Daily Archives: April 23, 2012

Breivik: How I met Knights Templar ‘Richard the Lionheart’ in a London cafe


EDL member Paul Ray in Malta, left. He noted similarities between his blog and the manifesto written by Anders Breivik, right Photo: ALLOVER NORWAY / REX FEATURES

Claims to have met three people in London to create Knights Templar in 2002

Daily Mail | Apr 18, 2012

A meeting between Anders Breivik and an English anti-Islamic militant calling himself ‘Richard the Lionheart’ was outlined in court yesterday.

Nine years before his killing spree left 77 dead, the Norwegian said he was sitting in a London cafe with members of an extremist group called Knights Templar, to plot ‘how to seize power in Western Europe’.

As well as ‘Richard the Lionheart’, Breivik was also ‘ordained’ by the group and given the name of the 12th-century Norwegian king, Sigurd ‘the Crusader’.

Under cross-examination on the third day of his trial yesterday, the right-wing extremist initially refused to discuss meetings in Liberia and London in April and May 2002 as he joined a network of ‘like-minded’ militant anti-Muslim nationalists.

But after repeated questioning by prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh, who told him she was trying to shed doubt on the network’s existence, he conceded he had travelled to Africa and London ten years ago to help set up his Knights Templar (KT) movement.

Norway killer Breivik: Voices in my head told me ‘Don’t do this’

Norway killer ‘mentor’: Breivik NOT a lone wolf, but part of larger agenda

Norway police to question Anders Behring Breivik’s British Knights Templar mentor

Breivik’s Knights Templar ‘mentor’ in Malta linked to exiled UDA loyalist Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair

For the first time Breivik, 33, appeared rattled as it emerged he left Oslo on April 17, 2002, to fly to the Ivory Coast before entering Liberia, posing as an aid worker. Breivik said that once there he met an exiled Serbian ‘war hero’, but refused to identify the man.

Breivik became agitated and claimed Norwegian police had not been clever enough to uncover the KT movement’s members. He said: ‘Exactly what is it you’re getting at? Are you trying to sow doubt over whether the KT network exists? It does.’

The court heard that Breivik flew to London in late April 2002 where he attended a founding session of the KT movement but he refused to give exact details of his co-conspirators.

As images of Breivik’s 1,800-page manifesto were flashed on to screens, the court heard that he met three other founding members of the Knights Templar during his London visit. At 23, he was the youngest member of the group.

There were two Englishmen – including his ‘mentor’, Richard the Lionheart – and a French nationalist at the founding meeting. Breivik told the court: ‘It is not in my interest here to discuss what went on.

What I will say is that Richard was responsible for calling the meeting.’
In his manifesto, Breivik said: ‘It was basically a long-term plan on how to seize power in Western Europe.’

He told the court that the people he had met in London had ‘great integrity’ and how his codename of ‘Crusader’ was taken from Sigurd Magnusson, a 12th-century Viking king.

Asked if he felt he had met some ‘like-minded friends’ in London, he said: ‘I felt I was a foot soldier associated with the others. Now I feel I have managed to do what I wanted to do.’

Breivik also said he should face the death penalty – describing the 21 years he faces in prison as ‘pathetic’.

When asked if he thought Norway should introduce the death penalty, he replied: ‘It would be the right thing.’

Paul "LionHeart" Ray heads the Ancient Order of Knights Templar in Malta where Anders Breivik visited before the attacks

Norway police to question Anders Behring Breivik’s British Knights Templar mentor

Leader of Ancient Order of the Templar Knights in Malta denies mentoring Norwegian killer

Cellphone crackdown by panhandling ‘homeless’ cops to expand


An Ottawa police officer disguised as a panhandler helps catch drivers texting behind the wheel Thursday, April 19, 2012.

ottawa.ctv.ca | Apr 19, 2012

Ottawa police are using an unconventional method to crack down on drivers using handheld devices behind the wheel.

Officers have been patrolling intersections dressed as panhandlers to catch unsuspecting drivers as they break the law by using their phones.

“I mimic panhandling at the corner,” said Cst. Dan Jesty. “It gets me in close to the vehicles. I can look inside to see if they’re talking on a cell phone or texting on a cell phone.”

Part of the costume is a cardboard sign. Instead of asking for change though, the sign identifies the officer as a member of the police force.

Once the disguised officer catches a distracted driver, they radio partners in nearby patrol cars who then pull the driver over.

“If you have a police officer standing in full uniform and a cruiser well you’d probably never pick up a person,” said Jesty. “Blend in with the public, people feel at ease and the first thing they do is pick up that cell phone.”

