Category Archives: Useful Idiots

Communists shed tears for ‘Lenin’ bathhouse


Russian communist supporters lay flowers near a statue to pay their respects to party founder Vladimir Lenin (AFP/File, Kirill Kudryavtsev)

AFP | Mar 14, 2012

SAINT PETERSBURG — Communists mourned Tuesday as developers moved in to demolish a bathhouse in the northwestern Russian city of Saint Petersburg which Lenin is said to have frequented.

The Communists of Petersburg and the Leningrad Region called for an investigation after developers bulldozed the 19th-century Udelniye bathhouse where the Bolshevik leader soaped up on the eve of the 1917 revolution.

“The building of the public baths dating from 1834 was demolished without any discussions, even despite a veto from the previous governor,” complained Sergei Malinkovich of the Communists of Petersburg and the Leningrad region.

“Vladimir Ilyich Lenin washed here just before going to Finland in August 1917,” he told AFP, calling the building “historic.”

The leader of the Communist group, which is not part of the official Russian Communist party, said they would appeal to the regional governor over the demolition.

Lenin fled Russia for exile in Finland, returning in triumph months later after Bolsheviks seized the Winter Palace in a virtually bloodless revolution. The city was renamed Leningrad after his death.

Local television showed an excavator reducing the brick building to a pile of rubble.

Many Russians regularly attend public baths, or banyas, where people roast themselves in piping hot steam rooms and flog each other with birch twigs to open up pores and cleanse the skin.

Former regional governor Valentina Matviyenko, now speaker of the Russian Senate, said two years ago that the building would be closed for reconstruction but vowed it would not be demolished.

“With all respect for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin washing there, this bathhouse dates back to 1834,” she told local television, saying the building was in a dangerous condition.

Does the Romney-Ron Paul Pact Make Paul a Sellout?

The proudly incorruptible libertarian’s all-but-open collusion with Mitt Romney, the establishment candidate, should infuriate his fans. And yet somehow it doesn’t.

theatlantic.com | Mar 1, 2012

By Molly Ball

Ron Paul is helping Mitt Romney. It’s been obvious for months. You’d think Paul’s followers would be outraged by this — but they’re not.

The Paul-Romney alliance means the race’s most ideologically pure fiscal conservative has effectively sold out to the least conservative, least consistent, most establishmentarian candidate in the field. Romney favors the basic concept of progressive taxation and a government’s right to compel citizens to purchase health insurance. It’s unthinkable that he would, if elected, end the Federal Reserve. Alone among the candidates, he insists that there be no cuts to any military spending. All these stances are anathema to Paul’s staunchly absolutist world view.

On paper, you would think Romney would be the chief subject of attacks from the Paul campaign, which has, in its television ads, been more unapologetically negative than any other. Paul has run one ad that slams all three of his rivals — Newt Gingrich (“serial hypocrite”), Rick Santorum (“counterfeit conservative”) and Romney (“flip-flopper). But that’s nothing compared to the attacks he’s unleashed pointed solely at Santorum (“fake,” “a record of betrayal”) and Gingrich (“selling access”).

Romney is the major only candidate Paul hasn’t singled out in an ad. And Paul’s ads against his competitors have been far more brutal than anything Romney or his super PAC have put on the airwaves. In crucial stages of the GOP primary thus far, he’s put hundreds of thousands of dollars behind these ads, helping squelch Santorum and Gingrich when they posed the most danger to Romney’s candidacy.

Helping Romney in his quest to make potential alternative candidates unpalatable to the conservative base is a major assist. But it’s far from the only way Paul has boosted the man who ought to be his biggest nemesis — the embodiment of the sort of soft, big-government Republicanism Paul says it’s his mission to eliminate.

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First there are the sins of omission — the opportunities to criticize Romney that Paul has passed up. The liberal group ThinkProgress studied the record and found that Paul attacked other candidates 39 times in the 20 debates to date, but didn’t go after Romney a single time. Even when moderators have tried to draw him into a potentially illuminating contrast with Romney, Paul has demurred. (David Gregory to Paul, Jan. 8: “Do you believe Governor Romney now when he says he is a man of constancy and that he’ll stand up for conservative principles?” Paul: “You know, I think this whole discussion so far has been very superficial, and I think the question in the way that you ask it is superficial.”) In some cases, Paul has even defended Romney, as in this totally unprompted swipe at Rick Perry on Sept. 7: “You know, the governor of Texas criticized the governor of Massachusetts for Romneycare, but he wrote a really fancy letter supporting Hillarycare.” His attacks on all the other candidates have been gleefully vicious. But he’s handled Romney with kid gloves.

