July 31, 2007
A former British National party candidate who stockpiled explosive chemicals and ball bearings in anticipation of a future civil war was today jailed for two and a half years.
As he has already spent nearly a year in custody, however, he is likely to be released within six months.
Robert Cottage, aged 49, from Colne, Lancashire, had pleaded guilty to possession of the chemicals. He was acquitted after two trials on charges of conspiracy to cause explosions.
Sentencing Cottage at Manchester's crown square court, Mrs Justice Swift said he continued to hold views "that veer towards the apocalyptic". She added that his actions had been "criminal and potentially dangerous" but said there was a low risk of his committing further offences.
"It is important to understand that Cottage's intention was that if he ever had to use the thunder flashes, it was only for the purpose of deterrence," Mrs Justice Swift said.
Cottage had believed that, as he saw it, "the evils of uncontrolled immigration" would lead to civil war, which would be imminent and inevitable, she said.
"The pre-sentence report says Cottage continues to hold views that veer towards the apocalyptic. The risk of further offending of the same type is low but it cannot be ruled out."
The judge said she accepted that Cottage's intention had been to hold on to the chemicals, which included ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid, until the outbreak of civil disturbance. But she warned: "In letting off any such thunder flash, mistakenly believing you were under threat, you may have caused injury to some innocent person."
Alistair Webster QC, Cottage's counsel, told the court his client accepted that he had bought the potassium nitrate and sulphur with the intention of manufacturing gunpowder, but said this would have been used only to create thunder flash-style bangers to scare off intruders.;
Cottage, who stood three times unsuccessfully for the BNP in local council elections, was arrested last September after police found the stockpile of chemicals at his home in Talbot Street, Colne. The police took action after Cottage's wife told a social worker of her concerns about the items he was storing and, and about her husband's stated belief that immigration was out of control. Police also found ball bearings and a document about bomb-making from the do-it-yourself explosives-making manual The Anarchist Cookbook on his computer. He also had air pistols, crossbows and a stockpile of food.
"I believe it is everyone's God-given right to defend themselves and their families if they are attacked," Cottage told the court during his trial. "The breakdown of the financial system will inevitably put an unbearable strain on the social structures of this country."
Cottage claimed in court that, with the armed forces in the Middle East and the police insufficiently trained, the authorities would be unable to offer people protection. He added that immigration was a luxury that Britain could not afford, but that he drove a bus for children with disabilities and had a good relationship with the Asian children among them.
A second man, David Jackson, 62, a dentist, was also charged with conspiracy to cause explosions but was cleared after the jury twice failed to reach verdicts.
A BNP spokesman said after sentencing that the prosecution had been brought for political reasons. "We're not condoning it, but it's a quid pro quo to appease the Muslims," said Dr Phil Edwards, of the BNP. "To keep them quiet, we'll snatch someone from white society. We certainly don't support the bloke. We condemn all forms of violence...but I wouldn't have thought you could do any harm with what he had."
Dr Edwards said Cottage would not be standing as a candidate for the BNP again. "We never have anyone in the party with criminal convictions," he said, because "lefties and people on your newspaper" would publicise the fact.
July 30, 2007
The 'Red, White and Blue' event is planned for the weekend of August 4 to August 5, on land owned by BNP member and Denby parish councillor Alan Warner. Other Denby residents have protested, and so has the local MP, Judy Mallaber.
Mr Green said today: "The Fire Brigades Union is very concerned about the proposal to hold such an event in Derbyshire. We, along with many others, have tried hard in recent years to promote good relations between people of different races. That work could be undermined by the holding of a festival celebrating racist ideology. I hope Amber Valley Borough Council will think again and consider the impact on the local community."
Amber Valley Council chief executive of the council, Peter Carney said: "This was a finely balanced decision, made following thorough and careful consideration of all the issues involved. The Licensing Panel considered the representations from all interested parties, including the police, local residents and the applicant, to ensure that the application was dealt with in a fair and objective way, in accordance with all appropriate legislation."
The BNP's press officer, Dr Phil Edwards, said that the festival was held as "a celebration of the culture of white Europeans".
He said: "Because the BNP are so disliked we have to be squeaky clean with events like this or the media will come down on us like a ton of bricks."
The British National Party will discover today if a full court hearing will be staged into the Rosegrove with Lowerhouse ballot in May. Lawyers representing four named voters will argue that their case against Paul Reynolds, who won the ballot by drawing lots, should be contested at trial.
After a recount, BNP candidate Peter Rowe and Labour's Mr Reynolds were found to have polled 489 votes each in the neck-and-neck Rosegrove ballot, On the first count, Mr Reynolds, of Florence Street, Burnley, polled two less votes than Mr Rowe, of Cowper Street. But the recount unearthed one Labour vote, thought to have been miscounted as a Conservative vote, and one ballot paper, at first believed to be void, which was reinstated in favour of Mr Reynolds.
With the election tied the two men drew lots from a ballot box and Mr Rowe lost.
Last May a petition signed by Michelle Pilling, Scott Atkinson, Susan McDevitt and Ian Smith was lodged with Manchester County Court, disputing the outcome. This legal challenge has now reached the High Court and is set to be heard by Mr Justice Teare in courtroom number 25 today. The high court judge will decided whether the case merits a full trial hearing at a later date.
Returning officer Steve Rumbelow, Burnley Council's chief executive, has previously insisted that the correct procedures were followed at the May count.
Coun Reynolds was unavailable for comment. But Coun Lilian Clark, who serves for Labour with Coun Reynolds in Rosegrove with Lowerhouse, accused the BNP of trying to court publicity through the challenge. She said: "I don't really see any other reason for them doing it because I don't see how they have anything to gain."
But Coun Sharon Wilkinson, who leads the BNP group on the council, said: "It's the electors themselves who are petitioning and they obviously feel that the result was inconclusive. I hope they will find that something can be done about that."
Whatever the outcome of the case it will not alter the overall balance of power in Burnley. Either way the ruling Lib Dem and Tory alliance will still hold enough combined seats to retain overall control. The Labour party currently has 17 councillors and the BNP just four, after losing two further seats in the May polls.
Lancashire Evening Telegraph
The Prince of Wales has been urged to step down as Colonel of the Welsh Guards unless he can intervene to end the alleged racist abuse of a Jamaican soldier serving in the regiment.
Private Kerry Hylton is taking the army to an employment tribunal over a series of incidents at his barracks in Birdcage Walk, close to Buckingham Palace.
Hylton’s solicitor has written to Prince Charles complaining that letters to the commanding officer of the Welsh Guards detailing the abuse allegations have gone unanswered.
The tribunal has been told that Hylton, a chef with the Welsh Guards, has been repeatedly called a “n*****”, a “dumb-arsed n*****”, a “black bastard” and a “black c***”. His wife and children have been left in fear after two incidents in which the locks on the doors at the family’s married quarters were superglued shut.
When Hylton complained that a noncommissioned officer who racially abused him had also punched him, leaving him requiring hospital treatment, he was himself arrested by the Royal Military police.
The allegations of racism are likely to concern Charles, who in 1986 highlighted the race issue among the Queen’s household troops when he remarked that there were no black faces at the Trooping the Colour ceremony.
In his letter to the prince, John Mackenzie, Hylton’s solicitor, wrote: “It seems to me that your regiment has no interest in safeguarding the interests of the ethnic minority private soldiers acting as chefs in the battalion.”
Although Hylton is a private in the Royal Logistic Corps rather than a guardsman, he works full-time for the Welsh Guards.
Mackenzie’s letter went on: “In view of your constitutional position, I write to urge you to cease to act as Colonel of the Welsh Guards until the regiment can show that it takes seriously its obligation to ensure that ethnic minority soldiers are treated fairly.”
Hylton’s wife Andrea said that she and her two young children, Andre, 3, and four-year-old Kerryann had been left feeling “frightened and unwelcome” by the attacks on their army flat. She thought they had been generated by the racism claim.
After Charles complained 20 years ago about the lack of ethnic minorities in the guards regiments, they recruited Richard Stokes, their first black soldier. But Stokes quit the Grenadier Guards, despite encouragement from Charles to remain, after suffering racist attacks including verbal abuse similar to Hylton’s.
