Is Anders Behring Breivik the Nordic Che Guevara?

In a provocative essay at the website Gates of Vienna, I once asked whether the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik could be labeled the “Nordic Muhammad.” The first pair of forensic psychiatrists who evaluated Breivik compared his self-image to religious literature. He claimed to be a “perfect” man worthy of emulation. John L. Esposito, one of the most pro-Islamic writers in the Western world, states that Muhammad can be seen as the “living Koran.” He is viewed by Muslims as a perfect man worthy of emulation, almost like Breivik imagined himself to be.

Yet, fortunately for us, Breivik did not found a new religion. Perhaps a more appropriate question to ask is whether Breivik, with his sadistic cruelty and bloodthirstiness, is a Nordic equivalent of Che Guevara.

On page 1164 of his confused manifesto, Breivik quoted the Marxist leader Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba for more than half a century: “I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 individuals with absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.” Mr. Castro represents a violent totalitarian ideology, but although he is a revolutionary Socialist he has not been blamed by the mass media for inspiring Breivik. That is reserved for so-called “Islamophobes.”

On April 23 2012, during the trial in Oslo, Breivik compared himself to the Marxist militants and revolutionary Socialists Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. The latter has become a popular icon of rebellion and anti-capitalism among segments of the political Left throughout the Western world, his image decorating posters and t-shirts and used to sell everything from coffee mugs to key chains. ABB claimed that his alleged Knights Templar militant network had as much legitimacy as these Marxists did in their violent struggle to overthrow the ruling regimes.

This was, as usual, not emphasized much by journalists with Socialist sympathies. The Socialist Left Party, part of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s coalition government, have resisted calls for a boycott of the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, but at the same time wanted to boycott goods from democratic Israel. Much the same may be said about the Labor Party’s intimate and powerful partner, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO).

When Breivik greeted the court several times with a clenched fist, the press described this as a “right-wing extremist salute,” without mentioning that virtually the same gesture has been used by the Black Panthers and modern Socialist rulers such as Hugo Chavez in Latin America or the Marxist terrorist Carlos the Jackal.

Peter Neumann, the Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation in London, claims that Breivik has changed our view of “lone wolf” terrorists radicalized by the Internet. The historian Nikolai Brandal, however, labels him a “hybrid terrorist” who sought inspiration from many different sources. During his court testimony, Brandal found it noteworthy that Breivik employs the term “urban guerrilla” for his style of warfare. This term was popularized in the 1960s, partly by the revolutionary international Socialist Che Guevara.

Che Guevara played a major role in the cooperation between Fidel Castro’s Communist-ruled Cuba and the Soviet Union, thereby contributing to the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 that almost triggered a full-scale intercontinental nuclear war between the two superpowers of the era, the USA and the Soviet Union.

Che actually regretted that it didn’t come to nuclear war, proclaiming that “If the nuclear missiles had remained [in Cuba] we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City. The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!” He also said some extremely negative things about black people as well as homosexuals, statements that are usually covered up by his left-wing cheerleaders today.

The writer Rubén Palma, who was originally born and raised in Chile but has lived in Denmark for the past four decades, has looked into some little-quoted, but well-documented, material about Che Guevara.

The French Marxist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, an apologist for the murderous Communist regime of Josef Stalin, at one point called Che Guevara “the most complete human being of our time.” The Oscar-winning American film director and screenwriter Steven Soderbergh has worked with A-list Hollywood movie stars such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. He also made the two part-film Che in 2008, which was more than four hours long and described the protagonist in largely positive terms.

Che Guevara publicly bragged about executing as many opponents of the glorious Socialist revolution as he deemed necessary, stating that “Our fight is a fight to the death!” Yet as Rubén Palma dryly notes, this turned out to be mainly a struggle against unarmed opponents tied to a pole, or a fight to other people’s death. That was Che’s specialty. In Palma’s view, newer material on Che Guevara shows clearly how his skills as a military leader have often been dramatically exaggerated – and his callous and violent personality meticulously hidden.

