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The first week of the trial against the confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has been completed in Oslo. The way it has been carried out has intrigued visiting foreign journalists in both positive and negative ways. A representative of the television news channel CNN was impressed that Norwegians take “pride in the fact they are a society who will respect Breivik’s human rights, even when he showed no respect for the lives of others.”
Many are shocked to find out, though, that the maximum penalty one can get in Norway for any crime is 21 years in prison. That’s in total, not per murder, although there are admittedly mechanisms in place for keeping a person locked up indefinitely if he still poses a threat to society.
If Breivik is judged to be sane he will thus get just a few months in a comfortable jail for each of the 77 murders he committed. Is that a sign of a society that values human life, or is it a sign of a society putting the rights of criminals above those of their victims?
On April 20th the terrorist described in horrifying detail and with shocking indifference the dozens of individual murders he committed during his shooting spree on the island of Utøya outside Oslo. Yet he had cried publicly only a couple of days earlier when the court showed his own rather silly and unprofessional propaganda movie.
The political commentator John Olav Egeland said that Geir Lippestad and the other defense lawyers worked hard in court to make Breivik appear as rational as possible. The purpose of this was to have him declared sane, as well as “to spread the responsibility for the actions Breivik has done.”
I finished reading his manifesto a week before the trial began. I was struck by how much he has quoted the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and how little focus on this there has been in the mass media — as opposed to the fact that he cites some Islam-critical writers.
Calling Breivik “the Wikipedia terrorist” is perhaps an exaggeration, but he certainly uses this source very extensively, from discussing weapons and body armor, to the nuclear reactors he fantasizes about blowing up. He admitted during the trial that the English language version of Wikipedia has been his main source of education. It has probably shaped his strange and imprecise political vocabulary, too. For example, he employs the term “national anarchists,” which is not commonly used in major publications.
In his long statement in court he quoted in a slightly modified version the American President John F. Kennedy: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” This was also highlighted in his 1,518-page so-called manifesto, in which he quoted another former US President, Thomas Jefferson, that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” These quotes are more militant than anything ever written by Robert Spencer, Bat Ye’or, Andrew Bostom, Melanie Phillips, or myself.
On page 1,120, ABB cites the American Declaration of Independence from 1776 in favor of his views. This document was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson. He mentions the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to bear arms, and thereafter refers to Mahatma Gandhi and the quote “Disobedience of the law of an evil state is therefore a duty.”
The Western mass media have widely portrayed those quoted in Breivik’s manifesto — against their will — as dangerous right-wing extremists. Do these alarming extremists include Thomas Jefferson and Gandhi?
On page 1,164 Breivik quotes the Marxist leader Fidel Castro, who has ruled Cuba for half a century, as stating that “I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 individuals with absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.” Mr. Castro represents a totalitarian ideology, and although he is a revolutionary Socialist, he has not been blamed for inspiring Breivik.
Breivik is the anti-Nazi who admires neo-Nazis, the anti-Marxist who admires Marxist revolutionaries, the anti-Islamist who openly admires and emulates Islamic Jihadist terrorists, the non-religious person who thinks he will be canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church for murdering unarmed teenagers, a “perfect knight” who calls his sister a slut, and a modest man who believes that his candy-eating habits are of geopolitical importance.
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