After the killing of 76 people in Norway by the fascist Anders Breivik, Norwegian authorities ruled out any connection between Breivik and other right-wing groups. This was a startling and highly peculiar decision, as Breivik mentioned many far-right individuals and groups in the 1,500-page “manifesto” he authored and released just before the killings.
It has been established that Breivik was a member of the far-right Progress Party and its youth wing in Norway from 1997 to 2007. In 2009 he registered to be a member of Nordisk, an online forum. Nordisk was set up in 2007 by the Nordiska Förbundet (Nordic League), established in 2004 by the Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement.
It is increasingly clear that Breivik also shared ideological and organisational connections with fascists in Britain. Among the right-wing forces that Breivik was in contact with, he had the closest ties to the English Defence League (EDL) and British National Party (BNP).
On July 26 it was revealed that at 2:09 PM on the day of the attack, less than 90 minutes before he detonated a bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, Breivik e-mailed his document to 1,003 addresses. The message alongside the attached document addressed each recipient as a “Western European patriot” and read: “It is a gift to you … I ask you to distribute it to everyone you know”.
This e-mail was sent to 250 British contacts, including leading EDL and BNP figures. It was also sent to others connected to a fascist front outfit, Stop Islamification of Europe (SIOE). In an online posting two years ago, Breivik stated: “I have on some occasions had discussions with SIOE and EDL and recommended them to use certain strategies”.
Yet on July 27, five days after the massacre, Norwegian domestic intelligence chief Janne Kristiansen, told the British Broadcasting Corporation, “So far we don’t have any evidence of cells in Britain or in Norway.”
Breivik’s ties to British fascists go back to a 2002 London meeting. According to Breivik, he and other right-wing extremists met to “reform” the Knights Templar Europe. His document reports that the group aims “to seize political and military control of western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda”. The meeting was attended by representatives from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Russia, and Serbia.
Breivik also wrote, “I wonder sometimes if one of the EDL founders was one of the co-founders of PCCTS” [Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici—Breivik’s name for the Knights Templar]. Breivik claims that at the conclusion of the meeting he was “ordinated as the 8th justicar knight for the PCCTS, Knights Templar Europe”. This was the name he used in the last entry of his “diary” before he carried out his massacre.
Breivik wrote, “I used to have more than 600 EDL members as Facebook friends and have spoken with tens of EDL members and leaders. In fact, I was one of the individuals who supplied them with processed ideological material (including rhetorical strategies) in the very beginning.”
Breivik said that his “assigned mentor” at the London meeting was “referred to as Richard (the Lionhearted).” The Daily Telegraph reported July 31 that a leading EDL member, Paul Ray, has posted on blogs as “Lionheart”.
By his own description, Ray is one of the “founding fathers” of the EDL. He now lives in Malta. Ray denied ever having any contact with Breivik but stated, “It does worry me that he got inspiration from my blog and it does look that way.”
The Telegraph article said that Ray has “held meetings on Malta with Nick Greger, a German convicted terrorist who describes himself as a ‘former neo-Nazi’, and Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, the former Ulster Freedom Fighters Brigadier”.
Breivik apparently was in contact with British fascists until recently. Searchlight Magazine, a UK anti-fascist group, reported that Breivik had posted until just days before the massacre under the pseudonym of Sigurd. In his document he states he uses the “code name” of “Sigurd (the Crusader)”, after a 12th century Norwegian king. In one March 9 posting he called EDL members, “a blessing to all in Europe”, adding that they were waging a “common struggle” against Islam. He called on British fascists to “keep up the good work”.
The Daily Mirror reported July 25 that according to a security source, Breivik “attended two EDL rallies in Britain last year, in West London and Newcastle”.
There is strong evidence that Breivik met leading EDL members. A “senior member of the EDL” told the Daily Telegraph that Breivik was in contact with EDL members on Facebook in 2009 and knew “three or four” of its members. The EDL leader described Breivik as “intelligent and articulate and very affable,” adding: “He is someone who can project himself very well, and I presume there would be those within the EDL who would be quite taken by that. It’s like Hitler, people said he was hypnotic. This guy had the same sort of effect”.
Daryl Hobson, an EDL organiser, confirmed to the Telegraph that Breivik had met members of the group. Further links between Breivik and the EDL emerged over the weekend. Alan Lake, a senior EDL member and reportedly a millionaire IT consultant, founded the “4 Freedoms” web site. In one article Lake wrote that it would be “great to see liberals executed or tortured”.
The site has published articles by fascistic bloggers that Breivik regularly consulted. One of these, with the pseudonym Fjordman, was cited in Breivik’s document.
In his document, Breivik criticises the EDL for not using “terror as a tool”. Seeking to soften his criticism, he writes elsewhere: “Instead of condemning and rejecting organisations like EDL it is essential that conservative intellectuals contribute to help them on the right ideological path”. He also wrote, “Creating a Norwegian EDL should be No. 3 on the agenda after we have started up a cultural conservative newspaper with national distribution.”
Breivik was evidently in close contact with members of the EDL, the BNP and its periphery for nearly a decade.
This raises serious questions about how much Britain’s government and intelligence circles knew of Breivik’s activities. The EDL is at the very least highly infiltrated by the state. According to the Guardian, the EDL’s “online armed forces division has 842 members”. Many of its members wear masks during their “demonstrations” which are organised provocations held in areas with large Muslim populations.
The question must be asked why this far-right activity involving Breivik, all available to read online, was never brought to light by intelligence services in Norway, the UK or elsewhere.
It is well-established that British intelligence services have allotted vast resources to infiltrating left-wing organisations. Yet their attitude towards the far right is reportedly quite different. In an article headlined “Hunt for Britons linked to Norway killer Anders Behring Breivik”, the Daily Telegraph reported: “MI5 is not currently involved in tracking down Right-wing extremists but sources admitted the attacks could force a change of tactics”. So why did British intelligence apparently turn a blind eye on Breivik?
Breivik’s document also makes clear another important ideological connection to Britain. Breivik found justification for his atrocities not merely from the EDL, but from the anti-immigration policies and rhetoric of the major parties and the media.
Last week Thorbjørn Jagland—a senior member of the Norwegian Labour Party and former prime minister of Norway—called on politicians like David Cameron and Angela Merkel to be more “cautious” when discussing immigration and “ multiculturalism”.
It was only in February that Cameron gave an inflammatory speech at the Munich Security Conference, warning that the “biggest threat” to security was terrorist attacks by “young men who follow a completely perverse, warped interpretation of Islam”. The root cause, he added, was neither social deprivation nor hostility to “western foreign policy”, but “state multiculturalism”.
For its part, the Labour Party has encouraged the reactionary layers in the EDL by advocating right-wing populism and nationalism. Blue Labour, whose programme has been summarised as a profession of “Flag, Faith and Family”, was set up by academic Maurice Glasman.
Glasman is a key policy advisor to Labour leader Ed Miliband. He recently argued for “engagement” with the EDL and for involvement of “people who support the EDL within our party”.