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Breivik: I'd kill them all again
Norwegian gunman Anders Breivik has insisted he would massacre 77 people all over again, calling his rampage the most "spectacular" attack by a nationalist militant since the Second World War.
Reading a prepared statement in court, the anti-Muslim extremist hit out at Norwegian and European governments for embracing immigration and multiculturalism. He claimed to be speaking as a commander of an anti-Islam militant group he called the Knights Templar - a group that prosecutors say does not exist.
Maintaining he acted out of "goodness, not evil" to prevent a wider civil war, Breivik vowed, "I would have done it again."
Pressed by prosecutors to explain what he meant, he compared his attacks to the US dropping atomic bombs on Japan to bring the Second World War to an end.
"They did it for something good, to prevent further war," Breivik said.
Breivik has five days to explain why he set off a bomb in Oslo's government district last July, killing eight people, and then gunned down 69 others, mostly teenagers, at a Labor Party youth camp outside the Norwegian capital. He denies criminal guilt, saying he was acting in self-defence, and claims the targets were part of a conspiracy to "deconstruct" Norway's cultural identity.
"The attacks on July 22 were a preventive strike. I acted in self-defence on behalf of my people, my city, my country," he said as he finished his statement, in essence a summary of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. "I therefore demand to be found innocent of the present charges."
He compared Norway's Labor Party youth wing to the Hitler Youth and called their annual summer gathering an "indoctrination" camp. But he later told prosecutors he would have preferred to attack a conference of Norwegian journalists instead, but was not able to carry out that "operation."
Breivik's testimony was delayed briefly after one of the five judges hearing the case was dismissed for his comments online the day after the attack - comments that said Breivik deserves the death penalty. Lawyers on all sides had requested that lay judge Thomas Indreboe be taken off the trial, saying the comments violated his impartiality. He was replaced by backup lay judge Elisabeth Wisloeff.
Norway does not have the death penalty. If found mentally sane - the key issue to be decided in the trial - Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society.
According to Breivik, Western Europe was gradually taken over by "Marxists and multiculturalists" after the Second World War because it didn't have "anti-communist" leaders like US senator Joseph McCarthy. The senator dominated the early 1950s with his sensational but unproven charges of Communist subversion in high government circles in the US
"But even McCarthy was too moderate," Breivik said.
Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen repeatedly interrupted Breivik, asking him to keep his statement short.
"It is critically important that I can explain the reason and the motive" for the massacre, Breivik replied.
A lawyer representing victim's families, also interrupted Breivik, saying they were concerned that he was turning the trial into a platform to profess his extremist views.
Her remarks prompted the judge to again urge Breivik to wrap it up. But Breivik replied if he was not allowed to continue he might not speak at all.
He warned that Europe was heading toward a civil war between "nationalists and internationalists." He said he was inspired by al Qaida's success, and praised Europeans suspected of right-wing extremist attacks. They included Peter Mangs, a Swede suspected of shootings against immigrants in 2010 and three Germans - Uwe Boehnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and Beate Zschaepe - suspected in the killings of eight people of Turkish origin, a Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.
Asked why he started crying in court on Monday, when prosecutors showed an anti-Muslim film that Breivik posted on YouTube before the attacks, he said: "I was thinking about Norway and Europe, which are ruled by politicians and journalists killing our country. I was thinking that my country is dying."
Breivik insisted that the Knights Templar network exists, with two other cells in Norway, though he said his description of it in the manifesto was too "pompous." The initiation rites and medals of honour he described were ideas, rather than existing traditions, he said.
Families of the victims were upset at his evidence.
"I think it's important to underline that we don't view Breivik as a politician in this matter. He is a mass murderer," Trond Henry Blattmann, whose 17-year-old son was killed on Utoya, said afterwards..
Even his lawyers concede that Breivik's self-defence defence is unlikely to succeed and said the main thing for them was to convince the court that Breivik is not insane.
One official psychiatric examination found him legally insane while another reached the opposite conclusion. The judges panel must decide whether to send him to prison or into compulsory psychiatric care.