The Daily Telegraph ponders “Richard”, the man described by Anders Breivik as his “mentor” in his purported “Knights Templar” group:
A blog was discovered by The Daily Telegraph written by an individual called the Lionheart, who has written about “Moslem’s soldiers … seeking to conquer our lands and take our civilized world back into the ‘Dark Ages'”. He writes that “God will revive the ancient order of the Knights Templar and count me worthy to die amongst them in service of my God in protection of the Christian and Jewish world”.
The blogger’s real name is Paul Ray, from Bedfordshire, who described himself as one of the “founding fathers” of the right-wing English Defence League. Mr Ray was arrested three years ago on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred with material on his blog.
The Lionheart closed his blog on Thursday, but reopened it on Sunday to post: “A crackpot killing innocent Norwegian children in the name of anti-government politics. The extreme far-right of the political spectrum that has no place in modern civilised society.”
Good of the Telegraph to “discover” a blog of which plenty of us have been well aware for years. Ray, it should be recalled, became something of a “free speech martyr” in 2008 over his arrest (which did not lead to any charges), although support quickly evaporated after it was noticed that he had made statements offering qualified support for the BNP (he believed that God was moving the BNP away from racism).
In 2009, Ray became involved with organising football hooligans for an anti-Islamic protest; this led to the creation of the English Defence League, although Ray was quickly sidelined. He then established an “English Defence League: St George Division” and denounced the EDL leadership for tolerating neo-Nazis. He also found an ally in Nick Greger, a ex-neo Nazi from Germany who had found God and who is close friends with the Northern Ireland loyalist Johnny Adair. At one point, Greger boasted that Adair would help him and Ray regain control of the EDL.
At the same time, Ray styled himself as the EDL’s “spiritual leader” and “Grandmaster“. In late 2009, he announced the launch of the “The Ancient Order of Templar Knights” (to the annoyance of an American blogger who uses that name). However, this sort of romantic and vicarious identification with Crusaders is fairly commonplace among “anti-jihad” types, and by no means suggests a link with Breivik. Breivik claims that he met his Knights Templars in 2002; Ray has a long-standing interest in Templars, but it doesn’t appear to go back that far, and there’s no evidence that Ray was part of any larger group before the EDL.
Strangely, however, Ray didn’t use his opportunity to explain all this to the Telegraph:
In Bedfordshire, a man answering to the name Paul Ray said “I haven’t got anything to hide”.
Shown a picture that appeared to be him with the caption Lionheart, Mr Ray said: “That’s not me.”
He denied knowning Breivik or writing a blog.
[UPDATE: It turns out that the Telegraph hack contacted the wrong person named Paul Ray. See below]
However, Ray has chosen to respond on his blog:
It has been implied several places that due to the fact I use the name Lionheart on this blog and my anti-Islamic fundamentalism ideology is similar, not the same, as Anders Breivik that Richard could mean Richard the Lionheart, thus Lionheart could mean me.
I might be a Christian fundamentalist who has a deep dislike for Islamic fundamentalism who looks to Templarism as an example, but anyone who knows me knows that I personally would play no part in such inhumane savagery that has no place in the civilised world.
Ive been perplexed about this all day due to how serious the nature of being linked to a political mass murderer is (it’s no small thing), and now the penny has finally dropped on who the most likely person is, who ‘Richard’ the English mentor of Anders Breivik is.
Ray goes on to name Alan Lake, a businessman who has links with Scandinavia and who has financially supported the EDL. Lake has also been discussed by Channel 4 News, which highlights a purported quote:
As far as I’m concerned I’d be happy to execute people who try to spread Sharia law.
This is a bit sloppy – the main text of the article is slightly different:
“I call them seditious. They are seeking the overthrow of the state. They’re not respecting that which protects the state. As far as I’m concerned I’d be happy to execute people like that,” he told TV2.
In fact, though, if you watch the video, Lake’s quote comes in response to footage of Islamic extremists marching through London to demand sharia. It is not clear whether by “people like that” Lake means “people who believe in Sharia law” in general or whether he means specific extremist groups which have become notorious for provocative protests. I don’t care for Lake (and Lake doesn’t care for me), but quotes ought to be handled properly.
