Anders Breivik and the problem of political trials

Robert Henderson

The  Norwegian court judgement that  the mass killer Anders Breivik is sane and can be held in prison rather than treated as a psychiatric patient in a secure hospital ( shows how difficult it is to hold a meaningful trial where a case is heavily politicised.

There can be little doubt that the Norwegian elite would have much  preferred Breivik to be declared insane because then his motives for committing the killings could have been swept under the carpet. They wanted this because his motives  challenged everything that the religiously  politically correct Norwegian elite hold most dear: multiculturalism, mass immigration and  the feminisation of Norwegian society as they attempt the transformation of Norwegian society  from one of peaceable homogeneity to a fractured heterogeneity and the creation of a new human being fit  to live in their imagined multicultural paradise in the  manner of Stalin working to breed the New Soviet Man.

Had it been left to the Norwegian elite Breivik would have vanished into a psychiatric limbo. But there were two problems with this. The Norwegian public have not been brainwashed to the extent that they have become so  devoid of all natural human emotion that they will treat someone who has killed so many people as the victim,  and an unwitting one at that if he had been judged insane.  They quite naturally wanted Breivic  tried and convicted as a criminal. So ironically did Breivik, although of course he does not view himself as a criminal.  It is noteworthy that the panel of judges – two professional and three lay members – all agreed Breivik was  sane ( Such unlikely  unanimity strongly  suggests that they were responding to Norwegian public opinion rather than acting on the psychiatric testimony.

The second difficulty for the Norwegian elite was the opportunity it would provide  for further public questioning of their politics if Breivik  had been found insane. He  would undoubtedly have appealed against the ruling of insanity.  That would have allowed him  to both deride the Norwegian justice system as being no justice at all because it was politically manipulated and Norwegian politicians for being unable to counter  his  justifications for his actions. An appeal against insanity would also have provided an opportunity to repeat and expand upon those  justifications.

That politics not  psychiatric  opinion drove  the court to a  judgement of sanity is shown by the prosecution’s desire to have Breivik declared insane and the court’s ignoring of court commissioned psychiatric opinion which found Breivik to be insane.   It is a  very odd situation  for the prosecution to be asking for a mass killer to be declared insane and not responsible for his actions and the defence to be insisting that the defendant is sane and responsible.   The norm  is for the defence to claim insanity and the prosecution to try to rebut the claim.

The behaviour of the Breivik prosecution  is doubly odd because it is very difficult to see how Breivik could have been plausibly thought to be criminally insane.  Breivik did not have voices in his head telling him to kill. He had well-developed ideas which provided his motive.  He spent a great deal of time in preparation for the crime and  produced a 1,500 page manifesto. In addition,  Breivik was fully aware of what he was doing and the terrible nature of his act.  Had he committed such a crime in England the question of his sanity  would have been determined  by the McNaghten Rules. These  rest on whether a person accused of a crime knew they were doing something wrong or were suffering a defect of reason through mental illness,  most commonly paranoia, which drove them to commit the crime in the belief that it was necessary to commit it , most probably because of a belief that they or someone else was in danger. Clearly Breivik  was aware of what he was doing and how it would be viewed by society. That leaves only the question of whether he was acting under a delusion. That test would fall because manifestly what he fears, the objective threats to his society from mass immigration, multiculturalism, political correctness and Islam, are concrete facts. How far they could be judged to be mortal threats is another matter, but no one could reasonably argue that, in particular, mass immigration and Islam are not real and substantial  threats to the nature of Norwegian society.

It is also worth bearing in mind that terrorists are not rarely if ever  treated as mad by Western courts. The fact that Breivik killed so many in brutal fashion does not mean he is insane, or at least no more disturbed than others who kill for political reasons.  The prosecution’s attempt to have Breivik ruled mad is most plausibly  explained by a simple desire to produce a situation where his political ideas and actions could be dismissed as the ravings of a madman leaving, at least in the Norwegian elite’s eyes, their ideology without meaningful challenge.

