February 28, 2007

'Bomb plot' retrial set for July

0 Comment (s)
Two men accused over a 'bomb plot' will face a new trial in July.

A previous trial of Robert Cottage and David Jackson, accused of conspiring to make an explosive, collapsed after a jury failed to reach a verdict. But a judge at Manchester Crown Court yesterday ordered both men should face a fresh jury.

Earlier the court heard Cottage, 49, of Talbot Street, Colne, had ordered three boxes of chemicals from the internet on behalf of Jackson, 62, of Trent Road, Nelson. Cottage had downloaded and printed bomb making information from The Anarchist Cookbook. But none of the chemicals had been opened or used when police raided his home.

Cottage has admitted possessing the explosives, but both men deny the conspiracy charge. Both men have been remanded in custody.

The new trial, expected to last a week, has been listed for July 2nd.

Burnley Citizen

FBI may reopen cold cases in South

0 Comment (s)
Slayings are from 1950s,'60s

The FBI is considering reopening dozens of cold cases involving slayings suspected of being racially motivated in the South during the 1950s and '60s. An announcement could come as early as Tuesday, according to a law-enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not yet been finalized.

In addition to the FBI's investigations, the Southern Poverty Law Center submitted its own list last week of 74 potential unsolved slayings that involved white-on-black violence. Thirty-two of the deaths were in Mississippi. The others were in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and New York.

Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project for the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, said each case was researched in the late 1980s when the group was putting together a civil-rights memorial. But it is unclear if each could be considered a civil-rights case, he said.

"The truth is we don't know," said Potok, whose group investigates hate crimes. "In each case there was some evidence to suggest that these were racial murders, but it absolutely was not proven. Had we been able to nail them down, their names would've been literally chiseled into the civil-rights memorial that sits outside our building here."

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton in Jackson reviewed the list of Mississippi killings Friday and said based on the limited amount of information available none would qualify for federal prosecution under civil-rights statutes. But he said many could still be prosecuted on a local or state level as murders. The deaths outlined by the center happened in a variety of ways, from police-involved shootings to trysts with white women broken up by gunfire.

In most cases, the statute of limitations under federal civil-rights laws will have run out, Lampton said. In others, charges could not be brought because the accused have already faced charges and been cleared by a jury.

"Some of these are going to turn out to be what they call 'good shoots,' where somebody deserved to get shot" during a crime, Lampton said. "But when you're talking about somebody wearing a (Congress of Racial Equality) shirt drowned in the river, that's murder."

Among the deaths listed by the center was that of Sam O'Quinn, who was shot in Centreville, Miss., in 1959. Researchers found information that O'Quinn might have been shot after joining the NAACP. Sheriff Reginald L. Jackson, who has lived in Wilkinson County where Centreville is located for most of his life, said he could not open an investigation into the killing without more to go on.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said last month the bureau was aggressively seeking to solve cold civil-rights cases, vowing to "pursue justice to the end, and we will, no matter how long it takes, until every living suspect is called to answer for their crimes."

Potok said it was not a surprise many of the deaths happened in Mississippi, the state that was the most defiant during the civil-rights era.

"The entire deep South was incredibly violent at that time, but I think that Mississippi outdid every other state hands-down," Potok said. "That's just a fact. I think it's undeniable. I mean when people got to Mississippi they were looking down gun barrels in a way that was beyond even Alabama and Georgia."

Sun Herald

LMHR/UAF/AMICUS National University Tour

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The first national LMHR university tour, sponsored by trade union Amicus, and supported by UAF, starts this weekend at Essex University in Colchester with a mega 3-room “indoor festival” featuring hot new drum 'n bass star Crissy Cris, Rampage, Lupen Crook, The Priscillas, and Nu-MCs.

The tour is aimed at boosting anti-racist organisation on campus in the run-up to May’s local elections, with growing evidence that the fascist BNP is making a concerted effort to recruit students and try to gain repsectability by running for positions in the NUS.

Each date on the tour will have a great music event as well as hosting a debate on fighting racism and fascism at Uni, with speakers from LMHR & UAF, the NUS, and Amicus. See individual Gigs and Events listings for full details of acts and speakers.

