Anders Behring Breivik

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Anders Behring Breivik
Sketch of Breivik.png
Sketch of Breivik, July 2016
Born (1979-02-13) 13 February 1979 (age 37)[1]
Oslo, Norway[2]
Nationality Norwegian
Criminal penalty 21 years' preventive detention
Date 22 July 2011
Oslo: 15:25 CEST
Utøya: 17:22–18:34 CEST[3][4]
Location(s) Oslo and Utøya, Norway
Target(s) Norwegian Labour Party
Killed 77
Injured 319[5]
Weapons ANFO van bomb
Ruger Mini-14 carbine
Glock 34 pistol

Anders Behring Breivik (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɑnːəʂ ˈbeːrɪŋ ˈbrɛiviːk];[6] born 13 February 1979) is a Norwegian far-right terrorist who committed the 2011 Norway attacks. On 22 July 2011 he killed eight people by detonating a van bomb amid the Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo, then shot dead 69 participants of a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utøya.[7][8] In August 2012 he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.[9][10]

On the day of the attacks, Breivik electronically distributed a compendium of texts entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, describing his militant ideology.[11][12][13][14] In them, he lays out a worldview encompassing opposition to Islam and blaming feminism for creating a European "cultural suicide".[15][16] The texts call Islam and Cultural Marxism the enemy and advocate the deportation of all Muslims from Europe based on the model of the Beneš decrees, while also claiming that feminism exists to destroy European culture.[17][18] Breivik wrote that his main motive for the atrocities was to market his manifesto.[19]

Two teams of court-appointed forensic psychiatrists examined Breivik before his trial. The first report diagnosed Breivik as having paranoid schizophrenia.[20] A second psychiatric evaluation was commissioned following widespread criticism of the first.[21] The second evaluation was published a week before the trial; it concluded that Breivik was not psychotic during the attacks nor during the evaluation.[22] He was instead diagnosed as having narcissistic personality disorder.[23] His trial began on 16 April 2012, with closing arguments made on 22 June 2012.[24] On 24 August 2012, Oslo District Court delivered its verdict, finding Breivik 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 one or more extensions for as long as he is deemed a danger to society. This is the maximum penalty in Norway.[25] 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.[26][27]

While imprisoned, Breivik has identified himself as a fascist[28] and a national socialist,[29] saying he previously exploited counterjihadist rhetoric in order to protect ethno-nationalists.[30] In 2015, he said that he has never personally identified as a Christian, and called his religion Odinism.[29][31] On 15 March 2016, a four-day civil trial started in which Breivik sued Norwegian Correctional Service, over his solitary confinement and the general conditions of imprisonment. Breivik claimed that his solitary confinement violated his human rights and asserted that he had been subjected to degrading treatment. The 20 April 2016 verdict, in which the government was found to have breached Article 3 of the Human Rights Convention, was appealed on 26 April;[32][33] a trial, in Court of Appeal, is scheduled to start on 10 January 2017.[34][35]


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",[7] or "broad bay".

Early life[edit]

Anders Behring Breivik grew up in the West End of Oslo. From 1982 to 1994 he lived with his mother in this apartment building in Skøyen.

Breivik was born in Oslo on 13 February 1979,[1][2] 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 in Paris.[36] 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, but failed to achieve, custody. When Breivik was four, living in Fritzners gate in Oslo, two reports were filed expressing concern about his mental health, concluding that Anders ought to be removed from parental care.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39]

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.[37]

Breivik chose to be confirmed into the Lutheran Church of Norway at the age of 15.[40][41][42][43]

In his 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 did and was caught by the police on several occasions; Child Welfare Services were notified once and he was fined on two occasions.[44] 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.[44][45] They have not been in contact since then.[46] 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.[47] At this age he also broke off contact with the hip hop community after he fell out with his best friend.[48]

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.[49]

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 [my] super-liberal, matriarchal upbringing as it completely lacked discipline and has contributed to feminising me to a certain degree."[citation needed]


Breivik attended Smestad Grammar School, Ris Junior High, Hartvig Nissens Upper Secondary School and Oslo Commerce School (1995–98).[50][51] 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.[52]


Breivik was exempt from conscription to military service in the Norwegian Army and has no military training.[53] The Norwegian Defence Security Department, which conducts the vetting process, say he was deemed "unfit for service" at the mandatory conscript assessment.[54]

In 1997, at age 18, he lost 2 million kroner ($369,556)[55] in the stock market.[56]

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".[57] A former co-worker described him as an "exceptional colleague",[58] and a close friend of his said he usually had a big ego and would be easily irritated by those of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin.[59]

According to Belarusian opposition figure Mikhail Reshetnikov,[60] 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.[61] 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.[62]

In his early twenties he underwent cosmetic surgery, according to friends, for his chin, nose and forehead, and was very satisfied with the result.[49]

Planning terror attacks[edit]