The Ministry of Defence said: “The army has a zero tolerance policy to racism and takes allegations of racism very seriously.” Clarence House declined to comment.
July 29, 2007
Bowden, former member of the Tory Monday Club before joining the BNP, became a target for the Covert Crew, headed by Tommy Williams, an old pal of Nick Griffins, when he supported Chris Jackson in the recent BNP leadership challenge - his being one of the hundred signatures required before the challenge could take place. Covert, ever-ready to suck up to the Welshpool pig-farmer who leads the BNP, printed the question, 'Is Jonathan Bowden A Nonce?', followed by a piece of fairly innocuous text but which included a reference to Bowden's 'Gary Glitteresque sideburns'.
The really offensive content is tucked away in the comments to the piece, where Williams and his little gang have allowed the more venomous of Nick Griffin's supporters to attack at will.
Bowden's resignation letter to Nick Griffin gives more detail.
'During the middle of Saturday afternoon the party head of security, Martin Reynolds, texted me to inform me that Tommy William’s tendentious and lying filth about me had been taken down. It appears that not only is this not the case but the criminal abuse has got ten times worse.
I have given a lot of time and effort to this party over the last 4 years. I am now being accused repeatedly of being a paedophile on the Internet by one of your quote unquote old mates.
I am sick and tired of the human scum and vermin which proliferate in such shallows waters. To be accused of being a child abuser is amongst the lowest thing that can possibly be imagined. To even refute such allegations from criminal psychopaths like these is beneath one’s dignity.
None the less, I REFUTE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEIR LIES AS DISTASTFUL GARBAGE.
I will seek to have police action carried out against this vile Internet site, but I also intend to resign as cultural officer, advisory council member and member of the BNP. I do not wish to associate-even tangentially-with such low-grade lycanthropes and psychotic criminals. Williams, I gather, is a convicted drug dealer and career criminal with a string of convictions.
I have many other and better things to do with my life in future.
The stench of this rabble, lumpen and canaille is displeasing to me. I shall devote myself to the world of the arts from which I originate and to which I shall return.
Williams and his fellow loons on Covert, using different names on the nazi Stormfront forum, have announced repeatedly and forcefully that the BNP will be purged of everyone who dared to support Chris Jackson in the leadership election campaign and it appears that they are starting with the bigger guns.
Bowden, as a member of the Advisory Council, might have been expected to be close to Griffin but this appears not to be the case. When the appalling Tony Lecomber was finally thrown out after trying to recruit Joe Owens into a bizarre assassination plot, his name took ages to be removed from the BNP website. Anyone looking in might have thought he was Group Development Officer of the party right up until he attacked Eddie Butler earlier this year. Bowden hasn't been so lucky. His name has already disappeared.
In our article reporting on the election result, we warned that those who had supported Jackson could expect a repeat of the Night of the Long Knives in the BNP. It looks like it's already started.
Racism was also cited as the primary reason for complaints in twice as many employment cases than any other category, including gender, age and disability. The largest group taking cases were Eastern European workers in the building industry.
Director of the tribunal Melanie Pine said racism claims were succeeding in half of all rulings. “We do not publish the outcomes of each individual category but in cases of racism we are finding grounds for discrimination in about 50% of cases,” she said.
Ms Pine revealed how in recent years greater awareness, coupled with growing rates of immigration, had been a significant catalyst for the rise in racism cases. This trend is supported by the latest figures compiled by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism. In the first half of this year it received 52 reports of racist incidents, an increase of 30% on the previous six months. The reports cover everything from social discrimination to physical assaults.
Committee director Philip Watt said racism was becoming more prevalent. “To some extent you would expect there to be some increase in the number of cases because of the increase in the population. However, the rate of increase is significantly more than the population changes would allow. This increase has been so dramatic over the past year that it is a worry,” he said.
Since 2001, race has streaked ahead of all other categories of complaint dealt with by the Equality Tribunal. It is most common in workplace disputes dealt with under the Employment Equality Acts. There has not been any noticeable rise in the number of race-related grievances under the Equal Status legislation, which covers discrimination in how businesses and services deal with the public.
The film, broadcast on the website YouTube, contains anti-Muslim messages, threats against immigrants to Dewsbury, and references to London suicide bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan. Entitled 'Dewsbury needs help,' the film shows white supremacist images and words, and describes a riot between white nationalists and Asian men in 1989.
Images used include a veiled woman walking past Headfield Junior School, Thornhill Lees, Swastikas and a scene from a Hollywood film which tells the story of a neo-Nazi who kills two black men.
The author of the film, who uses the name Paul, makes reference to 'Rahowa' – a racial holy war against Jewish and non-white people. On his website profile, 'Paul' states he is a member of the British People's Party, a white nationalist political party whose objectives include ending non-European immigration into Britain and repatriating ethnic minorities. 'Paul' has uploaded 13 films with similar content and on a comments page says he is an active nationalist. He says Dewsbury is due an 'ethnic cleansing'.
Insp Ian Gayles, of Dewsbury Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "We have viewed the content and we agree there are possibly some racial overtones to it. We are attempting to contact the website authors to have the item removed and we are trying to identify who posted the article. If there have been offences we will then take the necessary action against them."
A race hate video containing threats against Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik was posted on YouTube earlier this year.
He said: "It is a sick video which very few people will pay much notice to. I am quite sure that the BNP will have nothing [surely that's meant to be 'something']to do with it. My concern is for people to wake up to the reality of the BNP and the damage they do to the community and our town. I have got to do more to reach out to people to help find solutions to the problem. The video tries to exploit the July 7 bombings and the truth is that rather than divide us, in many ways the attacks united us with much more multi-faith work taking place and people understanding their responsibilities to each other. A sick, pathetic video by individuals is hardly going to change that."
July 27, 2007
Griffin: 3363 (91%)
Jackson: 337 (9%)
No great surprise there except that a large number of people chose to deliberately abstain.
The numbers are all important in this contest. The BNP has (it claims) a total voting membership of 8604, which means 4904 chose not to vote, leaving 3700 who did. 337 BNP members voted for Chris Jackson - substantially more than the 100 signatures he had to gather simply to be allowed to stand in this patently rigged contest.
For a virtual unknown - or at least unknown outside the North-West of England - Jackson did remarkably well, particularly when one considers the short period between announcement and election and the many limitations placed on him regarding anything to do with having direct access to the membership. Had it been a fair fight, we would have expected Jackson to easily double his votes. In fact, in our opinion he could have done a lot better had he actively campaiged. We wonder why he didn't.
Griffin is now in the peculiar and uncomfortable position that has affected every real party leader for decades - he's a minority leader, chosen to lead the BNP by a minority of the available votes in his party. In fact, working on the percentages alone, he only has a mandate from 39% of the party - hardly 'a resounding mandate', as one idiotic Stormfronter put it.
It's pretty clear from the immediate reactions to the result that we can expect something of an old-fashioned purge in the BNP in the near future - a clear-out of those undesirables who don't seem to appreciate either Nick Griffin's dictatorial style of leadership, the numerous dodgy deals he has on the go at any given time or the energetic expansion of the BNP into an apparently limitless number of bizarre and disparate business ventures. The Night of the Long Knives beckons and the supporters of Chris Jackson had better watch the shadows for a few months. Despite having absolutely no loyalty to the BNP membership himself, Griffin demands absolute loyalty from his subordinates and the leadership challenge has already been labelled an act of treachery a number of times.
Griffin staggers into a new year as leader with none of the spring in his step that he should be feeling after a failed leadership challenge. The result - or rather, the turnout - was lacklustre, reflecting the party's performance at the council elections back in May. The troops are demoralised, the income, we are assured by people who certainly know, is drying up and the membership is stagnating as it waits for triumphs that never arrive and holiday camps that will never materialise.
In fact this leadership challenge seems only to have left bitterness and recrimination behind it. Possibly the next one will be better - it's rumoured that pornmeister Dickie Barnbrook has his eye on Griffin's seat (so to speak), which might explain why he's recently been pushed out to challenge the unbeatable Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London. A challenge from Barnbrook might just be a challenge worth watching.
