Anders Behring Breivik
|Anders Behring Breivik|
13 February 1979 |
|Criminal penalty||21 years' preventive detention|
|Date||22 July 2011
|Location(s)||Oslo and Utøya, Norway|
|Target(s)||Norwegian Labour Party|
|Weapons||ANFO van bomb
Ruger Mini-14 carbine
Glock 34 pistol
Anders Behring Breivik (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɑnːəʂ ˈbeːrɪŋ ˈbrɛiviːk]; born 13 February 1979) is a Norwegian far-right terrorist and the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks. On 22 July 2011, he killed eight people by setting off a van bomb amid the Government quarter Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo, then shot dead 69 participants of a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utøya. In August 2012, he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.
On the day of the attacks, Breivik electronically distributed a compendium of texts entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, describing his far-right militant ideology. In them, he lays out a worldview encompassing Islamophobia and opposition to feminism. The texts call Islam and Cultural Marxism the enemy, argue for the violent annihilation of Eurabia and multiculturalism and advocate deportation of all Muslims from Europe based on the model of the Beneš decrees. Breivik wrote that his main motive for the atrocities was to market his manifesto. Breivik has later identified himself as a fascist and a national socialist, stating that he previously exploited counterjihadist rhetoric in order to protect "ethno-nationalists". He also states that he has never personally identified as a Christian, and calls his religion Odinism.
Two teams of court-appointed forensic psychiatrists examined Breivik before his trial. The first report diagnosed Breivik as having paranoid schizophrenia. A second psychiatric evaluation was commissioned following widespread criticism of the first. The second evaluation was published a week before the trial; it concluded that Breivik was not psychotic during the attacks nor during the evaluation. He was instead diagnosed as having narcissistic personality disorder. His trial began on 16 April 2012, with closing arguments made on 22 June 2012.
On 24 August 2012, the Oslo District Court issued findings that Breivik was sane, and guilty of murdering 77 people. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, in a form of preventive detention that required a minimum of 10 years incarceration and the possibility of an extension of that incarceration for as long as he is deemed a danger to society. This is the maximum penalty in Norway; he will likely remain in prison for the remainder of his life. Breivik announced that he did not recognize the legitimacy of the court, and therefore did not accept its decision; he claims he "cannot" appeal because this would legitimize the authority of the Oslo District Court.
- 1 Biography
- 2 2011 terror attacks
- 3 Arrest and preparations for trial
- 4 Criminal trial
- 5 Prison life
- 6 Writings and video
- 7 Religious and political views
- 8 Links to organizations
- 9 Writing influences
- 10 Notable related books
- 11 In popular culture
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Breivik was born in Oslo on 13 February 1979, the son of Wenche Behring (1946–2013), a nurse, and Jens David Breivik (born 1935), a civil economist, who worked as a diplomat for the Norwegian Embassy in London and later Paris. He spent the first year of his life in London until his parents divorced when he was a year old. His father, who later married a diplomat, fought for his custody but failed. When Breivik was four, living in Fritzners gate, Oslo, two reports were filed expressing concern about his mental health, concluding that Anders ought to be removed from parental care. One psychologist in one of the reports made a note of the boy's peculiar smile, suggesting it was not anchored in his emotions but was rather a deliberate response to his environment. In another report by psychologists from Norway's centre for child and youth psychiatry (SSBU) concerns were raised about how his mother treated him: "She 'sexualised' the young Breivik, hit him, and frequently told him that she wished that he were dead." In the report Wenche Behring is described as "a woman with an extremely difficult upbringing, borderline personality structure and an all-encompassing if only partially visible depression" who "projects her primitive aggressive and sexual fantasies onto him [Breivik]". The psychologist who wrote the report was later forbidden from giving evidence in court by Behring, who herself was excused from testifying on health grounds.
Breivik lived with his mother and his half sister in the West End of Oslo and regularly visited his father and stepmother in France, until they divorced when he was 12. His mother also remarried, to an officer in the Norwegian Army. His family name is Breivik, while Behring, his mother's maiden name, is his middle name and not part of the family name. His family name comes from Breivika in Hadsel, and literally means "broad vik".
Anders Breivik has criticised both of his parents for supporting the policies of the Norwegian Labour Party, and his mother for being, in his opinion, a moderate feminist. He wrote about his upbringing: "I do not approve of the super-liberal, matriarchal upbringing as it completely lacked discipline and has contributed to feminising me to a certain degree."
When he reached adolescence Breivik's behaviour was described as having become rebellious. In his early teen years he was a prolific graffiti artist, part of the hip hop community in Oslo West. He took his graffiti much more seriously than his comrades and was caught by the police on several occasions; Child Welfare Services were notified once and he was fined on two occasions. According to Breivik's mother, after he was caught spraying graffiti on walls in 1995, at the age of 16, and fined, his father stopped contact with him. They have not been in contact since then. The opposite view is claimed by Breivik's father, that it was his son who broke off contact with him and that he would always have welcomed Anders despite his destructive activities. At this age he also broke off contact with the hip hop community after he fell out with his best friend.
