sick and disgusting

a bomb explosion rocked norway's capital on july 22, leaving 7 people dead. hours later, around 85 people were killed in a nearby island in a shooting rampage. all these were alleged to have been committed by one man. find out why.

By Steven Erlanger and Scott Shane
Published: July 23, 2011

OSLO — The Norwegian man charged Saturday with a pair of attacks in Oslo that killed at least 92 people left behind a detailed manifesto outlining his preparations and calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination, according to Norwegian and American officials familiar with the investigation.

As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II, a portrait began to emerge of the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, 32. The police identified him as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, while acquaintances described him as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.

“We are not sure whether he was alone or had help,” a police official, Roger Andresen, said at a televised news conference. “What we know is that he is right wing and a Christian fundamentalist.”

In the 1,500-page manifesto, posted on the Web hours before the attacks, Mr. Breivik recorded a day-by-day diary of months of planning for the attacks, and claimed to be part of a small group that intended to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.”

He predicted a conflagration that would kill or injure more than a million people, adding, “The time for dialogue is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come.”

The manifesto was signed Andrew Berwick, an Anglicized version of his name. A former American government official briefed on the case said investigators believed the manifesto was Mr. Breivik’s work.

The manifesto, entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” equates liberalism and multiculturalism with “cultural Marxism,” which the document says is destroying European Christian civilization.

The document also describes a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader military order. It says the meeting was attended by nine representatives of eight European countries, evidently including Mr. Breivik, with an additional three members unable to attend, including a “European-American.”

The document does not name the attendees or say whether they were aware of Mr. Breivik’s planned attacks, though investigators presumably will now try to determine if the people exist and what their connection is to Mr. Breivik.

Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view. Like Mr. Breivik’s manuscript, the major Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to defeat the religious and cultural enemy.

“It seems to be an attempt to mirror Al Qaeda, exactly in reverse,” Mr. Hegghammer said.

Mr. Breivik was also believed to have posted a video on Friday summarizing his arguments. In its closing moments, the video depicts Mr. Breivik in military uniform, holding assault weapons. Rarely has a mass murder suspect left so detailed an account of his activities. The manifesto describes in detail his purchase of chemicals, his sometimes ham-handed experiments making explosives and his first successful test detonation of a bomb in a remote location on June 13.

He intersperses the account of bomb-making with details of his television-watching, including the Eurovision music contest and the American police drama “The Shield.”

The manifesto ends with a chilling signoff: “I believe this will be my last entry. It is now Fri July 22nd, 12.51.”

Indeed, the operation appeared to have been extremely well planned.

According to the police, Mr. Breivik first drew security services to central Oslo when he exploded a car bomb outside a 17-story government office building, killing at least seven people.

Then he took a public ferry to Utoya Island, where he carried out a remarkably meticulous attack on Norway’s current and future political elite. Dressed as a police officer, he announced that he had come to check on the security of the young people who were attending a political summer camp there, many of them the children of members of the governing Labor Party.

He gathered the campers together and for some 90 hellish minutes he coolly and methodically shot them, hunting down those who fled. At least 85 people, some as young as 16, were killed.

The police said Saturday evening that they expected the death toll to climb. There were still bodies in the bombed government buildings in Oslo, and at least four people missing on Utoya.

The police also said that unexploded munitions were still in some downtown Oslo buildings, and they had not ruled out the possibility that Mr. Breivik had accomplices.

He was equipped, the police said, with an automatic rifle and a handgun; when the police finally got to the island — about 40 minutes after they were called, the police said — Mr. Breivik surrendered.

The police also said he had registered a farm in Rena, in eastern Norway, which allowed him to order a large quantity of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, an ingredient that can be used to make explosives. The authorities were investigating whether the chemical had been used in the bombing.

Besides the manifesto, Mr. Breivik left other hints of his motives.

A Facebook page and Twitter account were set up under his name days before the rampage. The Facebook page cites philosophers like Machiavelli, Kant and John Stuart Mill.

His lone Twitter post, while not calling for violence, paraphrased Mill — “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests” — suggesting what he saw as his ability to act.

Those postings, along with what was previously known about Mr. Breivik publicly, aligned with but hardly predicted the bloody rampage he would undertake on Friday.

Before then, he had been a member of the right-wing Progress Party, which began as an antitax protest and has been stridently anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim.

