Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Killer’s Prosecutors Ask For Psychiatric Care

Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right fanatic, who has admitted to the massacre and a bombing in Oslo on July 22, 2011 arrives in the courtroom in Oslo, Monday May 7, 2012. (Photo/Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix, Pool)

Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right fanatic, who has admitted to the massacre and a bombing in Oslo on July 22, 2011 arrives in the courtroom in Oslo, Monday May 7, 2012. (Photo/Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix, Pool)

Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Killer’s Prosecutors Ask For Psychiatric Care

OSLO, Norway — Prosecutors on Thursday asked a court to send confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik to a mental institution instead of prison for his massacre of 77 people in a gun and shooting rampage.

If the court comes to the same conclusion when it issues its ruling, expected next month, it would mean that Breivik would avoid criminal responsibility for Norway’s worst peacetime massacre.

The attacks at Norway’s government headquarters and a youth summer camp would then not be considered acts of political terrorism, but the work of a blood-thirsty madman.

“We request that he is transferred to compulsory psychiatric care,” prosecutor Svein Holden told the court in closing arguments.

Though there was inconclusive evidence that Breivik was psychotic during the July 22 attacks, there were enough doubts about his sanity that he cannot be sentenced to prison under Norwegian law, Holden said.

The defense is likely to refute the insanity finding on Friday, the last day of the 10-week trial. Breivik, who styles himself as an anti-Muslim militant, claims he is sane and that his attacks were motivated by his political views.

Just like when the trial stared in mid-April, the 33-year-old Norwegian flashed a clenched-fist salute with his right arm before he was led out of the court on Thursday.

Earlier in the trial, Breivik said the psychiatric dimension of the case was a way for Norwegian authorities to ridicule him and divert attention from his ideology.

Breivik claims Norway and Europe are being colonized by Muslims, who make up about 2 percent of Norway’s population. He has said he selected his targets – a government high-rise and a summer camp for the governing Labor Party’s youth organization – to strike against the political forces he claims betrayed the country with liberal immigration policies.

Some of those who lost family members in the massacre were disappointed by the decision.

“They say they want this to be a correct judgment,” said Mette Yvonne Larsen, a lawyer for the bereaved. “They think that imprisonment would be a more justified outcome of what happened on July 22.”

Two teams of psychiatrists reached opposite conclusions about Breivik’s mental health. The first team diagnosed him with “paranoid schizophrenia,” a serious mental illness which would preclude a prison sentence. The second team found him legally sane, saying he suffers from a dissocial and narcissistic personality disorder, but is not psychotic.

Prosecutors said one of the key challenges to Breivik’s sanity was his insistence of belonging to a militant anti-Muslim modeled after the Knights Templar, a Christian military order during the crusades, even though investigators have found no trace of the network.

Though Breivik tried to tone down the significance of the network during the trial, he maintained that it exists and that there are two other cells in Norway.

After the hearing Thursday, prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh stressed that a commitment to psychiatric care would mean that Breivik would be put away for a long time, maybe for the rest of his life.

“We have murderers who have been sentenced to psychiatric care who will probably never get out again,” Engh said, noting that none of them had killed 77 people.

If the court opts for a prison term instead, prosecutors said their preference would be the maximum sentence of 21 years. A sentence can be extended beyond that if a prisoner is considered a menace to society.

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller to Appear Alongside EDL’s Tommy Robinson

Premiere North American Islamophobes are appearing alongside EDL leader Tommy Robinson at SION (Stop the Islamization of Nations) anti-Muslim demonstration that is being hailed as the “worldwide counter-Jihad alliance.” (h/t: CriticalDragon)

Worldwide Counter-Jihad Alliance to Launch with Stockholm Demonstration on August 4

By Stop Islamization of Nations, Published: Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2012 – 2:46 am

NEW YORK, June 12, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The first worldwide counter-jihad initiative will begin August 4 with the First Annual Global Counter Jihad rally in Stockholm, Sweden. Representatives from Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), the English Defence League (EDL), and allied groups will speak.

