Norway’s Anders Breivik: Biological Weapons

Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway
Please visit the full report for further analysis of the treatise and the CBRN weapons discussed within.

Overview

Along with other CBRN, Breivik calls for the use of biological weapons (BW) and toxins against the “cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites,” stressing that “Efforts must be made to obtain [them].”36
Despite claiming his “aim is to execute surgically precise attacks with a medium to low amount of casualties…” Breivik intended to use CBRN to cause mass casualties. In his treatise he defines “surgically precise” in a manner that is anything but:

“The number of civilian loses will be acceptable for certain targets. Certain target building complexes can contain as many as 30-50 category A traitors, 200-300 category B traitors and 2000-3000 category C traitors with an acceptable amount of civilians.”37

Weapons of mass destruction are intended for just that purpose—mass destruction. In calling for the surgical use of weapons to cause thousands of deaths—by no means a low casualty count–one can see the disparity between his stated purpose and his intended results.

As noted earlier, Breivik claims nuclear or radiological weapons will not be used by himself or his followers until at least 202038 and until then he urges his followers to use conventional, biological, and chemical weapons. To incentivize the use of BWs, he created a commendation system explicitly laid out within the treatise. For example, the ‘Lord of War Commendation: Silver Sword’ is to be awarded to individuals who “execut[ed]/kill[ed] at least 10 category A, B or C traitors… [with] a biological or chemical WMD…” and the ‘Commendation of Clandestine Logistical Excellence: Gold Sword’ to be awarded for “…exceptional logistical skills in a military operation… involving conventional weapons with an unconventional WMD, biological, nuclear, etc.”39

Specific Biological Agents

Breivik’s treatise focused on Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax), ricin, and concentrated liquid nicotine. Fortunately, Breivik neglected the obvious and relatively easy to acquire BWs such as botulinum neurotoxin and Foot and Mouth Disease—both of which could have massive social and economic ramifications if deployed effectively. Aeorsolized anthrax, nicotine, and ricin are considered deadly BWs,40but Breivik only mentions the use of aersolized anthrax. He focuses instead on using un-aerosolized ricin and nicotine for armed assaults.41 Breivik’s understanding of the social implications of BW attacks is well grounded and he is capable of making and/or obtaining ricin and nicotine for assault use. However, Breivik’s ability to obtain weapons grade anthrax and toxins is less likely.

ANTHRAX: While Breivik discusses Bacillus anthracis at great length, he lacks the necessary knowledge to culture and weaponize the spores himself. For example, his laboratory equipment list does not include basic bacterial culturing equipment, such as incubators, centrifuges, and fermentors. Breivik also recommends getting an anthrax vaccination, but does not appear to understand that the vaccine is not available to the general public.42

Breivik understands that the technology required to weaponize B. anthracis spores is likely too costly and involved to allow for a single individual to successfully accomplish the task alone.43 Therefore, he recommends contacting the “Christian Nationalists” in the Middle East for sympathetic “… scientists or any other competent individuals who might be of assistance in developing biological/chemical compounds or whom are willing to use their networks to obtain high grade anthrax etc.”44 Breivik also recommends the Russian Mafia45 and to a much lesser degree, jihadist groups and Iran46 as possible sources for acquiring BW capability.

In terms of B. anthracis deployment, Breivik identifies the 2001 anthrax attacks as “a good anthrax campaign”47 and advocates similar targeted anthrax mailing campaigns across Europe, including targets in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. Breivik’s plan seems logical and could be devastating if accomplished. The main barrier to his plan is acquiring the large amounts of anthrax he calculated for the attacks (409 – 818 kilograms). Breivik seems to understand this barrier, and supports using a hoax powder as a scare tactic. Breivik muses that in the hoax aftermath:

“Many cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites will defect, quit politics, their media, university, artist position as a result. Some may even realise [sic] what they are doing/have done and may join our struggle. Many of the so called “category A and B” traitors aren’t truly cultural Marxists/ multiculturalists. Many are just “going with the flow” and will therefore reevaluate their involvement in future activities.”48

TOXINS: Breivik was capable of safe, crude extraction of the deadly toxins ricin49 and nicotine50 from, respectively, the Castor bean and dried tobacco leaf. However, these extraction methods do not create weapons grade toxins.