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.[63] The company was later declared bankrupt and Breivik was reported for several breaches of the law.[64] 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.[65] His declared assets in 2007 were about NOK 630,000. (US$116,410[55]), according to Norwegian tax authority figures.[57] He claims that by 2008 he had about NOK 2,000,000 (US$369,556[55]) and nine credit cards giving him access to €26,000 in credit.[63]

In May 2009 he founded a farming company under the name "Breivik Geofarm",[66] described as a farming sole proprietorship set up to cultivate vegetables, melons, roots and tubers.[67]

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.[68] 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 license, and the semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 rifle by possessing a hunting license.[69] 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".[70] 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.[71]

Breivik had no declared income in 2009 and his assets amounted to 390,000 kroner ($72,063[55]), according to Norwegian tax authority figures.[57] 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.[63]

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,[72] 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.[72] A farming supplier sold Breivik's company six tonnes of fertiliser in May.[73] 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][57]

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.[74]

2011 terror attacks[edit]

Main article: 2011 Norway attacks
Oslo city centre, shortly after Breivik's ANFO car bomb detonated
Flowers laid in front of Oslo Cathedral the day after the attacks

On 22 July 2011, Breivik bombed government buildings in Oslo, which resulted in eight deaths.[75]

Within a few hours of the explosion he arrived at Utøya island, the site of a camp for Worker's Youth League, posing as a police officer in order to take the ferry to the island, and then fired intermittently for more than one hour, killing 69[76][77][78] with one murder victim as young as 14 years old.[79][80] Among the victims was Trond Berntsen, the step-brother of Crown Princess Mette-Marit.[81]


When the public force counter-terrorism unit (based in Oslo) arrived on the island and confronted him, he surrendered without resistance.[82] 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.

Breivik confessed and said 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."[83]

After his arrest Breivik referred to himself as "the greatest monster since Quisling."[84]

Booking and preparations for trial[edit]

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.[78][83][85]

On 25 July 2011, Breivik was charged with violating paragraph 147a of the Norwegian criminal code,[86][87] "destabilising or destroying basic functions of society" and "creating serious fear in the population",[88] 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.[86][89] The custody was extended in subsequent hearings.[90] 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.[91] 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[clarification needed] conducted in the same specially constructed court room where the initial criminal case was tried.[92]

Breivik was kept at Ila Prison after arrest. There, he had at his disposal three prison cells: one where he could rest, sleep, and watch DVD movies or television, a second that was set up for him to use a PC without Internet connection, and a third with gym equipment. Only selected prison staff with special qualifications were allowed to work around him, and the prison management aimed to not let his presence as a high-security prisoner affect any of the other inmates.[93] Subsequent to the January 2012 lifting of letters and visitors censorship for Breivik, he received several inquiries from private individuals,[94] 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.[95] 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.[96]

Psychiatric evaluation[edit]

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.[97][98]

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.[97]

According to his defence attorney, Breivik initially expressed surprise and felt insulted by the conclusions in the report. He later said "this provides new opportunities".[99]

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.[100][101] An extended panel of experts from the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine reviewed the submitted report and approved it "with no significant remarks".[102] 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.[101][103][104] 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.[105] He initially refused to cooperate with new psychiatrists.[106] 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 a prison term. The prosecution could instead have requested that he be detained in a psychiatric hospital.[107] 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.[108] Shortly after the second period of pre-trial psychiatric observation was begun, the prosecution said it expected Breivik would be declared legally insane.[109][110] 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.[22] Instead, they diagnosed antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.[23][111][112] Breivik expressed hope at being declared sane in a letter sent to several Norwegian newspapers shortly before his trial, he wrote about the prospect of being sent to a psychiatric ward: "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."[113]

On 8 June 2012, Professor of Psychiatry Ulrik Fredrik Malt testified in court as an expert witness, saying he found it unlikely that Breivik had schizophrenia. According to Malt, Breivik primarily suffered from Asperger syndrome, Tourette syndrome, narcissistic personality disorder and possibly paranoid psychosis.[114] 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.[115] Eirik Johannesen disagreed, concluding that Breivik was lying and was not delusional or psychotic.[116] Johannesen had observed and spoken to Breivik for more than 20 hours.[117]

Pre-trial hearing[edit]

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, including deconstruction of the Norwegian ethnic group and deconstruction of Norwegian culture. This is the same as ethnic cleansing."[118]

Criminal trial[edit]

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.[24]

Court verdict[edit]

On 24 August 2012 Breivik was adjudged sane and sentenced to containment—a special form of a prison sentence that can be extended indefinitely again and again—with an approximate time frame of 21 years and a minimum time of 10 years, the maximum penalty in Norway.[119] Breivik did not appeal and on September 8 media announced that the verdict was final.[27][120]

The court said "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."[121]

Prison life[edit]

The entrance of Telemark Prison's affiliate in Skien in 2009.(The sign says "Corrections Service/ Skien Prison")

Since August 2011,[122] (and as of 2016) he is still imprisoned in a SHS section (a prison section with "particularly high security"—særlig høy sikkerhet).[123] Since the inception of SHS in 2002 - until 2016, Norway has only imprisoned ten or eleven[124] prisoners under SHS conditions, of which Breivik's term has been the longest.[125]

