Geir Lippestad is sitting on a beige chair. He seems calm and collected, but there is also a tense alertness in his sharply defined features. Is there such a thing as pure evil? Can a human being be intrinsically evil? And if not, what induces him to commit evil acts, such as casually killing people and shooting children?
These are the kinds of questions that preoccupy Lippestad, 46, as well as an entire country, and possibly even the world. But the questions are particularly important for Lippestad. He is an attorney -- Anders Behring Breivik's attorney.
He says he received a call, and was told that Breivik had requested him as his defense attorney.
After receiving the call Lippestad, a member of Norway's center-left Labor Party, asked for time to consider the request. He spoke with his family and thought about what it would mean for him and for them. He also thought about what it would mean for Norway, democracy and the rule of law, whose principles guide his actions. "A legal system must also function in exceptional situations," says Lippestad.
Now he is defending a man who defiled those principles, a man who killed 77 people in half a day. A man who, as Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg put it, was responsible for the worst tragedy to hit Norway since World War II.
A Unique Case
Lippestad told the Oslo newspaper Aftenposten that Breivik had told him he had wanted to kill even more people, and that he had intended to bomb two other buildings. This is supported by the fact that police are still searching for most of the six tons of fertilizer Breivik had ordered over the course of several months, of which he used only a fraction. What happened to the rest?
A category for Breivik's incomprehensible crime doesn't even exist. Is he a terrorist? A madman? A right-wing extremist? Should he be tried for crimes against humanity?
Breivik's case is unique, says Lippestad, as he sits in his office. "Anders Breivik is waging war against our values," he says. "Against our democracy and against our openness." As an attorney, he feels that it is his duty to defend those values by defending a man who seeks to destroy them. At the moment, Lippestad is the person with the closest relationship to Breivik. He visits his client almost every day, sometimes spending as much as two hours with him.
Breivik is now in an isolation cell at Ila Prison west of Oslo. He will spend at least four weeks there, with no access to visitors, books, television or newspapers. Lippestad and the guards are the only people who speak to him. One of the first questions Breivik asked his attorney was whether he could get him a uniform. Breivik also explained to him that this was the beginning of a 60-year war, and that he had to make sacrifices for that war.
Breivik, too, seems to believe that he is performing his duty.
The Worldview of a Killer
He is a Christian and a mass murderer, a man who hates Islam and invokes the Bible, a 32-year-old Norwegian terrorist who claims to be fighting to save the Western world and kills people to do so. He killed eight people with a 500-kilo (1,100-pound) bomb in Oslo, and the other 69, many of them teenagers, by shooting them to death at a Labor Party youth camp on Utøya island.
Breivik's crime, as unexpected as it was horrific, exposes new truths and raises new, unsettling questions. What have we overlooked? Where does this violence come from? Will we see more of it? Were the killer's actions those of a lone psychopath, or was he inspired by right-wing populist, xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric? Did he use violence to put into practice the ideas that people like the late Austrian politician Jörg Haider and the Dutch politician Geert Wilders promoted with words? Should we really be paying attention to his confused ideas and his self-important 1,500-page manifesto?
Now that Breivik is in prison, the police are investigating the case and Norwegian society is forced to confront the horror that emerged from its midst, it is time to examine the worldview of a killer and the question of where his ideas come from and what the consequences of the attacks should be. An anti-Islamic terrorist is a first for Europe.
Was this an isolated case, or does Breivik represent a movement? Is he even a terrorist?
SPIEGEL examines the most important questions surrounding Breivik and his actions.
How Does an Average Citizen Turn into a Mass-Murderer?
Breivik is a child of the middle class, the son of a diplomat and a nurse. After his parents were divorced, he grew up with his mother and stepfather. He lived with his mother again for a period before the attack in Skoyen, a neighborhood in western Oslo where there are few Muslim immigrants. It's a pleasant neighborhood with flowerboxes and Thuja hedges, not far from the fjord. Breivik had lunch with his mother every other Sunday, say the neighbors.
It is in that neighborhood, where he grew up and where his mother lived until she was taken away on the night of the attack, where people are particularly appalled by the events. Before the massacre, locals thought of Breivik simply as "Anders," just another young man from the neighborhood.
An elderly woman with gray curls and pink lipstick is sitting on a chair, leaning against a flowered cushion, in Café Valentin behind Möllhausen Torg, a small shopping center with a supermarket and a flower shop.
The woman, who prefers not to mention her name, says that Breivik's mother is her best friend. She calls it a tragedy, this thing that the son has done to her best friend. The mother, she says, was proud of her son. He was quiet and reserved, and he had never had any problems or been a troublemaker. Perhaps he was a little too shy, the mother had once told her friend in confidence, but she was also quick to point out that it was probably a sign of great intelligence.
"I don't know," says the elderly woman. "He was too quiet. And he was very much alone. Always."
Breivik's mother doesn't even have a computer in her apartment, not even a mobile phone, says the woman. The mother told her that young Anders was a real technology buff, something she had respected and encouraged. "She did everything for her children. There was nothing they didn't have." The woman talked to her friend about Anders' loneliness, his reclusive nature and his visits on Sundays. She said she thought it was odd that he wasn't in a relationship and never brought home friends. But the mother dismissed her friend's concerns, saying that he just happened to be shy and that he would grow out of it.