July 26, 2007
When Cllr Irwin tried to trace the call, she found it had been made from a call box in Leicestershire. Cllr Irwin, of Eamont Close, said she felt shaken after the call, but is determined not to be intimidated. She said: “I’m not going to let it get to me. I won’t be going ex-directory. As a councillor people need to be able to get in touch with me.”
In the past Cllr Irwin has spoken out against the British National Party, and she told the Evening Mail last year: “They’re a racist party. I am totally against racism of any kind.”
BNP election candidate for Barrow, Mike Ashburner, denied that the call had anything to do with his party. He said: “That’s absolutely nothing to do with the BNP. That’s probably one of our opponents trying to cause trouble. We don’t do that and we stamp down on that sort of thing.”
Cllr Irwin has informed the police of the call, but has been told there is little they can do as it was from a call box and outside the area.
Sergeant Keith Healey, of Barrow police, said: “It is an offence to make a malicious or abusive phone call. It is difficult in these cases where it is a one-off event, but if the caller can be identified then positive action would be taken.”
North-West Evening Mail
[Oddly enough, we had a call too - probably from the same callbox in Hinckley (01455 209206) at 1646 on July 24th. Probably the same moron.]
July 25, 2007
In fact the story, which was full of errors, was the result of an attempt by the BNP to build a smokescreen around some plain old-fashioned property speculation.
Last October Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, was a guest speaker at a well attended meeting of the party's Leeds branch. He normally turns up in a suit, but on this occasion he made his excuses for wearing jeans, saying that he had just returned from a visit to Croatia. He then regaled his audience about the ethnic problems following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
What Griffin did not mention was that much of the "ethnic cleansing" in Croatia at the start of the 1990s, consisting of torture, rape, murder and mutilation of bodies, was carried out by the reborn Ustasha movement. Some 50 years earlier the Ustashi had carried out their first attempt at genocide, in conjunction with the Nazis, against Serbs, Jews and Roma. More than a million Serbs of all ages were butchered in their homes, in forests and in concentration camps. Another 250,000 were forcibly converted to Catholicism, and around a further 300,000 were driven out of Croatia into the remote mountain areas of Serbia.
Hero worship of the wartime butchers of the Ustashi remains widespread in Croatia and it is one of the areas of eastern Europe in which Roberto Fiore, the Italian third-positionist fascist and long-term friend of Griffin, has taken an interest in recent years.
Griffin's visit to Croatia inevitably gave rise to speculation in the BNP, especially when news started to leak out about at least one other senior BNP officer visiting the country, about a property purchase there and even offshore bank accounts to shift BNP funds into the new project.
Older BNP members recalled with dismay two earlier overseas property ventures involving Fiore. The first was a ruined hamlet in northern France in the days when Griffin led the National Front Political Soldiers. A member of Fiore's family had their name on the title deeds and volunteers were shipped out to try to turn it into a political commune. The project was eventually abandoned, money raised from British supporters poured down the drain.
A decade later Fiore bought an abandoned village in Spain. Again work on making it habitable was carried out by volunteers, now from the successor group to the Political Soldiers, the International Third Position.
Yet again it flopped and Fiore had to rush in a lawyer to bail out a leading member of the ITP who had been thrown into jail for attacking the local mayor's property. Back in England the man was given a job in Fiore's extensive UK property empire. The project vanished.
And one must not forget how Griffin got Young NF members to work free of charge to convert a barn at his parents' property in Suffolk in the mid 1980s and later got the BNP to pay for renovation of a barn on his farm in Wales.
BNP members are not keen to see the party's hard-earned funds squandered on yet another potentially disastrous property venture. The BNP is not a party where people can freely ask awkward questions of their leader and get honest answers, so instead disgruntled members started leaking bits of interesting information about the Croatian plans to the anti-fascist Lancaster UAF blogsite.
This could not have come at a worse time for Griffin, who is currently facing a leadership election in the BNP. A huge amount of dirty linen has been paraded before the public in the past six weeks, including talk about property in Croatia.
Knowing that the story was likely to break beyond the anti-fascist movement, Griffin engaged in a classic manoeuvre to control the situation by orchestrating the delivery of a "scoop" to a national newspaper. Anti-fascist blogs and others immediately reproduced it, though Kirklees Unity soon removed it after realising that the story was riddled with errors and half truths and was just an attempt to divert attention from Griffin's property venture.
The story claimed that Andrew McKillop, an expert on "peak oil" – the theory that the world's oil reserves are about to run out – briefed the BNP leadership last September at a secret weekend meeting at a hotel in Hampshire. Those present were so concerned about this that they decided to buy 1,100 hectares of land in Croatia as a bolthole for when civilisation breaks down, the story continued.
But there were many errors.
The story quotes McKillop saying that he had only been contacted via the internet to give the presentation in the New Forest, giving the impression he has had little to do with the BNP. In fact Griffin has reproduced and promoted McKillop's articles on the BNP website and they have been published in the BNP's monthly magazine, Identity.
McKillop was also invited to join the BNP's shadowy think tank, which Searchlight exposed in March. The story says McKillop lives in the USA. When we spoke to him earlier this year he was living in Paris.
Another man named in the story is the BNP's economics expert Alan Goodacre. The writer seemed to think he uses the name Ian Fletcher when visiting the USA. In fact Ian Fletcher is a well known US rightwinger who lobbies against migrant workers. They are not the same person. For one thing an expert analysis of their articles show that Goodacre writes in British English whereas Fletcher is very definitely a North American.
One of the story's most obvious errors is the description of Lee Barnes as the BNP's second-in-command. Far from it: although Barnes acts as the director of the BNP's legal department, he is not actually a party member. This enables him to front up various money raising schemes for the BNP from which the party prefers to distance itself.
Griffin's deputy is Simon Darby and the party's vice-chair is Scott McLean.
The story claims the land is owned by a BNP sympathiser whose late father "is understood to have made a fortune in the pizza business". No name is given and the story sounds a bit like it is based on the pizza billionaire who funds a community in the USA.
The article ends with an obvious bit of padding, with a rapid trawl through the bombers Tim McVeigh and David Copeland and William Pierce's The Turner Diaries.
It is interesting that the BNP chose to dump this story on a journalist who does not have a track record of writing about the far right but works for a newspaper that is very keen on ecology.
The very worthwhile team at Lancaster UAF are to be congratulated on opening up a can of worms which the BNP leader will have great difficulty closing.
Stop the BNP
Political parties and their accounting units are required by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) to submit their accounts each year to the Commission. Those with gross annual income or total expenditure of over £250,000 are given six months from year end to prepare their accounts and have them independently audited before submitting them. The accounts were due by 7 July 2007.
In May, the Commission published the financial accounts of those political parties and accounting units whose gross income and total expenditure were each less than £250,000. Accounting units with income and expenditure that are both under £25,000 are not required to submit their accounts.
Thirteen political parties reported income or expenditure of over £250,000:
Conservative and Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party
Green Party Labour Party
Plaid Cymru – the party of Wales
Respect – the Unity Coalition
Scottish National Party
SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party)
Ulster Unionist Party
UK Independence Party
Seven accounting units reported income or expenditure of over £250,000:
Aylesbury Conservative Constituency Association
Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Constituency Association
Kensington and Chelsea Conservative Constituency Association
Liberal Democrats in England
Parliamentary Office the Liberal Democrats
Scottish Labour Party
Surrey Heath Conservative Constituency Association
The Commission is currently scrutinising all the submitted accounts, by cross checking them against other information held and where discrepancies occur, raising them with the parties. Having agreed with comments from the Constitutional Affairs Committee and Sir Hayden Phillip’s review of party funding about the difficulty in interpreting financial accounts, the Commission is looking at this issue with a view to implementing guidelines to increase transparency and consistency by making the information more easily understandable. The Commission intends to consult with political parties later this year regarding plans to standardise the format and presentation of statement of accounts.
