By Rachel Neuwirth & John Landau
trial of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is, in the
words of a perceptive Norwegian reporter-blogger, a "media circus." The
killer is being allowed to spout his extremist views on a wide variety
of subjects, and although he murdered 77 people with no apparent
provocation, he is being permitted by the court to plead self-defense.
amazingly, the trial began with the presiding judge and the prosecutors
advancing to the defendant's box and shaking Breivik's hand--a mass
murderer who admits his crimes and expresses
there is something wrong with such a "non-adversarial" criminal trial,
and with the politeness-obsessed, conflict-averse Norwegian society that
has created such a criminal justice system.
aspects of the trial are equally non-adversarial. While in an American
courtroom the defendant's lawyer would argue that his client is not
guilty by reason of insanity--the only plausible
defense for a murderer who freely admits his guilt and expresses pride
in his crimes--Breivik's lawyer is allowing his client to argue that he
is sane. In his remarks to the court and the press, he freely admits
that he finds it distasteful to represent his client, and he doesn't
make any serious effort to defend or even excuse him. "I feel I have
lost my soul as a result of this case," he told reporters.
the other hand, while the defense attorney shows little interest in
defending, the prosecution seems equally uninterested in prosecuting. It
has not argued that the defendant is sane--which it must do in order to
obtain a conviction--and is instead leaning toward
the view that Breivik is insane. In other words, the prosecutors are on
the whole more helpful to the defendant than his own lawyer!
whether he is convicted or found "not guilty by reason of insanity,"
Breivik will live a comfortable life under some form of detention, with
numerous rights and privileges that in Norway 's ultra-humane
correctional system are granted to all criminals. On the
other hand, he will be detained indefinitely in either case--until and
unless he can persuade his "guardians" that he is no longer a threat to
society. In Norway 's permissive, soft-hearted and soft-headed society,
he might just succeed in doing that some day.
then, hold a trial at all? In an American courtroom, a defendant
pleading self-defense after killing 77 unarmed, unresisting people would
be required to produce evidence that he actually was under attack and
needed to use deadly force to protect his life. Any other "evidence"
offered by the defendant would be disallowed by the judge as irrelevant,
incompetent and immaterial. Instead, the Norwegian court is
allowing Breivik to mount a "political" defense that his atrocities
were necessary to protect his society from multiculturalism, socialism
and an Islamic takeover. This makes for a prolonged, extremely painful
trial for the relatives of the victims, who must sit there listening to a
remorseless killer boast of the dreadful things he did to their
deceased loved ones, and attempting to justify, even glorify, his
crimes. Since none of this "testimony" has any real bearing on the
question of Breivik's guilt or innocence, allowing it in court serves
only Breivik's twisted purposes--and perhaps those of others who seek to
exploit his atrocities, and the horror they have inspired, to advance
their own political agendas.
attempting to link the overwhelmingly nonviolent and anti-violence
"counter-jihad" movement to the Norwegian lone killer, "mainstream
media" (MSM) journalists are helping to legitimate the much larger,
better-funded and extremely violent international jihadist movement.
Their guilt-by-association tactic is the very same smear tactic made
infamous by the late Senator Joseph McCarthy.
of this MSM response to the Breivik massacre is New York Times
columnist Roger Cohen, who claims that nearly everyone on two continents
who has warned of the danger to Western civilization posed by militant
of terrorism" and responsible for Breivik's vicious deeds. Cohen also
links people to Breivik's massacre in the true tradition of McCarthyism
by claiming that Breivik's "many ideological fellow travelers on both
sides of the Atlantic," were Breivik's "enablers" and supplied "the
poison in which he refined his murderous resentment." Among those
accused by Cohen are:
Wilders in the Netherlands, who compared the Koran to "Mein Kampf' on
his way to 15.5 percent of the vote in the 2010 election; the surging
Marine Le Pen in France, who uses Nazi analogies as she pours scorn on
devout Muslims; far-rightist parties in
Sweden and Denmark and Britain equating every problem with Muslim
immigration; Republicans like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and
Representative Peter King, who have found it politically opportune to
target "creeping Shariah in the United States' at a time when the middle
name of the president is Hussein; U.S. church pastors using their bully
pulpits week after week to say America is a Christian nation under
imminent threat from Islam."
leaves out the small detail, however, that none of these people have
ever advocated violence against anyone. The late Senator Joe couldn't
have done it any better.
York Times op-ed columnist Thomas Hegghammer, a senior research fellow
at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment in Oslo and co-author
of "Al-Qaida in Its Own Words," prefers to link Breivik to
Mr. Breivik's violent acts are exceptional, his anti-Islamic views are
not. Much, though not all, of Mr. Breivik's manifesto is inspired by a
relatively new right-wing intellectual current often
referred to as counterjihad. The movement's " main home is the
Internet, where blogs like Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs and Gates of Vienna
publish essays by writers like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Bat Ye'or
and Fjordman, the pseudonym for a Norwegian blogger. Mr. Breivik's
manifesto is replete with citations of counterjihad writers, strongly
suggesting that he was inspired by them."
Hegghammer also acknowledges that "the leading counterjihad writers
have virtually never advocated violence, and several of them have
condemned Mr. Breivik's actions."