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Anders Breivik uses court statement to boast of Norway massacre

Anders Breivik defended his massacre of 77 people today and boasted the bomb-and-shooting rampage was 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.

"The attacks on July 22 were a preventive strike. I acted in self-defense on behalf of my people, my city, my country," Breivik said in his statement. "I therefore demand to be found innocent of the present charges."

He claimed to be speaking as a commander of a Norwegian and European "anti-communist" resistance movement and an anti-Islam militant group he called the Knights Templar.No evidence has been found of its existence.

Maintaining he acted out of "goodness not evil" to prevent a wider civil war, Breivik insisted, "I would have done it again."

The statement came after a lay judge was dismissed for his comments online the day following the July 22 attack that Breivik deserves the death penalty. Lawyers on all sides had requested that Thomas Indreboe be taken off the trial.

Breivik is being tried by a panel of two professional judges and three lay judges, local politicians who are appointed for four-year terms and participate on an equal basis as the judges in deciding guilt and sentencing. The system is designed to let ordinary people have a role in the Norwegian justice system, though the lead judge still runs the trial.

Indreboe was replaced by backup lay judge Elisabeth Wisloeff.

As at the start of the trial on Monday, Breivik entered the court smirking before flashing a clenched-fist salute.

Breivik has five days to explain why he set off a bomb in Oslo's government district, killing eight, and then gunned down 69 at a Labor Party youth camp outside the Norwegian capital. He denies criminal guilt saying he was acting in self-defense.

Survivors of the massacre have worried he will use his testimony as a platform to promote his extremist views. The key issue for the court to decide is whether Breivik is psychotic.

Breivik claimed Monday he acted in self-defense to protect Norway from Muslims by attacking the left-leaning political party he blamed for the country's liberal immigration policies.

Breivik rejected the authority of the court, calling it a vehicle of the "multiculturalist" political parties in power in Norway. He confessed to the "acts" but pleaded not guilty.

Even his lawyers concede his defense is unlikely to succeed, and said the main thing for them was to convince the court that Breivik is not insane.

One psychiatric examination found him legally insane while another reached the opposite conclusion. It is up to the panel to decide whether to send him to prison or compulsory psychiatric care.

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.

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 said.

He said he acted in self-defence to protect Norway from Muslims by attacking the left-leaning political party he blamed for the country's liberal immigration policies.

According to Breivik, Western Europe was gradually taken over by "Marxists and multiculturalists" after the Second World War, because it did not have "anti-communist" leaders like US senator Joseph McCarthy. The senator dominated the early 1950s by his sensational but unproved charges of Communist subversion in high government circles.

His probes gave rise to the term McCarthyism, which describes the persecution of innocent persons on the charge of being Communists.

"But even McCarthy was too moderate," Breivik said.

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