Breivik defends his mental health

Anders Behring Breivik claims he slept well, ate breakfast and even prepared a lunch bag for himself (a baguette with ham and cheese) before he embarked on his terrorist attacks that killed 77 persons last summer. Breivik was back on the witness stand Wednesday, bashing a psychiatrists’ report that he’s insane and spending hours defending his mental health.

Anders Behring Breivik was given the opportunity to testify for several hours in court again on Wednesday over the state of his mental health. PHOTO: NRK pool

Breivik’s new testimony was not part of the original court plan for his 10-week trial. The judges hearing his case allowed it, though, with lawyers saying it was important to hear Breivik’s own evaluation of his mental health and his complaints over the first of two reports from court-appointed psychiatrists. It deemed him insane, while a second report determined he is not. The second report found him to be narcissistic, but not psychotic.

Breivik claimed that roughly 80 percent of the first report, conducted by psychiatrists Torgeir Husby and Synne Sørheim, was “pure fiction” and “lies.” Breivik believes Husby and Sørheim had made up their minds early on that he was insane, and then spent the remainder of their 13 conversations last autumn finding ways to prove that.

The 33-year-old mass murder- and terror defendant also claimed, according to NRK transcripts of his testimony, that Husby and Sørheim lacked competence to evaluate politically motivated violence. Breivik has consistently claimed that he bombed Norway’s government complex and massacred scores of young Labour Party members because he held them responsible for allowing multiculturalism in Norway.

Childhood ‘good’
He said he questioned the credibility of the psychiatry used in Norway’s legal system, suggesting it’s politically motivated. He claimed, for example, that several Norwegians were committed to psychiatric care after World War II because they’d sided with Nazi Germany. He couldn’t provide evidence of that, however.

Breivik, who has remained calm throughout his trial so far, also said he had a good childhood and that he’d “always been a resourceful person.” He also claimed there was no trace of mental illness in his family. He rejected a low score given him after testing by Husby and Sørheim that suggests he’s “retarded,” saying he has “never seen myself” as such. “The person described in (their) report is not me,” he testified.

A second team of psychiatrists arrived at very different conclusions than Husby and Sørheim, and will be delivering a supplemental report early next week. Breivik said he would also gladly be evaluated by Japanese psychiatrists, because he doesn’t think the Norwegians evaluating him are objective. Japanese doctors, he said, could judge him from a more “monocultural” perspective.”

Many questions
Attorneys for the state, survivors and the defense questioned Breivik at length Wednesday afternoon, looking for inconsistencies in his statements and using the opportunity to observe his mental health themselves. One asked him whether he actually ate the lunch pack he prepared and had thought he’d eat while on the island of Utøya, where he shot and killed 69 people, many of them youngsters. He said no, he only drank an energy drink called Red Bull instead.

Breivik has earlier claimed he’s a victim of a form of reverse racism, suggesting that if the person carrying out the attacks on July 22 had been “a bearded jihadist,” there may not have been any psychiatric evaluation at all. He suggested it’s only because he’s a white Norwegian that the Norwegian court has even considered him to be insane.

“I can understand that (the Norwegian) people can’t comprehend what I did, and the main reason for that is that they’re not familiar with militant nationalism,” Breivik testified on Wednesday. Or, perhaps, because he’s one of them.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Kendall/1365107942 Jim Kendall

    “Breivik defends his mental health.” Well, he has so LITTLE of it – Mental Health – he probably feels he ought hold onto what few scraps he can fantasize having..
    Has anyone bothered to ask him, just What negative influence Muslims might be purported to be having on Norway; that Breivik’s sanely-Insane assaults on peace might appear, to him, as justified?

  • complexed

    Very interesting report. I think it’s true that psychiatry is far from a precise science, and psychiatrists can misrepresent things due to their own biases, whether due to their own diagnostic system or their cultural limitations or for political reasons. I can’t quite believe the assessments weren’t recorded, if that’s true?

    However, as far as I know, they specifically said he was NOT mentally retarded and, if anything, has an above average IQ. They did notice some bodily rigidity, which they called psychomotor retardation. Maybe the report comes across as derogatory to Breivik, and could have been more balanced, but then he is so caught up in a grandiose deluded paranoid world of violence with himself as a crusading figurehead, all based on abstract statistics and phrases, that it’s bound to, to him.

    The psychiatrists did note that his mother and he spent a month in psychiatric respite when Breivik was 4, which he said he didn’t know. They were then left to themselves again for some reason.