Two parties and one accounting unit in this reporting band will be fined for failing to submit their accounts by the statutory deadline. The Co-Operative Party submitted their accounts to the Commission six days late and have been issued with a penalty notice for £500. Final statements of accounts have yet to be received from the British National Party and Scottish Liberal Democrats’ accounting unit. The penalty they face will depend on the length of time between the missed deadline and the submission of outstanding information.
Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission said:
“The accounts should be a key source of information for anyone wishing to find out more about how a political party is funded, and what it spends its money on. Without complete and open accounts, you cannot have full transparency about party finances.
“The rules on transparency are vital to public confidence and integrity in the democratic process. That’s why we are now taking a tougher approach to ensuring parties follow the rules, including fining parties who don’t submit their accounts on time and looking at how we can get parties to improve the ways in which they present their accounts.”
Notes to editors:
1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections.
2. The Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 requires that parties with a gross income or expenditure of £250,000 or less (and their accounting units with a gross income or expenditure in excess of £25,000 and below 250,000) submit an annual statement of accounts to The Electoral Commission by 31 March and for more than that sum by 7 July.
3. There are 388 political parties registered with The Electoral Commission as of today.
4. Under PPERA political parties may register accounting units with The Electoral Commission. An accounting unit is a constituent or affiliated organisation of a political party and is responsible for its own financial affairs and transactions.
5. The fact that a Statement of Accounts has been placed on the public record should not necessarily be taken to indicate that the Electoral Commission has verified or validated it in any way.
Contact: Neil Freshwater or Lynne Veitch
Phone: 0131 556 0770 or 07887 778 759 (out of hours).
Thanks to our friends at Kirklees Unity
Intertwined firearms and murder cases in North Carolina exposed the inner-workings of the modern-day Klan in the South, a secret and sordid culture of violence, racism and paranoia...
Former American Front Leader Re-emerges
After more than a decade of maintaining a relatively low profile, Sacto Skins leader David Lynch, 36, is once again rapidly emerging as a major figure in the nationwide skinhead movement...
Wichita Police Monitor Neo-Nazis
Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said that neo-Nazi gang members in Wichita, "represent a level of domestic terrorism that our average Crips and Bloods do not."
Ex-Klan Leader's Son Pleads Guilty In Beating
Anthony Berry, 32, pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness for a July 2006 beating that left his father, former American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan leader Jeff Berry, in critical condition...
Neo-Nazi Group Targets Virginia Beach Mayor
The American National Socialist Workers Party mailed fliers calling Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf "pure evil" to at least 100 Virginia Beach residents...
Pierce's Death Marked the Downturn of the National Alliance
Five years ago today, America's most important hatemonger met his demise. William Pierce, the former university physics professor who founded the National Alliance in 1974, died on July 23, 2002, just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. His unexpected death raised the question of whether the Alliance, which then had more than 1,400 members and was bringing in almost $1 million a year, could survive the loss of its wily and charismatic founder...
July 24, 2007
First things first. If you've not been following the Solidarity fiasco, you're going to be easily confused, in which case you should check out some of our previous posts from June 22nd, June 25th, June 26th, July 5th, July 11th and July 17th.
It has been announced (and repeated ad nauseum) that the support for an EGM was overwhelming, with an excess of the two-thirds membership requirement voting in favour. We've now received five emails from members who have all reported that they never received a ballot paper at all, clearly indicating that there are one or two porkies being told. Based on past experience, we would suggest that the Griffin/Harrington camp are the liars.
The postal ballot itself was described as a 'nonsense', a 'farce' and a 'sham ballot' by a poster on the Stormfront nazi forum who said;
'The "voting paper" that i received was a nonsense. there was no number to the slip and no way of proving who was sending in the slip, and who would count them and how. It was a farce reminiscent of a Zimbabwean election...'
Indeed it was. There was no independent officer to oversee the process, nobody except Griffin and Harrington to send out the ballots, no tellers to count the votes, no indication of how many voted for, against or abstained, nor was there any proof that any ballot papers had been sent out at all.
All the information we have received indicates that the EGM was attended by just fifteen to twenty members - at least we assume they were all members - and a number of heavies, presumably to keep out the riff-raff like the rightful President and Vice-President of Solidarity, Clive Potter and Tim Hawke.
From this fifteen to twenty in attendance, seven were chosen to represent the Executive Committee and one, Graham Williamson, was clearly put in post as the union's public relations guru - despite the fact that he has no experience of public relations at all. More on Williamson here. Near as dammit half of those who attended then, went along in the sure and certain knowledge that they would be voted into a position of some authority - assuming we concede that the Solidarity B union has any authority at all, which we don't.
Whether you like them or loathe them, unions are rightly famed for one single thing - their strict adherence to the rules of the union, or the Constitution. The Constitution of any union is sacrosanct and no member or officer would consider breaking any part of it or bypassing it. A change in a union's Constitution will only be carried out (generally) at the Annual General Meeting.
Part of the problem with Solidarity B is that there is already a Solidarity union (Solidarity A) in place complete with a properly drawn-up and agreed Constitution. Harrington deciding, for whatever reason, that Solidarity A is not for him, and running off and forming Solidarity B, is, whatever way you care to look at it, entirely unconstitutional.
Disregarding all the convoluted facts and outright lies that have been told about the Solidarity split, the simple fact is that it was reported that Tim Hawke and Clive Potter had problems with Patrick Harrington's version of the accounts. It's worth remembering that that is what started the whole Solidarity fiasco off. Harrington then promptly denied the bona-fide President and Vice-President of Solidarity access to the Paypal account which holds the union's funds (in other words, the member's fees that were paid to the properly constituted Solidarity), and denied them access to the membership list and the union website.
With Nick Griffin's collaboration, he hastily presented his version of events and the wheels were put in motion for an entirely unconstitutional EGM. He also announced (again with the BNP's help) the establishment of three new Solidarity (B) websites, announcing repeatedly that they were the proper sites to visit. You'll note that Griffin and the BNP is prominent in this mess but only on Harrington's side. So much for the BNP's belief in fair play and (excuse my laughter) democratic values.
Just my opinion but all this has a distinct taste of cover-up and, rather more importantly, fraud.
Since Harrington's rapid departure from Solidarity A, the internet has been awash with lies and misinformation about Hawke and Potter. They did nothing to present the union as professional, they did nothing at all, they didn't want to see a membership campaign, they didn't want a stall at the BNP's Red, White and Blue event, that they were 'State-controlled', that they were part of a 'far-left' plot etc etc. Anything, in fact, to discredit them in the eyes of the membership - repeated by Harrington and the BNP in the clear hope that if it's repeated often enough, it'll be believed.
Though we're reluctant as a rule to credit anyone on the far-right with any decency at all, Potter and Hawke have generally maintained a dignified silence throughout this disaster, quietly working in the background maintaining their union and sticking to the Constitution rigorously. Having said that, we believe that Solidarity - both versions - should be barred from becoming a bona-fide trade union when they are patently not a trade union, simply a support group for so-called nationalists run by a combination of the NF, the ITP and the BNP - all of them arguably fascist groups.
Following, as far as we can see, the proper procedure, Potter and Hawke eventually expelled Harrington. The letter of expulson is enlightening and well worth a read;
'With reference to an Extraordinary Executive Meeting held on the 8th July 2007 I inform you that you have been instantly expelled from the Union due to gross, unacceptable behaviour in your refusal to accept your suspension dated 3rd of June 2007.
Your refusal to accept an investigation of your irregular behaviour regarding union funds, and still refusing to comply with the Official Union Executive in these concerns is no longer sustainable.
Also the other main reasons for expulsion from the union are as followed:
1. Hijacking the unions website and claiming you were illegally suspended from your office – which is false. In this matter you can refer to the Union Constitution on the following
Section 1 (b), Section 7 (a), Section 8 (a) (b), Section 12 (c) – specifically.
Section 12 (e) – specifically.
Section 14 (a) – specifically unless you appeal – no executive member is subject to the same rules as its members.
Section 15 (a) – your refusal to accept an investigation by the Executive through their nomination of a Special Auditor on this matter.
Section 19 (d) – your long-term refusal to submit the books to the Unions Head Office.
