Oslo and Utoya: open source warfare

[ by Charles Cameron — analysis of 2083 manifesto, John Robb ]


Just a quick note — section 3.18 of the 2083 European Declaration of Independence reads as follows:

3.18 “Open source” warfare – clandestine cell systems – the most efficient way of warfare in Phase 1

A clandestine cell structure is a method for organising a group in such a way that it becomes virtually immune to detection, penetration and decapitation. As such, it is a critical strategic element of our operations. It is not in any way lead under a fixed, fragile hierarchy but works as an extremely distributed movement, a resilient network made up of small, autonomous groups or cells. Each group is lead by a cell commander, often working solo, who makes all the decisions based on fixed fundamental principles. We therefore avoid the use of electronic communications (including mobile phones, email and internet chat), because electronic intelligence, signals intelligence, ELINT, SIGINT, is a strength of conventional militaries and counterintelligence organisations.

Solo Martyr Cells are completely unknown to our enemies and has a minimal chance of being exposed. The relatively indestructible and impenetrable nature of the Cell System allows the individual to stay hidden until he is ready to “activate” himself. Even then he will escape the scrutiny often reserved for young men of Arab descent. Optimally he should not have any affiliations to “extremist networks” or to any extreme right wing movements for obvious reasons. This will disallow the National Intelligence Agencies to place the individual on their “radar”/under surveillance. As with the “open source” concept in general our core principles which include armed resistance against the cultural Marxists/ multiculturalists are made available for public collaboration. Our evolving approach to conducting warfare makes it extremely quick to innovate and share tactics rapidly from cell to cell without the direction of a vulnerable leadership hierarchy.

Each European country has tens of thousands individuals who are affiliated with far right conservative movements (from moderate to extreme). In addition, there are several thousand individuals who sympathise with armed resistance groups against the cultural Marxists/multiculturalists (many of them being in the police force and the intelligence agencies themselves).

National Intelligence Agencies have very limited resources and will not be able to monitor tens of thousands of people efficiently (they will not waste excessive resources on individuals who are not considered an immediate threat). They will not have any chance whatsoever to implement efficient means against Solo or even Duo cells because you are not on their “priority watch list”. Even if you are on a watchlist you have several opportunities.


Groups and individuals who use terror (spreading fear and means of intimidation) as its primary weapon (even if concentrated on specific individuals or government buildings only) will always have limited “open” support in the population.

The rather excessive secrecy and decentralised concept of our command structure can contribute to a reduction or distortion of information about our goals and ideals. This would only be a problem if f. example a cell commander fails to send an announcement to predefined news agencies and blogs. The biggest threat is that media or government agencies might attempt to distort our messages and material and present it to the media as NS or racist in nature in an attempt to de-legitimise us. This has the potential to prevent the wanted effect of our operation, support for our cause and political pressure on current regimes (to halt Muslim immigration and Islamisation). However, if the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist governments attempt to falsely give credit to racist organisations they risk creating more activity among the NS movements so it is a double edged blade even for them.

There appear to be two references to “open source warfare” in the document: this one is the main one, on p. 840 of my downloaded .docx version. There’s also a mention of “open source intelligence”.

I haven’t found a reference to John Robb in this context — but given that John pioneered the concept of OSW in his writings, I will be interested to see his comments on the brief version described above.

10 comments on this post.
  1. Matt:

    Fascinating. That last part about weaknesses was very intriguing. This guy was a strategist for sure. I would also say that he has probably studied Al Qaeda more than any other source. But I can tell he is well read and has definitely put his time in for research. So it wouldn’t surprise me if he did read a multitude of blogs, forums, and literature on the subject of clandestine cell structures, strategy and waging war.  The theme I see with small groups like this, is that they understand the concept of attacking weakness with strength. It is also important to note that the structure of his attack was totally ‘zheng and qi’, and that too indicated a level of sophistication.

