People holding roses take part in a march to mourn for the victims of the killing spree and bomb attack in downtown Oslo July 25, 2011. At least 100,000 people, many carrying white or red roses, rallied in Oslo on Monday to show support for victims of attacks that killed 73 people.
The man responsible for the deaths of 76 children and adults in Friday’s Norwegian terrorist attacks has admitted to his acts, but argues that he is not guilty because they were acts of self-defense on behalf of an entire continent -- and that he has cells of comrades waiting to commit similar crimes The overall toll was previously given by police as 93 but was recently revised. Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian, spoke in a closed pretrial sentencing hearing to Judge KIim Heger. He had asked to have a public hearing so he could make an ideological statement reflecting the contents of the 1500-page manifesto he released Friday, and to wear the uniform of his self-described anti-multiculturalist army, but he was refused “The objective for the attacks was to hand people a powerful message,” Judge Heger told reporters afterwards, summarizing his statements. Mr. Breivik said he wanted to “save Europe” from multiculturalism and immigration of Muslims, and to punish Norway’s governing Labour Party by bombing the Prime Minister’s office and going on a shooting rampage at an island camp for children of party members.
“The accused wanted to cause the Labour Party as much damage as possible, so that recruitment would be limited in the future,” the judge said. “The operation was not about killing as many as possible, but to provide a significant signal that simply could not be misunderstood,” Mr. Breivik said, according to the judge. “As long as the Labour party maintains their ideological line of politics, whereby they deconstruct Norwegian culture and ‘mass-import’ Muslims, they must be held accountable for treason. One cannot allow one's country to be colonised by Muslims.”
Most ominously, he claimed that he has “two cells” of accomplices in his "Knights Templar" group elsewhere in Europe waiting to commit terrorism. Norwegian police, however, think gunman Anders Behring Breivik is probably a lone wolf, a view also held by some researchers who cast doubt on his claim that he was working with two other cells. Earlier, Mr. Breivik maintained he acted alone. Police attorney Christian Hatlo told reporters on Monday he “cannot completely, and I stress completely, rule out that others were involved in what happened.” But police say privately that they think more cells are unlikely although security services are checking with their international partners about potential foreign links. “We feel that the accused has fairly low credibility when it comes to this claim but none of us dare to be completely dismissive about it either,” a source close to the investigation told Reuters. Police are checking Mr. Breivik’s phone and credit card records as well as his known movements to determine whether he was working alone. Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, said that, as far as he knows, nobody had evidence of the existence of the Knights Templar organization. “There’s no one who seems to know if the group exist or if it’s something he made up,” he told Reuters. “They (mass killers) are usually alone. He’s extremely narcissistic and he goes on about himself and his role in history.” Ragnhild Bjoernebekk, a researcher at Norway’s police school who specialises in crime and violence, said it was not inconceivable that Mr. Breivik was part of a network, but added: “The fact he wants to talk about it is surprising. Perhaps he wants to suggest that he is part of something bigger than himself." Further undermining his claim, Mr. Breivik’s manifesto published before his shooting rampage suggested authorities should be disinformed about collaborator “Give the impression that your cell is larger by attempting to forward misinformation on the police band or by other means,” he said in the 1,500 page document. In the rambling manifesto, which mixes imagery of medieval crusades and Internet war games, Mr. Breivik calls himself a “Justiciar Knight Commander of Cell 8” and said he would try to “initiate contact with cell 8b and 8c ,The document says that each cell commander has up to two operatives. “Intuitively, it feels like he is alone when you read the document. It’s like he’s lost in this made up world and can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality,” said Mr. Ranstorp. Mr. Breivik will be held without bail for eight weeks, four of them in complete isolation, until his trial begins.
Norwegian police said Mr. Breivik had said during interrogation that he was prepared to spend the rest of his life in prison. Mr. Breivik had remained calm during questioning and appeared “unaffected” by his brutal shooting and bomb attacks, police said. The degree of Norwegian revulsion at the acts was apparent when Mr. Breivik’s defense lawyer gave an interview Monday morning in which he argued that his client’s remarks should not be made public and that he should not be permitted to wear his uniform. Police fanned out across the continent to investigate those who may be linked to the terrorist. One person was arrested in Wroclaw, Poland, apparently for selling chemicals to him that were used in the construction of the car bomb. His father, who lives in France and says he has not spoken to his son since 1995, was placed under police guard.
With file from Reuters