Chipping Away at the Self-Mythology of Anders Breivik

A look at the false narrative Breivik painted of himself

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As new reports show, Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik has carefully manipulated his own looks and his own back story, in the days and months leading to his 77-person killing spree, to create a kind of mythology surrounding himself. To this day, he refuses to have his mugshot taken, preferring that the media use pictures he took of himself holding his rifle and wearing full Masonic regalia, rather than "more humbling images," reports The Telegraph. Here are the contradictions and affectations coming out about Breivik and what motivated individuals are doing to combat his manufactured legacy:

The real Anders Breivik Fact-checking Breivk's 1,516-page manifesto, The Telegraph's Robert Mendick interviewed a number of individuals who knew Breivik growing up. Most unusually, a former school friend of Breivik says he got a nose job to look more Aryan. “I remember we were at a party,”said the friend, “and he told me he had had his nose and chin operated on by a plastic surgeon in America. It was a bit weird, but he was hanging around at that time with a group of people obsessed by their bodies.” In his manifesto, Breivik claims he's one of Oslo's "most notable" street dancers and one of the most well-recognized graffiti artists, a claim his school friend says is false: "It’s true he got into a lot of trouble, but what he doesn’t admit is he informed on his friends to the police. When it comes to depicting himself, not all of that adds up – like his claim to be the best-known graffiti artist in Oslo.”

Sabotaging his manifesto Over the weekend, Breivik's Twitter account was hacked and it appears the loosely-affiliated hacker group Anonymous was behind it. His account tweeted "This Twitter account has been seized by #NORIA. @AnonymousNorway." The group says it knows best how to combat Breivik's ugly nativist, anti-immigrant ideology. “We want Anders to be forgotten. Labels like ‘monster’ or ‘maniac’ won’t do either,” read a separate tweet. “Media should call him pathetic; a nothing. #Forgethim.” Anonymous then launched a campagn to sabotage Breivki's manifesto:

As Anders Behring Breivik wants to use the cruel action of killing over 90 young people to promote his 1516-page manifesto, also with the help of the internet, Anonymous suggests following action:

1. Find the Manifest of Anders Behring Breivik : 2083 - A European Declaration of Independence
2. Change it, add stupid stuff, remove parts, shoop his picture, do what you like to.....
3. Republish it everywhere and up vote releases from other peoples, declare that the faked ones are original
4. Let Anders become a joke, such that nobody will take him serious anymore
5. Spread this message around the internet and real life, translate it
6. Have a moment for the victims of his cruel attacks

We all are anonymous,
We all are Legion,
We all do not forgive murder,
We all do not forget the victims.

A muddled world view Writing in The New York Times, Thomas Hegghammer, a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, says Breivik doesn't quite fit into any cookie cutter "right-wing ideology" like "white supremacism, ultranationalism or Christian fundamentalism":

For example, although Mr. Breivik says he fears “the extinction of the Nordic genotypes,” racial hygiene is not high on his agenda. He wants to expel, not kill, Muslims in Europe, and he does not mind Jews and non-Muslim Asians. Similarly, while Mr. Breivik says he is “extremely proud” of his “Odinistic/Norse heritage,” he is not a Norwegian nationalist — his “declaration of independence” applies to all of Europe. And while he is Christian, he admits that “I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.