‘Never again’: Norway sets up July 22 commission


Three weeks to the day after it was hit by the most murderous attacks on its soil since World War II, Norway on Friday presented a commission to determine what lessons to draw from the carnage and ensure nothing similar happens again.
“Thousands of people across the country need help and care. For them, it is vital to get answers to the questions: What happened? And why did it happen?” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. “It is also important for us as a nation. We must draw information from these terrorist attacks. The goal is for this never to happen again. The goal is more security,” he added.
Survivors, relatives of victims and media have asked a growing number of questions about the July 22 attacks that left 77 people dead. Criticism has especially focused on the time it took police to arrest 32-year-old rightwing extremist Ander Behring Breivik and halt his deadly rampage, and the intelligence service’s failure to spot him during his years of preparations for the massacre. On the day of the attacks, just over an hour passed between the first desperate calls to police from Utoeya and the arrest of the killer on the island by a special unit sent from Oslo, about 40 kilometres away.
By the time Behring Breivik was arrested, he had killed 69 people, many of them teenagers, on the island where the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing was hosting a summer camp. Of course, police were already dealing with a chaotic situation, as the killer shortly before had set off a car bomb outside government offices in Oslo, killing another eight people.
Behring Breivik has confessed to both attacks, insisting targeting Prime Minister Stoltenberg’s Labour Party was part of a “crusade” to halt a “Muslim invasion” and multiculturalism in Europe. Facing criticism from some that a faster response might have saved lives, Norwegian police have been forced to explain their handling of the Utoeya massacre, including why they set off for the island on a boat instead of a helicopter and why they for “tactical” reasons did not take the shortest route to the scene of the carnage.