2. Bringing the Unions Governing Body and the Union into Gross Disrepute by working with the BNP leadership to undermine their independence and hijacking the unions website by their abuse of relationship of this union in this matter.
3. Manipulation of Account with regards to your apparent transfer of £700 from the main HSBC Solidarity Account to a Business account, many days after you were notified of your suspension.
4. Stating on Union Accounts that their was a loan to a member of £150 which is not true as the loan was given to the union, not the other way round.
You have gone to extreme lengths to circumscribe being investigated by this union, to such a degree that you issue publicly gross malicious and false lies, concerning the actions of this governing body in your suspension. You falsely claim that we are duped, by several Marxists, and we look forward to you naming such ghosts. These malicious and false lies will be in due course answered at an appropriate time.
This union’s Executive in the position of President and Vice-President take great umbrage to the false use of our Names in your illegal use of the unions website and request you stop this at once. In any serious professional union the processes of its governing body and its relationship with members, is clearly defined, in its constitution, which ours also reflects in this matter. You have totally disrupted and attempted to destroy this good order and discipline of the union in such matters and brought it into Gross Disrepute. On these grounds alone let alone other serious charges, no serious professional union could allow such a destructive personality, which you are, to exist within its body in any capacity. On this ground alone you are immediately expelled from this union on these charges.
Please note that you have SEVEN days from the date of receipt of this letter to appeal and present any claims that you believe is illegal in your expulsion on these grounds.'
Assuming points 3 and 4 to be correct, these seem to me (as a person with no formal legal training but with a reasonable sense of right and wrong) to be criminal in nature and one wonders whether this has yet been passed on to the police. Rumour has us believe that it has but, if not, we have to ask ourselves why not?
There are now two unions claiming the name Solidarity. There are people who will join one simply because they loathe the people involved in the other. Griffin, in yet another attempt to deflect any well-deserved humiliation at his unwarranted interference, will try to persuade the BNP membership to switch to the Harrington/BNP coalition Solidarity, then will claim the takeover as a huge success leaving many members less than happy. One Stormfront poster expressed his disatisfaction with Nick Griffin's unwanted interference thus;
'...no leader should be free of criticism and I must say that criticism here is well-deserved. He has made a very flawed judgement and a crucial error in regards to assisting the hi-jacking of this Solidarity Union. By allying himself with an old National Front comrade over his own members and destroying any concept of decency, truth, right and constitution then he has sadly behaved dishonorably and unlawfully. He has given his enemies, both on the Right and on the Left, the ammunition that they need. He is now a damaged man who has shown his weakness and ineptude and his failure of leadership. This is very sad for someone like myself who truly believed and followed Nick Griffin, who still admires his achievements and his talents, but has seen his followers betrayed.'
The Solidarity fiasco started off as something of a joke which has descended rapidly into a farce. Considering the union has only existed for roughly a year and a half, its short life has been plagued with chaos (as is relatively normal for anything involving the BNP) and the only sensible thing to do is to put it out of its misery. Consequently, we would like people to write to the Certifications Officer, asking for an investigation of the union(s) and the appalling mess in which it seems to have got itself. A decent investigation by an outside body might uncover a lot more than just interference from Nick Griffin and co. It wouldn't hurt to send a copy or separate letter/email to the TUC, the Trade and Industry Secretary (now the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) and your local MP too. Addresses below. It's time to shut this rubbish down before ordinary people start getting sucked into it because someone tells them Solidarity is a great union. It isn't. It's crap and it needs to go.
Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers' Associations
Brandon House, 180 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LW
Tel: 020 7210 3734
Fax: 020 7210 3612
Trades Union Congress
Great Russell Street
Tel: 020 7636 4030
Fax: 020 7636 0632
No email? Shameful.
Rt Hon John Hutton MP
Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
22 Hartington Street, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria LA14 5SL
Telephone: 01229 431204
Fax: 01229 432016
You can find out who your local MP is and write to him/her here.
July 23, 2007
Community and political leaders in Scotland called for calm in the aftermath of the attack on 30 June, in which a blazing Jeep Cherokee packed with gas canisters was driven into the passenger terminal by two men.
Detectives went out of their way to say that the suspects arrested at the scene were not from Scotland's Muslim community. But statistics released this weekend show that the country's Asian community has faced a backlash. Strathclyde Police said it had recorded more than 10 racially-motivated crimes per day since the airport attack. In the 12 days following 1 July there were 142 racist incidents.
Representatives of Scottish Muslims voiced concerns that the figures only represented a proportion of the attacks and that others may have gone unreported. Most of the recorded attacks were verbal assaults, but there have been a number of physical attacks. At least 25 incidents were being linked directly to the airport fire bombing.
Assistant Chief Constable John Neilson, the head of community safety at Strathclyde Police, said: "We will deal robustly with offenders who engage in racist behaviour."
Osama Saeed of the Muslim Association of Britain, said: "We are talking about a small minority behind this and the people of Scotland as a whole reacted with common sense after the attack. But we still need to build bridges and ensure that those responsible [for the attacks] are punished."
Labour's Mark Meredith has refused to work with seven BNP councillors. They said the mayor did not respect the fact they had been elected. Mr Meredith said he had done nothing wrong.
The National Standards Board for England said the complaint was "insuffiently serious" and would not be investigated further.
July 22, 2007
A few miles from the historic southern Croatian town of Knin lie 1,100 hectares of farmland and a couple of abandoned buildings. A tributary from the river Krka runs through the lush countryside nestled close to the sun-drenched Adriatic coast.
It is a tranquil place, one that would make an ideal spot for a campsite or a clutch of holiday homes. But instead the land is destined for a rather more bizarre sort of retreat. It is here that a small cabal, comprising senior members of the British National Party, plans to hole up once, as they expect, the world's supply of oil runs out, triggering anarchy.
The land is owned by an anonymous BNP sympathiser from south-east England whose late father is understood to have made a fortune in the pizza business. At the moment it lies unused, but the BNP chairman, Nick Griffin, has visited the site several times. One day some in the party hope it will become a sustainable community, one that is not reliant on fossil fuels or outside power of any kind but instead is capable of harnessing solar energy and tapping into local streams for fresh water.
A spokesman for the BNP said this scenario was 'totally without foundation'. But The Observer has established the plans were discussed extensively during a three-day secret BNP meeting last September at a Hampshire hotel. Griffin and several senior members of the BNP, including Lee Barnes, the party's ponytailed second-in-command, had invited an energy expert, Andrew McKillop, to speak about his pet theory, the end of oil and gas supply, a subject about which he lectures widely on the conference circuit.
Also at the meeting was the BNP's economics adviser, a man called Alan Goodacre when residing in Britain but who, when in the US on business, apparently uses the name Ian Fletcher, according to party sources. Throughout the meeting Fletcher carried a large briefcase stuffed with thousands of pounds in cash which he used to pay the hotel and restaurant bills.
'It was like something out of a film,' a member of the hotel staff said. 'He just kept dipping into the briefcase and doling out the money.'
For McKillop, who lives in the US, the meeting was equally surreal. He had been told he would be picked up from Heathrow airport by two BNP stalwarts, only to be instructed at the last minute to make his own way to Portsmouth. From there a car took him to a hotel. 'It was all a bit Monty Python,' McKillop recalled. 'They seemed extremely paranoid.'
As soon as he arrived, Griffin ushered McKillop, who previously had links to the French far right and the late billionaire James Goldsmith, into a room to address eight of his colleagues. Over the next two days McKillop, who says he was not paid for his presentation and had been contacted by the BNP via the internet, talked widely about his belief that global oil and gas supplies are peaking and that this would have profound repercussions for mankind. As he talked his audience became more excited.
'They didn't want to know what I was talking about,' said McKillop. 'They just wanted to know how to use it to their advantage. They grabbed it as a ball to play with. They developed a completely exaggerated idea of when the world's oil supply will be turned off. They were asking, "How can we exploit this, how can we use it to build an election platform?"'
McKillop was told a BNP supporter owned a large amount of land in Croatia that the party's senior figures had high hopes for. Initially he thought the BNP intended to use it simply for eco-tourism. But as the conversation developed there was talk of turning the land into a community for the BNP and its supporters.
