DID YOU KNOW?  -- Three years before the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs torched Bosniak villages and killed at least 3,166 Bosniaks around Srebrenica. In 1993, the UN described the besieged situation in Srebrenica as a "slow-motion process of genocide." In July 1995, Serbs forcibly expelled 25,000 Bosniaks, brutally raped many women and girls, and systematically killed 8,000+ men and boys (DNA confirmed).

12 May, 2012


Anders Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik saw inspiration for the mass murder of Norwegian youth in the Serbian "heroism." Looking back, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Serbs triggered World War I and subsequent murder of millions of innocent people. Then in World War II, which was consequence of World War I, ultranationalist Serbs joined Nazis and hunted down Jews and Bosnian Muslims for extinction.

Then some fifty years after the defeat of fascism in Europe, Serbs held Sarajevo and Srebrenica under the longest -- and the most brutal -- siege in European history. In Sarajevo alone, they killed more than 11,000 people, 1,500 of them children (photo album #1 and photo album #2).

From 1992 to 1995, Serb forces held Srebrenica under the siege killing Bosniak women and children as they pleased (photo album #3). Finally in July 1995, they overran Srebrenica and murdered 8,372 men and boys. For Breivik, these Serbs were heroes - and he claims he even met with one of commanders who, police suspect, was involved in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Norway massacre in Oslo and Utoya were inspired by "Serb nationalists", a fundamentalist Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik has told a court. "A look through Breivik's 1,500-page 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, which he published under the pseudonym 'Andrew Berwick', shows that he had a strange obsession with the Balkans. A word search for 'Kosovo' comes up with 143 matches, 'Serb' yields 341 matches, 'Bosnia' 343 and 'Albania' 208. ('Srebrenica'— the site of a Bosnian Serb massacre of 8,372 Bosniaks in 1995 — does not appear in the document)

The document is best described as a kind of 'Mein Kampf' for our times, in which Jews are replaced by Muslims as the enemy which must be fought and expunged from Europe.

Questioned about the philosophy behind his deadly acts and the Knights Templar (KT) network of anti-Islamists, Breivik said that a new identity of fundamentalist Christian terrorists was imported from Serbia -- a country infested with pathological hatred of Muslims; the hatred which is, unfortunately, common among a sizeable population of ordinary and ultranationalist Serbs alike. Breivik explains: 
"As regards the identity [of Knights Templar], the essence was to try to distance oneself sufficiently from national socialism because it was quite blood-stained. We felt it completely essential to do so. For the extreme right to ever be able to prevail in Europe in the future, one had to distance oneself from the old school ideology. One would chose a new identity [that] was, in a way, imported from Serbia".
The Serbian extremists and Orthodox Christian terrorists who participated in the 1992-95 Genocide of Muslim Bosniaks and the ethnic cleansing of Muslim Albanians and later died during the NATO bombing of Kosovo in 1999 had a "crusader" mentality to which Breivik  "aspired". The bombing of Serbs was, he said, "the straw that broke the camel's back" for fundamentalist Christian terrorists like himself. 

Prosecutors argued the Knights Templar network did not exist "in the way he describes it", but Breivik was adamant that police had not done a good enough job in uncovering it. "It is not in my interest to shed light on details that could lead to arrests," he told the court.


Authors: Lisa Bjurwald and Maik Baumgärtner 

The trial of the right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik has been a field day in the international media, with Breivik's ice-cold bearing and callous statements playing to the headlines. For many of the journalists inside the courtroom, however, the first couple of days in Oslo were disappointing in terms of actual information. The accused appeared to have no reason to worry about a gruelling cross examination. Often, the prosecution's questions resembled those that would be asked by psychologists, inquiring after his mental state. Although Breivik is one of the worst terrorists in Europe since the Second World War, perhaps the need to understand his actions has been greater than the urge to hold him accountable. But as the trial resumed on Friday, news broke that the Bosnian investigative weekly Sloboda Bosna had named Breivik's mystery Serbian contact as Milorad Pelemis, a war criminal who participated in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. Should this connection turn out to be true, it would be a vital piece of the puzzle of Breivik's international connections and the ideological underpinnings of the murders of 77 people in Oslo and Utoya in July.

