June 30, 2010
So wrote Eddy Butler on the occasion of Colin Auty's abortive leadership challenge just over two years ago. In the same missive Butler pointedly spoke of the "temerity" of those mounting leadership challenges.
Hardly the language of a convinced democrat.
Post-Auty, Butler was instrumental in pushing through the series of constitutional changes intended to protect Nick Griffin from the BNP membership, each change significantly tightening leader Griffin's grip, as Butler was well aware. Sometimes he openly helped do the dirty work, sometimes he kept quiet, Butler only lately detailing his convoluted and not particularly honourable reasons for doing so on his blog.
There is, then, a kind of poetic justice that as he comes to mount his own leadership challenge Butler is faced with the almost insuperable obstacles placed in his way by a Byzantine nomination system that he - whatever he now may say - helped impose upon the BNP.
What is curious is that Butler consistently gave solid support to Nick Griffin even when it was obvious to outsiders that as far as Griffin was concerned, Eddy Butler's number was up years ago.
Back in 2007 we reported that Griffin's close friend and hatchet-man Tony Lecomber attacked Butler outside Loughton underground station. Butler insisted Lecomber be sacked and proscribed, or he would involve the police. Griffin had little choice other than to comply, which he did with reluctance and bad grace, penning a proscription notice that was little more than a hymn of praise to the talents and loyalty of the thuggish Lecomber.
It was all too clear, as I wrote at the time, that given the choice Griffin would have broken Butler's neck, not Lecomber's, and that the clock was ticking for Butler.
As it happens, by then the clock had already been ticking for some time. Tommy Williams and Dave Howard, Griffin's chavish Covert Undercover Nuisance Tactics attack rats, recently admitted that they had been "on his [Butler's] case since around 2006".
Posting on the Nazi VNN Williams also admitted to eavesdropping on Butler at the 2009 RWB: "We deliberately set up behind BUTTlers tent, infact anyone who was there will remember people having to move tents so we could move in. We were also privvy to BUTTlers conversations (lots of them) that have been recorded all quite legally."
Eavesdropping on leading party members is, of course, something in which the Griffin leadership is deeply experienced, as the Decembrists Sadie Graham, Matt Single and Kenny Smith discovered when a transcript of a private conversation between the three was published on the BNP website at the same time that BNP goon squads were converging on their homes.
Other recent allegations of bugging, key-logging and e-mail interception on the part of the leadership remain strangely and ominously undenied.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to throw upon the chosen few who constitute the party's upper echelon a nagging awareness that their conversations may be recorded and logged - the possibility instils just the right amount of fear and paranoia and takes the edge of those who might otherwise be inclined to ask awkward questions. It's classic Stalinist-style psychology.
If Butler was ever aware that the leadership monitored his conversations and associations he gives no indication of it. Even with Clive Jefferson's cameraphone in his face during the drunken Belgian episode, and even with Jefferson giving a carefully staged running commentary, the 100% certainty that he was being set up never seems to have crossed Butler's mind.
Mr Butler does not appear to be the most perceptive person in the world.
Down the years of his association with Griffin, Butler cannot have failed to be aware of the many serious allegations of financial impropriety made against the BNP leader - indeed, the Freedom Party split of which he was part was largely founded upon them, - yet only now does Butler admit that there is evidence of wrong-doing at the very top of the BNP.
Replying to allegations made on one of the Griffinite smear-blogs set up to destroy his credibility, Butler says that he was "told about some very serious financial allegations made against the current Chairman of this Party", and that he resolved to raise the matter at the first post-general election Advisory Council meeting.
Butler claims that treasurer David Hannam told Nick Griffin of the allegations after Hannam had been told by Mark Collett. This resulted in Butler being removed from his position together with - and Butler is explicit - "the two other people who knew". The two others, of course, being Mark Collett and Emma Colgate.
Now, if, until Collett spoke to the duplicitous Hannam, only Collett, Colgate and Butler knew of the allegations, and if Butler (as he says) was told of them, then the source must have been Collett or Colgate.
If, as in light of subsequent events (including the infamous in absentia show trial) seems likely, it was Collett, then we have something approaching an explanation for the hysterical "murder plot" allegations made by Griffin and Jim Dowson to the police as the BNP's general election campaign got underway - as neat a little story as anything we could have dreamed up, and which did so much more than the loss of the party's cumbersome website to undermine its already flawed campaign.
Only a Nick Griffin could have thought up anything so damaging at such a crucial time, and in the process help throw so many of his candidates' hard-won deposits down the electoral drain.
Despite his dismissal (though he says he has not been officially sacked), Eddy Butler remained quiet about the allegations concerning Griffin until after the general election, whereupon "I openly declared my intention to pursue the matter".
And indeed he did, but by then the sleazy Clive Jefferson was doing Butler's old job, and in his first skin-saving post-election pronouncements Nick Griffin was clearly setting up Butler as the fall guy for the BNP's appalling election performance. Butler could see which way the wind was blowing and had nothing to lose, expulsion being a certainty, so of course he was going to pursue the matter.
But if, as Butler seems to be inferring, these allegations of financial impropriety are of a criminal nature, then why has he failed in his duty as a citizen to present himself and his evidence to the police, which is the only proper body to which such matter should be submitted?
Butler has warned Griffin that he must follow proper procedures (as enshrined in employment law) if he intends to end Butler's employment with the BNP. The near certainty of a damaging, revealing employment tribunal is probably all that presently prevents Griffin from kicking Butler (and his leadership challenge) into touch.
Griffin must make a concrete move soon, as the deadline for a leadership challenge nears, since he can not afford for Butler to be seen to gain anything near the 20% member nominations a challenger requires - though the Griffin-penned constitutional procedures are so vague in the matter of verification that it is entirely within the realms of possibility that Butler could sail past the 20% qualification and never know it.
The BNP's civil war will continue then for at least another four weeks (until the nominations deadline), and after that perhaps only for as long as until Griffin can devise a watertight exit strategy for Eddy Butler. Should Butler reach his 20% nominations, and should Griffin surprise us all and admit it, then we have four months in which to enjoy the BNP shedding its own blood.
In fixing that ridiculous self-serving 20% qualification Nick Griffin may have thought himself very clever, but in setting such a high aiming point for a prospective challenger Griffin has also ensured that a challenger must be better connected and network far harder and more professionally than ever a Jackson or an Auty could. In other words, the challenge will be far more serious and single-minded in its purpose because the challenger has no other option but to engage in a protracted, damaging campaign to secure enough nominations - and should the challenger gain his or her 20% nominations to enable a contest then that is tantamount to an admission before a vote is cast that 20% of the party is out of love with its leader.
Griffin has effectively undermined himself with his own self-preservation strategy. Even if Butler does not make the 20% and is quickly expelled there is a strong possibility of some sort of split; and should that fail to materialise Butler's widespread dissident network will remain in place as an unfailing source of misery to Griffin.
It's going to be a long, hot summer.
June 28, 2010
Fresh from its disastrous showing at the ballot box on 6 May, the British National party now faces financial turmoil with its assets threatened by court action. The high court is to decide whether Nick Griffin and two other BNP officials should face contempt of court proceedings in which their assets could be confiscated under a "writ of sequestration". The assets include Griffin's MEP salary, investments and pensions and any property that they might own. The case shows that no political party is above the law.
The contempt proceedings were brought by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) after the BNP was accused of failing to remove potentially racist clauses from its constitution. The BNP had been in breach of the Race Relations Act 1976 by admitting only white people to the party, but it revised its constitution in February to say it would allow people of any descent or origin to join, but only if the individual "agrees with or supports or does not oppose or does not disagree with the principles of our party".
However, the principles of the party in this amended constitution are still in terms of promoting indigenous over non-indigenous interests, including maintaining the "integrity of the indigenous British" and "restoring and maintaining" the indigenous British as "an overwhelming majority" (indigenous being defined by those that settled in these islands between 11500BC and 6 July 1189).
It is not difficult to see how this is contrary to the Race Relations Act 1976, because by signing up to the principles, any non-indigenous member would have to give up their racial and cultural identity. The BNP has also not changed its rule preventing new members from attending any party meeting until they have been interviewed by two BNP officials. A court in March ruled that this was intimidatory and directed against non-indigenous applicants.
