On the third day of his trial which opened at the Central Court here, the extreme-Right terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik appeared reluctant to discuss his contacts with other “militant nationalists” he said he had met in London and which led to the creation of the “Knights Templar”, a nebulous organisation to which he has said he belongs.
“I do not wish to speak about that,” Breivik said several times in response to repeated questions by the prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh.
In his rambling 1,500-page “manifesto” which he published via the internet on the day of the attacks last July, the 33-year-old killer claimed he belonged to an ultra-nationalist network called the Knights Templar which he said he founded in London with three other persons in 2002.
Asked why he had written the manifesto, Breivik said it was intended to “glorify certain ideas” and to act as a “sales tool”. When asked what he had to sell the reply was “quite simply we sell a dream”.
Norwegian police has failed to find any trace of such a network or organisation. The main task before the court is to decide whether Breivik is a sane, cold-blooded killer driven by an extremist ideology or if he is not in full possession of his senses and should be declared insane.
On Wednesday Breivik was at pains to explain that it was a “chance meeting on the internet” with a foreigner in 2001 that led to the creation of the Knights Templar. He also confirmed that he had undertaken a trip to Liberia to meet with a Serbian nationalist but refused to divulge the person's name or the reasons for the meeting.
“I was in the company of some of the most brilliant political and military tacticians in Europe,” he boasted.
Were they present in London and did they agree with his plans? Did they share the same ideology, the prosecutor persisted. All of them “wished to distance themselves from National Socialism of the old school. What unites us is that we are all European Christians… we believe in the Christian heritage, we celebrate Christian festivals and that's the common platform,” said Breivik.
Was that the origin of his “crusade”? the prosecutor asked. Once again, Breivik refused to reply. This question of his relationship to Islam is a key one that Breivik has continued to dodge.
“I do not wish to furnish details and information that could lead to further arrests,” Breivik explained. He explained how he used Unicef, the U.N. organisation for children, as a cover for his visit to Liberia, which he described a “hole”. In fact he had stuffed his bags with brochures picked up from the agency's Norwegian offices in Oslo. But to his friends and African contacts he said he was a diamond merchant.
Through the first half of the day and until proceedings broke for lunch, the Norwegian prosecuting team tried to establish the process of radicalisation that took place in Breivik's life. But if he was cooperative on Tuesday — when the court allowed him to read from a 13-page prepared statement — the accused was far less forthcoming on Wednesday, especially when the prosecution cast doubts on some of his claims.
“I know and understand that you are trying to de-legitimise me,” he told the prosecutor Ms. Bejer Engh, referring to her attempts to question the verity of his trip to Liberia.
Court psychiatrists have been trying hard to establish whether he is telling the truth or if his alleged meetings with foreign ultra-nationalists, the creation of his extreme right-organisation and his role of “commander” of terrorist cells like his own are all inventions, delusions created by a sick mind.
Impatient with another exchange on the truth of his secret trips and meetings that appeared to lead nowhere, Judge Elizabeth Arntzen rebuked both the accused and the prosecution saying: “We cannot continue to have this discussion indefinitely.” But she also reminded Breivik that failure to respond to the prosecution's questions could also weigh in the final judgement.
On July 22 last year Breivik planted a bomb outside the Prime Minister's office in Oslo which killed eight people. Following that, dressed as a policemen he headed for Utoya Island where he killed another 69 persons, members of a youth camp organised by the Labour Party. Most of those killed were adolescents.
Breivik has pleaded not guilty claiming he was acting in self-defence against “multiculturalism” propagated by the Labour Party. He has called on the court to acquit him.
If judged insane Breivik could spend the rest of his days in a psychiatric hospital.