October 27, 2008

Homegrown British Terrorists: The Extreme Face of Nationalism

It appeared to be a routine operation. Intelligence had suggested that a 31-year-old forklift driver from Goole, Yorkshire, had downloaded child pornography. But when officers of Humberside police raided the home of Martyn Gilleard in October 2007 they found more than they bargained for.

In his free time Gilleard had not only been downloading 39,000 indecent images of sadistic child abuse onto his computer, he was arming himself for an impending race war.

Police discovered knives, guns, machetes, swords, axes, bullets and nail bombs in his flat, as well as “significant” amounts of literature from far right parties including the National Front, the British People’s Party (BPP), Blood and Honour, and the British National Party.

Prior to being arrested, he was the BPP’s Goole branch organiser, making him a senior member of what is alleged to be a neo-Nazi organisation.

Gilleard had a five-year-old son who he described as “the most perfect thing in my life”. However in an interview with a tabloid newspaper, the mother of his child claimed that he had stored nail bombs under his son’s bed.

He was sentenced in June for 16 years after being found guilty for, among other charges, preparing terrorism acts with the intent of carrying them out.

It is clear from his diary that Gilleard was preparing to wage a race war. “Be under no illusion we are at war,” he wrote. “It is a war that we are losing badly. Unless we, the British right, stop talking of racial war and take steps to make it happen we will never get back that which has been stolen from us.

“I’m so sick and tired of hearing Nationalists talk of killing Muslims, or blowing up mosques, of fighting back. Only to see these acts of resistance fail to appear. The time has come to stop the talk and start to act.”

It is easy to regard Martyn Gilleard as an isolated agent. A maladjusted young man who externalised the demons that plagued him. But the reality is that he is but one of many far right extremists who have plotted to or actually carried out terrorism attacks across Britain over the last 50 years.

On online forums Gilleard advised other far right activists in bomb making manuals and encouraged others to take up arms.

One poster wrote: “I’ve seen the nail bombs spoke about by the police along with some more of his artillery. It’s a sad day when comrades get nicked but for every one that does there must be three more that don’t get caught. It’s a pity he couldn’t have just blown up the local mosque before he was arrested.”

Following his arrest he was offered “full support” by the BPP and was described on the Guestbook page of Nazi terror group Combat 18 as a “hero to the cause”.

However after Gilleard admitted to charges of possessing images of child pornography, the BPP issued a statement of “total abhorrence and repugnance” and claimed that had his criminal activities been known he would’ve been expelled from the Party.

His conviction was highly embarrassing for the organisation, which runs the Noncewatch website – an “integral” part of the campaign which advocates the death penalty for paedophiles.

Another campaign run by the BPP is Redwatch, which campaigners describe as a “hit list” carrying the personal details of anti racist activists, including photographs and in some cases, addresses and phone numbers.

The website has been used as a tool of political intimidation and critics of racist groups have been actively targeted. Manchester-based local councillor John Taylor, received an email on July 5 which read: “Congratulations, you’re on Redwatch. I am going to take you out. Six .22 rounds in the back of your head should do the trick. I would bring my special .38 but it makes one hell of a mess. I’ll be seeing you.”

Far right terrorism in Britain is nothing new but has failed to garner the same recognition as the relatively more recent phenomenon of Islamic extremism.

Britain’s first suicide bombing was not in fact carried out by a Muslim, but rather a Birmingham National Front member.

In the early 1980s Richard Barnes carried out an orgy of violence, which began when he fired a crossbow bolt at an Asian man and ran down two black women. Following this he kidnapped another woman, dumped her in the boot of his car and ram-raided a left-wing bookshop. The car burst into flames and the trapped woman died in the blaze. Barnes was pulled from the fire and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Another right wing terrorist was member Tony Lecomber, who in 1985 injured himself with a nail bomb while trying to blow up the offices of a British left-wing political party. Police found ten grenades, seven petrol bombs and two detonators at his home. He was imprisoned for just three years and after his release was promoted to a senior position in the BNP.

In 1999, over three successive weekends, David Copeland placed homemade nail bombs in three locations across London with the intention of killing Asians, Blacks and homosexuals. The bombs killed three, including a pregnant woman, and injured 129, four of whom lost limbs.

He was a member of the National Socialist Movement, a small neo Nazi group run by Tony Williams, a former school chum of BNP chief Nick Griffin. Editor of anti-facist Searchlight magazine Gerry Gable, who compiled many of the examples used in this article to back up his case, wrote in an editorial: “Copeland was treated as an isolated madman rather than as part of a long history of involvement by the extreme right in terrorism.

“The public deserve a response from the police and intelligence agencies that takes far-right terrorism as seriously as the Islamist variety and not only fights this threat on the domestic front but looks at the wider international implications.”

In March this year, a police community support officer from south London escaped jail despite being found to have lied about his BNP membership. Police found in his flat a vast collection of racist literature, as well as illegal weapons including a CS spray, eight combat knives, a replica AK-47, a crossbow and a stun gun. He also had in his possession T-shirts bearing the logo of violent neo Nazi organization Combat 18.

In Glasgow, BNP activists were accused of using the murder of white teenager Kriss Donald to stir up hatred against the Asian community, from which the killers came.

Later that year, Allan Burnett, the incoming counter terrorism coordinator for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said that right-wing extremism was as dangerous as the threat posed by al-Qaeda.

“There’s no point promoting positive race relations, if in claiming to be everyone’s coordinator of counter terrorism, you take your eye off the far right,” Burnett said.

The Epoch Times


Green Gordon said...

I'm confused. Who was Britain's first suicide bomber?

Anonymous said...

"I'm confused. Who was Britain's first suicide bomber?"

In truth, conspirators of the "Gun Powder Treason" in the reign of Jaes 1 & 6 who exploaded black powder rather than be captured.

Old Sailor

Barbara Suzuki said...

Well done in reminding us that political extremism and a willingness to resort to violence 'cuts both ways' as they say.
Such violent extremism and the idiot idealogues and rabid racists who encourage it deserve the fullest condemnation from civil society.