If the high court rules that the BNP is in breach of the March order and gives permission to the EHRC to issue the writ, then it will appoint four commissioners. Two to three of the commissioners will be "authorised and commanded" to take possession of the BNP's assets. These assets will be kept in the hands of the commissioners until the BNP complies with the order to make its constitution free of racial discrimination.
Not only would this be a bitter pill for the BNP to swallow ideologically, it would also be financially punitive. A commissioner can cost up to £1,000 a day, and if the BNP has its assets confiscated, it will cost them up to £3,000 a day for those assets to be held. The BNP faces a period of financial turmoil.
Ed Williams is a barrister at Cloisters Chambers
June 27, 2010
Party insiders say Griffin has quietly boosted 24-year-old Jennifer’s role, giving her huge influence over membership and finance. But they believe Griffin has no intention of relinquishing his vice-like grip on the party he has led since 1999 – despite his pledge to step down by 2013.
They expect him to copy his 82-year-old French Fascist ally Jean Marie Le Pen, who has ensured his daughter Marine is in pole position to replace him as head of France’s National Front.
Last year Jennifer was appointed a director of Adlorries, a company that controls a substantial proportion of the BNP finances, under her married name Jennifer Matthys. She was also given a crucial role as party membership secretary, working in the BNP’s main call centre in Belfast, where she lives.
Jennifer, who was leader of the BNP’s youth wing as a teenager, has been at her father’s side at important party events. Earlier this month she was used as the public face of the party in a promotional film.
Griffin’s manoeuvring risks sparking further revolt among the party faithful, who have openly questioned his leadership since the BNP was humiliated in May’s national and local elections.
Simon Bennett, the former BNP webmaster who quit his job on the eve of the election in a row over alleged corruption and incompetence, said: “He knows his days are numbered and installing his daughter is the perfect Plan B. She would be the nominal leader but he would be the real power behind the throne.”
June 26, 2010
Searchlight can exclusively reveal that the leader of the English Defence League is a former British National Party member who has served 12 months’ imprisonment for assaulting an off-duty police officer.
Self-proclaimed EDL leader Tommy Robinson is really Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, from Bedford.
In 2004 he joined the BNP with a family membership. In the same year he assaulted an off-duty police officer who intervened to stop a domestic incident between Yaxley-Lennon and his partner Jenna Vowles. During the scuffle Yaxley-Lennon kicked the officer in the head.
He was convicted on 18 April 2005 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for which he was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, and assault with intent to resist arrest, for which he received a concurrent term of three months.
Vowles, also a BNP member, was cautioned for possession of cocaine. She told the court that the she found two empty bags in her house and was taking them out so that her parents did not find them.
Yaxley-Lennon attended Putteridge High School in Luton and moved to nearby Bedford more recently. Robinson also claims on his Facebook site that he attended Putteridge school.
The revelation that Robinson had been a member of the BNP explains why so many of the initial EDL activists also attended BNP meetings in the Luton/Bedford area.
More importantly, it dispels the myth that the roots of the EDL are not in hard-core racism.
It destroys the protestations by the EDL leadership that, “They aren’t the BNP and they aren’t Nazis,” made at their phoney press conference held last September in a disused Luton warehouse, where they unfurled a swastika flag and proceeded to try to set it alight for the cameras.
It also explains the real reason why Robinson felt the need to hide his face.
Apart from his BNP membership and his convictions for violence, Robinson told a BBC film crew that he lived in a part of Luton where Islamic fanatics lived and that he feared for his safety. The reality is somewhat different as he lives in Wilstead, a relatively leafy village on the outskirts of Bedford.
The exposure of his identity follows a split in the EDL that is mostly being fought over the internet.
Paul Ray, self-styled spiritual guru of the EDL, has posted a series of messages on his Lionheart blog, in which he and his friend Nick Greger announce their intention to take control of the EDL. Ray was the original mover in creating the EDL, although he quickly fell out with the other leaders and moved abroad to Malta. Ray has focused his efforts on making Crusader-themed anti-Muslim promotional videos, and he and Greger have just issued a notice of “expulsion” of the EDL’s leaders, together with a demand for control of the EDL’s websites.
In one of their videos Greger goes on to say “another well-known man will soon appear within the new leadership, a man from Ulster, who is also currently in exile”.
This is almost certainly a reference to Greger’s friend Johnny Adair, a prominent loyalist terrorist who now lives in Scotland following an intra-loyalist feud. Adair’s friendship with Greger was the subject of a television documentary in 2006, when Adair met Greger while in prison for plotting acts of terror and was then the head of a nazi group in Dresden, Germany.
It is thought that Ray and Greger were responsible for the appearance of a video on YouTube that unveiled Robinson as Stephen Yaxley along with a series of photographs, following outlandish claims by Ray that the EDL led by Robinson threatened to kidnap and harm members of Ray’s family.
Robinson later confirmed on his Facebook page that the photographs were indeed of him, saying, “Hey at least people can see my hansome [sic] face now”.
June 25, 2010
Michael Heaton, 42, and Trevor Hannington, 58, described Jews as "scum" and called for them to be "destroyed". The "proud neo-Nazis" were unanimously cleared of soliciting murder at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday but Heaton was jailed today for 30 months after being convicted of four counts of using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred.
Hannington previously admitted two counts of stirring up racial hatred, two further counts of possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and disseminating a terrorist publication. He was jailed for two years.
Sentencing, Mr Justice Irwin told Heaton, of Leigh, in Wigan, Greater Manchester, his internet posts were "vicious and repulsive". He added: "You saw yourself as the leader of a potentially significant and active National Socialist group. Your sustained racist rants were intended to bolster that group. You wanted to start a race war. You are clearly filled with racial hatred and also with violent and angry beliefs."
The judge told Heaton his words were of the most "insulting and extreme nature" marked by "violent racism" and said only a significant jail term was acceptable.
Hannington, from Hirwaun, Cardiff, was described as a loner by the judge, who told him: "You are a long standing racist who has never hidden your views, which are violent and vicious in the extreme. You are a lonely man with little in your life. You habitually told lies about a non-existent army career and your knowledge of survival techniques in an attempt to gain status. You are, to some degree, pitiable in this, however repugnant what you said."
Heaton, a packer for a food company, was jailed for 30 months for each of his four offences, to run concurrently. He nodded to the judge and said he understood as he was taken to the cells. He admitted in police interviews he was a founder member of the Aryan Strike Force (ASF), whose goal was "the eradication of ethnic minorities from Britain", the prosecution said.
In one posting on the ASF website, he said of Jews: "They will always be scum, destroy 'em with whatever it takes."
He also wrote: "I would encourage any religion or race that wants to destroy the Jews, I hate them with a passion."
And in another posting he said Jews were leeches and "treacherous fucking scum" and that black people were "less intelligent than other species".
Heaton made more than 3,000 posts on the ASF site between January and June 2008, before he had a "bust-up" with the organisation and created his own, the British Freedom Fighters (BFF). The website changed its name to Legion 88 and then Wolfpack, before it was closed down.
The trial jury, nine of whom returned to court for today's sentencing, were told the number eight refers to the eighth letter in the alphabet, H. So 88 stands for HH, as in Heil Hitler, a common greeting for neo-Nazis. Both men had a number of user names when they posted their comments on the website. Heaton called himself Wigan Mike, and then later Lenny.
David Fish, mitigating for Heaton, said the defendant had been banned from accessing the internet while on bail and was no longer involved in the BFF. He said: "(Heaton) has, in effect, shed the habit and lost interest in putting up these posts."
Hannington admitted he was an administrator for the ASF, Legion 88 and Wolfpack websites and gave himself the user names Fist, Lee 88 and Paul. He pleaded guilty to inciting racial hatred with internet posts stating his beliefs that Jews were "parasites feeding on others" and "utterly evil sub-beings". The self-employed builder also posted the message: "Kill the Jew, Kill the Jew, Burn down a synagogue today! Burn the scum."