He is imprisoned at Telemark Prison's affiliate in Skien. His previous prison transfers are: On 23 July 2012 he transferred from Ila Prison & Detention Center[126] to Telemark Prison's affiliate in Skien (100 kilometres (62 mi) southwest of Oslo);[127] on 28 September 2012 he transferred back; since September 2013 he has been back at Telemark Prison.[122]

On 19 June 2014 Breivik was interviewed by researcher Mattias Gardell.[128]

Breivik has visits from a prison visitor (as of 2015) —a military chaplain (ranked major) — every two weeks.[129][130] His mother visited him five times (and she died in 2013).[131] No other visitors requested by Breivik, have been granted access.[131]

He enrolled as a full student in the bachelor degree program in political science at the University of Oslo.[132][133]

Breivik has converted to Nazism while in prison, according to his lawyer Øystein Storrvik.[134]

De facto isolation from all other prisoners[edit]

He is isolated from the other inmates, and only has contact with health care workers and guards.[135]

The type of isolation that Breivik has endured in prison, is what the ECtHR calls relative social isolation, according to a verdict of 2016 in Oslo District Court.[131]

In Europe it is not uncommon to grant compensatory measures to prisoners that are being held in isolation for several years. As of 2016 he has an electric typewriter and an Xbox (without internet connection) in his cell.[136] (Previously, when the 2012 verdict was upheld in September 2012, permission for access to a computer (without internet) had ended, and access ended later. In November 2012 he received an electric typewriter.[131])

Political activity and attempts at correspondence[edit]

In 2012 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; Breivik has written to, among others, Peter Mangs and Beate Zschäpe;[137] media claimed in 2014 that Mangs had received letters.[128]

In 2012 he had 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.[138][139]

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.[138][139][140]

Obstruction of postal letters[edit]

Since 2013 Breivik has been back at Telemark Prison.[122] After he came to Skien Prison, only 5 out of 300 letters that he had sent, had not been confiscated, he testified in court in 2016. He added, "Of the 200 forms regarding prison visits that I have mailed, all have been" confiscated.[130]

By 2016 around 4,000 postal items had been sent to or from Breivik, and about 15 percent of these (600 items) had been confiscated.[141]

On 11 March 2016 political scientist Ingeborg Kjos received a letter from Breivik that had taken over a year and a half to reach her; the letter did not advocate violence.[142]

Plans for hunger strikes[edit]

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 having candy" and he is served cold coffee, and he is strip-searched daily, sometimes by female guards. 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.[143]

In letters to foreign media outlets he told about his demands (in 2013) to prison authorities "including easier communication with the outside world and a PlayStation 3 to replace the current PlayStation 2, because it offers more suitable games"; media reported in 2014 about demands that he would starve himself to death if refused "access to a sofa and a bigger gym"; furthermore he said that "Other inmates have access to adult games while I only have the right to play less interesting kids’ games. One example is ‘Rayman Revolution,’ a game aimed at 3-year-olds," Breivik complained to prison officials."[144][145]

In September 2015, Breivik again threatened a hunger strike, because of deteriorating prison conditions,[132] but delayed in order to sue the Norwegian Government over prison conditions.[135]

Civil trial[edit]

On 15 March 2016 a four-day civil trial started, with Breivik suing the Correctional Service. The Ministry of Justice and Public Security was the defendant in court since the Correctional Service is subordinate to the ministry.[146] The verdict of 20 April 2016 was appealed six days later.[147] In court of appeals a trial is scheduled for January 2017.[148]

Breivik is suing the government over his solitary confinement, and his general conditions of imprisonment, including a claim of an excessive use of handcuffs. Breivik claimed that his solitary confinement violates his human rights and asserted that he had been subjected to "degrading treatment, including hundreds of strip searches and frequent searches of his cell, including at night."[149]

On 6 March 2016 media said that Oslo District Court had again refused to allow the press to join a walk-through of Breivik's prison cell in the following week. After previously being turned down, the press had suggested that one of their representatives, with a gagging order in place, could join the walk-through on behalf of the entire press corps.[150]

On 8 March media said that parts of the trial proceedings would be closed to the general public, according to a decision by Oslo District Court, that upheld its previous ruling.[150][151]

On 14 March members of the court performed a walk-through of prison cells used by Breivik at Ila Prison; later the same week the members of the court inspected the prison facilities used by Breivik at Skien Prison.[152]

The trial started, on 15 March, when Oslo District Court convened inside Skien Prison. Upon arrival, after police removed his handcuffs, Breivik shook hands with his lawyers, thereafter faced the gallery and performed a Nazi-style salute.[149][153] A lawyer from the Office of the Attorney General said that of Breivik's incoming and outgoing mail, through the postal system, around 15 percent (or 600 pieces of mail out of around 4,000) had been confiscated.[141] Øystein Storrvik, the head of Breivik's legal team, told the court about Breivik's letter of complaint to the government in 2012 which detailed being awakened by flashlight as often as every half-hour.[154]