02/03/07 Essex Uni SU, Colchester: Crissy Cris, Rampage, Priscillas, Lupen Crook.
09/03/07 University of East London Stratford: Specialists, Mecca2Medina, Natty, Snakeyman
14/03/07 Leeds University SU: L Double, Broke’n'English, Virus Syndicate, FWD dubstep DJs
16/03/07 University of East London Docklands SU: Ace & Vis (Radio 1), Hypa Fen & Marcie Phonix, Mecca 2 Medina
20/03/07 Swansea SU: Jan Watkins Band, The Blims, Natty
22/03/07 Nottingham Marcus Garvey Ballroom (Nottm Uni & Trent Uni)
18/04/07 Glasgow Uni SU
19/04/07 Bristol Anson Rooms (UWE & Bristol Uni’s): Heartless Crew full band, Professor Green
24/04/07 Luton Uni: DJ Cameo, Heartless Crew
25/04/07 Belfast Queens Uni: Ultra Montanes, DJ Stuart Bailie + local support
30/04/07 Lancaster Uni SU
2/5/07 Plymouth Uni SU
8/5/07 Keele Uni SU, Stoke-on-Trent
9/5/07 Birmingham University Guild of Students
tbc May Sussex Uni


February 27, 2007

TUC welcomes 'union can expel BNP member' judgement

2 Comment (s)
The TUC has welcomed today's decision by the European Court of Human Rights that unions can expel members of the far-right BNP, and that this is not incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case was brought by traindrivers' union ASLEF, after the UK courts found in favour of a BNP member expelled from the union because of the incompatibility of BNP views and those of the trade union movement.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said, 'This is an important and welcome judgement. The European Court of Human Rights has made the common sense decision that the right to freedom of association does not force unions to accept into membership people opposed to the basic principles of trade unionism. Instead it says that the European Convention's provisions protect unions from excessive interference by government in deciding how they run their own affairs, including how they choose their members.

'We will need to discuss further all the implications of this judgement, including what changes now need to be made to UK law, but every union will welcome this clear decision that they can now expel BNP members.'


February 26, 2007

BNP's Nick Cass comes under fire from police!

3 Comment (s)
This letter below appears as a result of moaning from the BNP's Nick Cass that a complaint from Cllr Colin Auty regarding malicious phone calls weren't dealt with in the way Cass felt they should have been. What it must be to think you know how to run everything...

From: Name and address supplied.

Dear Sir,

After reading the article [below] on the BNP in your paper earlier this month I was not only surprised but can I say appalled by the attitude of Mr Cass, calling us – your local police – a waste of space, and saying that if they get into power we will "all be cleaning toilets". Who the hell does this person think he is?

As a local serving officer, I am not only amazed, disappointed and can I say angry not only at his attitude but that you, a well respected local newspaper, could print this totally unfounded rubbish in the first place.

We, as you well know, police this town to the best of our abilities and with the co-operation of the public at large do, I think, a good job. We are not perfect (who is?) but to be denigrated and smeared by this man Cass, who I believe doesn’t even live in this town, is beyond belief.

Let’s put it this way. I think that this BNP boss with his nasty, tasteless and unfounded comments have alienated not only the many serving officers in this town, their families and friends, but now the law abiding public at large who do respect the police and what they do.

The Press

An excellent response to the outrageous arrogance that Cass displayed in the original article.

Councillor's death threat

A BNP councillor fears for his family's safety in the wake of a 'death threat' phone call which he claims was ignored by police. But Coun Colin Auty (Dewsbury East) says he won't be put off his work for the local community. And he is being backed by North Kirklees BNP boss Nick Cass who called for police to take action.

Mr Cass said officers would have acted differently if someone like Dewsbury and Mirfield Labour MP Shahid Malik had been involved.

Coun Auty received two calls last week, the first from a man with an Asian accent and then from a woman. The woman said: "We are going to get you lot. You are racists and we are going to kill you and your family. I have a gun." Coun Auty, who lives in Chickenley, said: "I was more disturbed because the call came from a woman. The caller seemed angry about a newsletter we were distributing but there was nothing racist in it at all."

After reporting the call, two police officers arrived at his house just before midnight.