Hannington admitted owning the Anarchist's Cookbook, Kitchen Complete and The Terrorist Encyclopaedia, all of which are considered useful tools to someone preparing or committing an act of terrorism. He also admitted publishing a post on the internet with instructions on how to make a flame thrower out of a water pistol.
Richard Mansell QC, for Hannington, said: "There is a significant element of the fantasist about him and the jury's verdict accepts the posts were made without a great deal of thought but are, nevertheless, extremely offensive. Having had the terror books he never made any effort to produce such items or seek components for them. He has reflected on the language he used and his conduct and he also recognises he has problems with alcohol and anger management."
Hannington showed no emotion as he was jailed for a total of two years for all his offences. As he was convicted under the Terrorism Act he must inform the police of his home address for the next 10 years.
“A Third World slum colonised by millions of African and Asian immigrants, facing the growing certainty of eventual civil war between an ever-growing Muslim community and everybody else”.This is how Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, which claims to be not racist, described Britain in an email to supporters on 23 June appealing for money to help him fight the continuing action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over the BNP’s racist constitution.
In the email, which also described Trevor Phillips, the chair of the EHRC, as an “immigrant Marxist” and a “black Marxist”, Griffin said he was “ready to go to prison” for his beliefs. Outrageously he invoked Winston Churchill, the “heroes of D-Day” and “Spitfire pilots” in a blatant attempt to win sympathy and persuade supporters to open their wallets yet again for him.
Griffin has often referred to an impending civil war in Britain, especially after electoral failure such as in last month’s elections. After the BNP failed to win any MEPs in the 2004 European election despite gaining 800,000 votes, Griffin said the party might have to consider alternatives to the ballot box. The following year the BNP’s general election manifesto called for adults who have completed a period of military service to be “required to keep in a safe locker in their homes a standard-issue military assault rifle and ammunition”, a policy the party has never renounced.
A number of BNP members have tried to turn Griffin’s talk about civil war into action. They include David Copeland, the London bomber, and Robert Cottage, who was convicted for possession of explosives.
In raising the prospect of imprisonment Griffin no doubt also has his eye on Eddy Butler’s challenge to his leadership of the BNP, announced on 18 June. Griffin may hope that party members would hardly desert a man who was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for them.
However most BNP members are likely to see through this ploy. Growing numbers want a new party leader because of Griffin’s incompetence in producing electoral results, dubious financial dealings and his insistence on handing over administrative and financial control of the party to the “consultant” Jim Dowson, a militant anti-abortion campaigner with criminal convictions for violence.
Butler, the BNP’s national elections officer until he was peremptorily sacked at the end of March, is now trying to collect the signatures of 20% of BNP members with at least two years’ membership, which he needs to force a leadership election. Several party branch organisers are calling local meetings so that members can sign the forms.
BNP activists all over the country are beginning to support Butler’s challenge. One of them is Danny Lake, former leader of the Young BNP. Echoing the views of many party members, he describes Griffin as “a man who has brought the party far but remains stunted by a damaged reputation”. Griffin is standing “with a set of disastrous election results behind him”, Lake points out, before expressing the view that Griffin will not allow a clean fight.
For more detailed analysis of the challenge to Griffin’s leadership, see the July issue of Searchlight.
Hope not hate
June 24, 2010
Trevor Hannington, from South Wales, and Michael Heaton, from Lancashire, ran their own far right organisation which promised street action to help rid the country of minority communities.
Their Aryan Strike Force boasted 350 members. Its website had tens of thousands of postings, all messages of hate like urging the destruction of Jews, describing them as treacherous scum. There were references to "chopping niggers legs off" and "kill the jew, burn down a synagogue today". Heaton was found guilty on four charges, while Hannington admitted to four terrorism charges including distributing instructions on how to turn a water pistol into a flamethrower. Both were both found not guilty of soliciting to murder.
Dr Matthew Feldman, who runs the UK's only research unit on new media and domestic extremism at Northampton University, was the prosecution's key witness in this case. He says "These are neo-Nazis, pure and simple, and consider themselves really the most extreme versions of this ideological neo-Nazism that is new. We have had some evidence, I believe, of activists from the ASF appearing on videos at the English Defence League marches and so forth."
Dr Feldman believes this recent string of convictions of "lone wolf" cases and the creation of the English Defence League point to a resurgence of far right extremism. He said: "In terms of what we might call small cell or lone wolf terrorists cases since 2008, but also other events in 2008 such as the successful election of two British National Party MEPs in the Yorkshire, Humber area, and in 2009 the creation of the English Defence League on the back of those protests by some radical Islamism groups against the return of Anglican soldiers. So I think there is a confluence of factors that do point to a resurgence in the far right."
The two convicted today actually turned up at several of the EDL rallies and used their website to praise the EDL's actions. Yet the EDL denies any links to these extremists organisation. We asked for an interview with its organisers so we could put all our evidence to them. They declined.
Does that mean EDL is infiltrated with those with a much more extreme agenda intent on more than just glorified football style violence? Police who monitor these events say no. Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell, national coordinator for domestic extremism, told Channel 4 News that "we have seen some individuals from the far right on the margins of EDL organised events but these are only one or two individuals. We have found no strong links between extreme groups like the Aryan Strike Force and the EDL."
Yet today's guilty verdicts bring to 16 the total number of far right extremists who have been convicted over the past two years. Among them were father and son Ian and Nicky Davison who were sent to prison last month for possessing the poison Ricin and for making and detonating pipe bombs. They were also co-founders of the Aryan Strike Force.
Dr Feldman says: "in groups like the ASF successor organisations we are seeing a group numbering in the few hundreds probably at the maximum. That's a few hundred too many because these are not people who are far right activists for the BNP and knocking doors. These are people who may very well be considering a future as we saw in the Davison case undertaking terrorists.
In fact Heaton stated publically that as part of a "rites of passage" to join, potential recruits had to carry out a serious op, meaning a violent racist attack.
The Institute for Race Relations is about to publish a report, which Channel 4 News has had exclusive access to, mapping out 600 serious racist attacks in the UK last year. Many have taken place in towns which have had influxes of a migrant workforce or asylum seekers. But it also hints at a correlation between attacks and pockets of extremism.
We found that of the 16 extremist convictions since 2008, two thirds come from towns which form a corridor across the north of England: Penwortham, south of Preston, to Leigh, west of Manchester, to Batley, to Selby, to Goole, to Grimsby, then further north to Elsdon and Durham. Privately, police sources have confirmed to us that their intelligence suggests the same. They admit there are some dangerous individuals, but overall the threat from right wing extremists has hardly changed since the days of the nail bomber David Copeland, who killed three and seriously injured 79 people in three attacks, the worst at Soho's Admiral Duncan Pub in 1999. It was the last time white supremacists were said to behind a bomb attack in the UK.
Those monitoring far right extremists attribute the recent string of convictions to a combination of "good police work", community relations and luck, rather than an increased threat. But they say what has changed is their profile boosted by a combination of the numerous convictions and the tenor of EDL marches.
Channel 4 News
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up.
The Leftfield Stage - Glastonbury festival's "Pop and Politics" Tent - is returning to Worthy Farm this year . It is curated by Billy Bragg, and Show Racism the Red Card are delighted to have been invited to take part in the afternoon debate he is hosting on Beating the BNP.
Billy Bragg is a musician and activist, born and raised in Barking. During the General Elections this year he was a very active ambassador of the Hope not Hate campaign against the BNP.
If you're at Glastonbury, please come and visit the Leftfield Stage (Saturday, 12pm) to hear more from Billy Bragg, who is joined by SRtRC's Leroy Rosenior and Tony Kearns, Deputy General Secretary of the CWU.
Show Racism the Red Card
A summer of clashes between extremist groups is feared as both the English Defence League and Muslims Against Crusaders pledge to use soldiers' homecoming parades as a public platform for their protests.
The English Defence League, which has cancelled two planned protests this week, today said it would be focusing on parades by the armed forces and on preventing the completion of a large mosque in Dudley, West Midlands. It plans to hold its largest demonstration to date in Dudley on 17 July.
The two groups disrupted the Royal Anglian freedom of the borough parade in Barking, east London, last week with scenes that were branded a "complete and utter disgrace" by the defence secretary, Liam Fox. Police separated members of Muslims Against Crusaders, who brandished signs such as "British soldiers are cowards", from the English Defence League, whose members returned the abuse with jeers of "scum".