Breivik attended Smestad Grammar School, Ris Junior High, Hartvig Nissens Upper Secondary School and Oslo Commerce School (1995–98). A former classmate has recalled that he was an intelligent student, physically stronger than others of the same age, who often took care of people who were bullied.
Since adolescence, Breivik had spent much time on weight training, and started using anabolic steroids. He cared a lot about his own looks and about appearing big and strong. In his early twenties he underwent cosmetic surgery, according to friends, in the chin, nose and forehead, and was very satisfied with the result.
Breivik was exempt from conscription to military service in the Norwegian Army and has no military training. The Norwegian Defence Security Department, which conducts the vetting process, say he was deemed "unfit for service" at the mandatory conscript assessment.
After the age of 21 Breivik was in the customer service department of an unnamed company, working with "people from all countries" and being "kind to everyone". A former co-worker described him as an "exceptional colleague", and a close friend of his stated that he usually had a big ego and would be easily irritated by those of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin.
Planning terror attacks
Breivik claims that in 2002 (at the age of 23) he started a nine-year-plan to finance the 2011 attacks, founding his own computer programming business while working at the customer service company. He claims that his company grew to six employees and "several offshore bank accounts", and that he made his first million kroner at the age of 24. The company was later declared bankrupt and Breivik was reported for several breaches of the law. He then moved back to his mother's home, according to himself to save money. The first set of psychiatrists who evaluated him said in their report his mental health deteriorated at this stage and he went into a state of withdrawal and isolation. His declared assets in 2007 were about NOK 630,000. (US$116,410), according to Norwegian tax authority figures. He claims that by 2008 he had about NOK 2,000,000 (US$369,556) and nine credit cards giving him access to €26,000 in credit.
Also in 2009 he visited Prague in an attempt to buy illegal weapons. He was unable to obtain a weapon there, and decided to get weapons through legal channels in Norway instead. He bought one semi-automatic 9 mm Glock 17 pistol legally by demonstrating his membership in a pistol club in the police application for a gun licence, and the semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 rifle by possessing a hunting licence. Breivik's manifesto included writings detailing how he played video games such as World of Warcraft to relax, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for "training-simulation". He told a court in April 2012 that he trained for shooting using a holographic device while playing Call of Duty. He claimed it helped him gain target acquisition.
Breivik had no declared income in 2009 and his assets amounted to 390,000 kroner ($72,063), according to Norwegian tax authority figures. He states that in January 2010 his funds were "depleting gradually". On 23 June 2011, a month before the attacks, he paid the outstanding amount on his nine credit cards so he could have access to funds during his preparations.
In late June or early July 2011, he moved to a rural area south of Åsta in Åmot, Hedmark county, about 140 km (87 mi) north-east of Oslo, the site of his farm. As he admits in his manifesto he used the company as a cover to legally obtain large amounts of artificial fertiliser and other chemicals for the manufacturing of explosives. A farming supplier sold Breivik's company six tonnes of fertiliser in May. The newspaper Verdens Gang reported that after Breivik bought a small quantity of an explosive primer from an online shop in Poland, his name was among 60 passed to the Police Security Service (PST) by the Norwegian Customs Service as having used the store to buy products. Speaking to the newspaper, Jon Fitje of PST said the information they found gave no indication of anything suspicious. He sets the cost of the preparations for the attacks at €317,000 – "130,000 out of pocket and 187,500 euros in lost revenue over three years." [sic]
Breivik's farmer neighbour described him as looking like a "city dweller, who wore expensive shirts and who knew nothing about rural ways". Breivik had also covered up the windows of his house. The owner of a local bar, who once worked as a profiler of passengers' body language at Oslo airport, said there was nothing unusual about Breivik, who was an occasional customer at the bar.
2011 terror attacks
On 22 July 2011, Breivik bombed government buildings in Oslo, which resulted in eight deaths.
Within a few hours of the explosion he arrived at Utøya island, the site of a Norwegian Labour Party youth camp, posing as a police officer in order to take the ferry to the island, and then opened fire on the unarmed adolescents present, killing 69. The youngest victim was Sharidyn Svebakk-Bøhn of Drammen, who was 14 years old. Another victim was Trond Berntsen, the step-brother of Crown Princess Mette-Marit (the son of Princess Mette-Marit's late stepfather).
Breivik confessed and stated that the purpose of the attack was to save Norway and Western Europe from a Muslim takeover, and that the Labour Party had to "pay the price" for "letting down Norway and the Norwegian people."
When an armed police SWAT unit from Oslo arrived on the island and confronted him, he surrendered without resistance. After his arrest, he was held by armed police on the island, and interrogated throughout the night, before being moved to a holding cell in Oslo. On the way to his first jail meeting, Breivik's police escort was met with an angry crowd, some of whom shouted "burn in hell" or "traitor", while others used stronger words.
Arrest and preparations for trial
On 25 July 2011, Breivik was charged with violating paragraph 147a of the Norwegian criminal code, "destabilising or destroying basic functions of society" and "creating serious fear in the population", both of which are acts of terrorism under Norwegian law. He was ordered held for eight weeks, the first four in solitary confinement, pending further court proceedings. The custody was extended in subsequent hearings. The indictment was ready in early March 2012. The Director of Public Prosecutions had initially decided to censor the document to the public, leaving out the names of the victims as well as details about their deaths. Due to the reactions, this decision was reversed shortly prior to its release. On 30 March, the Borgarting Court of Appeal announced that it had scheduled the expected appeal case for 15 January 2013. It would have been conducted in the same specially constructed court room where the initial criminal case was tried.
