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Oslo and Utoya — short version

[ by Charles Cameron — leads related to Anders Breivik, suspected in Oslo bombings / Utoya shootings ]

I may follow this post up with a longer and more detailed version, time permitting – but for now, this presents the lines of inquiry I am following.

The alleged Oslo bomber and Utoya Island shooter, with 90+ deaths to his credit, was not a Muslim jihadist, as many at first suspected, and as at least one Islamist-identified group claimed. Anders Behring Breivik was a Norwegian with strong anti-Islamic views.

Large gobbits of his posts on the Norwegian blog site “document.no” are now available for serious study: there’s an English translation (possibly mechanical) on ScribD and a better one appearing in sections on Leo’s Passagen blog.

Juan Cole titled his blog comment, White Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism in Norway, referencing a Norwegian police spokesman who called Breivik a “Christian fundamentalist”. Breivik was not a Fundamentalist. He was a Protestant – but one who hoped individual Protestants would gradually join the Catholic Church, and one who was himself (paradoxically) active in Freemasonry. But his religious views, as expressed in his document.no postings, were peripheral to his main concerns.

He was an entrepreneur, a millionaire, and a political “conservative” who claimed to be anti-racist. His major political emphasis seems to have been on resisting the “Islamization” of Europe, which he regarded as a form of “demographic warfare” waged by Islamists with passive facilitation by the “multikulti” or multiculturalists. In one of his posts, he suggested the formation of a “cultural Euro-version of a Tea Party movement”.

He was also the owner of a successful farming enterprise, with a reported 700 employees — hence his ability to obtain large quantities (6 tons) of fertilizer of a kind useful in making bombs.

According to the Swedish “Expo” site, he was affiliated with a Nazi web forum.

Two other possible sources for information:

This is not standard evangelical behavior, this is not standard white, male, or white male behavior, this is not standard blogger behavior, this is not standard Norwegian behavior, this is not standard gamer behavior, this is not standard right wing behavior — but it is all too tragically human, this behavior…

There’s a lot to untangle here; this is one complex individual, and we’d do well to get a detailed and nuanced understanding of the various drivers in play…

21 Responses to “Oslo and Utoya — short version”

  1. zen Says:

    Curious about this – I hear he had some kind of rambling 1500+ page treatise? I expect he was lifting liberally from a variety of online and dead tree sources.

  2. Matt Says:

    I felt the same thing after reading about this guy and he would make for a very interesting study.

  3. Dave Schuler Says:

    Fjordman has denied any connection to Breivik.

  4. Charles Cameron Says:

    The posts on Document.no mentioned a book that he was working on, and it appears likely that this was 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, which I have now added (above) to my list of sources to follow up.
    This blogpost by Kevin Slaughter appears to have been the first place the book and related video were reported.

  5. joey Says:

    He was a man with a plan, he surrendered himself as soon as the police called his name.  He asked for a lawyer by name to represent him.  I would not be suprised if he wants to use his trial as a soap box for airing his views. 
    The victims were kids from the youth wing of the ruling labour party, the Prime minister seemed to know many of the vicims parents.  This was a revenge attack on the left.  Most lightly for precived crimes against Norway.  But I wonder what the trigger was that allowed him to move past his violent day dreams and begin to plot mass murder.
    Perhaps the collapse of a personal relationship? 

  6. Charles Cameron Says:

    Thanks for the link.  I’ve noted above that Robert Spencer of JihadWatch apparently received email from Fjordman to the same effect.
    There’s a lot to read, and plenty of breaking leads to follow, too.

  7. Charles Cameron Says:

    Kevin Slaughter by his own account "admires the outsider genius, the architects of their own worlds–opinions be damned".
    I wonder.  This might explain how he came to know about the strange document in question earlier than anyone else, although I’d like to emphasize that it doesn’t mean he supports the POV expressed by Breivik — and is "Ordained a priest in the Church of Satan, and a member of the Hard Case Crime Book of the Month Club" — two affiliations that sound more playful than demonic to me.  And it seems he is a bit of a playful shapeshifter in fact, as you’ll see if you take a look at his self representations:


    AN interesting study in contrasts…

  8. J.ScottShipman Says:


    You comment at the end about the perps complexity brought to mind a David Eagleman piece in the Atlantic where he writes about brain disorders and how they can affect behavior.
    Offering this, however, does not excuse his now admitted guilt and this guy should never see the light of day again.

