Thursday, December 29, 2011

13-Year-Old Makes Solar Breakthrough Based on the Fibonacci Sequence!

13-Year-Old Makes Solar Breakthrough Based on the Fibonacci Sequence!
by Molly Cotter, 08/19/11

Here at Inhabitots we love seeing the creative things that bright young minds come up with -- and we were incredibly impressed to hear that a 13-year-old boy recently came up with a breakthrough discovery for the field of solar energy! While hiking through the Catskills, seventh grader Aidan Dwyer was not snapping and throwing tree branches but studying their tangled pattern high about his head. He came up with a theory for the way that tree branches grow based on the Fibonnacci sequence and tested it by building a miniature solar energy generating tree that produces 20% - 50% more power than a flat solar array. The youngster has earned himself the Young Naturalist Award from the American Museum of Natural History, a provisional U.S. patent, and lots of phone calls from interested commercial solar companies -- all before the school year begins!

When Aidan noticed the tree branches seemed to have a spiral pattern, he wondered if it was related to how trees collect sunlight. After reading and researching, Aidan found a mathematical similarity in the Fibinacci pattern. This is where two numbers in a series are aded together and the sum becomes the next number in the sequence such as 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, and so on. This sequence has already been noted in other parts of nature such as nautilus shells, sunflower seeds, and falcon flight patterns.

Aidan measured the angles at which branches spread out from trees using a home-made tool made of a plastic tube and two protractors. He then built a test model of an oak tree’s Fibinacci pattern using tiny solar panels instead of leaves. He set it outside next to flat solar panel and collected data for three months — and the results were incredible.

The solar tree made 20% more electricity and collected 2 and a half more hours of sunlight than the flat panel. Even more exciting, when tested in December, the darkest, shortest days of the year, the tree panel performed even better, producing 50% more electricity than the flat panel and collecting 50% more sunlight.

Aidan’s findings are best put in the worlds of the 13 year old himself: “The tree design takes up less room than flat-panel arrays and works in spots that don’t have a full southern view. It collects more sunlight in winter. Shade and bad weather like snow don’t hurt it because the panels are not flat. It even looks nicer because it looks like a tree. A design like this may work better in urban areas where space and direct sunlight can be hard to find.”

[Call For Entries] Deadline Approaching for Big Sky International Pitch with Top Industry Reps

[Call For Entries] Deadline Approaching for Big Sky International Pitch with Top Industry Reps

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival will host an International Pitch
Session with Top Industry Reps including Diane Weyermann (Participant
Media) Yance Ford (POV The American Documentary) and Lois Vossen
(ITVS/Independent Lens).

The third annual Big Sky International Documentary Pitch Session will
take place on February 23, 2012 as part of Big Sky Doc Shop (Feb
21-24), a five day non-fiction industry forum during the ninth annual
film festival.

More about the Pitch:

Entry Fee: $25

Submission Deadline: January 6, 2012

Filmmakers have the opportunity to pitch their work-in-progress (WIP)
documentaries to some of the top commissioning editors and funders
for documentary film in North America. All documentary forms and all
subjects are eligible to submit. Commissioning editors will critique
and comment on each pitch. A maximum of 15 projects will be accepted
to pitch in this session. Potential participants should submit a
brief (250 words maximum) project summary and an additional
one-paragraph project status report. A short (5 minutes maximum)
sample reel of the work-in-progress may be submitted (via vimeo,,, etc.) in addition to the written application.
Selected projects will have 20 minutes to pitch their project and
show a short sample (if available) for the panel. Selected projects
will be required to pay an additional $75 to participate, and will be
notified of their acceptance by January 11, 2012.

Confirmed panelists include: Diane Weyermann (Executive Vice
President, Documentary Films, Participant Media), Yance Ford (Series
Producer, POV/The American Documentary), Lois Vossen (Independent
Lens, Senior Series Producer & Vice President, ITVS) and Reva
Goldberg (Communications and Fellowships Manager at Cinereach)
Caroline Graham (Marketing Manager, The Documentary Channel).