Responding to the massacre in Norway, Lake has written that:
Apparently, in a long screed Anders Behring Breivik posted on line, he did this attack to protest against the way that Islam is taking over large parts of Europe. By attacking the leftist politicians that are enabling this, the chickens have actually come home to roost – altho I’m sure it won’t be depicted that way.
That doesn’t sound like someone who either knows Breivik or who is pretending he doesn’t. Further, Lake doesn’t appear to have any interest in Crusader fetishism.
There is no evidence that either Lake or Ray are “Richard”, if such a person even exists. Further, there is evidence against the idea.
UPDATE: Viceland has more:
We met Paul Ray, “Lionheart of England”, a few months ago when we were making the VBS.TV film Royal Wedding… We began to get worried that maybe the other terror cells Breivik has claimed to be working alongside had something to do with Paul Ray, so we decided to seek him out. So did The Daily Telegraph, though they didn’t seem to get as much out of him as we did. This is probably because the Paul Ray we called was in Malta, while they found their (presumably bewildered) Paul Ray in Bedfordshire.
According to Ray:
…I think he was a lone wolf, and he’s just creating this mythology around him to make it look likes he’s part of something much bigger. He claims he arranged a meeting in London in 2002 with people from the Catholic Church and the Greek and Serbian Orthodox Churches. Do you really think people from these different denominations would come together to meet someone like him, and then approve of killing 90 innocent people? It’s pretty far-fetched.
…It apparently says in his manifesto that he has an English mentor called Richard. People are thinking that might be a code word for Richard Lionheart. Who else is there called “Lionheart” who’s writing about anti-jihad, Muslims and Templar iconography? It blatantly looks like it’s me! He also talks about diamonds in Liberia and whatever. Meanwhile, Nick [Mad Nick, another Templar Knight, pictured above with Paul Ray] is supporting Charles Taylor… It looks like he’s pointing the finger at us!
(Royal Wedding, incidentally, was a documentary which purported to tell “the story of the peripheral figures of the British landscape who, for one reason or another, are obsessed with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s upcoming marriage.” This included Ray and some other characters, but it focused to a large extent on the making of royal-wedding themed pornographic film.)
UPDATE 2: According to the AP, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) has accused Ray of being “Richard”. The AP also gives a spelling variant of Ray’s legal surname, Cinato*:
Lennon also claimed that a man Breivik describes in his manifesto as his mentor – “Richard (the Lionhearted)” – is a former EDL member called Paul Sonato, who was kicked out of the group a few years ago.
Mr Sonato, an English right-wing blogger who now goes by the name Paul Ray, said by telephone from his home in Malta that he never had any dealings with Breivik and condemned the massacre.
“Being implicated in this, I just want the truth to come out and it proven that I’m nothing whatever to do with this,” he said.
Assuming this is an accurate account, this can be seen as Yaxley-Lennon taking revenge on Ray – Ray’s blog contains numerous attacks on Yaxley-Lennon and on Kevin Carroll, including references to their Irish heritage. There is no reason to suppose that Yaxley-Lennon knows any more about the identity or real existence of Breivik’s supposed mentor than the rest of us.
Meanwhile, Ray is promising that his lawyers will be in touch with the Telegraph.
*(H/T to a reader for reminding me of this)
UPDATE 3: Alan Lake has now made a statement on Breivik, including the following:
- I do not know this man, I have never met him, and I am not his mentor
- I did not even get involved with any political issues until the end of 2007
- He is not a member of 4Freedoms, as far as I can see, and does not appear to be a member of the Norwegian Room either
- I have no interest in the Knights Templar movement, and in fact, strongly resisted any attempts to get me involved in the promotion of such a movement, as I see it as a waste of time
- I categorically condemn his actions, which have also killed friends of a friend of mine – one in Oslo and two on Utoya island.
This has been reported in the Evening Standard as:
A millionaire computer engineer who has admitted funding the EDL today appeared to confirm the existence of the Knights Templar group described by Breivik in the manifesto he emailed to contacts shortly before the killings.
However, it’s clear that Lake is referring either to generic Crusader imagery as used by the EDL and related groups, or perhaps to Paul Ray’s use of Templar “branding”. There’s nothing in his statement which “confirms” the existence of the group of which Breivik claims to have been a member.
Filed under: Uncategorized