Breivik's testimony[edit]

On 16 March Breivik started his testimony to the court,[155] "to give his view on the strict prison regimen [that he is exposed to] and any damage done to his health while in prison as a cause of isolation".[156] He reported having been handcuffed 3,500 times.[130]

The main points of his testimony were:

  • He had been subjected to a "grip manoeuvre" 2,300 times—where he put his hands through the slot of the door to his prison cell, and his hands had been held in place by a prison officer while the door has been swung open. Breivik described these two forms of "extra punishment", saying: "it is quite demeaning to be exposed to this every day, so I countered by not leaving my prison cell. I did not want to exercise in the fresh air, [I did not want to] train, or use my study [prison-] cell".[130]
  • On paper he had three prison cells, but because of the government's actions he hardly used the training cell and the study cell.[130]
  • Prison officers at Ila Prison were not to speak to him during his [first] stay there, and this was the case for parts of his stay at Skien [prison]; only the chief of the section was supposed to speak to Breivik. He said that he had not said "no" to the prison offering him activities such as playing floorball or chess, but asked to be offered other activities. He said that starting in March 2014 he finally received the one hour of fellowship with prison officers; he said that claims had been made that he was allowed to prepare food, but that he was permitted only to press an egg cooker, and was not permitted to put frozen pizza in the oven—that he had only done once.[130]
  • He still received a prison visitor twice a month—an officer of the Norwegian Armed Forces.[130]
  • Regarding recreation in fresh air, Breivik said: "Until December 2015 all outdoors recreation was in a concrete box. In December 2015, probably because of the upcoming trial, I was permitted to walk 20 minutes in the outdoors recreation area. A couple of times later I was permitted [again]. Thereafter I was permitted to recreate there every other week".[130]
  • Regarding being awoken at night, Breivik said: "There are inspections through the slot [of the door to the prison cell] every 40 minutes. Every time the slot was opened they demanded a sign of life. They wanted me to shake a leg every time the slot opened". He felt humiliated that the prison officers made such demand and said "They shined a flashlight into the bed, depending on the prison officer. Called into the cell Are you alive, are you alive, until I woke up. Then they had the sign of life that they needed. Countless times I was awoken at night".[130]
  • After he came to Skien Prison, only 5 out of 300 letters that Breivik sent, had not been confiscated. He added, "Of the 200 forms regarding prison visits that I have mailed, all have been" confiscated.[130]
  • In 2015 he was told that he would be locked into an isolation cell for 23 hours a day; the decision was reversed in December 2015, weeks after the visit by the Parliamentary Ombudsman.[130][157]
  • Breivik talked about the parties NFP and NL, that he said later changed name to "Nordic State" (Nordiske stat).[130]
  • Breivik said that "Dark film on all the windows has prevented natural light, and it is not possible to see anything outside during large parts of the winter months of the year ".[130]
  • Breivik testified about how the authorities prevent him from buying postage stamps, and how Skien Prison has confiscated envelopes [where the stamps are] worth several thousand Norwegian kroner.[130]
  • Breivik told about having to wait a long time after having asked for [the prison officers to present his] toothbrush, or asked [the prison officers] about turning off the TV switch; "This low-level terrorising continued for two years until" his transfer to Skien [prison].[130]
  • Breivik testified that he had to drink cold coffee because he was not permitted to have a thermos; Breivik has also complained about announcements over the PA system at Ila, including that each message was repeated such as Now it's time for outdoors recreation, it's time for outdoors recreation; the PA system was eventually switched off in Breivik's section [at the prison].[130]
  • Breivik said that "The reservoir of strength that national socialism has given me, was finished in December".[130]
  • Breivik testified that after two years in isolation he has started to love Paradise Hotel, which he says is evidence that he has become seriously brain damaged.[130]
  • Breivik says that he had not been permitted to publish his correct mailing address.[130]
  • Breivik said that "It is important that Oslo District Court says what types of addressees [pertaining to the postal system] are permissible". He added that media [outlets] that he has access to are Aftenposten, Dagen, TA and Varden and broadcast Teletext on several channels; he would read other newspapers if he had such access, "Klassekampen is perhaps even more interesting than Aftenposten".[130]
  • Breivik said that "Isolation is the most effective way to radicalise people because one never gets corrected by others".[158]

Cross-examination of witnesses[edit]

The first witness, Randi Rosenqvist, a psychiatrist at Ila Prison, was cross-examined by Storrvik.[130] Storrvik asked if she had suggested visits without a glass wall; Rosenqvist replied: "Yes I have discussed this. I have been thinking that visits without a glass wall could be something [to consider]. I don't think that with his image, he would be violent to someone he has [some sort of] a [working-] relationship to". Storrvik read out loud, recommendations by Rosenqvist, including "Retired police officers could, for example, come [to socialise with Breivik], drink coffee, play games".[130]