Enter via at -

More about Doc Shop

February 20-24, 2012 at The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

The Doc Shop is a new, industry-focused feature of the Big Sky
Documentary Film Festival. It offers documentary filmmakers
opportunities for networking, discussion, and professional
development. The DocShop schedule includes workshops, panels, a
roundtable discussion, product demos, and the annual Big Sky
Documentary Pitch  session. These events deal with topics from
funding to distribution, and everything in between. The Doc Shop
brings filmmakers, industry decision-makers, and experts together in
a dialogue about what matters most in the world of documentary film.

Confirmed participants at Doc Shop include: Diane Weyermann (Food,
Inc.,An Inconvenient Truth) Yance Ford (POV, The American Documentary
on PBS) Caroline Graham (The Documentary Channel) Lois Vossen
(Independent Lens/ITVS) Richard Saiz (ITVS) Reva Goldberg (Cinereach
Foundation) Marshall Curry (Racing Dreams, If A Tree Falls)  Rebecca
Richman-Cohen (War Don Don, Code of The West) Beth Harrington
(Welcome To The Club: The Women of Rockabilly) Mike Woolf (A Man On A
Mission) Ben Fowlie (Camden International Film Festival), Doug Whyte
(The Hollywood Theater)  Jeanie Finlay (Goth Cruise, Sound It Out)
and Gita Saedi-Kiely (The New Americans).

Doc Shop passes - available for $50; good for all Doc Shop specific
events, workshops, pitch sessions, and discussions.  All-Access
Industry Passes - available for $275; good for all Doc Shop events,
festival screenings, festival parties, & special events.

For more Info contact Doc Shop Coordinator Noel Pederson


Noel Pederson
Doc Shop Coordinator
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
113 West Front Street, Suite 203
Missoula, MT 59802
(406) 541-FILM
February 17-26, 2012
This announcement is from the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, a project of the Big Sky Film Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

For a happy natural new year (Culture Change Newsletter)

For a happy natural new year
by Jan Lundberg  
23 December 2011

This report includes the 90 Percent Reduction guidelines for climate protection.

Seen on the streets of Santa Cruz while biking on the first day of the new solar year:
• A confused plum tree in nearly full flower, thanks to the unusually sunny and dry December.
• Three armed guards posted outside the Bank of America having a laid-back talk.
• Only two Occupiers at their card table outside the court house, where several dozen had held forth for two months.
• Too many cars for oil reality, mostly big ones, polluting around as usual.

What can we do about these situations? Most intelligent people don't want climate change, nor a corporate police state, nor a weak protest movement if they identify with it, and they don't enjoy the status quo of oil dependence and inefficient transportation. Are things out of our hands, such that we are forced to participate in this dysfunctional system as consumers? If we are instead living as independently as possible, do we see things still out of our hands?

Perhaps things are not out of our hands. Perhaps species extinctions and climate forcings are to be taken in stride as we move toward our goals of justice, natural living, and equitable social relationships. How we move forward, or do not, is a critical question when we do not all agree on tactics or on the vision for a sustainable society.

Taking action is the key to positive change. So we need to nurture this impulse, although it is far too weak to see us on through to victory. But victory of what? If action taken will be based on starving and fear, there is no victory for anyone but for narrow, short-term objectives.

When did you realize this is a slave society?

For the vast majority of us, it is so. We are forced to pay money to live on the Earth. If some of us happen to be able to afford it, this doesn't mean we're free. Some of us don't see today's prevalent slavery until personal experience wakes us up. I was raised by parents who for the most part did what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it, and creatively so. I took note of it, so I'm not so much the wage slave or helpless recipient of institutional assistance. What's more important than whether we are victims or successes in today's society, by far, is that not everyone lives in a slave society today. And until fairly recently, very few did. Those societies happen to be non-civilization cultures who were one with, or worshipped, Mother Nature.

The key to freedom and justice is not in reforming civilization -- this attempt has always failed. Civilizations collapse. Instead of finding freedom, justice and peace in today's society, we need to abandon this kind of approach and go back to nature in a big way. This sounds iffy or scary, but it's the only way to get out of a trap. If somehow the funny-money of hoarded digital wealth on Wall Street were seized and redistributed to one and all, we would all still be in the trap of unsustainability. This does not mean that a return to nature means we have no community or technology. But our values and priorities must change. If they do not, we will self-destruct and even accelerate taking down many more species.

To help us get to safety, the answer may lie in living in the moment -- i.e., heightened awareness of the present -- at least for ourselves individually for peace of mind and giving our best. The winter solstice is a time for significant reflection or meditation. The old year comes to a dark close, and renewal begins as the sun increases its presence daily. Somehow I've felt this more strongly this time around than ever before.