Panhandling cop has surprise message for B.C. drivers

Cellphone crackdown by ‘panhandling’ officer to expand

Drivers who were stopped in the operation had mixed reactions to the disguise.

“All I can say is it is clever,” said driver Daniel Lachance. “I can’t say anything else. They caught me. There it is. And here I am.”

Others though were angered by the tactic. Allison Boyles said she was frightened when someone who she thought was a stranger approached her vehicle.

“In that moment, I reached for my phone hoping that sends a message to somebody approaching my vehicle,” she said.

Boyles plans on disputing her ticket in court.

Ottawa police have caught 97 people for distracted driving since they began the undercover campaign on Monday. They’ve also issued 18 tickets for seatbelt violations.

FDA proposes rules for nanotechnology in food

Associated Press | Apr 21, 2012

by MATTHEW PERRONE

WASHINGTON – (AP) — Regulators are proposing that food companies that want to use tiny engineered particles in their packaging may have to provide extra testing data to show the products are safe.

The Food and Drug Administration issued tentative guidelines Friday for food and cosmetic companies interested in using nanoparticles, which are measured in billionths of a meter. Nanoscale materials are generally less than 100 nanometers in diameter. A sheet of paper, in comparison, is 100,000 nanometers thick. A human hair is 80,000 nanometers thick.

The submicroscopic particles are increasingly showing up in FDA-regulated products like sunscreens, skin lotions and glare-reducing eyeglass coatings. Some scientists believe the technology will one day be used in medicine, but the FDA’s announcement did not address that use.

The draft guidance suggests the FDA may require food companies to provide data establishing the safety of any packaging using nanotechnology.

Under longstanding regulations, companies aren’t required to seek regulatory approval before launching products containing established ingredients and materials, such as caffeine, spices and various preservatives.

But FDA officials said Friday that foods and packaging containing nanoparticles may require more scrutiny.

“At this point, in terms of the science, we think it’s likely the exemption does not apply and we would encourage folks to come in and talk to us,” said Dennis Keefe, director of FDA’s office of food additive safety.

Keefe said companies are studying whether nanoparticles can reduce the risk of bacterial contamination in certain foods. He said the agency is aware of just one food package currently on the market that uses nanoparticles but did not identify it. He said more are expected in coming years.

The FDA has previously stated its position that nanotechnology is not inherently unsafe; however, materials at the nano scale can pose different safety issues than do things that are far larger.

“This is an emerging, evolving technology and we’re trying to get ahead of the curb to ensure the ingredients and substances are safe,” Keefe said.

In a separate guidance, the FDA laid out suggestions for the use of nanotechnology in cosmetics, a practice which has been in use since the 1990s. Nanoparticles are used in skin moisturizer, mineral make up and other cosmetics.

The FDA has less authority over cosmetics than food additives. Generally, the FDA does not review cosmetics before they launch, and companies are responsible for assuring the safety of their products.

The FDA will take comments on both proposals for 90 days. There is no deadline for finalizing the documents.

PayPal founder Thiel: More gigantic corporate monopolies would be better


Thiel believes that greater development and creativity would be found in the US if there were more monopolies

thenextweb.com | Apr 20, 2012

Peter Thiel is a guest at April’s PandoMonthly event, a serial investor (who famously owns part of Facebook) and well known Silicon Valley figure providing a series of unique and insightful comments on the business behind startups.

Talking about increased competition and lack of differentiation in the startup space, the PayPal founder said that competition was good for society but less positive for entrepreneurs and business owners.

“It may be a good thing for society. It’s good if you like eating in restaurants. It’s not a good thing if you’re in the business of starting a restaurant,” PayPal founder Thiel told host Sarah Lacy.

Thiel believes that greater development and creativity would be found in the US if there were more monopolies, although he admitted that they bring issues in other areas.

“Obviously monopolies are bad,” he said, “but if the result of them is people developing different technology, then that’s a much better society that has with people innovating, creating new things and capturing value. That’s better than people doing the same things.”

When asked whether competition spurred PayPal to push on and own its space, leading to an acquisition from eBay, Thiel said that the company was simply the best in its field, which made the crucial difference.

“We were dramatically better,” Thiel said. “They [eBay] could have bought any number of competitors, but it wouldn’t have been the same. You never want to be doing something where you’re just a commodity. It’s the same for each person, you never just want to be a replaceable commodity, wherever you are.”

Today’s companies striving to add value, be different and again a market share in the US, and overseas before their rivals, but Thiel critiqued the ‘first mover advantage’ theory. The Facebook investor explained that, in his view, real business value is earned (and visible) over time.

“The most valuable tech firms are not the first movers, they are the last ones in their field. Microsoft was the last operating system, and Google was the last search engine. The value gets created very very quickly but the reality is that most of it is captured over decades.”