The angry scenes culminated in one man being cautioned for a public order offence and another being charged with possession of a knife.
A message from the English Defence League leadership to its supporters today said: "Muslims Against Crusaders have said that they will demonstrate against every homecoming parade for our troops. This means that the English Defence League divisions will also be attending all homecoming parades to ensure our troops get the respect they deserve."
Abu Jandal, a spokesman for Muslims Against Crusaders, who demonstrated against soldiers in Barking, said: "Of course we will continue to organise more demonstrations and more protests and more vigils. We will not just stop after one parade. We want to highlight the atrocity that has been taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Fox said the actions of the groups threatened to tarnish what should be a celebration of the soldiers by their families and communities.
Sonia Gable, the deputy editor of Searchlight, said the League was looking for places to be active and demonstrate against Muslim extremists. She said: "[They] are trying to pick a fight with Muslim extremists, so really we have got extremists on both sides."
The league was formed in response to Muslim extremists' protests in Luton, where soldiers were branded "butchers of Basra". Muslims Against Crusaders was set up specifically to protest against the homecoming parade in Barking. Its leaders have vowed to continue their protests, and have called for the introduction of Sharia law.
On Sunday, more than 1,500 Unite Against Fascism supporters marched peacefully from Tower Hamlets to Altab Ali park in London's Whitechapel. The English Defence League was thought to have been planning a counter-demonstration, though it now appears that this was cancelled.
June 23, 2010
We the people of Bradford are concerned about the proposed protest by the English Defence League (EDL) in our city in late August.
The EDL is a violent racist organisation which seeks to vilify the Muslim communities and damage relations in the city. Its planned protest carries a serious threat of disorder that would have damaging consequences for our city.
We reject entirely the EDL and their hate-filled racism. We want a city where people live in peace. We want HOPE not hate. We therefore call upon the Home Secretary to ban the EDL protest in Bradford.
Sign the petition here.
Hope not hate
Members of the English Defence League, who often wear masks or balaclavas, publicly protest against militant Islam, with many of their protest marches ending in violent clashes. The group, which stirs up anger through racist chanting and inflammatory placards, has already been banned from several towns across the UK.
Organisers recently met in Chelmsford to discuss plans to expand the group by setting up a new division in Essex – and an online forum has been launched, which is already recruiting members. However, despite repeated attempts to contact the EDL leader, no one from the group, who often keep their identities secret, was willing to talk to the Chronicle to put forward their point of view.
The group claims it is not anti-immigration and has no issues with moderate Muslims, but it has been blamed for damaging community relations in areas where it is active.
Chelmsford police chief inspector Joe Wrigley told the Chronicle he had heard whisperings of the EDL setting up locally and had informed Special Branch, the police unit responsible for national security and the threats of terrorism and extremism. He said: "A group with such racist views is not welcome in Chelmsford and we will work hard to protect the public, and particularly minority groups, from such extremism."
The EDL started life in Luton as a reaction to radical Muslim groups chanting anti-war slogans during a homecoming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment.
At a demonstration in Birmingham last August, EDL fanatics clashed with left-wing members of Unite Against Facism, with 35 people being arrested. The EDL was later banned from marching through Luton by police, who feared their presence would be damaging to race relations.
Chelmsford MP Simon Burns said: "Fortunately, Chelmsford is a reasonable place where there is no significant polarisation and the community lives in harmony together. I do not think it is necessary or helpful for the establishment of an organisation of this nature, which has the potential to upset that harmony."
Faheem Akhtar, a Muslim who has lived in Chelmsford since he moved from Pakistan in 1959, and worked as a senior engineer at Marconi for 48 years, said: "These people have the wrong idea about Islam. Extremism is not a part of Islam and our religion tells us that when we live in a foreign country we must obey the laws of that country."
The group is shunned by fellow right-wingers in the British National Party, which claims the EDL's confrontational tactics are not compatible with the BNP's attempts to position itself as a legitimate political party.
The EDL did not respond to the Chronicle's requests to speak about their plans.
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up.
June 22, 2010
Sean Ganderton, 23, and Martin Durnell, 18, admitted racially-aggravated harassment during various incidents in Southmead, Bristol, last year. Bristol Crown Court was shown footage which revealed Ganderton verbally and physically abusing the men.
Sentencing them Judge Michael Roach said their behaviour was "cowardly and not to be tolerated".
The programme featured the two undercover Asian reporters posing as a couple living in the Southmead area of Bristol. Tamanna Rahman and Amil Khan spent two months living on an estate to find out if racism was still an issue in 2009.
The programme was broadcast on BBC One in October 2009.
Thanks to PMcC for the heads-up.
Fusilier John Allison, 20, is also facing disciplinary action for drumming up support for the BNP. The dog handler serves with Fusiliers 2 Scots Battalion and has toured Afghanistan's Helmand province. But he's been hauled over the coals after launching a tirade on his Facebook page after the Saville Inquiry last week condemned troops for killing 14 people during a civil rights demo in 1972.
But in a message peppered with swear words, Allison wrote: "The Saville Report is a lot of s****. The soldiers were right to shoot the ***** on Bloody Sunday. Rule Britannia."
Allison went on to describe 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment, who were responsible for killing the marchers, as "legends". Army bosses also discovered that Allison had tried to canvas votes for the BNP on his web page the day before last month's general election. Allison, of Paisley, Renfrewshire, wrote: "Vote BNP. Keep Britain British."
Serving soldiers are permitted to be members of legal political parties but are forbidden from campaigning.
Lord Saville's report ruled all victims fired on by the Paras were innocent and condemned the troops for opening fire in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. An Army spokesperson said: "Neither the Army nor the Armed Forces tolerates inappropriate behaviour in any shape or form. Instances of unacceptable social media comments brought to the attention of the Army are investigated, and appropriate action taken."
Anthony Bamber, 54, told a jury his intention was to create a debate about the "crime against humanity" that was the flow of the drug on to Britain's streets. He was responsible for heading a campaign which sent up to 30,000 of the leaflets by hand or post to targeted areas and individuals throughout the north of England over a 12-month period.
Bamber, of Greenbank Street, Preston pleaded not guilty to seven counts of distributing threatening written material intended to stir up religious hatred between March and November 2008. He was cleared by a jury at Preston Crown Court of all seven counts.
Representing himself, Bamber said there had been "no unpleasant incidents or social unrest" following the sending of the leaflets. Giving evidence last week, he explained they were targeted at educated professionals such as teachers, doctors, lawyers and clerics who were unlikely to take physical retribution against Muslims upon reading the literature. His aim was to create curiosity and interest which would then lead to a debate, he said.
The former part-time lecturer of politics and economics at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston said: "It was a desire to protest at what I say is a monstrous abomination. I believe I have the right to protest about the heroin trade.
"There are 400,000 heroin users in this country which is the equivalent of the size of a city like Liverpool. Half of these people are going to die. I wanted to scream out, I wanted society to pay much more attention to the heroin trade. It is ignored."
He added: "I do not want religious war, I do not want people to hate. I intended to do something about the heroin trade. I was not a monster stirring up religious hatred. I think it should be discussed and debated, and it will come (round) to my opinion that it is a crime against humanity. I believe I was doing a good thing."
Opening the case, David Perry QC, prosecuting, said the leaflets were filled with "hate speech" in which the obvious intention was to provoke hatred of Muslims.
Following the verdict, Detective Supt Neil Hunter, of Lancashire Constabulary's Force Major Investigation Team, said: "While we are disappointed with today's decision, we accept the decision of the court. We have worked very closely with the Crown Prosecution Service throughout this inquiry and careful consideration was given before any decision to charge was made."