In court, Breivik had explained that the Nato bombing of Serbia in 1999 was "the straw that broke the camel's back" when it came to his radicalisation. Srebrenica is often overlooked when discussing sources of inspiration for the anti-Muslim extreme right in Europe. But some groups regard the Serbs as heroes for retaliating against the "Islamisation" of the Balkans; they're role models in the fight against a looming "Eurabia" (the conspiracy theory that Europe is being "Gcolonised" by Muslims as part of a secret deal between the EU and the Arab world). In his manifesto, Breivik calls war criminal Radovan Karadzic an "honourable crusader". He also denies the true nature of the Yugoslavia horrors. This is as common in the so-called "counter jihad" movement as Holocaust denials are in neo-Nazi circles. The author Robert Spencer, of the Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) organisation, is one of the more influential polemicists spreading the claim that what happened in Srebrenica, and the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, is a myth. The prosecution - and the first, heavily criticised psychiatric evaluation - tried to make Breivik's claims of an international network seem ludicrous, the daydreams of a megalomaniac.

Yet it has only been a couple of months since Germans were shocked by the unearthing of a neo-Nazi terror cell, Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund, which had worked undisturbed for a decade. The prosecution has settled on the explanation that Breivik is a psychopath, going against many other psychiatric experts, and thereby ignores the far-right ideology from which he drew inspiration. But Breivik is clever and well-spoken, the son of a diplomat from a stable country, and had no criminal record - he would have been an ideal terrorist agent, at least on paper. During his extensive period of preparation, he was never caught or even monitored by the police. There are missing pieces to this puzzle and, naturally, Breivik's testimony is suspect. But this is what is known: Breivik was in Liberia in the spring of 2002 and flew to the UK from there. He claims to have met his Serbian contact in Monrovia (Milorad Pelemis was a mercenary there, according to Slobodna Bosna) and to have represented the contact at the founding meeting of an "international Christian military order" in London. Norwegian police have not found any evidence that the meeting took place or that the organisation existed. It has been verified that Breivik paid two brief visits to the Baltics in 2004, where he claimed to have received military training.

It would be no mystery if Breivik had sought contacts outside Norway. The Norwegian extreme-right scene is tiny and under constant surveillance. "If you wish to make things more complicated for the intelligence services, you have to cross national borders," Breivik told the court. His other statements in the past week, about years spent training with video games and his claims about "de-emotionalising" possibly indicate some sort of psychotic break, but Norwegian police have been remarkably uninterested in his international connections. It's certainly more convenient to dismiss him as a lone madman than to dig around Liberia and the Balkans. Breivik claims to have met his contacts online. How real those contacts were, much less if they solidified into actual collaboration in the attacks, needs further investigation. But the far-right ideological influences that he cited are undeniable and should be a wake-up call for intelligence agencies that monitor militant Islamist forums and ignore their right-wing counterparts. Throughout the trial, Breivik has said he was inspired by Al Qaeda - but has not named a specific inspiration for the July 22 attacks. The Srebrenica massacre, which took place over almost two weeks, ended on about July 22, 1995. Was Breivik's massacre of "Muslim-loving" youths an homage to that atrocity?

It remains to be seen whether he had practical support from other militant nationalists. But we already know that his ideology has adherents in the highest political assemblies. From the ex-Nazi Sweden Democrats in the north to Italy's Northern League separatists, and charismatic populists such as Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, similar ideas are growing in strength. It's not unlikely that more than one Anders Behring Breivik will cross the line from militant rhetoric to violence.

Lisa Bjurwald, based in Stockholm, is a freelance writer specialising in Europe's right-wing populist parties. Maik Baumgärtner is a Berlin-based freelance journalist and author specialising in right-wing extremism.