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Fortunately, I was not without resources. Thanks to help from the Legal Project, an activity of Daniel Pipes’s Middle East Forum, I had been able to retain a lawyer, who, at my request, sent a splendid letter to the defense in which he spelled out the legal absurdity of my reclassification as a “regular witness.” Thanks, apparently, to that letter, my name was dropped from the witness list. (Peder Nøstvold Jensen, otherwise known as Fjordman, also managed to extricate himself from this circus – also, I gather, with help from the Legal Project – but I will leave it to him to tell his own story.)
Geir Lippestad, the head of the defense team, demonstrated his utter failure to understand the principles underlying my objection to testifying when he cracked at a press conference on June 1: “It’s a bit funny that those witnesses who are most preoccupied with speaking out, and who possibly think they’re not getting the opportunity to speak out, go into hiding when they get the opportunity to speak out and have the attention of the entire international media.” As if he were doing me, or anyone else, a favor – giving us a desirable forum for our views! – by pressing us into the role of witnesses for a mass murderer.
Lippestad, alas, isn’t alone. Too many people involved in this case have proven themselves incapable of grasping a very elementary point: namely, that in a democracy, you don’t haul writers into court to be grilled about their political views. Indeed, it has often seemed as if the trial were taking place in a hermetically sealed chamber, apart from ordinary considerations of simple reality and of the most fundamental notions of individual rights. “This is a trial,” Rustad wrote to me the other day, “that is oblivious to the world outside.” Bingo. Not only are the judges operating in a world of their own invention; the Norwegian media, noted Rustad, have made clear their lack of interest in a serious debate “about the future of liberal society.”
On June 5, the day I was originally scheduled to testify, there was at least one glimmer of sanity in that madhouse of an Oslo courtroom. Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, who runs a website that is critical of Islam and who had decided not to challenge his summons, was questioned by the defense lawyers, after which the head judge asked bistandsadvokatene, the lawyers representing the interests of the victims (as distinguished from the public prosecutors), if they had anything to ask Anfindsen. The reply was blunt: the victims’ lawyers saw no point in the testimony of Anfindsen or any other such witnesses, and thus had no reason to ask anything. Later, in an interview, the head lawyer for the victims made clear that, in his view, the testimony of this “new type of witness” invented by Lippestad was – hello! – irrelevant to the question of Breivik’s responsibility for the deaths of seventy-seven people.
But of course the whole travesty that has been taking place in the Oslo courthouse these last weeks has always been about much more than Breivik’s actions. A trial focused exclusively on the question of Breivik’s responsibility for all those horrific murders could’ve been wrapped up in a couple of days. No, this weeks-long circus has been something else: it has been a reprehensible effort to focus the attention of the Norwegian people not only on the killer’s monstrous crimes but also on his so-called opinions – and, by extension, on the opinions of every prominent person in Norway who has made a habit of questioning the government’s reckless immigration policies, its systematic whitewashing and appeasement of Islam, and/or its continued suicidal embrace of a multicultural ideology that one European leader after another, from Sarkozy to Merkel to Cameron, has already dismissed as sheer folly. Thanks to the eleventh-hour discovery of that law which forbids lawyers to compel “expert witnesses” to testify, Breivik’s attorneys – and their allies throughout the Norwegian cultural establishment – didn’t get quite the show trial they were counting on. Next time, however, we may not be so lucky. And let’s not kid ourselves: there will definitely be a next time.
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