Part of our task for survival and building a better life for those we care about is to accept cycles of change, instead of always believing we can structure change and endlessly create. There is a time to take it easy. And that time may be now, more than usually during the natural year. Less can be more, in terms of stressful effort, even in fast-changing times when we need to respond so soundly to bring about positive change.

90 Percent Reduction

When ready to resume the details of framing the social change needed for climate protection, it's handy to have well thought out guidelines. If a 90% reduction in USAnians' greenhouse-gas-generating behavior sounds drastic, let's keep in mind that deep, sustained changes are called for by the vast majority of climate scientists. As far back as twenty years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said 80% of 1990 levels of greenhouse gases needed to be cut. Instead, they steadily rose, so 80% no longer cuts it.

The following fell into our hands via Albert Bates, who received it from his permaculture/bioregionalist associate Jenny Nazak. She recently circulated these guidelines in the "90 Percent Reduction" Yahoo Group internet list [some punctuation and formatting was added - ed]. Obviously, coming up with national averages doesn't mean that a person in a wet climate needs to conserve as much water as a desert dweller does. Nor does the desired 90% reduction in resource use mean that 40% or 85% reductions are unwelcome or pointless. Deep cuts in emissions mean lifestyle change as well as technological measures for greater efficiency.

    Here are the 7 categories:

    1. Gasoline. Average American usage is 500 gallons PER PERSON, PER YEAR. A 90 percent reduction would be 50 gallons PER PERSON, PER YEAR.

    No reduction in emissions for ethanol or biodiesel.
    Public transportation and Waste Veggie Oil Fuel are deemed to get 100 mpg, and should be calculated accordingly.

    2. Electricity. Average US usage is 11,000 kwh PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR, or about 900 kwh PER HOUSEHOLD PER MONTH. A 90% reduction would mean using 1,100 PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR or 90 kwh PER HOUSEHOLD PER MONTH.

    Solar Renewables are deemed to have a 50% payback - that is, you get twice as many watts.
    Hydro and Wind are deemed to have a 4 to 1 payback over other methods - you get 4 times as many.

    3. Heating and Cooking Energy. This is divided into 3 categories, gas, wood and oil. Your household probably uses one of these, and they are not interchangeable. If you use an electric stove or electric heat, this goes under electric usage.

    Natural Gas (this is used by the vast majority of US households as heating and cooking fuel). For this purpose, Propane will be calculated as the same as natural gas. Calculations in therms should be available from your gas provider.
    US Average Natural Gas usage is 1000 therms PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR. A 90% reduction would mean a reduction to 100 therms PER HOUSEHOLD PER YEAR.
    Heating Oil (this is used by only about 8% of all US households, mostly in the Northeast, including mine):
    Average US usage is 750 Gallons PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR. A 90% cut would mean using 75 gallons PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR. Biodiesel is calculated as equivalent.

    Wood. This is a tough one. The conventional line is that wood is carbon neutral, but, of course, wood that is harvested would have otherwise been absorbing carbon and providing forest. There are good reasons to be skeptical about this. So I've divided wood into two categories:

    (A) Locally and sustainably harvested, and either using deadwood, trees that had to come down anyway, coppiced or harvested by someone who replaces every lost tree. This is deemed carbon neutral, and you can use an unlimited supply. This would include street trees your town is taking down anyway, wood you cut on your property and replant, coppiced wood (that is, you cut down some part of the tree but leave it to grow), and standing and fallen deadwood. You can use as much of this as you like.
    (B) Wood not sustainably harvested, or transported long distances, or you don't know. One cord of this is equal to 15 gallons of oil or 20 therms of natural gas.

    4. Garbage. The average American generates about 4.5 lbs of garbage PER PERSON, PER DAY. A 90% reduction would mean .45 lbs of garbage PER PERSON, PER DAY.

    5. Water. The Average American uses 100 Gallons of water PER PERSON, PER DAY. A 90% reduction would mean 10 gallons PER PERSON, PER DAY.

    6. Consumer Goods. The best metric I could find for this is using money. A Professor at Syracuse University calculates that as an average, every consumer dollar we spend puts .5 lbs of carbon into the atmosphere. This isn't perfect, of course, but it averages out pretty well.