The Global Counter Jihad rally will feature the president of SION and executive director of SIOA, Pamela Geller, as well as SION Vice President and SIOA associate director Robert Spencer. Also speaking will be the EDL’s Tommy Robinson, SIOE’s Anders Gravers, and other worldwide leaders from official Stop Islamization and Defence League groups.

“The conference,” said Geller in a statement, “heralds the launch of a worldwide counter jihad alliance. Freedom fighters from Europe and America, as well as India, Israel, and other areas threatened by jihad, will at last be working together and forming a common defense of freedom and human rights.”

Tommy Robinson of the English Defense League (EDL)
Tommy Robinson of the English Defense League (EDL)

To Prove Breivik’s Sanity, They Rolled Out the Crazies

Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik sits on 6 June, 2012 in the courtroom in Oslo. Photograph: Getty Images.
Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik sits on 6 June, 2012 in the courtroom in Oslo. Photograph: Getty Images.

These are Spencer and Geller’s friends:

To prove Breivik’s sanity, they rolled out the crazies

A deft piece of courtroom theatre in the Breivik trial.

It was one of the weirdest days of the trial so far. They thought they had been given the chance to blow the whole conspiracy wide open. Instead the extreme right-wing obsessives called to testify for the defence in the Anders Breivik trial were exposed to the contempt and bafflement of the ordinary people they typically lionise.

After weeks and weeks of horror, even the survivors of Breivik’s 22 July massacre laughed in the court as the politically marginalised took the stand and relished their moment to finally preach their truth. Each of the unpleasant foursome had their jealous ideological niches – the ever-fractious far-right always will – but each agreed on the existence of a left-wing conspiracy deliberately preventing their popular views from reaching the masses.

In a trial where the only question is over the sanity of a confessed murderer of 77 people, it seems wrong to indulge in reductive pop-psychology. But the temptation is irresistible: in order to prove his sanity, Breivik’s defence had rolled out the crazies.

Ronny Alte, former leader of English Defence League spin-off, the Norwegian Defence League, moaned to a court packed with teenage survivors of a holiday island massacre, how his views means he must fear for his life. Arne Tumyr, chairman of Stop the Islamisation of Norway, complained furiously that the Muslims in his country meant “Winnie the Pooh’s friend, Piglet, is now considered an impure animal.” Tore Tvedt, leader of irrelevant Neo-Nazi organisation, Vigrid, blamed the ever-guilty Jews. Ole Jørgen Arnfindsen, initially adding a sheen of academic authority before descending into unfathomable conspiracy theorising, blamed… It was impossible to know who he blamed.

Each condemned the murders. Yet each still believed they had been called to his defence to legitimise those elements of Breivik’s philosophy where their own obsessions overlapped. They had not. In a deft piece of courtroom theatre, Breivik’s defence counsel, Geir Lippestad, gave them just enough room to show that being a sad, lonely, obsessive may make you a crackpot. But it does not necessarily make you mad.

Each one of these men could have been excused from testifying. A string of witnesses, including Carl I Hagen, the former leader of Norway’s mainstream anti-immigration Progress Party, and Mullah Krekar, Norway’s most notorious Islamic fanatic, were exempted despite originally being on the defence list. Most were able to argue that being called to defend Breivik would put them in an unsafe and morally unbearable position. Lippestad said he had no desire to force them.

Those who did appear were either unfailingly committed to the Norwegian judicial process or saw their appearance as an opportunity to break through the conspiracy and finally be put in front of a receptive public. The fact that they were literally laughed out of court should, but won’t, have dented their belief in a deliberate campaign to ensure their marginalisation.

Breivik complained in his 1,500 page manifesto that he mailed to 8,000 email addresses on the morning before his attacks, that he too had been ignored. He had written twice, we learned, to the influential Oslo dailyAftenposten to complain about its Islam-biased coverage of international affairs. His letters were never published. Hilde Haugsgjerd, the paper’s editor-in-chief said well-written contributions likely to appeal to more than a handful of people were favoured.