Joran Kallmyr, a member of the party who is now Oslo’s vice mayor for transportation, said he met Mr. Breivik several times in 2002 and 2003 at local party meetings. “He was very quiet, almost a little bit shy,” Mr. Kallmyr said. “But he was a normal person with good behavior. He never shared any extreme thoughts or speech with us. There was absolutely no reason to expect that he could do something like this. We’re very shocked.”

Mr. Breivik quit the party in 2006, apparently disappointed by the party’s move toward the center.

“He didn’t like our politics, I guess, and moved on,” Mr. Kallmyr said.

His Internet posts also indicated contempt for the Conservative Party, which he accused of having given up the battle against multiculturalism.

But on Friday he directed his firepower at the center-left Labor Party, which leads the coalition government.

“Breivik feels that multiculturalism is destroying the society and that the enforcing authority is the prime minister and the Labor Party, the lead party of contemporary Norwegian politics,” said Anders Romarheim, a fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies.

But the attacks, along with what appear to have been years of preparation for them, raised questions about whether the Norwegian security authorities, concentrating on threats of Islamic terrorism, had overlooked the threat from the anti-Islamic right.

“This is the Norwegian equivalent to Timothy McVeigh,” the right-wing American who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, said Marcus Buck, a political scientist at the University of Tromso in northern Norway. “This is right-wing domestic terrorism, and the big question is to what extent Norwegian agencies have diverted their attention from what they knew decades ago was the biggest threat” to focus instead on Islamic militants.

The unclassified versions of the last three Norwegian Police Security Service reports assessing national threats all played down any threat by right-wing and nationalist extremists. Instead, the reports emphasized the dangers posed by radical Islam, groups opposed to Norway’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Libya, and others.

The 2011 report, released early this year, concluded that “the far-right and far-left extremist communities will not represent a serious threat to Norwegian society.”

Even after the attacks, that appeared to be the official position.

“Compared to other countries I wouldn’t say we have a big problem with right-wing extremists in Norway,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at a news conference on Saturday. “But we have had some groups, we have followed them before, and our police is aware that there are some right-wing groups.”

Even if the authorities had focused on right-wing groups, it was unlikely that they would have noticed Mr. Breivik.

Kari Helene Partapuoli, director of the Norwegian Center Against Racism, said Mr. Breivik did not belong to any violent neo-Nazi groups that she was aware of, and his Internet postings, before those of last week, did not espouse violence.

“The distance between the words spoken and the acts that he carried out is gigantic, because what he did is in a different league of what the debates have to do about,” she said.

Arild Groven, secretary general of the Norwegian Shooting Association, a sports group, confirmed that Mr. Breivik had belonged to Oslo Pistolklubb, one of the 520 clubs in the association.

“We all read and watch the news about the shootings in the United States,” Mr. Groven said. “But it doesn’t happen here.”

Kristian Ulrichsen, a researcher at the London School of Economics, said in some ways the homegrown nature of the attack made it harder for Norwegians to accept. “With 9/11 in America, people could ask, ‘Who are they?’ and could pour their rage out on someone else,” he said. “But we can’t disavow this person, he’s one of us.”

source: The New York Times

UPDATE: suspect admits responsibility but considers attacks "necessary."

more from the BBC News.

if your religion/ideology, or fear of some other religion/ideology, pushes you to kill people, use your effing brain! more basic than any religion/ideology on this planet is respect for life.

what this guy did is just sick and disgusting. he doesn't deserve to live, but i'm no god to say this.


power corrupts

from conrado de quiros' column in the philippine daily inquirer.

this is exactly how i feel about the whole sara duterte-sheriff incident, except that de quiros manages, as he usually does, to phrase it so poetically and so brilliantly. he truly has the gift of words.

of course, he generalizes sometimes (if not most of the time). while some generalizations may not be fair, you're not reading de quiros for a point-by-point and comprehensive discussion of the issues. it's the impact of his columns that makes them worth reading. it's up to the reader if he falls for them hook, line, and sinker.

There's The Rub
Conrado de Quiros

The guy is just out of control.

Lashing out at his critics last Monday, Rodrigo Duterte flashed a dirty finger at the cameras. And as with the case of his daughter beating up a local sheriff, he offered no apologies for it. In fact, when the local media told him that the Department of Human Rights wanted him sanctioned for it, he flashed the finger again. It was freedom of expression, he said. “It is a sign of anger, it is a sign of extreme disgust. It means galit ako sa iyo,” he said, and spat out expletives to go along with that explanation.