    The average American spends 10K PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR on consumer goods, not including things like mortgage, health care, debt service, car payments, etc. Obviously, we recommend you minimize those things to the extent you can, but what we're mostly talking about is things like gifts, toys, music, books, tools, household goods, cosmetics, toiletries, paper goods, etc. A 90% cut would be 1,000 dollars PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR.

    Used goods are deemed to have an energy cost of 10% of their actual purchase price. That is, if you buy a used sofa for $50, you just spent $5 of your allotment. The reason for this is that used goods bought from previous owners put money back into circulation that is then spent on new goods. This would apply to Craigslist, yardsales, etc. but not Goodwill and other charities, as noted below. This rule does not apply if you know that the item would otherwise be thrown out - that is, if someone says, ìIf you don't buy it, I'm going to toss it. Those items are unlimited as well, because they keep crap out of landfills.

    Goods that were donated are deemed to be unlimited, with no carbon cost. That is, you can spend all you want at Goodwill and the church rummage sale. Putting things back into use that would otherwise be tossed should be strongly encouraged.

    7. Food. This was by far the hardest thing to come up with a simple metric for. Using food miles, or price gives what I believe is a radically inaccurate way of thinking about this. So here's the best I can do. Food is divided into 3 categories:

    #1 is food you grow, or which is produced LOCALLY AND ORGANICALLY (or mostly - it doesn't have to be certified, but should be low input, because chemical fertilizers produce nitrous oxide which is a major greenhouse contributor). Local means within 100 miles to me. This includes all produce, grains, beans, and meats and dairy products that are mostly either GRASS-FED or produced with HOME GROWN OR LOCALLY GROWN, ORGANIC FEED. That is, chicken meat produced with GM [genetically modified] corn from IOWA in Florida is not local. A 90% reduction would involve this being AT LEAST 70% of your diet, year round. Ideally, it would be even more. I also include locally produced things like soap in this category, if most of the ingredients are local.

    #2 is DRY, BULK goods, transported from longer distances. That is, whole, unprocessed beans, grains, and small light things like tea, coffee, spices (fair trade and sustainably grown ONLY) (inevitably sail-transported if from the tropics - ed), or locally produced animal products partly raised on unprocessed but non-local grains, and locally produced wet products like oils. This is hard to calculate, because Americans spend very little on these things (except coffee) and whole grains dont constitute a large portion of the diet. These are comparatively low carbon to transport and produce. Purchased in bulk, with minimal packaging (beans in 50 lb paper sacks, pasta in bulk, tea loose, by the pound, rather than in little bags), this would also include things like recycled toilet paper, purchased garden seeds and other light, dry items. This should be no more than 25% of your total purchases.

    # 3 is Wet goods - conventionally grown meat, fruits, vegetables, juices, oils, milk etc. transported long distances, and processed foods like chips, soda, potatoes. Also regular shampoo, dish soap, etc. And that no one should buy more than 5% of their food in this form. Right now, the above makes up more than 50% of everyone's diet.

    Thus, if you purchase 20 food items in a week, youíd use 14 home or locally produced items, 5 bulk dry items, and only 1 processed or out of season item.

Albert Bates' comments : "I think to deal with the military-fascism complex it probably has to include 90% reduction of tax-paying too. That is entirely possible if you simplify and work locally, off the grid, for friends.

"I have quibbles about the wood calculation also, since I have always heated with wood and have done extensive research on the carbon math (a couple chapters are devoted to this in The Biochar Solution) but I can join the 90% group and and take my quibbles up there."

* * * * *

Take the Pledge for Climate Protection
Let the beautiful Earth provide
Here are 10 vital steps to slow global warming and climate destabilization. Some of these steps may be difficult at first, but all are fun, save money, and offer exercise and social opportunities.

US warplane sabotaged at Shannon airport

US warplane sabotaged at Shannon airport
Submitted by working class s... on Dec 28 2011 19:16

An anonymous group has subverted security at Shannon airport in Ireland, and damaged an American military aeroplane. They have issued a communique outlining their actions, which is reproduced here.

An unnamed group has claimed responsibility for subverting security at Shannon Airport, and damaging an American military warplane. The Irish police and airport authorities are baffled as to how the operation was carried out. Shannon Airport has a long history of military activity, and is used frequently by the US.