Court-appointed psychiatrists disagreed on Breivik’s sanity.  He was examined twice. Breivik cooperated with the first team but not the second. The first  team which examined him came up with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia ( , but  the second found Breivik to be  sane. In England that might have resulted in each evaluation cancelling out the other,  but in the Norwegian justice system the presumption is that even if it is not certain that someone is insane,  they should be treated as such if there is any doubt about their sanity as judged by supposed psychiatric experts. During the trial the lead prosecutor Svein Holden said  ‘ the prosecution had not been convinced by the delusion the authors of the first report, Synne Sorheim and Torgeir Husby, advanced as their core evidence that for Breivik’s schizophrenia: that he believed he had a mandate which gave him the right to decide who should live and who should die.

But they [the two prosecutors Holden and Inga Bejer Engh) said that under Norwegian law, this was not enough.

“It is worse that a psychotic be sentenced to custody than a non-psychotic is sentenced to psychiatric care”.  (

Apart from noting  the  chilling idea that it is reasonable to subject someone sane to psychiatric  treatment just in case,  it is clear that  Norwegian law has been cavalierly  overturned  in Breivik’s case.

The question of Breivik’s  sanity is not absolutely settled. The prosecution could appeal against the finding of sanity.  It would also be possible for Breivik to be declared insane during the course of his imprisonment.

Had the prosecution not insisted on pushing for an insanity ruling, the trial could have been conducted in a manner much closer to  that of a normal criminal case.  By doing so they shifted the focus from the killing and why Breivik committed the act to whether he was or was not sane.  That  gave credence to Breivik’s claim that the whole of the Norwegian power structure is a conspiracy to enforce the politically correct ideology at all costs.

No appeal

Breivik has said he will not appeal his conviction  because  he does not recognise the court as it is (in his view)  an illegitimate body which is a  tool of the politically correct elite who are his enemy. By appealing  against conviction he believes he would tacitly accept the court’s legitimacy.

I think Breivik has missed a trick here. If his appeal was based on his claim that the court was illegitimate his objection would dissolve and he would be left free to reiterate his complaints against the Norwegian elite.  It could be objected that the appeal itself would be made to a courts or courts which were appointed by the same class of  people who appointed the court which tried him and which were consequently also illegitimate.  However,  if his appeal failed, as it surely would, Breivik  could then move beyond the Norwegian courts to the European Court of Human Rights. Eventually he would run out of legal road,  but he could argue that in his appeals  he was not legitimising the courts but simply demonstrating the politicised nature of justice both in Norway and at a supranational level.

The unanswered questions

What has not been addressed by the Norwegian elite are Breivik’s complaints against them and their politics.  Where these touch on mass immigration and Islamicisation they are all too  real. Although there are elements of the ridiculous about Breivik’s writings, such as his obsession with uniforms and the Knights Templars,  his concern about the rapid turning of Norway from a homogeneous  into a  heterogeneous  society as a matter of policy is self-evidently reasonable and vitally important.  Norway has a small population of less than 5 million (  If mass immigration of those who cannot or will not assimilate fully continues at the pace it is running at, it is quite possible that within a couple of generations native Norwegians will be outnumbered.  Imagine a situation where Muslims became the largest population group in Norway. Does anyone believe they would,  as a group , subscribe to Norwegian customs and morals or if they become the majority would not try to create and Islamic state?

What the Norwegian elite has been doing is engage in an orgy of self-congratulation about how civilised the country is to allow Breivik the full protection and access to the law and that this national tolerance has nullified Breivik’s message .  This has been eagerly echoed by the British media. Here is an example  of the political goo even conservative commentators have been ejecting:

Reading the reports, the first thing that strikes you is how pathetic Breivik sounds, like a teenage boy fantasising about being a soldier: describing shoot-em-up computer games as “training”, claiming that he used “Japanese warrior meditation techniques” to “de-emotionalise” himself, writing a 1,500-page “manifesto” describing his half-baked racist theories and his ludicrous self-identification with the Knights Templar. Breivik himself, with his idiotic beard and self-satisfied smile, looks less like the personification of evil and more like an irksome pub bore.

