It's not surprising that a lot of people immediately suspected Islamist terrorism. Breivik didn't just commit a violent act; he committed spectacularly violent acts, and we've seen instance after instance of these from Islamists, whereas most Western political violence tends to be lower-level. Even when people die, the most spectacular of these incidents are relatively small (the people who burned to death in the riots in Greece, for example, or the assassination of doctors who perform abortions). For really spectacular bits of political violence? Well, there's Timothy McVeigh, and Al Qaeda. And now there's allegedly Anders Breivik.
There have been other ideological mass shooters -- some of them anti-feminists who targeted women -- but these people also tend to be emotionally disturbed to the point of being suicidal, and their crimes aren't calculated so much as cathartic. That's very much not what happened here. Breivik is reportedly well-off, successful in business, and, to judge by his writing (here are some of his posts, Google-translated), quite intelligent and articulate. By all current reports, he was not a loser: he had a decent life, and wanted something else, and deliberately threw that decent life away. He made a clearheaded decision to become what he became, and then devoted his resources to making sure he could do the best job possible at it.
Forget his politics for a moment: it's his combination of cold clearheadedness and forethought that scares the willies out of me.
I've mentioned before that mass shooters, thankfully, seem to very rarely pay attention to tactical considerations; they mostly like to proceed to a site that's emotionally significant to them and then roam around aimlessly shooting people, in the manner of Columbine, even though Columbine was not a successful mass shooting but a bombing that failed. Breivik threw all of that out the window. Never in the history of spree killings, to my knowledge, has there ever been anyone who planned his acts as thoroughly and carefully as Anders Breivik, and then successfully carried those acts out. If he did in fact act alone (which is quite possible; hard left and Islamist violence tends mostly to be organized by groups, but for quite some time the hard right has gone very much toward the "lone wolf" model of violence, which is a conscious strategy designed to get around the fact that their organizations are only slightly less heavily infiltrated by law enforcement than were the anarchists in Chesterton's THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY), Breivik has the single highest body count of any lone mass shooter in history. The guy who comes in second is a South Korean police officer named Woo Bum-kon, who decided one night in 1982 that he was going to wander off post and slaughter pretty much every single villager he met. Woo killed 56 people before committing suicide; he was in a rural area, he cut the telephone lines before he started operating, and he had grenades and an eight-hour operating window. Breivik eclipsed that in a couple of hours.
Here's how much thought Breivik put into planning: I will bet you anything that he read up on Woo Bum-kon. Why? Woo wore his police uniform throughout the rampage, and used it to lure his victims into a false sense of security. He'd knock on the front door, the family would let the nice officer in, and then he'd slaughter everyone in the house. Woo did this over and over again.
Guess what Breivik was wearing when he shot up that Labor Party summer camp?
News reports differ on the weaponry, as should be expected. Some have stated that the alleged perpetrator legally owned a pistol, rifle, and shotgun, but a lot of news reports have stated that he used a full-auto weapon during his assault on the Labour camp. The author of the text claiming plausibly to be his manifesto states that he legally owned a pump-action shotgun, a bolt-action rifle in .308 Winchester, and a semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 (that's in .223, like the M-16 and AR-15). Note: no pistol. He was carrying multiple weapons, but we don't know the full details yet. One article I've seen states that he was carrying a "machine gun" but only fired single shots. His photo shows that he bolted a truckload of accessories onto his semi-auto Mini-14, so my guess is that's what he used. (Don't expect any accuracy about the guns and bullets for a while. Dr. Colin Poole, a head surgeon at a hospital involved in treating patients, actually told the UK TELEGRAPH that the killer used "dum-dum bullets," because the bullets fragmented. My guess is that Dr. Poole is not very familiar with gunshot trauma, because .223 bullets can fragment even if they're fully jacketed -- it's a velocity thing.)
Playing dead continues to be an unreliable counter-strategy: by some accounts the perpetrator made headshots on downed victims, and he shot at least one person who was playing dead (who managed to survive the wound). I've mentioned before that I was really worried that mass shooters would emulate Virginia Tech's Seng-Hui Cho; now I'm really worried that terrorists -- not just ones who agree with Breivik's politics, but of any number of stripes -- will emulate his tactics and logistics, because 1) his tactics are diabolically effective, in particular his careful selection of ground to minimize opportunities for victims to escape and 2) his logistics are such that it's going to be damn hard to effectively counter people emulating him, because his whole logistical gimmick is to make everything appear simple and uncomplicated and normal until it's time to strike.
Most of the news sites have been running photographs of Breivik in his Freemasonry apron, or in his wetsuit. Those are the wrong photos. The photo they should be running is this one, because this is the one that's important:
That is Anders Breivik cosplaying as a Knight Justiciar Commander of the Knights Templar PCCTS, and if you want to understand him you'd better understand that, because that's how he's going to present himself from now on. If they allow him to wear that uniform at trial, he will do it. Breivik gives the specifications for it, should anyone else want to wear one. This is interesting, considering that he spends the front part of the manifesto talking about the need for secrecy, for not telling anybody what you're up to, if you're going to be a Knight Justiciar. He suggests claiming that you're busy playing WoW.
No, really, he does. On page 851:
3.26 Avoiding suspicion from relatives, neighbours and friends
Present a ”credible project/alibi” to your friends, co-workers and family. Announce to your closest friends, co-workers and family that you are pursuing a ”project” that can at least partly justify your ”new pattern of activities” (isolation/travel) while in the planning phase.
