'I would have done it again': Norway gunman
OSLO, Norway -- Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breivik insisted Tuesday he would massacre 77 people all over again, calling his July rampage the most “spectacular” attack by a nationalist militant since World War II.
Reading a prepared statement in court, the anti-Muslim extremist lashed out at Norwegian and European governments for embracing immigration and multiculturalism. He claimed to be speaking as a commander of an anti-Islam militant group he called the Knights Templar — a group that prosecutors say does not exist.
Maintaining he acted out of “goodness, not evil” to prevent a wider civil war, Breivik vowed, “I would have done it again.”
Pressed by prosecutors to explain what he meant, he compared his attacks to the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on Japan during World War II.
“They did it for something good, to prevent further war,” Breivik said.
Breivik has five days to explain why he set off a bomb in Oslo's government district on July 22, killing eight people, and then gunned down 69 others, mostly teenagers, at a Labor Party youth camp outside the Norwegian capital. He denies criminal guilt, saying he was acting in self-defense, and claims the targets were part of a conspiracy to “deconstruct” Norway's cultural identity.
“The attacks on July 22 were a preventive strike. I acted in self-defense on behalf of my people, my city, my country,” he said as he finished his statement, in essence a summary of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. “I therefore demand to be found innocent of the present charges.”
He compared Norway's Labor Party youth wing to the Hitler Youth and called their annual summer gathering an “indoctrination” camp. But he later told prosecutors he would have preferred attacking a conference of Norwegian journalists instead, but wasn't able to carry out that “operation.”
One Judge Dismissed
Breivik's testimony was delayed after one of the five judges hearing the case was dismissed for his comments online the day after the attack — comments that said Breivik deserves the death penalty. Lawyers on all sides had requested that lay judge Thomas Indreboe be taken off the trial, saying the comments violated his impartiality. He was replaced by backup lay judge Elisabeth Wisloeff.
Norway doesn't have the death penalty. If found mentally sane — the key issue to be decided in the trial — Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society.
Breivik is being tried by a panel of two professional judges and three lay judges — citizens appointed for four-year terms who participate on an equal basis in deciding guilt and sentencing. The system is designed to let ordinary people have a role in the Norwegian justice system, though the lead judge still runs the trial.
On Monday, Breivik rejected the authority of the court, calling it a vehicle of the “multiculturalist” political parties in power in Norway. He confessed to the “acts” that caused the 77 deaths but pleaded not guilty.
Again on Tuesday — just like the start of his trial on Monday — Breivik entered the court smirking before flashing a clenched-fist salute.
According to Breivik, Western Europe was gradually taken over by “Marxists and multiculturalists” after World War II because it didn't have “anti-communist” leaders like U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Asked why he started crying in court on Monday, when prosecutors showed an anti-Muslim film that Breivik posted on YouTube before the attacks, he said: “I was thinking about Norway and Europe, which are ruled by politicians and journalists killing our country. I was thinking that my country is dying.”
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