'In the end I formed the impression they saw it as a bolthole for when the world blows up,' McKillop said. Claims that the BNP senior hierarchy have discussed developing the Croatian site have been corroborated by several disgruntled party members who have supplied detailed information to Lancaster Unite Against Fascism (UAF), a body that campaigns against the BNP.
The revelation that the BNP senior hierarchy anticipate a doomsday scenario has parallels with millenarianism - the view that the world is on the brink of an apocalypse. The links between such views and the far right are well known. The Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, harboured suspicions that the UN was trying to take over the world and that a global war was an inevitability.
McVeigh and the London nail bomber David Copeland, jailed for an explosion at a gay pub in Soho, London, which killed three people and left 70 injured, were heavily influenced by William Pierce, the founder of the white supremacist National Alliance in the US. Pierce was also the author of The Turner Diaries which predict a series of racial wars that develop into global genocide. Several BNP members have attended National Alliance meetings.
July 21, 2007
The pretty teenager who turned up at court each day appeared articulate, independent and committed in her opposition to sex before marriage - as symbolised by the special silver ring on her finger. But now it appears that she may be little more than a pawn in a desperate publicity campaign driven by her parents.
Lydia, who has since left the school in West Sussex that refused to allow her to wear the ring, happens to be the daughter of Phil and Heather Playfoot, the founders of a chastity campaign called the Silver Ring Thing, or SRT.
They present themselves as wholesome defenders of the nation's teenagers - blaming the "bombardment of sexual images" for rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. But the Daily Mirror can reveal that one senior member of their organisation - which promotes "sexual purity" - is actually a lingerie model and ex-jailbird who lives with a man who is not her husband.
More disturbingly, the live-in boyfriend of SRT co-founder Denise Pfeiffer is a leading British National Party activist.
Pfeiffer is listed on the SRT website as a "media consultant" but she has also been described as its "assistant national director". The 37-year-old - who claims she's 27 - is a part-time model and bit-part TV actress who posted pictures of herself modeling underwear on a website. The Daily Mirror tracked her down to the home in Leicester she shares with 46-year-old Clive Potter. He was the local BNP's parliamentary candidate in the last two elections. He is also president of the BNP's trade union Solidarity and the Christian Council Of Britain.
The right-wing CCB says it is "a front-line ministry for men only and not for women nor for the effeminate or sodomites". And though it claims to be open to all races, the council "especially" welcomes white British Christians.
Pfeiffer, meanwhile, has appeared as an extra in TV shows including Emmerdale, Crossroads and Dream Team, and claims her "playing age" is 18 to 35. She also works as a freelance journalist and has previously published articles in a number of national newspapers, including the Daily Mirror. Her own website, celibrate.org, "celebrates celibacy". A self-confessed obsessive Michael Jackson fan, she was jailed in 1994 for harassing the family of Jordy Chandler after he accused the singer of sexual abuse.
Pfeiffer was freed on £10,000 bail, paid by actress Lynn Redgrave, before receiving a suspended prison sentence. She said at the time: "If it weren't for Michael, I'd be asexual. Nobody else could compare."
Describing her experience in jail, the model, who was happy to pose in her bra and knickers, said: "I was strip-searched. To me, this was worse than a vicious beating because I have always been shy and self-conscious."
In 2001, Pfeiffer, then aged 31 but describing herself as a 25-year-old virgin, said: "Sex seems to be thrown at me everywhere I turn - whether it's in the magazines that I read, the films that I see or in the conversations I have with my friends. I'm just someone devoid of sexual desire and incapable of enjoying sensuous contact. I do worry about whether it will one day destroy my relationship with Clive."
She said the couple, who moved in together shortly after they met in 1999, shared a bed but did not have sex. "Clive does try to go further than kissing sometimes but I can't bear it and we invariably end up arguing," she added.
Three years later, but still insisting she was 25, Pfeiffer became involved in the Silver Ring Thing and said: "I made a personal decision to abstain from sex before marriage 10 years ago, when I was 15."
Pfeiffer was among a group of "volunteers" who established the Silver Ring Thing in the UK in 2004. In America, the sexual abstinence movement is linked to the conservative right and received a boost in government funding under the Bush administration. The American Silver Ring Thing claims to have won pledges from 25,000 teenagers and hopes to sign up two million by 2010. Here, the UK version recently set up a company charging youngsters to attend abstinence courses.
The SRT decribes itself as "not-for-profit" on its website and insists that all profits will be re-invested into its abstinence programme. But Silver Ring Thing (UK) Ltd is not registered at companies' house as a "company limited by guarantee". That is the normal way for a "not-for-profit" company to register, with trustees instead of directors and no shareholders. Instead, Silver Ring Thing (UK) Ltd is a normal "public limited company" and states as one of its objectives: "To carry on as a general commercial company."
The firm's sexual abstinence courses are run at seven locations around the UK and involve DVDs, study bibles, journals and charts. After completing the four-week course, youngsters are charged £10 for their rings, with a replacement costing £13. Organisers also offer to put on special courses but ask for payment of at least £350, plus travel and accommodation expenses. Alternatively, parents can buy the course pack for £40, plus £20 for each student. So far, Silver Ring Thing (UK) hasn't filed accounts, so it's unclear how much the firm has made from the operation.
Tellingly, the company was formed three days after the Playfoots announced they were considering legal action against Millais School, near their home in Horsham, West Sussex.
Their daughter Lydia, 16, began wearing her silver "purity ring" to school in 2004 but it declared that the rings were pieces of jewellery and breached its uniform policy. Lydia and 11 schoolmates were banned from wearing them. She, in turn, claimed that she was being denied her right to express her faith and won the backing of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship to take her case to court.
Despite the fact that Lydia left the school after completing her GCSEs several weeks ago, the Playfoots pressed ahead with the case - one that generated international publicity for their company. This week, deputy High Court judge Michael Supperstone QC ruled against Lydia and in favour of the school. He rejected the idea that the baubles are Christian symbols, saying: "Whatever the ring is intended to symbolise, it is a piece of jewellery." Lydia said it was a matter of deep regret that "I could not persuade the court to consider upholding the religious liberty of Christian people in the United Kingdom".
Her father Phil was ordered to pay £12,000 towards the school's legal costs and Lydia said that she's considering an appeal. But Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, praised the court's decision, saying: "The case was a manipulative attempt to impose a particular religious viewpoint on this school and, presumably, on other schools if this case had been won. Lydia's parents run the British chapter of the Silver Ring Thing and had a vested interest in being able to spread its message. Lydia had left the school and it did not infringe her freedom of religion."
When contacted by the Daily Mirror, Silver Ring Thing spokesman Andy Robinson said yesterday: "I don't wish to comment until I have seen the evidence. But I have spoken to Denise Pfeiffer and she denies that Clive Potter is her boyfriend."
He did not comment on her past as a lingerie model or on the time spent in a US jail, or on Potter's BNP links. Ms Pfeiffer herself was unavailable for comment.
Lydia may have been a pawn in the drive to boost her parents' chastity company.
July 20, 2007
More than 270,000 people have signed a petition on the Number 10 website that calls for the scrapping of plans to build Europe's largest mosque close to the main site of the 2012 Olympics. Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic sect behind the mosque, has been accused of having links to Islamist terror groups, prompting a concerted campaign to block the project.
But the Daily Mail's sister paper, the Evening Standard, has learned that the anti-mosque campaign has been infiltrated by the British National Party, which has told its members to sign the Downing Street petition. The petition was originally posted on the No 10 site by a Right-wing extremist called Jill Barham. Ms Barham writes an online blog under the name English Rose, where she has laid claim to being author of the petition. The blog has links to several Right-wing and extremist websites.
Anti-fascist campaigners claim Ms Barham is a close friend of Chris Hill, a notorious BNP activist based in Lancaster. The involvement of fringe extremists from the North-West in what is essentially an east London planning matter has caused alarm and will lead to criticism that Downing Street should have blocked the petition over its use of inflammatory language.
