Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Special Report: Norway Shooter’s Past And Some Clues To A Troubled Future

Anders Behring Breivik

Credit: Reuters
Attack, gives us some clues to what drove him: the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, a 2002 meeting in London with other extremists and attempted muggings by migrants on Oslo streets.
But investigators and other analysts say the document may also be riddled with inaccuracies and that Breivik's talent for deceit may also have extended to self-delusion. All his testimony shows for sure, they say, is a troubled man who believed killing would bring readers to his thoughts and give his life the meaning it seemed otherwise to lack.
European police are urgently checking his claims of a wider network but say they believe he likely acted alone. Whilst his focus on publicity and political effect might be borrowed in part from other militant groups such as Al Qaeda, who he had clearly studied and expressed a grudging respect for, they say a closer comparison might be other lone gunmen behind one-off attacks in Europe and North America.
"To shoot like this tells of a person without emotion, without empathy...controlled in a very extraordinary way," said Bjoernebekk.
"There are similarities to Columbine and Virginia Tech," she said, referring to the U.S. school shootings in 1999 and 2007.
Pat Brown, a Washington D.C.-based criminal profiler, said that, like Breivik, the school shooters and other attackers such as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh often had similar messiah-like delusions.
"They decide they want to get their day in the sun and get their names in the newspapers, even if they are killed in the process," he said. "Most of it is about fantasy."
Always Out Of Place:
Exactly how Breivik got the money to rent his farm building, buy the materials for the attack and survive without employment for several years is not clear.
Breivik boasts of his successful business career, saying he made his first million Norwegian crowns ($185,000) by the age of 24, then more in share speculation. But he says he lost another 2 million crowns in less well-planned investments.
As with much else in his story, there may be an element of self-mythologising. The businessman whom Breivik calls his "mentor" in his manifesto disputes the relationship was ever that close.
"I have never acted as, nor accepted the role of any kind of mentor for him," Richard Steenfeldt Berg wrote on his Facebook page, admitting "I met this monster 11 years ago."
He said he barely noticed Breivik's radical right-wing views. "He never -- oddly in hindsight -- mentioned anything xenophobic," he wrote. "However, I remember once, I was criticizing the immigration policies of the populist right wing. He went silent and left."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of those who might have been expected to know the Norwegian killer claim to barely remember him. Breivik claimed that he once belonged to the Progress Party, an opposition populist right-wing group, and even stood as a candidate for Oslo city council in 2003 before deciding the party was not radical enough.
But a party spokesman said Breivik" was anonymous. At official meetings, at parties, at dinners we cannot find a single picture of him. There is no trace of him writing anything."
In one journal entry, Breivik wrote of one of his frequent trips into a nearby town to buy takeaway food. A "hot" girl in the restaurant checked him out, he said, prompting Breivik to worry that his smart clothes and good looks made him stand out too much in the rural area 100 km from Oslo.
But nearby residents remember him more for his awkwardness and lack of knowledge of farming terminology.
That impression looks to have lasted even up to the point where he stepped onto the ferry to the island on which he would kill most of his victims. Dressed in a police uniform, his manner and particularly his non-official vehicle put some passers-by on edge.
"I remember I reacted that that the man came in a civilian vehicle and I am 100 percent sure I said...that we ought to check his identity and joked that he wasn't from the police," wrote Haakon Sandbakken, 22, who also took the ferry.
But once again, no one challenged Breivik. Moments later, he was ashore and shooting.