The killer was vainglorious, lethal, meticulous and utterly callous. He was also desperate for the world to know exactly who he was and why he had decided to embark on such a brutal killing spree.
Norway got a glimpse into the mind of a mass murderer yesterday as an extraordinary manifesto by Anders Behring Breivik emerged on the internet detailing a massacre eight years in the making.
The appearance of the 1,500-page document, which Breivik placed online before embarking on Friday's devastating attack, came as forensic investigators sifted through the buildings of a farm two hours' drive north of Oslo. It is believed the 32-year-old secretly built a car bomb there that tore the heart out of Oslo and heralded the beginning of Norway's worst day of violence since the Second World War.
According to his lawyer, Geir Lippestad, Breivik has admitted masterminding Friday's attacks, but believes he has done nothing wrong. "He thought it was gruesome having to commit these acts, but in his head they were necessary," said Mr Lippestad, adding that his client would explain his actions when he appears in court today charged with two counts of terrorism.
As the death toll from the Utoya massacre rose by one to 86, adding to the seven killed in the Oslo bomb blast, the people of Norway focused on remembering those they had lost. Makeshift shrines and flowers sprang up across the city and mourners filed into Oslo cathedral accompanied by their King and Queen.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spoke on behalf of his traumatised nation: "We are still struggling to get to grips with the dimension of what has happened," he said. "Many of us know people that have been killed. And many more have second-hand acquaintance with someone that was killed."
The loss of 93 people is a tragedy wherever it happens. But in a country of just 4.9 million, it is a collective catastrophe. As mourners embraced each other next to the growing sea of flowers outside the church, forensic investigators – including explosive specialists from the military – continued their investigations of Breivik's bomb factory. The farm sits on the outskirts of Asta Oest, a quintessentially Norwegian village which lies at the bottom of a flat valley cut in half by a roaring river. Nestled behind a thick row of deciduous trees, Breivik's farm – complete with a postbox still bearing his name – is made up of a string of traditional red, wooden farm buildings. The little white farmhouse, with its wooden porch, overlooks the river and mountains beyond. It was in these buildings that he put the finishing touches to his murderous plans.
When special forces stormed Utoya island, Breivik gave up without a fight. But just in case he was killed, he left his manifesto and a slick YouTube video explaining his warped and violent ethos. Both documents are diatribes against what the Christian fundamentalist saw as the erosion of traditional Europe by the forces of liberalism and a call to arms for nationalists to "embrace martyrdom" by starting an anti-Muslim crusade. Parts of the manifesto seemed to plagiarise the writings of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who terrified America for 17 years.
The writings also provide a detailed – and terrifying – portrait of a meticulous and calculated planner who contrived to ensure maximum casualties and that he wouldn't be caught.
Entitled "2083 – A European Declaration of Independence", the manifesto reveals how the six-foot bodybuilder spent eight years planning his attacks. Between 2002 and 2006, a period he described as phase one, Breivik raised the money he needed before moving on to phase two – planning his massacre.
He moved out of his own apartment and in with his mother to save money and gradually distanced himself from his friends. Vain and body-conscious, he visited tanning salons and took steroids to bolster his physique. Mindful of the impact he wanted his writing to have, he also published them in English rather than his mother tongue.
An entry from autumn 2009 reveals how Breivik bought the Asta farm as a perfect cover for buying fertiliser without raising suspicion. "Needless to say; this is an extremely vulnerable phase," he wrote after purchasing his first order online from a supplier in Poland. "In fact, it is the most vulnerable phase of them all. If I get through this phase without trouble, I will be very close to finalising my operation."
By spring of this year Breivik had successfully bought his weapons, including a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and Glock pistol which he buried in the woods behind the farm. With no previous criminal convictions, it was easy for him to acquire weapons in a country where hunting is hugely popular. "On the application form I stated: 'hunting deer'," he wrote. "It would have been tempting to just write the truth; 'executing category A and B cultural Marxists/multiculturalist traitors' just to see their reaction :P."
And it was with these weapons that Breivik once again displayed a lethal meticulousness that made the Utoya island shootings the deadliest attack on record by a lone gunmen. After eight years of planning, Breivik was in no hurry. He calmly fired his weapons with precise single shots rather than spraying the area with bullets.
But a fear of getting caught – or his elderly mother finding out what he was up to – permeates the manifesto. At one point, Breivik saw a man photographing his farm.
"He, around 50 or 60, said he was a tourist wanting to take landscape pictures," Breivik wrote. "His actions and body language indicated however that he was lying." Breivik suspected that he might be a police officer investigating marijuana production. "This encounter was a concern for me for a few days, but I decided to just forget it as it wasn't anything to do about it if he was to return. I'm just glad I gave him a good impression."
Now that Norwegians are beginning to understand Breivik's sheer ruthlessness, the country's profound belief in forgiveness and redemption will no doubt be sorely tested. No one can be sentenced to more than 21 years in prison for a criminal act, which raises the prospect that unless Anders Behring Breivik is declared insane, the man on the farm could be free to walk the streets of Oslo again in less than quarter of a century.
In a 1,500-page online manifesto, published just hours before Friday's rampage, Breivik described his preparations for the attacks.
* Wednesday May 11, Day 10: The largest military base in the country is located just a few kilometres north-east of my farm. It would have saved me a lot of hassle if I could just "borrow" a cup of sugar and 3kg of C4 from my dear neighbour.
* Monday July 18, Day 48: Exhausted!!! Good workout though. I'm drinking 4 x protein shakes per day to maximise muscle generation.
* Saturday June 25, Day 55: Refined individuals like myself is (sic) a rare commodity here so I notice I do get a lot of attention. It's the way I dress and look. There are mostly unrefined/un-cultivated people living here.
* Friday July 22, Day 82: Initiate blasting sequences at pre-determined sites. Have enough material for at least 20 blasts. Time is running out.
The old saying "if you want something done, then do it yourself" is as relevant now as it was then. I believe this is will be my last entry.