That’s not the only example of Paul coming proactively to Romney’s aid. When Romney was under fire for his out-of-context “I like being able to fire people” sound bite in January, a “Ron Paul Campaign Statement on Republicans Attacking Capitalism” landed in reporters’ inboxes. “Two important issues that should unite Republicans are a belief in free markets and an understanding that the media often use ‘gotcha’ tactics to discredit us,” Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton wrote in the statement. “Rather than run against Governor Romney on the issues of the day Santorum, Huntsman, and Gingrich have chosen to play along with the media elites and exploit a quote taken horribly out of context. They are also using the language of the liberal left to attack private equity and condemn capitalism in a desperate and, frankly, unsavory attempt to tear down another Republican with tactics akin to those of MoveOn.org.” Romney couldn’t have said it better himself.

Paul’s campaign has acknowledged a policy of not going after Romney and sought to frame it as a matter of strategy. “We’re not fishing from the same pond,” Benton told reporters in the post-debate spin room in New Hampshire, meaning there’s no overlap between potential Paul voters — young, rebellious, idealistic — and potential Romney voters — older, status-quo-oriented party regulars. But that’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the two candidates most singly focused on fiscal issues and the economy, Romney and Paul could be competing for the same universe of voters not interested primarily in social issues. On the campaign trail, I have met more than one voter who claimed to be deciding between the two, like the Nevada man I encountered at a Paul rally who told me while he agreed with Paul’s ideas, he planned to vote for Romney because he thought Romney could win. The upcoming Virginia primary, in which only Paul and Romney managed to get on the ballot, could test the Paul camp’s theory that he wins the anti-Romney vote once Santorum and Gingrich are eliminated as choices.

In addition to Paul’s policy of nonaggression against Romney, there are the instances of operational collusion between the two camps. Throughout the primaries, they have coordinated such details as the timing of their election-night speeches, the Washington Post reported — a routine courtesy, perhaps, but one not always extended to Romney by the other campaigns.

Other instances have been more consequential. When Romney decided he didn’t want to participate in a pre-Super Tuesday debate scheduled for March 1, his camp reached agreement with Paul’s behind the scenes that both candidates would decline the invitation, as Benton has acknowledged. The debate was quickly canceled for lack of participation.

Had Paul not backed Romney up on this, the debate might well have still been held, either showcasing Romney’s avoidance or pressuring him into recommitting. And while Romney had an obvious interest in killing the debate, to deny his unpredictable rivals national screen time and an opportunity to score points on him, Paul did not. Paul’s ostensible mission, short of winning the nomination, is to spread the gospel of liberty and convert Americans to his philosophy. The opportunity to reach a national audience through televised debates is practically the reason he’s running. In 2008, he had to fight to get into the primary debates. That he would pass up an invitation this year flies in the face of his candidacy’s whole rationale.

Another less acknowledged, but possibly more significant, boost to Romney was Paul’s decision not to participate in this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Paul had won the conference’s straw poll for three years straight, causing frustration among the organizers, who saw his mass ticket buys and buses of college students as distorting the would-be barometer of activist sentiment. But this year, Paul was the only presidential candidate not to attend and speak at the conference, and he made no attempt to organize for the straw poll. Who won in Paul’s absence? Mitt Romney, in a crucially timed lift to his candidacy that helped dampen Santorum’s momentum.

Both the candidates have denied that there’s any kind of deal. “There’s no truth” to the idea, Paul told CNN Tuesday. “No, of course not. No one is going to tell Ron Paul what to say,” Romney said in a Fox Business interview the same day. But the evidence is clear that a de facto alliance exists — and that it chiefly benefits Romney.

The biggest potential benefit to Romney, of course, lies ahead. In 2008, after he dropped out of the race, Paul never endorsed the GOP nominee, John McCain, who had open disdain for him and his followers. Romney clearly hopes to do a better job of courting Paul and his legions of supporters for the general election this time around.