Ricin: Breivik’s limited knowledge hinders his ability to even identify an average lethal dose of ricin. He cites four different sources for this dose, with estimates ranging from 1mg to about 70mg. Part of his confusion stems from the fact that a toxin’s route of entry (aerosol, ingestion, injection) affects the amount needed for a lethal dose. This amount is quantified by the LD50 (the lethal dose at which 50% of people will die if exposed). He lists the LD50 for ricin at 60mg for a 75kg man (about 165 lbs),51 which is a few orders of magnitude off for any entry route. For a 75 kg man, the LD50 should be about 1,500mg if the toxin was ingested, and it would be around 0.4mg if the toxin was injected or inhaled.52

Nicotine: In addition to the available crude extraction methods, Breivik recommends purchasing pure or diluted liquid nicotine (for boiling down).53 Breivik details how he created a cover identity as an e-cigarette researcher to obtain 50mL of pure liquid nicotine from a Chinese company with “… no complications whatsoever.”54 This information is unsettling as we may see more people similarly acquiring this toxin for nefarious purposes.

Poison bullets: Breivik planned to create ‘poison bullets’55 to ensure the death of his victims. The poisons—ricin and nicotine—were to be injected into the tips of hollow point bullets. However, Breivik seems more fascinated with the idea of poison bullets than their practicality since the quickest, cheapest, and least labor intensive method to ensure a victim’s death would be to just shoot them again.

It is also questionable whether or not a lethal dose of toxin would even survive the heat generated by firing a round. According to infrared data for a .30 caliber round,56 the tip of a bullet can reach 170°C (338°F), and the portions in contact with the gun barrel can reach 320°C (608°F).57 It is therefore possible that a toxin within a hollow point bullet could reach temperatures near 170°C for approximately one second.58 Even during this short time frame, one could expect some loss of toxicity based on the thermostability of ricin59 and nicotine.60

More worrisome than the assault scenario presented above is the scenario Breivik described of releasing chemical and/or biological agents into a building’s ventilation system.61 This mass casualty scenario, at least for biological agents and toxins, is luckily hindered by the technology involved and his ability to acquire weapons grade materials from outside sources.

Summary of Biological Agents and Weapons

Breivik understands that along with possible high fatality rates (without the loss of infrastructure), massive media coverage, economic damage, and intense psychological effects, there are other ‘good’ reasons for attempting a BW attack.62 For many technical reasons,63 Breivik himself was not capable of creating and deploying biological weapons, but his planning and resolve to manipulate people and organizations in order to acquire weaponized biological materials is troubling.


 