Lancashire Evening Post
June 20, 2010
It has been a bad week for the BNP again with the guilty verdicts on hedgerow terrorist David Lucas for gunpowder and ammo and Peter Tierney of Liverpool BNP guilty of assault (they apparently share the same fashion consultant). Liverpool BNP are also in a bit of a homophobic tizz over the sexual proclivities of one of their members. (There is an amusingly rancid thread on VNN if you need any more info on that one.) Post-election Red, White and Blues have drastically affected Nick Griffin and there is much disharmony in the party. Griffin is clearly worried about a coup and in-between expelling former golden boy Mark Collett and being shafted by Simon Bennett over the website, he has been busy expelling members in the West Country and seeking out other victims. Eddie Butler is attempting a leadership challenge with some support from the disparate Nazis posting on the forums and the pro-Griffin smear machine is in full swing against him. All of which, combined with the dismal showing at the hustings, is benefitting the EDL.
The ‘non-racist, non-violent’ EDL are much more attractive to the casual and not-so-casual racist in that they offer the potential of a scrap, a barrel of lager and a much needed ego-boost. This week has been eventful on a small level for the EDL. At the weekend a few EDL ‘supporters’ confronted a pro-Palestinian demo in Birmingham and after a bit of fruitless argy-bargy attempted to go and watch the England game but found themselves barred from the boozers and filmed by the cops. They then went home to watch the telly. On Tuesday, a handful of EDL went to Whitechapel in East London and after being kettled into a boozer for a bit were then escorted out of the area by the cops for their own safety, pursued by a large and angry crowd of locals. We can presume that the EDL are not likely to set up a local chapter there. Further out in Barking on the same day the EDL/BNP were attending the Royal Anglian homecoming parade as were ‘Muslims Against Crusades.’ This new grupuscule is very similar in tactics and ideology to Anselm Choudary’s Islam4UK and after making a bit of noise they were abused by the EDL/BNP contingent and then escorted away by the police. These ‘militant Islamic’ groups are as suspect as the EDL in that they gather in extremists who are then more easily monitored by the state. With their usual naivety the EDL assume that all anti-fascists, UAF, SWP etc., support these bozos and are therefore claiming a great victory against anti-fascism. So this week’s activities by the EDL have amounted to little more than a humiliation in Whitechapel, several photos to put in their hooligan scrapbooks and a few crowing posts on Indymedia. The SDL have also planned a demo in Kilmarnock this weekend but if their previous excursions north are anything to go by this may be dismal.
The EDL claim that they are standing up for English values yet are vague about what these actually are. Most people would say ‘English values’ are tolerance, plurality, peace, a long heritage of mixed ethnicities dating back to Roman times and a simple desire to get on with life. The EDL’s values tend to revolve around drunken violence. The way that the EDL website perceives themselves and the reality differ enormously: they describe EDL demos like Sunday picnics, all lads together being hassled by the cops and the beastly UAF.
The EDL say they are a peaceful protest group who merely oppose militant Islam but their visits to places like Whitechapel and the planned one in Bradford are guaranteed to cause trouble. The EDL inflate the threat of ‘militant Islam’ and use the term loosely to legitimise their racism. Why do they choose Bolton or Bradford? Is it because they know for a fact there are ‘preachers of hate’ there or is it simply to have a go at Muslims? Where is the evidence that Bolton or Bradford are full of ‘Islamic extremists’ as opposed to just Muslim communities? The racist/pro-BNP chants on the demos do little to disguise their bigotry. On the various forums the EDL criticise the burkah and halal as if they are pro-feminist vegetarians which again serve as an excuse to have a go at Muslims. The EDL provoke communities with a strong Muslim presence and then pretend surprise when they are opposed by people who take umbrage at a bunch of outsiders disrupting their town. And the potential for violence is precisely the attraction of the EDL: they attract fascists who can no longer hold marches as they are outnumbered by the opposition, and football hooligans who can no longer fight at football matches due to heavy surveillance.
How many more photos and quotes do the EDL need before they admit they are riddled with BNP members, drunks, hooligans, racists and fascists. No one is saying that all EDL are like this for there is clearly a moderate wing but to deny this is beginning to sound a bit delusional. If the EDL really had it in them, they would forcibly exclude the vocally racist, provocative behaviour and Nazi following. But they do not. The fascist websites frequently include comments from those who have been on the demos. One reason the EDL are less keen on a productive exclusion policy is that like most far-right groups they rely on quantity not quality. This has led any number of fascist grupuscules imploding in acrimony, accusations and violence. They will take anyone regardless of ideological purity. These ‘internal contradictions’ will cause the EDL problems in the future.
Malatesta at Indymedia
June 19, 2010
Eddy Butler, who until recently was a senior official in the far-right BNP, announced his candidacy yesterday and began to seek nominations from members. He accused Mr Griffin of an “authoritarian leadership style” that “inhibits new ideas and stifles debate”.
Mr Butler wrote on his blog: “Funding has dried up. Our financial liabilities are mounting. Inquiries to the party from the public have plummeted. Our electoral progress has all but halted. Our activist base has lost its enthusiasm.
“After 11 long years Nick has accumulated a massive amount of baggage which makes him less popular with the public than the party.”
Mr Griffin announced last month that he would step down in 2013 to concentrate on his European Parliament re-election campaign. The decision was widely seen as an attempt to avoid an immediate challenge, amid growing internal criticism about the party’s performance in the election.
The BNP failed to win any parliamentary seats, notably the key target seat of Barking, East London, where Mr Griffin was relegated to third place and trailed Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP, by 18,000 votes. The party also lost all but two of its council seats across the country.
Mr Butler said: “We do not have the luxury of waiting for several years before the current chairman feels it is time to leave. In bringing the party forward Nick has become more of a public liability than an asset.”
Mr Butler, prominent in nationalist politics since the 1980s, was the BNP’s campaign co-ordinator until March, when he was dismissed by Mr Griffin. For a leadership election to take place he must be nominated by 20 per cent of those who have been members of the party for two years. If he succeeds, the campaign will take place over the summer and a postal ballot held in October.
Mr Griffin will try to persuade members that he is the best person for the leadership because of his national recognition. This week The Times reported that he had been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, owing to his position as an MEP.
A contest would be a bitter one. A website purporting to “expose” Mr Butler has already been formed by Mr Griffin’s supporters. Mr Griffin saw off a challenge in 2007 and also faced a plot by dissidents to overthrow him during the recent election campaign.
The BNP has been plagued by internal turmoil. Members have questioned why Mr Griffin performed so badly given the party’s increased media exposure after the European Parliament breakthrough last year and an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.
The party did not respond to inquiries from The Times.
June 18, 2010
During the incident, which was captured on CCTV, Tierney swung a camera tripod at the back of the activist’s head. The victim subsequently needed his head wound gluing up at hospital. The jury took just an hour to find Tierney guilty, rejecting the notion that he acted in self-defence and was “in danger for my life.”
A spokesperson for Liverpool Antifascists said: “This is absolutely a positive result. Tierney’s guilt was clear-cut, as we have seen from the CCTV footage, and it is absurd that he has been able to drag this out for so long – at unneccesary expense to the taxpayer and stress to the victim. Liverpool Antifascists have protested at every single one of Tierney’s court appearances.
“Despite the wish of the BNP that this incident be forgotten, we have refused to turn a blind eye to the violent criminality of so prominent a member in Liverpool BNP. This result vindicates our stance.”
The sentence will be announced on July 12th. Judge John Roberts, adjourning, said: “I have not made a final decision on sentencing. That would be wrong at this stage, but provisionally I am thinking of some kind of community service. To decide how I should sentence you I will need a report from probation services.”
Peter Tierney has engaged in aggression and violence during BNP activism, and in full view of his fellow members. Liverpool BNP’s support of him, and of this violent criminality, has been unwavering throughout the trial. Political violence is a characteristic of fascism, and Liverpool Antifascists are glad that the truth has come out.
June 17, 2010
Police officers who went to a static caravan at Black Dyke Farm near Lakenheath in April last year, where David Lucas had been staying, found a plastic tub containing a small amount of gunpowder and 2,500 rounds of ammunition that he wasn’t authorised to possess, Ipswich Crown Court heard. Lucas, 49, of South Road, Lakenheath, admitted possessing gunpowder without an explosives licence, two offences of possessing prohibited ammunition and one offence of possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate.
