Right-Wing Zealot Pleads Not Guilty in Norway Attacks

Posted on July 25, 2011

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LAUREN LINDER

A lone Norwegian political extremist acknowledged his responsibility in carrying out the two fatal attacks in Norway today in court, but pleaded not guilty.

Monday, Ander Behring Breivik said to a judge that he committed the bombing and shooting to save Norway from ruin, but countered that he was not guilty of any crime. He also suggested, for the first time, that he collaborated with others in the attacks on Norwegian soil.

Courtesy of AP

Breivik, 32, is charged with planting a car bomb outside the 17-story Oslo government center and meticulously opening fire on children at a Labor Party Summer camp on Friday, killing around 75 people total.

Courtesy of AP

The second attack took place on the small island of Utoya, that was accessible only by water. Some children tried to escape by swimming the long distance to the mainland, but Breivik also targeted those in the water.

Courtesy of AP

“He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water,” Elise, a 15-year-old camper said to The Associated Press.

Courtesy of AP

The bombing and shooting are being considered the deadliest and most devastating attacks in Norway since World War II.

Breivik clearly laid out his preparations for the attacks in a 1,500-page manifesto titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” posted online hours before the attacks on his Norwegian homeland.

An extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christian, he described his desires to defend Europe against threats of multiculturalism, Muslim immigration, and Islamic influence, which he believed Norwegian politicians did not do.

Impacted by American bloggers and writers who warned about the threats of Islam, Breivik used their quotations throughout his manifesto, particularly copying numerous excerpts from the work of the Theodore J. Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber.

Marc Sage, a former C.I.A. official, terrorism expert and a forensic psychiatrist, announced that he could not see any clear indications of mental illness in Breivik’s manifesto.

Sage also stated that Breivik shows some similarities to the Unabomber, who spent years working on a manifesto and executed his mail bombings in order to gain attention with regards to his beliefs. However, Sage added that Kaczynski was a recluse, while Breivik comes across as a social being.

Breivik’s manifesto explained his purchase of chemicals, his explosive experiments, and his first effective bomb test in an isolated area on June 13.

Hinting at the two attacks, Breivik ended his manifesto with a frightening statement: “I believe this will be my last entry. It is now Fri July 22nd, 12.51.”

Breivik left additional clues of his motives through a Facebook page and Twitter account that were created a few days before the devastating events.

His Facebook mentioned philosophers, including Machiavelli, Kant and John Stuart Mill, while his Twitter contained one post paraphrasing Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

The suspect’s internet posts showed signs of disdain for the Conservative Party, which he feels did not stand up against the multiculturalism. However, Friday, Breivik’s arms were aimed at the center-left Labor Party, which controls the coalition government.

“Breivik feels that multiculturalism is destroying the society and that the enforcing authority is the prime minister and the Labor Party, the lead party of contemporary Norwegian politics,” said Anders Romarheim of the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies.

The judge in the case ruled Breivik be held in jail for eight weeks, including half of the time in isolation without access to the outside except through his lawyer.

According to the NY Times, Judge Heger said Breivik had been charged with “acts of terrorism,” that included an effort to “disturb or destroy the functions of society, such as the government” and to communicate “serious fear” among the public.

At a broadcasted news conference, the judge stated Breivik admitted conducting the attacks but had pleaded not guilty, because he “believes that he needed to carry out these acts to save Norway” and Western Europe from “cultural Marxism and Muslim domination.”

The Oslo explosions frightened the city as it blew out the windows of more than one government building. Police stated at least 15 were wounded from the blasts.

Although police closed a large area of the city after the bombing, Breivik, disguised as a police officer, was able to enter the summer camp on Utoya, about 19 miles northwest of Oslo, stating that he had come to check on its security, and methodically opened fire for about 90 minutes.

Some of the victims on Utoya were as young as 16, Norwegian police said Monday.

The maximum sentence for murder in Norway is 21 years in prison, but experts say these special circumstances may result in a harsher sentence.

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Posted in: Global