In the space of 48 hours Anders Behring Breivik has emerged from the obscurity of a western Oslo suburb to become the worst mass killer in peacetime Europe.
By Sean Rayment
Telegraph | Jul 23, 2011
On July 17, Breivik posted a quote on Twitter by the English philosopher, John Stuart Mill, which read “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”
The message was a chilling warning of the carnage the 6ft tall, blond psychopath was about to unleash.
The next time the world heard from the 32 year-old businessman was at 3.30pm last Friday when a massive home made bomb detonated in central Oslo, killing seven people and wounding dozens of others.
Two hours later his killing spree moved into overdrive when he shot and killed 85 people, mainly teenagers, attending a Labour Party youth camp on the small island of Utoeya.
Breivik, was born on February 13, 1979 and grew up in western Oslo where, until recently, he lived with his mother in a large apartment in the wealthy suburb of Skoyen.
Superficially, his upbringing appears to have been both middle-class and unremarkable.
He attended the Handelsgym High School in central Oslo before going on to study as an undergraduate and held a masters degree from the Oslo School of Management.
A recent picture of Breivik shows him posing with a younger and older woman, possibly his sister and mother, at a wedding in what appears to be a tropical location.
Details of his young life were still sketch last night.
In his late teens, he completed compulsory national service, where he received military training, leant how to shoot and became a keen hunter.
His only brush with the law appears to have been a minor traffic infringement around 10 years ago – about the same time at which friends claim he became increasingly enamoured with right wing politics.
Another significant event was being baptised into the Protestant church of “his own free will” at the age of 15.
But more recently, he had expressed his disgust at his own church. “Today’s Protestant church is a joke,” he wrote in an online posting in 2009.
“Priests in jeans who march for Palestine and churches that look like minimalist shopping centres.”
By the age of 20, Breivik, who was described as “quiet and modest” became a member of Fermskrittspartiet – The Progress Party – Norway’s largest far-right group – holding several political posts in the party’s youth league, including being chair of his local party.
Writing in the anti-Islamic online forum, Document.no, Breivik stated: “I have worked for FrP (Progress Party) for many years and can guarantee that the FrP would have had less than 10% support would it not have been for choosing Vienna School of Thought [ ]as ideologic foundation”.
His association with the party ceased in 2007, when he failed to pay his membership fees.
By this stage his political views became increasingly radical and the object of his hatred were Muslims, who he believed were responsible for destroying Norwegian society – a fact which he claimed was ignored by the media.
Writing in online forums dating back to 2009, Breivik became increasingly critical of multi-culturalism, which he described as a 50-year failed project and began to cite his hatred of Muslims, who he claimed were a threat to Norwegian society.
In a post in a Norwegian online forum in December 2009, Breivik claimed there was not one country where Muslims have peacefully lived with non-Muslims, stating that instead it has had “catastrophic consequences” for non-Muslims.
He also criticised European policies of trying to accommodate the cultures of different ethnic groups, and claimed a significant minority of young British Muslims backed radical Islamic militancy.
“When did multi-culturalism cease to be an ideology designed to deconstruct European culture, traditions, identity and nation-states?” , stated one entry, posted on February 2nd, 2010.
“According to two studies, 13 percent of young British Muslims aged between 15 and 25 support al-Qaeda ideology,” read another entry dated February 16 last year.
In another rant he wrote offensively of Somali immigrants with “full Norwegian passports sitting at home on benefit”, sending money back to Al-Shabab – a terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda.
In another translated post he wrote: “In many ways intensified the polarization between Muslim and non-Muslim youth among the younger generations.
“There are ten times as many Muslim gangs as non-Muslim. Abuse and harassment is perceived as clear racism and frustration is high because the media ignores this racism in total.
“100 racial / Jihadi murder of Norwegians in the last 15 years are totally ignored as a single murder of a Norwegian racist resulting in a torchlight procession in which 50 000 participants and establishing a Memorial Fund.”
A politician who met Breivik in 2002-2003, when he was apparently interested in local Oslo politics, said he did not attract attention.
“I got the impression that he was a modest person … he was well dressed, it seemed like he was well educated,” recalled Joeran Kallmyr, 33, a Progressive local Oslo politician representing the Progressive Party
“I don’t remember anything special about him … I don’t remember if he had any particular political opinions, he wasn’t really a person who took part of political debate.”