  9. historyguy99 Says:

    Norway is an overwhelmingly homogenous society where non-ethnic Norwegians only make up 11.4% of the population, and the growing undercurrent of blowback against non-Norwegians has been missed by most outside observers. News accounts that blame increases in crime on non-Westerner looking people; as illustrated in this widely circulated video of a Norwegian news report, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1DiIhg3kwc  might have emboldened the unhinged to act.

  10. Bob Morris Says:

    Can you provide a link to info on his business and 700 employees? I’m not disputing it, not at all. I’m discussing all this on G+ with Norwegians and this could be important info.
    PS His manifesto mentions "investor contacts" on page 1470.

  11. Belladonna Says:

    ABBreivik rented the farm at Rena, Hedmark. He was not a milionaire – if you check the tax-listings. He could have off-shore accounts, not known to norwegian tax authorities, but that is unlikely.
    To obtain 6 tonnes of fertilizer, it is enough to be a registered farmer with 120 hectares of land. This is a normal size – small to medium farmland in Norway. The fertilizer he bought was specific for vegetables – which contains more of a specific contect of the fertilzer than others. Fertizliers are normally also called NPK – Nitrogen, Potassium and Calcium. The % of each will determine where it will be best used in farming… and some has more ammoniumnitrates than others, which was unfortunately essential to be able to create the bomb.

  12. Charles Cameron Says:

    The Wikipedia entry for Breivik under "Farming" states:

    In late June or early July 2011, Breivik moved to the small rural town of Rena in Åmot, Hedmark county, about 140 km (86 miles) northeast of Oslo,[10] where he operated a farming sole proprietorship under the name "Breivik Geofarm".[22] Immediately after the attack there was speculation that he could have used the company as a cover to legally obtain large amounts of artificial fertilizer and other chemicals for the manufacturing of fertilizer explosives.[10] It soon became apparent a farming supplier sold Breivik’s company six tonnes of fertilizer in May.[23] His manifesto revealed he used the company as a façade to acquire the chemicals without raising suspicion.[3]

    The official registration of Breivik Geofarm is here.
    I can’t at the moment locate where I got the employee figures, since I’ve been collecting material on Breivik’s ideology and related religious matters, and may well have read them in a piece that wasn’t germane to my specific interests — but a poster here responded to a comment:

    Is the suspect definitely the owner of that farming business? I think I read on CNN that it employed hundreds of people, but I don’t trust US news agencies regarding rapidly developing foreign stories.


    Definetly the owner of Breivik Geofarm. Highly doubt he had hundreds of employees though. It’s just a small private business.

    This is just hearsay, I know – but (a) it seems I’m not the only one who heard "hundreds" and (b) more significantly, it sounds as though my figure of 700 employees was "fog of war" rather than fact.

  13. Charles Cameron Says:

    Thanks, Belladonna.

  14. Bob Morris Says:

    Charles, thanks for the update.
    I wonder, were the "investor contacts" all in his head or do they exist?

