Breivik a fascist, historian tells Norway court
News Date: 1st June 2012
Experts on far-right political movements told judges in Oslo on Thursday that many of the views held by self-confessed Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik are fascist, rather than the result of insanity.
"Regardless of how bizarre Breivik's world view appears to be, he has in court and in his manifesto presented a world view that is coherent, it can be called fascist or be placed in a fascist tradition," historian Terje Emberland told the Oslo District Court.
Breivik, 33, has confessed to killing 77 people in bombing and shooting attacks on July 22 but has pleaded not guilty.
A key issue in the trial, which is expected to last until June, is whether Breivik will be considered accountable for his actions. Two psychiatric teams reached conflicting conclusions on his mental health prior to the opening of the trial.
Emberland, who is attached to the Centre for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, argued that those who had concluded that Breivik was legally insane had not taken the defendant's political views into account in their assessment, attributing some of his conspiracy theories to mental illness instead.
Breivik published a manifesto railing against multiculturalism and Islam shortly before the attacks.
His salute and uniform were part of a fascist tradition, he said, referring to a right-arm salute Breivik made when the trial opened on April 16. He later refrained from it after complaints from survivors.
Breivik told the court that, unlike fascists, he does not support a one-party state and "had never used the word race," before he was stopped by the judge.
Professor Tore Bjorgo of the Norwegian Police Academy, who has studied political extremism, later said Breivik's statements and actions "were familiar from far-right violent ideologies."
Other parallels were Breivik's warning of a looming civil war and fears that militant Muslims would take political control.
"Compared with (most) Norwegians he is mad, but if you consider the most militant sections of the far-right extremists culture, he does not stick out. A lot of his world view is shared by others," Bjorgo said.
Breivik managed to carry out his attacks and avoid detection by "concluding it was safest to act alone," Bjorgo noted.