A source familiar with the Paul camp’s thinking portrayed the “cahoots” idea as a conspiracy theory seized upon by a desperate Santorum as his candidacy struggles. The source acknowledged that the Paul camp had made a “strategic decision” not to target Romney-leaning voters, a calculation he said was supported by the campaign’s internal polling.

“We have been very forthright about the fact that Ron and Mitt Romney like each other as people,” as do their wives, the source said, whereas Santorum has called Paul “disgusting” and Gingrich has called him “stunningly dangerous.”

“Ron has major policy disagreements with Mitt Romney, which he has pointed out a bunch of times and run millions of dollars of ads referring to Romney as a flip-flopper,” the source added. “What we haven’t done, which we have done with the other candidates, is run direct ads hammering Mitt Romney where he’s singled out. And that’s in large part because we don’t really compete with Romney for votes.”

Given all that Romney has gotten out of their collaboration, speculation has focused on what Paul’s getting out of his work on Romney’s behalf. Some theorize that Paul has been promised a speaking slot or some other accommodation at the GOP convention. Others focus on the political future of his son, Sen. Rand Paul: running mate? Cabinet secretary? Presidential candidate in 2016? Still others have spun nefarious plots involving relationships between Paul advisers and the Romney camp.

But Paul has a simple explanation for his behavior, and it should appall his ideological followers just as much as a craven political quid pro quo would: The two men are friends. Unlike the rest of the candidates, by Paul’s account, Romney hasn’t treated Paul like a radioactive nutball; he’s greeted him with respect, as equals, and their families have become close. “I talk to Romney more than the rest on a friendly basis,” Paul told the New York Times. “He’s made a bigger attempt to do it. The others are sort of just real flat.”

What Paul, who has spent his decades in the House as a political outcast, is essentially saying is this: After all his humiliating years in the political wilderness, someone important has finally been nice to him. Alone among the establishmentarians, Romney has allowed Paul into the sacred clubhouse of legitimacy. For that, Paul is apparently willing to swallow their disagreements and play lapdog. He’s been co-opted — revealed to be less than the loyal libertarian soldier his fans take him for.

Naturally, instead of being outraged by this turn of events, Paul’s devoted following is deep in denial. “Ron Paul and his campaign people are geniuses,” one fan wrote on a RonPaulForums.com message board recently. “For months — nay, years — we’ve been hearing, ‘Who is the Alternative to Romney?’ THAT is why Ron Paul is not attacking Romney. He’s using the media’s priming against the media.” (No, this doesn’t make sense.) Another poster volunteered that “such an ‘alliance’ even if it didn’t violate so many of Pauls principals (which it does) still wouldn’t be needed.”

The Paul army’s calculation is simple: Ron Paul is perfect; therefore, anything Ron Paul does must be correct and unimpeachable. But the evidence is staring them in the face. Their man has sold out.

Marines posed with flag resembling Nazi SS logo in Afghanistan


Scout snipers in the Marine Corps shown with a flag bearing an “SS” similar in design to one used in Germany by the SS, a paramlitary force that operated under the Nazi party.

NBC News | Feb 9, 2012

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Marine Corps confirmed Thursday that a sniper team in Afghanistan posed for a photograph in front of a flag with a logo resembling that of the notorious Nazi SS.

Use of the SS symbol is not acceptable, and the Marine Corps has addressed the issue, Lt. Col. Stewart Upton said in a statement. He did not specify what action was taken.

Upton said the Marines in the photograph, posted on an Internet blog, are no longer with the unit. The picture was taken in September 2010 in Sangin province, Afghanistan.

The photo shows a flag with what appear to be the letters “SS” in the shape of jagged lightning bolts. The symbol resembles that used by SS units in World War II.

Another photograph, which showed a stylized “SS” on a rifle held by a Marine, also recently began circulating, the Marine Corps Times reported.

The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was the police and military force of the Nazi Party, which was distinct from the general army. Members pledged an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler. SS units were held responsible for many war crimes and played an integral role in the extermination of millions of Jews along with gypsies and other people classed as undesirables. The SS was declared to be a criminal organization at the Nuremberg war crime trials.

The Knights Armament Company blog published the photo in May 2011, and attributed it to Tayler Jerome, of the 1st recon BN Charlie Co.