  2. Edward:

    Also wading through the text to try to understand this man’s path. He definitely draws a lot of inspiration from Al Qaeda in terms of MO – by suggesting the creation of an almost completely decentralised network of one- or two-person cells so as not to be uprooted by police. The first few hundred pages of his "compendium" is copy-pasted from a variety of online sources. Starting from "book 3" (page 766 of the PDF version) it looks like it is overwhelmingly his own writing. In many passages he is writing in the first person ("I") while other parts are written as if the text were from the organisation that he claims was founded in London in 2002. My personal feeling when reading him is that he was extremely isolated for several years, during which he radicalised himself through a pattern of obsessive circular thinking that was fed into overwhelmingly from the internet (and which we see in "book 1" and "book 2"). "book 3" contains outrageously radical political demands for the future as he imagines it and develops a set of arguments to justify mass terrorism. Then it quickly switches to how one can be a single-person terrorist cell without being detected and how to organise. In those parts he implicitly reveals (in my opinion) that he is really talking about himself. From the operational perspective he was very aware of the risk of being monitored / detected and he gives many very practical hints on how to avoid detection; how to reduce attention from friends or relatives (using psychological deception); and how to remain motivated and committed during long periods of isolation (music, meditation, physical activity). He clearly did a lot of home-work and two thoughts come to mind. One is that the overall vision is probably really his own. The second is that he hopes that there will be copy-cats and that is a major reason for making sure that the "compendium" would be available. The key question for law enforcement will be to determine whether Breivik was really part of something bigger, or simply a loner with tremendous skill but also tremendous vanity.

  3. Edward:

    The Telegraph has reported that Breivik stated that he was indeed in London in 2002 where he allegedly met a small circle of extremists. The feeling of injustice for the bombing of Serbia in 1999 was allegedly a noticeable political point that was made. (Breivik includes a specific demand for huge reparation payments to Serbia in his book…)  Breivik states that he took "50 pages" of notes at the meeting. Reading on into book 3, I am finding a lot of additional material about weapons, ammo, body armour and other operational issues that is written in the third person, like it was lifted from an instruction manual for lone urban/revolutionary/partisan warriors. The text looks like a merger of instructions received and Breivik’s own practical comments about how he solved certain problems. An interesting question for law enforcement will therefore be to try to trace back the origins of various key parts of his text. In contrast with the political stuff from books 1 and 2, the operational bits seem much more difficult to trace back to online contents. So perhaps we’re looking at some tailor-made instructions from his helpers/handlers. Or Breivik was really hard-working. Linguistic analysis should help. One would need to identify his exact writing style (in English) and then that would help to recognise the bits that were written by someone else.

  4. zen:

    Let me suggest an alternative, outlier, hypothesis:
    The manual appears to be stitched together from many, ideologically disparate, sources. Perhaps it is an intentional distractor to conceal the real motives? Brevik stated he was in London – is there any proof of this? Usually, there’s a trail for ppl like this, a period of radicalization and drifting away from normality over a period of years that former friends, relatives and associates report – like the AZ shooter. The Norwegian was not socially isolated and visibly disturbed, he ran a large business.

  5. Edward:

    Good point. Not sure there’s any evidence he was really in London. Telegraph article was basing itself on the manifesto. I still haven’t finished reading the text. Very open to your outlier hypothesis. Also noticed a few other points. There could be connections with extremists from Serbia or Russia or both. Concerning the manual… yes, of course, it could itself be a manipulation – or contain manipulations along with genuine elements… 

  6. Lexington Green:

    I wonder if the massacre is just phase one, to get public attention.   Since he knows he will be tried, then face a prison sentence and not the death penalty, he has created a bully pulpit for himself.   He has made his face internationally known.  Now he will be given a platfrom from which he can broadcast his views, the trial, then he can continue even while he is imprisoned, and he may even get out after 21 years.  Sayyid Qutb and Hitler both wrote books from prison.  

