A LITTLE TRUTH TELLIN' – AT 9:58 A.M. ET: One thing that really bugs me is how some national governments strut around the world announcing their moral superiority. And the worst offenders are the Swedish and Norwegian governments.
Now, the Swedish and Norwegian people are wonderful. Courteous, civilized, creative. But they seem to elect to power the biggest assembly of goofballs on the face of the Earth. Sweden is literally coming apart. Many of its glowing assets – like Volvo – have been sold off. Norway is better off because of oil reserves, but its current government sometimes acts like Norway is a gingerbread kingdom in the middle of a fairy tale.
Last year there was a horrible massacre in Norway in which 77 people, many of them children, were killed by a lone murderer. What happened afterward was shocking: No one was fired. No one was even reprimanded. There was no sense of responsibility.
But now a thoughtful and thorough Norwegian commission has issued a report on the horror, and deserves applause and commendation for stripping bare the truth: This could have been prevented, and people are responsible:
(Reuters) - Norwegian police and security services could have prevented all or part of an attack by far-right militant Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a bombing and gun massacre last year, a government commission said on Monday.
Intelligence services could have learned about Breivik's plans months before the attack made him the worst mass killer in Norway's peacetime history, the commission's report said.
The government building he bombed should have been better protected and he should have been stopped before he gunned down dozens of victims, mostly teenagers, on an island as police struggled to find a working helicopter and a suitable boat.
"All in all, July 22 revealed serious shortfalls in society's emergency preparedness and ability to avert threats," the commission said.
"The challenges turned out to be ascribable to leadership and communication to a far greater extent than to the lack of response personnel," it said.
Breivik first detonated a fertilizer car bomb outside government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people, then travelled to the ruling Labour Party's summer camp on Utoeya island where he gunned down 69 victims unimpeded.
Authorities had become aware of his suspicious activities months before when he purchased items that could be used to make bombs but intelligence service failures meant he was not put on a watch list, the commission said in the 482-page report.
The government building should have been much better protected as it had been identified as a security risk years before. But government squabbling over minor details of the security measures needed meant little was done.
Once the bombing took place, a witness's description of Breivik, which was phoned into police, was not passed on to officers in the field for 20 minutes.
Police should have automatically activated drills meant to guard against multiple attacks but weak leadership and disorganization led to delays, the report said.
The military was not immediately informed, police could not find the helicopter, and its boat, intended to transport special forces to the island, could not carry the necessary load.
"The authorities' ability to protect the people on Utoeya island failed. A more rapid police operation was a realistic possibility. The perpetrator could have been stopped earlier on 22 July," the commission said.
It's good to see Norway finally facing up to the facts. And this followed:
OSLO, Norway (AP) — Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is facing pressure to resign after a report scolded public authorities for failing to prevent or interrupt bomb and gun attacks that killed 77 people last year.
One of Norway’s largest newspapers, VG, on Tuesday urged Stoltenberg to step down, saying he bears the ultimate responsibility for the string of failures by police and other agencies during the July 22, 2011, attacks by a right-wing extremist.
Opposition leaders called in lawmakers from their summer break to discuss the report by a commission that criticized the government for failing to protect its headquarters from the bomb and police for not stopping the ensuing shooting massacre earlier.
COMMENT: That's all good. Norway is showing signs of maturity, and its leaders are realizing that, yes, they do bear ultimate responsibility.
They bear that responsibility here as well.
August 14, 2012