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Fury from Auschwitz survivors as U.S. Marines sniper squad is seen in Afghanistan with ‘SS’ flag (but they say it refers to ‘scout sniper’ team NOT Hitler’s henchmen)

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation in Washington D.C., which found the picture online and alerted the Marine Corps Times, said it was outraged and wants a full investigation.

Foundation officer Mikey Weinstein said he has been flooded with calls from former Marines offended by the photo and from one member of his organization who is an Auschwitz survivor.

“This needs to be fully investigated. This is a complete and total outrage,” he said.

War stresses to blame in Marine urination video?

Weinstein said his organization was sending a letter to the head of the Marine Corps and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said the photo was brought to the attention of the 1 Marine Expeditionary Force inspector general in November, and he found there was no intent on the part of the Marines to identify themselves with a racist organization.

Oliva said the investigation found that the SS symbol was meant to identify the Marines as scout snipers, not Nazis, but it was nonetheless not acceptable.

This is the second time this year the Marine Corps has had to do damage control for its troops’ actions.

The Marine Corps is also investigating a separate group of Marines recorded on video urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters.

Here is Upton’s statement on the SS symbol, also called “runes.” It was emailed to msnbc.com by Capt. Gregory Wolf, Marine Corps spokesman:

In November, the I MEF Inspector General became aware of the “SS” flag photo.  They then received confirmation from the 1st Recon Battalion Commanding Officer in Afghanistan in November 2011 that several of the personnel in the photo were from 1st Recon Bn from the OEF 10.2 deployment (Afghanistan deployment in 2010).  These Marines are no longer with the command.  1st Recon Bn is deployed forward again, but none of the personnel in the photo are still in the unit.

Certainly, the use of the “SS runes” is not acceptable and Scout Snipers have been addressed concerning this issue (“SS runes” are prohibited from use as a symbol or any other use).

Another ATF operation comes under scrutiny after supplying Mexican drug cartels with guns


Dennis K. Burke, the former U.S. attorney in Phoenix, said convictions in the ATF’s White Gun operation “put a stop to a well-financed criminal conspiracy to acquire massive destructive firepower.” (Matt York, Associated Press / March 4, 2011)

Members of Congress want to see whether White Gun, like Fast and Furious, lost track of firearms that ended up with Mexican criminals.

Another ATF weapons operation comes under scrutiny

LA Times | Jan 12, 2012

By Richard A. Serrano

Reporting from Washington—In the late summer of 2010, the ATF agent leading the failed Fast and Furious gun-smuggling operation in Arizona flew to Mexico City to help coordinate cross-border investigations of U.S. weapons used by Mexican drug cartels.

Hope A. MacAllister wanted access to police and military vaults for American weapons recovered by Mexican authorities in raids and at crime scenes. She especially was interested in firearms from another ATF investigation, code-named White Gun, that she was running.

Now members of Congress who have spent months scrutinizing the Fast and Furious debacle are seeking to determine whether White Gun was another weapons investigation gone wrong.

“Apparently guns got away again,” said one source close to the investigation, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). “How many got into Mexico, who knows?”

Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives declined to comment on whether any firearms were lost in White Gun. But unlike Fast and Furious, they vigorously defended the previously unreported White Gun operation as a well-managed investigation that produced three arrests and convictions.

The three men “were looking to acquire military-grade weapons for a drug cartel,” said an ATF official, who asked for anonymity because the case involves an undercover operation. “This was a classic example of bad guys showing up at a location to get the weapons they desire but getting arrested by law enforcement instead.”

In Fast and Furious, more than 1,700 firearms were lost after agents allowed illegal gun purchases in U.S. gun shops in hopes of tracking the weapons into Mexico. In White Gun, the ATF ran a traditional sting operation with undercover agents and confidential informants trying to snare suspects working for the Sinaloa drug cartel.

According to internal ATF documents, including debriefing summaries and border task force overviews, White Gun and Fast and Furious both began in fall 2009, and the same ATF officials ran both cases.

MacAllister was the lead agent. Her supervisor, David J. Voth, was head of the ATF’s Group VII field office in Phoenix. His boss was William D. Newell, then the special agent in charge in Phoenix.

