Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Breivik Manifesto: Summary and Assessment

The Manifesto

Anders Breivik's manifesto is an exhausting read at over 1500 pages long, and it would be nearly unfathomable to have read it word-for-word since Friday. The manifesto is divided into three books and is written by a number of different authors, some of whom use pseudonyms such as "Fjordman." The first book is relatively tame, discussing the history of Marxism and Islam from a decidedly conservative perspective. The second book is a bit more extreme, but still within the cognitive boundaries of a very far-right columnist. It is primarily about Islam and the threat it poses to Europe.

The third book is the most radical, and where an analyst should economize their time reading. In it, Breivik outlines the long term plan of the Templar Knights for fighting Marxism and Islam. His thesis is that Marxism promotes multiculturalism. Islam then takes advantage of multiculturalism to colonize Europe and destroy European culture.

The book begins with an legalese-filled indictment of the leadership of Western Europe, accusing them of sitting idle while "Europe is the victim of cultural genocide on par with that of Tibet." Breivik then introduces the Templar Knights and lays out their long-term plan:

- Phase 1 (1999-2030): Cell based shock attacks, sabotage attacks etc.
- Phase 2 (2030-2070): Same as above but bigger cells/networks, armed militias
- Phase 3 (2070-2100): Contribution with the effectuation of the coup and responsibilities in relation to security and executions of category A and B traitors.

Members of the police are referred to as "system protectors" a la The Matrix.

Breivik then discusses in detail his armor and ammunition. Interestingly, he mentions a 4GB AEE PD80 Mini DV DVR Camera which can be used "to document your operation." Breivik also discusses wearing a police combat uniform replica to "create confusion and hesitation when engaging hostile agents." Later in the book he jokes about having a costume for next Halloween.

Breivik then outlines a list of targets, which includes "government buildings with high concentrations of category A and B traitors." Category A refers to "Political leaders, Media leaders, Cultural leaders, and Industry leaders," while Category B refers to "cultural Marxist/multiculturalist politicians."

Surprisingly, Breivik considers a distinction between "traitors" and civilians. He considers targeting civilians illegitimate. Even for "category D individuals...[who] have little or no political influence but are facilitating category B and C traitors," the prescribed "punishment" is listed as "none."

Breivik expresses willingness to martyr himself noting that by doing so, "you will be forever celebrated by your people as a martyr for your country." He then discusses issues plaguing Europe. In the category of "STDs" he mentions that his half-sister was infected with Chlamydia and his mother with Genital Herpes, and that they "have not only shamed me but they have shamed themselves and our family." At the end of the manifesto, Breivik provides seven pictures of himself: 2 in Knights of Templar uniform, 2 in combat gear, 2 profile pictures of himself, and one picture with him and his mother. Freudian psychologists, eat your heart out.

The Author

Throughout the manifesto, Breivik comes across as completely sane and extremely intelligent. He is very different from the paranoid social outcast Jared Laughner type. The manifesto is well-written and relatively well organized. As the seven pictures of himself suggest, he has narcissistic tendencies and notes his preparations for the attack in vivid detail. This contrasts with his research on Marxism and Islam which while extensive, draw from a mix of periodicals, right-wing blogs, and Wikipedia. It appears that Breivik saw himself as someone special or extraordinary, who would be lauded as a hero in future generations.

Ideologically, Breivik references Bat Ye'or and Robert Spencer (the director of JihadWatch) extensively. The manifesto includes links to the movie Obsession which documents the phenomenon of so-called "Islamofascism," an article by Daniel Pipes, and references to Caroline Glick. Clearly, none of these individuals are responsible for the violent actions of a single terrorist acting of his own free will, but Breivik drank their ideological Kool Aid hook, line, and sinker.

Breivik gives his CV in the manifesto. He discusses a crossroads at which he switches from being a political actor to becoming an entrepreneur. He worked as a day trader as a "front...with the purpose of financing resistance/liberation related military operations." Such an occupation would have fit well with Breivik's intelligence and sense of determination.

Yet Breivik describes disillusionment with his life:

"You become a zombie where the highlight of your day is purchasing a 1000 Euro garment or a 100 Euro sushi meal, or getting a blowjob from someone you met outside the toilet at a club that Saturday. On your way home you see a girl getting gang-raped by 4 Somalis. You don’t offer it much thought as the slag probably had it coming anyway."

One possibility is that becoming more active in his radical activities brought meaning to Breivik's upper-middle-class lifestyle and his tendency towards compulsion. Breivik notes for example that at age 25 he took a year off to play World of Warcraft. The years of planning involved in Friday's attack may have seemed a much more meaningful use of time.

The manifesto is of course but one indication of the psychology of Anders Breivik and his motivations for the slaughter of nearly 100 innocent people. Psychologists who meet with Breivik in person will be much better able to understand his psyche, and real counter-terrorism analysts will be more adept at identifying the salient root causes of this attack. But a look at the manifesto is a good first indication of the factors at play, and will be the first step towards trying to make sense of this unspeakable tragedy.


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