Sentencing Lucas, Judge David Goodin said the offences crossed the custody threshold but agreed to pass a 12-month sentence suspended for 12 months after coming to the conclusion that Lucas was eccentric rather than a danger to the public. He ordered Lucas to pay £250 towards prosecution costs and ordered him to reside for 13 weeks at his mother’s house. He told Lucas that in the wrong hands the ammunition was potentially dangerous and warned him to take more care in the future.
Jonathan Davies for Lucas said his client’s attitude had been “negligent and indifferent” rather than a flagrant disregard for the law. He said the small amount of gunpowder found in the caravan was used to set off traps on the farm and he had collected the ammunition over a number of years and planned to display some of the cartridges in picture frames in hunting and fishing lodges.
Mr Davies said Lucas had led a law-abiding life and had been made bankrupt after losing his transport business because of the foot and mouth outbreak in the county in 2001. He said Lucas helped local people by being a parish councillor and was well-respected locally.
Right-wing activist Charlotte Lewis, from Thornton Heath, wrote on her Facebook page that mass-murderer Derrick Bird should have come to London and slaughtered illegal immigrants rather than his "fellow British people".
Her tirade is the latest in a string of hate-filled rants and calls for violence against "pakis" through her Facebook page. The latest post reads: "Ok, so I may well get in to trouble for saying this - but I've got to get it off my chest. I wish that Derrick Bird could have come down to London & shot dead some illegal immigrants, rather than killing his fellow British people. If that offends you then tough; it's my opinion and I'm entitled to it."
Her comments refer to taxi driver Derrick Bird, who went on a killing spree in west Cumbria on June 2, shooting dead 12 people and injuring 11 others.
Her latest Facebook rant was highlighted by website Hope Not Hate, Searchlight's campaign to counter racism and fascism in elections and beyond. Gerry Gable from Searchlight said: "I think anybody advocating the murder of illegal immigrants should be prosecuted. People may view Charlotte Lewis as being a bit potty, but the overwhelming interest in firearms of the BNP tells a much more serious story."
When contacted by the Croydon Guardian Miss Lewis, 37, questioned why her "innocuous" comments were being treated so seriously. In a bizarre rant she flip-flopped repeatedly over whether illegal immigrants should be murdered or not, before asking why her love of Chandi the dancing dog in Britain's Got Talent was not being treated as a story.
She said: "It would be preferable to kill illegal immigrants than fellow British people, because they shouldn’t be in this country."
Miss Lewis' true face was revealed in April after pictures were discovered of her swigging from a bottle of alcopops while clad in a burqa during a Halloween party. The Carshalton and Wallington parliamentary candidate, who also ran for Croydon Council’s Shirley ward in the May elections, was snapped revealing her contempt for Muslims by hitching up her costume to reveal her underwear.
Your Local Guardian
The Commons last year decided to remove the right of MEPs to hold photo access passes to Parliament in a bid to keep out Mr Griffin and fellow party MEP Andrew Brons. But peers objected to the decision and tonight head of the administration in the Lords, Lord Brabazon of Tara, said MEPs would now be given special passes which would allow them into only the parts of Parliament controlled by the Upper House.
Debating the move last year, peers described the measure as a 'messy, shoddy little administrative proposal' but were told that, as both Houses issue passes, the decision of MPs could not take proper effect unless agreed to by the Lords. Peers unanimously demanded further consideration of the matter by MPs, but Lord Brabazon said tonight in a written statement that the then chairman of the House of Commons administration committee, Frank Doran, had replied that it was not 'appropriate to revisit the issue'.
Lord Brabazon said: 'It was clear, not least for administrative and security reasons, that it would be preferable for the two Houses to operate identical rules in respect of Parliamentary passes for UK MEPs.'
But he told peers that the House committee in the Lords had nonetheless agreed to continue issuing Parliamentary passes to UK MEPs. He added: 'However, because of the decision taken by the House of Commons, it will be necessary to alter the appearance of UK MEPs' Parliamentary passes to make clear that they only grant access to the House of Lords' areas of the Parliamentary estate. In addition, the new passes will only operate the pass readers in the Lords' area.
'The work is already under way and the new style of pass will soon be issued to UK MEPs who have requested one. In the meantime, the officials of both Houses are working together closely to ensure that the new arrangements bed in as smoothly and effectively as possible.'
At the time peers rejected the approach taken by the Commons, Labour's Lord Tomlinson said MEPs had enjoyed the right to passes 'for the last 29 years without, as far as I'm aware, having produced any problems'.
He said the issue threatened to be 'a very serious irritant between ourselves and the European Parliament'.
June 16, 2010
Now Yasmin Qureshi, who was elected as Bolton South East MP last month, is calling on GMP to drop charges against anti-fascist activists arrested on the day. But GMP says its offers were the subject of “hostility and aggression” from protesters. Ms Qureshi was on the UAF front line at the protest against the EDL’s rally in Victoria Square on March 20 and is leading the new national campaign calling on police not to prosecute left-wing protesters.
The newly formed Justice4Bolton campaign is arguing the use of conspiracy laws, rather than charges relating to specific incidents which would require greater evidence, “indicates a move towards de-legitimatising protests against the rise of fascism in the UK”.
Ms Qureshi said: “I did not see or hear any activity amongst the protesters that I would have described as violent disorder, though there were some police officers who, in my view, were being heavy-handed in some cases. I supported the aims of the protest against the English Defence League in Bolton and I was there.”
Justice4Bolton has already won the support of trade unions, anti-fascist organisations and influential MPs including former Northern Ireland and Wales Secretary Peter Hain. Thousands of UAF and EDL demonstrators held counter-demonstrations in Victoria Square on March 20. Police made more than 70 arrests, with more than 50 of those UAF supporters. Among those arrested on the day were Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, and Rhetta Moran, joint secretary of Greater Manchester UAF.
Mr Hain said: “The UAF has worked very hard to get rid of the British National Party and the fascist threat and should be congratulated, not prosecuted.”
But police deny they were heavy-handed. Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, said: “Everyone has a democratic right to protest. We respect that right and spent weeks consulting people locally and nationally and meticulously planning this event to ensure a demonstration could go ahead safely. Were it not for their professionalism and bravery, many others would have been seriously injured. As an investigation into the disorder is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Anthony Bamber, 54, printed and then distributed documents entitled ‘The Heroin Trade’ which allegedly claimed followers of Islam were responsible for the sale of the drug on Britain’s streets, Preston Crown Court heard. The leaflet said the trade was a 'crime against humanity' and demanded that Muslims 'apologise and pay compensation' for the flow of heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan, the court was told.
Bamber, from Preston, went with a friend to Barnoldswick in March 2008 and hand delivered the leaflets to a number of homes. One resident alerted police and officers arrived to speak to Bamber. He claimed he was trying to promote a group called Preston Pals, named after a First World War battalion who recruited from the city.
Bamber is also accused of delivering similar material across the north west and sending leaflets to a Cumbrian school and two Manchester barristers.
David Perry QC, prosecuting, said: “The defendant distributed leaflets and letters by hand or by post which were threatening and he did so with the intention of creating or stirring up religious hatred, and the religion he directed the hatred towards was Islam. This case is about hate speech. That is speech designed to arouse hatred against members of a social group identified by a particular characteristic. In this case the social group is Muslims and the characteristic they share is religion, namely Islam. The objective of the letters and leaflets, the prosecution say, was to provoke hatred of Islam. The hatred was not directed just at the concept but at the followers of Islam - Muslims.”
Bamber, who is representing himself in court, denies seven charges of distributing material designed to incite religious hatred.
Mr Perry said: “They (the Preston Pals) have got nothing whatsoever to do with the BNP and nothing whatsoever to do with the hatred of Islam. Why that name was being used is not really known."
Parliamentary candidate James Fitton, who stood in the St Austell and Newquay constituency, has also accused the party of breaking its own constitution after he was suspended. Two other members, Peter Mullins, from Liskeard, the party's former regional organiser for the South West and Simon Bennett, from Camelford, who designed and maintained the BNP's website, have also been suspended.
In a letter from party bosses, Mr Fitton is said to have been suspended for a "serious breach of BNP code of conduct" but the letter does not state any specific reason – something Mr Fitton says is against the party's own constitution. He said: "Myself and two others in Cornwall have been suspended along with a member in Torbay and there's been members suspended in the East and West Midlands."
