Trial of Anders Behring Breivik

I figured this'd be safer in here, especially since, in the days after his arrest and confession, the nature of Breivik's beliefs turned into a bit of a cluster-you-know-what, with a heaping of "No True Scotsman"-ing and general scapegoating. But the Guardian's ran a liveblog of his trial yesterday, and is doing it again today.

He [Breivik] expressed no regret for planning and carrying out the attacks which left 77 dead last summer. Maintaining he acted out of "goodness not evil" to prevent a "major civil war", Breivik insisted, "I would have done it again." ...

He quoted from a variety of sources to support his case, including, he said, a story written in the Times in February 2010 which he said reported that "three out of five Englishmen believe that the UK has turned into a dysfunctional society as a result of multiculturalism". The Guardian has not yet found evidence of the Times report.

Breivik told the court that "ridiculous" lies had been told about him, rattling off a list which accused him of being a narcissist who was obsessed with the red jumper he wore to his first court hearing, of having a "bacterial phobia", "an incestuous relationship with my mother", "of being a child killer despite no one who died on Utoya being under 14".

He was not insane, he repeated many times. He claimed it was Norway's politicians who should be locked up in the sort of mental institution he can expect to spend the rest of his days if the court declares him criminally insane at the end of the ten-week trial. He said: "They expect us to applaud our ethnic and cultural doom... They should be characterised as insane, not me. Why is this the real insanity? This is the real insanity because it is not rational to work to deconstruct ones own ethnic group, culture and religion."

Breivik insisted he was not alone in fighting against "mass immigration". He singled out as examples the National Socialist Underground, the neo-Nazi terror cell responsible for killing nine immigrants and one policewoman in Germany, and Peter Mangs, the man suspected of carrying out a seven-year killing spree in the Swedish city of Malmö. It is important, he said, that these "heroic young people" should be "celebrated" for "sacrificing" their lives for the "conservative revolution"

Yes, he's quite a pompous asshole.

Wait, so... he takes issue with being called a "child killer" when at least one of his victims was 14? And he justifies his actions by citing the most violent of the Neo-Nazis?

It's quite amazing he can make any comprehensible statements at all with his head lodged that far up his own ass.

His self-righteous dickery must be torture for the victim's loved ones.

It's quite obvious that Breivik is using this trial as his soapbox, but it's slightly comforting to me that any opinion on society he spouts will immediately become wrong in the public's eye.

Let him proclaim his retarded racist slogans. The louder he shouts, the more repulsed his audience will become of these viewpoints as they will immediately be associated with the massacre.

Okay. I almost understand how Americans can be neo-nazis. We've never experienced the cataclysmic destruction of that sort of industrialized dumbassery and Americans are notoriously bad at history, so it follows that we could actually see this as the sort of mistake we need to make for ourselves. But Europeans actually lived through that. Where the hell does a nutbar like Anders Behring Breivik come from and not get curbstomped by some octogenarian?

Paleocon wrote:

Where the hell does a nutbar like Anders Behring Breivik come from and not get curbstomped by some octogenarian?

Because he's not raging against Jews. He's raging against Muslims.

Think of it being how the GOP views illegal immigrants: they steal jobs from real Americans; they cause crime; they won't culturally assimilate or learn English, etc. Now imagine if instead of mostly being Christian, those same illegal immigrants were Muslim. The GOP would view them as a dire threat to the very things that make America America.

That's what's going on in Norway and other countries, except large numbers of Muslim immigrants aren't illegal, they are a by-product of very friendly immigration laws. This is what you get when you have an open, historically Christian nation start to rub up against a block of first- and second-generation immigrants from a much less open and decidedly non-Christian heritage: a culture clash.

In the news today: Breivik played up to 16 hours of WoW per day while preparing for the tragedy. This is relevant because all 10 million WoW players are massacres waiting to happen. /sarcasm

dejanzie wrote:

In the news today: Breivik played up to 16 hours of WoW per day while preparing for the tragedy. This is relevant because all 10 million WoW players are massacres waiting to happen. /sarcasm

But, maybe playing WoW 16 hours a day is a sign that a person is becoming disconnected from reality...

I'm surprised the anti-gaming press hasn't been all over him saying he used CoD to practise using a rifle scope.

nossid wrote:

I'm surprised the anti-gaming press hasn't been all over him saying he used CoD to practise using a rifle scope.