It was by no means obvious that Breivik saw himself as a chosen one, a "Knight Templar," a member of a Christian conservative avant-garde, named after the medieval order of knights that not only protected pilgrims to Jerusalem, but also used violence to spread the Christian faith in the Holy Land. Breivik claims that in April 2002 he went to London to attend the re-founding of the Knights Templar, an international network dedicated to the fight against a global Muslim conspiracy and its "cultural Marxist" backers.
This sounds odd, and yet a website operated by Paul Ray, a founding member of the anti-Islamic English Defense League, displayed photos of two men posing in Templar T-shirts featuring a red cross on a white background. One of the men in the image is Nick G., a former neo-Nazi from the Bavarian town of Marktredwitz. A film from Malta has also surfaced in which Ray, Nick G. and a third man, seemingly evoking the Knights Templar, pose next to a suit of armor. Ray has told the Telegraph newspaper that while he may have been Breivik's inspiration, that was the extent of his involvement. Nick G. confirmed that the "Knights Templar" movement exists, but he refers to the Oslo killer as a "lunatic" who has "brainwashed himself." He characterizes Breivik's alleged "initiation" in London as "pure fantasy."
It is one of the few trails that lead from Breivik's confused intellectual world into reality. It remains to be seen how many others exist.
Europe's Declining Morals
Breivik compiled, concocted and wrote some outlandish things. He wrote speeches for Knights Templar to give in court if they happened to be arrested. To describe the deterioration of morals in Europe, he used conversations on Facebook to compute a quotient for the sexual morality of women in 17 European countries and the United States. Scandinavia was at the bottom of his ranking, while Maltese women were apparently the least licentious.
In general, Breivik writes in his manifesto, women should have three options: "be a nun, be a prostitute, or marry a man and bear children." This, he writes, would lead to an increase in the birth rate.
For those who simply cannot do without it, Breivik envisions a sex enclave, a sort of Las Vegas in the desert, whose residents can be as profligate as they wish -- an idea that sounds more like a swinger club than 1950s patriarchy.
None of it sounds rational. Breivik's thought system sounds neither logical nor convincing. This is the question that is on everyone's mind, from the courts to those who seek to interpret and somehow cope with his murderous crime. How normal is Anders Behring Breivik? Some might find it comforting to call him a lunatic, but is he one?
Is Breivik a Psychopath?
Breivik reportedly cheered as he was shooting children on the island. "This is the laughing killer type," says German sociologist Klaus Theweleit, who became known in the late 1970s through his two-volume work "Male Fantasies," a psychological interpretation of fascism. "They are men who enjoy their murderous game, who see themselves as part of a higher power that condones all of this. They laugh as they celebrate the sanctioned crime, their unpunished, godlike actions."
In "Male Fantasies," Theweleit analyzed the writings of the violent Weimar-era paramilitary groups known as the Freikorps and identified considerable similarities in their images of women and the hatred with which they encounter the opposite sex. Theweleit's interpretive patterns now apply to Breivik with astonishing precision. Breivik reminds him of an "SS man, like Max Aue in Jonathan Littell's novel 'The Kindly Ones,'" he says.
For Theweleit, Breivik's detachment suggests a similarity with the fascist murderers. He did not have a girlfriend and, according to his manifesto, he had sex only once during his "mission." He claims to have slept with two girls in Prague. Otherwise, he refers to sex only one other time -- as a planned act: He wanted to hire "two high class model whores," essentially as a last act before committing his murderous deeds. In his view, women are saints or sinners, while feminism, which he sees as a significant precursor to "cultural Marxism," is a massive threat. He yearns for the return of corporal punishment and the patriarchy.
Theweleit, thinking in psychoanalytical terms, believes that Breivik is motivated by a central fear surrounding the body he has devoted so much effort to create. In "this idiotic concept of becoming a man," the objective is to replace the strong mother and give birth to oneself all over again -- and to become big and strong, independently of one's mother. This, says Theweleit, is what the army used to do, through military exercises that took soldiers to the brink of utter exhaustion.
Always Blaming Someone Else
Breivik didn't need the army to create his own perfect body. While building his bombs, he completed a punishing training program and took anabolic steroids. In the end, incapable of forming ties with other people, he resorted to violence as proof of his own strength and superiority.
"Breivik must be a narcissist," says Oslo clinical psychologist Svenn Torgersen. In fact, he believes that the extent of Breivik's narcissism is "unique" and unprecedented in criminal history.
According to Torgersen, the staged photos of Breivik wearing various costumes reveal that he is extremely preoccupied with appearances, a typical feature of narcissism. A narcissist reacts to frustrations by assigning the blame to something in his environment, but never to himself. Pathological narcissists are characterized by a sense of their own magnificence coupled with fragile self-esteem. According to Torgersen, Breivik exhibits the classic profile of a pathological personality: emotional coldness and the inability to enter into relationships.
The efforts to establish a business, which he grandiloquently describes as successes in his manifesto, were in fact miserable failures. He experienced a corporate bankruptcy in 2002, and in 2008 another company, his E-Commerce Group, went into receivership. The first-person author of the manifesto probably perceived these failures as highly mortifying. According to Torgersen, Breivik was also characterized by an extreme form of sadism that finds pleasure in the suffering of others.
Torgersen believes that Breivik is mentally ill, but not so ill that he could not have functioned in everyday life. Two court psychiatrists are now compiling expert opinions and examining his legal culpability. "He has a concept of reality that no other human being shares with him" -- no one, anywhere -- says Breivik's attorney, noting that this is evident in the kinds of questions he asks and the way he talks about certain things.
Is he crazy?
His crime was, says Lippestad.
'Waging War against Democracy'
When Breivik converses with his attorney, he speaks quietly, almost casually. He is well-spoken, and yet he is not educated or even sophisticated, says Lippestad. In one of their first meetings, Breivik told Lippestad that English is his working language, but that he could speak Norwegian with Lippestad if the attorney preferred. Lippestad believes that Breivik is not waging war against the Muslim world but against the West and its supposed depravity. "He is waging war against democracy," says Lippestad.
Breivik does not recognize the court or even the legal system that ordered him arrested. He confesses his crime but insists that he is not guilty. If Breivik is as he describes himself in his manifesto, he ought to relieve the attorney of his duties. In the document, he predicted people would "label me as a nut" and urged his readers not to believe it.
He is now being evaluated, and the courts will have to reach their own conclusions. But no matter what degree of culpability is ultimately assigned to him, the fact remains that this 1,500-page manifesto exists. And it was not dictated to Brussels by demons.
How Does the Perpetrator Justify His Crimes?
"2083. A European Declaration of Independence." This is the title of the murderer's manifesto, which he placed on the Internet shortly before his killing spree. The document, 1,518 pages containing about 800,000 words, enables the reader to travel into the mind of a killer in a way that has never been possible before. Although the supposed facts it contains cannot be accepted as truth without verification, the document does reveal how the killer's mind works.
Breivik's convoluted manifesto consists of a section in which he foments violence, practical advice for potential killers, an interview with himself and a diary of sorts that he wrote in the months leading up to the attack.
Breivik avails himself of old conspiracy theories and new right-wing bloggers, and sometimes he quotes people who wrote sentences that appeal to him, be it Benjamin Franklin, Fidel Castro or Mark Twain.
Breivik is obsessed with Islam's supposed aim to subjugate Europe. He claims that a complacent Western elite of "multiculturalists/cultural Marxists" is serving Islam's purposes in the process. He demands that a Christian conservative avant-garde stand up and fight against this threat, and he counts himself as a member of this avant-garde. He imagines these "Knights Templar" committing assassinations and attacks, organizing a resistance movement and eventually taking power and expelling the Muslims from Europe. This goal, according to Breivik, is to be reached by 2083, 400 years after the Turks were defeated outside Vienna.
Breivik writes that what he opposes most of all is the position of "political correctness," which he equates with a "cultural Marxism."
The goal of this "cultural Marxism," in his view, is to deconstruct the old values and norms of Europe, Christianity, male and female roles, and sexual morality. Breivik believes that the most dangerous side of "cultural Marxism" is "multiculturalism," because it opens Europe's doors to Islam.
The Main Enemy
Breivik's manifesto is a strange conglomerate of quotes, plagiarized material and his own words. He provides footnotes and references, but he also quotes the Economist and SPIEGEL. He has academic pretensions, and he has a penchant for using numbers, although they are often taken from questionable sources. He distances himself from neo-Nazis, writing that anti-Semitism is nonsense and that Europe's Jews are allies in the fight against Islam. He calls Hitler a mass murderer and insists that the Holocaust is indisputable. But he also fantasizes over what he calls a genocide being committed by Muslims against Christian Europeans, except that it is being hushed up by the "cultural Marxists." Even more than Muslims, he seems to hate those he sees as paving the way for Muslim domination.
Only a few of Breivik's victims were Muslims. Instead of attacking a home for asylum seekers, he struck at what believes to be the main enemy: the future establishment of "cultural Marxists."
For Breivik, that category includes the majority of Europe's politicians, journalists and university professors, and he believes that 90 percent of these opinion-shaping elites are proponents of "cultural Marxism." He has no answer to the question of why these people so complacently allow themselves to be roped in by the Muslims. At times he refers to these elites as ignorant people who simply don't recognize the threat, and at times he reasons that their actions are driven by the dependence on Arab oil and the fear of terrorist attacks.
Breivik even seriously considers the question of whether it would be possible to use nuclear weapons against multiculturalists. He concludes that it would be difficult but should not be ruled out in a later stage of the revolution.
For his days of judgment, Breivik envisions the deportation of Muslims and the execution of traitors. He divides his cultural Marxist enemies into "category A to C traitors." Category A includes top opinion leaders like editors-in-chief and politicians, while group B consists of the foot soldiers of the multiculturalists. "They know that they are contributing to a process of indirect cultural and demographical genocide," he writes. Breivik's Category C consists of apolitical followers.
For Breivik, the 69 victims on Utøya Island, most of them youths attending a Social Democratic Party summer camp, are presumably Category B traitors.
Where Did Breivik Derive His Ideas From?
The killer has a political history, which begins with Norway's populist right-wing Progress Party.
On the fifth day after Breivik's terrorist attack, Progress Party leader Siv Jensen, a blonde woman in a black dress with a design featuring two gray hearts nestled together, is standing in the garden outside the official apartment of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, together with the leaders of all parties represented in the parliament.
In this garden, Stoltenberg intends to announce the establishment of a commission that will investigate the possible mistakes made by the state security agencies, police and emergency rescue forces. But he also wants to send a message that Norwegians are not about to go into hiding, and that the political class is more united than ever.
Shortly after the attack, Siv Jensen stated: "All Norwegians are now young Labor Party members." She has been invited to join the other party leaders, as if her party were being treated the same as all the others. Nevertheless, Jensen has a problem, namely that Breivik was an active member of her party for seven years, serving as the deputy chairman of a local youth organization.
Another of Jensen's problems is that one of her party members published a document a year ago titled "The Dream of Disneyland," which accused the Labor Party of treason. "What was so wrong with Norwegian culture that you want to replace it with something you call multicultural?" the author asks. "And why are you stabbing our own culture in the back?"
Fears of Foreign Domination
There is a new right-wing mainstream all across Europe, which, like Breivik, is turning away from anti-Semitism and declaring Islam to be the enemy instead.
Geert Wilders, the blonde Dutch politician who, together with his Party for Freedom, has supported the minority government in The Hague since last year, is the vanguard of this movement. He has called for a ban of the Koran and has likened it to Hitler's "Mein Kampf," and he wants women who wear the headscarf to pay a "head-rag tax." Wilders has his imitators, who feed on fears of globalization and modernization and stoke fears of foreign domination.
They include the Danish People's Party, which has helped Denmark's center-right minority government stay in power for almost 10 years; Italy's Northern League; the Sweden Democrats, whose leader told that country's parliament that Islam is "the greatest threat to Europe since World War II"; the True Finns; Marine Le Pen in France; Belgium's Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang; and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). Breivik is particularly enamored of Austria, which he mentions 70 times in his manifesto, even expressing his appreciation to his "brothers and sisters" there.
This may have something to do with the polls showing that the FPÖ, known for its anti-Muslim slogans and its claims that Islamism is the "fascism of the 21st century," is on its way to becoming Austria's strongest party.
Germany's debate over Thilo Sarrazin's controversial book, "Germany Does Itself In," would probably have interested him, but it was too late for Breivik's purposes. When the controversy began in August 2010, Breivik had already completed the research for his manifesto, as he says.
In fact, Breivik is less than satisfied with Germany. He writes that it has no serious anti-Islam party and is "simply unable to build a political defence against Islamisation." Nevertheless, he is interested in the neo-Nazi NPD party.
Appealing to Copycats
What do his attacks mean for the far-right in Germany? "It could serve as a blueprint for copycats," says Alexander Eisvogel, the vice-president of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). "From the point of view of a terrorist, his planning was meticulous and carefully geared toward not attracting the attention of the authorities. He noted all of this in diary form in his manifesto. It is precisely this combination of the attacks and the preparation, which was so carefully planned and is now accessible to the general public, that is now our greatest concern."
So far, however, reactions in the right-wing community have ranged from reserved to hostile, probably, as Eisvogel speculates, because this combination "of the mystification of the Knights Templar and the explicit rejection of Nazi thought is hard to stomach for German right-wing extremists."
Right-wing populists have been more or less quick to distance themselves from Breivik's crime. The FPÖ, headed by Austrian politician Heinz-Christian Strache, has been careful to characterize any attempt to saddle it with the blame as a "primitive and disgraceful" attempt to make political capital out of the Norwegian tragedy.
The English Defence League, which confirms that some of its members were in contact with Breivik via Facebook, praises his ideology. The EDL agrees that Islam poses "a serious problem," a problem that has "cost many thousands of human lives" around the world in recent years, a spokeswoman said. But, she adds, violence is "not the answer."
For the moderate populist right-wing milieu, it would be more convenient for Breivik to be portrayed as a madman, and as a lone, unpredictable killer. But although he found his real, brutal ideological dynamite on the Internet, primarily in the writings of an anonymous right-wing blogger who uses the name "Fjordman," Breivik's roots are in the right-wing populist scene.
Who Are the People Who Influenced Breivik Intellectually?
Far-right politicians are not the only ones to blame. Even mainstream conservatives must ask themselves how they have contributed to a climate in which a self-proclaimed savior of the world could feel encouraged, and even obligated, to commit such a violent attack. The New York Times even accuses British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel of sowing "doubts about the ability or willingness of Europe to absorb newcomers."
Is Europe under the spell of a murderous right-wing climate of thought? Since July 22, 2011, this question can no longer be answered with a categorical "no." With his manifesto, in which he cites as his sources journalists, thinkers and crackpots of extremely diverse and often incompatible stripes, Breivik has thrown a firebomb into European societies. The debate between the right and the left, between defenders of multiculturalism and the saviors of the West, is what triggered the dangerous spark and the murderous impulse in his head, Breivik claims.
Those who promote his way of thinking now find themselves in the hot seat. According to a message posted on the German-language blog pi-news.net 24 hours after the killings in Oslo and on Utøya, what the killer wrote in his comments on a Norwegian anti-Islam website were "largely things that could also be found in this forum."
'A Conservative Catastrophe'
The letters "p.i." stand for "politically incorrect," which has become a rallying cry for authors of xenophobic writings who seek to distance themselves from the supposed mainstream of politically correct social tolerance and mutual respect.
The blog, founded in 2004 by Stefan Herre, a physical education teacher from Bergisch Gladbach in western Germany, claims to receive 50,000 clicks a day and is seen as the most important anti-Islamic Internet forum in Germany. Prior to the debate over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, Herre was the blog's only author. But then he was joined by others whose numbers are now as unknown as their identity. Since the end of 2007, the Internet presence of the group, which describes itself as "pro-American" and "pro-Israeli," has been hosted on servers abroad, allegedly because of massive threats to which the fighters "against the Islamicization of Europe" felt they were exposed.
Two days after the mass murder, an author with the supposedly humorous pseudonym Frank Furter described the attacks in Norway as "a conservative catastrophe." He argued that the problems that motivated Breivik to commit the attacks are all too real, namely the "ubiquitous integration problems involving many Muslim immigrants, worries about a gradual Islamicization, the growing attitudinal dictatorship from the political left, the loss of values and identity among European people and their presumed 'elimination.'"
Many of the right-wing populist blogs use the legitimate conflict with the values and religion of Islam as an excuse to incite racist Islamophobia.
The pi-news blog includes many reader comments (often written in poor German, sometimes without any commas) similar to this one from a reader with the pseudonym Warwolf: "All I can hope is that when the killing begins here in Germany and Europe, the leftists will be the first to be beheaded. I pray for war."
It's only a few steps from such comments to the insane world of Anders Breivik.
Not Under Surveillance
Nevertheless, pi-news is not a case for Germany's domestic intelligence agency, which monitors extremist activities in the country. "Although we are keeping an eye on the group, the legal conditions for including it in the domestic intelligence report have not been met," a spokeswoman for the agency said last week. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution also argues that because of its explicit support for Israel, the United States and the German constitution, pi-news cannot be classified as a right-wing extremist organization.
This means that people like "Warwolf" and "Proxima Centauri" can calmly prepare themselves for an event by the German right-wing populist party Die Freiheit (Freedom), whose leader, René Stadtkewitz, is closely aligned with pi-news founder Stefan Herre: the appearance by Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders in Berlin on Sept. 3. Oskar Freysinger, a member of the Swiss National Council for the Swiss People's Party (SVP), will also attend the event.
Racists and self-appointed saviors of the world, crusaders and protectors of the West have established connections around the world. In Germany, they include such aggressive provocateurs as Nürnberg 2.0, a website named to invoke the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. It sharply criticizes defenders of Islam -- including Green Party European politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit and SPIEGEL writer Erich Follath -- and argues that they should be "held accountable publicly."
How Do Right-Wing Bloggers Defend Themselves Against Accusations that They Bear Part of the Blame?
One of the most influential Islam-critical blogs is called Jihadwatch.org. It is run by the American author Robert Spencer and maintains close ties to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative foundation. In his articles, Spencer warns almost daily against violent Islam, which denies non-Muslims equality, human rights and honor.
Spencer, who Breivik quoted 64 times, bridles against the notion that he has laid the groundwork for the actions of evil perpetrators, and he insists that he has never advocated violence. "If I was indeed an inspiration for his work, I feel the way the Beatles must have felt when they learned that Charles Manson had committed murder after being inspired by messages he thought he heard in their song lyrics," he writes.
There is an obvious difference between Spencer and Breivik: The American writer believes that only radical Muslims are dangerous and that Islamic doctrine can be reformed, making peaceful coexistence with other religions possible. Spencer asserts that "Islam is not a monolith," whereas Breivik emphatically draws no distinction between radical and moderate Muslims. For him, all Muslims are dangerous jihadists.
American terrorism experts, like former CIA officer Marc Sageman, feel that the bloggers absolutely bear part of the intellectual blame for Breivik's deed. Just as Salafism helped the Al-Qaida terror network by serving as its "intellectual infrastructure," Sageman argues, Breivik availed himself of the ideas he found on blogs critical of Islam.
'I Can Hardly Defend Myself'
Meanwhile, Europe's agitators are wallowing in self-pity. "I very much regret that this psychopathic killer believed he had to make reference to my beliefs in his 1,500-page manifesto," writes Austrian blogger Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. "I can hardly defend myself against such wrongful exploitation," she continues, arguing that "if well-founded criticism is blamed for those attacks, aren't the critics of (former Swedish Prime Minister) Olof Palme to blame for his murder?"
More conciliatory language is certainly not to be expected from Sabaditsch-Wolff, a political activist with ties to the FPÖ whose writings are characterized by language like: "Islam is hostile. The Koran is evil. Muslims hate us and are in a permanent war against us." A criminal complaint has been filed against Sabaditsch-Wolff in her native Austria for the "vilification of religious teachings." In addition to being one of the central figures in the world of anti-Islamic bloggers, Sabaditsch-Wolff, like Dutch right-wing populist Wilders, is a key thinker in the world of European right-wing populist parties.
The fear of Islam is merely the vehicle that drives the latter-day crusaders. They want to purge their Christian, Western and free world of all those who oppose their ideas of the right way to live. It is not a crusade against Islam, but against the modern world, a world that is globalized, multicultural and tolerant of non-Christians. This revolution, of which Breivik perceived himself a pioneer, is a conservative revolution. It is not directed against a forward post of Islam, but against those the killer perceived as being friendly to Islam. Breivik's revolution is directed against the enlightened, secular and liberal society of Norway and its politicians.
The German neo-Nazi blog "Störtebeker-Netz" recognized this. On the day after the Oslo killings, its "editorial staff" wrote that although Breivik is a "bad apple," he could be "given credit for an act committed in the heat of passion, which is understandable in light of the social democratic policies in Norway and Europe."
For people who think this way, it is also "understandable" that the despair over the moral decline of pansies, leftists and do-gooders in today's world could lead to a monstrous act of violence. The trail of evil leads to the conservative romantics, with their vision of a nationally organized world characterized by law and order and faith in God -- not unlike the early days of the United States, which the ultra-right US Tea Party movement now seeks to invoke.
The Power of Words
How can deluded people like Breivik be prevented from taking violent action based on yesterday's mindset? The notion that right-wing bloggers can be monitored and tracked, as German domestic policy experts suggested immediately after the Norway killing spree, is like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Officials at the Interior Ministry in Berlin also warn against knee-jerk reactions. "Whether we should take action here in Germany after the horrific events in Oslo is something we can only decide after soberly reviewing the facts," says German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU). "Anyone who calls for action such as banning the NPD shortly after the events in Norway is exploiting and even abusing the tragic incident for his own political purposes."
The trail of evil could go on and on. If all the ideas that could possibly end up in Breivik's head were used to compile a blacklist, it would have to include authors and journalists who sometimes employ harsh language to warn against the dangers of Islamist terror.
The taint of intellectual complicity also adheres to journalists and populist politicians. Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of German's center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), already seized the opportunity to place fellow party member Thilo Sarrazin, an outspoken critic of Islam, and his readers on the list of agitators. "In a society in which anti-Islamism and discrimination against others is becoming acceptable, one in which the middle class applauds Mr. Sarrazin," Gabriel says, "lunatics" like Breivik feel encouraged to take action and even "legitimized."
Ideas and words will always have consequences. But there is no way to prevent that in an open society -- except with other ideas and words.
Is Breivik Different from Other Terrorists Such as Islamists and Anarchists?
Breivik applies a concept with left-wing origins: "propaganda of the deed," which dates back to 19th century anarchism. The idea here is that individual acts of violence are essential to sparking social transformation -- a notion that was embraced by these anarchists and, later, by Germany's Red Army Faction (RAF) in the 1970s.
But left-wing terrorists killed their victims in operations targeting specific individuals who represented the hated establishment. The RAF took into account that this could entail collateral damage, and that people who were close to the group's targets, such as drivers and policemen, might die. Indiscriminate mass murder, however, was anathema to Western leftists.
Breivik noted that he liked the 2008 film "The Baader Meinhof Complex," which deals with the early years of the RAF, yet he didn't say what appealed to him, and he wasn't inclined to emulate the tactics of left-wing terrorists, as described in the film.
Instead, he was more of a "lone wolf who has been very intent on staying under the radar of the security services by leading a lawful life," as Janne Kristiansen, the head of Norway's Police Security Service (PST), told Time magazine.
The lone wolf or werewolf is a concept that has been circulating in right-wing circles since the final days of World War II. At the time, diehard Nazis dreamed of guerrilla cells that would instigate the final struggle of the Aryan race.
Breivik also borrowed liberally from the "Unabomber Manifesto," which outlines the confusing anti-industrial world view of American terrorist Ted Kaczynski, who sent parcel bombs to university professors and corporate executives. Yet the Unabomber's campaign of sporadic killings didn't appeal to Breivik.
There have been mass murders in the past committed by right-wing extremists. For instance, there was the bombing of the main railway station in Bologna in 1980, which resulted in 85 deaths, and the Munich Oktoberfest bombing in 1980, which killed 13 people and injured hundreds. There was also a series of attacks in London that resulted in three deaths in 1999. This killing spree was committed by David Copeland, a man who harbored an intense hatred of immigrants and gays.
But there has never been a terrorist inspired by right-wing ideology who sees himself as a "crusader" and murders in the name of "Christendom" and "Western civilization."
Mohammed Atta's Mirror Image
Breivik was a man with a plan. He planned to kill infidels. He prepared for nine long years, endeavored to avoid detection -- and succeeded. He remained inconspicuous until the day of the attacks.
He intended to send a message, in the name of God, to this world, which he sees as degenerate -- and he knew there was also a good possibility that he would die in the process. In his manifesto, which he wrote as a sort of last will and testament, he mentioned several times that he sees himself as a "martyr."
He wants to impose a world of rigid, backward morality in which women are subservient, children can be severely disciplined, and God the Almighty has decreed that men should rule -- a curious Christian reflection of the beliefs of the Muslim extremists that Breivik abhors. The Norwegian has quite a few things in common with Mohammed Atta, the man who crashed the plane into the North Tower of New York's World Trade Center during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
An Atta of the West, one could call him. In a sense, what happened in Norway is a mirror image of the events in New York on Sept. 11, 10 years ago.
True, Atta killed far more people than Breivik, and caused far more destruction. But both attacks were horrific and totally unexpected, and both represented a turning point for the world that experienced them.
'Morality Has Lost Its Meaning'
This was Norway's 9/11 moment, as commentators later wrote, only that this moment was triggered by a blond Norwegian. In an almost absurd way, this man has adopted the methods and rhetoric of the hated Islamists to wage his very own personal war, nearly 10 years after the attacks of 9/11, at a time when many top American analysts believe that the al-Qaida terror network is in decline.
"In many ways, morality has lost its meaning in our struggle," he writes in his manifesto. Breivik also states that those who are unwilling to martyr themselves for the cause are not suited to becoming Knights Templar. He also claims to renounce women and many worldly pleasures to devote himself exclusively to his plan. Just as Atta made his last will and testament, and the other terrorists of Sept. 11 left their legacy for posterity in video recordings, Breivik has worked on the fame that he expected would follow his attacks, playing for the crowd and revealing his insidious world of ideas.
He says that he is at war. It is a war of martyrs who will soon be assembled in the "Kingdom of Heaven," he writes. This sounds very much like the "holy war" of the jihadists -- except that the 72 virgins are missing. It is a clash of civilizations, a struggle against the political establishment -- and it has similarities with Osama bin Laden's 1998 declaration of war on Americans, the struggle against the crusaders of the West who the Islamists saw as such a threat.
"This latest act of religious hatred, carried out in the name of cultural purity," wrote Karen Greenberg, executive director of the Center on Law and Security at New York University, in an article in the American magazine The New Republic, "signals the febrile acceptance of Osama bin Laden's invitation to reignite the medieval holy war between Islam and the Christian West."
The meticulous planning over the years, mired in a cobbled-together worldview that is immune to criticism, the reference to a higher order in whose name blood supposedly has to flow -- these are all elements that al-Qaida and Breivik unquestionably have in common. If this is madness, then it's madness with a good dose of method behind it.
There is also the terrifying determination with which they take leave of normal life, all for the sake of their missions. One learns to fly so he can use a plane as a bomb. The other leases a farm so he can purchase fertilizer, which he then uses to make bombs.
Unlike Atta, Breivik doesn't appear to be surrounded by a crowd of accomplices. Unlike Atta, he had to kill many of his victims individually.
He, the narcissist, did not submit himself to his God, as Atta did. Instead, he calls on God for support. "God will anoint you with his power to go into battle," he writes, as part of his advice for his fellow Knights.
Breivik is intoxicated by the lure of power. He links the bombing, which he only saw from afar, with the cold, deliberate murder that he carried out personally. He creates a combination of the two, mixing the force of the detonating bomb with the cold precision of school shooters who kill individually and deliberately.
Breivik sought to play God, to decide who will live or die. He took aim at some of his victims on the island, yet allowed them to live. Perhaps this gave him even more satisfaction.
He was able to carry out this plan, yet he was actually prepared, at least according to what he wrote, to become a martyr the next day.
He planned to go down in history as a great man -- that was the idea. He had already designed a Knights Templar tombstone with all sorts of right-wing bombast as an inscription. "Born into Marxist slavery on xx.xx.19xx. Died as a martyr," the tombstone was to read. The text also included the significant line: "All free Europeans are in your eternal debt."
Why Didn't Anyone Notice What Breivik Was Planning?
Breivik leased a farm in the small town of Rena, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) from Oslo, to devote himself to building bombs for three months. He had a neighbor, Svein Meldieseht, whom Breivik allowed to mow the grass on the land that he leased. The farmer visited the property on a number of occasions, sometimes even showing up unannounced.
Today, the neighbor says that Breivik looked like a city dweller who wore expensive shirts and knew nothing about farming, and who blacked out his windows. But all of this didn't make the neighbor suspicious enough to report Breivik to the authorities. Meldieseht says that two days before the attacks he saw a light-colored car in Breivik's driveway. It was parked in a way that no one could look inside. On the evening when the bomber was presumably busy packing his lethal cargo, Meldieseht says that he wanted to briefly drop in on Breivik. But then he decided it was too late in the day.
Bilal Güclü, co-proprietor of the Milano Rena Restaurante in the town, said he thought the killer was a nice student. Unlike some of his other customers, Breivik was very friendly toward him, even though he has a Turkish name.
Lasse Nordlie, owner of the Cuckoo's Nest bar, said he used to work as a profiler at the airport in Oslo. He says his job was to interpret the body language of passengers and, if anything looked suspicious, to check their travel documents and search their luggage. But although Breivik occasionally came in for a beer, the profiler says that the man certainly wouldn't have aroused his attention.
Police Security Service chief analyst Jon Fitje issued the "Annual Threat Assessment" for 2011 and came to the following conclusion: "As in previous years, the far-right and far-left extremist communities will not represent a serious threat to Norwegian society in 2011." In his security service headquarters in Oslo, Fitje admits that Breivik's name came up at least once in the agency's computer. He had ordered sodium nitrate online from a Polish company that was under surveillance. But it was only a small amount and, up to the time of the attacks, the name Breivik was only useless data for the investigators.
On July 22, at 6:25 pm, the police reached the island of Utøya. They discovered Breivik near the shore. One unit ran straight up toward him, the second approached from the side, using several trees for cover. In the command center in Oslo, Anders Snortheimsmoen, who headed the Delta unit that stormed the island, was in radio contact and could follow events as they unfolded. At the time, Breivik still had a number of loaded magazines in his vest and a bullet in the chamber of his semi-automatic rifle, a Ruger Mini-14. He had fired his Glock 17 pistol until it was empty, but he still had it on him. According to Snortheimsmoen, the slide of the pistol was pulled back.
Breivik was no more than 50 meters (165 feet) from the police. The policemen standing in front of Breivik told him to drop his weapons. He laid his rifle on the ground and spread out his arms. He slowly walked toward the unit. He was still carrying his pistol. The police saw a wire protruding from his vest. They were afraid that Breivik had concealed explosives on his body. They had permission to shoot Breivik if he took one more step. The unit behind the trees recognized that the wire led to an earplug. At this point, the decision was made to apprehend the suspect. The bloodbath ended at 6:27 pm.
Snortheimsmoen says that after the arrest the police found an iPod music player on Breivik. Just as he predicted in his manifesto, he had apparently listened to music while shooting his victims.
Breivik remained at the scene of his arrest for at least half an hour, guarded by a single policeman, while law enforcement officials searched the island for additional explosives and other perpetrators. They found plastic bottles filled with gasoline hanging in the trees. These were perhaps incendiary devices, which he intended to ignite later for a final inferno.
Breivik could not see the suffering that he had caused. But he could hear the wailing sirens of police cars, the sounds of motor boats and probably the cries of the children. Afterwards, the police brought him to a house on the island. Eye witnesses said later that he smiled on the way there.
Now, he is in custody near Oslo and has not been allowed to give public speeches in court. His lawyer refuses to procure him a uniform. Indeed, Breivik is not allowed to show himself to anyone at all. He is shrinking back to his normal stature.
His manifesto, this work of self-projection and self-glorification, reveals his thoughts and provides a glimpse of what was going on inside his head. It shows how he wants to be seen -- as a knight and a warrior -- but now he has lost control over how his story will be interpreted.
He describes himself as a dominant man, a fighter, but everyone who remembers him as a youngster -- from his neighbors in the middle-class neighborhood of Skoyen to his old schoolmates -- characterizes him as a nondescript individual who people quickly forgot.
He writes that he earned a great deal of money with various successful companies, but it doesn't look as if this were true. It is possible that he had backers. Investigators are also looking into the possibility that he is connected to a sensational crime. Over €6 million ($8.6 million) was stolen during a bank robbery in Stavanger in 2004. A large amount of this money has still not been recovered. The mastermind behind the robbery had connections to the man who leased the farm in Rena to Breivik.
The authorities are investigating, Norway is coming to terms with the shock and, if Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg gets his way, Breivik will have lost. The politician would like to see Norway become "an even more open, more tolerant democracy" in the future.
'The Struggle Is Over'
In his office in the heart of Oslo sits Geir Lippestad, the lawyer who, following much trepidation, finally agreed to defend Breivik. About one hundred meters away lies the spot where Breivik detonated his bomb. And only a few hundred meters away is the cathedral, where a sea of flowers has been laid out on the pavement, where memorial candles for the dead are still lit and mourners continue to pray. Every day, Lippestad passes by the banners on the church square that are held down by flowers and candles. The banners call for the maximum sentence of 21 years to be increased for Breivik. Many want to adapt justice to the injustices that he has committed.
"Probably he will eventually understand that the struggle is over for him now," says Lippestad.
The trial is not scheduled to begin for another six months. There are still many open questions. Breivik will be charged with 77 counts of murder, one for each individual who died by his hands.
Does Breivik regret what he did?
Lippestad speaks slowly: "He is sad, yes." But he apparently does not regret anything. "He sees his actions as a sort of necessary evil," the lawyer says. As far as Breivik is concerned, he engaged in a war that had to be started. He views it as a necessity.
"When I see him," says Lippestad, slowly enunciating his words, "then I see a person who is far removed from everything -- far from any reality, any socialization, far from any community."
Is he asking for anyone? For his mother, his family?
"No," says Lippestad.
REPORTED BY SVEN BECKER, RAFAELA VON BREDOW, THOMAS DARNSTÄDT, MANFRED ERTEL, JULIA AMALIA HEYER, HANS HOYNG, GUNTHER LATSCH, WALTER MAYR, JAN PUHL, SVEN RÖBEL, MATHIEU VON ROHR, BRITTA SANDBERG, HOLGER STARK, DANIEL STEINVORTH, BARBARA SUPP, CHRISTOPH SYDOW AND GERALD TRAUFETTER
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