Paul Ray, a British right-wing extremist who now lives in Malta, landed at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen on Wednesday where he was met by Norwegian police for questioning. They want to talk to him, and others in extreme right circles, about alleged ties to the bomber and gunman who killed 77 persons in Norway last month.
Confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik referred to Ray as his mentor in the so-called “manifesto” he released just before he attacked Norway’s government headquarters and a Labour Party summer camp on July 22.
Ray, however, has denied any connection to Breivik and has condemned Breivik’s mass murder. “That’s why I’m here in Norway now,” Ray told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) in the arrivals hall at the airport. He wants to “clear his name.”
He claimed he has never met Breivik and never had anything to do with him, although Breivik wrote that they met at the founding meeting of a military group in London called Knights Templar in 2002. Ray told The Guardian newspaper several weeks ago that he is a member of an anti-Muslim group called The Ancient Order of the Templar Knights, but denies meeting Breivik and claimed he was “horrified” by the killings in Norway.
Ray repeated his denials to NRK but suggested that others may try to copy Breivik’s attacks. “I’m just speaking logically,” Ray said on NRK’s nightly national newscast Dagsrevyen. Asked whether such attacks could occur again, he said “of course, just based on how bad things are now.” Asked to elaborate, Ray hesitated and said he didn’t want to get into a discussion of his political beliefs.
Ray, who often uses the name Lionheart, pointed to the so-called Fjordman, another right-wing Norwegian blogger, as Breivik’s probable mentor. “Just read his stuff,” Ray said. “He’s Norwegian.”
He said he was certain he’d be cleared by the police, who were expected to continue questioning Ray on Thursday. Prosecutor Christian Hatlo said that if Ray hadn’t traveled voluntarily to Norway, investigators would have tracked him down for questioning.
“Paul Ray is an interesting person because Anders Behring Breivik says he is his mentor,” said Hatlo, who also said police have questioned others in “several countries” in connection with the July 22 terrorist attacks. The Oslo police are also receiving help from colleagues abroad in their search for international contacts of Breivik, who remains in full isolation at Ila Prison.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday that Norway’s police intelligence unit PST also was devoting more attention to right-wing extremists and monitoring their online activity. “We see the importance of gathering information about what’s going on, on the websites in question,” Tore Risberget of PST told Aftenposten. “It’s a challenge, and it’s become a priority.”
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