During a speech in 1967, Che praised the “uncompromising hatred” that transforms a man into a determined, effective and cold-blooded “killing machine.” Already in his diary in 1952, he had fantasies about how he would in the future storm barricades and trenches, “behead” any enemy he could lay his hands on and dip his weapon in their blood. He felt excited by the mere thought of this, and that was written while he was a medical student. Clearly, the “do no harm” doctrine of the Hippocratic Oath, so central to Western medicine, meant little to him.

Che became an active member of the Purging Commission, which as the name implies was designed to get rid of enemies of the Socialist revolution. From 1957 to 1959, he ordered dozens of summary executions – many of which were carried out by him own hand. During his years as a revolutionary, he was responsible for hundreds of murders, which he often watched or participated in while drinking alcohol and smoking cigars. Che has been described as a hateful and cruel man who enjoyed terrorizing and demeaning prisoners or their relatives.

The best thing I can say about Che Guevara is that, unlike Anders Behring Breivik, he participated in several real struggles against armed opponents who actually shot back. He published a manual entitled Guerrilla Warfare in 1961, although critics claim that his alleged skills as a military strategist have been greatly exaggerated.

What is undisputed, however, is that in Cuba and elsewhere, Che personally participated in dozens of executions, usually without trial, of unarmed men and women. He talked about “fighting to the death,” but it turned out to be other people’s death he was referring to. It is commonly accepted that when he was finally captured in Bolivia in 1967, Che shouted “Don’t shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead.”

During his massacre at Utøya Anders Behring Breivik executed unarmed opponents, just as Che enjoyed doing. Also like Che, he surrendered when finally faced with armed opponents who were in a position to kill him. Breivik has claimed that he planned to become a “martyr” and did not expect to survive his attacks.

Perhaps, but this explanation does not sound entirely credible. The risks to himself with his attacks were greater than zero, but not terribly great, either, since he attacked unarmed people who were totally unprepared for a fight, mentally as well as physically. Given the fact that Breivik the narcissist seems to relish media attention surrounding his person, I consider it at least as likely that he wanted to survive. Other observers agree.

If he had wanted to be killed, he could easily have done so. Somewhat belatedly, he was eventually confronted by armed police at the island. Americans have observed a phenomenon they call “suicide by cop,” whereby a person who wants to die provokes armed police into shooting him. Breivik still had ammunition left when the police finally showed up. If he had wanted to make a final stand and go down in a blaze of bullets, he could have done so. But he didn’t. When finally faced with armed opponents who could and would take him out, he meekly surrendered.

Breivik the military dilettante exhibited many of the same violent fantasies as Che, including even the possibility of beheading his victims, and displayed cruel sadism when executing dozens of unarmed victims. Also just like Che Guevara, his fight to the death turned out to be a fight to other people’s death, whereas he himself in the end surrendered to people who could actually shoot back. Due to his toxic combination of cruelty, hypocrisy and cowardice, Anders Behring Breivik could be labeled the “Nordic Che Guevara.”

Fortunately, even though Breivik was for a while a peripheral member of the Progress Party in Oslo, we haven’t seen many coffee mugs or t-shirts bearing his portrait among members of the political Right. For some reason, celebration of mass murderers and terrorists seems to be more widespread in segments of the political Left.

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  • Omar

    The main difference between Anders Breivik and Che Guevara is that Breivik is not idolized by anyone, while Che is glorified so much that there are many items with his iconic photo on the merchandise. Che needs to be held to the same standard as Breivik: condemned by the world's population. Until that happens, the double standard will live on.

    • vik

      you rae fascist idiot

      • A-B Breivik

        That we knew already.

  • amused

    Yea Omar , in FACT right here on FPM ,there was placed an ad for that familiar CHE -T-shirt which linked to a "Che memorabila website .

  • Ghostwriter

    Brevik is a loon who deserves to be hung. End of story.

    • R.L. Polk

      Breivik is a true hero! He should be king of Norway!! Long live my brother Breivik!!

  • mah29001

    And yet…..the Left likes to accuse "some websites" of "aiding" the Norway killer…..

