The following op-ed was offered to the Norwegian newspapers Aftenposten, Dagbladet and Adresseavisen, all of whom rejected it. Adresseavisen believes that the text is no longer relevant. It has therefore been published online at the blog Snaphanen.
Many thanks to our Norwegian correspondent The Observer for translating the Norwegian text, which was then edited by Fjordman.
The mass media’s verdict?
by Peder Jensen a.k.a. Fjordman
I have abstained from making any firm conclusions regarding Anders Behring Breivik’s sanity, given that I have never met him and due to the fact that he genuinely appears to represent a complicated and very special case. He is obviously twisted, but this does not automatically mean that one is unable to comprehend the consequences of one’s actions. No matter what label you put on him, however, he is atypical. Breivik is abnormal even among the abnormal.
The calculated and cynical way in which he planned and carried out his attacks speaks clearly in favor of sanity, but the case is not entirely straightforward. There are those who think that Breivik should be judged for his heinous crimes in a normal manner, but who are nevertheless left with a bad taste in the mouth as to how the verdict came about.
It is hard to escape the feeling that the sentence was formulated under an exceptionally intense and relentless pressure from the mass media on all the parties involved that had a significant and perhaps decisive effect on the outcome of the trial.
Oslo District Court spent several months on a case where the perpetrator had already confessed, and it was 100% certain that he had committed the crimes he was charged with, plus an additional two months to reach a verdict.
Despite this lengthy process the court spent relatively little time analyzing Breivik’s so-called manifesto. The first parts of his compendium, which is absurdly long and extremely poorly edited, contains hundreds of pages of quotes from Wikipedia and an array of writers such as Robert Spencer, Bat Yeor, Daniel Pipes and myself. Seen in isolation, many of these texts appear logically coherent, but that’s only because Breivik didn’t write them.
Part number 3, however, is dramatically different, and without a doubt the section which is most clearly shaped by Breivik’s own confused mind. It mirrors, among other things, his unusually strong fascination with violence and may therefore provide us with an important insight into his psyche prior to the attacks.
He there presents himself as “judge, jury and executioner.” There are several possible sources for this phrase, but one of the most likely in Breivik’s case is the cartoon character Judge Dredd. If this is correct, it means that Breivik identified himself with a cartoon character just as fictional as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
Some of the rituals he describes for the alleged terror network Knights Templar are strikingly similar to what can be found in certain mediocre computer games, or in comic books of the “Conan the Barbarian” type. Add his own personally designed uniform with its bizarre fictional medals to the equation, and Breivik comes across as rather comical. In the next breath however, he describes monstrous violent fantasies and elaborates on how KT is going to detonate electromagnetic pulse weapons over European cities and blow up nuclear reactors in 2025.
The judges wrote in their verdict that they do not believe in the existence of the Knights Templar, but that Breivik could have maintained the existence of this network in order to generate fear. This is conceivable. However, the problem with this hypothesis is that when you read the third part of his manifesto, it is obvious that he relates strongly to the things he writes about there. He is noticeably less passionate when discussing various ideologies, as opposed to when talking about killing people, as the psychiatrists Torgeir Husby and Synne Sørheim noted.
There are things contained in part 3 of the manifesto that are more or less unknown even among the angriest and most obscure websites on the Internet, including descriptions of thoughts that are so outrageous that not even most genuine neo-Nazis present would anything similar. Breivik compares himself with Saint George, the patron saint of England, and suggests in utter seriousness that he may be declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church as a direct result of his massacre.
In their unanimous court ruling, judges Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen and Arne Lyng plus lay judges Ernst Henning Eielsen, Diana Patricia Fynbo and Anne Elisabeth Wisløff claimed that Breivik can be identified with a subculture that is “hostile to Islam and right-wing extremist,” which they repeatedly presented as being virtually the same thing, although they emphasized that others did not support his massacre.
This would indirectly include many of those who was cited in the earlier parts of the manifesto, such as Robert Spencer, founder of the website Jihad Watch and the author of several best-selling books, the historian Daniel Pipes, who has a doctorate from Harvard University, as well as the physician and historian Andrew G. Bostom.
Breivik compared himself with cartoon characters, was convinced that he will be declared a saint for shooting fifteen-year-old girls in the head, and fantasized about becoming king at the same time as his imaginary friends would blow up dozens of nuclear reactors. This could possibly be classified as bizarre delusions, but the judges suggested that such ideas are not uncommon among Islam-critics on the political Right.
The court’s verdict refers uncritically to so-called expert witnesses like Lars Gule and Øyvind Strømmen, who has built his career solely by looking for scary anti-Islamists under every bed. Breivik has stated that he wanted to copy Islamic Jihadist terrorists. The radical left-wing witness Mattias Gardell has cooperated openly with representatives of Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organization of precisely the type that Breivik admires. Yet despite this, Gardell didn’t receive a single critical question from the court regarding this issue. Instead he was portrayed by the court only as being a neutral academic expert.
In stark contrast to the above, during the trial the judges publicly suggested that other witnesses such as the immigration-critical scholar Ole Jørgen Anfindsen belonged to the same “right-wing extremist environment” as the mass murderer. The political bias was painfully obvious in that case.
The Norwegian press were unanimous that the verdict in the Breivik case was “courageous.” The judges caved in to the pressure from one of the biggest bullying campaigns in the country’s history, where the mob was led by the editors of news outlets NRK, VG and Dagbladet. The court ignored established jurisprudence surrounding the question of doubt, gave the political establishment and the mass media the verdict they had demanded in advance and also implicated the preferred scapegoats. One can possibly assert that following the path of least resistance is brave, but this does not necessarily mean that the assertion is true.
For a complete archive of Fjordman’s writings, see the multi-index listing in the Fjordman Files.