- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
I have just finished reading through what appears to be the 1,518-page manifesto and handbook of the perpetrator of the worst terrorist attack in Norwegian history.
The manifesto, bylined by someone calling himself Andrew Berwick, is entitled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence" and was posted on Stormfront.org, a white supremacist website, and discovered by American blogger Kevin I. Slaughter. [UPDATE: Norwegian TV has confirmed that the author is indeed the Oslo shooter, according to the New York Times.]
In it, "Berwick" declares himself a "Justiciar Knight Commander," a leading member of a "re-founded" Knights Templar group formed at an April 2002 meeting in London. He claims the founding group has 9 members, whom he does not name, and that three other sympathizers were not able to attend the original meeting.
"Our purpose," the document reads, is to "seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda."
In grim, apocalyptic language, it advocates attacks on "traitors" across Europe who are supposedly enabling a Muslim takeover of the continent.
"[W]e should… not exceed (per 2010) aprox. 45 000 dead and 1 million wounded cultural Marxists/multiculturalists in Western Europe," the author writes. "The time for dialogue is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come."
The manifesto also provides detailed instructions for everything from making a bomb to raising funds to preparing physically and mentally for what the author describes as a coming three-stage "civil war" between patriotic nationalists and "multiculturalists" who are, wittingly or not, destroying European civilization.
Filled with hateful rantings against Muslims — whom the author claims are on a trajectory to take over Europe and erase its culture patrimony — the writing bears a great resemblence to online comments attributed to Anders Breivik, 32, the confessed architect of a massacre that has so far claimed nearly 100 lives.
The author also claims to be Norwegian, and says that English is not his native language. And at the bottom of the document are several pictures of Breivick in different outfits, including the frogman costume pictured above.
Most suggestive of all, perhaps, is the detailed diary the author kept of his 82-day attempt to secretly build a fertilizer bomb while hiding out at a farm purchased explicitly for that purpose — chronicling his attempts to construct a device that would kill as many people as possible.
Here’s his entry from June 13, when he had his first successful detonation:
I prepared a test device today and drove off to a very isolated site. The test bomb was composed of a 3g DDNP primary and a 30g PA secondary. If this test would fail, I would abandon operation A and move forward with the non-spectacular operation B.
I lit the fuse, went out of range and waited. It was probably the longest 10 seconds I have ever endured…
BOOM! The detonation was successful!!!:-) I quickly drove away to avoid any potential unwanted attention, from people in the vicinity. I would have to come back a few hours later to investigate the blast hole, to see if both compounds had detonated.
Oddly, despite his evident hatred of Muslims and Arabs, "Berwick" professes admiration for al Qaeda, which he lists as one of only two "successful militant organisations" due to its "superior structural adaptation."
"If Muhammad was alive today," he writes, "Usama Bin Laden would have been his second in command."
Elsewhere, he cites al Qaeda’s training manual as a reference, and declares, "Just like Jihadi warriors are the plum tree of the Ummah, we will be the plum tree for Europe and for Christianity."
In another eerie parallel, he also calls for suicidal operations in service of the larger cause: "Let us be perfectly clear; if you are unwilling to martyr yourself for the cause, then the PCCTS, Knights Templar is not for you."
(PCCTS, he explains, stands for "Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici" or, in English, "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.")
Chillingly, the manifesto ends:
I believe this will be my last entry. It is now Fri July 22nd, 12.51.
Justiciar Knight Commander
Knights Templar Europe
Knights Templar Norway