Breivik has been kept at Ila Prison since his arrest. There, he has at his disposal three prison cells: one where he can rest, sleep, and watch DVD movies or television, a second that is set up for him to use a PC without Internet connection, and a third with gym equipment that he can use. Only selected prison staff with special qualifications are allowed to work around him, and the prison management aims to not let his presence as a high-security prisoner affect any of the other inmates. Subsequent to the January 2012 lifting of letters and visitors censorship for Breivik, he received several inquiries from private individuals, and he devoted his time to writing back to like-minded people. According to one of his attorneys, Breivik was curious to learn whether his manifesto has begun to take root in society. Breivik's attorneys, in consultation with Breivik, considered whether to have some of his interlocutors called as witnesses during the trial. Several media, both Norwegian and international, have requested interviews with Breivik. The first such was cancelled by the prison administration following a background check of the journalist in question. A second interview was agreed to by Breivik, and the prison requested a background check to be done by the police in the country where the journalist is from. No information has been given about the media organisations in question.
Breivik underwent his first examination by court-appointed forensic psychiatrists in 2011. The psychiatrists diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia, concluding that he had developed the disorder over time and was psychotic both when he carried out the attacks and during the observation. He was also diagnosed with abuse of non-dependence-producing substances antecedent of 22 July. The psychiatrists consequently found Breivik to be criminally insane.
According to the report, Breivik displayed inappropriate and blunted affect and a severe lack of empathy. He spoke incoherently in neologisms and had acted compulsively based on a universe of bizarre, grandiose and delusional thoughts. Breivik alluded to himself as the future regent of Norway, master of life and death, while calling himself "inordinately loving" and "Europe's most perfect knight since WWII". He was convinced that he was a warrior in a "low intensity civil war" and had been chosen to save his people. Breivik described plans to carry out further "executions of categories A, B and C traitors" by the thousands, the psychiatrists included, and to organise Norwegians in reservations for the purpose of selective breeding. Breivik believed himself to be the "knight Justiciar grand master" of a Templar organisation. He was deemed to be suicidal and homicidal by the psychiatrists.
According to his defence attorney, Breivik initially expressed surprise and felt insulted by the conclusions in the report. He later stated that "this provides new opportunities".
The outcome of Breivik's first competency evaluation was fiercely debated in Norway by mental health experts, over the court-appointed psychiatrists' opinion and the country's definition of criminal insanity. An extended panel of experts from the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine reviewed the submitted report and approved it "with no significant remarks". News in the meantime emerged that the psychiatric medical staff in charge of treating prisoners at Ila Detention and Security Prison did not make any observations that suggested he suffered from either psychosis, depression or was suicidal. According to senior psychiatrist Randi Rosenqvist, who was commissioned by the prison to examine Breivik, he rather appeared to have personality disorders. Counsels representing families and victims filed requests that the court order a second opinion, while the prosecuting authority and Breivik's lawyer initially did not want new experts to be appointed. On 13 January 2012, after much public pressure, the Oslo District Court ordered a second expert panel to evaluate Breivik's mental state. He initially refused to cooperate with new psychiatrists. He later changed his mind and in late February a new period of psychiatric observation, this time using different methods than the first period, was begun.
If the original diagnosis had been upheld by the court, it would have meant that Anders Behring Breivik could not be sentenced to prison. The prosecution could instead have requested that he be detained in a psychiatric hospital. Medical advice would then have determined whether or not the courts decided to release him at some later point. If considered a perpetual danger to society, Breivik could have been kept in confinement for life. Shortly after the second period of psychiatric observation prior to the trial was begun, the prosecution stated that they expected that Breivik would be declared legally insane. On 10 April 2012, the second psychiatric evaluation was published with the conclusion that Breivik was not psychotic during the attacks and he was not psychotic during their evaluation. Instead, they diagnosed antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Breivik expressed hope at being declared sane in a letter sent to several Norwegian newspapers shortly before his trial, writing about the prospect of being sent to a psychiatric ward he stated: "I must admit this is the worst thing that could have happened to me as it is the ultimate humiliation. To send a political activist to a mental hospital is more sadistic and evil than to kill him! It is a fate worse than death."
On 8 June 2012, Professor of Psychiatry Ulrik Fredrik Malt testified in court as an expert witness, stating that he found it unlikely that Breivik was schizophrenic. According to Malt, Breivik primarily suffered from Asperger syndrome, Tourette syndrome, narcissistic personality disorder and possibly paranoid psychosis. Malt cited a number of factors in support of his diagnoses, including deviant behaviour as a child, extreme specialization in Breivik's study of weapons and bomb technology, strange facial expression, a remarkable way of talking, and an obsession with numbers. Eirik Johannesen disagreed, concluding that Breivik was lying and was not delusional or psychotic. Johannesen had observed and spoken to Breivik for more than 20 hours.