"One was a woman and she was very good and helpful," said Coun Auty. "She explained that what happened was not a crime but a malicious call. She suggested I contact BT to get a block on the phone. Most calls like this are from cranks but it is a lottery and one might be truly dangerous. I am hardened to it but I fear for my family. I have two little girls. These callers won't put me off though. It won't stop me doing what I have to do."

Mr Cass said: "This is a long-running problem. I get such calls on a regular basis and I don't report them. The police aren't interested. Colin was told he should expect such things."

Mr Cass said the newsletter was simply updating residents and introducing him as a candidate in Dewsbury East at the local elections in May. "No one could be offended by them," he said. "But we are getting fed up. I want police to take this seriously and go through phone records for information."

Mr Cass said he was 'incensed' by the death threats and added: "Let's reverse this shall we? Can you imagine the police behaving in the same manner if someone had rung Shahid Malik, Tony Blair or even the likes of (Dewsbury East Labour councillor) Paul Kane and threatened to kill them and their families? I don't think so. They would have rounded up the perpetrator and prosecuted them! For all their tough talk, the police are a waste of space. I have worked closely with Colin in Dewsbury East and we get many people contacting us to complain about vandals smashing their area up only to be fobbed off by police who say they can't do anything. We need action not talk."

He issued a warning to senior police officers and said: "Those who spend more money and time on politically correct projects than catching criminals had better watch out. When the BNP gets an MP elected in Dewsbury they had better buck their ideas up or face a career change cleaning toilets."

A police spokesman said: "We received a report of a malicious communication made to an address in the Chickenley area in the evening of January 31, in which the caller had withheld their number. We visited the complainant that night and inquiries are on-going. We have fully updated the complainant and as far as we are aware they are happy with how the matter has been dealt with."

The Press

BNP chief blames immigrants for TB

13 Comment (s)
A racist who blames TB on immigrants gets...TB

A BNP leader revealed yesterday he has TB - and tried to blame it on immigrants. Richard Barnbrook told the Mirror he was "furious" that he had the disease. Misinformed Barnbrook, 46, ranted: "Yes I have got TB. Immigration has caused this."

But his blast is incorrect racist propaganda. Experts say tuberculosis was common in Britain until the 50s but contrary to Barnbrook's claim was NEVER eradicated and never dropped below 5,000 cases a year, despite the discovery of a cure.

Barnbrook admitted he could have contracted it on holiday in Turkey - then wrongly claimed: "We eradicated this country of TB donkeys' years ago - we should never have allowed it back." He raged: "I am angry that I have picked up this junk. This disease should not have come into our country. Immigration has caused this massive TB problem ...They have bought in this disease."

Former art teacher Barnbrook, of Barking, East London, is the British National Party's leader for London and candidate for mayor. He was diagnosed this week after tests. He admitted: "I went on holiday in Turkey last summer and there is a chance I could have got it there but it is just as likely I got it in Barking."

Barnbrook added: "It is not infectious and it is a milder form. I am not going to die."

Paul Sommerfeld, of the charity TB Alert, said it was a "myth" to blame immigrants. It had more to do with poverty and living conditions than country of origin. He said: "It is clear TB is endemic to the UK. Blaming immigrants is a bit of a myth. One of the biggest issues is the distinction between infection and active disease - many more people are infected than develop it because it is dealt with by their immune system. When their immune system is lowered they get the active disease - and that could be 50 years later."

"They could have actually become infected in the 40s or 50s when the disease was very, very common. The majority of recent immigrants who get TB tend to have been here upwards of two years. That suggests they did not have raging TB when they arrived but it is the conditions in Britain which led them to develop it. They could be living in poor, overcrowded conditions where their chances of catching TB are much higher. It is a disease of the poor rather than a disease of immigrants."


  • Tuberculosis was NEVER wiped out in Britain, despite doctors finding an antibiotics cure more than 50 years ago.

  • Cases here have never fallen below 5,000 a year. Half of all TB diagnosed is in British people that were born in the UK.

  • The illness is more common in poverty-stricken areas, where people have lower immunity and live in overcrowded houses.

  • Most immigrants with TB tend to have already lived here for two years and contract it due to stress and poor living conditions.