  1. The authors thank Rebecca A. Remy for her valuable research assistance.
  2. Andrew Berwick, pseudonym for Anders Behring Breivik, 2083 A European Declaration of Independence, July 2011, hereafter referred to as The Declaration.
  3. The single largest open-source terrorism incident database is the National Consortium for the Study and Responses to Terrorism’s (START) Global Terrorism Database (GTD), available at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/
  4. From 1970 – 2010 fatalities were as follows: 118 incidents with 101+ fatalities; 313 incidents with 51 – 100 fatalities; 3,890 incidents with 11 – 50 fatalities; 36,637 incidents with 1 – 10 fatalities; 50,262 incidents with no fatalities; and 6,841 incidents with “unknown” fatality levels. Data drawn from the GTD.
  5. “Firearm” includes, “Automatic Weapon,” “Handgun,” Rifle/Shotgun (non‐automatic),” and “Unknown Gun Type.” See Global Terrorism Database, “GTD Variables & Inclusion Criteria” (June 2011), p. 40. Available at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/downloads/Codebook.pdf
  6. From 1970 – 2010 fatalities in incidents of terrorism involving firearms were: 52 incidents with 101+ fatalities; 157 incidents with 51 – 100 fatalities; 2,208 incidents with 11 – 50 fatalities; 22,581 incidents with 1 – 10 fatalities; 9,015 incidents with no fatalities, and 2,079 incidents with an “unknown” number of fatalities. Ibid.
  7. The Declaration, 1422-1423, 1429, and 1464. A survivor of the Utoya Island attack interviewed by National Public Radio mentioned Breivik using a shotgun. Available at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=138628671.
  8. Email correspondence with primary author Blair, July 24, 2011. Emphasis added. See also, Jeffrey M. Bale, “The Oslo Terrorist Attacks: A Story of Rival Right-Wing Extremisms,” Monterey Institute of International Studies, forthcoming.
  9. Sam Jones and Ben Quinn, “Norway Attacks Live Coverage,” July 25, 2011. Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/25/norway-attack-live-coverage-anders-breivik
  10. The Declaration, 1022.
  11. This is not to imply that Breivik had—or his supposed colleagues have—the capability to fabricate and use a true weapon of mass destruction. Breivik’s resources and capabilities likely limited him to the possible employment of a radiological agent (e.g., a “dirty bomb”) or an attack on chemical infrastructure. Cf. Lee Ferran, “Alleged Norway Shooter Considered WMD Attack, Jihadi Alliance,” ABC News, July 24, 2011. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/anders-breivik-alleged-norway-shooter-considered-wmd-attack/story?id=14148151
  12. “Assimilation” includes Conversion to Christianity; Name change; Not allowed to practice your ”mother tongue” or Arabic; All mosques and Islamic centers will be demolished or converted; Correspondence with other Muslims abroad is strictly prohibited; etc. The Declaration, 809-810.[ Breivik warns that the use of radiological and nuclear weapons will not occur before this “capitulation deadline.”[13. Ibid, passim, see especially 811 and 820.
  13. For the radiological deadline see Ibid, 1059; for nuclear deadline see Ibid, 1027-1028.
  14. Ibid, 1027. Emphasis added.
  15. Ibid, 959.
  16. Ibid, 957-958.
  17. Ibid, 478.
  18. Ibid, 1059.
  19. Ibid, 1062-1063.
  20. Ibid. 959
  21. Ibid, 478.
  22. Ibid, 957
  23. Ibid, 771-772 and 930.
  24. Breivik elaborates on Category B traitors as: individuals from various professional groups (but not limited to): “journalists, editors, teachers, lecturers, university professors, various school/university board members, publicists, radio commentators, writers of fiction, cartoonists, and artists/celebrities etc. They can also be individuals from other professional groups such as: technicians, scientists, doctors and even Church leaders. In addition, individuals (investors etc) who have directly or indirectly funded related activities. It’s important to note that the stereotypical ‘socialists’, collectivists, feminists, gay and disability activists, animal rights activists, environmentalists etc are to be considered on an individual basis only. Not everyone who are [sic
  25. Ibid, 931.
  26. Ibid, 957.
  27. Breivik likely meant North Korea.
  28. The Declaration, 959.
  29. Ibid, 954. The German’s utilized large quantities of Zyclon B during the Holocaust (i.e., the agent fueled the “gas chambers”).
  30. author’s interview with Jonathan Tucker, July 25, 2011. Tucker also notes that Brevik’s claim that Uragan D2 is easily obtainable despite only being made by one Austrian company is incorrect; the agent is manufactured in a different European country.
  31. The Declaration, 954
  32. For “chemical bullets” see Ibid, 1112-1122; for ventilation systems see Ibid, 957.
  33. Ibid, 959.
  34. Ibid, 957.
  35. Ibid, 1921.
  36. Ibid, 951.