The criminal trial of Breivik began on 16 April 2012 in Oslo Courthouse under the jurisdiction of Oslo District Court. The appointed prosecutors were Inga Bejer Engh and Svein Holden with Geir Lippestad serving as Breivik's lead counsel for the defence. Closing arguments were held on 22 June.
On 24 August 2012 Breivik was adjudged sane and sentenced to containment—a special form of a prison sentence that can be extended indefinitely—with a time frame of 21 years and a minimum time of 10 years, the maximum penalty in Norway. Breivik's lead counsel Geir Lippestad confirmed that his client would not appeal against the sentence.
The court stated that "many people share Breivik's conspiracy theory, including the Eurabia theory. The court finds that very few people, however, share Breivik's idea that the alleged 'Islamisation' should be fought with terror."
On 23 July 2012, Breivik was transferred to Skien Prison, a maximum security prison 20 miles north of Oslo. The transfer was unannounced to the public and unknown to Breivik himself due to refurbishment work at Ila Prison where Breivik was to serve out his prison sentence under psychiatric care due to inadequate security at Norwegian psychiatric hospitals. He was incarcerated at Skien for approximately ten weeks.
Breivik had received almost 600 letters during his time both in Skien and in Ila Prison as of 26 July 2011[update]. While in pre-trial detention, he had been allowed access to a computer without Internet connection. Following his trial, the computer was taken away, and was replaced with an electric typewriter. All correspondence from Breivik therefore must be sent on paper, and the prison authorities monitor the content. The newspaper Verdens Gang reported on 26 July 2012 that Breivik planned to set up an organisation he called the Conservative Revolutionary Movement which he envisioned consisting of around 50 right-wing activists in Europe, as well as an organization for imprisoned right-wing activists. The newspaper writes that Breivik has written to, among others, Peter Mangs and Beate Zschäpe. Since the trial he has spent 8–10 hours per day writing. He has said that he wants to write three books: the first being his own account of the events on the day of the attacks, the second discussing the ideology underlying his actions, and a third on his visions for the future. He has also stated that he wants to study political science during his prison sojourn.
Politicians from several Norwegian parties have protested Breivik's activities in prison, which they see as him continuing to espouse his ideology and possibly encouraging further criminal acts. The prison authorities have queried the Ministry of Justice on whether these activities, which Breivik terms as network building, can be perceived in the context of the terrorist acts he has committed and have received an affirmative reply from the ministry. This would mean that letters from Breivik may be confiscated. The clause which authorises such measures contains the wording, "... if the package contains information on planning or execution of punishable offense, evasion of the execution or acts which will disturb peace, order, and security".
In November 2012, Breivik wrote a 27-page letter of complaint to the prison authorities about the security restrictions he was being held under, claiming that the prison director personally wanted to punish him. Among his complaints were that his cell is not adequately heated and he has to wear three layers of clothing to stay warm, guards interfere with his strictly-planned daily schedule, his cell is poorly decorated and has no view, his reading lamp is inadequate, guards supervise him while he is brushing his teeth and shaving and put indirect mental pressure on him to finish quickly by tapping their feet while waiting, he is not given candy and is served cold coffee, and he is strip-searched daily, sometimes by female guards. He has described his prison conditions as a "mini Abu Ghraib." Authorities only lifted one minor restriction against Breivik; his rubber safety pen, which he described as an "almost indescribable manifestation of sadism," was replaced with an ordinary pen. Breivik sent a list of 12 demands to prison authorities in November, including easier communication with the outside world and a PlayStation 3 to replace the PlayStation 2 in his cell, because the PlayStation 3 offers more suitable games. In February 2014, Breivik sent a letter to the Associated Press, in which he listed the 12 demands he had sent to prison authorities in November, and announced that he was going on hunger strike and would starve himself to death if the demands were not met. In the letter, he described the present conditions of his confinement as “torture.”
On 23 March 2013, Breivik's mother Wenche Behring Breivik died from complications from cancer. On the same day media said that mother and son "took farewell during a meeting at Ila last week. Breivik was permitted to move himself out of the cage in the visit room—to give his mother a farewell hug (avskjedsklem)". Breivik had asked for permission by the prison officials to attend his mother's funeral service; the request was rejected.
It was reported in November 2014 that Breivik is moved back and forth between the Ila and Skien prisons. The reason is to relieve the guards from the difficult stress of dealing with a "manipulative" convicted terrorist. Breivik continues to receive (and reply to) large amounts of fan mail from admirers around the world.
In September 2015, Breivik threatened a hunger strike, because of deteriorating prison conditions, but delayed in order to sue the Norwegian Government over prison conditions. His lawyer said: “We believe that his rights are being violated. He is isolated from the other inmates, from other people, and only has contact with health care workers and guards".
Writings and video
Janne Kristiansen, Chief of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), has stated that Breivik "deliberately desisted from violent exhortations on the net [and] has more or less been a moderate, and has neither been part of any extremist network." He is reported to have written many posts on the Islam-critical website document.no. He also attended a meeting of "Documents venner" (Friends of Document), affiliated with the website, in late 2009. Due to the media attention on his Internet activity following the 2011 attacks, document.no compiled a complete list of comments made by Breivik on its website between September 2009 and June 2010.