  • The failure to eradicate TB has been blamed on complacency, poverty and globalisation.

  • Many more people are infected than develop TB. Some cases may even have been infected in the 50s but develop it now because of a low immune system.


February 24, 2007

Griffin 'attack' joins Griffin 'assassination attempt' in top-ten list of classic BNP lies

11 Comment (s)
Back in April last year, the BNP attempted (unsuccessfully) to gain the sympathy of the nation when it claimed that Nick Griffin and his entourage only narrowly missed being blown up while travelling by train in Sweden, by, it claimed, radical Muslims. A complete lie of course. It turned out that Griffin and his gang weren't even on the train with the bomb, the bomb itself was never going to go off because it wasn't constructed properly and the Swedish police stated that the bomb had been planted by radical leftists, though they were by no means certain even of that much.

Griffin, the lying buffoon, was nowhere near being assassinated but obviously thought we were all too stupid to do a little research and check out his ridiculous story.

Now - in the run-up to this year's local council elections, the BNP's fibmeister has come up with another stupid story; that he was attacked by a bunch of thugs on his way to a meeting but that his assailants were fought off by his heroic bodyguard, Martin Reynolds.

In a slightly hysterical thread, now closed and doubtless soon to be deleted, on the Stormfront nazi forum, where most of the BNP, including its leadership, go to play despite it being ostensibly proscribed by the party, the story quickly evolved from an attack by two so-called white nationalists (nazis) who punched Griffin then did a runner, all the way through to a battle of Homeric proportions against four 'reds', one of whom was captured then apparently and surprisingly released by Reynolds - an unlikely outcome, to say the least.

Curiously Griffin, usually ever-eager to claim attacks even when there have been none, chose not to report this one to the police or even mention it on the BNP website. If the attack was carried out by lefties or any other kind of anti-fascist, you can be sure that Griffin would have been in the police station before they'd finished hitting him and in the nearest newspaper office ten minutes later.

If, on the other hand, the attack was carried out by disgruntled right-wing nuts, Griffin would probably have reported it on the BNP website at least, to make sure he got all the sympathy he could from his own people, a notoriously unsupportive bunch, and to criticise those he sees as his right-wing opposition. Given that there's no report, there appears to be only one sensible conclusion - that Griffin's little story-spinners are telling porkies again. Like the fake assassination attempt that never got anywhere near him, this is just another attempt to get the sympathy of his own party membership, if not the public.

Not surprisingly, even the hard-liners on the Stormfront forum are sceptical of the claim, with Sharon Ebanks, former member of Griffin's gang and now avowed Griffin-hater, right there at the forefront, ridiculing the attack claim as yet another example of Griffin's bullshit and spin. When called a traitor for taking the opportunity provided by the fake attack thread to criticise Griffin, she responded in her usual inimitable way, not just answering a direct attack on her but also launching an immediate and vitriolic counter-attack of her own, thus:

'What do you think of your leader for stealing members money and attempting to bankrupt and jail me? Don't answer, actions speak louder than words What a splendid membersheep it is that it follows a crook. Griffin knows who I am, tell him to put me on the stand and disprove it. He isn't a nationalist, he's just a common thief gifted at conning the uneducated.'

We'll agree with Ebanks about the crook statement but not over the claim that he's gifted at conning the uneducated. A couple of us are uneducated and we weren't conned by this lie at all, any more than we were conned by the stupid lie about the so-called 'assassination attempt' - but what's the betting that both of these mythical events appear on a couple of the BNP's leaflets in the pre-election period to show how the opposition uses violence to oppose the BNP, as a counter to the many recorded instances where anti-fascists actually have been attacked by BNP supporters.

The only truth in all this is that Nick Griffin is a compulsive liar, prepared to use any means to deceive the British public enough to get them to vote for his appalling party and its filthy and divisive policies.

Searchlight exposes 'racial terrorism link' in the BNP

9 Comment (s)
Searchlight, a researcher into facism and racism says it has exposed the apartheid terrorism link behind Solidarity, the British National Party's trade union.

Solidarity has cancelled its re-launch and first annual meeting in London tomorrow, citing 'public order considerations' but Searchlight said, "This is just a smokescreen. They are running scared."