Anyone who has struggled through his manifesto, will know Breivik’s missives were deeply unlikely to have met either of these criteria. Yet in some dark corners of the internet, his heartfelt views and pseudo-academic justifications were swallowed and, no doubt, even admired. For the political marginal there is always a constituency and in the shouty internet such constituents can evidently make you feel mainstream.

Arnfindsen is the editor of honestthinking.no, a site aimed at people who don’t realise that websites which evoke truthfulness and honesty should be regarded with the same scepticism as restaurants that testify to their cleanliness. On his site he has hits and acclaim. Shorn of his online echo chamber he and everyone else was shown why he is marginalised. Unable to construct a logical argument, incapable of properly weighing evidence, and flinging out unsubstantiated allegations like a small child playing Cluedo, he like the other nuts who testified to Breivik’s sanity were exposed for what they are.

Breivik wishes to be considered sane. It is galling that these people’s testimony could help him to achieve his aim. But there must also be satisfaction in exposing these crackpots as the fairy tale villains they are. Raymond Johansen, general secretary of the Norwegian Labour Party so loathed by Breivik, said it was important their views should be heard. “If a troll comes out into the sunlight it will burst,” he said. “If it remains in the dark it will grow.”

Mark Lewis is a freelance journalist reporting from the Breivik trial in Oslo. He tweets as @markantonylewis.

Norwegian Far Right says Breivik Correct to Fear Muslims

Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik sits in the courtroom in Oslo, Norway, on Friday 1 June, 2012. (AP / Heiko Junge, Pool)  Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik sits in the courtroom in Oslo, Norway, on Friday 1 June, 2012. (AP / Heiko Junge, Pool)

(Via IslamophobiaToday.com)

Norwegian far right says Breivik correct to fear Muslims

By Balazs Koranyi, Reuters

(Reuters) – Norwegian far-right leaders told the court trying Anders Behring Breivik on Tuesday the mass killer was right to fear his nation’s “planned annihilation” by Muslims, even if his method of combating it was wrong.

Breivik killed 77 people on July 22, first detonating a car bomb outside government headquarters and killing eight, then gunning down 69 people, mostly teenagers, at the ruling Labour Party’s summer camp on Utoeya Island.

He argued his victims deserved to die because they supported Muslim immigration, which he said is adulterating pure Norwegian blood.

“The constitution has been cancelled, we’re at war now,” Tore Tvedt, the founder of far-right group Vigrid told the court.

Tvedt, 69, with greying hair and moustache, addressed the court in a firm voice.

“When they get their will, the Nordic race will be exterminated,” he said of Muslim immigration.

Breivik’s defence team called Tvedt and other far-right supporters to the stand to support their argument that Breivik is sane since his ideology is shared by others, even if their numbers are few.

“Take a look at society in Pakistan, look at the 57 Islamic states. People there live in a regime of terror and slavery, that’s what we had under national socialism and in the Soviet Union, people were trapped in a terror state,” Arne Tumyr, the head of an anti-Islam group told court.

Tall, thin and with a full head of hair, Tumyr, 79, spoke softly and insisted on testifying top the court standing up.

“If nothing is done, Norway will be taken over my Muslims,” he said.

Members of Islamic communities make up about 2 percent of Norway’s five million people, though their numbers were growing faster than those of Christians, Statistics Norway said.

All witnesses argued against Breivik’s violence but said Norway’s passivity toward the issue would eventually lead to a Muslim takeover.

The court’s main task in the 10-week trial is to decide whether Breivik is sane and whether he should be sent to jail or a psychiatric institution.

One court-appointed team of psychiatrists concluded he is psychotic, but a second team came to the opposite conclusion. The five judges hearing the case will take a final decision on his sanity at the end of the trial.

If deemed sane, Breivik faces a 21-year jail sentence which could be indefinitely extended for as long as he is considered dangerous.

Breivik has said he should either be executed or acquitted, calling the prospect of a prison sentence “pathetic”. If he were to be declared insane, he has said, that would be “worse than death”.