Thiel’s background as an investor and former founder makes his position on competition less surprising. As someone who has invested time and considerable sums of money in businesses, he’s no doubt less of an advocate of the ‘innovation by competition’ argument, which sees the best services flourish and weakest perish.

Norway killer sharpened aim on computer games


Anders Behring Breivik is pictured during his trial at the central court in Oslo on April 20, 2012. Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway last July, took the stand again on the third day of his trial, a day after telling the court he would carry out his attacks again if he could. Getty Images

Breivik said he played the computer game “Modern Warfare” for 16 months starting in January 2010, primarily to get a feel for how to use rifle sights. In 2006 he devoted a full year to playing “World of Warcraft,” for 16 hours a day, he said.

USA TOday | Apr 21, 2012

OSLO, Norway (AP) – Anders Behring Breivik knew it would take practice to be able to slaughter dozens of people before being shot by police.

Breivik, who styles himself as a modern-day crusader, has confessed to the attacks but rejects criminal guilt, saying he was acting to protect Norway and Europe by targeting a left-leaning political party he claims have betrayed the country by opening it up to immigration.

Since Breivik has admitted to the bombing in Oslo that killed eight people and the shooting massacre at the Labor Party youth camp that left 69 dead, the key issue of the trial is to establish whether he is criminally insane.

For the first time since the trial started, Breivik didn’t flash his right-wing salute when he entered the courtroom Thursday, heeding the advise of his defense lawyer. But those who were hoping for signs of regret were disappointed.

The 33-year-old Norwegian was ice cold when he once again described his victims as “traitors” for their links to Norway’s governing Labor Party.

“Militant nationalists are split in two,” Breivik said. “One half says you should attack Muslims and minorities. The other half says you should attack elites, those who are responsible.”

The government building he tried to blow up was “the most attractive political target in all of Norway,” he said.

He was disappointed to hear on a car radio as he was driving to the youth camp on Utoya island that the building didn’t collapse.

Breivik said he had planned to capture and decapitate former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland while filming it, but she had left Utoya earlier that day.

The self-styled crusader said he was inspired by al-Qaida’s use of decapitation, but noted that “beheading is a traditional European death penalty.”

“It was meant to be used as a very powerful psychological weapon,” he said.

Brundtland was prime minister for the Labor Party for 10 years. She later headed the World Health Organization and was appointed as a U.N. climate change envoy in 2007.

Her adviser, Jon Moerland, told The Associated Press, “Gro Harlem Brundtland has no comment on the information provided by Breivik, nor the court case in general.”

Breivik said he played the computer game “Modern Warfare” for 16 months starting in January 2010, primarily to get a feel for how to use rifle sights. In 2006 he devoted a full year to playing “World of Warcraft,” for 16 hours a day, he said.

Since Breivik has admitted to the bombing in Oslo that killed eight people and the shooting massacre at the Labor Party youth camp that left 69 dead, the key issue of the trial is to establish whether he is criminally insane.

For the first time since the trial started, Breivik didn’t flash his right-wing salute when he entered the courtroom Thursday, heeding the advise of his defense lawyer. But those who were hoping for signs of regret were disappointed.

The 33-year-old Norwegian was ice cold when he once again described his victims as “traitors” for their links to Norway’s governing Labor Party.

“Militant nationalists are split in two,” Breivik said. “One half says you should attack Muslims and minorities. The other half says you should attack elites, those who are responsible.”

Christopher Ferguson, of Texas A&M International University, said there is no link between violent video games and violent behavior. Though some research suggests that action games can improve “visuospatial cognition,” he said it’s difficult to say whether Breivik could have improved his accuracy by playing “Modern Warfare.”

“Let us keep in mind too that he was shooting kids on an island from which they could not escape easily,” Ferguson said. “That does not require great accuracy.”

Breivik said his original plans were to set off three bombs in Oslo, including at the royal palace, but building just one fertilizer bomb turned out to be “much more difficult than I thought.”

His preferred targets for the shooting massacre were an annual conference of Norwegian journalists or the Labor Party’s annual meeting. But he couldn’t get prepared in time, so he decided on striking against the summer retreat of the Labor Party’s youth wing.

Breivik said he had expected to be confronted by armed police when he left Oslo for Utoya island, armed with a handgun and a rifle — both named after Norse gods.

“I estimated the chances of survival as less than 5 percent,” he said.

During his testimony, Breivik calmly answers questions from prosecutors, except when they ask about the alleged anti-Muslim “Knights Templar” network he claims to belong to. Prosecutors say they don’t believe it exists.

When he smiled at one point during questioning Wednesday, Prosecutor Svein Holden asked him how he thought the bereaved watching the proceedings in court would react to that.