According to documents that the ATF sent to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, an umbrella group of U.S. agencies that seeks to disrupt major drug trafficking and money laundering, White Gun targeted nine leaders of the Sinaloa cartel. The list included Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, who heads the cartel and is Mexico’s most wanted drug suspect.

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Fast and Furious: Mystery of the White Guns

Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer’s home

In ATF reports, MacAllister wrote that U.S. intelligence showed cartel members were setting up military-type training camps in the Sierra de Durango mountains, near Guzman’s northern Mexico hide-out, and wanted to bolster their arsenal with grenade launchers and .50-caliber machine guns.

The agents focused first on Vicente Fernando Guzman Patino, a cartel insider who was identified as one of their weapons purchasers and who often used code words and phrases, saying “57” for “OK,” for instance.

In fall 2009, the ATF team sent an undercover agent posing as an arms dealer to Guzman Patino. Photos of weapons, including a Dragon Fire 120-millimeter heavy mortar, were emailed to his “Superman6950” Hotmail account.

According to the ATF documents, Guzman Patino told the undercover agent that “if he would bring them a tank, they would buy it.” He boasted he had “$15 million to spend on firearms and not to worry about the money.” He wanted “the biggest and most extravagant firearms available.”

The two met again outside a Phoenix restaurant, and the undercover agent showed Guzman Patino five weapons in the trunk of his vehicle, including a Bushmaster rifle and a Ramo .50 heavy machine gun. The undercover agent said he could get that kind of firepower for the Sinaloans.

Just as Guzman Patino seemed ready to buy, according to the ATF records, the investigation into his activities abruptly ended. The documents do not explain why, and they don’t indicate whether he obtained any weapons.

A second case involved cartel members who were seeking shoulder-launched antiaircraft missiles and antitank rockets, according to the ATF records.

The same undercover agent met the pair in February 2010 at a Phoenix warehouse. David Diaz-Sosa and Jorge DeJesus-Casteneda brought 11 pounds of crystal methamphetamine to trade for weapons. The undercover agent showed them shoulder-launched missiles, rocket launchers and grenades before ATF agents moved in and arrested them.

Diaz-Sosa, 26, of Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty in April to gun and drug charges. DeJesus-Casteneda, 22, also of Sinaloa, pleaded guilty to drug charges. A third suspect, Emilia Palomino-Robles, 42, of Sonora, Mexico, pleaded guilty to delivering drugs as a partial payment for military-grade weaponry.

None of the three was included on the list of nine cartel leaders who were targeted in the operation.

The U.S. attorney in Phoenix at the time, Dennis K. Burke, who later resigned over Fast and Furious, called the White Gun convictions “a tremendous team effort that put a stop to a well-financed criminal conspiracy to acquire massive destructive firepower.”

By that summer, MacAllister had gone to Mexico City to check the police and military vaults. The ATF documents don’t detail what she found, but they note she discovered “weapons in military custody related to her current investigations.”

Iraq vet comes home to get shot in the face by Oakland police with “projectile”


Scott Olsen was marching because he felt corporations and banks had too much government influence. He had served two tours in Iraq. PlanetEarthAwakens1 via YouTube

Iraq vet gets skull fractured during clash with cops at Occupy Oakland protest

Scott Olsen was marching because he felt corporations and banks had too much government influence. He had served two tours in Iraq.

ASSOCIATED PRESS | Oct 26, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. — Among demonstrators injured during a clash between Oakland police and protesters is a 24-year-old Marine veteran who served two tours in Iraq.

Dottie Guy, of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, an advocacy group for vets, said member Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull. A spokesman for Highland Hospital in Oakland says he was in critical condition.

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Olsen was hit by a projectile while marching toward City Hall. Guy said it was not immediately clear if he would need surgery.

She said Olsen was marching Tuesday because he felt corporations and banks had too much government influence.

The clash Tuesday came after officials complained about deteriorating safety, sanitation and health issues.

Occupy Protesters Rally Around Wounded Iraq Vet

Norway police explore several Breivik links

Anders Breivik Templar Knight Commander

theforeigner.no | Aug 26, 2011

by Lyndsey Smith and Michael Sandelson

Anders Behring Breivik may have had an international network of people with the same ideals.

According to Breivik’s lawyer, Geir Lippestad, his client has already hinted there are “friends abroad that think the same way as him and that they will continue his work.”

