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Anders Breivik, on trial in Norway killings, has a U.S. pen pal

April 19, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • Screenshot of Kevin Forts' Facebook page.
Screenshot of Kevin Forts' Facebook page.

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian ultranationalist who killed 77 people in what he's called "the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack ... in Europe since World War II," has a new friend:

Twenty-three-year-old Kevin Forts, who — according to a Facebook profile — is a "Family Guy"-watching, Dave Matthews-listening, John Grisham-reading Massachusetts man who has apparently been exchanging letters with the killer.

... Wait, what?

"I believe that Breivik is a rational man who committed atrocious but necessary actions," Forts told Norwegian VGTV in a polite but nervous interview.

As feared by Norwegian officials, Breivik's 10-week trial, which began this week, has already become a platform for his political views; the hearings aren't being televised but Breivik's remarks are being widely reported.

The use of violence has long been a kind of ideological advertisement for extremists; Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, used a series of random bombings to coerce the New York Times and the Washington Post into publishing a 35,000-word anti-industrialism manifesto in 1995.

However, as Max Fisher of The Atlantic notes, Breivik's killings have instead put heavy international pressure on the far right. "European white nationalist movements, of which Breivik represents an extreme fringe, have been on the rise of years, gaining political power and, whether deliberately or not, inspiring violence," Fisher wrote. "But the popular backlash against Breivik has put them on the defensive."

Which makes it that much odder that the killer began exchanging letters with a random Massachusetts twentysomething whose Facebook likes include "Love, Actually" and "30 Rock."

"I have received letters from supporters in 20 countries, but you appear to be someone who can write well," Breivik reportedly wrote in a letter that Forts showed to the Norwegian tabloid VG. "Yes, I am absolutely interested in discussing ideological issues with you and am thinking about how we can work together."

Forts told VGTV that he wanted to donate to Breivik's legal team until he discovered that donations would go to a victims' fund, at which point he decided he wanted to "help him ideologically."

"He's fighting against cultural Marxism and the Islamicization of Norway, and he found that the most rational reason — the most rational way to accomplish that was through terrorist actions on Utoya and in Oslo," said Forts, repeatedly using the phrases "atrocious but necessary" and "not necessary again" when describing the attacks, in which he said Breivik "was acting in a matter of pre-emptive war."

Forts told the interviewer that he made the decision to help Breivik in February — the same month Forts was arrested and charged with assault and battery, according to a Shrewsbury, Mass., arrest report. 

Shrewsbury police would not immediately provide more details about Forts' assault arrest, and Forts did not immediately respond to a message on Facebook.

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