  37. Ibid, 957. Breivik notes that, “A briefcase full of high grade anthrax has the potential to kill as many as 200,000 people if dispersed effectively. However, this is not our objective. Our aim is to execute surgically precise attacks with a medium to low amount of casualties… The number of civilian loses will be acceptable for certain targets. Certain target building complexes can contain as many as 30-50 category A traitors, 200-300 category B traitors and 2000-3000 category C traitors with an acceptable amount of civilians. Uragan D2, anthrax or equivalent lethal chemical or biological weapons should be dispersed through ventilation systems of buildings where there are concentrations of category A and B traitors. The Justiciar Knight will either have to do a break-in during business hours (this will be risky as it will most likely alert personnel which may evacuate the building) or plan ahead by seeking employment as a janitor in the targeted building. An alternative would be to do a break-in during night time. Several containers with timer/dispersal mechanisms could be placed in strategic locations in the ventilation system.”
  38. Ibid, 1027. As noted earlier, Breivik claims that “The PCCTS, Knights Templar will allow all Western European regimes to capitulate to our demand and we are hereby giving them a deadline which is January 1st , 2020. We will not initiate any nuclear power plant attacks until the deadline has passed (we will instead focus on non-nuclear attacks until then).”
  39. Ibid, 1082. See also, Dembek, Z.F., “Anthrax,” Chapter 4, Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare. (Washington, D.C., Department of Defense, Office of The Surgeon General, US Army, Borden Institute,2007, 672. Available at: http://www.bordeninstitute.army.mil/published_volumes/biological_warfare/biological.html
  40. “Aerosolized nicotine could be used in a terrorist attack, but it has limited effectiveness for military applications as it rapidly degrades in the environment.” Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), United States Government. The Emergency Response Safety and Health Database: Nicotine. Retrieved May 12, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/NIOSH/ershdb/EmergencyResponseCard_29750028.html. See also, Dembek, Z.F., “Ricin,” Chapter 15, Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare, 672. Available at: http://www.bordeninstitute.army.mil/published_volumes/biological_warfare/biological.html
  41. The Declaration, 1012. Breivik states that “ Shock attacks or more precisely armed assaults, involving assault rifles or pistols, on concentrations of category A and B traitors, should be combined with the application of poison bullets. A relatively simple process will convert hollow point and even standard ammunition – lead or other alloy bullets into hollow bullets.”
  42. Ibid, 954.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Ibid, 957
  45. Ibid, 911.
  46. Ibid, 958-959.
  47. Ibid, 961-962
  48. Ibid, 964-965.
  49. Ibid, 1018.
  50. Ibid, 1020.
  51. Ibid, 1017 and 1021.
  52. Barrett, A.D.T. & Stanberry, L.R. (2009). “Ricin,” Chapter 55, Vaccines for biodefense and emerging and neglected diseases. London, UK: Academic Press
  53. The Declaration, 1020
  54. Ibid, 1011. Breivik reprints his “Nicotine cover story” as follows: “Here is a copy of the email I sent to the supplier;” Hello, My company is in the process of attempting to establish a market for e-cigarettes in Norway. In this context we are going to produce a test/research batch of these products with the intention of documenting the effects as a quit-smoking product. Our government’s main argument against allowing commercialization of these specific quit-smoking products is that there is lacking research on this area. We are looking forward to pursue the possibility of choosing you as our main supplier of nicotine base once e-cigarettes can be commercialized in Norway. However, in this initial research phase we only require an initial 30 ml batch of 99% liquid nicotine. I realize that there is a 1 L minimum order but we do not mind paying the full liter price for the 30 ml batch. I assume that you will take all security precautions regarding safe shipping/packing/labeling considering the extremely toxic nature of the compound. Thanks in advance and hope to hear from you soon. Best regards,…” Breivik notes that he “received the 50 ml of 99% pure liquid nicotine shipment from China today. I’m relieved to see that there were no complications whatsoever.” Ibid, 1424. Breivik does not have a full grasp of the field of Biological weapons and biology, this can clearly be seen when he incorrectly identifies “four kinds of biological warfare agents: bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae and fungi.” (p. 953). He should have included biological toxins, and removed rickettsiae as it is a type of bacteria.
  55. Ibid, 1013-1022
  56. This caliber is slightly larger than a .223 caliber round that would be fired from his Ruger Mini-14 (p 1013 & 1429)
  57. Richards, A. “Infrared Camera Measures Bullet Heating,” Advanced Imaging. March 2004. Available at:http://www.corebyindigo.com/PDF/articles/AdvImg3-04.pdf.
  58. Standard autoclave dry heat sterilization protocols for complete sterilization advise for 170 degrees C (340 degrees F) for one 1 hour.
  59. Crude ricin loses approximately 15 percent activity when held at 73F (22.8C) for 3 min. See He, Xiaohua; Lu, Sixin; Cheng, Luisa W.; Rasooly, Reuven; Carter, John Mark. “Effect of Food Matrices on the Biological Activity of Ricin.” Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 71, No. 10 (October 2008), 2053-2058.