 But when you drag your attention away from him, you notice how clear-eyed, how sane, the Norwegian response has been.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian prime minister, told a gathering in his capital’s cathedral: “Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity.” He went on in an interview with this newspaper: “It was our democratic, open society that was under attack… it was quite logical to say that the answer was more of what was attacked. (Tom Chivers –

The truth is rather different. The justice Breivik has been given is in its way a show trial, not one as obvious as those of, say, Stalin, but one emanating from the cloyingly politically correct society which Norway has become.   Far from allowing Breivik to put his case publicly,  his access to the Norwegian public has been very limited.  He has spent most of his time since his arrest without contact with other prisoners. (According to reports, after his conviction  Breivik  is to be kept without  contact with other prisoners  for the time being).  He was denied any  opportunity to see news programmes  after he was arrested and this may be continuing. When the trial was finally held,  Breivik’s testimony and that of his witnesses were not broadcast, while the prosecution’s submissions and witnesses were put on air.  When Breivik has been allowed to speak in court he has been frequently interrupted and harassed by the presiding judge.  This happened again at his appearance during the  court judgement where he was declared sane and sentenced to 21 years with the strong possibility that he will never be released as the period of imprisonment  can be increased if a prisoner is deemed dangerous at the expiry of their  formal sentence.

Apart from Breivik’s treatment, it is reasonable to consider the general fairness of the Norwegian justice system.  The use of the jury is rare even in serious crimes and the readiness to put people in psychiatric unity just in case  places a serious question mark over whether anyone charged with a crime which challenges the Norwegian commitment to political correctness could expect a fair trial.  Latterday liberals have a mentality very similar to that of Marxists which allows them to persuade themselves that the end justifies the means and consequently  those who fall outside the parameters of whatever are the limits of political correctness at the time – like all ideologies it shifts its shape continuously – are not to be allowed any scope for challenging political correctness, indeed, cannot be allowed to do so because widespread challenge would bring the ideological house of cards down.

No country’s justice  is immune from  political taint

The problem of politics contaminating justice affects any country  at some level, no matter how good  its general record on providing untainted justice as far as that is practically possible – the prejudice of jurors, judges and magistrates cannot be legislated away and there is always the problem of the rich being able to buy access to the law when the poor cannot do so.

Political correctness is now a strong driver of the politicisation of justice  in much of the West.  A first rate example of   politicised justice In England is the trial and conviction of  Gary Dobson and David Norris (both white)   for the murder of Stephen Lawrence  (black) was driven not by a desire for justice based on strong evidence but an hysterical desire by the British liberal elite to see people not only convicted for his murder to but the people who were convicted  should be those labelled as racist whites  (  Their  trial was obviously  illegitimate simply on the grounds of public prejudice against the defendants generated by a 17 year hate campaign orchestrated by the media, politicians and various interest groups – a campaign probably unique in English history –  but the new “evidence” presented was also risibly fallible, depending  as it did on highly questionable forensics which could not  legitimately have passed the English law beyond a  reasonable doubt test for criminal conviction.  In addition, police videos obtained secretly of Dobson and Norris (with others)  engaging in racist behaviour  and discussing the Lawrence killing but making no confession of responsibility or even saying anything which implied they were responsible, were played to the jury despite  defence objections that it was unreasonably prejudicial-  a well established principle in English law –  because it  reinforced the idea of the defendants (who were respectively aged 16 and 17 at the time of the murder in 1993)  as racists without  providing any meaningful evidence that they were responsible for the murder.

Despite the highly questionable convictions, Dobson and Norris’ attempt to have the convictions overturned have been stopped at the first hurdle with  their application to appeal – not an appeal note but merely an application to make an appeal  –  having been turned down in short order (  That is not the end of the matter because they can appeal against the refusal and there is also a theoretical eventual possibility of the Criminal Cases Review Commission considering the case. However, in the prevailing political climate in Britain it is not unreasonable to presume that any avenue of appeal , let alone the overturning of the convictions,  will be blocked regardless of the quality of  their grounds for appeal.

