Fjordman: The Breivik Trial Begins

16 April 2012

EuropeNews 16 April 2012
By Fjordman

The trial against the confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has started in Oslo and will last until June 22, with a verdict expected at some point in July.

Professor Ole Gjems-Onstad is concerned that the mass murderer, who craves personal attention above else, has become a money machine and formed a symbiosis of sorts with newspapers, lawyers, publishing houses and others who make good money from his atrocities while turning him into the mega-celebrity he always wanted to be, instead of ridiculing him as the pathetic creature he is. He thinks the extensive list of ideological witnesses should have been cut, and that "The attempt to turn evil into politics is a diversion."

Hans Rustad of was present in court as a journalist, along with his friend Christian Skaug. On the first day of the trial, he noted that Breivik seemed unmoved when his murders were mentioned. He clearly enjoys the spotlight, but otherwise seems strangely detached and cut off from reality, leaving "an impression of charade." Rustad figured that his defense lawyers would have a hard time convincing the court that their client is perfectly sane, and did not quite seem convinced of this themselves. With his strange and enigmatic smile, like an evil version of Mona Lisa, Breivik left the impression of being a loose cannon on deck.

During the first day of the trial, the main person took to tears. The columnist Andreas Wiese and I don’t always see eye to eye, but in this case we do: Breivik’s world ends at the tip of his own surgically altered nose. He has so far shown no empathy whatsoever towards his victims, even when their parents or siblings sit a few meters from him and have to listen to how he killed their loved ones in cold blood.

When he cried as his propaganda video was shown in court, this was because he felt sorry for himself, not for others. That’s why it’s so ridiculous to hear the same mass media pretend that this has anything to do with ideology. It should be painfully obvious by now that Breivik does not care for anything greater than himself.

According to opinion polls, many Norwegians were already sick and tired of ABB long before the trial had even begun, after having been spoon fed a steady diet of information about Breivik’s personal life, habits and psyche for nearly a year. One newspaper promised that it would open a Breivik free zone during the trial.

I’d like to join this Breivik free zone myself if I could. Unfortunately, I have little choice but to follow the trial on a day-to-day basis since I was dragged into this horrible case against my will. I have been asked by Breivik’s defense lawyers to testify and stated to the press that I can do so if we can find a practical way of arranging this.

I began to read through Breivik’s entire so-called manifesto in late March, finishing on April 9, 2012. I naturally have some thoughts about this text and will start off at the Gates of Vienna blog by looking into some of Breivik’s surprisingly pro-Islamic views, which have largely been ignored by the mainstream media. I will write a little bit about Breivik’s psyche as well, but I won’t tell everything on my mind regarding this subject.

I intend to write about the media circus surrounding this horrible case, including some information about the other witnesses as well as the political background of my tiny nation and the wider Western world.

This entire process has become heavily politicized in the public debate. A couple of days before the trial against Breivik was about to begin, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on the popular talk show Senkveld at Norwegian TV2 stated that he thought the best outcome of the upcoming trial would be for Anders Behring Breivik to be declared sane, though he hastened to add that the court would have to decide this, not him or his government.

Fortunately, this ill-advised remark triggered some negative reactions, and Jens Stoltenberg was soon forced to back paddle on his statements. The well-known lawyer Harald Stabell, who himself belongs to the political Left, considered it unwise and inappropriate for a ruling Prime Minister to interfere in a trial in such a way.

The media pressure on people who are claimed to have "inspired” Breivik has increased substantially, too.  On April 15, the day before the beginning of the trial, journalists Bent Skjærstad and Barbro Eikesdal from the commercial channel TV2 published a photo of the entrance to my old flat in Oslo, suggesting that I was now "in hiding.” I hope this was not an attempt to encourage vigilante justice, but it was certainly a tasteless move.

Because of the unprecedented two psychiatric evaluations with contradictory results, determining where insanity stops and evil begins will be the crux of this trial. As the newspaper The Independent commented, "Even Hitler’s henchman Heinrich Himmler is reputed to have been adversely affected after being confronted with the Holocaust in action. But Breivik was shown grinning as he sat in the police car after his arrest. Foreign observers such as Germany’s top criminal psychiatrist Hans-Ludwig Kröber are far from convinced that he is entirely normal, as his defence team claims. ‘That grin as he was being driven away from the scene of the crime, it’s an all too familiar expression among schizophrenics,’ Kröber declared in an interview.”

Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad has melodramatically stated that "I feel I have lost my soul in this case. I hope I get it back afterwards.” A long list of individuals who possess alleged expertise in "political extremism” have been subpoenaed. The Daily Telegraph from Britain commented on the "bizarre array of expert witnesses.”

One of Breivik’s 77 victims was the young man Sverre Flåte Bjørkavåg from Sula, a municipality in the Sunnmøre region that is situated just next to my home town Ålesund.

Sverre’s father Bjarte and his wife are worried that the trial could become a circus and don’t think it will help the grieving process for the victims’ families. In fact they cannot wait to get it all behind them. "There is no need to know why he did it,” said Bjørkavåg. "We know that already – madness. What we do want to get out of this trial is justice.”

Shortly after a newsflash alerted to them to reports of gunfire on Utøya, they received a text message from Sverre. "Shooting here, we are running, hiding on the lakeshore,” it read. Then, 20 minutes later, there was one more text – the last communication they ever had with their son. "Jeg elsker dere,” it said – "I love you all.”

They still find it hard to mention Breivik by name. As Mr. Bjørkavåg puts it: "We have no feeling towards that person. He is a man who destroyed so many lives, as well as his own.” Both parents are angry about the strange witness list. It was designed "just to get him publicity,” said Mrs Flåte. They have no doubt that Breivik should go to hospital, not prison, though. "We would hope that he can be helped, and perhaps one day understand what he has done and have to live with it,” she said. "You can tell that he doesn’t now. His eyes are cold.”

Many of us share the fears of Bjørkavåg’s family. The list of witnesses that has been drawn up creates ample possibility for turning this process into something in between a circus and a political show trial. I hope I am wrong. Sometimes we need a reminder that behind all of the media hype, there is the pain and sorrow of dozens of families who will never see their loved ones again due to Anders Behring Breivik’s evil acts in July 2011.