The court had hoped to deliver a verdict before the first anniversary of Breivik’s attack, but said a ruling may not come before August 24.

(Editing by Jon Hemming)

Geert Wilders’ War Against Islam

Geert Wilders book in review (via. Islamophobia-Watch.com):

Wilders’ war against Islam

By the end of Marked for Death, we see what Wilders is leading up to – a horrifying vision of a fortress Europe, defending “freedom” through the deployment of totalitarian state powers to expunge Islam from the continent. His recommendations are reminiscent of the discriminatory social control measures taken against Jews and other minorities under Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Wilders, of course, is careful to disavow violence and reiterate he hates Islam, not Muslims. But it is difficult to deny the implicitly violent subtext of his sweeping proposals, including a halt to all Muslim immigration, payments to settled immigrants to leave, cessation of building of mosques, and taxation of Muslim religious practices such as the headscarf. Most disturbing is his endorsement of Israeli-style “administrative detention” (indefinite internment without trial on security grounds) in Europe as part of criminal operations in Muslim communities; not to mention the forcible deportation of tens of millions of Muslims from Europe for “thinking” about “crime” or “Shari’ah”.

Yasmin Qureshi and Nafeez Ahmed examine the political programme presented in Geert Wilders’ Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me.

Independent, 4 June 2012

Salon.com: Likely victory for MeK shills

MEK fighters in Iraq. (Credit: AP/Brennan Linsley) MEK fighters in Iraq. (Credit: AP/Brennan Linsley)

We’ve reported on the MeK terrorist organization and the powerful politicians who have lobbied on their behalf to have them de-listed as a terror group. All these politicians are guilty of “material support” but because they come from the privileged and powerful class the rule of law does not apply to them.

Now it seems likely that due to the lobbying efforts of the said politicians, the MeK will be removed from the list. (h/t: JD)

Likely victory for MeK shills

BY 

Former U.S. officials, paid to advocate for a designated Terror group, are now on the verge of succeeding.

(updated below)

bipartisan band of former Washington officials and politicians has spent the last two years aggressively advocating on behalf of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), an Iranian dissident group that has been formally designated for the last 15 years by the U.S. State Department as a “foreign Terrorist organization.” Most of those former officials have been paid large sums of money to speak at MeK events and meet with its leaders, thus developing far more extensive relations with this Terror group than many marginalized Muslims who have been prosecuted and punished with lengthy prison terms for “materially supporting a Terrorist organization.” These bipartisan MeK advocates have been demanding the group’s removal from the Terror list, advocacy that has continued unabated despite (or, more accurately, because of ) reports that MeK is trained and funded by the Israelis and has been perpetrating acts of violence on Iranian soil aimed at that country’s civilian nuclear scientists and facilities (also known as: Terrorism).

Now, needless to say, the State Department appears likely to accede to the demands of these paid bipartisan shills:

The Obama administration is moving to remove an Iranian opposition group from the State Department’s terrorism list, say officials briefed on the talks, in an action that could further poison Washington’s relations with Tehran at a time of renewed diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

The exile organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK, was originally named as a terrorist entity 15 years ago for its alleged role in assassinating U.S. citizens in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and for allying with Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein against Tehran.

The MeK has engaged in an aggressive legal and lobbying campaign in Washington over the past two years to win its removal from the State Department’s list. . . . Senior U.S. officials said on Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to make any final decision on the MeK’s status. But they said the State Department was looking favorably at delisting MeK if it continued cooperating by vacating a former paramilitary base inside Iraq, called Camp Ashraf, which the group had used to stage cross-border strikes into Iran.

This highlights almost every salient fact about how Washington functions with regard to such matters. First, if you pay a sufficiently large and bipartisan group of officials to lobby on your behalf, you will get your way, even when it comes to vaunted National Security and Terrorism decisions; if you pay the likes of Howard Dean, Fran Townsend, Wesley Clark, Ed Rendell, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge and others like them to peddle their political influence for you, you will be able to bend Washington policy and law to your will. As Andrew Exum put it this morning: “I guess Hizballah and LeT just need to buy off more former administration officials.”

