The Norway Killer Trial: Week One

Conclusions on Anders Breivik and the country he terrorized.

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.

Breivik admires the Islamic traits of Al Qaeda, as well as the Marxist talent for organization. The Islamic connection is not at all marginal but has been repeatedly emphasized by Breivik himself, in his manifesto as well as during police interrogation and talks with psychiatrists. Given that Breivik betrays great admiration for Muslim militants, and partly models himself after their behavior, this implies that one of his most important indirect inspirations is actually the Koran and other Islamic texts. Yet few mainstream journalists have highlighted this connection.

Breivik said that he wanted to provoke a witch-hunt against moderate conservatives in order to increase repression, polarization and radicalization. He considers this strategy to have proven very successful, in light of how many conservatives and Islam-critics have been treated afterwards.

Lawyer Frode Elgesem referred to me (Fjordman) as a possible source of inspiration. Breivik replied that he is very different from people like me, and that “it’s ridiculous to conduct a witch-hunt against a moderate, non-violent democrat such as Fjordman who doesn’t even support violence.” It didn’t seem to strike him as odd that just a few minutes earlier he himself stated that he committed his atrocities specifically with the intention of having the political establishment and mass media initiate a witch-hunt against moderate, non-violent democrats.

Daniel Pipes noted: “Beyond massacring innocent Norwegians, Behring Breivik damaged conservatism, the counterjihad, and (in particular) those authors he cited in his writings, including myself. A close reading of his manifesto suggests this may have been purposeful,” to undermine peaceful alternatives. Pipes concluded that “Breivik hopes to undermine anyone he perceives as obstructing his dreamed-for revolution. Temporarily, at least, he has succeeded.”

The American author Bruce Bawer has lived in Oslo for more than a decade. As he points out, criticizing Islam is gradually becoming a punishable offense in several European countries. Following Breivik’s rampage, many high-profile Leftist activists and writers stepped forward to claim that critics of Islam shared responsibility for his crimes. In February 2012 Bawer published an essay in the business daily The Wall Street Journal, the largest newspaper in the USA with separate Asian and European versions, where he warned against this trend:

"Anthropologist Runar Døving agreed, declaring flatly, in a Sept. 2 interview with the Norwegian weekly Morgenbladet, that criticism of Islam should be censored. Mr. Døving admitted that his view of the public square was ‘authoritarian’ — the expression of certain ideas, he said, should simply not be allowed — and that he was ‘entirely in favor of what many people are now describing as a witch hunt,’ because ‘there needs to be an investigation of what was written before July 22’ so that we can ‘see the connection between words and actions.’ Indeed, a witch hunt is under way in Norway.” In the name of tolerance and social harmony, powerful members of the left-wing intelligentsia are seeking to silence critics by linking them to mass murder. In Bawer’s view, “This campaign has been carried out on a scale, and with an intensity, that is profoundly unsettling.”

As a traditionalist, I believe in the best aspects of European traditions, including that of personal responsibility. The responsibility for his terror attacks lies squarely with Breivik, and with Breivik alone. The triggers can be found in his psyche, his narcissism, and his total disregard for other human beings. These form a toxic combination within a delusional thought universe where he is a “perfect knight” and a leader of an imaginary pan-European terror network.

It is nevertheless true that a mentally unbalanced person living in a fantasy world may be affected by events in the real world. The repressed frustration caused by aggressive Islamic inroads and the largest migration waves in human history can feed an already existing paranoia in certain individuals. The brutality of Islamic terror groups can trigger a desire to emulate in a man who lacks empathy and has a morbid fascination with violence.

Western governments have for decades promoted open-border policies of mass immigration. They have aggressively sought to marginalize, harass or silence those who questioned the wisdom of such policies. As a result, millions of people throughout the Western world today feel like aliens in their own cities, and disenfranchised by a dysfunctional political system that they no longer believe takes care of their long-term interests.

Given the huge challenges facing Western nations due to the unprecedented scale of modern mass migration, it is remarkable how patient most Europeans have been for so long. Millions of them are now trying to organize themselves and make their voices heard within the confines of a democratic system. In this situation it is very unwise for Western leaders to try to suppress those who express their legitimate concerns in non-violent ways.

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