On 25 July 2011 British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a review of Britain's security following the attacks. The English Defence League issued a statement on 24 July 2011 condemning the attacks, saying that "No form of terrorism can ever be justified and the taking of innocent lives can never be justified". Some editorialists criticised the EDL and other anti-Muslim groups in this context. The Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv writes that Breivik sought to start a Norwegian version of the Tea Party movement in cooperation with the owners of document.no, but that they, after expressing initial interest, turned down his proposal because he did not have the contacts he promised. He also expressed his admiration of the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, finding him "a fair and resolute leader worthy of respect", though he was "unsure at this point whether he has the potential to be our best friend or our worst enemy." Putin's spokesman Dmitri Peskov has denounced Breivik's actions as the "delirium of a madman".
Six hours before the attacks, Breivik posted a picture of himself as a Knight Templar officer in a uniform festooned with a gold aiguillette and multiple medals he had not been awarded. In the video he put an animation depicting Islam as a trojan horse in Europe. Analysts describe it as promoting physical violence towards Muslims and Marxists who reside in Europe.
Breivik has prepared a document titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, which is 1,518 pages long and bears the name "Andrew Berwick". Breivik admitted in court that it was mostly other people's writings he had copy pasted from different websites. The file was e-mailed to 1,003 addresses about 90 minutes before the bomb blast in Oslo. The document describes two years of preparation of unspecified attacks, supposedly planned for late 2011, involving a rented Volkswagen Crafter van (small enough not to require a truck driving licence) loaded with 1,160 kilograms (2,560 lb) of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil explosive (ANFO), a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle, a Glock 34 pistol, personal armour including a shield, caltrops, and police insignias. It also reports that Breivik spent thousands of hours gathering email addresses from Facebook for distribution of the document, and that he rented a farm as a cover for a fake farming company buying fertilizer (3 tons for producing explosives and 3 tons of a harmless kind to avoid suspicion) and as a lab. It describes burying a crate with the armour in the woods in July 2010, collecting it on 4 July 2011, and abandoning his plan to replace it with survival gear because he did not have a second pistol. It also expresses support for far-right groups such as the English Defence League and paramilitaries such as the Scorpions.
The introductory chapter of the manifesto defining "Cultural Marxism" in the Frankfurt School conspiracy theory sense is a copy of Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology by the Free Congress Foundation. Major parts of the compendium are attributed to the pseudonymous Norwegian blogger Fjordman. The text also copies sections of the Unabomber manifesto, without giving credit, while replacing the words "leftists" with "cultural Marxists" and "black people" with "muslims". The New York Times described American influences in the writings, noting that the compendium mentions the anti-Islamist American Robert Spencer 64 times and cites Spencer's works at great length. The work of Bat Ye'or is frequently cited. Neoconservative blogger Pamela Geller, Neo-pagan writer Koenraad Elst and Daniel Pipes are also mentioned as sources of inspiration. The manifesto further contains quotes from Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell, as well as from Jeremy Clarkson's Sunday Times column and Melanie Phillips' Daily Mail column. The publication speaks in admiration of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, Bruce Bawer, Srđa Trifković, and Henryk M. Broder. Breivik blames feminism for allowing the erosion of the fabric of European society. The compendium advocates a restoration of patriarchy which it claims would save European culture.
In his writings Breivik states that he wants to see European policies on multiculturalism and immigration more similar to those of Japan and South Korea, which he said are "not far from cultural conservatism and nationalism at its best". He expressed his admiration for the "monoculturalism" of Japan and for the two nations' refusal to accept refugees. The Jerusalem Post describes his support for Israel as a "far-right Zionism". He calls all "nationalists" to join in the struggle against "cultural Marxists/multiculturalists".
Norwegian computer security analysts are in the process of researching what appear to be hidden codes in Breivik's manifesto, including references to the GPS coordinates of several major sites throughout Europe.
Benjamin R. Teitelbaum, Professor of Nordic Studies at University of Colorado, argues that several parts of the manifesto suggest that Breivik was concerned about race, not only about Western culture or Christianity, labelling him as a white nationalist.
Thomas Hegghammer of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment has described the ideologies of Breivik as "not fitting the established categories of right-wing ideology, like white supremacism, ultranationalism or Christian fundamentalism", but more akin to macro-nationalism and a "new doctrine of civilisational war". Norwegian social scientist Lars Gule characterised Breivik as a "national conservative, not a Nazi". Pepe Egger of the think-tank Exclusive Analysis says "the bizarre thing is that his ideas, as Islamophobic as they are, are almost mainstream in many European countries."
In one section of the manifesto entitled "Battlefield Wikipedia" Breivik explains the importance of using Wikipedia as a venue for disseminating views and information to the general public, although the Norwegian professor Arnulf Hagen claims that this was a document that he had copied from another author and that Breivik was unlikely to be a contributor to Wikipedia. According to the leader of the Norwegian chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation an account has been identified which they believe Breivik used. On the second day of his trial Breivik cited Wikipedia as the main source for his worldview.
