OSLO, Norway — It was supposed to be a defining moment for Norwegian terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik.
He’d hoped that the first hearing Monday into last
week’s twin attacks would be televised live by the world’s media. He
wanted to dress in a uniform to defend his actions as part of a bid to
trigger an anti-Islamic revolution in Europe.
But to his disappointment, Breivik was neither seen
nor heard in court. A Norwegian judge ruled the proceedings should be
held behind closed doors, siding with government prosecutors who are
increasingly nervous about giving the suspect a forum to expose his
Inside the courtroom, Breivik was formally charged
with violating Norway’s anti-terrorism laws and remanded to solitary
confinement for the next four weeks.
During a news briefing after the hearing, Judge Kim
Heger said Breivik confessed to the attacks — which police now say
killed 76 people, revised down from previous reports of 93 — but pleaded
not guilty to the terrorism charges, justifying his actions as part of
an anti-Muslim campaign.
He also claimed to be working with two other cells, although previously police said he told them he worked alone.
Norwegian officials said Monday it remains unclear whether Breivik is part of a wider conspiracy or is a lone megalomaniac.
But as more is learned about Breivik — through
friends, family and a 1,500-page manifesto he released on the Internet —
it appears likely that he is relishing the attention now being focused
on his life and ideas.
His manifesto, released shortly before Friday’s
mayhem, refers to the bombing in downtown Oslo and an hourlong shooting
massacre at a youth political camp outing as a “marketing” tool designed
to focus international attention on his extremist ideology.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s crazy,” said Peter
Svaar, a childhood friend of Breivik’s. “He’s cold, intelligent and
resourceful. He’s playing us all like a piano.”
Svaar, now a journalist at Norwegian broadcaster NRK,
said he believes Breivik is only halfway through a carefully planned
“ideological operation” to disseminate his “sick political analysis.” He
noted that in addition to the lengthy manifesto, Breivik also produced
and released a 12-minute video now circulating on YouTube and a Facebook
page that “basically serves as his press kit.”
The manifesto is a mix of historical analysis,
ideology and a personal diary, detailing his efforts over several years
to buy weapons and bomb-making materials, experiment with explosives and
create a double life to shield his activities from family, friends and
Breivik portrays himself as a modern-day Crusader,
fighting against what he sees as the Islamic invasion of Europe. But he
appears to have plagiarized some of his manifesto from a more recent
Several sections appear to be lifted directly from
the writings of U.S. mail bomber Ted Kaczynski, though Breivik
substitutes Kaczynski’s condemnation of “leftism” for Breivik’s own pet
peeves, “cultural Marxism” and “multiculturalism.”
“I’m not sure I would call this guy an intellectual,”
said Anders Ravik Jupskas, a political analyst from the University of
Oslo, who noted that the treatise, written in English, is filled with
“He’s more of a copycat,” Jupskas said. “It’s easy
these days to take stuff from the Internet. The manifesto is a kind of
erratic mix of different genres. He tries to present himself as a
crusader and part of a long tradition. But the police need to verify
some of the claims. Some of it might be part of his imagination.”
Outside the courtroom Monday, hundreds of reporters
and citizens waited anxiously for Breivik’s arrival. Many said they just
needed to see the face of the man accused of one of Europe’s deadliest
terrorist attacks. Others hoped to hear an explanation that might make
the tragedy easier to comprehend.
When a dark vehicle with tinted windows, which the
crowd mistakenly believed was transporting Breivik, drove inside court’s
parking garage, a handful of youths shouted obscenities and pounded
their hands on the car.
“Traitor,” screamed Alexander Roine, 24, an activist
with the ruling Labor Party who knew three victims of Friday’s shooting
rampage at a party camp on Utoya Island. “Get out of this car and I’ll
kill you on the street.”
Elsewhere, Norwegians continued to grapple with the
tragedy. Police said new information had led them to lower their
estimate of the number of casualties to 68 people on the island and
raise the number of victims to eight in the earlier bomb blast. A
massive rally was planned for Monday evening. Earlier in the day, the
nation observed a minute of silence to remember the dead and those
victims still unaccounted for and feared dead in the water around Utoya.
Around downtown, lines at florist shops snaked out
the door as well-wishers purchased bouquets to place at a growing
memorial near the site of Friday’s bomb blast.
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