Nationalist fanatic Anders Behring Breivik says he was a “nice guy” until 2006, when he underwent a conscious and self-imposed program of “dehumanization” to prepare for the murder spree that he carried out in Norway last year. Speaking in an Oslo courtroom, Breivik, 33, described how his cold, emotionless persona is carefully constructed and that, although he is capable of empathizing with his many victims, he would “break down mentally” if he were to do so.
“I believe I had fairly normal emotional patterns before 2006 when I embarked on this training,” Breivik said, according to the BBC. “I can choose to remove the mental shield, but I am choosing not to do it … because I would not survive,” he added, according to the Associated Press.
Breivik has confessed to carrying out twin attacks in Norway in July 2011 that left 77 people dead, but denies criminal responsibility because he does not recognize the authority of the country’s courts. At the centre of his ongoing trial is the question of Breivik’s sanity. Breivik insists that he is a political radical who has taken extreme measures to further the cause in which he believes. If deemed mentally ill, Breivik would be kept in a medical institution.
On Friday, Breivik also spoke of how he studied previous attacks carried out by al-Qaeda, as well as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing carried out by Timothy McVeigh. He called al-Qaeda “the most successful revolutionary movement in the world,” adding that he wanted “to create a European version,” of the terrorist organization.