Norway Attacks Trial: Defendant Says He Would Do It All Again

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Lisa Mullins: I am Lisa Mullins and this is The World. Anders Breivik was back in a courtroom in Oslo, Norway this morning for day 2 of his murder trial. Breivik has already confessed to carrying out a car-bombing and a shooting spree that left 77 people dead in Norway last summer. The trial is focusing on his motives. Today, the far-right extremist said that he turned to violence to defend Norway from the evils of multiculturalism and Breivik said he'd do it all over again. One of those following this trial is Martin Sandbu of the Financial Times newspaper. What was it like to be in the courthouse today, Martin?

Martin Sandbu: Well, today was the beginning of Breivik's own explanation and the beginning of his examination by the prosecutor. It was more to me a surreal spectacle. First of all, unusually for a Norwegian court, Breivik was allowed to read out a prepared statement. There were quite a few altercations with the judge who was getting impatient telling him to speed it up and he insisting that he had already cut it down from the original 20 pages, and being very particular about how important it was that he should be allowed to explain his ideology. Then, there was also the beginning of the examination which, again, was quite surreal because the prosecutor, Inga Bejer Engh - one of the two state prosecutors, took not a very confrontational or aggressive tone, and several journalists picked up on this in the press conference afterwards, but almost a friendly tone and some victims complained about that.

Mullins: What do you think was going on there?

Sandbu: I think that the prosecution is trying to undermine that image that he is attempting to project which is of an ideological thinker who's taken the consequences of his analysis. That's how he tried to present himself in his read statement. What you see is not only as the prosecution said they don't believe his allegation that he's part of an international network - the one that he calls the Knights Templar.

Mullins: They say it doesn't exist.

Sandbu: They say it doesn't exist. I think they are hinting they don't even believe these meetings took place with all the nationalists, ultra nationalists. I think they are also trying to basically pick holes in his own political thinking.

Mullins: Breivik, when he speaks, seems...and you have written this...seems to be coherent. He seems to be able to articulate his thoughts, as offensive as they be, very well. He is also self-congratulatory about the violence that he'd committed. He is saying that the attacks were sophisticated and spectacular - the most spectacular in Europe since the 2nd World War. He said that he thinks there's a difference between brutality and evil. How did he define them?

Sandbu: He compared himself to the wartime U.S. leaders who ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb. He said, "Well, that time there was a decision to kill hundreds of thousands of people, many innocent civilians, in order to prevent a greater evil - the continuation and escalation of the war in the Pacific", and he said his actions should be seen in the same light. He admitted it was "brutal" and "gruesome"; those are words he used, but he said this was necessary in order to avoid an even greater disaster in the future.

Mullins: Financial Times reporter Martin Sandbu in Oslo, Norway, thank you.

Sandbu: Thank you very much.