The neo-fascist mass murderer Anders Breivik made a phone call to the Norwegian Government Services Centre last March, in which he threatened to carry out a massacre. The call took place just four months before he murdered 77 people and injured another 151.
On July 22, 2011, Breivik set off a car bomb in the capital, Oslo, killing eight people, before travelling to the lake island of Utoeya where he carried out a shooting spree, gunning down 69 young Labour Party members attending a summer camp.
Norwegian public radio station NRK reported last Friday that during the telephone call, a man with the same dialect as Breivik spoke about shooting members of the youth section of the Labour Party. The station said that Breivik also spoke in the same call about a “manifesto”—a reference to the 1,500-page document he described as a “manifesto” for a “cultural-conservative revolution” throughout Europe.
The receptionist who took the call wrote the down the nature of threats, the name of the caller, his phone number and the date. The police were not alerted. Margot Vaagdal, head of the centre’s communications, told AFP that it was only after Breivik’s massacre that the police were told of the existence of the call as, according to Vaagdal, the services centre “found that a part of which was said was perhaps relevant for the case”.
NRK also reported that Breivik telephoned a government ministry in May or June 2010 to obtain membership lists for various political parties’ youth wings. The radio station reported that this information was not released to him, as the ministry did not have such details.
Very little media attention has been paid to these revelations, with the reports of his telephone conversations covered in English solely by the BBC. Politically, this is of a piece with the ongoing efforts by the Norwegian authorities, along with their counterparts throughout Europe, to downplay the fact that Breivik’s was a politically motivated act that points to the more general development of far-right terrorism—that is either concealed by the police and security services or in some instances actively instigated by them.
From the very limited information that has been made available by the Norwegian authorities in the aftermath of one of the worst terrorist atrocity in peacetime Europe, it is clear that Breivik was able to act with virtually impunity in preparing and carrying out his meticulously planned operation.
Yet the authorities are still seeking to explain away Breivik’s massacre as the product of a psychotic individual with no support.
Right up until the day of July 22, Breivik maintained close contact with right-wing and fascistic organisations within Norway and internationally. His last act before setting off to commit mass murder was to e-mail his manifesto to 1,003 e-mail addresses, including 250 British contacts. After his arrest, the police reported that the killer said that some 80 “cells” across Europe shared his political outlook and violent aims.
Until 2006, Breivik had been a member of the anti-immigrant and far-right Progress party, having joined its youth wing nearly a decade earlier. He had close connections to the fascist English Defence League (EDL). Breivik had several discussions with leading members of the EDL and stated in his manifesto that he had advised the group regarding its activities. He claims to have participated in a meeting of the Knights Templar in London in 2002, along with EDL leaders and others, including figures from paramilitary groups in the Balkans.
The EDL and other such groups are all heavily infiltrated by police spies, as has been most recently demonstrated in the case of the three far-right terrorists in Germany responsible for killing nine immigrants and a police officer, three bomb attacks and 14 bank raids between 2000 and 2007 (see “Germany: Neo-Nazi terror and the secret service”).
Many right-wing individuals and groups are named in Breivik’s manifesto, and other right-wing forces have been subsequently linked to him. None of these connections have been adequately investigated. This testifies to the fear in ruling circles that even a limited investigation of the events leading up to the July 22 massacre would raise troubling questions for all those with connections to Breivik.
Whilst Breivik made clear in his manifesto that he was animated by a far-right agenda and was opposed to the politics of the Norwegian Labour Party, which he viewed as “Marxist”, the governing and investigating authorities are seeking to dismiss his political motives by declaring him to be mentally ill.
On November 29, two court-appointed psychiatrists declared Breivik insane, based on 36 hours of conversations with him.
Breivik is scheduled to be tried on terrorism charges on April 16. The Oslo District Court is now expected to decide within the next week whether or not to order a new psychiatric evaluation. This week, the court asked both defence and prosecution to submit proposals as to which new experts they think could reassess Breivik.
This follows the challenge to the original diagnosis by a team of four experts, who, after monitoring Breivik in prison, have reported that they believe he is not psychotic or schizophrenic and they do not think he needs drugs. The new findings were submitted to the court by Public Prosecutor Svein Holden, who immediately stated that he will not be calling for a new psychiatric assessment.
The stance of the public prosecutor has been condemned by John Arild Aasen, a lawyer representing the families of three of Breivik’s victims. Speaking to a TV channel, he commented, “It indicates that there is considerable scientific controversy and the necessity for further investigations, obviously.”
Were Breivik to be declared insane, this would have serious ramifications, as the subsequent trial would be more concerned with assessing the killer’s mental health than undertaking a thorough investigation into his political motives, his extreme right-wing background and his connections with numerous neo-fascist individuals and groups.
According to his defence counsel, Geir Lippestad, Breivik himself does not want any further psychiatric assessment. In a telling statement that indicates Breivik’s admittedly ideological motives for the massacre, Lippestad said, “His opinion is that it is more relevant for an assessment regarding accountability to be conducted by calling witnesses with knowledge of politically motivated terror, history, and Political Science to testify at the trial” (emphasis added).