The petition, which closed yesterday with 277,040 signatories, states: "We, the Christian population of this great country England, would like the proposed plan to build a mega-mosque in east London scrapped. This will only cause terrible violence and suffering and more money should go into the NHS."
Mayor Ken Livingstone condemned the petition for stirring up vitriol. "It is quite clear that this piece of vicious BNP propaganda, based as usual on entirely fabricated information, is solely designed to damage good community relations. It is wrong that such invented and falsified petitions provide a platform for those who would like to use them to create tensions among Londoners."
The BNP today admitted orchestrating a campaign to get its members to sign the petition. An email had been sent out to supporters with links to the petition on the Downing Street website. The party used a similar tactic to try to influence a poll on the Evening Standard's website that had simply asked: "Are you in favour of the £100million mosque?" The poll was withdrawn after the discovery of the extremists' attempts to manipulate the outcome.
BNP leader Nick Griffin said: "We have publicised the petition on our website encouraging people to sign and we have had a small part to play in that [reaching 270,000 signatures]. We also had an email campaign to get our people to sign it."
Asked whether he was aware of the English Rose blog or if Ms Barham was a BNP activist, Mr Griffin said: "Even if I knew who she was I wouldn't tell you. She may be involved in the BNP at a local level but I just don't know. I can neither confirm nor deny." The website of Lancaster Unite Against Fascism says that it believes the BNP's local candidate, Chris Hill, is a friend of Ms Barham. The group said today its inquiries indicated Ms Barham ran two websites English Rose and Cry For Freedom, both of them which it described as "rabidly anti-Islamic".
The success of the petition has been seized on by protesters as evidence of the strength of opposition to the mosque.
Newham councillor Alan Craig, a member of the Christian People's Alliance, issued a press release yesterday highlighting the petition's success, although he refused to sign it and admitted he was "wary of the exact wording". He is leading the local campaign against the mosque, planned for an 18-acre site at Abbey Mills next to West Ham Underground station. Mr Craig accused Tablighi Jamaat of being divisive because of its extremist, separatist beliefs.
The French intelligence services have called Tablighi Jamaat "an antechamber of fundamentalism". Two of the 7 July suicide bombers allegedly attended the group's HQ in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
Abdul Rashid Bhatti, spokesman for the Abbey Mills Mosque, said today: "Ken Livingstone has exposed the petition for what it is, and we thank him for that. Both in the language used and in the total lack of truth, we are disappointed that people have been so misled for purposes other than genuine public debate. Tablighi Jamaat is a mainstream, non-political Muslim organisation seeking to go about its faith in a peaceful manner."
Barking and Dagenham Police drafted in 69 extra officers from West London after the BNP announced earlier this month it would protest against the council’s decision not to let the party have a stall at last weekend’s Dagenham Town Show. The authority refused the BNP a stall as it was a non-political event, which angered BNP leaders as London Mayor Ken Livingstone had already received an invite.
But group leader Richard Barnbrook said he called off the campaign after Mr Livingstone cancelled his appearance. Mr Barnbrook insisted he informed the police 48 hours before the proposed rally of his intentions not to attend to avoid ‘unnecessary spending of taxpayers’ money’.
He said: “I am not one to waste taxpayers’ money but this is the only way we could voice our objection if the council censors us.”
But police bosses stressed that even though Mr Barnbrook had confirmed he would not attend, an invitation for party supporters to turn out was still on the BNP website.
Chief Inspector Andy Dunn, from Barking and Dagenham Police, said: “Despite the notice from Mr Barnbrook that he would not be attending, other party supporters, who had not been directly informed, could have still attended the demonstration, as it was still advertised on the BNP website on the day of the planned rally. In the interest of public safety officers were deployed as originally planned as a precaution.”
Officers trained in public order offences and four police horses were part of the team drafted in. Police officials were unable to confirm the exact cost of the operation at the time of going to press.
The leaflets - claiming that Islam is a "threat to us all" and calling on people to join the party's "crusade against Islamification of Britain" - were sent to residents in South Norwood last week, shortly after the attempted terrorist attacks on London and Glasgow.
After getting one of the leaflets resident Mahmood Tufail said: "There's a lot of lies in the leaflet and I got the impression people are trying to stir up trouble - especially with what's been going on in the past few weeks."
Mr Tufail said people were now feeling "very nervous".
"I've spoken among my friends," he added, "We don't know what to do about this. I just hope the leaflets won't inflame non-Muslims against us. With all that is going on, people are very nervous. This leaflet creates the wrong stereotypes. The people who carry out these extremist acts are a tiny, fringe minority. Unfortunately, this backfires on everyone else."
A spokesman for Croydon Mosque called the leaflets "inflammatory" and said: "The vast majority of people will recognise it for the blatant scare tactics that it deploys and which have become the hallmark of the BNP."
He said the mosque in London Road, Thornton Heath, had been working hard to promote community cohesion.
"Although leaflets such as the ones being distributed by the BNP in South Norwood have the potential to be divisive, our firm expectation is that the leaflets will be ignored as the local community is ethnically diverse and vibrant, and furthermore benefiting from the very social and community harmony that the BNP seeks to destroy," the spokesman added.
A BNP spokesman said: "All we're trying to do is raise the issue that Islam is not compatible with the British way of life. We are a Christian country and Islam is destroying democracy."
Craig Cobb acquired some notoriety in white supremacist circles when he posted the home address of a federal judge he didn't like to a website. Two years later, the judge's husband and mother were found murdered at that address. He added that he wanted to work to bring U.S. and British whites to white-dominated European countries like Estonia and Russia. Cobb, active for years in the World Church of the Creator, White Revolution and other U.S. neo-Nazi groups, also said that America was beyond help.
"I believe that the Democrat[ic] and Republican criminal syndicates that run the U.S. with international jewry's [sic] criminal syndicate cannot now be stopped," he wrote. "Media barrages too much control the minds of White Americans."
Last November, the Estonian newspaper Eesti Ekspress interviewed Cobb and reported that he had bought a house and piece of land some 30 miles outside the capital city of Tallinn. The paper said Cobb was working to find like-minded people and quoted him identifying Raigo Solg as the leader of Estonian neo-Nazis. Solg is a former Ministry of Justice official who now hosts radical radio programs.
Cobb has been associated with many of America's leading extremist groups. In recent years, he worked with members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, living near the group's West Virginia headquarters in 2003. He distributed issues of The Aryan Alternative, a racist tabloid published in Missouri. He handed out copies of a racist CD music sampler as part of "Operation Schoolyard." And in 2005, he worked with Todd Vanbiber, a former Alliance member who served time after the bomb he was building to attack the approaches to Disney World in 1997 blew up in his face.
Perhaps most infamously, Cobb publicized the home address of U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago. Lefkow had ruled against the World Church of the Creator in a civil lawsuit, and Cobb was infuriated. In 2003, Cobb took the address from a minor neo-Nazi site and reposted it to Stormfront, a huge racist forum. Lefkow's husband and mother were murdered at that address in February 2005, but the killer was later found to be unconnected to racist groups.
July 19, 2007
Mark Foster, landlord of the Hare and Hounds in Pickwick, confirmed he refused to allow the controversial Corsham town councillor to hold a party at the pub last night. The councillor is now demanding fellow BNP supporters boycott the pub, claiming that he has been discriminated against because of his political beliefs. However, Mr Foster has defended his decision to refuse the booking, which marked the university graduation of Coun Simpkins' future daughter-in-law.
Mr Foster, 33, said: "As a pub we can reserve the right to serve anyone we choose. During the local election there was a great strength of feeling surrounding Mr Simpkins and I felt that his presence would stir up a debate at the pub and that would unsettle our regular customers. We weren't prepared to let that happen."
Coun Simpkins was told he was not welcome in the Hare and Hounds after a family member went into the pub on Monday to confirm the booking. Mr Foster said the family member has asked whether Coun Simpkins' presence at the pub would be a problem.
He said: "I told her that we would be uncomfortable and Coun Simpkins would not be welcome."
A furious Coun Simpkins said: "This brings to question whether a public house should start to ban people not for what they say or do, but for what they think. Should pub goers now have to declare their political allegiances on entering?"
