Norwegian terrorist used video games for training and cover

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Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing religious fundamentalist who’s confessed to the terrible attacks in Oslo and the Norwegian island retreat Utøya that left at least 93 people dead and a further 96 wounded has been linked to a 1500 page manifesto that recommends Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 as a simulator for honing combat training skills, and MMO World of Warcraft as an ideal cover for the time spent planning  the attacks.

While it does little to add certifiable credence to the notion of violent game leading to violent behaviour, it does add credence to him being certifiable – and provides a wealth of fodder for sensationalist anti-videogame lobbyists and legislators.

"I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game," he wrote as the Anglicized "Andrew Berwick." "It is probably the best military simulator out there and it’s one of the hottest games this year. … I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I’ve still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations." “Simulation by playing Call of Duty, Modern Warfare is a good alternative as well but you should try to get some practise with a real assault rifle (with red point optic) if possible," he muses in a section titled “Marksmanship training.” Modern Warfare 2 is infamous for its “No Russian” level, which sees the player able to execute a terror attack on civilians inside a Russian airport.

The manifesto, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," identifies "cultural Marxism" as the road to uncontrolled Muslim immigration that would eventually see Europe – and Christendom – overrun by Islam. Why then would h gun down his own people as a statement against Islam? The youth camp on vacation island Utøya was filled with the vacationing children of Norway’s current ruling party.

Modern Warfare 2 isn’t the only game singled out. Breivik fostered  a faux addiction to seminal MMORPG World of Warcraft that gave him the perfect excuse for reclusion – giving him time to plan his wave of terror.

"F[or] example, tell them that you have started to play World of Warcraft or any other online MMO game and that you wish to focus on this for the next months/year," Breivik writes in the manifesto. "This "new project" can justify isolation and people will understand somewhat why you are not answering your phone over long periods. Tell them that you are completely hooked on the game (raiding dungeons etc.) “You will be amazed on how much you can do undetected while blaming this game. If your planning requires you to travel, say that you are visiting one of your WoW friends, or better yet, a girl from your "guild" (who lives in another country). No further questions will be raised if you present these arguments."

"I have managed,” he asserted “to channel these suspicions far away from relating to my political convictions. Instead they suspect that I am playing WoW (and trying to hide it)."

The manifesto was found and shared online through Twitter; subsequently, Breivik has admitted writing the document. He is currently being held by authorities and is expected in court today, where he will “explain himself.”

News that Breivik was a gamer has already caused uproar, with the Australian Christian Lobby calling  for games where the "violence is excessive or gratuitous"to be banned – just days after the country agreed to an R18+ rating for games. Could these attacks jeopardise that, setting Australia back to being a nanny state? Quite probably.

Sources: Kotaku, CNN, Sydney Morning Herald

Last Updated: July 25, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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