NORWEGIAN mass killer Anders Behring Breivik claims he is part of a network of up to 80 “solo martyr cells” of people wanting to overthrow Western governments that tolerate Islam.
Following the revelation of a 1500-page “manifesto” Breivik emailed only hours before the attacks on Friday that killed at least 93 people, intelligence agencies are investigating whether he had accomplices, as fears of copycat crimes have risen across Europe.
Scotland Yard is investigating Breivik’s claims that he began his “crusade” against “the Islamic colonisation of Europe” after meeting other right-wing extremists in London in 2002.
He wrote that any member of a political group who had allowed Muslims to migrate deserved death for being “multiculturalist traitors”.
The manifesto says the meeting called itself the “European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal” of the “Knights Templar”.
British authorities have noted increased internet chatter by a group using that name.
The original Knights Templar were a military order in the Crusades.
The manifesto has raised questions about why Norwegian authorities failed to detect his preparations, which began up to eight years ago. It has also triggered a debate about whether Europe has been too relaxed about the threat of right-wing extremism.
The manifesto, which he emailed to 5700 people just hours before he detonated the Oslo car bomb, is entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence”. It documents Breivik’s meticulous planning.
Between 2002 and 2006 he raised money and moved in with his mother to save more, and trained and took steroids to build up his strength.
In 2009, he bought a farm as a cover for buying fertiliser, a key ingredient in bombs. This year, he bought weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol.
He crowed that police had apparently failed to flag him as a suspect.
After his arrest he told police he acted alone, but they have been investigating witness statements from the island that spoke of more than one gunman. A spokeswoman for the Norwegian public prosecutor’s office last night refused to comment on whether police were looking for accomplices.
Breivik was expected to plead not guilty at a custody hearing overnight despite having confessed to the bombing and the massacre.
His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK: “He thought it was gruesome having to commit these acts, but in his head they were necessary.”
Mr Lippestad has said Breivik wanted to wear a uniform to the custody hearing and wanted the session to be public.
Breivik had written that trials could provide a “propaganda base”.
But state prosecutor Christian Hatlo would ask the judge to close the session, the Oslo court said last night.
Mr Hatlo will ask the court to double the time Breivik can be held in custody to eight weeks.
During questioning, Breivik said he had intended to shoot former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland during her presentation on the island in the afternoon but he was delayed, the Aftenposten reported, citing police sources.
The director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London, Dr John Bew, said there had been a lack of focus on right-wing extremism, with research into Islamism often taking precedence.
Norwegian security officials have refused to comment on whether they were aware of Breivik as a potential threat but police have revealed more about why it took them nearly an hour to get to Utoeya island, site of the massacre of 86 teenagers, following the first call for help.
Eric Berga, police operations chief in Buskerud County, said an inadequate boat and the wait for a special armed unit from Oslo slowed the response.
“When so many people and equipment were put into it, the boat started to take on water, so that the motor stopped,” he said.
Breivik had written of using dum-dum bullets to cause maximum injury. Norwegian surgeons confirmed he used a similar kind of ammunition on Friday.
“These bullets more or less exploded inside the body,” said Dr Colin Poole, of Ringriket Hospital.
Norway last night observed a minute’s silence to remember the victims.
About 100 Red Cross volunteers in 32 boats were helping police in the search for up to five people who were still missing.
First published in The Age.