How U.S. treatment of its own high-profile terrorist -- Khaleid Sheikh Mohammed -- compares to the Norwegian model.
The terrorism of Anders Behring Breivik is so horrific it can be difficult to even describe. Last July, he detonated a car bomb in Oslo, killing eight, before ambushing a left-wing political youth retreat, where he executed 69 people, mostly teenagers. Breivik, a self-styled "militant" who was ruled not insane by state-appointed experts, represents northern Europe's far-right ethnic nationalism in its most extreme form. Both Breivik and his violent, dangerous ideology have an enormous soapbox with his trial in Oslo this week, from which international media organizations are beaming his words and ideas across the globe.
It's exactly what the U.S. worried would happen if it tried Khaleid Sheikh Mohammed, the September 11 mastermind, in a New York city courtroom as originally intended. It's the very scenario we avoided by deciding instead to try him in a military trial at the Guantanamo Bay military detention facility. "There are other places to try it in the U.S. that are much more remote, much less a target, and much less a squatting ground for propaganda around the world," Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, explained at the time. Bush-era torture policy architect John Yoo called the choice part of "the hard, ever-present trade-off between civil liberties and national security," warning that a New York civilian trial would compromise the latter. In early 2010, as the national debate over the KSM trial reached its boiling point, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg demanded the federal government not hold it in his city. A number of prominent legislators from both parties joined him and, with the passage of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, the trial was barred from American soil altogether, and thus from American courtrooms.