  • sosaysselena

    This is full of such crap I don't even know where to begin. Che Guevara is a hero to billions of people. He was NOT a murderer and certainly not a terrorist. To compare him to this sick man reflects your deep ignorance about Latin America where Che is seen as a saviour and a champion of the world's poorest peoples. He was a soldier and a doctor who fought for them in a ware. He did not randomly gun down innocents, and those who were executed on his orders were torturers and rapists, in the same way the US killed Saddam Hussein. You can disagree with his politics but you should learn your history lessons from somewhere other than propaganda published by those who lost the Cuban Revolution. They are engaging in a concerted campaign to besmirch the memory of a man they still fear 40 years after his death — because he still threatens their imperialist greed and they know it.

    • morty62

      The "Prophet" Mohammad is also a hero to billions but even Islam's own sacred texts show him to be a pedophile, a murderer, and someone who treated captured women as chattel. Mao was a her to hundreds of millions, many who lived in Berkeley, CA. People can be easily duped into idolizing people who later turn out to be horrible. Che was heavily romanticized by both the media and left-wing academics here and abroad, so much so that his image was eventually turned into a capitalist commodity, something he surely would have hated. To me he seems like just another narcissist who used "revolution" as an excuse to draw fame and notereity to himself. At the end he turned out to be more medical student and less the fight-to-the-death firebrand he and others tried to sell to the gullible.

  • sosaysselena

    You have blinders on. Che Guevara gave up everything to help the world's poorest people. How you can even claim to compare him to this insane Norway killer is beyond me. You may not agree with Che's leftist politics, but he was a man who worked in the cane fields alongside Cubans, treated lepers and offered them his hand in friendship when no one else would touch them, who fought a revolution despite one of the worst cases of asthma many of his doctors had ever seen, and insisted on removing greed and graft from politics. Even his enemies admitted that, while they disagreed with him, he was a man of incredible bravery and honour. Just because he fought against a cause you champion does not make him a psychopath. As Jean Paul Sarte said, "Che Guevara was one of the most complete human beings I have ever known."

    • Hippies Smell

      Don't be a terrorism-apologist your whole life, selena. Che Guevara was a self-professed terrorist who executed innocent Cubans by the thousands. Che infamously boasted (while addressing the U.N. General Assembly Dec. 9, 1964); “Certainly we execute! And we will continue executing as long as it is necessary! This is a war to the death against the revolution’s enemies!”

      According to the “Black Book of Communism,” Che's firing-squad executions had reached 14,000 by the end of the ’60s, the equivalent, given the relative populations, of more than 3 million executions in the U.S. “I don’t need proof to execute a man,” snapped Che to a judicial toady in 1959. “I only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him! … Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail. We execute from revolutionary conviction.”

      For a more scholarly discussion of the phenomenon, try "Exposing the real Che Guevara: and the useful idiots who idolize him"

    • dutchie

      I’m sorry but Che was a narcissistic psychopath and he enjoyed killing people. After he left for Cuba he didn’t help anyone and did nothing but killing. Just like Breivik,he pretended to fight for a cause but he was driven by his own bloodlust. The fights in Congo and Bolivia have benefited noone and costed many lives-such a person should be no one’s hero.

  • sosaysselena

    Oh yes, the book by Fontova who has made so much money writing lies about someone who money meant nothing to and only tried to help poor people. And the Black Book of Communism is not the Holy Bible, dude.

  • Alan

    Oh my gosh, this is one of the most stupid and delusional article I've ever read.
    You need help for all the absurd lies that you make and for your worrying paranoia, really.

  • Oro

    Dear Fjordman, i see that during the whole time you brand Breivik unfairly – you are coward and not he! You dind’t come cowardly to the court and wasn’t capable to arrive because you had fear to give a testimony – and who is the coward here after all this? It’s easy, Fjordman, to do it from your office, calmly, without danger..
    You havent right to name him coward, – but I think, you envy him simple! You know you was nothing without him. Your company against him is dirty and not worth the honest people.. You are using the fact that he is in prison now and can’t respond for all the blame rapidly.

  • יהודה בן יוסף

    Islam was considered a joke until 9/11. Anti-Islam was considered a joke until Breivik

  • Will

    Hes actually the Aryan Baruch Goldstein

  • gamer2012

    He is a hero.

  • Knut Holt

    The deeper objective for Breivik was probably a revenge towards society for things done to him by the psychiatry as a little child.