Breivik - delusional or part of counter-jihadist conspiracy?
by Anthony Tucker-Jones
Was terrorist Anders Breivik simply a madman or a foot soldier for sinister forces? A prominent defence analyst attempts to find out
The trial of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik would have verged on farce, if it were not for the terrible enormity of his brutal crimes. His actions posed two fundamental questions – was he a paranoid schizophrenic, which in a way have would made his conduct far more palatable, or was he part of some far right wing anti-jihadist conspiracy?
While the Norwegian judiciary have today ruled he is not a highly dangerous delusional madman, does this mean he is a foot soldier for more sinister forces? Breivik himself would have us believe the latter. Breivik argues that he was resisting the threat posed by Muslim domination and Marxist multiculturalism. It was this, he claims, that led to his 22 July 2011 twin terror attacks in Oslo and on Utoya Island - which left 77 innocent people dead.
It is no secret that Norway, like many other European countries, is susceptible to violent anti-Islamic agitators. However, the troubled question remains just quite what was Breivik's true relationship with the re-branded far right now known as the counter-jihad movement? Both the Norwegian Defence League and the English Defence League have since denounced Breivik and it remains unclear if he was ever a member of the NDL.
The problem facing Norway's public prosecutor was that two different groups of experts came to contrasting conclusions. One team assessed him as paranoid delusional, the other claimed he was not suffering from psychosis at the time he conducted the killings. Evidence regarding Breivik's claimed membership of a highly secret anti-Islamic organisation with a network across Europe known as the 'Knights Templar', seemed to shed some light on his sanity.
Tellingly the Norwegian police found no evidence to support the existence of the Knights Templar. Following Breivik's initial psychiatric assessment, his claimed leadership of the Norwegian branch was deemed to be a figment of his imagination. Likewise his assertion that he was in communication with fellow knights across Europe was hallucinatory relating to his paranoid delusions.
His manifesto for the Knights Templar is seen as the work of a juvenile mind and hinted of mental problems between 2000 and 2006. All this suggested a tenuous grip on reality. The leaking of these initial findings to the press resulted in the assessment by a second psychiatric team, who judged him to be criminally liable.
Giving evidence Breivik's mother told the court that she feared her son was insane in the run up to his twin attacks. He claimed he was being followed, his phone tapped and suffered from noise sensitivity due to the activities of insects. It is Breivik's chilling lack of remorse that shows a complete absence of human empathy rather than the convictions of a political zealot. Nonetheless, the Norwegian court has ruled he is sane and that he must face the consequences of his actions - sentencing him to 21 years in prison.
Anthony Tucker-Jones is a media commentator and former defence intelligence officer