F example, tell them that you have started to play World of Warcraft or any other online MMO game and that you wish to focus on this for the next months/year. This ”new project” can justify isolation and people will understand somewhat why you are not answering your phone over long periods. Tell them that you are completely hooked on the game (raiding dungeons etc). Emphasise to them that this is a dream you have had since you were a kid. If they stress you, insist and ask them to respect your decision. You will be amazed on how much you can do undetected while blaming this game. If your planning requires you to travel, say that you are visiting one of your WoW friends, or better yet, a girl from your ”guild” (who lives in another country). No further questions will be raised if you present these arguments.
And later he talks about how to make your uniform, the decorations, and what company has a high-resolution copy of his shoulder patch on file and can make you one. (NOTE TO FBI: send Google a subpoena for that gmail address.) Based on those descriptions, for example, he's awarded himself the following "military" decorations: the posthumous Justiciar Knight MIlitary order of the Martyrs, the Red Cross of Constantine Breast Jewel, the Knight of Malta Breast Jewels (for 15 and 10 commendations, respectively); and the following ribbons: Honorable Crusader Medal, one I can't identify, Outstanding volunteer service medal, infantry cross, destroyer of cultural marxism commendation, Clandestine Logistica Excellence, Commendation of the Financier, recruiter training commendation, commendation of intellectual excellence, purple cross medal, prisoner of war, Legacy of Charles Martel, defender of christendom, national defense service medal. Also, he's wearing Justiciar Knight Commander epaulettes and an officer's gold aguillete.
This is how he sees himself, and he'll give a statement accordingly in court. You can find what he plans to say in the manifesto.
Oddly, even though I've read many of the political arguments he quotes, it was the bit with the uniform that felt most familiar. A dress uniform complete with decorations for an army that 1) is a guerrilla movement and 2) does not actually exist? You know what that smells like to me? World-building. Anders Brievik is a geek who has written his political manifesto as, essentially, an RPG sourcebook. On page 777, in part of an odd disclaimer evidently designed to protect himself from legal responsibility should he have been discovered before his massacre ( "The book contains detailed strategies (guerrilla tactics, instructions to execute, political campaigns etc.) which normally would be partly incriminatory to anyone who published or distributed the book (had it not been fiction)."), he describes himself as a "sci-fi enthusiast." I'm not surprised.
I actually have a good bit more to say about Breivik's manifesto: its politics, its construction, and its implications, but it's late and I want to publish this much. The short version is that several righty commentators I've read have written off Breivik as a nut, but while that would be comforting I think they're very wrong. Breivik is not delusional. He's very clear about what he's doing. Oddly, it's something that would see him agreeing with Osama bin Laden, who famously said that when people see a weak horse and a strong horse they prefer the strong horse. Breivick is thinking in terms of pure power. And in his view, the definitive proof of political power is the ability to commit violence with impunity. He's trying to counter Islam by preempting and surpassing the tactics of violent Islamism, and by bringing his political philosophy to dominate Europe in the same way he believes that Islam is attempting to do.
The implications of this have the potential to be pretty far-reaching, and Breivick's manifesto is worth serious study. His acts have the potential to lay the groundwork for a new generation of terrorists, and not all of them will necessarily agree with Anders Breivick. He's just shown exactly what a cell-less terrorist can do, if he puts his mind to it, and has resources, time, diligence, and a willingness to throw his life away.
For the record, I suspect Breivick was largely a lone wolf for all practical purposes -- ie, I doubt anyone else knew the specifics of his operation, or even that there would be an operation, before he did it. His manifesto has some weird errors and sections marked as "ROUGH DRAFT," suggesting he didn't have a friend proofread it before he sent it out, and the photo of the uniform shows everything on the opposite side as the directions in the text description, so he wasn't getting much feedback. But that's not saying investigators shouldn't be looking for sympathizers. Check out page 827:
Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – PCCTS (the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon), the Knights Templar was re-founded in London in 2002 by representatives from eight European countries, for the purpose of serving the interests of the free indigenous peoples of Europe and to fight against the ongoing European Jihad (referred to as the “third Jihad”). The Knights Templar was re-founded as a pan-European nationalist military order and a military/criminal tribunal with two primary objectives. The order is to serve as an armed Indigenous Rights Organisation and as a Crusader Movement (anti-Jihad movement).
The founding session (two meetings consisting of 4 founding members and host as a security precaution) was held in London, United Kingdom – Apr, 2002.
Founding (re-founding) members:
Anonymous 1 - Nationality: English Protestant (Host)
Anonymous 2 - Nationality: English Christian atheist
Anonymous 3 - Nationality: French Catholic
Anonymous 4 - Nationality: German Christian atheist
Anonymous 5 - Nationality: Dutch Christian agnostic
Anonymous 6 - Nationality: Greek Orthodox
Anonymous 7 - Nationality: Russian Christian atheist
Anonymous 8 - Nationality: Norwegian Protestant (member and proxy for 9)
Anonymous 9 - Nationality: Serbian Orthodox (by proxy, location: Monrovia, Liberia)
Unable to attend:
Anonymous 10 – Nationality: Swedish
Anonymous 11 – Nationality: Belgian
Anonymous 12 – Nationality: European-American
(Names will be kept classified indefinitely to avoid cultural Marxist/ multiculturalist persecution but each individual may reveal his own name during the three phases at his own convenience).
If I were law enforcement, I'd be looking for those guys. Yesterday.
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