In the pre-trial hearing, February 2012, Breivik read a prepared statement demanding to be released and treated as a hero for his "pre-emptive attack against traitors" accused of planning cultural genocide. He said, "They are committing, or planning to commit, cultural destruction, of which deconstruction of the Norwegian ethnic group and deconstruction of Norwegian culture. This is the same as ethnic cleansing."
Religious and political views
Islamophobia and Zionism
Following his apprehension, Breivik was characterised by analysts as being a right-wing extremist with anti-Muslim views and a deep-seated hatred of Islam, who considered himself a knight dedicated to stemming the tide of Muslim immigration into Europe.
He was at first described by many in the media as a Christian fundamentalist, Christian terrorist, nationalist and right-wing extremist. He claims that the European Union is a project to create "Eurabia" and describes the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia as being authorised by "criminal western European and American leaders". The Jerusalem Post describes him as pro-Israel and strongly opposed to Islam, and asserts that his manifesto includes "extreme screed of Islamophobia" and "far-right Zionism". In his writings Breivik states that "the Battle of Vienna in 1683 should be celebrated as the Independence Day for all Western Europeans as it was the beginning of the end for the second Islamic wave of Jihads."
In 2009, he wrote "Today's Protestant church is a joke. Priests in jeans who march for Palestine and churches that look like minimalist shopping centres. I am a supporter of an indirect collective conversion of the Protestant church back to the Catholic." Before the attacks, he stated an intention to attend Frogner Church in a final "Martyr's mass".[better source needed]
The manifesto states its author is "100 percent Christian", but he is not "excessively religious" and considers himself a "cultural Christian" and a "modern-day crusader". His manifesto states "I'm not going to pretend I'm a very religious person, as that would be a lie", calls religion a crutch and a source for drawing mental strength, and says "I've always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment." Regarding the term cultural Christian, which he says means preserving European culture, he notes, "It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian-atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy...)" Furthermore, Breivik stated that "myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God." Nevertheless, he stated that he planned to pray to God for help during his attacks.
Breivik condemned Pope Benedict XVI for his dialogue with Islam: "Pope Benedict has abandoned Christianity and all Christian Europeans and is to be considered a cowardly, incompetent, corrupt and illegitimate Pope." It will thus be necessary, writes Breivik, to overthrow the Protestant and Catholic hierarchies, after which a "Great Christian Congress" would set up a new European Church. He has also condemned Christian missionary activity in India as it would lead to the "total destruction of the Hindu faith and culture", and he expresses support for the Hindutva movement against Indian Communist movements.
The American Christian press has suggested that Breivik also appears to have directly addressed followers of the neopagan religion of Odinism, saying "even Odinists can fight with us or by our side as brothers" in the Knights Templar organisation of which Breivik claims to be a founding member. He later advocated rejecting Odinism, however, saying that Thor's Hammer could not unify the people of Europe, but that the Christian cross would.
Deputy police chief Roger Andresen initially told reporters that information on Breivik's websites was "so to speak, Christian fundamentalist" and many mainstream media such as The New York Times have described him a Christian fundamentalist. Others, however, have disputed Andresen's characterisation of Breivik as a Christian fundamentalist.
In letters sent to Norwegian newspaper Dagen in 2015, Breivik said that he "is not, and has never been a Christian", and that he thinks there are few things in the world more "pathetic" than "the Jesus-figure and his message". He states that he prays and sacrifices to Odin, and identifies his religion as Odinism.
Links to organizations
Oslo Shooting Club
Breivik was an active member of an Oslo shooting club between 2005 and 2007, and since 2010. According to the club, which banned him for life after the attacks, Breivik had taken part in 13 organized training sessions and one competition since June 2010. The club states that it does not evaluate the members' suitability regarding possession of weapons.
At the time of the attacks, Breivik was a member of the Lodge of St. Olaf at the Three Columns in Oslo and had displayed photographs of himself in partial Masonic regalia on his Facebook profile. In interviews after the attacks, his lodge stated they had only minimal contact with him, and that when made aware of Breivik's membership, Grand Master of the Norwegian Order of Freemasons, Ivar A. Skaar, issued an edict immediately excluding him from the fraternity based upon the acts he carried out and the values that appear to have motivated them. According to the Lodge records, Breivik took part in a total of four meetings between his initiation in February 2007 and his exclusion from the order – one each to receive the first, second and third degree, and one other meeting. and held no offices or functions within the Lodge. Skaar stated that although Breivik was a member of the Order, his actions show that he is in no way a Mason.
Breivik became a member of the immigration restrictionist Progress Party (FrP) in 1999. He paid his membership dues for the last time in 2004, and was removed from the membership lists in 2006.
During his time in the Progress Party, he held two positions in the Progress Party's youth organisation FpU: he was the chair of the local Vest Oslo branch from January to October 2002, and a member of the board of the same branch from October 2002 till November 2004.
After the attack, the Progress Party immediately distanced itself from Breivik's actions and ideas. At a 2013 press conference Ketil Solvik-Olsen said that Breivik "left us [the party] because we were too liberal".
