Norway killer says he was a nice person

OSLO Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:33am EDT

Defendant Anders Behring Breivik (L), who is expected to give his account of events on the July 22, 2011 attacks at Utoeya island, looks at his defence lawyer Geir Lippestad in court on the fifth day of his trial in Oslo, April 20, 2012. REUTERS/Heiko Junge/Scanpix/Pool

Defendant Anders Behring Breivik (L), who is expected to give his account of events on the July 22, 2011 attacks at Utoeya island, looks at his defence lawyer Geir Lippestad in court on the fifth day of his trial in Oslo, April 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Heiko Junge/Scanpix/Pool

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OSLO (Reuters) - The Norwegian anti-Muslim fanatic who killed 77 people in a shooting and bombing rampage last July told a court on Friday he was basically a "nice person" who had trained himself to stifle his emotions so he could carry out the attacks.

Anders Behring Breivik, 33, admits killing eight people with a car bomb at government headquarters in Oslo, then gunning down 69 people, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party summer camp on Utoeya island.

But he has pleaded not guilty, insisting he was defending the country against waves of Muslim immigration facilitated by the political left.

Breivik said he began consciously training to cut his range of feelings five years before the attacks, when he began to consider using violence to alert Europeans to what he considered the loss of their culture.

"One might say that I was quite normal until 2006 when I started training, when I commenced de-emotionalizing," he told the court. "And many people will describe me as a nice person or a sympathetic, caring person to friends and anyone."

"I've had a dehumanization strategy towards those I considered valid targets so I could come to the point of killing them," he said, testifying on the fifth day of his trial.

Breivik's matter-of-fact manner as he delivers his account of the worst peacetime killings in Norway's modern history has chilled his countrymen.

His legal team has said that Friday's testimony would be harrowing, focusing on the systematic slaughter. The presiding judge told people attending the trial they were free to leave the courtroom at any time.

The massacre on Utoeya in particular required mental preparation, he said. On Thursday he explained he had played computers games up to 16 hours per day and used daily meditation to "hammer away" at emotions and embrace his own death.

"It is easy to press a button and detonate a bomb," he said. "It is very, very difficult to carry out something as barbaric as a firearms operation."

He had hoped, he said, to kill all 564 people on the island, with special attention to former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, a Labour Party leader known as "mother of the country" who was to be the island that day.

"I had a bayonet on my rifle and I also had a knife," Breivik recalled. "The plan was to chop her head off while filming it and reading a text, then upload the film (onto the Internet)," he said at Thursday's session.

He said he never got a chance to buy the advanced mobile telephone required for the film upload and in any case Brundtland left Utoeya several hours before he arrived.

Under questioning about his feelings on Friday, Breivik said he recognized the suffering he had caused but that he remained detached from it. His pre-attack mental training regimen was similar to that which Norwegian soldiers undergo to serve in Afghanistan, he said.

"I would break down mentally if I removed the mental shields," he said.

Breivik's trial, set to last 10 weeks, turns on the question of his sanity and thus whether he can be jailed.

Before the trial, one court-appointed team of psychiatrists concluded Breivik was psychotic, while a second found him mentally capable. He has said he should either be executed or acquitted, calling the prospect of a prison sentence "pathetic" and an insanity ruling "worse than death".

Defense attorney Geir Lippestad told Reuters Breivik's only goal at the trial is to prove himself sane - and that he feels he is succeeding.

"He thinks he has explained his views satisfactorily, the way he wishes, and he thinks that people understand what he is saying, at least the group he talks to," Lippestad said.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Klesty; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Comments (4)
KiwiSam wrote:
Please get your facts right! The guy is obviously an extreme right winger and we all know who they have as enemies on their “Hate list”. This guy is overtly against multiculturalism which obviously includes Muslims, Jews, Gypsies, Eastern-europeans, Blacks, Latinos and Homosexuals too!!

Apr 20, 2012 7:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MarkDonners wrote:
Stop with the “muticulturalism”, “right wing”, politics bull for excuses. This monster is as evil as they come and criminal evil is simply evil, nothing else. Norwegians give this subhuman serial killing child killing thing a suit? He should be frogmarched in there with prison stripes to show what he actually is, and whacked across the head with a spiked club every time he opens his foul mouth. His sentence should be no less than the worst medieval tortures until he dies bleeding, screaming and writhing.

Apr 20, 2012 12:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
txgadfly wrote:
This man is reacting to racist, yes racist attitudes against his people. It certainly looks like no one who thinks this man’s actions were wrong believes that it is because of the loss of life. You all seem to think that the horror is that a white, ethnic Norwegian would not approve of his people being “assimilated” into some new multiethnic political entity. Read the commentary. The horror is that he believes his people have a right to exist, and he is white, a male, and Protestant.

This reaction proves that his analysis of the political climate is sadly close to right. Ethnic cleansing is good sometimes for the left, if the targeted groups are of a disapproved race and ethnic group. And the “Right” thinks so too. Being pro-wealth does not make you friends of the poor who unfortunately share the same ethnicity with the rich.

There will be more trouble ahead.

Apr 21, 2012 11:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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