Dagbladet reports this consists of the Norwegian defence league (NDL), the English Defence League (EDL) and the Stop Islamisation of Norway (SIAN). The groups contact each other via social networking sites like Facebook, where groups can be made private and only available for members to view the contents.

EDL blogger Paul Ray is in Norway this week being questioned by police over alleged mentoring connections. Ray has already admitted being a possible influence.

Breivik sent a message to members of the EDL before killing 77 people, saying, “In these dark times all of Europe are looking to you in search of inspiration, courage and even hope that we might turn this evil trend with Islamisation all across our continent.”

Investigators are also searching through Facebook for traces of links between Breivik, the EDL, NDL, and SIAN, and believe they have found a connection with a key member of this last organisation. The SIAN member has deleted his account, but there are suspicions they have been in contact a great deal.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo says if this is true, “it will be necessary to bring in people from this community. There have already been some interviews, without us being able to go into further details.”

Heads of other European extremist organisations have been quick to deny association with Breivik when questioned. Leader of Stop Isamisation in Europe (SIOE) Dane Anders Gravers told Dagbladet Breivik was not a member and had been rejected as his views were too extreme.

Responding to reports by Danish blog site P77, allegedly supported by a screen dump showing the two were friends 13 months ago, Gravers says, “Breivik’s claims are lies. SIOE’s leaders have never been in contact with him, and we have never discussed a strategy, of course.”

Breivik has spoken to police about his connections with extremist organisations, however, openly discussing how he had talked of discussed a plan with members of SIOE and the EDL.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Defence League (NDL), formed in 2010, has three different stories about its involvement with the 32-year-old mass murderer. NDL’s current leadership denies having any contact with Breivik.

Former leader Havard Krane claims that Breivik left after a few days as he found the organisation too mild. Successor Lena Andreassen has a contradictive story stating that he was a member but she kicked him out. Finally, the organisation’s present leader, Ronny Alte, says “he was a member here for a short period under the previous leadership, but chose to resign from the NDL himself.”

Norway killer ‘mentor’: Breivik NOT a lone wolf, but part of larger agenda


The Norwegian man who has confessed to killing 77 people was not a “lone wolf,” a British far-right activist thought to be the gunman’s “mentor” said today. Source: AFP

Norwegian mass killer ‘not a lone wolf’, far-right activist says

AFP | Aug 26, 2011

THE Norwegian man who has confessed to killing 77 people was not a “lone wolf,” a British far-right activist thought to be the gunman’s “mentor” said today after being interviewed by Norwegian police.

Paul Ray, a blogger and former member of the English Defence League, told Norway’s NTB news agency that police were “very interested” in British far-right cells mentioned by the attacker, Anders Behring Breivik.

“I don’t believe Breivik is a lone wolf … he is part of a larger movement which has its own agenda,” Ray said, without going into detail.

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“They (the police) were very interested in the British cells,” added Ray.

“They asked me if I was (head of) a cell.”

In a statement he released shortly before embarking on his July 22 killing spree, Behring Breivik had spoken of the existence of secret cells that he said came under a new order of Knights Templar.

The police were not available to comment today.

Ray, who lives in Malta, came to Norway voluntarily to speak to police investigating the twin attacks in Oslo and a nearby island.

He is widely considered to be the unnamed “mentor” mentioned by the 32-year-old Behring Breivik in the 1500-page manifesto he posted online shortly before carrying out the attacks.

Describing himself as a crusader at war against multiculturalism and Islam, Behring Breivik explained in the document that he once had “a relatively close relationship” with an Englishman he gave the pseudonym “Richard”, “who became my mentor.”

Ray, who heads the “Knights Templar” movement and runs a “Richard the Lionhearted” blog, has said he recognised himself in the Norwegian right-wing extremist’s description.

Asked in an interview on Wednesday with Norway’s NRK television station if he had any contact with Behring Breivik, including online, Ray said “never”.

Ray has called the July 22 attacks “pure evil” in an interview with The Times.

Behring Breivik has confessed to setting off a bomb outside government offices in Oslo killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoeya, where the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing was hosting a summer camp, killing 69 others, many of them teenagers.

He is currently being held in solitary confinement at a high-security prison near Oslo, and has claimed he acted alone.