Searchlight had started asking questions about the South African apartheid connection and the BNP's 'secret think-tank'.

Solidarity's website is hosted by Dr Lambertus Nieuwhof, who runs Herefordshire-based company, 'Vidronic Online'. The company has taken over most of the BNP's internet operations, including the party's website for Barking and Dagenham, where the BNP had 12 councillors elected last May.

Searchlight has revealed that Nieuwhof, known in the BNP as Bep, is part of the 'secret think-tank', a small inner circle of men whose identity is unknown to both the wider membership and the general public. Their task is to form policy for Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, and give the party intellectual underpinning.

Nieuwhof, 35, is an immigrant with a past record as a white racist fighter.

Fifteen years ago South Africa was in the process of dismantling apartheid. The white supremacists of the terrorist Afrikaner Weerstand Beweging (AWB) were trying to prevent the move towards majority rule and to restore the racist system. Three men had planted a home-made bomb at the Calvary Church School in protest against the school's decision to become racially mixed. When the bomb failed to go off, one of them lost his nerve, gave himself up to the police and turned in his two associates, one of which was Nieuwhof. At the end of the resulting court case he received a derisory 12-month suspended prison sentence.

Leaving South Africa Nieuwhof set off for Britain, where he came into contact with Arthur Kemp, another South African extremist exile, who had been arrested for the murder of Chris Hani, a close colleague of Nelson Mandela, in April 1993 but released without charge. Kemp had been named by Clive Derby-Lewis, a far-right South African MP who is now serving life imprisonment for setting up Hani's murder, as the author of a hit list of prominent anti-apartheid leaders.

Kemp too has become influential in the BNP. His articles appear on the BNP website and his 586-page tome March of the Titans comes highly recommended on the BNP's booklist. The book propounds the view that "all civilisations rise and fall according to their racial homogeneity and nothing else."

Kemp still supports apartheid. In an article in November 2004 on South Africa under the ANC he complained that: "… the Tory/Labour old gang parties, were all complicit in ensuring the creation of the new South Africa, working as hard as they could to bring about the downfall of the previous White government."

Gerry Gable, publisher of Searchlight, said, "The handmaidens of South Africa's murderous apartheid regime are unfortunately alive and well and pulling the strings in the British National Party."


February 23, 2007

Ex-BNP man's bomb trial ends without verdict

4 Comment (s)
A jury trying a former British National party candidate and another man on bomb-making charges was discharged today after failing to reach a verdict during three days of deliberations.

The jury of five men and seven women at Manchester crown court had been asked to reach a majority verdict if possible. But this afternoon judge Justice Beatson heard they had been unable to do so. Prosecutor Louise Blackwell said the Crown Prosecution Service would apply for a retrial.

Robert Cottage, 49, and David Jackson, 62, both deny conspiracy to make an explosion with chemicals that they ordered on the internet. The court had heard that Mr Cottage, an unsuccessful BNP candidate in three local elections, had talked of wanting to shoot the prime minister, and had stockpiled explosives and weapons because he believed the country was on the verge of civil war.

According to the prosecution, he and Mr Jackson bought a large number of chemicals over the internet. If mixed correctly, these could have created a powerful bomb. Mr Cottage also had a digital copy of the Anarchist Cookbook, a bomb-making manual, as well as crossbows and four air rifles at his home in Colne, Lancashire, the jury was told.

He told the court he had purchased the weapons to protect his family during what he believed was an imminent civil war.

"I believe it is everybody's God-given right to protect themselves and their families if they are attacked," he said. "The breakdown of the financial system will inevitably put an unbearable strain on the social structures of this country."

Mr Jackson, who is not a BNP member but attended several party meetings, also denies one count of possessing explosives. Cottage earlier admitted the same charge. Both men were remanded in custody pending a retrial.


February 22, 2007

Race-hate man guilty of shootings - claims BNP membership

7 Comment (s)
A gunman who had threatened to "kill all black people" has been found guilty of three counts of attempted murder. Former boxer John Laidlaw, 24, went on a shooting spree in Islington, north London, last May, the Old Bailey heard. It is not clear whether the attacks were related to his threats against black people.

