Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 23, 2011

Norwegian terrorist: Blond, nationalist, libertarian, Christian, farmer

Filed under: Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on July 23, 2011

Anders Behring Breivik, age 32, has been arrested for the Oslo bombing that killed seven and the Utoya shooting of at least 84.  The BBC has a more complete profile. Breivik evidently admits to his role without remorse (see early Friday morning post).

It is being reported that Breivik had over an hour before police arrived to shoot the mostly teenagers attending the Labour Party summer camp on the island of Utoya.  The current Prime Minister of Norway is a member of the Labour Party, generally seen as part of the mainstream of the European social democratic left.

The Norwegian newspaper VG provided the following report (I have edited the computer-generated translation):

Anders Behring Breivik is well read with strong opinions about Norwegian politics. He promotes very conservative opinions, which he also called nationalist. He expressed strong opposition to multiculturalism – that cultural differences can live together in a community.

Breivik has had many posts on the site Document.no, an Islam-critical site that publishes news and commentary. In one of the posts he states that today’ politics no longer revolves around socialism versus capitalism, but that the fight is between nationalism and internationalism. He expressed clear support for the nationalist mindset. Anders Behring Breivik has also commented on Swedish news articles, where he makes it clear that he believes the media have failed by not being Islam-critical.

Six days ago he put out his first and only message on the social networking site Twitter, where he laid out a famous quote by British philosopher and libertarian John Stuart Mill,“One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.”

On Facebook  Breivik claims to be the director of his own company Geofarm. (Note by Palin: The farm allowed him to purchase at least three tons of fertilizer earlier this year.  This was apparently used in the bomb(s).) He also claims he has an education in finance and religion, but does not disclose the universities attended… The only school he gives is Oslo Handel.

The 32-year-old is among other things, registered as a member of Oslo gun club and the Masonic Lodge. Among other interests he expresses his admiration for Winston Churcill, classical music and Max Manus (a member of the Norwegian resistance in WWII). The 32-year-old man has been active in computer games and has been engaged in the online game World of Warcraft.

Main stream media are now giving this detailed attention.  Unless something emerges with significant strategy or policy implications, I doubt further updates by HLSwatch are necessary.

The local reporting that I have found most helpful is from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporations (www.nrk.no) and the VG newspaper out of Olso (www.vg.no).


A confession and comment: I was in a fairly important meeting when the news from Oslo made my smartphone vibrate non-stop.  I had plenty of time — and space, an ocean away — to be professionally objective.

Even as I attempted to complete my immediate agenda, I considered a wide range of possibilities: natural gas, volcanic venting, several terrorist options including AQ, Taliban,  and neo-Nazis.   The December 2010 Stockholm attack was at the forefront of my mind… and I was troubled by my inability to remember many salient details.  I thought about the Stieg Larsson series and his wide array of bad actors.  I did not think of Gaddafi until I read speculation by others.

It was nearly two hours before I had a sufficient break in meetings to access a full-size computer… and to post to HLSWatch.  While reading (bad) translations of the local Norwegian reports one of the first blurbs on a shooting at Utoya appeared.  My immediate reaction was how in the aftermath of something like the Oslo bombing every other event is blown out of proportion.  I assumed there had been a hunting accident or something similar.  Even later when I understood Utoya was a summer camp for youth associated with the ruling Labour party I assumed, at worst, an awful coincidence.

It is now clear the Oslo bombing was both a significant attack and a dramatic distraction.  The rising generation of the ruling party was, perhaps, Breivik’s principal target.  The gunman — dressed as a  paramilitary — used the bombing as justification to access the island.    Because police were so consumed by the bomb’s consequence their response to the Utoya shootings was significantly delayed and the massacre continued unchallenged for over an hour.

