Sep 1 2011

In Norway, Footnotes to Mass Murder

Terror Suspect cited Islamophobic blog as inspiration

Anders Breivik--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/ghostofgoldwater

Anders Breivik–Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/ghostofgoldwater

After self-described “conservative Christian” Anders Behring Breivik was charged with killing 76 in a July 22 bombing and shooting spree in Norway, writers who shared the accused’s virulently Islamophobic ideology heatedly denied that anything in their body of work could possibly lead anyone to violence. But Breivik seems to be one of the most articulate ideologues in the history of mass murder, writing a 1,500-page manifesto with hyperlinked footnotes that point precisely to those writings that allegedly inspired him to violence.

Breivik’s “total lack of respect for human life is not…something he can have picked up from me, or from any of the other Islam-critical writers I know,” wrote Peder Jensen on the anti-Islam Gates of Vienna blog (7/25/11; quoted in Washington Post, 7/25/11), which he wrote for frequently under the pseudonym Fjordman. “Indeed, the lack of respect for human life is often one of the great shortcomings of Islamic culture that we have consistently pointed out.” He added: “I have also never called for violence in any of my essays, and I would estimate that I have published between 1 million and 2 million words under this name on the Internet.”

Thanks to Breivik’s footnotes–87 of which point to Fjordman and other Gates of Vienna writers–you don’t have to read millions of words to find out why he found the blog so inspirational. One of them leads to Jensen (10/30/08), the critic of Islam’s lack of respect for human life, quoting with approval a comment left at the like-minded blog Jihad Watch (10/2/08):

So grave is the threat to the existence, nay, the very soul of Britain, that it is not possible to rule out any policy to remove the Islam threat, just because it may harm some innocent person or group–racial, religious or secular or ethnic, no matter how sacred. Besides, all of them can be compensated in some form at a later date, once the Islam threat has been removed. This is an existential war, and innocents will and are being injured or killed.

Elsewhere, Breivik cited Jensen’s explanation of the upside of civil war (Gates of Vienna, 10/10/06): “We will get civil wars in several Western countries because of this immigration…. This will finally demonstrate how serious the situation is, and force other Western nations to ban Muslim immigration and pressure Muslim citizens to assimilate or leave.”

Another Gates of Vienna post (7/26/08) cited by Breivik was written by the blog’s founder, Edward S. May, who blogs under the name Baron Bodissey:

When the survival of an entire people is at stake, no option can be ruled off the table. As we come closer and closer to that point, more and more unthinkable things will be thought about by more and more people.

Elsewhere May (12/29/06) enthused about Scandinavia’s Viking heritage:

The culture of the hardy and self-reliant Men of the North, always ready to defend their ancient liberties with a ferocity that their enemies can scarcely imagine. The culture of productive enterprise and armed self-determination.

It’s not hard to understand why Breivik thought “Baron Bodissey” was talking about him.

The footnoted posts from the Gates of Vienna blog–whose name alludes to the same 1683 battle between the Austrian and Turkish empires that inspired the title of Breivik’s manifesto, 2083–can help clarify the seemingly murky motivations of the July 22 violence. For example, what would make a summer camp affiliated with Norway’s Labor Party a target?

Well, out of several major parties in Norway, Labor is one of two that advocates joining the European Union–an institution the blog constantly described in apocalyptic, conspiratorial terms: “The EU is deliberately destroying the cultural traditions of member states by flooding them with immigrants and eradicating native traditions,” Jensen (10/4/08) wrote.

And young leftists come under particular attack from Gates of Vienna. May (6/5/06), in yet another passage highlighted by Breivik, calls them “the shock troops for the radical graybeards, the Hitlerjugend of the 21st century left.”

The idea of comparing terror victims to Hitler Youth occurred, presumably independently, to Glenn Beck, who commented on his July 25 radio show (Mediaite, 7/25/11): “There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth. Who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing.”

Beck actually has quite a bit in common with the Gates of Vienna crowd, sharing their penchant for apocalyptic conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric (FAIR Blog, 7/22/10). And, like the bloggers, when someone connects the dotted lines and acts out in reality the violent fantasies that are their stock in trade–he, like they, pretends to have nothing to do with it.