Norway's PM says open society must be preserved

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg says his country must remain committed to an open and democratic society following last week's deadly attacks.

Names of those killed begin to be released

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg talks about how his country will recover from last week's twin attacks 5:24

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg says his country must remain committed to an open and democratic society following last week's deadly attacks in downtown Oslo and at an island youth camp.

The prime minister said he felt the assaults were an attack on "the Norwegian model, the Norwegian democracy, our political system."

Stoltenberg's office building was the target of Friday's bomb blast in Oslo, and it was his Labour Party's youth wing that came under attack in a shooting rampage that claimed dozens of lives.

Still, the prime minister said Norwegians are adamant that their country must remain an open society and that any new security measures will need to be balanced against that need.

"We still believe in that it should be, in a way, easy to access politicians," he told CBC News.

"So, in Norway, it's less security than in many other countries. But, of course, after such a terrible violence that we have seen on Friday, we will have to go through how we organize security."

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg says he is focused on supporting people who lost loved ones in last week's deadly attacks in downtown Oslo and Utoya Island. (Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters)

Stoltenberg said he was glad to see a "strong message from the whole of Norway that we don't give up for violence" after the attacks.

"There's been a very strong answer of more democracy, more openness and not less," he said.

The prime minister said he had visited the island targeted in the attack "every summer since 1974," and that he knew many of the people who were killed.

"Of course, this is close to me," he said, adding that he is concentrating his efforts on supporting those who lost loved ones.

Police defend response

Stoltenberg would not comment on the investigation or the possibility of another attack, though he noted that there would come a time to look into how police responded to the violence.

It took officers 90 minutes to get to Utoya Island after the shootings began.

The prime minister said he doesn't want to jump to conclusions, however, noting that it's too early to judge what went right or wrong with security.

"Now is the time for comforting, helping those who lost their loved ones," he said. "Then, later on will come a time for going through what happened."

Police in Oslo defended their actions again Tuesday, saying they responded to the attacks as quickly as they could under the circumstances.

Oslo police chief of staff Johan Fredriksen said they didn't know how they could have responded any faster.

"I don't see how that would be possible with the distance and with these conditions. We always try to be better, but I don't see how we could have done this faster."

Questions have been raised regarding a police helicopter that could not be deployed because the entire crew was on vacation. But police on Tuesday said the helicopter is mainly used for observation and documentation.

There have also been reports that victims who called emergency services from the midst of the island massacre reported being told to stay off the line because authorities were dealing with the Oslo bombing.

Justice Minister Knut Storberget has also defended police.

"I feel the police have delivered well in this situation. I also feel they've delivered especially well on the points where there's been criticism raised," said Storberget.

When asked if police would open an investigation into their conduct, Storberget indicated that such a probe was for the future.

"It's very important that we have an open and critical discussion about how all sections of society handle a situation.… But there's a time for everything, and we have been fully focused and continue to be focused on taking care of all those that have been affected," said Storberget.

Police said it has been difficult to investigate the attacks because of the number of fatalities spread across a large area, and because people were killed on Utoya Island itself and in the water.

Also on Tuesday, the justice minister said employees from his department are still missing after the attack on government headquarters.

Police start releasing names of victims

Also Tuesday, Norwegian police started releasing the names of the 76 victims killed in last week's twin attacks in the Oslo area.

A police spokesman said Tuesday the names, ages and addresses of the victims would be posted on the national police website starting at 6 p.m. local time (noon ET), after the victims' families had been informed.

Lawyer explains motivation

Geir Lippestad said he doesn't know why his client chose him. Lippestad once worked in the same building as Anders Breivik, and Norwegian media have reported that he has defended neo-Nazis.

"My first reaction was of course that this is too difficult, but when I sat down with my family and friends and colleagues, we talked it through and we said that today it's time to think about democracy," Lippestad said.

He added: "Someone has to do this job. The police has to do their job and the judges do their job.

"My job is not to be his friend," he said. "He will get a fair trial; that's my job to secure."

The first release of names listed three who were killed in a bomb blast in Oslo's government quarter and one killed at the island youth camp. They were Gunnar Linaker, 23, from Bardu in northern Norway, killed at the camp; and Oslo residents Tove Aashill Knutsen, 56; Hanna M. Orvik Endresen, 61; and Kai Hauge, 33.

Linaker's father told The Associated Press by telephone that Gunnar was "a calm, big teddy bear with lots of humour and lots of love."

His voice weak and trembling, Linaker said he had been on the phone with his son concerning another matter when the shooting started.

"He said to me: 'Dad, Dad, someone is shooting,' and then he hung up." 

Meanwhile, the defence lawyer for the man who has confessed to conducting the massacre said Tuesday his client is probably insane.

"The whole case has indicated he's insane," Lippestad told reporters Tuesday in Oslo.

Anders Breivik, 32, will undergo medical testing to determine his state of mind, and Lippestad said it was too early to determine whether an insanity plea would be part of his defence.

Police take Anders Behring Breivik, left, from court following his hearing in Oslo on Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to Norway's deadliest attack since the Second World War. (Aftenposten/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Associated Press)

The lawyer said Breivik believes the attacks were necessary because he's in a state of war.

Lippestad also said Breivik claims to be part of an organization with several cells in Western countries.

Lippestad said Breivik talked about "two cells in Norway but several cells abroad."

Janne Kristiansen, Norway's director of national security police, told CBC News that police are looking into Breivik's claim.

"We don’t have any indication, or any evidence of more cells than this, but this is our main focus, and we have to try and find out 100 per cent whether it is or not," she said Tuesday.

Although Breivik confessed to last Friday's bombing and the mass shootings at the island retreat, on Monday he pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges, alleging he was just trying to save Europe from "Muslim colonization."

Asked whether his client showed any empathy for the victims, Lippestad said, "He says he's sorry that he had to do this but it was necessary to start a revolution in the Western world."

'Very cold person'

Lippestad also said that Breivik asked him how many people he had killed. He described his client as a "very cold person."

Lippestad also confirmed that he is a member of the Labour Party, the apparent target of his client, but he didn't know whether Breivik knew his political affiliation.

Lippestad said Breivik had expected he would be stopped earlier by the police and was surprised he was able to reach the island.

Police also said that Breivik was unemployed for the past year and had been living at his farm, planning the attacks. They said Breivik had previously worked in sales.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper pauses before signing a book of condolence for the victims of the recent attacks in Norway at the Norwegian embassy in Ottawa on Tuesday. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

The comments by Storberget came a day after Breivik made his first court appearance. That hearing was held behind closed doors over concerns Breivik client could send signals to other cells, Lippestad said.

Breivik will be held for at least the next eight weeks and will be placed in  isolation — unable to receive letters or visitors except his lawyer — for the first four.

Eight people were killed in Friday's bombing outside a government building in the capital, while 68 were killed in the attack hours later at a youth camp on the island near Oslo.

Meanwhile in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Norwegian Embassy to offer his personal condolences and sign a book of remembrance. "

I want to express my deepest sympathies to all in Norway who have lost loved ones so senselessly," the prime minister wrote. "We share in your grief and your vulnerability. Please know that the free and open society that is Norway will always have a friend in Canada."

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With files from CBC's Nahlah Ayed, Tom Parry and The Associated Press