In the early hours of the 20th December, a DC-10 that was contracted to the US armed forces was targeted by activists. The hydraulics of the aircraft was damaged, and anti-war slogans had been sprayed across it.

No one had claimed responsibility for the attack, but an anonymous group has since done so, via a communique that was sent to the Galway Alliance against the War.

The communique is reproduced in full here, courtesy of the Workers Solidarity Movement.

“Direct action is no substitute for mass political action for peace; nevertheless it felt great in the early hours of last Tuesday morning cutting the hydraulics on all the landing gear of that US troop transport plane.”
"Why did we do it?

1) Irish democracy has been subverted on so many levels and no less so on the Irish neutrality front. Despite the overwhelming majority of Irish people supporting the concept of Irish neutrality successive Irish governments have become accessories to mass murder in Afghanistan and Iraq and they have been directly involved in torture through allowing Shannon airport to be turned into a US warport. Disgust at these developments led to us immobilising this US troop transporter.

2) It was also as a gesture of respect for the people like Malalai Joya of Afghanistan, who had called at a conference in Bonn for acts of solidarity with her country.

3) President Higgins in his inaugural speech offered to “champion” those who “make their own imaginative and practical contribution to the shaping of our shared future”. We look forward to Ireland’s new ‘dear leader’ championing our act of peace last Tuesday morning, 20th December 2011.

4) It was appropriate to carry out this peace action in Christmas week, when the media and politicians’ speeches the world over are full of hypocritical Christian cant about peace, while they support and even profit from wars in far off lands.

5) We will be criticised for jeopardising jobs in Shannon. But such jobs are created on the basis of killing innocent people in foreign lands. That is no basis for job creation. Our stand is the same as the stand taken by the men and women in Easter 1916 against imperialist war.”

The Peace Act of Sabotage: The Details
“There has been a virtual media blackout of our act of peace last Tuesday morning. But for the record here is what took place. “We were dropped off at a perimeter fence to Shannon’s warport. We quickly cut through that fence and were immediately confronted by four curious looking young cows. We bade them a good morning and went on our merry way to the second fence, which was easily breached, and into the warport proper. (By the way, rumours abound that Dr Doolittle has been called in by the Gardaí to interrogate these four innocent bystanders)

“It took a little while to get our bearings, but then we proceeded in the direction of the warport’s terminal, passing on the way a hangar where work on a passenger plane was being conducted. We regularly stopped to observe our surroundings to make sure we wouldn’t be caught.

“As we got closer to the warport terminal, we could see the shape of the plane parked out on a side runway. We approached it with caution, as we initially thought we could see people guarding it. That proved not to be the case. And although there was plenty of activity at the terminal, the area around the plane was completely deserted. Actually we all lay on the ground observing the plane and its surroundings before we decided to move in and carry out our act of sabotage.

“The only press report states we “vandalised” a plane. How can one “vandalise” a vandal? Because that is what this planes is. And it is owned by vandals, by mercenary airlines like Omni airlines, who profit from the US-led wars.

“Beforehand we agreed we would immobilise the hydraulics of all the landing gear: the metal tubes that run vertically along the shaft holding the wheels. Four sets of landing gear were sabotaged – three in the middle, one at the front. This was all pre-planned. While that peace work was being completed another peace activist sprayed the words: “PEACE – U.S. TROOPS OUT” on the side of the plane.

“We then made our retreat and were soon being ferried away from Shannon having completed a good morning’s work. We had consciously decided not to seek being arrested. It is our view that if we were to be arrested we would fight any case on the basis that our act of peace was justified. But we prefer not to have to go through the rigmarole of court cases, which would also be ignored by our very unfree press.
“Will we do it again? Perhaps. But we would honestly prefer if people would participate in public peace activities. Set up their own local peace group. Make contact with groups like the Galway Alliance Against War. Attend the vigil held the second Sunday of every month between 2-3pm at the roundabout at Shannon warport.

