Norwegian Says Attack Was in the Works for Years
By MARK LEWIS and DAVID JOLLY
Published: April 19, 2012
OSLO — Prosecutors on Thursday depicted the man on trial here for killing 77 people in twin attacks as a friendless loser who spent an entire year playing computer war games in his mother’s home.
Prosecutors Press Norwegian on Extremist Affiliations(April 19, 2012)
On Witness Stand, Norwegian Says He Would Kill Again(April 18, 2012)
The defendant, Anders Behring Breivik, 33, acknowledged an investment setback in December 2006, after which he moved into his mother’s Oslo house and spent the next year playing the game “World of Warcraft” 16 hours a day.
Mr. Breivik told the court that he knew, even in 2006, that he wanted to carry out a “suicide” attack. He said a psychiatrist’s report made soon after the attacks last year in which he was depicted as saying he decided on his plans only in 2009, “was a lie.”
After the morning recess, prosecutors allowed Mr. Breivik to return to the more familiar ground of his hatred for the “liberal media,” “cultural Marxism” and multiculturalism, and during this testimony his voice grew stronger and his diction firmer.
The prosecution spent the morning suggesting that Mr. Breivik was a fantasist and — rather than operating, as he has claimed, as a member of a shadowy and possibly nonexistent terrorism group called Knights Templar — a loner.
Mr. Breivik insisted that he had not had money problems, saying that the prosecutor Svein Holden was “giving the impression that I moved back home and rented a room in my mother’s house because I had gone bankrupt.”
“But I wanted to preserve my funds,” Mr. Breivik said, “so I could spend more time doing what I wanted to do, which was write my manifesto” — a rambling 1,500-page justification for his rampage and his thoughts about the danger posed to Europe by multiculturalism and Islam.
On Thursday, the fourth day of a trial that is expected to last for 10 weeks, Mr. Breivik entered the courtroom without making the closed-fist salute he had on the previous three mornings. A self-styled anti-Islamic militant, he has admitted the central facts of the case: that he killed 77 people on July 22, 2011, first with a car bomb in central Oslo in which eight died, and then on the nearby wooded island of Utoya, where he shot and killed 69 people, most of them teenagers attending a Labor Party summer camp.
As Mr. Holden and the other prosecutor, Inga Bejer Engh, demonstrated a sharply more aggressive line than in the previous sessions, Mr. Breivik appeared ill-tempered and sullen, and several times accused them of trying to “humiliate” him.
Mr. Breivik said he had taken the year beginning December 2006 as a “sabbatical” during which he spent 16 hours a day playing “World of Warcraft.”
“I know it is important to you and the media that I played this for a year,” he told the court, in response to Mr. Holden’s questions. “But it has nothing to do with July 22. It is not a world you are engulfed by. It is quite simply a hobby.”
“I had been dreaming about it all my life, to take a sabbatical to do what I always dreamed about,” he said. “Some people want to sail around the world. Some people want to play golf.”
He said he later spent the four months through February 2010 playing six hours a day at another game, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,” and that it was through this that he honed the shooting skills he would later use to kill the 69 people on Utoya Island, practicing with the aid of the holographic sight — a high-tech instrument for aiming a rifle — used in the game.
“You could give the sight to your grandmother and she would become a super marksman,” he said.
Interrupting his questioning about the holographic sight, Mr. Holden questioned why Mr. Breivik had broken into one of his now-familiar, wide-mouthed smiles.
“I know where you are trying to lead me,” Mr. Breivik said. “It is very obvious. You are trying to humiliate me.”
“There are some bereaved people here,” Mr. Holden replied. “How do you think they react when you talk about your aiming system?”
“They probably react in the natural way,” Mr. Breivik said, “with disgust and horror.”
“Do you think in that context it is natural to smile?” Mr. Holden asked.
Mr. Breivik did not reply.