English Defence League (EDL)
Breivik claimed he had contact with the far-right English Defence League (EDL), a movement in the United Kingdom that has been accused of Islamophobia. He allegedly had extensive links with senior EDL members and wrote that he attended an EDL demonstration in Bradford. On 26 July 2011, EDL leader Tommy Robinson denounced Breivik and his attacks and has denied any official links with him.
On 31 July 2011, Interpol asked Maltese police to investigate Paul Ray, a former EDL member who blogs under the name "Lionheart." Ray conceded that he may have been an inspiration for Breivik, but deplored his actions.
In an online discussion on the Norwegian website Document.no on 6 December 2009, Breivik proposes to establish a Norwegian version of the EDL. Breivik saw this as the only way to stop left-wing radical groups like Blitz and SOS Rasisme from "harassing" Norwegian cultural conservatives. Following the establishment of the European Defence League, the Norwegian Defence League (NDL) launched in 2010. Breivik indeed became a member of this organization under the pseudonym "Sigurd Jorsalfar". Former head of the NDL, Lena Andreassen, claims that Breivik was ejected from the organization when she took over as leader in March 2011 because he was too extreme. The NDL had held a rally in Oslo in April 2011, but it failed to gather more than a dozen supporters.
In his manifesto and during interrogation, Breivik claimed membership in an "international Christian military order", which he calls the new Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici (PCCTS, Knights Templar). According to Breivik, the order was established as an "anti-Jihad crusader-organisation" that "fights" against "Islamic suppression" in London in April 2002 by nine men: two Englishmen, a Frenchman, a German, a Dutchman, a Greek, a Russian, a Norwegian (apparently Breivik), and a Serb (supposedly the initiator, not present, but represented by Breivik). The compendium gives a "2008 estimate" that there are between 15 and 80 "Justiciar Knights" in Western Europe, and an unknown number of civilian members, and Breivik expects the order to take political and military control of Western Europe.
Breivik gives his own code name in the organisation as Sigurd and that of his assigned "mentor" as Richard, after the twelfth-century crusaders and kings Sigurd Jorsalfar of Norway and Richard the Lionheart of England. He calls himself a one-man cell of this organisation, and claims that the group has several other cells in Western countries, including two more in Norway. On 2 August 2011 Breivik offered to provide information about these cells, but on unrealistic preconditions.
After an intense investigation assisted internationally by several security agencies, the Norwegian police have not found any evidence that a PCCTS network existed, or that the alleged 2002 London meeting ever took place. The police now view Breivik's claim as a figment of imagination in light of his schizophrenia diagnosis, and are increasingly confident that he had no accessories. The perpetrator still insists he belongs to an order and that his one-man cell was "activated" by another clandestine cell.
On 14 August 2012, several Norwegian politicians and media outlets received an email from someone claiming to be Breivik's "deputy", demanding that Breivik be released, and making more threats against Norwegian society.
Breivik has identified himself in a multitude of social media services as an admirer of, among others, the Freedom Party of Austria, Hindu nationalism (Hindutva), the right-wing Swiss People's Party, Winston Churchill, Max Manus, Robert Spencer, former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, Patrick Buchanan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Radovan Karadžić, Srđa Trifković, and Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose political party he described on the website of the periodical Minerva as one among the few that could "truly claim to be conservative parties in their whole culture." Wilders quickly distanced himself from Breivik and denounced him as "violent and sick". On Twitter, he paraphrased philosopher John Stuart Mill: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests". Breivik had been active on several anti-Islamic and nationalist blogs, including document.no, and was a regular reader of Gates of Vienna, the Brussels Journal and Jihad Watch.
According to Belarusian opposition figure Mikhail Reshetnikov, Anders Breivik underwent paramilitary training in a camp organised by retired KGB colonel Valery Lunev. According to Reshetnikov, Breivik visited Belarus three times and had lasting connections with the country. According to official data, Breivik visited Belarus only once, as a tourist in 2005. Norwegian prosecuting authorities claim that Breivik went to Belarus to meet a woman he had met on a dating website. This woman later visited him in Oslo.
Breivik has frequently praised the writings of blogger Fjordman. He used Fjordman's thinking to justify his actions, citing him 111 times in the manifesto. He also endorsed the writings of Australian historian Keith Windschuttle in the manifesto 2083, as well as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and former Czech President Václav Klaus. He expressed admiration for historical military leaders such as Charles Martel, Richard the Lionheart, El Cid, Vlad the Impaler, Jacques de Molay, Nicholas I of Russia, John Hunyadi and John III Sobieski. In his manifest he copies 25 pages verbatim from an ideological text by Evans Kohlmann and published by an institute led by Magnus Ranstorp.
After studying several militant groups, including IRA, ETA and others, Breivik suggests far-right militants should adopt al-Qaeda's methods, learn from their success, and avoid their mistakes. Breivik described al-Qaeda as the "most successful revolutionary force in the world" and praised their "cult of martyrdom".
In a letter sent by Breivik to international media in January 2014, Breivik states that he exploited "counterjihadist" rhetoric in order to protect "ethno-nationalists" and start a media hunt against "anti-nationalist counterjihadist"-supporters, in a strategy he calls "double psychology". Breivik further states that he strives for a "pure Nordic ideal", advocating the establishment of a similar party in Norway to the neo-Nazi (now-defunct) Party of the Swedes, and identifying himself as a part of "Western Europe's fascist movement". Moreover, he states that his "support" for Israel is limited for it to function as a place to deport "disloyal Jews".