It is a tragic reminder that terrorists (of every stripe) are keen to use our predictable responses as key elements in their planning.  Both strategically and tactically, they regularly depend on our own choices to amplify the effectiveness of their attack.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 23, 2011 @ 6:17 am

An interesting post. So perhaps new justification for suppression and civil liberties will be found by some in this instance although I would argue for failure of the Norwegian mental health care system.

Modern society is complex and support systems are failing many. Question–What is Homeland Security in that context? Drought, heat and starvation may be one future not just in the Sahel but elsewhere. So how resilient is the earth in the face of the huge numbers of people on it?

No answers here but plenty of questions!

And the mental stability of one of the budget negotiators now seems open to question IMO. Great timing for our NATION.

Comment by Bruce Majors

July 24, 2011 @ 5:38 am

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that is a deductive system, whose fundamental axiom is that every individual owns his or her own life, time, body, products and homesteads. Therefore no one can violate their rights to those things (morally), including organized groups, including organized groups that claim or have a monopoly on force in a territory and call themselves states.

Murdering innocent people is the antithesis of libertarianism since it involves stealing and individual’s life from him. Someone’s committing acts of violence against private individuals, like the 80 some teens this guy killed, “because” of some greivance with a government, makes them criminally insane, not a libertarian.

Your smear on libertarians in your title makes you mendacious, tendentious, careless, and makes your purported devotion to “rigorous analysis” a lie.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

July 24, 2011 @ 6:01 am

Mr. Major, I agree that Breivik’s actions are entirely contrary to any authentic libertarianism. He nonetheless claimed to be a libertarian. He also claimed to be a Christian. I do not recognize anything Christian in his actions. I claim to be a libertarian and a Christian and a nationalist. I do not want to claim Breivik. But given the widespread tendency to conflate Islam with terrorism, it is perhaps worthwhile to highlight what Breivik claimed.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 24, 2011 @ 6:14 am

So Phil with almost a decade completed since 9/11/01 what is the best open source analysis of Islam’s repudiation of that act and terrorism–defined by me as killing of innocents–since that date?

And of course what nation states have specifically stated that their foreign policy does not include attacks on innocents? I know of none but perhaps just ignorant.

I would argue that the 21st Century acceptance of violence against innocents indicates that possibly the 21st Century will out run the 20th in the violence committed against innocents.

How many churchmen and women of any faith have so far denounced USA drone attacks? I know of none. So the ends do justify the means?

Comment by Little Tolerance and Respect for Neighbor....

July 24, 2011 @ 6:22 am

Whatever one gives as their preferred designation whether Libertarians, Democracts, Socialists, Republicans, Independents or “whatever” as the youngsters so frequently reply – the fact remains that We are failing because of humanity’s dysfunctional and abusive manners towards others w/little tolerance for anyone other for their self-indulgent way, their self-serving agenda (see: US Congress) which is so clearly portrayed by so many today who care little other than for themselves which does not bode well for mankind.

Unfortunately, mankind has not changed even with today’s wonderful scientific and technological advancements and the lack of resilience and lack of tolerance has been and will be the demise once again for humanity and many good people who are subjected to further slavery to pverty and oppression again by the “elitist” and mankind as we will shortly see real War break out with shock and awe which will again turn the pages of history and so many innocents will again be compromised. What a pity.

History and this lust to control Jerusalem, the tutonic plates of Christianity led by the ever powerful and political Vatican and Islam rubbing each other the wrong way and verse quite clear that no one will control Jerusalem other than our Creator who has made it quite clear who will sit on the throne…

Unfortunately, this incident of killing innocents in Norway in cold blood without respect for Life which took place in Norway and takes places in Palestine, Israel and so many other places s often will increase as Christianity and Islamic fundamentalists take up sword against each other as they have throughout histry and anyone and everyone at DHS must be required to take a course on just how terrible this religious strife with participants having no compassion whatsoever towards another much like We saw the Germans march women and children into gas stoves and kill millions of innocent children of our Creator.

