anything like that. You are just confusing too many important issues.

  17. So they’re not going to run around like scared idiots lashing out at the entire planet and their own citizens who are also acting out in ugly fear, anger and paranoia?


    1. There simply isn’t a need for that here, normally.. Keeping a mothballed helicopter for such an occasion seems needlessly expensive. 

  18. Perfect words by Stoltenberg but actually I (a Norwegian in case that isn’t clear) have lost all hope in our society (and really also all possible societies), it feels like nothing but lies, superficiality, and incredible levels of hypocrisy now. That opinion has been gradually building up during almost two decades. I fought against it, did my share as able or far more, and wanted to keep believing we could work it out. Now I can’t manage to do any of that any more so I’ll just go into a passive mode where I stop caring about people who insist on drowning while they insult me and anyone else trying to help, all while they believe we’re the very monsters out to drown them…

    I must stop caring and that in itself is hard to do. I shouldn’t even bother writing this yet I do. Guess I want to supply a different view for free thinkers, maybe I’m just an unique aberration or maybe everyone else long past understood that societies are always shams and call it “growing up” and learn to lie with every breath.

    Sure, pretty words and flowers and candlelight and hugs and all that but the unavoidably real and officially documented problems seem destined to continue to be all but ignored, all major newspapers have introduced and called for even more censorship and surveillance as if the unconstitutional “DLD” wasn’t bad enough, and people are getting busy throwing even more dirt on “political” opponents in all directions including at themselves (although they may not realize). Its like they’ve neither understood the prime minister’s words nor the attacker’s intent (revolutionary pan-European civil war, something which they’re all too busy bringing into reality bit by bit through demonizing opponents with even more vigor than before), this despite it all being stated in the most plain and easily understandable language.

    If this keeps up Breivik will have succeeded beyond his wildest imagination (it won’t take 70 years) and I’m not sure I want to hang around to witness it (although I likely don’t have any choice). Breivik’s opening gambit on provoking outrage that will in turn alienate anyone remotely “rightwing” from participating democratically has so far been surprisingly successful, he has played us all and will unfortunately likely continue to do so no matter if he’s dead or alive.

  19. Cory,
    Am I right in understanding that you’d want to hear Bush saying after 911 the same thing Jens said after the Oslo bombing and Utøya massacre?

    Swedish politician Mona Sahlin said something like:
    11th Sep. 2001, the dust cloud starts settling over NYC.
    George W. Bush grabs the microphone: “Let’s hunt them down!”

    22nd Jul. 2011, the dust cloud starts settling over Oslo.
    Jens Stoltenberg grabs the microphone: “Let’s take good care of each other!”

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