  60. The decomposition temperature range for nicotine is 132-246°C. See Perfetti, Thomas A. “Subject: Thermal Stability of Nicotine, Levulinic Acid, Nicotine Levulinate and Sodium and Calcium Levulinate”. 13 Jul 1990. Bates: 512345754. Available at: http://tobaccodocuments.org/product_design/512345754-5754.html
  61. The Declaration, 957. Breivik states that “Uragan D2, anthrax or equivalent lethal chemical or biological weapons should be dispersed through ventilation systems of buildings where there are concentrations of category A and B traitors. … Several containers with timer/dispersal mechanisms could be placed in strategic locations in the ventilation system.”
  62. Ibid, 951-952 and 964.
  63. Breivik does not have a full grasp of the field of biological weapons and biology, this can clearly be seen when he incorrectly identifies “four kinds of biological warfare agents: bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae and fungi.” (p. 953). He should have included biological toxins, and removed rickettsiae as it is a type of bacteria.
  64. The Declaration, 1059-1063.
  65. Ibid, 1059
  66. Ibid, 1062.
  67. Nine are listed on page 1061; Iodine-131 is mentioned on page 1044.
  68. The Declaration, 1062
  69. Ibid, 1058 and 1063.
  70. See Sammy Salama and Edith Bursack, “Jihadist Capabilities and the Diffusion of Knowledge,” in Gary Ackerman and Jeremy Tamsett, eds., Jihadists and Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Growing Threat (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2009), 193-231
  71. However, Breivik does briefly explore the procurement of nuclear “materials” in a likely effort to assess the plausibility of an IND. For example, Breivik specifically identifies the Russian Mafia group “Solntsevskaya Bratva” as a reliable source for nuclear material. The Declaration, 911-912.
  72. “PCCTS, Knights Templar “franchise” operations, lead by autonomous/ independent cells, will continue to emerge around Europe in the coming decades.” Ibid, 1022.
  73. The “Phases” are describes as follows (Ibid, 803): European Civil War, Phase 1 – 1999-2030 – Islam, 2-30% based on country – Open source warfare, military shock attacks by clandestine cell systems. – Further consolidation of conservative forces. European Civil War, Phase 2 – 2030-2070 – Islam, 15-40% based on country – Consolidation continues, more advanced forms of resistance groups – Preparation for pan-European coup d’etats. European Civil War, Phase 3 – 2070-2083 – Islam, 30-50% based on country – Pan-European coup d’etats. Cultural Communism/multiculturalism defeated in the first European country followed by the rest – The implementation of a Cultural Conservative political agenda begins – Execution of cultural Marxist/multiculturalist category A and B traitors initiated.- Deportation of Muslims initiated.
  74. Breivik writes that, “As of now we do not have enough insiders working in the French, British and German facilities although we might have enough in phase 2.” Ibid, 1023.
  75. See, for example, Ibid, 959.
  76. See, for example, Ibid, 959.
  77. Ibid, 955
  78. Ibid, “Nevertheless, we cannot, under any circumstances, accept deployment of nuclear weapons for surface detonation above 0,2 {sic} kilotons as it would involve too many civilian casualties. However, smaller devises up to approximately 0,2 {sic} kilotons are ideal for annihilating concentrations of category A and B traitors (traitor HQs).” Ibid, 960.
  79. Ibid, 955
  80. Ibid, 955
  81. Ibid, 955
  82. Ibid, 956.
  83. Ibid.
  84. Ibid, 1025, there is a section entitled “Using European nuclear power plants as a weapon of mass destruction.”
  85. 1028, Breivik goes into great detail as to how he imagines an assault on a nuclear power plant would work. He provides estimates of minimum requirements for success and six different “assault strategies.”
  86. Ibid, 1026
  87. See, for example, Salama and Bursak, “Jihadist Capabilities and the Diffusion of Knowledge,” and Anne Stenerson, “Al-Qaeda’s Thinking on CBRN: A Case Study,” in Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Normak eds., Unconventional Weapons and International Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2009), 50-63.
  88. In the case of the former, the agent was used with the hopes of influencing a local election; in the case of the latter, to distract the police as they closed in on the group. See, W. Seth Carus, “The Rajneeshees (1984),” and David Kaplan, “Aum Shinrikyo (1995),” in Jonathan B. Tucker ed., Toxic Terror (Cambridge: MIT Press: 2000), 115-138 and 207-226 respectively.
  89. Ferran, “Alleged Norway Shooter Considered WMD Attack, Jihadi Alliance.”
  90. Theodore Kaczynski, Industrial Society and Its Future-completed 1995.
  91. Founder of the National Alliance and author of The Turner Diaries.
  92. For a brief yet excellent overview see, “Creativity Movement,” Extremism and American, the Anti-Defamation League. available at: http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/wcotc.asp

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