NRK reported that "The Parliamentary Ombudsman has previously reported that the regimen for serving a prison sentence at the level of particularly high security" constitutes a heightened risk of inhumane treatment. Now it appears that Parliamentary Ombudsman will not testify".[130] This was despite the fact that one of its leaders was on the list of witnesses summoned to testify.[149]

At the start of the third day of the trial, Storrvik introduced a report from the "prevention section" at [the office of] the Parliamentary Ombudsman, dated 11 November 2015, regarding a series of visits that year by the ombudsman; the report said that Breivik was being held at a section where sometimes there was only one prisoner.[130] Storrvik read from the report that "The limitations on visits at the time of the inspection [by the Parliamentary Ombudsman] seemed quite strict". He said that in that section of the prison, it should expand the planned community between prisoners and employees and consider other measures to minimise the risk of isolation damage. At that section the prison should evaluate alternative possibilities for recreation in fresh air, in addition to the concrete exercise yard. The report recommended that the prison should discontinue the visual surveillance of health-related conversations that occur with a glass wall between prisoner and health personnel.[130]

The second witness was Knut Bjarkeid, Chief Warden at Ila Prison. Storrvik confronted Bjarkeid with a document regarding [prison] Section G being turned [in part] into a "particularly high security department". He read: "There are obvious limits to how long he can be in Section G"; the document was written by Bjarkeid. Storrvik said that "The words are here, obviously there are limits to how long he shall be isolated. This was in 2012. He is still in total isolation". After Bjarkeid left the witness stand, Emberland read out loud from a letter that Breivik had written, dated 29 September 2013; in the letter Breivik reported several persons to the police; the Asker and Bærum Police District investigated and later dropped the investigation; Breivik's letter detailed the number of strip searches, "grip manoeuvres", and handcuffings he had undergone.[130]

The third witness was Bjørn Draugedalen, a general practitioner working one day per week at Skien Prison.[130] His first consultation with Breivik was held in a recreation room in avdeling for særlig høy sikkerhet, a high-security unit. Draugedalen shook hands with Breivik, with five prison officers present; all the later consultations (until the trial) were held with a glass wall separating them.[130] Storrvik asked "This change, when another prisoner arrived [and started to live in the same prison section], which resulted in Breivik's movement being restricted—did you consider to go up there to view [his living conditions or] how things were"?; Draugedalen answered "We have to deal with changes done by the Corrections Services".[130] The judge interjected, and she said that the Correction Services likely would listen to health care workers; Draugedalen replied that "We did not see any extra value then, regarding visiting him in the [prison] section".[130] At 12:36 Draugedalen said that he has not been notified that Breivik has discontinued his [college/university] studies.[130]

The fourth witness was Haukeland, an MD for prisoners at Ila Prison. At 13:46 Storrvik read from [Breivik's medical] record dated 5 February 2013 that Breivik intends to recreate less in fresh air because of the strip searches that follow; Storrvik asked Haukeland: "The fact that he goes outside less, to avoid being strip searched, was that discussed as a problem?; Haukeland answered "No, that was not discussed [among the health care workers or] in the health section".[130] At 13:51 the judge referred to nightly inspections every half hour, and Haukeland answers that he cannot remember; the judge asked "Were you the ones who recommended that"?; Haukeland replied "No (...)".[130]

The fifth witness was Margit Kise, a section leader at Skien Prison, who served from September 2013 to May 2015 in section A and H. The sixth witness was Tore Stenshagen, also a section leader at Skien, who served during the third quarter of 2015. Stenshagen testified that sometimes he sits down [in Breivik's cell] and talks with Breivik, and sometimes they are accompanied by only one prison officer.[130]

The seventh witness was Jørgen Spangen Iversen, an advisor at the Correctional Agency. Iversen was asked why Breivik was transferred to Skien rather than to Ringerike Prison; Iversen answered that he became a case-worker in 2014, and he was not involved in the transfer.[130]

Closing arguments[edit]

Summing up the case for Breivik, Storrvik said: "For some reason, in Norway it has been established that in a female prison, a male prison officer cannot strip search a prisoner, but in a male prison it is ok that females are present. This is offensive—I do not see any alternatives".[130] He then talked about the case of strip searches of prisoner Piechowicz[159] in Poland.[130] In that case the court was not convinced by the Polish government's arguments that the systematic, humiliating, daily searches were necessary to secure the prison. He continued: "He was also awoken at night, but he had 147 visits that compensated", and Piechowicz's isolation lasted for a shorter period; Storrvik said "Note that one calls it isolation, even though he had one cellmate".[130] Storrvik said that "the verdict [of] Piechowicz vs. Poland point to a breach of EMK in our case".[130] Storrvik said "In my opinion there is not a complete concurrence between risk analyses and measures in our case. Risk analyses have at an early stage come with suggestions for measures [and these have not been followed up] (...) For example, removing the glass wall during visits and the possibility of introducing fellow prisoner, has been discussed at such an early stage that there should be a good reason for why Rosenqvist's advice has not been followed".[130] Storrvik said that "The main problem for the government in this case is that the discrepancies between well-founded—in the context of security—suggestions from one of those who knows this case the best has not been followed".[160]