He shot Abu Kamara in Upper Street before accidentally shooting Emma Sheridan at Finsbury Park Tube station, as he aimed at a second man. Laidlaw, from Holloway, north London, was also found guilty of two firearms charges.

Judge Samuel Wiggs warned him that he faced an indeterminate jail sentence for the public's protection. "These offences, certainly the first incident, seem to be almost completely random," he said.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bonomini, of Scotland Yard's Serious Crime Directorate, said: "He has previously demonstrated a high level of aggression towards black people that appears, given his words, to be based on their race. But there was no evidence in these current two shootings that suggest that this formed the same sort of motivation for him and on that we have an open mind."

Social worker Mr Kamara, 44, had been with a group of work friends going for a drink after a game of badminton. When a sports bag belonging to one of his colleagues brushed against a friend of Laidlaw's, the gunman reacted by pulling out a gun and shooting Mr Kamara. The bullet was deflected off Mr Kamara's chin and entered his neck through his Adam's apple. It went through his voicebox before finally lodging near his spinal column.

Half an hour after shooting Mr Kamara, Laidlaw shot at a man called Evans Baptiste. Mr Baptiste and a friend had been chasing Laidlaw after recognising him as the man who had attacked Mr Baptiste with a hammer earlier in the year. But the bullet brushed past Mr Baptiste and struck 26-year-old Emma Sheridan in the back.

Mistaken identity

A passing medical student plucked the bullet from her back before ambulance crews took her to hospital for treatment.

When police caught up with Laidlaw at the home of a family friend in Kingston, south-west London, he dived through a glass door and ran into a shed to hide. In court, he claimed he was watching television all day during the shootings and was the victim of mistaken identity.

Three weeks before the shooting spree, Laidlaw admitted in court attacking a black motorist. When he was arrested he behaved violently and was "foaming at the mouth" according to a police document.

"In the presence and hearing of the black female jailer the defendant made racist comments and remarks, stating he was a member of the BNP and that he hated all black people," the document says. He also stated that he was going to kill all black people, said the report.


Note: For the benefit of Lancaster BNP's resident liar, Chris Hill, and so he can make the appropriate correction on his blog where he claims we made up the BNP connection in this article, we've highlighted the point that he seems to have completely missed.

Scots to fight BNP

0 Comment (s)
An anti-fascist movement is to launch a Scottish branch to battle the British National Party's largest ever Holyrood campaign.

The far-right BNP plan to field four candidates for every regional seat in May's Scottish parliamentary elections but Unite Against Fascism have announced a counter attack. The anti racist counter campaign will hold two large Love Music Hate Racism gigs and leaflet homes over the next two months. They have cross party support from the political opposition as well as endorsement from bands like Franz Ferdinand and the Chemical Brothers.

UAF Joint Secretary Weyman Bennett called BNP campaigning "really vicious stuff" but thought the party had overstated their popularity: "There is a good tradition of resisting the BNP in Scotland and we hope that that continues. These people can terrorise minority groups and if they are going to spread their propaganda to Scottish homes then we will retaliate with our own campaign."

This month the BNP were accused of exploiting electoral funding rules which grant them £670,000 in free publicity including a prime-time political broadcast and cash to distribute 2.6 million campaign leaflets for having 32 candidates. BNP Scotland spokesperson Kenny Smith said the party would target Glasgow: "We are in with a real shot in these elections. "The opposition are running scared that we will get a seat but... if we do it will be the democratic will of the people."

The BNP's Glasgow list candidate won 1.1% of the vote in 2003's Scottish election.

Big Issue

Lib Dem councillors suspended after backing BNP member for key job

0 Comment (s)
The Liberal Democrats have suspended two councillors who backed a BNP representative for a key local position and then refused to apologise. The party initially said it would let the matter rest because John Jones and Jeff Sumner, from Lib Dem-held Burnley council, had admitted they were wrong and undertaken not to support members of the far-right group again.

But after the men told the Guardian that they had no regrets about voting for BNP councillor Sharon Wilkinson - rather than her Labour rival - to join the board of a publicly-funded regeneration initiative, the party's president issued a further statement.

"In the light of the comments reported today, councillors John Jones and Jeff Sumner have been suspended from membership of the Liberal Democrats [pending investigation]," Simon Hughes said.

