Confessed terrorist ‘has sympathizers’

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As debate continues over whether confessed Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik is insane, an ideological warrior, simply evil or all of the above, chilling details continue to emerge about how he thinks. Among them, that he still has no regrets over killing 77 persons last summer, wishes he’d been able to carry his attacks further, and that he has sympathizers both in Norway and abroad.

Confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik at a custody hearing in January. His trial begins on Monday. PHOTO: NRK screen grab / Views and News

Oslo-based newspaper Aftenposten has been publishing a steady stream of excerpts from records of lengthy conversations between Breivik and police investigators, court-appointed psychiatrists and prison officials during the past several months. On Friday came more details from the 310-page report written by a second team of court-appointed psychiatrists who reversed an earlier evaluation of Breivik by claiming he’s not insane after all.

They could find no evidence, for example, that Breivik’s ongoing references to “we” instead of “I” when discussing his attacks is a sign of any “identity disturbance.” Rather, they contend in their report, it’s because “he has sympathizers in Norway and other countries.” They wrote that Breivik has received many letters of support since he bombed Norway’s government headquarters on July 22 and then gunned down scores of people, mostly youth, at a Labour Party summer camp on the island of Utøya.

“While in custody he’s received a steady stream of sympathy declarations from like-minded persons,” the psychiatrists wrote, adding that they “therefore find no basis for interpreting his extreme and unrealistic political perceptions and goals as a sign of psychotic thought processes.”

Psychiatrists Agnar Aspaas and Terje Tørrissen also reported that they studied the right-wing extremist online milieu where Breivik was an active participant. “It’s well-known … that there are political subcultures that adhere to the extreme political ideas that (Breivik) has defended,” they wrote. They believe that Breivik has reason to believe he is not alone in his beliefs that Norway and Europe need to be protected from ongoing immigration by Muslims. He has claimed his attacks were politically motivated, and that he has devoted his life to the fight against a Muslim takeover of Norway and to a civil war against Norwegian “traitors” and “cultural Marxists” who have allowed Muslims into Norway and brainwashed others into allowing that to happen.

Upholding his ideology
Aspaas and Tørrissen, according to Aftenposten, noted that Breivik continues to uphold his “ideological views, including the use of violence and terror, to achieve his political goal: To protect the Norwegian and European culture from collapsing under pressure from future Muslim and Islamic dominance.”

Breivik recently admitted that he fabricated the existence of the organization for which he initially claimed he was a commander, Knights Templar, but neither Aspaas nor Tørrissen believe that is a sign of psychosis either. “He has shown that the entire idea of Knights Templar sprang out of his own fantasy,” they wrote, according to Aftenposten. They believe he simply has wrapped himself into an “unrealistic future dream based on totalitarian and militant ideological svermeri (fanaticism).”

Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s defense attorney, won’t comment on the psychiatrists’ report but has told reporters that his client was satisfied with it. Breivik has rejected earlier claims he’s insane and continues to show no regret for his deadly attacks. “On the contrary,” Lippestad said earlier this week, “he’s only sorry he didn’t go further.” Lippestad has warned that Breivik’s own testimony, due to lead off his trial when it gets underway next week, will be “very difficult for many people to hear.”

‘Extremely dangerous’
It’s expected Breivik will expound on his anti-Islamic ideology and why he felt it was necessary to attack a government and political party that he holds responsible for allowing immigration in Norway. While the psychiatrists found no psychosis, no suicidal tendencies, no paranoia nor any grand delusions, they claim he does have an extremely over-inflated opinion of himself and that he rejects society in general. In short, he believes he’s right and most everyone else is wrong.

They do believe Breivik is “extremely dangerous,” and that there’s a high probability he would attack again if given the chance. Police records show that he smiled when told how many people he’d killed, then laughed while relating how he intended to smoke out more potential victims on Utøya who hid from his guns in various buildings. Prison officials have described him as appearing happy.

When asked why he was smiling, Breivik said it was mostly a self-defense tactic, a means of tackling his own feelings, “not because I’m sick in the head.” According to transcripts of police hearings obtained by Aftenposten, Breivik called his attacks “terrible, but necessary. I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve done.”

His trial begins Monday and will run until late June.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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