Second, the application of the term “Terrorist” by the U.S. Government has nothing to do with how that term is commonly understood, but is instead exploited solely as a means to punish those who defy U.S. dictates and reward those who advance American interests and those of its allies (especially Israel). Thus, this Terror group is complying with U.S. demands, has been previously trained by the U.S. itself, and is perpetrating its violence on behalf of a key American client state and against a key American enemy, and — presto — it is no longer a “foreign Terrorist organization.”

Third, this yet again underscores who the actual aggressors are in the tensions with Iran. Imagine if multiple, high-level former Iranian officials received large sums of money from a group of Americans dedicated to violently overthrowing the U.S. government and committing acts of violence on American soil, and the Iranian Government then removed it from its list of Terror groups, thus allowing funding and other means of support to flow freely to that group.

Fourth, the rule of law is not even a purported constraint on the conduct of Washington political elites. Here, the behavior of these paid MeK shills is so blatantly illegal that even the Obama administration felt compelled to commence investigations to determine who was paying them and for what. As a strictly legal matter, removing MeK from the Terror list should have no effect on the criminality of their acts: it’s a felony to provide material support to a designated Terror group — which the Obama DOJ, backed by the U.S. Supreme Court, has argued, in a full frontal assault on free speech rights, even includes coordinating advocacy with such a group (ironically, some of this Terror group’s paid advocates, such as former Bush Homeland Security adviser Fran Townsend, cheered that Supreme Court ruling when they thought it would only restrict the political advocacy of Muslims, not themselves).

The fact that the Terror group is subsequently removed from the list does not render that material support non-criminal. But as a practical matter, it is virtually impossible to envision the Obama DOJ prosecuting any of these elite officials for supporting a group which the Obama administration itself concedes does not belong on the list. The removal of this group — if, as appears highly likely, it happens — will basically have the same effect, by design, as corrupt acts such as retroactive telecom immunity and the shielding of Bush war crimes and Wall Street fraud from any form of investigation: it will once again bolster the prime Washington dictate that D.C. political elites reside above the rule of law even when committing violations of the criminal law for which ordinary citizens are harshly punished.

* * * * *

Speaking of the assault on the free speech rights of Muslim critics of the U.S. under the guise of “material support” prosecutions (an assault which also erodes free speech rights for everyone), Michael May hasa great long article in The American Prospect on the horrendous, free-speech-threatening prosecution of Tarek Mehanna, whose extraordinary sentencing statement I published here.

UPDATE: In 2003, when the Bush adminstration was advocating an attack on Iraq, one of the prime reasons it cited was “Saddam Hussein’s Support for International Terrorism.” It circulated a document purporting to prove that claim (h/t Hernlem), and one of the first specific accusations listed was this:

Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians.

So the group that was pointed to less than a decade ago as proof of Saddam’s Terrorist Evil is now glorified by both political parties in Washington and — now that it’s fighting for the U.S. and Israel rather than for Saddam — is no longer a Terror group.

StandWithUs, UC San Diego Pro-Israel Group, Host Anti-Muslim Conference

Zuhdi Jasser to speak on 'Muslim terror' at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP) Zuhdi Jasser to speak on ‘Muslim terror’ at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP)

Zuhdi Jasser, who in a great feat of Orwellian irony was ridiculously appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), is now speaking on behalf of StandWithUs. It should come as no surprise that StandWithUs:

…manages an impressive stable of Zionist speakers, including several who are Arabs, Muslims, or ex-Muslims: Brigitte Gabriel, Ishmael Khaldi, Walid Shoebat, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Nonie Darwish.