But Mr Foster strongly denies claims he has issued a blanket-ban to BNP supporters - but merely reserves the right not to serve Coun Simpkins.
He said: "I have not banned the BNP as a party, in fact many of our regulars are BNP members and supporters and have been good customers here. The reason we decided not to serve Coun Simpkins is not purely because of his political beliefs but because of the atmosphere we believed it may create in the pub."
BNP chairman for Wiltshire Mike Howson said: "This is discrimination of the lowest kind and this act should be treated with contempt. We are urging all of our voters and those who continue to support us to boycott this establishment."
Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
Thursday 19 July
10:30pm - 11:35pm
This is the kind of programme Louis Theroux should have fronted, dealing as it does with a family of American nutcases. Lynx and Lamb Gaede are 14-year-old twins from California who have stirred up controversy with their band Prussian Blue by singing white nationalist songs and wearing T-shirts with Hitler moustaches.
In fact, their behaviour did lead Theroux to include them in a 2003 documentary, but here James Quinn finds out how they've fared since becoming a cause célèbre. Quinn's theory is that their mother is using them as a mouthpiece for her extreme beliefs - beliefs the twins have come to question. He never quite proves this, but he does capture extraordinary moments.
Most startling is the sunlit scene at the family corral, where men in stetsons brand their cattle - with swastikas.
VIDEO Plus+: 2655451
Nice T-shirts, girls.
Today happens to be the deadline for signing an e-petition on the No 10 Downing Street website to oppose the building of a so-called "mega-mosque" in East London. The petition, started by a "Jill Barham", reads as follows:
We the Christian population of this great country England would like the proposed plan to build a Mega Mosque in East London Scrapped. This will only cause terrible violence and suffering and more money should go into the NHS."
As of midnight last night, this petition had attracted more than 263,000 signatories, making it far and away the most popular petition currently on the No 10 website. For some time now, incendiary emails have been circulating falsely suggesting that a "mega mosque" was to be built in West Ham with a capacity for more than 70,000 worshippers with the cost being met by public funds provided by the Greater London Authority.
Papers like the Daily Telegraph and the London Evening Standard have played to this gallery by running alarmist stories and online polls about the "mega-mosque".
In fact, the Tablighi Jamaat, the global Muslim missionary group that has owned that particular 18-acre site in West Ham since 1996 made it clear that they have not yet even submitted their plans to the local authorities in Newham Council and in any case the proposed mosque they would like to build will actually have a capacity of around 12,000 people, not 70,000. The Tablighi Jamaat have set up a website specifically to respond to the misinformation being spread regarding the proposed mosque.
And in a statement issued yesterday, the GLA also sought to clear up the confusion:
There are not now, and have never been, any plans by the Mayor or Greater London Authority to spend any public money on such a mosque. Indeed, it would be illegal for the Mayor of London to do so...The particularly vicious nature of the campaign against a possible Muslim place of worship in East London should be condemned by all of those who support the long established right of freedom of religion in this country, and all the more so as it is based on information which has long been established to be factually untrue.
There are currently around 1,700 mosques in the UK. While the earliest UK mosques were simply converted houses, as many British Muslims have become relatively wealthier in recent years they have donated money for larger, more prestigious, purpose built premises. The same has also happened with other minority faith groups; it's just that because there are more British Muslims than the combined total of British Hindus, Jews, Sikhs and Buddhists, you are generally more likely to see a mosque near where you live in the UK than you are a Hindu mandir, a Jewish synagogue, a Sikh gurdwara or a Buddhist temple.
And in what could be an inspired move, the Tablighi Jamaat have recently appointed Allies and Morrison - the people behind the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall - as their architects for the proposed West Ham mosque. Most mosques around the UK are functional rather than beautiful and it would great if the Tablighi Jamaat could take a lead in this area.
I don't really know who this "Jill Barham" is but the embittered tone of her petition reminds me of an interview I did for BBC Radio Oxford a couple of years back. I was on with the Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens who was complaining that British Muslims were generally more serious about their faith than Christians were and that Churches were in decline, while the numbers of mosques was increasing.
It was clear that Hitchens was aggrieved at what he thought was a declining religiosity among Christians. I don't know whether this is true or not, but complaining about Muslims building their own places of worship does not seem to be a very ethical way of arresting a perceived decline in Christianity.
Comment is free
Note: Jill Barham is of course 'English Rose', a friend of Lancaster BNP's Chris Hill. Might have known really.
July 18, 2007
On Sunday, about 100 "white nationalists" from all over the UK attended the meeting at the Moulsoe Millennium Hall in memory of the former National Front leader, John Tyndall.
Mandy Kingham, the chairman of the hall's committee, at first would not confirm the hall had been used by the group, but later said: "We will not hold an investigation into why they were booked, because we do not have any political bias. My understanding is that it was a memorial service for someone. We cannot go round questioning everyone before they book the hall. We all have human rights and we cannot discriminate. It is not right."
The Citizen last week reported the event was due to take place at an undisclosed venue in the city.
Far right sympathisers met at the Coachway at Junction 14 of the M1 at 2pm on Sunday before being directed to Moulsoe Millennium Hall. The British People's Party, which organised the event, say they held the meeting in secret because they feared attacks from the Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Facism. Among the speakers was Val Tyndall, widow of British National Party founder John Tyndall – she described Nick Griffin, current leader of the BNP, as a 'pipsqueak'.
In addition there was what one website described as "a lively auction of Nationalist literature" and first prize in the raffle was an original programme of Sir Oswald Mosley's 1939 British Union of Facists rally held at Earl's Court in London.
Navrita Atwal, the director of the Milton Keynes Racial Equality Council, said: "Those venues taking bookings must be vigilant as to what messages these types of groups are portraying, especially as we live in a very multicultural society."
A Milton Keynes Police spokesman said although officers were aware a far right event would be taking place in the city last weekend, they did not know where it had taken place.
Milton Keynes Citizen
Two members of Public Enemy Number One were found guilty of assassinating a founder of the white supremacist organization in retaliation for his giving away gang secrets in a television interview...
Aryan Warriors Members Indicted
Fourteen members of Aryan Warriors, a white supremacist gang based in the Nevada state prison system, were indicted on federal racketeering charges...
Ex-Klan Leader Acquitted of Child Sex Charges
Former Ku Klux Klan leader Gordon Creal Young was found not guilty of sexual abuse of a minor...
Neo-Nazi Fliers Single Out City Councilwoman
Fliers mailed and tossed onto lawns by a neo-Nazi group use racial slurs and display the photo, home address and phone number of a Fairdale City Councilwoman...
'Ex-gay' Movement Scouts Miami Recruits
Fort Lauderdale-based Worthy Creations purports to cure same-sex attraction...
The new charge came in an April federal grand jury indictment that also formalized the other felony charges faced by the founder of National Vanguard, a neo-Nazi group that collapsed after Strom's arrest). In addition to the "coercion and enticement" charge, they include four counts of receipt of child pornography (via a computer); one count of possession of child pornography; and one count of obstructing justice by assaulting or threatening a witness.
It wasn't clear from the indictment what Strom is accused of with regard to the young girl, and officials have not publicly detailed their allegations. The charge says only that Strom enticed or attempted to entice or coerce the girl. In a widely circulated E-mail, meanwhile, Strom pleads for money for his jail "canteen fund," complains that he's being kept in solitary confinement, and asserts that he is "not guilty of the charges against me" — even though Strom apparently signed a notarized "contract" with his wife Elisha last year in which he promised to attend counseling until he "has been declared free of pedophilia." Elisha Strom posted a copy of the document on a neo-Nazi site after her husband's arrest.
Kevin Strom also allegedly said in his February E-mail that he had written "a long and detailed account of the spousal betrayal which has resulted in my current situation," but added that his lawyers had advised him not to circulate it. Elisha Strom has hotly denied that she had anything to do with Strom's arrest.
Strom, who long kept a collection of cheesecake photos of young girls on his website under the heading of "feminine beauty," ended his E-mail on an upbeat note. "I remain," he said, "dedicated to the cause of life and the ennoblement of man."