Breivik, who police have described as a Christian Fundamentalist, also claims to have written an 1100 page book entitled “2083”, which espouses his ultra right wing political philosophy and the need to protect western Europe from the threat of Islam.
In another online post, Breivik writes about the conflict in the Britain between the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party.
He claims also to have made contact with the EDL and another far-right organisation, Stop the Islamification of Europe (SIOE).
He commented “I have on some occasions discussed with SIOE and EDL and recommended them to use conscious strategies.”
He wrote that the tactics of the EDL are “now to “entice” an overreaction from Jihad Youth / Extreme-Marxists something they have succeeded several times already. The reaction has been repeatedly shown on the news which has boosted EDLs ranks high. This has also benefited GDP. WinWin for both”
Both groups are known to organise via social media such as Facebook. One Facebook user who says he was once with the EDL also claimed that Brievik had been on his friend list.
In another post he states that the agenda of the “Norwegian cultural conservative movement over the next five years” should be the creation of the Norwegian EDL. He has also called for the formation of a “cultural Euro-Tea Party” referring to the grass-roots right wing organisation in the US supported by Sarah Palin.
Outside of politics Breivik, claims to be an avid reader of political books and named George Orwell, Franz Kafka and the American psychologist and philosopher, William James as his favourite author. He also cited on his Facebook page that Winston Churchill as one of his heroes and that he is a fan of classical music and film Max Manus: Man of War.
Brevik is also a keen body builder and, notably, is a member of an Oslo gun club, holding licenses for a rifle, shot gun and a Glock semi-automatic pistol.
He also became a member of Oslo’s masonic lodge and is seen in one recent picture posing in masonic clothing.
Gun ownership is not a controversial subject in Norwegian politics, primarily because of the large hunting fraternity and the number of shooting competitions held in the country.
Firearms in Norway are regulated by the Firearms Weapons Act and all gun owners must have the appropriate licences which are issued by the local police authority but only to applicants with no criminal record.
Although Norway has a large number of hunters, automatic weapons are banned as are powerful handguns.
There are also restrictions on how many guns and owner can possess. For recreational shooters, such as Breivik, only one gun is allowed in each calibre.
Breivik was also a fan of online gaming, with his favourites being Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2 and World of Warcraft.
On the European World of Warcraft forums, players came together to discuss the shooting and try to make sense of Breivik’s alleged involvement.
Among the group is at least two who say they believe they knew the man and said he was down-to-earth and friendly.
In World of Warcraft, it appears that Breivik played as two characters: A high-level human “mage” and a low-level “Forsaken” “mage”, both under the alias “Conservatism”.
“This is just not happening,” a player who goes by the name Piltavla wrote. “This guy Anders been a great great friend of me, for three to four years now…”
“People can hide their dark sides…” wrote Piltavla. “You had this image of him never being able to harm a fly… he was a very calm and down to earth person,” he wrote. “I spent many nights speaking with him… It’s unbelievable that he’s done this. I feel sick that I ever knew him (to be honest)!”
“You had this image of him never being able to harm a fly… he was a very calm and down to earth person.”
Government records suggest that despite his management qualifications, his early attempts at business were a failure until he established Breivik Geofarm in eastern Norway for the cultivation of “vegetable, melons and tubers”.
The agriculture business would have given Breivik access to nitrogen-based fertiliser – one of the main ingredients of “fertiliser bombs” a device perfected by the IRA during The Troubles.
It also emerged that in the weeks leading up to the atrocity Breivik stockpiled six tons of fertiliser, enough even when refined, to make several devastating improvised explosive devices.
At some stage this year he moved to the small rural town of Rena in Amot, Hedmark county, 86 miles north east of Oslo where his agricultural business was based and where he is believed to have lived until launching Friday’s attacks.
His tirades are certain to be pored over – but so far they have not yielded an answer to one mystery.
Despite all of Breivik’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and his hatred of the multi-cultural society, there was no inkling of his deadly loathing of the Labour youth movement or of his victims – of whom many were like him, blond, blue eyed ethnic Norwegians.