Try googling "breivik modern warfare"

MrShoop wrote:
nossid wrote:

I'm surprised the anti-gaming press hasn't been all over him saying he used CoD to practise using a rifle scope.

Try googling "breivik modern warfare" :)

WoW!

Paleocon wrote:

Okay. I almost understand how Americans can be neo-nazis. We've never experienced the cataclysmic destruction of that sort of industrialized dumbassery and Americans are notoriously bad at history, so it follows that we could actually see this as the sort of mistake we need to make for ourselves. But Europeans actually lived through that. Where the hell does a nutbar like Anders Behring Breivik come from and not get curbstomped by some octogenarian?

That's something I'd love to expand on for you Paleo but I'm revising for finals. However what makes you think that violent nationalists ceased to exist circa 1945? I know you are aware of the history of violent groups on our continent and lets just says that you learn when and where to express you views and act in secret or they just operate in large groups of young men that even fully geared up riot police have problems handling.

Look at the English Defense League as an example of the latter. The former is the more dangerous and unfortunately Breivik belongs to that group.

I doubt Breivik hung out a lot of octogenarians. Or if he did, they probably didn't fight on our side during the war.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

I doubt Breivik hung out a lot of octogenarians. Or if he did, they probably didn't fight on our side during the war.

This is probably the most accurate. Far right groups only tend to make themselves publicly known in large groups of young men that even fully geared riot police would find difficult handling. Thankfully those groups rarely if ever really follow through on their rhetoric. The violent nationalists you need to be worried about are the ones who act in secret and only make themselves known when caught. The problem is latter group have many "good examples" to use as a template.

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

Nuh uh. We solved fascism. For you.

Some people just don't appreciate the sacrifices of our Greatest Generation. Geez.

Paleocon wrote:

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

Honestly, I think its genetic. Even after all the crap our country has gone through there are still idiots running around the border counties planting devices and killing Catholic PSNI (Northern Ireland Police) officers who genuinely think they are "fighting the good fight". This is in the face of criticism from all fronts including the individuals who were engaged in the same tactics up to very recently.

Put simply, there is not rational reason for them to continue but they will. Given that these asshats exist worldwide than you are left with a troubling conclusion; they are just born this way. Sure environment is important to create the opportunity but there has to be a fundamental process at play.

Anyway, that's my theory for what its worth.

Paleocon wrote:

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

I think that mindset speaks to your lack of familiarity with European society. Not having a dig, just saying that with more cultural proximity to Europe than you, this surprises me not one bit.

Jonman wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

I think that mindset speaks to your lack of familiarity with European society. Not having a dig, just saying that with more cultural proximity to Europe than you, this surprises me not one bit.

Yes but why do you think that is, Jonman? I'm speaking for Paleo here but I think he is aware of yours, mine and the other Europeans here lack of surprise. You'd think given our collective past we would react quite negatively to these people but we seem to treat them with apathy. Perhaps that is the best way to handle them, perhaps anger would only legitimise their "cause", I'm exploring the answer here a little.

Axon wrote:
Jonman wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

I think that mindset speaks to your lack of familiarity with European society. Not having a dig, just saying that with more cultural proximity to Europe than you, this surprises me not one bit.

Yes but why do you think that is, Jonman? I'm speaking for Paleo here but I think he is aware of yours, mine and the other Europeans here lack of surprise. You'd think given our collective past we would react quite negatively to these people but we seem to treat them with apathy. Perhaps that is the best way to handle them, perhaps anger would only legitimise their "cause", I'm exploring the answer here a little.

Sounds glib, but I think it doesn't surprise me because I'm a cynical bastard who thinks that a sizable portion of the human race are at best, selfish c***s, and at worst, sociopaths. To a horrible extent, I expect things like this to happen from time to time, for just that reason.

That said, I think you're wrong to put apathy and negativity at opposite ends of the same spectrum. My response is both apathetic and negative. I can explain the apathy with a few reasons, ranging from classic British stiff-upper-lippedness to the inevitable indifference to events that happen half a world away.