“They probably react in a natural way, with horror and disgust,” Breivik said. He said he smiled because he knew where Holden was going with his line of questioning.

The main point of his defense is to avoid an insanity ruling, which would deflate his political arguments. He repeatedly accuses prosecutors of trying to “ridicule” him by highlighting portions of a rambling, 1,500-page manifesto he posted before the attacks.

In it — and in a shortened version he read to the court on Tuesday — he said the “Knights Templar” will lead a revolt against “multiculturalist” governments around Europe, with the aim of deporting Muslims.

If found sane, Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to psychiatric care for as long as he’s considered ill.

American taxpayers to provide military and financial support to the Afghan people for at least a decade beyond 2014


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hold a joint news conference at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels April 18, 2012. NATO foreign and defence ministers will refine plans for withdrawing combat troops from Afghanistan this week in a meeting that comes after an insurgent attack in the heart of Kabul and recrimination from the alliance’s Afghan allies. Reuters

US, Afghanistan reach deal on strategic pact

Associated Press | Apr 22, 2012

By HEIDI VOGT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. and Afghanistan reached a deal Sunday on a long-delayed strategic partnership agreement that ensures Americans will provide military and financial support to the Afghan people for at least a decade beyond 2014, the deadline for most foreign forces to withdraw.

The pact is key to the U.S. exit strategy in Afghanistan because it establishes guidelines for any American forces who remain after the withdrawal deadline and for financial help to the impoverished country and its security forces.

For the Afghan government, it is also a way to show its people that their U.S. allies are not just walking away.

“Our goal is an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity and that contributes to our shared goal of defeating al-Qaida and its extremist affiliates,” said U.S. Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall. “We believe this agreement supports that goal.”

After 10 years of U.S.-led war, insurgents linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida remain a threat and as recently as a week ago launched a large-scale attack on the capital Kabul and three other cities.

The draft agreement was worked out and initialed by Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker. It must still be reviewed in both countries and signed afterward by the Afghan and American presidents.

U.S. forces have already started pulling out of Afghanistan, and the majority of combat troops are scheduled to depart by the end of 2014. But the U.S. is expected to maintain a large presence in the country for years after, including special forces, military trainers and government-assistance programs.

The agreement is both an achievement and a relief for both sides, coming after months of turmoil that seemed to put the entire alliance in peril. It shows that the two governments are still committed to working together and capable of coming to some sort of understanding.

“The document finalized today provides a strong foundation for the security of Afghanistan, the region and the world and is a document for the development of the region,” Spanta said in a statement issued by President Hamid Karzai’s office.

Neither Afghan nor U.S. officials would comment on the details of the agreement. A Western official familiar with the negotiations said it outlines a strategic partnership for 10 years beyond 2014.

Reaching any agreement is likely to be seen as a success given more than a year and a half of negotiations during which the entire effort appeared in danger of falling apart multiple times.

Since the beginning of the year, U.S.-Afghan relations have been strained by an Internet video of American Marines urinating on the corpses of presumed Taliban fighters, by Quran burnings at a U.S. base that sparked days of deadly protests and by the alleged killing spree by a U.S. soldier in a southern Afghan village.

Tensions were further heightened by a spate of turncoat attacks by Afghan security forces on their international counterparts.

White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said President Barack Obama expects to sign the document before a NATO summit in Chicago next month, meeting the deadline set by the two sides. Many had started to worry in recent weeks that Karzai and Obama would miss that goal as talks dragged on and Karzai continued to announce new demands for the document.

Much of the disagreement was about how to handle activities that the Afghan government saw as threatening its sovereignty, in particular, night raids and the detention of Afghan citizens by international forces. Those two major issues were resolved earlier this year in separate memorandums of understanding.

But closed-door talks continued for weeks after those side-deals were signed. And then as recently as last week, Karzai said that he wanted the agreement to include a dollar figure for funding for the Afghan security forces — a demand that would be hard for the Americans to sign off on given the need for congressional approval for funding. U.S. officials have said previously that they expected the document to address economic and development support for Afghanistan more generally.

The final document is likely to be short on specifics. U.S. officials involved in the negotiations have said previously that the strategic partnership will provide a framework for future relations, but that details of how U.S. forces operate in the country will come in a later agreement.

The initialing ceremony means that the text of the document is now locked in. But the countries will have to go through their own internal review processes, Sundwall said.

“For the United States, that will mean interagency review, consultation with Congress as appropriate and final review by the president,” Sundwall said.

In Afghanistan, the agreement will have to be approved by parliament. The Afghan foreign minister will brief Afghan lawmakers about the document Monday, the Afghan president’s statement said.