These speakers are not only “Zionist” as described above, but also extremely “anti-Muslim” and “Islamophobic.” Add to that list, Zuhdi Jasser who will be joining “Stand with Us” for a conference titled, “Rescuing Human Rights.” It’s likely as concerned about human rights as Pamela Geller’s Jessica Mokdad ‘Human Rights’ Conference was:

STANDWITHUS, UC SAN DIEGO PRO-ISRAEL GROUP, HOST ANTI-MUSLIM CONFERENCE

by Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)

Next week, StandWithUs and the UC San Diego pro-Israel student advocacy group, Tritons for Israel, will host a rather mysterious campus event.  According to a speaker contract SWU uploaded to the web in March, it is a conference called, Rescuing Human Rights, featuring the Wall Street Journal’s leading anti-jihadi columnist, Brett Stephens, necon legal scholar Avi Bell who was one of the Goldstone Report’s harshest critics, anti-jihadi “human rights” lawyer Brooke Goldstein, and the anti-jihadi Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser.  He was the founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, and featured star of several Clarion Fund Islamophobic films including Obsession and Third Jihad.

Mid-May is Apartheid Week across many American campuses and the suitable pro-Israel response seems to be to host events accusing Muslims of being the dark forces of the universe.  That appears to be the origin of this pro-Israel campus event on May 15th.

Why is this so mysterious?  Because I can’t find any online record of this event.  I do know thanks to a tweet in his Twitter timeline that Zuhdi Jasser, at least, will be speaking on campus next week.  Jasser is the go-to figure for the pro-Israel neocon right whenever it needs a Muslim who excoriates other Muslims who aren’t sufficiently right-wing or patriotic.  He is a devout supporter of Israel and also supported the NYPD’s illegal surveillance of local Muslim community members.  Jasser also makes common cause with the Tea Party types and has publicly attacked Muslim Americans running for office as Democrats and engaged in Muslim baiting.  In short, Zuhdi Jasser is “our” sort of Muslim, a “moderate” one who can be counted on as a bulwark against the swarms of jihadist Muslims seeking to overrun western civilization.

StandWithUs’ speaker contract guarantees Jasser $4,250 for his May 15th campus appearance plus hotel and travel expenses. These fees will be jointly paid by SWU and Tritons for Israel. However, I found a UC San Diego student fund allocation for $4,280 for this event that went to Tritons for Israel. This may be funding Jasser or the other three speakers listed  Students at UDSD will be interested to know that their student fees are paying for an Islamophobic campus hate fest.

Interestingly, I’ve found no online reference to the event itself notifying anyone where or when it will be held.  I’m not even sure the conference for which funding was requested in April is still happening (though Jasser is certainly speaking).  My guess is the sponsors are trying to keep it under the radar so it won’t generate the off-campus visibility I’m trying to offer to it here. They’re probably trying to isolate the promotion to campus. But I hope the local Arab/Muslim community will find out about this shandeh and turn out en masse to let the community know that it won’t stand still and allow Islamophobes define them.

In researching this post, I discovered that another ersatz pro-Israel human rights group, the UK’s Henry Jackson Society has held confabs featuring the same name for the past few years. They’ve also produced an essay by that name, written by a pro-Israel Tory solicitor arguing that international human rights law as practiced in Europe is fahrkochteh and should be scrapped. Of course, what especially irks him is that Israeli generals and politicians with blood on their hands may be arrested and indicted for war crimes if they step foot on British soil.  This is yet another example of the international nexus of pro-Israel advocacy groups who take cover under the guise of human rights, but whose agenda is serving as a promoter of Israel’s nationalist agenda and an apologist for its faltering human rights record.

For more on Brigitte Gabriel, see: Brigitte Gabriel: A Case Study in Sincere Hypocrisy

For more on Walid Shoebat, see: Walid Shoebat

For more on Khaled Abu Toameh, see: Khaled Abu Toameh: Obsession for Hate

For more on Nonie Darwish, see: Nonie Darwish: Caught in a Pool of Lies

Temple University, Philadelphia: Protestors Condemn Geller and Spencer’s ‘Irrational Hatred’

These protesters support freedom of speech, and they realize that Geller and Spencer’s irrational hatred in no way exemplifies freedom of speech.