No one has tne Right to judge such other than God, our Creator yet, the fact remains, We as this proud Republic, these United State of America s weakened by the fact that we have been paralyzed by our own decision-making will pay a heavy price for our weakness, our inability to get our house in order, to repent and to hoist our flag high, not our flag as shown on my front porch flying upside down depicting the distress We are facing because We as the greatest nation, based on Judeo-Christian values, have failed ourselves in so many ways….and no longer do the oppressed in far distant shore see the beacon of hope America offered in its willing strength to understand itself and willingly lend a hand to others….

The arduous road ahead for so many requires much prayer. Let us pray for the salavation of mankind.

God Bless us all!

Christopher Tingus
PO Box 1612
Harwich, MA 02645

Comment by Philip J. Palin

July 24, 2011 @ 7:09 am

Bill, In terms of Islamic condemnation, here are two, there are many more:

Tahir-ul-Qadri fatwa on terrorism

CAIR Fatwa against Terrorism

In terms of denunciation of US drone attacks:

The American church woman Mary Ellen O’Connell denounces the use of drones in the Catholic news weekly America.

As early as 2009 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church called for discontinuation of the use of “pilotless drones.” Similar resolutions have been adopted by other churches and interdenominational organizations. Recently some church people have begun picketing factories involved in the production of drones.

I am, perhaps, reading too much into the lines between your comments, but where I probably agree with you is that somehow actions and voices for peace are muted, even as violent acts and justifications for war are amplified. In this I am not meaning to over-simplify what I perceive to be a treacherously difficult set of related issues. But we will not fully engage the complications without a better understanding of all our options.

Comment by Bruce Majors

July 24, 2011 @ 7:32 am

Here is a better discussion of Breivik’s beliefs and motivations by Kevin MacDonald at The Occidental Observor


(Note by Sean Gabb, UK Libertarian Alliance: I have copied this in full from The Occidental Observer site because Professor MacDonald’s posting seems to be the longest and most thorough analysis of what drove Mr Breivik to commit his crimes. He has actually read the killer’s book, and this lets him say a great deal more than the mainstream media, which appears to take its entire coverage from statements by the Norwegian police.)

Comment by Anti-terrorist

July 24, 2011 @ 8:41 am

I don’t see anything in the article where he says he’s a libertarian. He calls himself a nationalist. The article says That’s hardly a libertarian perspective. The only reference to “libertarian” is that he quoted a non-ideological statement from a philosopher who was a libertarian before he became a social democrat. You should change your headline.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

July 24, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

Following Sunday’s mass of sorrow and hope at the Oslo Cathedral, Thorvald Stoltenberg a long-time Norwegian diplomat (and father of the current prime minister) was interviewed by NRK and in regard to the admitted mass-murderer commented:

What is scary is that the more knowledge you have, the more intelligent you are, the more you can convince yourself that what you are doing is right. We must rid ourselves of the notion of revenge.

Stoltenberg has shaken hands with more bloody hands than most of us. He has been directly involved with a wide range of peace-making attempts including the Israel-Palestine conflict and the implosion of the former Yugoslavia. He has known several knowledgeable, intelligent mass-murderers.

Most of the issues on which I engage are beyond black-and-white or easily discernible right-and-wrong. Yet so many of those I meet in my work seem absolutely confident of their answers. Initially I perceived this must be a rhetorical device, designed to advance a kind of legalistic conflict of arguments from which some more nuanced understanding of truth would emerge. (In a few cases this is the intent.) But in too many cases I have learned that, no… in fact these men and women are absolutely convinced that their judgment is right and any other is wrong.

I admire — sometimes envy — their self-confidence. But doubt, even self-doubt, has its virtues.

Comment by John Fast

July 25, 2011 @ 4:05 am

The killer posted something by John Stuart Mill on his blog before he committed his crime. Mill was a liberal or “progressive”; this mass murderer is presumably a deranged “progressive” as well, like Jared Lee Loughner.

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