Section 9.9 of the BNP constitution states: "The individual member concerned should, as soon as practically possible thereafter, have in writing details of the alleged offence."
Mr Fitton also accuses the party of bending the rules to suit its own needs, after a member who joined in February became sub-region organiser for Devon and Cornwall in April. Party rules state that members are on probation for two years and are unable to attain any positions within the party during that time. All three members of the party have been vocal in their criticism of Nick Griffin in recent months and the party's attitude towards Cornish members.
Mr Bennett, a member for five years, has accused Mr Griffin of "entrenching himself" as the leader. "There's been a vast majority of members up for removal, there's a climate of fear. But the truth is more important," he said.
Mr Mullins said: "There is a pyramid structure within the party and at the apex is Nick Griffin. What he says happens. He doesn't do democracy and it's virtually a dictatorship. They've kissed goodbye to the whole of Cornwall and literally thrown us in the bin."
Both Mr Mullins and Mr Bennett recently attended a meeting in Leicestershire, where a vote was carried to support Eddy Butler, from Essex, as a potential challenger for the leadership.
June 15, 2010
Mr Griffin has obtained invitations for himself and three guests in his capacity as the North West’s MEP, in a move which last night provoked concern that other guests would boycott the event. His possible attendance plunges the palace into fresh controversy over its attitude to Mr Griffin, who has been convicted of distributing material likely to incite racial hatred.
He attempted to attend one of the Queen’s garden parties last year, but withdrew after an eruption of public outrage. It was suggested that his presence would tarnish the Queen’s reputation. Other MEPs and opponents of the far-right party warned that Mr Griffin’s invitation “utterly compromised” the Queen and risked politicising the annual event.
Each year British MEPs are entitled to two tickets to one of the Queen’s three garden parties at Buckingham Palace. It was unclear how Mr Griffin obtained four tickets, which he announced during a BNP supporters’ dinner at the weekend. In a video seen by The Times, Mr Griffin produced the invitations in front of his guests, prompting loud cheers and claps. He told the gathered crowd that he, his wife Jackie and their two daughters, Jennifer and Rhiannon, had been invited to the event on July 22.
“So my guess is the six o’clock news on Thursday, July 22, might have a little bit about the British National Party,” he added. So we’re gonna [sic] be back in the news.”
Last year Mr Griffin sparked anger when he said that he would attend a party as the guest of Richard Barnbrook, who had obtained two tickets in his capacity as the BNP’s representative on the London Assembly. However, Mr Griffin withdrew after the Greater London Authority warned Mr Barnbrook that his nomination would be reconsidered if he continued to exploit it for publicity. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, had expressed concern about Mr Griffin’s attendance.
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace confirmed that an invitation had been issued this year. She said that Mr Griffin was eligible to nominate himself and the Palace would not discriminate against democratically elected representatives.
Searchlight, the organisation which campaigns against the BNP, said it was “bizarre” that Mr Griffin had received an invitation when his party had been soundly rejected by voters at the general election.
Claude Moraes, a Labour MEP for London, said that the move “deeply politicises and embarrasses the Queen”.
“She has been forced into an extremely difficult situation. I would expect some people to boycott the party. If people knew about this it would clearly spoil the occasion for a lot of them. It has utterly compromised the Queen and she is made to feel that she has to make a political decision.”
Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who trounced Mr Griffin in his bid for the seat of Barking and Dagenham, said: “It sickens me that Nick Griffin uses his elected position to gain access to the Royal garden party.”
The BNP’s media spokesman refused to comment.
June 14, 2010
Anthony Bamber, 54, printed and then distributed documents entitled The Heroin Trade which allegedly claimed followers of Islam were responsible for the sale of the drug on Britain's streets. It said the trade was a "crime against humanity" and demanded that Muslims
"apologise and pay compensation" for the flow of heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Preston Crown Court was told Bamber, of Preston, Lancashire, targeted various people across the North West in his leaflet drops between March and November 2008, including a school in Sedbergh, Cumbria, two barristers in Manchester, and addresses in Harrogate.
David Perry QC, prosecuting, said: "The defendant distributed leaflets and letters by hand or by post which were threatening and he did so with the intention of creating or stirring up religious hatred, and the religion he directed the hatred towards was Islam. This case is about hate speech. That is speech designed to arouse hatred against members of a social group identified by a particular characteristic.
"In this case the social group is Muslims and the characteristic they share is religion, namely Islam. The objective of the letters and leaflets, the prosecution say, was to provoke hatred of Islam. The hatred was not directed just at the concept but at the followers of Islam - Muslims."
In March 2008, Bamber and another man visited Barnoldswick, Lancashire, where they delivered the leaflets by hand, the court heard. A householder in the area contacted the police, who arrived and spoke to the defendant, Mr Perry said.
"The defendant admitted he had been distributing the leaflets and he said his purpose was to promote an organisation known as the Preston Pals," the prosecutor said. The Preston Pals was a battalion which fought in the First World War which recruited its members from the city.
Mr Perry said: "They (the Preston Pals) have got nothing whatsoever to do with the BNP and nothing whatsoever to do with the hatred of Islam. Why that name was being used is not really known. The defendant also said that the leaflet was inspected by a lawyer who informed him that the material could not be interpreted as provoking religious or religious hatred."
The jury was told the leaflet said 95% of heroin traded in the UK came from the Pakistan and Afghanistan region and was a "crime against humanity". It continued: "Before the Islamic invasion it was impossible to find heroin in our land. Muslims are almost exclusively responsible for its production, transportation and sale. It is a crime against humanity because it has caused far more suffering than slavery ever did. It has led to millions of premature deaths."
Taxpayers were also victims due to the cost of policing and rehabilitation for which Muslims must compensate, the leaflet added. Muslims should be held to account with condemnation heaped upon them so that it would lead to the abolition of the trade, it concluded. The leaflet was labelled a Preston Pals publication which was "committed to non-violent democratic resistance" and was set up in honour of the soldiers in a "campaign on behalf of indigenous communities".
Mr Perry said the real intention of the leaflet was "obvious".
"It is no doubt intended to be dramatic. It is no doubt intended to capture the imagination and say 'look at what these people are doing, they are all criminals'," he said. "The crime of drug trafficking was the collective responsibility of all Muslims - according to the leaflet - and they were all being "tarred with the same brush".
He told the jury the tone of the leaflet could be seen as "militaristic and menacing" rather than promoting a non-violent and democratic cause.
"You may think it is intolerant, bigoted and intended to be divisive. It is blaming Islam with contestable and questionable assertions of facts and stoking resentment. The prosecution say that the overall message is that Muslims are killing British youths and they must themselves be made to pay and it is your duty to make them pay. They are 'the invader'."
In June 2008 the headteacher of Sedbergh School received a large brown envelope which contained a number of letters addressed to individual teachers. The letters were along similar lines to the leaflet and called for Muslims to be held to account for the heroin trade.
"We know we are asking a lot," it said. "There are many dangers with confronting the Muslim invader."
Mr Perry said: "The letter makes it clear that all Muslims are to be held to account and it makes it clear that all Muslims are culpable."
Similar material was also sent to two barristers in Manchester and addresses in Lytham and Eccleston, Lancashire, and Harrogate, North Yorkshire, the court was told. Bamber, of Greenbank Street, who is representing himself, denies seven counts of distributing threatening written material intended to stir up religious hatred.
The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.
It appears that a lot of pressure was put on the Troxy to cancel the booking, particularly by the council. In a statement released last night the EDL announced that as a result of the cancellation they were calling off their own protest.
While this removes the prospect of confrontation and is a victory for common sense it also highlights the complete failure of the authorities to address the growing EDL threat. Over the past few years hundreds of millions of pounds have been ploughed into community cohesion and other such initiatives but then we are told that groups that are deliberately setting out to whip up tension and violence cannot be stopped.
The problem appears to stem from the Public Order Unit at the Home Office, who have taken it upon themselves to act as the champions of free speech in advising successive Ministers that EDL protests should be allowed to happen. Their analysis and advice has been so shallow that one Minister refused to accept one report they prepared on the EDL and another commented "I learn more about the EDL from Searchlight than I do from our own official briefings".