Paleocon wrote:

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

Europe birthed both communism and fascism - they're pretty good at developing massively destructive ideologies. Why throw the US, with its stable moderate (in terms of extreme shifts of political philosophy) history into a pool with Algeria as a place that would breed neo-nazis? As polarized as things are today, the most extreme groups on either end (Occupy / Tea Party) are both fairly boring, work within the system for change type groups. Spain was still a military dictatorship until the mid 70's - so its not like radicalism is distant foreign memory in Europe.

MrShoop wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

Europe birthed both communism and fascism - they're pretty good at developing massively destructive ideologies. Why throw the US, with its stable moderate (in terms of extreme shifts of political philosophy) history into a pool with Algeria as a place that would breed neo-nazis? As polarized as things are today, the most extreme groups on either end (Occupy / Tea Party) are both fairly boring, work within the system for change type groups. Spain was still a military dictatorship until the mid 70's - so its not like radicalism is distant foreign memory in Europe.

You're not quite comparing like with like there. Paleo is asking that for the very reason that Europe spawned fascism and reaped that whirlwind, why do we still produce fascists (violent nationalists is my term as I think it fits better and it works for Stalinist regimes as well)? We are not discussing extremes in politically ideology at all.

Comparing Breivik to the Tea Party isn't even remotely valid. His comparison is Timothy McVeigh and their ilk. And why is it you think neo-Nazis don't exist in the US? There is plenty of evidence for them. If you think the extremes of political ideology end with the Occupy movement or the Tea Party, I think you're in for a little surprise.

As was said above, every developed country has violent nationalist individuals in their midst. It is odd that Europe still produces a good number of them.

P.S. I've an awful feeling that a flag went up in some CIA monitoring station and my IP is now logged thanks to what I've been googling in the last few days thanks to this thread

Axon wrote:

P.S. I've an awful feeling that a flag went up in some CIA monitoring station and my IP is now logged thanks to what I've been googling in the last few days thanks to this thread :)

Tomorrows headline: Greek terrorist logic-bomb plot foiled.

Axon wrote:
MrShoop wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

I'm aware that you aren't going to be able to eradicate this kind of violent dumbassery no matter how advanced a society you have, but it just seems the sort of thing that would be far more likely to happen in America or Algeria than in Europe.

Europe birthed both communism and fascism - they're pretty good at developing massively destructive ideologies. Why throw the US, with its stable moderate (in terms of extreme shifts of political philosophy) history into a pool with Algeria as a place that would breed neo-nazis? As polarized as things are today, the most extreme groups on either end (Occupy / Tea Party) are both fairly boring, work within the system for change type groups. Spain was still a military dictatorship until the mid 70's - so its not like radicalism is distant foreign memory in Europe.

You're not quite comparing like with like there. Paleo is asking that for the very reason that Europe spawned fascism and reaped that whirlwind, why do we still produce fascists (violent nationalists is my term as I think it fits better and it works for Stalinist regimes as well)? We are not discussing extremes in politically ideology at all.

Comparing Breivik to the Tea Party isn't even remotely valid. His comparison is Timothy McVeigh and their ilk. And why is it you think neo-Nazis don't exist in the US? There is plenty of evidence for them. If you think the extremes of political ideology end with the Occupy movement or the Tea Party, I think you're in for a little surprise.

As was said above, every developed country has violent nationalist individuals in their midst. It is odd that Europe still produces a good number of them.

P.S. I've an awful feeling that a flag went up in some CIA monitoring station and my IP is now logged thanks to what I've been googling in the last few days thanks to this thread :)

Pretty much what I was going to write.

I would add that our own American extremists (e.g.: the KKK) never reaped the whirlwind so recurring generations of extremists look to them with some kind of historic nostalgia. You generally can't do that as a Norwegian nazi without being considered mentally ill or at the very least deeply antisocial.

Paleocon wrote:

I would add that our own American extremists (e.g.: the KKK) never reaped the whirlwind so recurring generations of extremists look to them with some kind of historic nostalgia. You generally can't do that as a Norwegian nazi without being considered mentally ill or at the very least deeply antisocial.

I'm not sure you are correct in that, getting caught speaking at a Neo-Nazi or Klan rally is political suicide these days. And to be honest if government suppression of groups worked there would be no communists in America anymore, much less a Communist Party. Even in America most of the people that judge people based solely on the amount of pigment in their skin are considered bad.

