...at least in Norway. The trial of Anders Behring Breivik began yesterday and as The Forvm's only member residing in Norway (to my knowledge) I thought I would open up a thread for discussion and questions, as I may be privy to a bit more detailed information than you all are getting.
The media is all over this, though almost none of the actual testimony, so far, is being broadcast on TV which is a potential topic of debate. It looks like the later portions of the trial will be televised, at least in part. There are two reasons for this. One is for the benefit of the victims and their families. And the court is adamant that they will not become a platform for Breivik to spread propaganda. I agree with this, though it would have been fascinating in a car accident kind of way to watch him give his little speech today.
That speech was...boring. It was the same old boilerplate right wing extremist xenophobia that one can download from the net all day long if one is so inclined. And it was little different than any of the statements he has made already. He went on, far longer than he was originally given time for (Norwegian accused are normally allowed to make an opening statement but not usually to read from a prepared text. They are giving him leeway here), about what he sees as a threat to the people of Norway and Norwegian culture by Islam. Much of his supporting statistics were false or highly exaggerated. He defends his actions as basically self-defense of the Norwegian people, by taking out the future of what he sees as the premier multi-cultural supporting party.
After the lunch break today they started questioning him and the very first question was brilliant. My own translation of the live blog: You describe an unsurvivable human rights campaign against the Norwegian people. From where do you derive your "duty" or "right" to defend the Norwegian people? He described how he sees it as a human rights issue, that everyone has the right to defend themselves. But the prosecutor repeated the question: Where do YOU yourself derive this right, where did you get the mandate to defend the Norwegian people. He eventually admitted that he came upon the right himself.
The rest of today's questioning went in to his past and how he became radicalized, something that he calls himself. And this is the heart of things. Because while this trial is technically about his guilt or innocence, it is really a trial about whether he is sane enough to be sent to prison. Because there is little doubt of his guilt. He has admitted his actions (and, even worse, said his only regret is not going far enough.) and there is a mountain of evidence that he is guilty. This is about where he spends his time afterwards.
A word about that. there is much made of the maximum sentence in Norway being 21 years, and that is true. However, if a person is considered an ongoing danger to society they can basically be held indefinitely. Think of it as 21 to life. The same would happen if he were deemed not mentally capable to stand trial. He would then be sent into the care of a hospital and only released if he is no longer considered a danger to anyone. Either way he is going to be locked up forever.
Lots to talk about. I will try the best I can to keep up with any comments here, with the caveat that I am at least 6 hours ahead of you guys so response times might be long (a man's gotta sleep!). And I will try to keep the conversation going with further threads as new information comes out. Feel free to ask anything and I will try answer as best I can.