If national justice systems are intermittently  fallible because of political interference,  supra-national bodies such as the  Nuremburg  tribunal which tried Nazis  for war crimes,  the tribunals set up by the UN such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda  (created in 1994 by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 955) and  the International Criminal Court  are invariably contaminated by politics.  This is because the alleged crimes are political in nature and there is no possibility of any big fish brought before the tribunals or courts being found innocent because too much political capital has been invested in the prosecutions by powerful nations for someone like Milosevic to go free. A few lesser fry may be found not guilty because their acquittals, in terms of the public’s  perception,  are swallowed up by  the conviction of the important defendants and  such acquittals also have the beneficial effect for those running the  courts  of giving their proceedings generally a specious appearance of fairness.

There are also courts such as  the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the EU’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) which deal  with a mixture of what in England would be called criminal and civil cases, the vast majority being civil cases which involve the behaviour of national governments in making and applying laws which breach the treaties to which a country has signed up.  They are less obviously political in the sense that cases are not  brought for obvious  political reasons, but the manpower and conduct of  such courts is frequently open to question, for example, many judges in the  ECJ and ECHR  are drawn from countries, most notably those within the old Soviet bloc, which have no tradition of unpoliticised  justice.

The  fundamental question Breivik posed

The fundamental question which Breivik’s actions and motives pose is this: what non-violent means can be employed to prevent political elites in the West from turning their countries from natural homogenous nations into multicultural and multiracial messes when the elites make any serious non-violent opposition to such policies practically impossible?

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  • Joe from the States  On August 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I see a parallel here with the way 9-11 affected us in the USA. After the attacks, the president and even most of the American people wanted to believe that Bin Laden had orchestrated the violence because he loathed freedom, democracy, and maybe even Chicago-style deep dish pizzas. This jingoistic nonsense was understandable, but thinking people knew that, while the acts were indefensible, the grievance was real. Bin Laden wanted the U.S. to stop building bases in the Middle East.

    Now with Breivik the Left would like us to believe that in addition to his acts being heinous (true), Breivik was just a curmudgeonly evil retrograde white male enraged by the thought of all God’s children linking arms and forming a happy multicultural maypole (false).

    The general consensus is that Breivik’s actions were wrong, but that his ideas and concerns were legitimate, and that there is something inherently creepy about a Doctor Moreau-like island where liberals send their children to be indoctrinated.

    “What non-violent means can be employed to prevent political elites in the West from turning their countries from natural homogenous nations into multicultural and multiracial messes when the elites make any serious non-violent opposition to such policies practically impossible?”

    The answer to your question might be: “none.” Which is why we’re talking about Breivik right now.

    Postscript: I’m glad I stumbled onto this blog. I really like it. Keep up the good work.

  • Simon Lote  On August 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    My answer to what would be effective would be for nationalists and convervatives to engage in cultural activism to change the cultural climate. Party politics is at the moment premature (and offlimits for most amongst the middle class), terrorism though it scarcely needs mentioning is simply counter-productive and embolden the multlicutural ruling classes.

    Instead of say writing another essay critiquing the ruling classes for their handling of the stephen lawrence case. They could write a fictional book based on the Stephen Lawrence theme. i.e. a poor working class white kid is falsely accused of the murder of a black ‘youth’, he is tried, convicted and sentenced and the story resolves around his personal sufferings and quest for justice. Think of Shawshank Redemption with an anti-liberal spin? Maybe he finally gives up on the hypocricy of the regime and escapes prison and trys to make it to Russia.

  • Orlando  On October 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    “What non-violent means can be employed to prevent political elites in the West from turning their countries from natural homogenous nations into multicultural and multiracial messes when the elites make any serious non-violent opposition to such policies practically impossible?”

    There is, in my view, limited options.

    It is interesting to note that many commentators and analysts of the actions of various terrorist organisations have come to the conclusion that violence works: it gets what you want. See Northern Ireland; the PLO in ‘Palestine’; Muslim extremists in the west. The last group are definitely succeeding with use of violence because the Dhimmi west is caving in to every demand. The head of the BBC even stated publicly that the BBC will not make TV programmes critical of Islam because Islam will react violently – and liberals are such cowards that they cannot face someone using violence against them.

    So, in the end, if the west wants to survive against this two-pronged onslaught, then ultimately violence is the only activity that will get noticed. Sad but it has always been a natural truth.


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