Axon wrote:

You're not quite comparing like with like there. Paleo is asking that for the very reason that Europe spawned fascism and reaped that whirlwind, why do we still produce fascists (violent nationalists is my term as I think it fits better and it works for Stalinist regimes as well)? We are not discussing extremes in politically ideology at all.

Comparing Breivik to the Tea Party isn't even remotely valid. His comparison is Timothy McVeigh and their ilk. And why is it you think neo-Nazis don't exist in the US? There is plenty of evidence for them. If you think the extremes of political ideology end with the Occupy movement or the Tea Party, I think you're in for a little surprise.

As was said above, every developed country has violent nationalist individuals in their midst. It is odd that Europe still produces a good number of them.

P.S. I've an awful feeling that a flag went up in some CIA monitoring station and my IP is now logged thanks to what I've been googling in the last few days thanks to this thread :)

I never said there weren't neo nazis in the US, or compared Breivik to the tea party - my intent was to contrast them. Europe has birthed radicals on the left and the right, that turned into large political movements, that ended up running or taking over countries. Why be surprised that Europe has the ability spawn individuals like Breivik? Obviously extremists exist in the US, but they haven't been able to gain real power or control. So I don't see the basis to say you are surprised or the Europe spawns a radical, or that that it is more likely in the US.

To say Europe must have fundamentally changed because of WWII ignores that for the 40 years after WWII Eastern Europe was run by communist dictators, Spain had a right wing dictator, Greece had their Junta in the 60's and 70's. The last 20 years in Europe look great, but that is a very narrow window to look at.

so you're saying it's silly to be surprised that Europe, an area devastated by war with violent nationalists an order of magnitude worse than America, would be as likely as its cousin across the ocean to birth those exact violent nationalists? That Europe is effectively incapable of learning from atrocities not 80 years old?

I'm not disagreeing with you per se, just clarifying your point. Given that America has - proudly - showed an inability to learn from the pain we inflicted on ourselves in the 1860s, I'd say your underlying point that humans are bad at learning from history is a fair one.

If anything the reaction Europe had after WW2, to suppress rather than confront nationalism and xenophobia, probably made it worse, and in the long run opened up for the reemerging right-wing nationalism in recent decades, where nationalist parties have gained rather large footholds in parliaments in many European countries.
Anyone expressing nationalist opinions became political or social outcasts, with everyone trying to ignore them. EU as a project tried to ignore the existence nationalism, and has suffered from it since, with a majority of European citizens being negative toward EU.

Now, instead of just being nationalists, these groups can frame themselves as being victims of the "big nasty political overlords" in Europe (=anyone who aren't them) who tried to "lock them away", allowing them to reach a much larger base than otherwise.

In Denmark for example, the former prime minister in the 90's publicly said that a newly formed nationalist party would never be socially accepted - choosing to ignore them rather than confront them. The result was that same nationalist party becoming part the controlling majority in parliament (and indirectly government) for the next 10 years - and the nationalist party to this day reusing the former PMs words to frame themselves as the victims.
An interesting thing is, the fact that this nationalist racist party got political power seems to have reduced the increase of nationalism (although it is still fairly high) - likely because everyone else has been forced into taking them serious - fighting them rather than ignoring them.

Europe probably learned from history. Just the wrong lesson.

For the above reasons, it is probably also for the better that Norway generally seems to have acted smart after Breivik, not ignoring or suppressing his twisted views, but letting them get out in the open to some degree.
The only really surprising thing about this whole catastrophe for me, was that it happened in Norway of all places. I had the impression that Norway was less affected by nationalism than most other European countries, partly because they weren't as much part of the "anti-nationalist" EU project, which have nurtured the nationalists in other countries.

I'm hoping the court doesn't end up considering Breivik insane, as that would only seem to underscore the aspect of ignoring his radical opinions. Considering violent nationalists to be clinically insane due to their opinions is a part of the problem, as it allows everyone to put it in that box of "not needing to take it serious" again.

MrShoop wrote:

I never said there weren't neo nazis in the US, or compared Breivik to the tea party - my intent was to contrast them. Europe has birthed radicals on the left and the right, that turned into large political movements, that ended up running or taking over countries. Why be surprised that Europe has the ability spawn individuals like Breivik? Obviously extremists exist in the US, but they haven't been able to gain real power or control. So I don't see the basis to say you are surprised or the Europe spawns a radical, or that that it is more likely in the US.

