Anders Behring Breivik, the Norweigan mass murderer who killed 77 and injured 151 in a series of attacks last year, said at trial this week that he targeted the children of Norway’s leftist political leaders because they were “in many ways similar to the Hitler Youth.”
His defense is alarmingly similar to a comment made by the American right-wing political commentator Glenn Beck, whose conspiracy-laden show was kicked off the Republican-leaning Fox News Channel last year.
During a July 25, 2011 broadcast just days after Breivik’s attack, Beck claimed he was initially careful about his comments because he did not want to unjustly blame Muslim extremists. But, he added that as details began to come out about the massacre, he felt the camp that was targeted “sounds a little like the Hitler Youth or, you know, whatever.”
“Who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics?” the American radio host said. “Disturbing.”
Beck’s own group, the 9/12 Project, hosted a summer camp for kids last July in Tampa, Florida.
Appearing during the second day of his trial, Breivik described the camp as being “in many ways similar to the Hitler Youth.”
“It’s an indoctrination camp at Utoya,” he said.
While it’s quite a leap to say that Breivik and Beck have aligning views, both men have adamantly condemned Muslim involvement in western society and taken up the banner of far-right politics.
Beck has said repeatedly that he believes American culture is “under assault” by Muslims who secretly operate behind the scenes at many institutions and social organizations. Breivik has said just as much about Europe, but takes his extremism several steps further, openly advocating for armed conflict with Muslims and their supporters, who he believes control Norway’s Labor Party.
Beck’s comments about the Labor Party’s youth camp were condemned as a “new low” by Torbjørn Eriksen, the former press secretary to Norway’s prime minister, even though Beck later went on to compare Breivik to the terrorists who carried out attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001.
Oddly enough, that’s another Beck line which Breivik echoed on Tuesday: He compared his attack to those carried out by al Qaeda, which he called the “most successful revolutionary force in the world.”
It’s not the first time Beck’s words and conspiracy theories have touched the lives of real-world killers. Byron Williams, a 45-year-old ex-con, was arrested on July 18, 2010 after opening fire on police in California. No lives were lost, but two officers were injured. Williams, who was wearing ballistic armor during his shootout with police, was later accused of preparing an attack on two of Beck’s favorite targets, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tides Foundation, the later of which was relatively unknown before Beck began spinning theories of a monstrous liberal plot against America.
Photo: Flickr user david_shankbone.