Former friends reveal pieces of killer's past

The Sydney Morning Herald/August 1, 2011

Even as he languishes in solitary confinement in a prison that was once a Nazi concentration camp, Anders Behring Breivik continues to wage his war against Islam.

Having murdered 77 people (some pictured above) he is now entering the propaganda phase of his 21st-century crusade. Confined to his cell, he spends his waking hours writing speeches or making bizarre requests to the authorities.

Breivik, 32, refuses to have his prison "mugshot" taken to ensure that the stage-managed photographs he took of himself - in full Masonic regalia or clutching his rifle - are not replaced by more humbling images.

Having been refused permission to wear a combat uniform, he has demanded to wear a red Lacoste sweater for his public outings to court or to the police station.

Eight days after the attacks, clothes and looks remain as important to Breivik as ever, principles of a dress code laid down in the 1516-page manifesto emailed to alleged followers hours before he struck.

"Nothing over the years I knew him, or what I have since read in his so-called manifesto, suggests that he is crazy or disturbed," says Peter Svaar, a former schoolfriend. "Everything that happened after the bomb went off at 3.26 on Friday afternoon has been following his plan. My biggest fear now is that he is still playing us - the media, public opinion - like a piano."

"He wanted to get caught. He has admitted everything. He wrote [in the manifesto] that the propaganda phase starts at the arrest."

Another former schoolfriend said Breivik's attention-seeking was evident a decade ago. "I remember we were at a party," recalls the former 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."

For Breivik - even at the age of 21 - a nose job was the logical next step in his desire for physical perfection.

His plan was laid down in his manifesto, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. The year 2083 signals when Breivik was convinced the civil war he hoped to start would be over.

The manifesto - part war manual, part propaganda text - offers an astonishing insight into Breivik's life and those around him. He moved out of his flat in Oslo and back with his mother at age 30 to save money. By now he was taking steroids to beef himself up, even detailing his weight changes in the manifesto. He grew apart from his social circle.

Peter Svaar is struggling to come to terms with what has happened.

"What keeps me awake at night is not that he's a monster," Mr Svaar says. ''It is that he is a regular, Norwegian boy."

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