Temple University, Philadelphia: protestors condemn Geller and Spencer’s ‘irrational hatred’

PROTESTERS who had filled the auditorium seats at an anti-Muslim event on Temple University’s campus Monday night left the room quite empty when they marched out in opposition after the discussion began.

The organization hosting the “Islamic Apartheid Conference,” Temple University Students for Intellectual Freedom, says its mission is to introduce controversial issues often left out of mainstream debates and defends its right to political incorrectness. Panelists at the conference included Robert Spencer, contributor to the blog Jihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, famous for her hostility to the proposed construction of an Islamic community center near the site of the World Trade Center.

After walking out, more than 50 demonstrators, consisting of North Philadelphia residents, campus groups and Occupy Philly protesters, remained outside in the rain, holding signs and confronting attendees as they left the event in Ritter Hall, on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 13th Street.

Walter Smolarek, a freshman education major at Temple University, said that the content of the conference is “based solely on irrational hatred toward people, in this case, because of their religious faith, and we don’t feel like it falls under the umbrella of free speech, or should be part of political debate.

“An attack against Muslim communities is an attack against all working people,” said Smolarek.

Though Temple University approved the conference for its calendar, it did not promote the event in the daily campus-events email distributed to the student body.

Anders Behring Breivik, Norway Mass Killer, Claims ‘Self Defense’ As Trial Begins

Anders Breivik wiped tears away as his video was shown to the court
Anders Breivik wiped tears away as his video was shown to the court

One might think that these are tears of remorse, but rather these tears are from watching his own propaganda video in court.

Anders Behring Breivik, Norway Mass Killer, Claims ‘Self Defense’ As Trial Begins

OSLO, Norway — With a defiant closed-fist salute, a right-wing fanatic admitted Monday to a bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway but pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, saying he was acting in self-defense.

On the first day of his long-awaited trial, Anders Behring Breivik rejected the authority of the court as it sought to assign responsibility for the July 22 attacks that shocked Norway and jolted the image of terrorism in Europe.

Dressed in a dark suit and sporting a thin beard, Breivik smiled as a guard removed his handcuffs in the crowded court room. The 33-year-old then flashed his salute before shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials.

“I don’t recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism,” Breivik said in his first comments to the court.

Eight people were killed in Breivik’s bombing of Oslo’s government district and 69 were slain in his shooting massacre at the left-leaning Labor Party’s youth camp on Utoya island outside the capital. Breivik has said the attacks were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims.

“I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt,” he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defense.

The key issue to be resolved during the 10-week trial is the state of Breivik’s mental health, which will decide whether he is sent to prison or into psychiatric care. Anxious to prove he is not insane, Breivik will call right-wing extremists and radical Islamists to testify during the trial, to show that others also share his view of clashing civilizations.

Norway’s NRK television was broadcasting parts of the trial live but was not allowed to show Breivik’s testimony.

During Monday’s opening session, he remained stone-faced and motionless as prosecutors read the indictment on the terror and murder charges, with descriptions of how each victim died, and when they explained how he prepared for the attacks.

But Breivik suddenly became emotional when prosecutors showed an anti-Muslim video that he had posted on YouTube before the killing spree, wiping away tears on his cheek with trembling hands.

After a lunch break, Breivik was again expressionless as he watched prosecutors present surveillance footage of the Oslo explosion. The blast ripped through the high-rise building that housed government headquarters, blowing out windows and filling surrounding streets with smoke and debris.

He didn’t flinch as prosecutors played a three-minute recording of a young woman’s frantic phone call to police from Utoya.

“Shots have been fired,” Renate Taarnes, 22, said with panic in her voice. “I’m pretty sure that there are many injured.”

More than a dozen shots in close succession could be heard as Taarnes fell silent.

“Are you still there?” the police officer asked.

“Yes,” she whispered. She fell silent again, breathing into the phone as more shots cracked in the background.

Taarnes escaped the massacre unharmed and is scheduled to testify later in the trial.