“Our sabotage we hope will be a bit of fillip to all those peace activists out there.
“Our first priority in this peace action was to prevent harm coming to anyone: preventing injury and death to the Afghani people by disrupting the flow of foreign soldiers into their country; preventing harm to the people working at Shannon warport and preventing harm to US troops by preventing the plane from transporting them to their deaths. These planes carry up to 300 armed US troops to the imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The act of peaceful sabotage we carried out was undoubtedly a symbolic gesture in the context that over 2,000,000 troops have travelled through Shannon on their way to war and we were only able to halt one plane. “But it was an expression of our disgust at the role of successive Irish Governments being accessories to both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to torture – Shannon warport is intrinsically linked to so-called extraordinary rendition. The leaders of Fianna Fail, the former Progressive Democrats, the Greens and now Fine Gael and the Labour Party have blood on their hands.

American military planes have been targeted at Shannon before. In 2003, Mary Kelly attacked a navy aeroplane at Shannon with an axe. Soon after, five activists attacked the same aeroplane. Following a long trial, they were all acquitted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Conspiracism and Violence

Conspiracism and Violence
Kjetil B. Simonsen
Image of bombing of government headquarters in Oslo July 22nd

Do the terrorist organization Al Qaeda and Anders Behring Breivik – the perpetrator behind the terrorist attack on the government headquarters in Oslo and the massacre at Utøya that killed 77 people on July 22nd 2011– have anything in common? At a first glance they seem to be very different. With the exception of their use of similar means – mass murder of civilians – their perception of reality and ideological motives appears highly divergent. The world view of Al Qaeda rests on a militant-fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, with a sting toward the Western world and a notion of a Jewish world power as an explanatory model for an imagined moral decline, growing disbelief and cultural decadence. Breivik, on the other hand, views himself as a soldier in the struggle against “multiculturalism” and “the Islamic influence.”

A more thorough analysis of the ideological universes of Al Qaeda and Breivik nevertheless reveals clear structural similarities between the two. One common denominator is their embrace of conspiracy myths. For both undesired developments and events are thought to be staged by a powerful group of conspirators who covertly operate to achieve their undermining and nihilistic objectives.
The Characteristics of Conspiracism

What characterizes conspiracy thinking, or conspiracism as it is often called in academic circles? In short, conspiracism can be defined as a way of talking about and understanding the world that has its basis in the notion that the key events in and the historical course of society are covertly and systematically directed by a group (or groups of) conspirators. Furthermore, these forces are thought to promote values and goals that are diametrically opposed to what the believers perceive as the “true” and righteous social and moral order.

According to historian Geoffrey Cubitt this mode of thinking consists of three overall features. They are dualistic , in the sense that they make a sharp division between “good” and "destructive” forces. They are intentionalist, in the sense that they portray negative events and developments as a result of systematically planned intrigues. And finally they are occultist, in the sense that they believe that social development is shaped behind the scenes, and that the “true power” is placed outside the public purview. As a fourth feature, it can be added that conspiracism is distinguished by the belief that nearly everything is connected. Non-related events and historical developments are tied together in absurd ways and ascribed to the same cause.

A good example of Al Qaeda’s conspiracism can be seen in the Letter to America that was published by British Islamists in 2002 and apparently authored by Osama Bin Laden. The letter listed a series of charges against American society and the U.S. government, and thereby sought to justify the terrorist attacks against the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11th 2001. The accusations dealt with everything from U.S. support to Israel and its remaining foreign policy, to the alleged immorality and decadence of American culture. All of these phenomenons were traced back to one common source – the Jews:

    You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now controls all aspects of your life […] Your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people, who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stands the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy.

Breivik and the Eurabia Myth

In the months following the terror attack on the government headquarters in Oslo and the cruel murders at Utøya on July 22nd 2011, much has been written and said about Anders Behring Breivik’s background, political bearings and ideological views. One thing is certain: the atrocities were not accidental. Although serious questions have been raised about Breivik's mental state – he was recently declared psychotic in a highly controversial report written by two officially appointed forensic psychiatrists – there is no doubt that his actions had ideological and political dimensions. Shortly before the bomb was discharged in Oslo, Breivik e-mailed a 1,500 page document entitled 2083 – European Declaration of Independence to more than a thousand recipients.