Storrvik compared Breivik's position as a Catch-22 situation: If Breivik says that he has psychiatric problems, then he has picked them out of a book; if he says that he doesn't have psychiatric problems, then he doesn't have psychiatric problems.[130]

Storrvik said that there had been no inspections by agencies tasked with oversight, as far as he knew, until the Parliamentary Ombudsman came.[130] Breivik's lawyer referred to anal inspections [—visual or manual body cavity searches]; he disagreed with Emberland's view that there was a difference regarding anal inspection as referred to in ECHR verdicts in other cases, and the squats that Breivik must perform while naked; Storrvik's opinion is that Ila lacks concrete reasons for all the inspections.[130]

Mestad said that "The government's primary task is to protect its citizens. To let a convicted terrorist establish a network, is dangerous".[161]

Storrvik said Breivik's [previous] verdict "indicates a mental vulnerability. If that is not enough, Breivik appears—by my standards—confused in court".[162]

Storrvik added that [in his usage] "mental vulnerability is a very, very weak expression".[162]

Emberland said that "Storrvik is quoting from the dissenting opinions from verdicts of the ECHR"—at least as much as he is quoting the majority opinions of the verdicts.[162]

On 18 March 2016 after the court was adjourned, the room where the trial had been held was turned back into the prison gymnasium.

Reactions (out of court) to Breivik's testimony[edit]

Breivik's testimony about his ideology was described as incoherent.[163]

In Dagbladet, Aina Sundt Gullhaugen (research advisor and psychologist) said about prison superintendent Bjarkeid's opinion that Breivik is not one of the prisoners at Ila suffering [from isolation]: "And surely it is an ugly sight when humans in the basement at Ila smear feces on the walls and no longer are oriented about themselves, time or place. But those who think that Breivik is not suffering have made themselves unavailable for the documented pain that Anders partook in [during childhood] ... The problem is that Breivik ... expresses his affliction in a manner that does not get captured particularly well by diagnostics manuals. The type of fundamental relational and emotional deficiencies that Breivik was allowed to develop, usually results in that person ending up speaking a language that others don't recognise".[164]

In Aftenposten, Ulrik Fredrik Malt [expert witness at the 2012 trial] said that "the mass murderer is mentally quite ill, and that's being undercommunicated".[165]


On 20 April 2016 District Court Judge Helen Andenæs Sekulic handed down her verdict.[166] The verdict said that the conditions of his imprisonment breached Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, but that Article 8 of the Convention had not been violated—confiscation of letters had been justified.[33] The government was also ordered to pay Norwegian kroner 330,937.5 ($40,373)[33][167] for the plaintiff's legal expenses incurred by the court case. (Breivik could not receive the money, but his lawyer could upon the verdict being upheld.)[168] Breivik was not in any courtroom when he received the verdict; media said that his copy would be faxed [to the prison].[169]

"The verdict lists ... points regarding the breach of human rights:

  • Length of isolation
  • Incomplete justification for the measure
  • Limited venues for complaints
  • Few compensating measures
  • Breivik's health condition was not taken into adequate consideration when the regimen of imprisonment was laid down.
  • The routine strip searches Breivik had to endure after outdoors recreation, and the unannounced searches were not adequately justified from a security point of view".[33]

The verdict said that "the prohibition against inhuman and degrading treatment represents a fundamental value in a democratic society. It applies no matter what—even when dealing with terrorists and killers".[170]

The verdict highlighted the case of "van der Ven v. The Netherlands" (at ECtHR) in 2003, saying that some of the regular strip searches lacked justification in Breivik's case also.[171]

Reactions to verdict and appeal[edit]

On 21 April 2016 news media said that Ole Kristoffer Borhaug (the fengselsleder at Telemark Prison of which Skien Prison is an affiliate) said that the prison regimen for Breivik would not be lightened, in part because the verdict has not been officially upheld, and there are regulations preventing high security prisoners from interacting with prisoners of other categories.[172]

Other reactions to the verdict include those of former convicts: Kjell Alrich Schumann said that the verdict is most importantly about the principles regarding the application of isolation in Norwegian prisons; he added that "The decisions are evaluated by an entity at Correctional Service every six months, and they can use any kinds of arguments. There is no oversight"; Sven-Eirik Utsi (no) said that "One can say whatever one wants about Breivik ... but isolation [is something] Norway has been criticised about for several decades [by the ECtHR]".[173]

The government's chief lawyer in the trial, Marius Emberland, had voiced his opinion about the verdict before the appeal; his opinion was criticized by the leader of the Norwegian Judges' Association, Ingjerd Thune:[174] "I clearly understand that many react. I have never heard a lawyer speak in that manner—ever. That was surprising"; lawyer Frode Sulland (no) said that one gets the impression that Office of the Attorney General "does not respect the justice system, and they still think that they are right, even when the court thinks they are wrong"; Emberland eventually recognised that some of his verbal comments can be interpreted as arrogant, adding that "They really weren't meant that way".[175]

