Norway rampage culprit held in isolation
Oslo: The self-described perpetrator of Norway`s deadly bombing and shooting rampage was ordered held in solitary confinement after calmly telling a court that two other cells of collaborators stood ready to join his murderous campaign.
Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted bombing the capital and opening fire on a youth group retreat on an island resort, told authorities he expects to spend the rest of his life in prison. Declaring he wanted to save Europe from "Muslim domination," he entered a plea of not guilty on Monday that will guarantee him future court hearings and opportunities to address the public, even indirectly.
Norway has been stunned by the attacks and riveted by Breivik`s paranoid and disturbing writings. Hundreds thronged the courthouse, hoping to get their first glimpse of the man blamed for the deaths of 76 people — lowered Monday from 93. At one point, a car drove through the crowd and onlookers beat it with their fists, thinking Breivik might be inside.
Still tens of thousands of Norwegians also defied his rhetoric of hate to gather in central Oslo to mourn the victims and lay thousands of flowers around the city.
Police believe Breivik, 32, acted alone, despite his grand claims in a 1,500-page manifesto that he belonged to a modern group of crusaders. But they have not completely ruled out that he had accomplices.
Judge Kim Heger ordered Breivik held for eight weeks, including four in isolation, noting his reference to "two more cells within our organization."
In an interview published Monday, Breivik`s estranged father said he wished his son had killed himself instead of unleashing his rage on innocent people.
The outpouring of emotion stood in stark contrast to what prosecutor Christian Hatlo described as Breivik`s calm demeanor at the hearing, which was closed to the public over security concerns and to prevent a public airing of his extremist views. Hatlo said he "seemed unaffected by what has happened."
Meanwhile, police revealed they had dramatically overcounted the number of people slain in the shooting spree on Utoya island, lowering the death toll there from 86 to 68. Police spokesman Oystein Maeland said police and rescuers were focused on helping survivors and securing the area, and may have counted some bodies twice, though he did not immediately explain how the errors occurred.
Police also raised the toll from a bombing outside the government`s headquarters in Oslo from seven to eight.
The sharp reduction in the death toll adds to a list of police missteps: They took 90 minutes to arrive at the island retreat after the first shot and survivors who called emergency services reported being told to stay off the lines unless they were calling about the Oslo bombings.
On Monday, the force revealed its entire Oslo helicopter crew had been sent on vacation and thus couldn`t be mobilized to the scene.
By contrast, Breivik, who donned a police uniform as part of a ruse to draw campers to him, appeared in total control during the island rampage, police official Odd Reidar Humlegaard said.
"He`s been merciless," Humlegaard said.
Authorities say Breivik used two weapons during the island attack — both bought legally, according to his manifesto. A doctor treating victims told The Associated Press the gunman used illegal "dum-dum"-style bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage.
Breivik faces 21 years in prison for the terrorism charges, but he has told authorities he never expects to be released. While 21 years is the stiffest sentence a Norwegian judge can hand down, a special sentence can be given to prisoners deemed a danger to society who are locked up for 20-year sentences that can be renewed indefinitely.
Oslo began to get back to normal Monday, with shops opening and the tram running.
The entire country paused for a minute of silence in honor of the victims, then later in the day, 150,000 people filled the city`s streets to mourn the dead with a rose vigil that ended in the heart of the city. Afterward, entire streets were awash in flowers; roses also decorated the fences that blocked off Friday`s bomb site.
Crown Prince Haakon spoke "of a street being filled with love," bringing his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, to tears. "We have the power to meet hate with togetherness. We have chosen what we stand for," he said.
Breivik has pilloried Norway`s openness and embrace of immigrants, saying his attacks were intended to start a revolution to inspire Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims. He blames liberals for championing multiculturalism over Norway`s "indigenous" culture.
"The operation was not to kill as many people as possible but to give a strong signal that could not be misunderstood that as long as the Labor Party keeps driving its ideological lie and keeps deconstructing Norwegian culture and mass importing Muslims, then they must assume responsibility for this treason," according to the English translation of Judge Heger`s ruling.
Breivik has claimed the killings were meant to wake people up to these problems and to serve as "marketing" for his manifesto.
Heger, however, denied Breivik the public stage he wanted to air his extremist views by closing Monday`s court hearing and ordering him cut off from the world for eight weeks, without access to visitors, mail or media. For four of those, he will be in complete isolation. Typically, the accused is brought to court every four weeks while prosecutors prepare their case, so a judge can approve his continued detention. Longer periods are not unusual in serious cases.
In the court appearance, Breivik alluded to two other "cells" of his network — which he refers to in his manifesto as a new "Knights Templar," the medieval cabal of crusaders who protected Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land.
In the treatise, he describes being invited to join the group, which he says is dedicated to "anti-jihad," and claims members held meetings in London and the Baltics. Afterward, he says, they vowed not to contact one another and to instead plan their "resistance" on their own.
But they were also to space out their attacks, he wrote. "We should avoid any immediate follow-up attacks as it would negate the shock effect of the subsequent attacks. A large successful attack every 5-12 years was optimal," he wrote.
At one point, his manifesto briefly referred to an intention to contact two other cells, but no details were given.
European security officials said they were aware of increased Internet chatter from individuals claiming they belonged to the Knights Templar and were investigating claims that Breivik, and other far-right individuals, attended a London meeting of the group in 2002.
In his manifesto, Breivik describes how he bought armor, guns, tons of fertilizer and other bomb components, stashed caches of weapons and wiped clean his computer hard drive — all while evading police suspicion.
One of those purchases apparently was flagged by Norway`s police security service. The service said it was alerted in March to a suspicious purchase by Breivik from a Polish chemical firm.
Agency chief Janne Kristiansen told national broadcaster NRK the 120 kroner ($22) purchase of an undisclosed product set off an alert as part of a broader look at the company. But the transaction was legal and the security service would have needed additional information to investigate further.
In his manifesto, Breivik describes a purchase of sodium nitrite from Poland, saying he "was concerned about customs seizing the package." It was not clear if that was the purchase flagged.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Swedish tabloid Expressen, the suspect`s father said he was ashamed and disgusted by his son`s acts and wished he had committed suicide.
"I don`t feel like his father," said Jens David Breivik, a former Norwegian diplomat, from his secluded home in southern France. "How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was OK? He should have taken his own life too. That`s what he should have done."
The elder Breivik said he first learned the news of his son`s attacks from media websites. "I couldn`t believe my eyes. It was totally paralyzing and I couldn`t really understand it."
"I will have to live with this shame for the rest of my life. People will always link me with him," he said.
The elder Breivik said he severed all contact with his son in 1995, when the son was 16.
Police surrounded the suspect`s father`s house in the south of France on Monday, initially saying they were searching the premises. Later, they said they were there to ensure public order.
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