The document is a hotchpotch of the murderer’s own thoughts and texts authored by his own political idols – assembled by the cut and paste method. Still, as Norwegian journalist Øyvind Strømmen points out, the “manifesto” – together with Breivik’s posts on different websites – gives a clear picture of the murderer’s political views. Breivik was inspired by a so-called counter-jihadist internet community, where a grandiose conspiracy narrative centered on the fear of Islam and the multi-cultural society serves as an ideological basis. As Strømmen writes:

    This is a milieu that upholds an ideology that hardly can be called Neo-Nazism, but definitely can be called right-wing extremism. It is a milieu with ties to European Neo-Fascism. And it is a milieu where conspiracy theory reigns: Europe is becoming Arabia – islamized and arabized. This is a conscious policy, a policy to which central politicians, media persons and academics are complicit.

The conspiracy myth Strømmen refers to, as it runs like a red thread through Breivik’s document, is often called the Eurabia-theory. The concept of Eurabia was originally coined by Egyptian-born British writer Bat Ye’or (pseudonym for Giséle Littmann) in her book Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, which appeared in 2005. Ye’or’s conspiracy narrative is centered on The Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD), which she believes to have been created by an association of Arab and European politicians and bureaucrats. The aim of this supposed dialogue is to enslave the Western world under Islamic supremacy.

A whole Eurabia-genre has emerged in the years following the publication of Bat Ye’or’s book. Among the central adherents to this idea-complex are the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, author Bruce Bawer, Robert Spencer (who is behind the American blog Jihad Watch), and the Norwegian blogger Fjordman (pseudonym for Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen). It is especially Fjordman who emerges as Breivik’s great political idol. As many as 38 of the blogger’s articles are reproduced in their entirety in the “manifesto,” and the title A European Decleration of Independence also stems from one of his essays.
The Enemy Image

A quick look at Breivik’s compendium – both the sections the killer has written himself and the ones he has picked from his ideological comrades – emphatically demonstrates that conspiracy thinking is a basic component of the murderers world view. In Breivik’s thought universe all undesirable features of social development are “explained” as a planned and secret plot orchestrated by a Eurabian coalition. His way of thinking follows, in other words, Cubitt’s definition point-device – it is dualistic, intentionalist and occultist.

Select examples clearly render Breivik’s conspiracy narrative. Already in the initial chapter of the compendium, the history of the West from the 1950s until the present is described as a process of decay that has led to the disintegration of national and European values. Behind this disintegration is a collation of politicians and intellectuals influenced by “culture-Marxism,” as well as bureaucrats of the European Union (EU) and Islamic leaders. In one of Fjordman’s articles reproduced in the “manifesto,” the forces against native Europe are thus described as a three-headed internal and external enemy:

    I've suggested before that native Europeans face three enemies simultaneously when fighting against the Islamisation of their lands: Enemy 1 is the anti-Western bias of our media and academia, which is a common theme throughout the Western world. Enemy 2 are Eurabians and EU-federalists, who deliberately break down established nation states in favor of a pan-European superstate. Enemy 3 are Muslims.

Islamization and the introduction of multiculturalism – and the consequent destruction of European culture and traditions – is portrayed as planned and intended. For example a passage about the EU reads:

    The EU is deliberately destroying the cultural traditions of member states by flooding them with immigrants and eradicating native traditions. This is a gross violation of the rights of the indigenous peoples across an entire continent. Europe has some of the richest cultural traditions on the planet. To replace this with sharia barbarism is a crime against humanity. The European Union is currently the principal (though not the only) motor behind the Islamisation of Europe, perhaps the greatest betrayal in this civilisation’s history.

A couple of pages later it is asserted that the EU has camouflaged itself as a peace project, while the true purpose of the institution is war. In other words, the subversive forces are hiding their intentions:

    Proponents of the European Union claim that it is a “peace project”. But the EU is not about peace, it is about war: A demographic and cultural war waged against an entire continent, from the Black Sea to the North Sea, in order to destroy European nation states and build an empire run by self-appointed bureaucrats.

