French writer under fire over Breivik views

A respected French writer and editor has sparked controversy for his comments on Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, whom he described as "without doubt what Norway deserves".

French writer under fire over Breivik views
Richard Millet at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in 2010 (Photo: DLSDPM).

Richard Millet, who says he has read all 1,500 pages of Breivik's online manifesto in which the Norwegian lays out his world view, insists that he does not approve of the gunman's crimes.

However, Millet praised Breivik's writing and cry of hatred for social democracy, immigration and multi-culturalism.

"Breivik is without doubt what Norway deserves," wrote Millet in an 18-page pamphlet.

He is "as much a child of a broken family as of an ideological and racial fracture caused by immigration from outside Europe over the last 20 years," added Millet, who has edited several award-winning books in France.

His writing about Breivik has sparked consternation in the literary circles, with one author Annie Ernaux calling the text "a politically dangerous act".

Another author Tahar Ben Jelloun said: "He has lost his head."

Others were less critical.

"He is still my editor," said Alexis Jenni. "I don't want to take any public position on the subject. Millet believes only in literature.

"He is someone who writes marvellously well. His questionable ideas do not reduce his literary qualities," he argued.

Breivik was last week sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing 77 people in a bomb attack and deadly shooting rampage that shook Norway.

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Police turn to France, Facebook in Norway gunman probe

Norwegian police have requested assistance from France and Facebook to cast light on the personality of the man who killed 77 people in twin attacks last July, the police prosecutor in charge of the probe said Tuesday.

Nearly seven months after 33-year-old right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik carried out the attacks on July 22nd, investigators have yet to interrogate the confessed killer’s father Jens Breivik, a retired diplomat living in southern France.

“We have sent a request for judicial assistance, and we hope we will be able to question him before the trial begins” on April 16th, Paal-Fredrik Hjort

Kraby told AFP in a telephone interview.

“He does not want to come to Norway, nor to go to the Norwegian embassy or consulate where we could interrogate him, and we have therefore asked French authorities to help us,” he said.

Norwegian police would like their French counterparts to question the retired diplomat, who is in his 70s, in their presence.

“The father has not seen the suspect for years,” Hjort Kraby noted. “He has not lived with him since he was one year old, and he is therefore peripheral but still important for understanding (Behring Breivik’s) personality.” Norwegian investigators have also asked Facebook to provide them with information about accounts opened by Behring Breivik that have since been closed.

“They are usually very restrictive when it comes to providing this kind of information and they only do so in rare cases. But we have received signals that they want to help us,” Hjort Kraby said.

“In this case too, the aim is to map the contacts he has had, who he has talked with and who were his friends,” he added.

According to police, Behring Breivik, who has claimed to be on a “crusade” against multi-culturalism and the “Muslim invasion” of Europe, most likely planned and carried out the deadly attacks on his own.

On July 22nd, he set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people, before going to the nearby Utoya island and, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teens attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing.