Norwegian police probe darker side of boyish-looking suspect

Jul 23 2011 - 7:26pm

Images

(The Associated Press) This is an undated image obtained from the Twitter page of Anders Behring Breivik, 32, who was arrested Friday in connection with the twin attacks on a youth camp and a government building in Oslo, Norway. Breivik is a suspect in both the shootings and the Oslo explosion Friday.
(The Associated Press) This is an undated image obtained from the Twitter page of Anders Behring Breivik, 32, who was arrested Friday in connection with the twin attacks on a youth camp and a government building in Oslo, Norway. Breivik is a suspect in both the shootings and the Oslo explosion Friday.

VIENNA -- In the photographs now circulating around the world, Anders Behring Breivik looks almost preppy. Neatly parted blond hair frames a boyishly handsome face. The upturned collar of a peach-colored polo shirt pokes through a dark Izod sweater.

It's hard to reconcile the softly smiling young man in these professional studio shots with the monster who witnesses say donned a police uniform and ruthlessly hunted down scores of young Norwegians, even firing at those who jumped into freezing water in a desperate bid to escape his rampage.

"I'll kill every one of you," he shouted at victims, witnesses recalled.

Now it is up to investigators to fit the two seemingly incongruous images together in an effort to comprehend what motivated the man believed to be behind the deadliest attack in Norway since World War II.

As more details emerge, Norwegians are coming to terms with the fact that rather than some radical foreign agenda shattering the idyllic society they sought to create here, the twin attacks appear to have been orchestrated by lone home-grown terrorist -- raised and educated in a middle-class family and who never had problems with the law before.

According to a Facebook page with Breivik's name and photo, the 32-year-old describes himself as former business-school student with an interest in Winston Churchill, bodybuilding and Freemasonry. He lists a preference for violent movies, war-themed video games, classical music and the HBO drama "Dexter," about a guilt-ridden serial killer.

Police are focusing on a darker side, describing him as a "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" who frequented extremist websites and left a trail of passionate, sometimes obscure rants that reflected strong anti-Islamic views, deep skepticism about the mixing of different cultures and animosity toward socialism.

Officials said they would not speculate on whether his political or religious views played a role in the attack.

But a chilling 1,500-page political manifesto, titled "A European Declaration of Independence," that Breivik appears to have posted on the Internet earlier this year lays out his world views. Exact authorship of the book could not be immediately verified.

Sections of the online book include "What your government, the academia and the media are hiding from you," "Documenting EU's deliberate strategy to Islamise Europe" and "How the feminists' 'War Against the Boys' paved the way for Islam."

The book calls for a "conservative revolution" and "pre-emptive declaration of war," including "armed resistance against the cultural Marxists/multiculturalist regimes of Western Europe."

It describes "attack strategies," including assassinating professors and coordinated assault operations against multiple targets at the same time.

In a passage that appeared to predict the tactics in the twin attack Friday, the manifesto advises: "You will usually always be caught, so instead of going home and waiting for someone to knock at your door, move to your second target, then the third, etc."

The treatise suggests wearing a police SWAT uniform as a disguise to enable perpetrators to move around with weapons without raising suspicion. And it specifically mentions targeting annual political meetings, barbecues and gatherings that draw hundreds of people, using flame-throwers or assault rifles against the crowds. "The party delegates will flee like rats from the fire," the book reads.

Friends of Breivik -- a single man who lived in Oslo with his mother until recently -- said he began in recent years to voice ever more extremist and nationalist views, according to Norwegian media reports. He is a gun enthusiast, with several weapons registered in his name. but he did not appear to exhibit any personal violent behavior, other than his writings, that might have raised red flags.

On social media forums, he claimed to be a disgruntled former member of Norway's anti-tax, small-government Progress Party, according to the Norwegian Nettavisen news service.

In 2009, he founded a farming company called Breivik Geofarm, which cultivates melons and roots, according to Norway's TV2.

Now investigators are focusing on whether he used the business to buy fertilizer that could have been used to construct a powerful bomb that he is suspected of planting near a government facility in downtown Oslo.

On a Twitter account created recently in his name, a posting on July 17 quotes British philosopher John Stuart Mill and gives little indication of a man preparing to use guns and bombs to deliver his message: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests."

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