In line with classical conspiracy myths, Breivik also asserts that the Eurabia-coalition and its “culture-Marxist” marionettes control knowledge-production and the spread of information. In another instance, for example, Breivik claims that 95 % of all journalists, editors, and publishers – and 85 % of all Western politicians – support multiculturalism and the introduction of Islamic rule in Europe. Similar attacks on the academic establishment and mass media recurr throughout the entire document.
A Cry for War and Murder

The struggle between these destructive forces and the opponents of this conspiracy are consequently portrayed in a dualistic manner – as a battle and ongoing war. It is asserted that Islam has been behind a holy war against non-Muslims for 1,400 years and that this jihad has claimed 300 million lives. Furthermore, Western “cultural-Marxist” politicians and intellectuals are characterized as pro-Islamic traitors. In one of Fjordman’s articles included in the compendium, it is said that these collaborators should fear their future destiny:

    The political elites implement the agendas of our enemies and ignore the interests of their own people. They are collaborators and should be treated accordingly. The problem is that they currently feel quite comfortable and secure. They fear the reactions of Muslims, but despise their own people. They view us as sheep, existing only to provide them with champagne and nice cars and to be guinea pigs in their grandiose social experiments. Change will only come when they fear us, and the consequences of their own betrayal, more than they fear Muslims.

Breivik himself divides the followers and hangers-on of “culture-Marxism” into fours traitor-categories: A, B, C and D. “Category A-traitors” encompass the leadership in politics, culture, economy and the media. “Category B-traitors” consists of everyone from politicians from “multiculturalist” parties, via media persons, writers and several other groups of professionals, to central figures in the antifascist movement. According to Breivik, persons in these categories shall be punished by death. This constitutes the ideological rationalization of the killings at Utøya. During police questioning on July 25th, Breivik admitted to having committed mass murder but still refused guilt. According to the murderers’ opinion, the killings of future politicians in the Norwegian Labor Party was a necessary act, which would help deliver an indigenous war against multiculturalism and Islam. They were, in other words, an act of self-defense.
Conspiracism as Political Violence

So what then are the connections between conspiracy thinking and politically motivated acts of terror? Is the mythologic conspiratorial thought-universe, found in both Osama Bin Laden and Anders Behring Breivik, an accident? It must be pointed out that conspiracy thinking does not automatically lead to acts of violence and murder. In Eurabia-believing circles there has been demonstrated distancing from Breivik’s misdeeds, even though this has often been coupled with attempts to transfer part of the blame on to current immigration policies and the political establishment. Breivik’s motives also have to be found in non-ideological factors – among them his personal and social background, his personality, and in the radicalizing dynamic that often arises with hate-rhetoric on the internet.

It is out of the scope of this article to discuss Breivik's sanity or evaluate the report which was written by his forensic psychiatrists. Still, if Breivik is insane, it is important to point out that paranoia in a clinical sense does not necessarily contradict paranoia in a political sense. Rather it shows what fatal consequences there can be when the latter world view is adopted by the former type of individual.

Historically there is a close connection between conspiracy fantasies, terrorism, violence, and outright mass murder. The most well-known and discussed is the Nazi’s murder of the European Jews, which gained much of its ideological nutriment from the myth that the Jews represented a powerful and international conspiracy that threatened the way of life and existence of the “Germanic race.” But conspiracy thinking was also an integrated part of totalitarian, so-called Communist, states, such as the Soviet Union, the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge, and Hoxa’s Albania. Conspiratorial world-views have also been an underlying motive behind political violence and terrorist acts in recent times, even if we look away from Al Qaeda and Anders Behring Breivik. The perpetrators behind the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, which resulted in 168 deaths, were inspired precisely by the right-wing extremist Zionist Occupied Government mythology.

The danger of conspiracy thinking is that it replaces sober analysis of social and political problems with images of a powerful and diabolic enemy. They rest on a notion that everything that goes wrong in the world can be ascribed to evil intrigues, rather than social structures and historical circumstances.

In their absolute consequences, conspiracy fantasies are therefore hate ideologies. They foster the demonization of a group of people – Jews, Freemasons, Catholics, Muslims, or “Culture-Marxists” – who are perceived to break down the "desired" social and political order. Furthermore, conspiracy myths nearly always contain a strong crisis-consciousness in the form of the belief that the world – at least how it should be – is at the edge of a cliff. According to such a perspective even the most despicable acts, such as terrorism and genocide, can be justified as a “self-defense” against “evil” and “disintegrating” forces.

At the same time, conspiracy myths often appear attractive by offering a (false) compass in a complex world that is rapidly changing. On the one hand they create artificial connections between complex developments and events, and on the other they give the driving forces behind what is feared and unexpected a face. This is why a real danger exists that conspiracy myths can re-flourish on a mass-scale, especially in times of crisis. This is exactly why we must demonstrate a crystal-clear distance from such misconceptions.