By Nina Larson (AFP) – Apr 20, 2012
OSLO — The gunman who killed 77 people in Norway's massacres showed no emotion Friday as he recalled shooting his victims at point-blank range, but insisted he was a nice person and not a psychiatric case.
Anders Behring Breivik said he had trained himself to shut out emotions but acknowledged that his twin attacks last July were "gruesome, barbaric actions" and said he had to work on his psyche for many years because "you can't send an unprepared person into war."
The 33-year-old right-wing extremist began providing gory details of his shooting spree on Utoeya island, describing how he calmly walked across the island, picking off his victims coldly, one by one.
In his rampage on July 22 Breivik first bombed an Oslo government building, killing eight people, and then shot dead 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on the nearby island of Utoeya.
Breivik has said he was motivated by the belief that Norway is being overrun by a "Muslim invasion" and claimed he is part of a militant ultra-nationalist network named after the Knights Templar, a Christian military order.
As he recalled the shooting spree, he showed no emotion despite the horror he was describing.
"There is a person 15 metres (yards) from the entrance. ... I walk calmly over to him and shoot him in the head."
"There is another group in the other corner, and I shoot all of them."
"I lifted my weapon and shot him in the head."
Survivors and families of victims in the courtroom cried as he recounted killing after killing. Two women hugged each other as they wiped away tears.
Breivik's defence team had warned that Friday's testimony would be the most difficult for the families to hear.
The self-confessed killer insisted earlier on the stand that he was not "a psychiatric case," telling the court he was a "caring person" who spent years meditating to "de-emotionalise" himself.
"I am a very likeable person under normal conditions," he said.
"I was rather normal until 2006 when I started my training," he said, adding that he cut back his social life to focus on his goal.
You have to choose tactics and strategies to dehumanise ... the enemy ... those who I see as legitimate targets," he said. "If I hadn't done that ... I wouldn't have managed to do it."
On the island, where he was disguised as a police officer, Breivik spent more than an hour methodically shooting at hundreds of people, many of whom tried to flee by jumping into the icy waters.
Many victims had multiple gunshot wounds to the head and back, in what was the deadliest shooting rampage committed by a lone gunman.
Breivik said his "technical" wording and cold demeanour during his testimony was necessary to "distance himself" and to hold up throughout his trial, which is expected to last until mid-June.
He is intent upon proving his sanity so as not to delegitimise his Islamophobic and anti-multiculture ideology.
"If I were to use more normal language, I don't think I would be able to explain everything," he said.
The gunman has explained to the court that he sees himself as a militant nationalist "knight" heroically fighting to defend "ethnic Norwegians" from being wiped out by a "Muslim invasion."
He reiterated Friday that he especially blames Norwegian and European media for making his attacks "necessary," since they "systematically censor" ultra-nationalists like himself.
He said he would not have carried out his attacks if he felt that Norwegian media had provided fair coverage of the immigration-sceptical Progress Party ahead of 2009 parliamentary elections.
Breivik, charged with "acts of terror," has entered a plea of not guilty, saying his actions were "cruel but necessary."
Two psychiatric evaluations have drawn contradictory conclusions on Breivik's sanity, and ultimately it will be up to the judges to rule on them when they hand down the verdict sometime in mid-July.
He has told the court he had initially thought of placing three bombs across Oslo before carrying out a shooting spree, in what was planned to be a suicide mission.
But it was too difficult to acquire bomb-making materials without raising warning flags so he decided to make just one, he testified.
His goal had been to kill everyone in the government building, including the entire Norwegian government and Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, he said.
Breivik testified that he also intended to kill all 569 people on Utoeya, including former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland -- an icon of the Labour Party who had been on the island earlier in the day -- by beheading her and posting a video of her execution on the Internet.
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