  15. Kevin I. Slaughter Says:

    I will be writing a blog on Breivik and the misinformation of connecting him to the Church of Satan as an organization. Until then, I have recieved permission to post Dr. Introvigne‘s response to my previous letter. Response from Massimo Introvigne:

    Thank you for your comments. If you are in contact with (inter alia) Jim Lewis, he can easily confirm to you that in all my publications (including a 600-page manual of Satanism used in a number of Italian and French universities) I have never indulged in slander or defamation of the Church of Satan – my quarrels have been mostly with anti-cultists and moral entrepeneurs promoting moral panics about Satanism.. My text was posted a few hours before your postings at http://www.cesnur.org/2011/mi-oslo-en.html and may have included some factual mistakes I will be glad to correct. These comments are: 1) “was first made publicly available on the Internet by Kevin Slaughter, an ordained minister in Anton LaVey (1930-1997)’s Church of Satan which, by the way, has a sizeable following in Norway” which I will change into “was first made largely available on the Internet by Kevin Slaughter, who found it on Stormfront.org, a white supremacist forum. Slaughter is an ordained minister in Anton LaVey (1930-1997)’s Church of Satan which, by the way, has a sizeable following in Norway” 2) “In a way, it is not surprising that Breivik had friends even in LaVey’s Church of Satan. The latter became popular in Scandinavia by flirting with right-wing extremists with an anti-immigration agenda and, rather than occultism, emphasized a “rationalist” approach to a celebration of freedom and capitalism largely based on the writings of the Russian-born American novelist Ayn Rand (1905-1982). Rand is listed by both LaVey and Breivik among their favorite authors (of course, this is not to suggest that the Church of Satan had anything to do with the Oslo tragedy).” (note last parenthesis). I will change it into “In a way. It is not surprising that Breivig caught the interest even of a member of LaVey’s Church of Satan, although there is no evidence of any direct contact etc.” Best regards Dr Massimo Introvigne  

    Again, I will be writing more on the topic, but even with Massimo’s proposed changes he is still “poisoning the well” when it comes to the assessment of Breivik’s motivations. There is no evidence that he was familiar with Satanism as codified by Anton LaVey and represented by the Church of Satan, and even though the parenthetical statement says just that, there is still an implication that the affiliation of someone who found a piece of evidence and produced it freely has any implication on the person who produced that evidence. It may be interesting or even ironic that a priest in the Church of Satan found and made available the manifesto to all comers as an act of “amateur investigation”, but only on a superficial level, as it would have been just as interesting had it been a professional clown or Russian cosmonaut.

  16. Charles Cameron Says:

    Thanks, Kevin:
    As I have written to you and said, I appreciate your finding the Manifesto — and actually find that the fact that you are a priest of the CoS if anything points up the analytic advantage that accrues to people not boxed in by convention and willing to trawl somewhat out-of-the-way sources.  FWIW, I’d certainly say the same if you were a professional clown (or a cosmonaut, maybe).  The point is, your affiliation is a pointer to your independent-mindedness.
    I have also been reading Massimo Introvigne for, I don’t know, maybe a dozen years, and would like to say that one thing you can be sure of is that he is not inclined to negative characterization of any new religious movement — his field of scholarly expertise.  As befits a scholar, his approach is not to sit in judgment but to document and analyze impartially.
    I think you can take it that when Massimo writes "this is not to suggest that the Church of Satan had anything to do with the Oslo tragedy" and "there is no evidence of any direct contact" he is being straightforward.  Perhaps I can give a parallel from my own recent experience: I noted a quote from David McKay, who happens to have been the ninth president of the Mormon church (though that wasn’t mentioned), on the final page of an FBI briefing on Islam released just the other day.  Scholars of new religious movements note such things, most people don’t.
    I wouldn’t read more into Massimo’s interest than that — he’s an expert in a frequently neglected and/or misunderstood corner of the religious world, and your affiliation was therefore something he noted and pondered. 

