25 July 2011
by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Reports are coming in that the number of people that Anders Behring Breivik killed on Friday are not as high as first thought. The number was dropped to a total of 76 with 68 dead at the island youth camp and 8 at the bombing site. This also comes as Norwegian police are investigating whether or not there were more people involved. According to Breivik, there were “two more cells” working with him. French police are also involved in this and are searching the home of his estranged father.
Breivik made his first appearance in court today where he made the claims about having had help. He has also admitted his culpability in the attacks, but maintains that he is not guilty of anything. Breivik claims to be a crusader against Islam. His lawyer states “He has been politically active and found out himself that he did not succeed with usual political tools and so resorted to violence.” His lawyer also said “I await a medical assessment of him.”
Breivik has asked to wear a uniform in court, but it is not clear what uniform he wanted to wear since has never served in the military. There are pictures of him on the internet that show him dressed in a military-style outfit.
Breivik has pled not guilty to the kills.
Breivik is to be held for eight weeks, four of which will be in full isolation so that the Oslo police can do their work without interference. Judge Kim Heger agreed to that. Breivik will not receive letters or have visitors with the exception of his lawyer.
The BBC’s Gavin Hewitt offered this analysis:
I was reminded of the Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, and America’s paranoid strain, as I read through the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik.
For at least nine years he carried anger towards the changes occurring in Norwegian society. He did not accept the multicultural country that was emerging. It threatened his identity and he felt alienated from it. He was in contact with other extreme groups who increasingly saw Islam as a danger and the enemy.
Like McVeigh, Mr Breivik saw his country’s political establishment as the real enemy. So the target that formed in his mind was not immigrant groups, but the government itself, and young people who were attached to the ruling left-leaning Labour Party.
Survivors I have spoken to speak of his calmness: a man locked in an internal world of hatred but maintained by a belief that what he was doing was justified.
In the United States, many on the Right tend to ignore Timothy McVey because they do not want to admit any culpability in his actions, nor that they continue to foster that same sense of paranoia and fear even today.
According to the BBC, Breivik, who had originally claimed to have acted alone, “has been charged under the criminal law for acts of terrorism. The charges include the destabilisation of vital functions of society, including government, and causing serious fear in the population.”
Judge Heger short circuited the attempts by Breivik to turn the court hearing into a platform for his political views. Rather than holding an open hearing, he ordered it closed to the public and summarized Breivik’s words. He said that Breivik argued that he was acting to save Norway and Europe from Muslim colonization, and that Breivik did not want to kill as many people as he could, but rather to create a great loss for Norway’s governing Labour Party.
In total, 76 are dead, 96 were wounded.
Norway was going into election season with elections suppose to be held on 12 September. The start of the campaign has been postponed until mid-August.
In France, a dozen gendarmes surrounded the home of Jens Breivik in the town of Cournanel located in southern France. They cordoned off the house and began investigating. The regional gendarme service has confirmed that the house does belong to the father of Anders Behring Breivik, but because this is an ongoing investigation, have not commented on the search itself.
Prosecutor Antoine Leroy did say that the police officers are meant to “avert any incident or disturbance which is normal and legitimate.” He was asked by the French News Service AFP about whether or not the search was part of the investigation or was at the behest of Norwegian authorities. Cooperation between different EU nation’s police forces is quite high.
The elder Breivik is a retired Norwegian diplomat who was not at home when the search occurred. Instead, he was in Spain. According to his wife Wanda, who was home, “We’ve had a horrible night. I haven’t slept. My husband left this morning for Spain.” It has been reported that the elder Breivik was shocked over the incident.
Jens David Breivik has broken his silence regarding his son’s deadly attack on Norway’s Labour Party. The elder Breivik and his wife, the mother of Anders Breivik, divorced in 1980. With regards to learning about the attack, Jens Breivik stated “I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was totally paralyzing and I couldn’t really understand it.” The elder Breivik lived in London after the divorce. He also told the Swedish tabloid Expressen that he and his son have not had contact with each other since 1995, except for one phone call he characterized as ‘bland’.
He went on to say “I don’t feel like his father. How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was OK? He should have taken his own life, too. That’s what he should have done.”
“I will have to live with this shame for the rest of my life. People will always link me with him.”
When asked what he would say to his son if he had the opportunity, Jens Breivik said he didn’t know, and didn’t know if Anders would listen. “He must live in another world; I do not think he would understand.”
He added that his son should consider the sorrow and suffering he has caused. “He has ruined so many lives. He must think of the consequences,” Jens Breivik said.
French gendarmes are on the scene of Jens Breivik’s house. It is being characterized as being for his own safety. Given the lack of communication between the two for over a decade, that is most likely.