On 20 May media said that the government had handed in its ["appeal declaration"] ankeerklæring;[176] previously the government had announced that it would appeal, including the part of the verdict that deals with reimbursing the costs of Breivik's legal aid.[147][177]

Legal scholar Mads Andenæs, said that "The appeal has no bearing on the responsibility of the government to evaluate and make the changes that the verdict of Oslo District Court imposes the government to do. This results directly from Norwegian Law and practices of ECtHR".[178]

Regarding the question of [possibly] moving Breivik to a prison with other SHS-prisoners, Telemark Prison's director, Ole Kristoffer Borhaug, said that the question is the responsibility of the Correctional Service's "Region South".[178]

On 5 August media said that Storrvik claims that the judge [scheduled to rule in the trial] is partial;[179] the judge was recused.[180] The trial is scheduled to start 10 January 2017;[181][182] one earlier date was rejected by Breivik's lawyer, Storrvik.[183] The appeal was originally scheduled to be heard, over four days in Borgarting lagmannsrett.[184]

Free legal aid; family situation[edit]

As of 2016 Breivik is still receiving (free) pro bono legal aid from the lawfirm of Øystein Storrvik;[177] previously the firm of Geir Lippestad did pro bono representation of Breivik (after the 2012 trial).[185] Legal aid during criminal trials has been paid by the government, as is the norm in the country.

On 23 March 2013, Breivik's mother died from complications from cancer.[186] 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 from behind the glass wall of the visit room—to give his mother a farewell hug".[187] Breivik had asked for permission by the prison officials to attend his mother's funeral service;[188] the request was rejected.[189]

Writings and video[edit]


Janne Kristiansen, then Chief of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), said 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."[190] He is reported to have written many posts on the Islam-critical[191] website[192] He also attended a meeting of "Documents venner" (Friends of Document), affiliated with the website, in late 2009.[193] Due to the media attention on his Internet activity following the 2011 attacks, compiled a complete list of comments made by Breivik on its website between September 2009 and June 2010.[194][195]

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, but that they, after expressing initial interest, turned down his proposal because he did not have the contacts he promised.[196]

YouTube video[edit]

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.[197] In the video he put an animation depicting Islam as a trojan horse in Europe.[198] Analysts describe it as promoting physical violence towards Muslims and Marxists who reside in Europe.[199]



Breivik prepared a document titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence,[200] which is 1,518 pages long and bears the name "Andrew Berwick".[201][202] Breivik admitted in court that it was mostly other people's writings he had copy pasted from different websites.[203] The file was e-mailed to 1,003 addresses about 90 minutes before the bomb blast in Oslo.[200][204] 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[205] and paramilitaries such as the Scorpions.[206]

In 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.[207][208][209] Major parts of the compendium are attributed to the pseudonymous Norwegian blogger Fjordman.[210] 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".[211] 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.[212] The work of Bat Ye'or is frequently cited.[213] Neoconservative blogger Pamela Geller,[214] Neo-pagan writer Koenraad Elst[215] and Daniel Pipes are also mentioned as sources of inspiration.[216] The manifesto further contains quotes from Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell,[217] as well as from Jeremy Clarkson's Sunday Times column and Melanie Phillips' Daily Mail column.[218] The publication speaks in admiration of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, Bruce Bawer, Srđa Trifković,[219] and Henryk M. Broder.[220] Breivik blames feminism for allowing the erosion of the fabric of European society.[15] The compendium advocates a restoration of patriarchy which it claims would save European culture.[15][221]

In his writings Breivik states that he wants to see European policies on multiculturalism and immigration more similar to those of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan[222] which he said are "not far from cultural conservatism and nationalism at its best".[223] He expressed his admiration for the "monoculturalism" of Japan and for the two nations' refusal to accept refugees.[224][225] 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".[11]

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".[226]


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.[227]

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".[228] Norwegian social scientist Lars Gule characterised Breivik as a "national conservative, not a Nazi".[229] 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".[230]

In one section of the manifesto titled "Battlefield Wikipedia", Breivik explains the importance of using Wikipedia as a venue for disseminating views and information to the general public,[231] 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.[232] According to the leader of the Norwegian chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation an account has been identified which they believe Breivik used.[233][234] On the second day of his trial Breivik cited Wikipedia as the main source for his worldview.[235]

Religious and political views[edit]


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,[236] who considered himself a knight dedicated to stemming the tide of Muslim immigration into Europe.[237][238]

He was at first described by many in the media as a Christian fundamentalist, Christian terrorist, and nationalist.[78][239][240][241][242][243] He claims that the European Union is a project to create "Eurabia"[244][245][246] and describes the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia as being authorised by "criminal western European and American leaders".[247] 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".[248]

The manifesto urges the Hindu nationalists to drive Muslims out of India.[249] He demands the forced deportation of all Muslims from Europe, based on the model of the Beneš decrees.[17][250]


His religious faith is Odinism,[29][31] but Breivik and others have previously linked his religious beliefs to Christianity.

