What did the Oslo killer want?

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, 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.

Sincere regards,
Andrew Berwick
Justiciar Knight Commander
Knights Templar Europe
Knights Templar Norway


Chinese province takes baby steps to change one-child policy

In a challenge to China's controversial one-child policy, a regional leader has asked for permission from the central government to relax the policy in his area. Earlier this month, Zhang Feng, the head of Guangdong's population commission, requested that some families be allowed to have a second child (specifically families in which one of the parents is an only child). Surprisingly, a similar baby-step implemented two years ago in Shanghai -- under which parents who were both single children were allowed, and even encouraged, to have two children -- did not lead to a surge in additional kids. Many parents cited financial and time concerns as their rationale for limiting themselves to one child. Even Zhang Feng admitted in an interview with the Southern Metropolis News, a state-run paper in Guangdong, that "to allow the new policy will have little overall impact on population growth."

With a population of more than 104 million, Guangdong is currently China's most populous province. Officials proposed this change in order to combat problems associated with a population that is rapidly aging. Zhang Feng explained that "the increase in population is still a big problem affecting our social and economic development...But in the long-term, aging will also be a problem."

Guangdong also has an important role in a very different method of circumventing the one-child policy. A growing number of mainland mothers use intermediaries -- many of whom are based in Guangdong -- to arrange for them to travel to, and give birth in, nearby Hong Kong, where the one-child policy does not apply.  According to government statistics, in 2010 47% of the babies born in Hong Kong were the children of mainland mothers.

In addition to avoiding fines imposed for disobeying the one-child policy, mothers who give birth in the territory reap a variety of other benefits. For example, their children are automatically considered residents of Hong Kong (although most children return to the mainland with their parents anyway), and as such, can travel abroad more freely. All of this doesn't come cheap however, with prices at public hospitals (where approximately a quarter of the mainland babies are born) between HK$39,000 and HK$48,000 (approximately US$5,000 and US$6,150).  Prices at private hospitals are even higher.

Officials in both Hong Kong and mainland China have expressed concern over this trend. In April, worried that the record influx of mainland mothers would overload their healthcare system, Hong Kong announced that for the rest of the year mainland mothers will be prohibited from signing-up to give birth in public hospitals. The Hong Kong government has also recently restricted the number of spots available to non-locals at public hospitals, from 10,000 in 2011 to only 3,400 for 2012. The government has also considered raising the rates charged at public hospitals. And in Guangdong, members of the family planning committee recently ruled that second children, even those born outside the mainland, must be registered as "additional."

If Guangdong, however, is given permission to enact the proposed reforms to its one-child policy, Hong Kong's moves to say "bye, bye, baby" may not be quite so necessary any more.