I haven’t written about the Sara Duterte incident simply because others have already done a good job of it. Our editorials especially, which have given a very good perspective on it. The mayor’s wrath was not unprovoked, but her response was thoroughly disproportionate. Beating up a sheriff because he was overeager to demolish shanties does not make things better, it makes them worse. A lot, lot worse.

It shows a public official who is judge, jury and executioner. Or judge, jury and thug.

And now, this.

I know that Sara Duterte’s tough-guy stance has met with a good deal of support in Davao. I know Rodrigo Duterte’s tougher-guy antics have met with a good deal of support in Davao. I know father and daughter are fairly popular in Davao. That has got nothing to do with it. Some things are not a matter for public acclamation. Some things may not be put to a vote. Some things are a matter of right and wrong. Burying Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is one of them. Condoning behavior like this in a public official is another. It is wrong. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.

At the very least, it is one thing to be irreverent, it is another to be crass. It is one thing to be tough, it is another to be abusive. You can’t see the difference between the two, you do not deserve public office, you deserve jail. Or time in a ladies’ polishing school.

Freedom of expression? How long do you think someone who flashes a dirty finger at Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City to suggest anger and extreme disgust at him will remain free? In fact how long do you think someone who flashes a dirty finger at Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City to say “galit ako sa ’yo,” will remain on this earth? That freedom is completely one-way. It is Rodrigo Duterte’s freedom to say, “F-k you,” to the world. It is not the world’s freedom to say, “F-k you,” to him.

Courtesy is not there simply because people invented it out of having nothing better to do, it is there to make communication possible. It is there to make dialogue possible. It is there to make reasonable argument possible. Courtesy from public officials is not demanded simply because polite society wants its pound of flesh, it is there to make public discourse possible. It is there to make public policy possible. It is there to make governance possible.

Rodrigo Duterte may no more flash a dirty finger at the world, or indeed the very thing the finger is supposed to represent, than Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may flash whatever she wants to flash at the world to propose that she is angry, disgusted, galit ako. Though in her case, it would be completely superfluous, her very rule was a metaphorical flashing of the dirty finger at her compatriots. The same can now be said of Duterte’s rule.

I grant a good deal of this country is ungovernable and you have to show machismo, or cojones as the Mexicans say, to tame the lawless places, if not indeed to merely get by. But the principle has always been, “Walk quietly and carry a big stick.” It has never been, “Walk noisily and carry a small dick.” The latter is the principle behind painting the doors of suspected drug pushers red, pushing the bodies of dead criminals into empty oil drums with signs that say “Huwag tularan” and dropping them into rivers, and making sigas and other lowlife disappear from the face of the earth. That doesn’t make things better, that makes things worse.

We know that from the long nightmare we’ve had in the not so distant past. Ferdinand Marcos also made crime disappear immediately after declaring martial law. Suddenly the students were no longer marching in the streets, suddenly the kids were coming home early and no longer smoking joints courtesy of a curfew and harsh anti-drug laws, suddenly the youth were no longer sporting long hair, the thing being punishable by an ROTC haircut and an overnight sojourn in Camp Aguinaldo cutting grass. Parents loved it and wondered how long martial law would last.

Suddenly, a Chinese drug pusher was lined up against a wall and shot to death as a warning to all criminals that this was the fate that awaited them if they defied martial law. Suddenly, the sirens were quiet in the night, wailing only in sudden spurts, the police cars probably chasing down an activist or two who hadn’t yet come to terms with the new world and was painting a protest sign on a wall. Suddenly the crime rate dropped to near-zero. The residents of the Greater Manila area loved it and wondered how long martial law would last.

Well, martial law lasted a decade and a half. With results so catastrophic the country is still reeling from them. And eventually crime came roaring back with a vengeance. There is another principle here, and a far more obdurate one:

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

To those in Davao City and elsewhere who say, “We don’t mind that Rodrigo Duterte is an SOB so long as he’s our SOB,” think again. The next time you extol the virtues of a Dirty Harry or a Dirty Rudy, mind that the last dirt you could see could be, like martial law, the one being shoveled up your ass, or face.

While you lie in your hole in the ground.

source: philippine daily inquirer

i can't stand public officials like rudy or sara duterte, no matter how good they are to their constituents or how they governed davao city well. good thing i'm not in davao city.


Living in the Moment

from maria ressa's aptly titled blog, "brave new world."