  17. Massimo Introvigne Says:

    Kevin Slaughter did thank me for the amendments (which are now online) and only asked for my permission, which I granted, to reproduce my message on his Web site.
    As it now stands, my comment only notes that both LaVey and Breivik had a special appreciation for Ayn Rand, while clarifying that this does not imply the Church of Satan in any way in Breivik’s activities. The fact that a Church of Satan’s priest did made Breivik’s book known to the world is noted, but the only comment is that he "took an interest" on it, which is hardly offensive. Presumably if Mr. Slaughter posted the book it did "took an interest" on it. His interest is more significant than, say, one by a clown or a cosmonaut precisely because of the common points in certain ideological areas between the book and CoS’ idea (one area is Ayn Rand but there are others). Similarities among certain points of Breivik’s ideology and book and conservative Christianity, Neo-Templarism, Freemasonry, the EDL, the late Mr Fortuyn’s party etc. have been noted by many scholars. There are certains similarities with LaVey’s writings as well, although this does not connect the Church of Satan to the killings, just as Freemasonry, conservative Christianity, Neo-Templarism and other groups are not connected to the killings by the fact that Breivik’s book has certains similarities with their respective worldviews. If a Neo-Templar, a conservative Christian or a Freemason had made Breivik’s book known to the world by posting it on the Internet, I am sure that scores of scholars would have been quick to point this out too, hopefully with my caution (which was there even before the exchange of mails with Mr Slaughter) that this does not imply that any of these groups or organizations has anything to do with the tragedy

  18. Charles Cameron Says:

    I’m grateful to both Kevin Slaughter and Massimo Introvigne for this exchange.

  19. zen Says:

    Hi Massimo,
    "As it now stands, my comment only notes that both LaVey and Breivik had a special appreciation for Ayn Rand…"
    I have read pretty much everything by and about Ayn Rand, barring a few recent books and I’ve never heard this. Query: Rand and Anton LaVey were contemporaries, was she aware that LaVey was a fan of her work?

  20. Massimo Introvigne Says:

    Probably not

  21. Kevin I. Slaughter Says:

    I appreciate that Massimo has made the corrections to his website, and I never contended certain factual statements and opinion that I actually still find fault in, however I did imply that his stressing my association with the Church of Satan could have been arhetorical method to reinforce his proposition that Breivik is not a fundamentalist Christian. 
    It may indeed be that it was a simple observation and was intended to add some additional "interesting information" to his article. He did make a parenthetical statement that one should not draw the conclusion that the Church of Satan had any responsibility in the crime, and that’s a perfectly fine caveat, though the effect of it probably lost upon most readers, and CLEARLY many secondary news/opinion sources. I can link to a dozen pages that have claimed the manifesto was "released by the Church of Satan", that Breivik had "supporters in the Church of Satan", etc. In my amateur forensic investigation it was Introvigne who first published this connection and explicitly make the claim that Breivik had "friends" in the Church of Satan. Prior to his posting, I had been referred to as an "American Blogger" and the Church of Satan was nowhere to be seen.
    His backward linking LaVey to Rand to Breivik is, well, merely a game of "Kevin Bacon", but applied to a hot news story and connecting a "new religious movement" to a terrorist who had just slain scores of innocents. To make things personal, I was by name part of that chain of association.
    In the 1500 pages of Breivik’s kluge of a manifesto, there is one single reference to "satanism", and no mention of "church of satan" or "lavey" (Anton Szandor LaVey) The one reference turned up in my search was contained in a pilfered essay by Fjordman and was as follows: "At the beginning of the year, the Islamic Society screened a video which compared Judaism with Satanism."  I didn’t search for anything further, as I can’t imagine he opined on Erotic Crystallization Inertia or Lesser and Greater Magic.
    Introvigne may indeed have a history of not slandering the Church of Satan, and if this is true, I can appreciate that. In the big picture, this is a minor issue, but it involves me personally, so you can understand why I take this fine point so seriously. He DID link me and an organization I am a representative of directly to the murderer, not as an "amateur journalist" but as a "friend" in the first part, as an ideological ally in the second.
    In the first instance he was wrong, possibly slanderously so. In the second part he has done exactly what he claims to be trying to diffuse, claiming a causal relationship between one worldview and his actions. Though I’m not so naive as to be confused when people balk at the idea that a Satanist’s reputation can be defamed, those who have studied the Satanism codified by LaVey, as Introvigne certainly has, should be able to see the issue.
    Again, he has made the correction to his source, and I appreciate that, though it has been done long after that source has been translated into at least a half-dozen languages and propagated through the internet. 

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