The council leader, Justin Birtwhistle, had already said he would discipline the men following their remarks.

"She [Ms Wilkinson] is a good councillor. I can't afford to be biased against a certain party if they're doing the business for their ward members," Mr Jones told the Guardian earlier today. "Most parties have their faiths, tenets and beliefs. They [the BNP] are to an extent extreme at the national level, but I think she speaks sense most of the time."

Asked whether he had promised not to vote that way in future, he replied: "Bullshit. I vote the way I want to vote and as far as I'm concerned I'm an asset to the Liberal Democrats. We did have words about this, but I certainly wasn't told it was the party line and never to do it again. I wouldn't have agreed to it."

In a letter to a local paper, Mr Jones also argued that Labour was "over-represented" on the board of Padiham Life.

Mr Sumner said: "I voted for Sharon Wilkinson because I thought - and still do - that she was the right person for the job. Politics shouldn't come into it. If the vote was again tonight, I would vote for Sharon again." He added: "I don't think she's a very racist person."

In their original statement, the Liberal Democrats said: "The actions of the two councillors are not in any way indicative of any support of any element of the BNP's platform."

They added: "After this incident the council group leader, Cllr Birtwistle, spoke to Cllrs Jones and Sumner and explained to them that this was conduct not becoming of an elected Liberal Democrat representative. They wholly accept that analysis and undertake that their votes will never be used again in such a way as to be open to any form of misrepresentation as support for the BNP. Fortunately in the event the two votes cast had no bearing on the outcome and the BNP councillor was not elected. No further action was taken because they wholly and swiftly accepted that they had behaved wrongly."


February 21, 2007

Jury retires in bomb plot trial

0 Comment (s)
A jury in the trial of two men accused of plotting to cause explosions has retired to consider its verdict.

Robert Cottage, 49, and 62-year-old David Jackson, both from Lancashire, deny conspiracy to cause an explosion. Mr Cottage, an ex-British National Party (BNP) candidate, has admitted possessing explosive substances. Mr Jackson, a dentist, denies the charge.

The hearing at Manchester Crown Court was adjourned on Wednesday and the jury sent home for the night.

'Civil war'

The court has heard how police found chemicals including ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, hydrochloric acid when they searched Mr Cottage's home at Talbot Street, Colne, last September. Officers later recovered two nuclear protection suits and a bow and arrows from Mr Jackson's home in Trent Road, Nelson, the court heard.

During his evidence, Mr Cottage told the hearing he stockpiled chemicals, airguns and crossbows to protect his family for an "inevitable" civil war. Mr Jackson told the court he agreed to purchase a number of chemicals via an internet site but said these were for "personal experiments".

The jury is expected to continue its deliberations on Thursday.


Government vows to take on 'poisonous' far-right groups

0 Comment (s)
The Government is to step up its efforts to take on "poisonous" far-right groups like the British National Party (BNP), Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly said today.

Ms Kelly accused far-right extremists of promoting violence and division by peddling "myths and misconceptions" about Britain's multi-racial society. And she said that strong leadership was needed to correct "gross falsehoods" spread by extremist groups - particularly during election campaigns such as last year's local authority polls, when the BNP doubled its number of councillors to 52.

Ms Kelly was speaking at the launch of a new report highlighting English language skills as the key to helping immigrants integrate successfully into British society. The interim report by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion floated proposals to require spouses from overseas to pass an English test before joining their husbands or wives in the UK. And it suggested that translation services for migrants should be scaled back to allow a greater focus on English language tuition.

Ms Kelly indicated support for the Commission's argument that translation services should not be allowed to become a "crutch", removing the need for migrants to learn the language of their new home. And she said she would "study carefully" their other recommendations when she is presented with a final report in June this year.

But she told the launch, at Charlton Athletic Football Club in south-east London, that efforts to help newcomers integrate must go hand-in-hand with a struggle against the far-right to "win the hearts and minds" of communities from all racial backgrounds.

There was no room for complacency if Britain was to avoid the emergence of a far-right political figure like Jean-Marie Le Pen in France or Joerg Haider in Austria, she warned. Extremists are targeting both traditional white communities and settled ethnic minority groups who now see new waves of immigrants arriving in the UK, said Ms Kelly.