Maria Ressa

One of the things I love about being a reporter is when you land in a new city, you’re forced to really live in the moment, particularly if you’ve never been there before. All your senses are alive because it’s new. Your heart throbs because not only are you on deadline, you have a whole society to explore and learn.

As the years went by, that feeling of discovery and truly being alive subsided because I got to know the cities I reported from – where to stay, where to eat, where to hang out, where to find the news. They became part of my habit so I started tuning out.

That’s why travelling and physically moving house every now and then is essential. Too often, as we get older, we stop really looking, stop really listening, stop living in the moment. We get in the car. We drive to work. We barely look at the people we run into. We’re barely alive because we’re thinking of future tasks and future deadlines.

As we get older, life adds layers to our core selves – some necessary, some not; some materialistic, some metaphysical. Your house, your car, your furniture, your clothes – signs of how you look at yourself and how the world looks at you. The layers you add to protect yourself from betrayal, from intrusions into your private life, from hurt – well, somehow we learn to add those layers to protect ourselves. Anyone who handles power or authority has to deliver bad news, play corporate games — and as we get older, you just can’t allow yourself to feel everything you felt when you were young.

But why not?

That’s part of the reason I moved to Singapore. I decided to go back to basics and try to peel away some of those layers. I wanted to listen to myself. No other agenda but to learn and to live in the moment.

That means stripping out the noise. So no high-priced condominium which insulates you from the the wear and tear of daily life. I decided to do something I’d wanted to do for years: live in an HDB flat. HDB stands for housing development board – it’s public-subsidized housing, and more than 80% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats. I wanted to see how Singaporeans live.

I didn’t get a car. I took public transportation – MRT, buses – so efficient, and riding them made me realize how I missed watching people. Let’s face it – spending 99% of your time inside the ABS-CBN compound doesn’t allow you much people watching time. Everyone knows you and you know them, particularly if you’re the boss.

I missed the kindness of strangers – like when I saw 6 people give up their seats to older folks inside the mrt. It makes you feel good about the human race. (And made me think that Singapore’s public service ads plastered everywhere work).

There’s a wonderful sense of community. Outside my building is a central area built into the plan for public housing – a kid’s playground, an exercise area, a basketball court, an open circular area for barbecues. It is a vibrant community – multicultural because every building represents the racial breakdown – 75% Chinese, 14% Malay, 9% Indian, the rest Eurasians and others.

For nearly two weeks, I was vibrantly alive as I counted how many stops to get off, looked around new areas and discovered new places. Then as I developed a routine, I felt myself starting to slip into the past or the future – my attention was no longer in the moment. When I recognized it, I thought that’s part of life. We discount what we know.

Nothing beats the thrill of living in the moment. Once you get there, it affects everything else and reminds you why you want to stay there. It allows you to put your life in perspective – become more self-aware – and to pay tribute to the people and the places that are important to you.

When I returned to my apartment in Manila, everything felt new. I felt different, and my relationships benefitted from that. I was no longer taking things for granted. I was energized – looking at the world through fresh eyes.

Last February, I wrote about how reunions with loved ones can rejuvenate. Travel and staying in the moment is another way of doing that. Again, one of my very favorite quotes from TS Eliot: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

That, folks, is the story of our lives!

source: brave new world

"A life lived in the moment is a life lived fully." - Maria Ressa


death of an associate

a 32-year-old american lawyer dies while doing legal work from her home office on a sunday. tragic, however you look at it. i just hope she died doing what she loved most.

may her soul rest in peace. and may those of us who are still alive think, think and think really hard about it...


By Ellie Mystal

For the past week, a conversation has percolating around Skadden that has made its way into the ATL inbox. A Skadden associate, Lisa Johnstone, died last week. Her obituary ran earlier this week in the San Diego Union Tribune. And her memorial service was yesterday. She died of an apparent heart attack, though we understand that her autopsy has not yet been completed. She was 32.

We’re talking about Lisa Johnstone’s death because reports indicate that she died while doing legal work from her home office on a Sunday. We’re talking about Lisa Johnstone because for over a week, Skadden associates have been talking about just how many hours Johnstone had been working. We’re talking about Johnstone because while the root cause of her death my never be known, many Skadden associates and others who know the story are taking this as an opportunity to assess their lives and their mental and physical well being.

And that’s a good thing. The best advice I ever received in Biglaw was the partner who said: “You don’t have a thermostat”…

If you talk to Skadden associates in Los Angeles right now, they are understandably angry. The people we’ve spoken to in that office say that in the weeks prior to her death, Johnstone was pulling 100-hour weeks and was under intense pressure. Multiple sources tell us that she had her vacation cut short after being called back to work.