  7. Curtis Gale Weeks:

    "Fortunately, much of the foundation for 5GW has already been laid out — long before 5GW theorists began to appear.  We have a better grasp of the most likely opponents for first generation 5GW operations (they will be 4GW forces, perhaps some 3GW forces) and many new approaches in traditional fields have been increasing our observational capability and paving the way for greater precision in warfare, by addressing the complexity of the emerging global environment.  Defeating those likely foes is the goal post, and the complex global environment is the field (of which the likely enemies are also a part).  We know many of the strengths of our enemies, the way they have been utilizing complexity, but we require a theory that understands their weakness as well.  5GW, being next-generation, will be useful only so far as we have been able to understand those weaknesses as well as we understand those strengths.

    "Dan of tdaxp, writing on Dreaming 5GW, has advanced the ball a yard or two by noting the tendency toward less-kinetic methods of operation in the generational shift:

    0G Warfare focuses on ending an enemy’s ability to fight by killing their men. By the time we get to 4G Warfare almost none of the battle is in the field, but in the mind’s of men who will live regardless. This 5GW we talk of seems to be even more mental and less physical, seeking to leave the men, material, and even will of the enemy essentially unchanged. If kinetic intensity is seen as morally bad, then every new G is a moral improvement. 5GW may truly be “moral war,” compared to everything that has come before.

    "In this summary of his point of view, Dan has isolated both the strength and the weakness of 4GW fighters.

    "The destructive capability of 3GW forces has been made an oxymoron, since 4GW fighters have learned to avoid the field that will be pockmarked by shell blasts and occupied by armor divisions; they will operate where shells and armor cannot go: in the minds of the populations keeping that weaponry maintained and deployed. They will hit oil refineries, public servants, and pretty much anywhere that the finite force of 3GW weaponry is not.  These are their strengths.  By shaping the battlefield — shifting it to where kinetic force may not succeed directly and immediately — they have revised the definition of power.

    "Actually, they have only recognized the growing power of public opinion — a power intensified by the advent of democratic bureaucracies, capitalist entrepreneurialism, mass media, and the Internet, but also by the general complexity of modern societies.  This is part of their weakness.  The focus of this power shifts, and insofar as 4GW fighters have recognized this and are able to keep public opinion from settling or else are able to keep it trained, through repetitive kinetic action, they are strong; but the inherent weakness of opinion, which allows it to be shifted so easily, also allows it to be shifted by the opponents of individual 4GW groups."–"Managing Multiple Strands", Dreaming 5GW, 1 Nov 2006.
    Of course, there are multiple examples of a discussion of the inherent weaknesses of decentralized would-be 4GW forces, on D5GW and among the discussions that occurred in its neighborhood.

  8. Curtis Gale Weeks:

    Ah, forgot the link: http://dreaming5gw.com/2006/11/managing_multiple_strands.php

  9. Edward:

    Reading on (now around pages 1290-1300), the document has Russian fingerprints all over the place. Breivik imagines a right-wing coup d’etat in France in 2040, with the US intervening militarily to reverse it, and Russia intervening militarily on the side of French nationalists against the US. A lot of fantasy here, but it is true to note that far-right circles in Europe look up to Russia a lot (Russia is seen as a great hope for those people). This also ties in with pro-Serbian interpretations of what happened in the 1990s (anti-Muslim, anti-NATO). And that itself ties in with wide-spread opinion among right-wing Russians (pro-Serb, anti-Muslim, anti-NATO).

  10. Agent Orange:

    One thing I’ve noticed is that Breivik is definitely computer literate and not a technological luddite in a Ted Kaczynski sense. Certain recommendations (such as using TOR to hide your internet activity) parallel similar ideas put forth by the anonymous collective (see the "uber-secret handbook" at http://www.thegeniusfiles.com/anonymous-the-uber-secret-handbook-anonsec). Moreover, his suggestion that someone fake a World of Warcraft addiction in order to disguise illicit activity is fairly chilling. Saying that you’re playing ‘WoW’ can justify long times spent in isolation.