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The Breivik Myths, Part 1
On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people in Norway. First with a car bomb that killed eight people in central Oslo, and then with a shooting massacre that killed 69 people on the island of Utøya outside Oslo. Years later ABB can still make headlines in international media. In July 2015, it was confirmed that he will be allowed to study political science at the University of Oslo from his prison cell. This was mentioned in mass media throughout the Western world, from the BBC  to Fox News. However, the mass media are very selective regarding what they say about Breivik.
In early 2014, Breivik sent a letter in English from prison to various Western media. He there stated in plain words that he is not an anti-Islamic activist. On the contrary, he wanted to use the mass media to damage peaceful Islam-critical writers. Hardly any established Western media  mentioned this revelation with  a single word in 2014. Presumably, it did not suit their agenda. Some alternative media did mention this, however.
Breivik has become something of a modern myth. He is being presented as a rational and sane mass murderer, a white heterosexual right-wing extremist, a “Christian terrorist” and an alleged “Islamophobic” activist. The only facts that are indisputable is that he is a white man and a mass murderer. The remaining claims are either highly questionable or just plain wrong.
ABB was declared insane by the first psychiatrists who studied him in 2011. The forensic psychiatrists Torgeir Husby and Synne Sørheim found that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was delusional. They did not doubt this conclusion. Breivik’s main defense lawyer Geir Lippestad stated that he was not surprised by the psychiatrists’ findings. Lippestad told reporters in late July 2011 that “this whole case has indicated that he is insane.” Geir Lippestad further states in his book about this case from 2013 that some members of his defense team also believed that Breivik is insane.
However, this conclusion triggered outrage among the mass media. The media and some political forces started a prolonged and vicious campaign of character assassination against the two psychiatrists, who were simply doing their job. Some colleagues warned against a veritable “witch-hunt” on Husby and Sørheim. The establishment clearly wanted Breivik to be an anti-Islamic “right-wing extremist,” not a madman.
Following intense media pressure, the Oslo District Court and judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen in January 2012 appointed new psychiatrists to conduct another study of Breivik. This decision was virtually unprecedented in Norwegian legal history until that point. The second pair of forensic psychiatrists, Terje Tørrissen and Agnar Aspaas, delivered their report in April 2012, a few days before the trial was about to begin. They concluded that Breivik is legally sane. After a trial lasting months, even though the perpetrator had confessed and everybody agreed that he was guilty, Arntzen and her co-judges found Breivik sane on August 24, 2012. They based their ruling entirely on the report made by the second pair of forensic psychiatrists, which judge Arntzen herself had appointed a few months earlier. Lawyer Morten Furuholmen commented that the court had failed their task. In his view, the verdict was the result of a “massive, relentless pressure” from external sources.