Sources also report that Johnstone had shown some disturbing signs of overwork. Multiple people told us that she was suffering from hair loss. Again, we don’t have the autopsy report, but multiple sources speculate that under these conditions, Johnstone had turned to “the lawyer version of performance enhancers,” just to stay awake.

Now, if you’ve never worked a day in Biglaw, these stories might sound like “horror” stories. And maybe they are. But they’re not “novel” stories. We can’t be sure of what happened to Lisa Johnstone, but we can be sure that this kind of stuff “happens to” Biglaw associates all across the country.

I’ve pulled a few 100-hour billable weeks. I still remember them, as I imagine one would remember spending a week in prison, or a week marooned at sea. On one case, a senior associate on the team (who, incredibly to me, was working harder than everybody else) passed out in the office — right in the middle of the conference room everybody was working in (the partners were, you guessed it, out of town at the time). We had to call an ambulance and everything. And when they carted her away, the rest of us went right back to work — because that’s the mentality that had brought us through law school and into a job like that in the first place.

Luckily, she was fine — just “exhausted,” which until that time, I did not know was an “official” medical diagnosis. And that case pretty much clinched partner for her so, you know, I guess it all worked out based on the logic of Biglaw life. But later on that week, our team was addressed by the partner in charge of the case. He gave us the standard blah blah blah about taking care of ourselves and all that. But then he said (and I won’t forget this until the day I die): “You guys, you don’t have a thermostat. Nobody knows how far you can go before you blow.”

… Now, understand, at the time I was angry. Enraged. I felt much of what these Skadden L.A. associates have been feeling this week. Here was a colleague of mine, a person I liked even though we weren’t friends in the social sense, who had just been pushed to the brink. Here was this colleague who had just gone down a road I did not want to go down, and the firm — who at that point was the thing I had dedicated my freaking life to — was doing nothing to help her. And by her, I of course meant me. A thermostat? Are you kidding me? Why is the goal to push me to the absolute breaking point without actually causing me so much harm that I can no longer stand up? That’s how people treat horses, not men and women.

But over time, and after I quit, I came to understand that the partner wasn’t actually saying the most callous thing in the universe. I mean, it was still a pretty cold thing to say, but it wasn’t totally devoid of feeling. He was also reminding us that we ourselves don’t really know how much we can take, until maybe it’s too late.

We treat ourselves like horses sometimes. I know I did. I never took some of the stimulants available to enhance my “alertness,” though I certainly know a lot of people who did. But as I’ve discussed before, I did find myself filling out prescriptions for drugs that were supposed to make the anxiety go away. When my colleague collapsed, I didn’t think: “Wow, there are limits.” I thought: “Oh nononononono, we’re a man down, I’m going to have to work even harder now.”

When I quit, it wasn’t just because I felt like the firm was going to work me into the ground. It was also an admission that I was not wired to stop it from happening. I didn’t, at that point, have the skills to tell the firm: “No, I’m not billing 100 hours this week. Not now, not ever.” But I didn’t know what would happen to me if I kept working like that, and I didn’t like what was happening to me already. So I quit, consequences be damned. I didn’t have a thermostat.

My story is the one I know about. I don’t know Lisa Johnstone’s story. We don’t know what kind of pressures she was feeling. We don’t know if she was being pushed, or if she would have naturally found a way to work as much as she possibly could. We don’t know if her heart could have given out sitting on a beach sipping a cocktail, just like it apparently did sitting in her home office trying to get work done. She’s gone now, and we can just hope and pray for her family and friends.

But we, the living, are not gone. We still have choices to make. If in Johnstone’s death somebody else out there can find a moment to recalibrate his or her life, that can be a good thing.

These Biglaw jobs are hard. Insane even. You literally can no longer pay me enough to do one. But if you are putting yourself in the middle of this pressurized insanity, please remember that you don’t have thermostat. Nobody knows how much you can take.

Ed. Note: We’re leaving the comments open. We’re leaving the comments open because we think that it is appropriate that lawyers who read us have a chance to share their thoughts on wellness in the profession, work/life balance, and all the other issues the death of a colleague and fellow practitioner naturally bring up. We’re not leaving the comments open so people can take potshots at a woman who just passed away. So please try to control yourselves.

source: abovethelaw.com

if i have less than 24 hours to live, will i be doing what i'm doing now? hmmm...