On 17 August 2013, journalist Marit Christensen informed the Norwegian press that for the last year of Wenche Behring Breivik's life, she had been her confidant, and that a book based on Christensen's interviews with her would be published as a book in late 2013 under the title The Mother. On 14 September 2013 Verdens Gang said that before Wenche Behring Breivik died, she hired a lawyer to prevent Christensen from publishing the book. The book was nevertheless published in October 2013, and was widely criticized; on the basis of Wenche Behring Breivik's opposition to the book, for inclusion of material not relevant to understanding what motivated Anders Behring Breivik, and for character assassinations of still living people.
In popular culture
- A newspaper panel, originally located outside the offices of the Verdens Gang newspaper offices on Akersgata, with its glass shattered by the shockwave of the bomb, has been left untouched, still displaying the newspaper of that day. Artist Ahmad Ghosseln instigated the relocation of the panel to a bus-shelter, that has not been in use since the day of the bomb-blast. The plan is to preserve the panel as an imprint of the attack, for posterity.
- In January 2012 the Danish theatre Café Teatret announced that it was staging a play based on the manifesto. The play, named Manifesto 2083 was planned to be performed over three weeks in August 2012. Relatives of the victims of Breivik's actions as well as Danish politicians have criticized the plans of the theatre. In February 2012 the Norwegian Dramatikkens Hus announced it too will be staging the Danish play. Three weeks into Breivik's criminal trial the producer of the play, Christian Lollike, announced that the play has been postponed indefinitely. Lollike cited the ongoing trial as the reason for the decision in that much of what was intended to be discussed in the play has been illuminated through the trial proceedings: "Of course, if we feel that we have nothing interesting to say in relation to this case we will drop the performance."
- Another play was premiered in Amsterdam, on 22 March. The play Breivik meets Wilders (Dutch: Breivik ontmoet Wilders) depicts a fictional meeting between Anders Behring Breivik and controversial Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders at London's Heathrow airport in March 2010. The play, running at Amsterdam's De Balie theatre is written by playwright Theodor Holman who one week ahead of the premiere had stated "I feel a kinship with Anders Breivik." Other plays are currently under development in Sweden and the UK.
- The German clothing chain Thor Steinar, which names all its shops after Norwegian towns, has had two stores named Brevik, after the Norwegian town Brevik in Telemark. The first closed in 2008, and a new one opened in Chemnitz in February 2012. The similarity of the name Brevik to Breivik's name led to vandalism when the new Brevik store opened, forcing it to change its name.
- Cecilie Løveid's poem "Punishment" (Straff) was printed in Aftenposten, as "This Week's Poem", on 8 April 2013. In an interview with the newspaper, she said that the poem is about Breivik, and that she has no opinion about the verdict of the trial—because that is outside the scope of the poem.
- In the 2013 documentary film The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, Slovene philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek, in discussing the meaning of ideology in modern life, compares the mind-set and actions of Breivik to examples from popular culture, in particular the thoughts and actions of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in the 1976 film Taxi Driver, whereby he first analyses in his own mind the problems of his environment (New York streets controlled by pimps and drug dealers) but then attempts to resolve them through an act of great violence.
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Breivik disputes this. "It's true I was angry," he says. "Several times the police called me to say he had sprayed buildings, trains, buses. He was also shoplifting. But I was always willing to see him, and he knew that. It was Anders who cut it off. His decision, not mine.
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Etter det NRK får opplyst, har ikke den pågrepne noen yrkesmilitær bakgrunn. Han ble fritatt fra verneplikt, og dermed har han ikke spesialutdanning eller utenlandsoppdrag for Forsvaret." – "From what NRK have been informed, the suspect has no military background. He was exempt from conscription and therefore has military training or service abroad.
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Kilder i Forsvarets sikkerhetsavdeling Dagbladet har snakket med, forteller at Breivik allerede ved sesjon ble luket ut av rullene som ikke tjenesteskikket." – "Sources in the Defence Security Department that Dagbladet has talked to, says Breivik was weeded out from the files as unfit for service during the service assessment.
- using a July 2011 conversion rate
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We have no more information than... what has been found on [his] own websites, which is that it goes towards the right and that it is, so to speak, Christian fundamentalist.
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EDL er et eksempel til etterfølgelse og en norsk versjon er det eneste som kan hindre Blitz/SOS i å trakassere norske kulturkonservative fra andre fronter. Å lage en norsk EDL bør være nr. 3 på agendaen etter at vi har fått startet opp en kulturkonservativ avis med nasjonal distribusjon.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Anders Behring Breivik|
- Media related to Anders Behring Breivik at Wikimedia Commons
- Manifesto of Anders Behring Brevik Original document and video by Breivik.
- Washington Times: The Oslo Terrorist in His Own Words – Summary of Breivik's political beliefs
- BBC: Norway attacks: The victims – The eight Oslo bomb victims and the 69 youth camp victims
- Daily Telegraph: Trial indictment