36-year-old Peder Jensen has given an interview to Norwegian newspaper VG where he reveals that he is the man behind the “Fjordman” blog referenced repeatedly in the online manifesto of Oslo and Utøya attacks suspect Anders Behring Breivik.
After being identified by the police and subsequently questioned on Thursday afternoon, Jensen met reporters from VG at an Oslo café. He chose to use his real name after receiving advice from a lawyer, and has asked the media to leave him and his family alone. He also confirmed that he would never again use the pseudonym “Fjordman” because he does not “wish to be associated with Breivik and his horrible actions.”
“Fjordman” has been described by a follow as a “prophet” among the new right-wing extremists who admire his anti-Islamic views, contributing extensively to anti-Islamic websites and being quoted by many “anti-Jihad” blogs in the USA.
Exchanged emails with Breivik
Jensen told VG that he had “warned” his family in advance about shedding his anonymity, adding that “because of my own safety, I’m now going into hiding.” He had felt it was his “duty” to cooperate with the police investigation and decided to be interviewed under his real name because it “eventually would have emerged anyway, resulting in a media frenzy.” Jensen commented, “it is also a way for me to clear my name.”
The blogger disclosed that he had exchanged a number of emails with Breivik in 2009 and 2010. Breivik told Jensen that he was writing a book and asked if they could meet. Jensen turned down the offer “not because of his extreme views, but because he didn’t seem very interesting – like a vacuum cleaner salesman.” “‘Pie in the sky,’ I thought to myself when I re-read the emails,” Jensen added. He confirmed investigators had confiscated his computer, stressing that “they won’t find anything on my computer regarding any criminal matters or Breivik.” VG suggests that Jensen “feels that the police are looking to implicate him.”
In further excerpts of the interview reported by news agency NTB, Jensen said, “I recognize that people need a scapegoat, and now that Breivik is behind bars, I can become a handy scapegoat, especially because I am the only Norwegian he referenced.” He added that he understood that he could be regarded as “a hate object.”
VG described Jensen as “soft-spoken and unassuming” as he suggested he was “horrified” by Breivik’s apparent admiration of him. Jensen confirmed that he had not read Breivik’s manifesto in full and only “seen bits and pieces referred in the media,” and other sections shown to him “by others.” He suggests that Breivik had little influence in the right-wing, anti-Islamic movement in Norway or internationally, stating that Breivik “had nothing to contribute” and added that he had “never heard about the ‘riders,'” an organization of which Breivik claimed to be a member. On the question of whether Jensen regretted any of his writings, the blogger was reported by NTB as saying, “I have tried to think about whether there is anything I have expressed wrongly, but I have never experienced that anyone has attacked anyone else because of what I write.”
In terms of Jensen’s background, VG reports that he originally comes from the town of Ålesund on the west coast of Norway. He claims that while he has long voted for the Labour Party and voted for the Progress Party more recently, he has never been a part of a Norwegian political party, and has only handled a gun during military service, where he describes himself as “no good soldier.” He holds a masters degree in culture and technology from the University of Oslo, where he completed a dissertation on “censorship and blogging in Iran.” He also studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo and the University of Bergen.
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