The manifesto states its author is "100 percent Christian",[40] but he is not "excessively religious";[40] "I'm not going to pretend I'm a very religious person, as that would be a lie"; and considers himself a "cultural Christian" and a "modern-day crusader".[40][251] He 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...)".[243][251] Furthermore, Breivik said "myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God."[251][252] Nevertheless, he said he planned to pray to God for help during his attacks.[253] Before the attacks, he stated an intention to attend Frogner Church in a final "Martyr's mass".[254]

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.[255] 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.[256]

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."[257]

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.[258]

Deputy police chief Roger Andresen initially told reporters that information on Breivik's websites was "so to speak, Christian fundamentalist"[78][259][260][261] and many mainstream media such as The New York Times have described him a Christian fundamentalist.[262] Others, however, have disputed Andresen's characterisation of Breivik as a Christian fundamentalist.[255][263]

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".[29] He said he prays and sacrifices to Odin, and identifies his religion as Odinism.[29]

Links to organizations[edit]

Oslo Shooting Club[edit]

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.[264] The club states that it does not evaluate the members' suitability regarding possession of weapons.[265]


At the time of the attacks, Breivik was a member of the Lodge of St. Olaf at the Three Columns in Oslo[266] and had displayed photographs of himself in partial Masonic regalia on his Facebook profile.[267][268] In interviews after the attacks, his lodge said it 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.[269][270] 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.[271] and held no offices or functions within the Lodge.[272] Skaar said that although Breivik was a member of the Order, his actions showed that he is in no way a Mason.[271]

Progress Party[edit]

Breivik became a member of the 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.[273][274][275]

After the attack, the Progress Party immediately distanced itself from Breivik's actions and ideas.[276] At a 2013 press conference Ketil Solvik-Olsen said that Breivik "left us [the party] because we were too liberal".[277]

English Defence League (EDL)[edit]

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.[278] He allegedly had extensive links with senior EDL members[279] and wrote that he attended an EDL demonstration in Bradford.[280] On 26 July 2011, EDL leader Tommy Robinson denounced Breivik and his attacks and has denied any official links with him.[281]

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.[282][283]

In an online discussion on the Norwegian website 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.[284] 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".[285] 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.[286]

Knights Templar[edit]

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.[287]

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.[288] 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.[88] On 2 August 2011 Breivik offered to provide information about these cells, but on unrealistic preconditions.[289]

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.[290]

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.[291]

Intellectual influences[edit]

Breivik has identified himself in a multitude of social media services as an admirer of, among others, the Freedom Party of Austria,[292][293] Hindu nationalism (Hindutva),[294] the right-wing Swiss People's Party,[295] Winston Churchill,[296] Max Manus,[259][296] Robert Spencer,[297] former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso,[225] Patrick Buchanan,[221] Ayaan Hirsi Ali,[298] Radovan Karadžić,[299] Srđa Trifković,[300] 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".[301] 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".[72][302] Breivik had been active on several anti-Islamic and nationalist blogs, including,[303] and was a regular reader of Gates of Vienna, the Brussels Journal and Jihad Watch.[304]

Breivik has frequently praised the writings of blogger Fjordman.[305] He used Fjordman's thinking to justify his actions, citing him 111 times in the manifesto.[306] 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.[307] 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.[308] In his manifest he copies 25 pages verbatim from an ideological text by Evan Kohlmann and published by an institute led by Magnus Ranstorp.[309]

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.[310][311] Breivik described al-Qaeda as the "most successful revolutionary force in the world" and praised their "cult of martyrdom".[235]

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 (now-defunct) neo-Nazi 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".[30] During the trial in 2012, Breivik listed as his influences a number of neo-Nazi activists, as well as perpetrators of attacks against immigrants and leftists, considering them "heroes".[312][313]

Notable related books[edit]

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.[314] On 14 September 2013 Verdens Gang said that before Wenche Behring Breivik died, she hired a lawyer to prevent[315] Christensen from publishing the book.[316] 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.[317]

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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.[318] In February 2012 the Norwegian Dramatikkens Hus announced it too will be staging the Danish play.[319] 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."[320]
  • 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.[321] The play, running at Amsterdam's De Balie theatre is written by playwright Theodor Holman who one week ahead of the premiere said "I feel a kinship with Anders Breivik."[322] Other plays are currently under development in Sweden and the UK.[323]
  • 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.[324][325]
  • 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.[326]
  • 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.[327]

The 2012 play ["the martyrs"] Märtyrer by Marius von Mayenburg, as opined by the play's director (Anders T. Andersen) at Nationaltheatret, [is about that] "it's obvious that the actions of Anders Behring Breivik on 22 July 2011 were motivated by Christianity and it is striking that the term, Christian terrorism barely exists. ... Regarding Breivik, our trick has been to split him (into two [entities]). On the one hand we have recognised him as sane, to be able to punish him, something which was important to us as a nation. On the other hand we relate to him as a lunatic, so that we can be spared from having to relate to him as a Norwegian—one of us".[328]

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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