They currently hide behind the legal opinion that static protests cannot be prevented but their real reason is far more ideological and short-sighted. I shall be writing more about this in the July issue of Searchlight.
Nick Lowles at Hope not hate
Geller's right wing fringe website "Atlas Shrugs" appeals to the worst in people. In particular, the blog breeds hatred and contempt for the President, and for Muslims. It is a voice for the ugliest, most ignorant segment of American society.
On her blog Geller reprints her notice from PayPal:
'Dear Pamela Geller,About Geller, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs writes:
We appreciate the fact that you chose PayPal to send and receive payments for your transactions.
However, after a recent review of your account, it has been determined that you are currently in violation of PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy. Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.'
'The fact is that there are plenty of good reasons to make the judgment that Pamela Geller promotes crazy hate speech, racist groups, and conspiracy theories; her main targets are Muslims, but many of these reasons have nothing to do with Islam, radical or otherwise.Geller is entitled to spew her hater speech, and publish her foul and misleading website: this is a free country. But PayPal is in no way obligated to do business with her. PayPal should be saluted for their conscientious effort to stand up against hate and intolerance.
For example, her bizarre racist accusation that Barack Obama is the illegitimate child of Malcolm X. Or her promotion of Birther theories. Or her association with far right fascist parties in Europe, such as the Belgian Vlaams Belang, the BNP-linked English Defense League, and the neo-Nazi-linked Pro-Koln group. Or her outrageous support and whitewashing of murdered South African neo-Nazi leader Eugene Terreblanche.'
Thank you PayPal, thank you for doing the right thing.
June 12, 2010
alcopops and reveals her underwear while wearing a burka at a Halloween party
Who would write such a thing just two days after the terrible and tragic events in Cumbria where Derrick Bird used his guns to murder 12 people and injure 11 on 2 June? Perhaps a stupid, ignorant teenager in a desperate grab for attention?
At around the same time this comment was posted, Nick Griffin, the BNP leader and MEP for the North West, was rightly offering his condolences to the victims and their families. Given the BNP’s wish to put more firearms into the community, writers at Searchlight proffered that the BNP’s policies would probably lead to more such events as it so difficult to legislate for what makes seemingly normal people “snap” or “go postal” to use the American expression.
The writer of this bile was, however, no attention seeking teenager, but an adult woman and associate of Griffin. Charlotte Lewis is a frequent Croydon BNP election candidate, spokesperson on BNP TV and campaigner for animal rights.
“Ok, so I know I may get into trouble for saying this – but I’ve got to get it off my chest,” wrote Lewis on her Facebook page prefacing her offensive comment.
The 37-year-old who was the BNP parliamentary candidate in Carshalton and Wallington in last month’s general election is no stranger to controversy and threats of violence. Lewis received a six-month jail sentence in 2001, when she wrote threatening letters to staff at the Huntingdon Life Sciences animal research laboratory in Cambridgeshire.
During the elections she was exposed as a foul-mouthed racist who encouraged attacks on the home of a teenager, writing “I hope she gets cancer”. She had earlier caused offence by turning up at a Halloween party dressed in a burka, swigging alcohol from a bottle and flashing stockings and suspenders, an act that she described as “hilarious”.
No sooner had Lewis written her vile message than a host of other BNP members and supporters expressed their support. Dave Castle wrote of “going down to southall [sic] with a f***ing machine gun” if he were ever diagnosed with a terminal illness. In fact Southall has a large Asian and Sikh population, a community to which the BNP is desperate to reach out in its anti-Islam campaign.
But it didn’t end there. Among the dead in Cumbria was a trade union organiser, an innocent victim of Bird’s rampage. “At least amongst the innocent was a f***ing union organiser,” wrote Sam Cash, another BNP member and, at 67 years old, not a stupid teenager.
Lewis’s and her colleagues’ views are sickening. Even hardened journalists who know Lewis and other BNP members were surprised at BNP members’ openly expressed hatred. They do not discriminate: asylum seekers, illegal immigrants, Sikhs, Muslims and trade union organisers are the very people that, deep in their hearts, BNP members would wish to see brutally murdered. As we have always said, away from Question Time and BBC interviews, this is how the BNP generally feels about modern Britain and other human beings.
People like Lewis, Cash and Castle are the very people, one must assume, that the BNP would wish to see armed for their “own protection” under a BNP government. These are the “decent law abiding folk” that the BNP claims make up the membership of the party. These are the very people who Griffin and his party claim will be one day involved in a “civil war”.
Make no mistake: not only is the BNP racist, ignorant and vile, if your face does not fit, it is also potentially murderous.
Hope not hate
June 11, 2010
Michael Heaton, 42, and Trevor Hannington, 58, both "proud" neo-Nazis, are accused at Liverpool Crown Court of urging people to kill Jews.
Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting said: "Each of these men is proud to call himself a National Socialist, or a neo-Nazi in other language. Each is a member of an organisation called the Aryan Strike Force, whose goal it is to clear the country of all ethnic minorities, as they say, whatever it takes."
Both men deny that postings they made on a right-wing website solicited others to murder. Heaton is standing trial over four comments he made on the Aryan Strike Force website (ASF) between January and April 2008.
The prosecution argue that his comments about Jews - "...they will always be scum, destroy 'em with whatever it takes", and "I would encourage any religion or race that wants to destroy the Jews, I hate them with a passion..." - encourage their murder, or at least stir up racial hatred. In one post he wrote that black people are "less intelligent than other species", and in another that Jews are leeches and "treacherous fucking scum".
Hannington denies one count of soliciting to murder with the post: "Kill the Jew, Kill the Jew, Burn down a synagogue today!... Burn the scum...".
Mr Edis told the jury of seven men and five women there was no question over whether the defendants made the postings.
"That is undisputed," he said, referring to Hannington's post. "It's what he wanted to achieve when he put that on a forum on a website that matters."
The panel was told that Hannington has already pleaded guilty to possessing information which may be useful to terrorists. On Wednesday he admitted to owning the Anarchist's Cookbook, Kitchen Complete and The Terrorist Encyclopaedia, all of which are considered useful tools to someone preparing or committing an act of terrorism.
He pleaded guilty to inciting racial hatred with internet posts stating his beliefs that Jews were "parasites feeding on others" and "utterly evil sub-beings". He also admitted publishing a post on the internet with instructions on how to make a flame thrower out of a water pistol. Mr Edis said the guilty pleas should not persuade the jury that he is guilty of the count he stands trial over, but that it demonstrates he is "to be taken seriously", and has the knowledge of how to follow his comments through into practice.
The prosecutor said Heaton made more than 3,000 posts on the ASF website between January and June 2008, before he had a "bust-up" with the organisation and created his own, The British Freedom Fighters. The website changed its name to Legion 88 and then Wolfpack, before it was closed down.
Mr Edis explained that the number 8 refers to the eighth letter in the alphabet, H. So 88 stands for HH, as in Heil Hitler, a common greeting for neo-Nazis. Both men used a number of monikers when they posted their comments on the website. Heaton called himself Wigan Mike, and then later Lenny. Hannington gave himself the names Fist, Lee 88 and Paul.
The prosecutor said: "These are the descriptions they gave themselves. It's how they wish to be named."
The pair were in regular contact over the internet with two men who have now been convicted of terrorism charges, including possessing the deadly poison ricin, the court heard. Jurors were shown chatroom conversations between them and fellow racists who called themselves Sweeney and Thorburn. Sweeney was the moniker for Ian Davison, who set up the ASF website, and is now in prison. Thorburn is the name used by his son, Nicky Davison, now serving time in a young offenders' institution.
Mr Edis told the jurors they would be shown more logs of internet chat conversations between both men and their associates during the trial.
The prosecutor briefly showed the panel a collection of photographs found on Heaton's computer, as well as a video showing him training in a form of martial art. He is seen kicking a training partner, and Mr Edis said more videos of him teaching his skills to others will be shown. This, he said, shows he is not simply preoccupied by posting racist material on the internet, but is active in spreading his beliefs to other.
The trial continues.