Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer sends a translation of the latest news on Anders Behring Breivik from the Norwegian media. The translator includes this note:
This is an important story, because it shows us that Breivik was taking advantage of various Al Qaeda methods, and that he was thinking along the same lines as other Al Qaeda operatives.
The translated article from today’s VG Nett:
Breivik behaves in accordance with Al Qaeda manuals
During his six-month prison stay, Anders Behring Breivik has behaved in accordance to his own manifesto — which was clearly inspired by Al Qaeda.
Several of the chapters in Breivik’s manifesto resemble the manuals of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network.
According to Knut Bjarkeid, the chief warden at Ila Prison, Breivik behaves exactly like he described he would in his 1500-page manifesto.
“Yes, exactly to the letter,” the Ila warden says.
He recognizes Breivik’s behavior from the Al Qaeda manual on how to behave in captivity, and he believes Breivik is inspired by it.
“Breivik is friendly, he’s interested in other people and he tries to establish relationships,” says Bjarkeid.
As a consequence the prison has issued instructions to its staff not to spend any time alone with him.
“Our staff never spends any time on a one-to-one basis with Breivik. There are always several guards present. All communication with Breivik is recorded, logged and analyzed.”
Breivik’s stay at Ila is regulated by basic rules for high-security prisoners, plus an additional 130 individual rules that the prison has chosen to implement.
CCTV surveillance is one of those security measures. Breivik is, however not kept under CCTV surveillance inside his cell, Bjarkeid emphasizes.
“All contact with Breivik is governed by strict rules. We have decided to set aside normal procedures that would have allowed the staff to use their own judgment. There are procedures that dictate how many guards need to be present outside his cell door whenever he’s let out, and where these guards are to be positioned. There are also procedures that dictate what Breivik can and cannot see in relation to these measures. There are written procedures that we follow when he’s having showers, and when his lawyers are visiting,” the warden says.
“In order to look after our employees’ best interests, we facilitated frequent conversations with the prisons own psychologists in the initial stages.
“The psychologists advised them on how to address Breivik, how to interrupt him and how to end a conversation,” Bjarkeid says.
Uses the network
Franck Orban, a researcher employed by the Correctional Education System, believes that Breivik must have had access to Al Qaeda manuals available on the internet.
“It is difficult to say with a hundred percent certainty whether he has read the manuals for imprisoned jihadists, but several elements of Breivik’s manifesto bears semblance to the Al Qaeda rhetoric.”
“This suggests that he has had access to them,” Orban says.
“As a result, his perception of prisons may have been influenced by that of militant Islamists, which is a paradox, since Breivik’s image of reality is completely different from theirs.”
In his manifesto Breivik describes how to use the time in prison to build an organization and how to recruit fellow prisoners for the “cause”.
This is a well-known strategy used by Al Qaeda all over the world.
“Prison plays an important part in Breivik manifesto. It is an arena where new followers can be recruited. Maybe he envisions a type of community within the prison, but there are no guarantees that he will get to spend that much time with the other inmates,” Orban says.
Two Al Qaeda manuals have been translated into English and posted on the internet.
Both are featured on websites that are hostile to Islam, and which Breivik has visited.
The well-known terrorist researcher Magnus Ranstorp also sees several similarities between Breivik’s manifesto and the strategy employed by Al Qaeda.
“It is highly likely that he has come across these manuals. We can at least conclude that there are several striking similarities,” Ranstorp says to VG.
The Al Qaeda manuals
There are several similarities between the Al Qaeda manuals and Breivik’s own manifesto, and what Breivik has told police in interrogations:
- Breivik expected to be tortured in prison, and in his manifesto he describes how to mentally prepare for this. This is also outlined in great detail by Al Qaeda.
- In his first court appearance he complained that the isolation felt like “torture.”
- An Al Qaeda manual found in Manchester in 2005 included descriptions of how terrorist members should act in court. According to the manual it is imperative to claim that tortured is being administered.
- The 32-year-old outlines the qualities of a “perfect knight” who carries out a terrorist attack, and he stresses that one must expect to become a martyr. Al Qaeda also lists several requirements for their own terrorists, including the willingness to sacrifice their own lives.
- Breivik describes numerous safety measures in the planning and implementation phase. These measures are very similar to the instructions found in the Al Qaeda manuals.
“There are many aspects of the manifesto which are inspired by Al Qaeda. Among other things, how to avoid being detected by the security services and how to implement safety measures,” Ranstorp says.
Wanted to film
In his manifesto Breivik expresses great admiration for Al Qaeda and the methods they use, which he sees as highly successful.
In police conversations, Breivik has also drawn parallels between Islamists and the Templar organization he claims to be a member of.
Among other things he wanted to film the killings of his “primary targets” on Utøya, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jonas Gahr Støre and Marte Michelet.
He wanted to send these tapes to various news agencies, thus creating fear.
“The main goal, as is the case with Al Qaeda, is to get the message out. An organization with limited funds needs to make use of psychological warfare,” Breivik stated in police interrogations.
Al Qaeda has not been a subject in the interrogations, according to defense lawyer Geir Lippestad.
The lawyer says that he has never spoken to Breivik about Al Qaeda.
“I can confirm that he behaves politely and follows all the rules in prison, but why he acts this way and whether it has something to with Al Qaeda are only speculations, Lippestad says.
Hat tip: Fjordman.