To say Europe must have fundamentally changed because of WWII ignores that for the 40 years after WWII Eastern Europe was run by communist dictators, Spain had a right wing dictator, Greece had their Junta in the 60's and 70's. The last 20 years in Europe look great, but that is a very narrow window to look at.

I know Seth has responded but I just wanted to clarify a couple of points.

I'm not surprised that violent nationalists exists. I didn't suggest that they were more likely in the US (Nobody did, just that they exist everywhere). And I even stated that we still have them my own country (therefore my lack of surprise) this very day so I'm not sure where the WWII cut-off point comes from.

If you are saying we don't learn from history, as Seth suggests, I'm not sure so that explains it. The effect of violent ideologies are a constant reminder in every country of Europe so I'm not sure people can claim ignorance either. In fact, they are doing the opposite. They are using historical "truths" to back up their claims.

I think Shadout is on to something...

Shadout wrote:

Interesting thoughts

I think you have the right of it Shadout but let me just clarify a few details. The very existence of the EU is to blunt nationalism. That is its raison-d'etre. And I'll think you'll find that a minority of European are negative towards the EU (26%) and that they have routinely trusted the European institutions over there own national parliaments and governments for over a decade now (Source is here, PDF warning). The fact that violent nationalism exists in other European countries that are not in the EU doesn't lend weight to that theory. Far-right groups exist all over the globe.

My theory is the free movement of labour has created this rise of the far right. Countries that had almost unified cultures are now seeing the influx of people from all over Europe and beyond. While I don't see a big problem with this, I'm not so naive to think that some people won't react badly to it. And it could be as benign as the older generation just not liking the change to more nasty reasons.

However, do agree with your theory that creating victims out of these people by side lining them or censoring them as proven to been a mistake. Another example I can give you is the recent past of my country and the censoring of violent republicans. While it may have had in the early 70s' the desired effect of damping rising tensions, as the Troubles carried on it gave them this odd advantage of not being able to take them to task in a public forum. This led to the absurd vision of Gerry Adams being interviewed on TV but his voice being dubbed by an actor. I kid you not.

Probably a better example is how the Finns reacted to the True Finns. Timo Soini and his crew are now falling in the polls after gaining 20% of the vote in the last general election as their theories and policies get aired in public. Perhaps we do give these people enough rope to hang themselves with.

P.S. Geert Wilder does give me the willies though

Axon wrote:
Shadout wrote:

Interesting thoughts

I think you have the right of it Shadout but let me just clarify a few details. The very existence of the EU is to blunt nationalism. That is its raison-d'etre. And I'll think you'll find that a minority of European are negative towards the EU (26%) and that they have routinely trusted the European institutions over there own national parliaments and governments for over a decade now (Source is here, PDF warning). The fact that violent nationalism exists in other European countries that are not in the EU doesn't lend weight to that theory. Far-right groups exist all over the globe.

Interesting. I remember seeing a survey from Eurobarometer showing a majority (not including the newer eastern European members though) being negative toward EU. But it doesn't fit with the one you link of course.
I didn't want to imply that EU caused nationalism on its own or anything like that, merely that it too build upon the trend of ignoring the nationalists instead of trying to fight such views - or even just explain the EU-project to the citizens instead of leaving that field wide-open for the nationalists to dominate.

Seth wrote:

so you're saying it's silly to be surprised that Europe, an area devastated by war with violent nationalists an order of magnitude worse than America, would be as likely as its cousin across the ocean to birth those exact violent nationalists? That Europe is effectively incapable of learning from atrocities not 80 years old?

I'm not disagreeing with you per se, just clarifying your point. Given that America has - proudly - showed an inability to learn from the pain we inflicted on ourselves in the 1860s, I'd say your underlying point that humans are bad at learning from history is a fair one.

Yes, what you have said is a fair summary. Some people in Europe will have learned from it, and some will be damaged by the traumas and will repeat it. Kind of like abused children - some will grow up to be amazing pro-child crusaders, and others will beat their children. But it is not surprising to hear parents who were abused themselves are abusers.