This is a cross post by Richard Bartholomew
Today’s Times leads with a (paywalled) article about Paul Ray, dramatically headlined “‘I’m Sorry If I inspired Norway’s Mass Killer’ – British Extremist Admits Breivik Approached Him”. The article is, alas, botched in several ways that I had hoped yesterday’s blog entry might have avoided.
First, there’s a suggestion of a link with Breivik:
Paul Ray… concedes that his Richard the Lionhearted blog informed Breivik’s exhaustive Islamophobic diatribe…
Mr Ray… acknowledged in an exclusive interview with The Times in Malta yesterday that he had been in direct contact with Breivik online but insisted that he had rejected his attempts to enlist him as a friend on Facebook.
…The Norwegian mass murderer, who dressed up in Knights Templar costume, described an individual similar to Mr Ray as his mentor, claiming to have met him in 2002, prompting the Briton to say last night that the “whole world is painting me as his inspiration.”
Speaking in Valletta, he said: “I am being implicated as his mentor. I definitely could have been his inspiration. It looks like that. He has given me a platform and a profile. But what he did was pure evil.”
This is misleading: Breivik talks of a mentor named “Richard (the Lionhearted)”, but Ray’s blog is entitled simply Lionheart, not Richard the Lionhearted. Further, Breivik does not describe “an individual similar to Mr Ray”. His manifesto mentions meeting Templars in the UK in 2002, and that the group included “successful entrepreneurs” (at this time Ray was running a computer business), but that is as far as the detail goes. And as I mentioned yesterday, the dates don’t fit: Ray’s activism appears to date back only to 2006, with an interest in Templars emerging in 2007 (some of Ray’s blog entries are confusingly backdated to 2001).
Further, Ray did not accept Brevik’s Facebook request because he “didn’t like the look of him” – this hardly amounts to any sort of meaningful “direct contact”. As theTimes eventually concedes:
The admissions do not support Breivik’s claim that he was part of a network of latter-day crusaders.
Ray’s association with Nick Greger is also discussed:
He is also a close friend of Nick Greger, a tattooed German neo-Nazi… Mr Greger, the ex-Nazi co-founder of his crusader group, has a link to Liberia, the African country where Breivik claims he went to get guidance from a fugitive Serbian war criminal…
The Times does not mention that Greger claims to have rejected neo-Nazism after converting to Christianity, and that he now has a black wife from Tanzania. He is also friends with the exiled Northern Ireland loyalist leader Johnny Adair; the Times does not reference this, although the Telegraph has used this association to come up with the sensationalised and over-stretched headline ”Oslo killer Anders Breivik ‘linked to’ Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, Ulster terrorist”.
Last year, Greger posted an unsavoury video to YouTube which lionises loyalists, Charles Taylor of Liberia, and the Serbian assassin Milorad Ulemek (who is described as a “Christian Freedom Fighter”). He and Ray also have matching “Germany” and “England” Crusader t-shirts, and some photos show a third man with a “Ghana” t-shirt. However, this does mean that there is any sort of real “link” to Liberia or Serbia (or Ghana): a whole segment of the anti-Islam right identifies with Taylor and with the Serbs as Christians battling Muslims.
The Times also tells us that it
…has discovered a photograph of Mr Ray holding an AK47 rifle in Palestine.
This photo is reproduced inside the paper, although no further details are given. One wonders how the photo reached the Times, and whether some mischief is at work here.
The photo shows Ray (at that time using the names “Paul Andrews” and “Paul Cinato”) with some other foreigners holding guns: the context here is that Ray had gone to Jericho with some pro-Palestinian activists who had come to Israel to join the International Solidarity Movement. According to the ISM:
In September 2006, photos were posted on the internet showing five foreigners posing with members of the Palestinian police in Jericho while holding their weapons, along with the claim that four of the foreigners were volunteers with the ISM. The article accompanying the photos also claimed that the fifth, unnamed foreigner (whose name we have since learned is Paul Cinato) with the obscured face in the photos went undercover in order to try and sabotage those, such as the ISM, who support Palestinian non-violent resistance.
At the time the photographs were taken, these individuals had not yet become ISM volunteers. They went to Jericho of their own volition without coordinating or discussing their plans with the International Solidarity Movement. They had not attended ISM’s mandatory intensive non-violence training and were new to the country. The fifth foreigner encouraged them to join him in the photographs and have their pictures taken holding guns. These individuals regrettably followed his lead.
Ray sent the photos to Lee Kaplan’s Stop the ISM organisation, which publicised them widely. The way the Times has used the photograph is unfortunate: without any sort of explanation, and given the way that the woman in the group is dressed, one might easily draw the false inference that it shows Ray meeting with Israeli settlers.
The Times also carries a second piece, on Ray and his life in Malta. He explains that he became a Christian after “God spoke” to him, and that he currently attends a Pentecostal church on the island. He also appears to have – very slightly – moderated his views:
Mr Ray denies being a racist but admits that his blog postings have been “a bit blinkered” about Muslims. “I was putting them all in the same category.” But he is unrepentant about his view that Muslims in Luton are a “national security threat”. “They are drug dealing and using the money to fund terrorism…”
And as regards Malta:
“There have been 4,000 Somalians arriving here from Libya. MI5 say that Somalians, who are Muslim, are the biggest danger to Britain. I have been trying to infiltrate the community to alert people to the dangers”.
The notion of a white man from Luton “infiltrating” Somalians on Malta is rather difficult to envisage [UPDATE: According to an article in Dagbladet, Ray is currently working as a volunteer with Somali children].
(H/T Nemesis Republic for the YouTube video)