Breivik also announced he doesn’t recognize the authority of Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen, because he said she is friends with the sister of former Norwegian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The anti-Muslim militant described himself as a writer, currently working from prison, when asked by the judge for his employment status.

He claims he targeted the government headquarters in Oslo and the youth camp to strike against the left-leaning political forces he blames for allowing immigration in Norway.

If deemed mentally competent, Breivik would face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years or an alternate custody arrangement under which the sentence is prolonged for as long as an inmate is deemed a danger to society.

Breivik wants to be judged as a sane person and will call radical Islamists, and extremists on the right and left to testify to support “his perception that there is a war going on in Europe,” his defense lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told the court. Lippestad said Breivik wants to read a new document he’s written at the start of his testimony on Tuesday.

While Norway has a legal principle of preventive self-defense, that doesn’t apply to Breivik’s case, said Jarl Borgvin Doerre, a legal expert who has written a book on the concept. “It is obvious that it has nothing to do with preventive self-defense,” Doerre told The Associated Press.

Police sealed off the streets around the Oslo court building, where journalists, survivors and relatives of victims watched the proceedings Monday in a 200-seat courtroom built specifically for this trial.

Thick glass partitions were put up to separate the defendant from victims and their families, many of whom are worried that Breivik will use the trial to promote his extremist political ideology. In a manifesto he published online before the attacks, Breivik wrote that “patriotic resistance fighters” should use trials “as a platform to further our cause.”

After he surrendered, Breivik had told investigators he is a resistance fighter in a far-right militant group modeled after the Knights Templar – a Western Christian order that fought during the crusades. Police, however, have found no trace of any organization and say he acted alone.

“In our opinion, such a network does not exist,” prosecutor Svein Holden told the court on Monday.

In his manifesto, Breivik described the supposed group’s initiation rites, oaths and the “clenched fist salute” that he used in court, symbolizing “strength, honor and defiance against the Marxist tyrants of Europe.”

After blowing up parts of the government building and shooting dozens to death on Utoya island, Breivik surrendered to police 1 hour and 20 minutes after he arrived on Utoya. The police response to his terror spree was slowed by a series of mishaps, including the lack of an operating police helicopter and the breakdown of an overloaded boat carrying a commando team to the island.

Breivik called police twice, saying he wanted to turn himself in. In one of the calls, played in court Monday, he identified himself as a commander of “the Norwegian resistance movement” and said he had “just completed an operation on behalf of Knights Templar.”

When the operator asked him to repeat himself, Breivik sounded irritated and hung up.

___

Associated Press writers Bjoern H. Amland and Julia Gronnevet contributed to this report.

Bank Robbing: Hard to Kick the “Habit”

Two robbers dressed in nun costumes held up a suburban Chicago bank in  a brazen daytime heist in a scene straight of  the bank-job movie "The Town." - May of 2011

Robert Spencer writes in a blog titled, “Philadelphia: Police hunt niqab-wearing bank robbers”:

Here is still more reason why Western countries should take off the multiculturalist straitjacket and ban the burqa and niqab.

Spencer is unable to make legitimate criticisms about Islam or Muslims because underlying all of his half-baked arguments is a weak, fact-less, and hate-mongering core.

In this instance, in order for Spencer to attempt to make his point he succumbs to a baseless ridicule-centered argument by calling the niqab and/or burqa a “multiculturalist straightjacket”.

If one were to go along with Spencer’s logic of why the burqa and niqab should be banned, then he would paradoxically also be an advocate for banning the “habit,” i.e. the traditional catholic garb for nuns.

Just as the burqa/niqab has been used by criminals during bank robberies so has the habit:

The two suspects were both dressed in black sweat pants and sweatshirts and wore nuns’ habits and identical ghoulish rubber masks, with small slits for eyes.

No one calls for the banning of the habit. No one ridicules that religious garb as a symbol of oppression because that would be illogical.

Of course, when Spencer wants to make an anti-Islam/Muslim point he won’t allow common sense or logic to get in the way. This is just another instance of silly Spencer.