Norwegian gunman sought weapons in Prague

A building in Oslo after the explosion on July 22 2011, photo: CTK

Anders Behring Breivik, who admitted carrying out Friday’s twin terror attacks in Norway that killed 93 people, visited the Czech capital last year in search of weapons. In a manifesto published on the day of the attacks, attributed to the Mr Breivik, the terror suspect wrote that his failure to do so in Prague led to him to acquire a rifle and a handgun legally in his homeland. In the document, the 32-year-old right-wing, anti-Islamist fundamentalist also quotes Czech President Václav Klaus’ criticism of the EU.

Anders Behring Breivik,  photo: ISIFA/Reuters
According to the manifesto entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, attributed to Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian gunman drove to Prague from Norway in September 2010 “to establish a weapons connection”.

Having seen an unspecified BBC documentary about Prague, Mr Breivik believed the Czech capital was “perhaps the most important transit point for illicit drugs and weapons in Europe” and thought he would be able to illegally buy an AK-47 assault rifle, a Glock handgun, grenades and ammunition in Prague.

He describes the precautions he took for the trip, including having his mobile phone off during the journey. He was also concerned about his own safety while in Prague, where he expected “a lot of brutal and cynical criminals”.

The Norwegian right-wing fundamentalist wrote that he spent six days in the Czech capital. He had several materials printed out professionally about mineral extraction he intended to use as a cover for illegally manufacturing explosives. He also got police ID badges and other insignia printed, and noted that in Norway, the printing shop would notify the authorities of such a request.

Victims of a mass shooting on Utöya island,  July 22 2011,  photo: CTK
Mr Breivik’s plans to acquire weapons in Prague failed. During his first two days in the city, he visited two brothels and some night clubs looking for a criminal connection but came back empty-handed. “The people I approached got really nervous and thought I was either a cop or completely nuts”, he wrote in his manifesto. The failure made Mr Breivik reconsider his plan for getting weapons. He decided to apply for a licence for a hunting rifle and a handgun legally in Norway.

Despite his lack of success, Anders Behring Breivik did not cut his stay in Prague short. He wrote he felt safer than in Oslo, “probably because there are basically no Muslims living in this country”. He said the only criminals were “Christian Gypsies” who the government “chased away from the capital”.

The Czech Republic is also mentioned on several occasions in those parts of the 1,500-page pamphlet that deal with ideological justification of the attacks. In a chapter entitled Why We Cannot Rely on Moderate Muslims, the author suggests west European countries could expel parts of their Muslim populations in the same way ethnic Germans were expelled from post-WWII Czechoslovkakia under the so-called Beneš decrees.

A building in Oslo after the explosion on July 22 2011,  photo: CTK
The author quotes Czech President Václav Klaus, among many politicians, journalists, writers and others. The author highlights Mr Klaus’ criticism of the EU from the 1990s when the then-Czech prime minister allegedly said that "every time I try to remove some piece of Soviet-era regulation, I am told that whatever it is I am trying to scrap is a requirement of the European Commission”. Mr Breivik also quotes Mr Klaus’ speech at a conference in Luxembourg in March 2006 where the Czech president said that the bloc’s enlargement “increased the EU’s democratic deficit”.

President Klaus, who is on a lecture tour in Australia, has strongly condemned the attacks. In an official telegram to the King of Norway, President Klaus said such barbaric methods and acts could in no way be justified.