"These are the communities that far-right extremists are determined to divide through the exploitation of myths and misperceptions," she said. "The far-right is still with us, still poisonous. Their policies are as unacceptable and ugly now as they were in the 1930s when the communities of the East End stood together against Mosley's brownshirts. And they remain a fringe element because the overwhelming majority of British people reject their message of hate. But we all have a duty to remain vigilant. And it is because of this that I am determined to achieve a step change in the Government's work to tackle far right extremists."

Ms Kelly acknowledged that a "new approach" was needed to ensure community cohesion, as multiculturalist policies pursued over past decades had sometimes "emphasised what divides us at the cost of what unites us".

In offering comprehensive translation services to help migrant groups with everything from housing to healthcare to finding work "there is a danger that we have failed to promote independence and inclusion in British society", she said.

She welcomed the Commission's emphasis on celebrating shared British values and heritage. But she said that this must be matched by more effort at a local and national level to counter the "rubbish" peddled by the BNP, particularly at election time. She highlighted claims in last year's campaign that Dagenham and Barking council in east London was offering Africans £50,000 to buy homes and that a library in Tipton, West Midlands, was being turned into a mosque - both of which she said were untrue.

"As far-fetched as these myths can be, it's not always so easy to deal with them," said Ms Kelly. "Yet I can't help thinking that we all - nationally and locally - need to be better at correcting gross falsehoods."

She added: "There is a challenge for local government here. Some councillors and officials aren't aware of what they can and can't say to quash the myths. Local officials need to know that they are perfectly entitled - even in a pre-election period ahead of the upcoming local elections - to challenge lies about asylum seekers and ethnic minorities."

Ms Kelly said that her department was working with the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight on a new magazine for young people, emphasising their shared Britishness, regardless of their background. The magazine will initially be distributed in Croydon, Greenwich, Waltham Forest, Stoke-on-Trent and Hull.

Ms Kelly said: "It is worth remembering that Britain's traditions of tolerance are robust. In recent years we have not had a Le Pen, like France, or a Haider, like Austria. But there is no room for complacency, and we must all ask what more we can do."

Today's report by the Commission on Integration and Social Cohesion - set up last year in the wake of the July 7 bombings - identifies the inability to speak English as the single biggest barrier preventing migrants from integrating successfully in Britain. Commission chairman Darra Singh warned that if immigrants fail to pick up the language soon after their arrival, they many never do so.

And he said the Commission would produce guidance to local authorities to ensure that translation services help newcomers adapt to life in the UK after their arrival, but do not become a substitute for learning to communicate.

The Commission is also seeking views on whether there should be a new entry requirement for spouses to speak English before settling.

Mr Singh said: "Just as mastering reading and writing for school children opens up the rest of the curriculum, mastering English opens up participation in British society and accessing employment. If you can't speak English - whether you are a new migrant or someone who has lived here for years - you are on a path to isolation and separation. Those who can't speak English find other ways of getting by and if English is not learnt quickly then the chance of ever learning the language diminishes rapidly. I want to see what innovative schemes across the country are doing to combat this."

Ms Kelly said her Department would study the Commission's recommendations carefully in June before making a formal response to them.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, vice-chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "As the only body directly elected by local people to represent them, councils have a duty to ensure that everyone in their locality feels respected and lives with a sense of responsibility and belonging. Councils are uniquely placed to bring together the many organisations that contribute to life in our local areas, and it's vital we use our capacity as community leaders to make links with local businesses, partners and the voluntary sector to understand issues which are barriers to cohesive communities, and tackle them head on.

"As employers, councils are committed to making sure their workforce is representative of the local community. Similarly, local authorities across the country are working hard to encourage more people from minority groups to fulfil their potential as community champions and stand for election as a councillor. There is no single best way for a local authority to tackle prejudice and extremism. Much work is already happening across the country and it's clear that solutions must be focused on what's right for local neighbourhoods. If these solutions don't carry weight with local people, they're not going to work."

He added: "Shared language should be at the heart of a common set of values for a community. It is imperative for the continued long-term advancement of community cohesion and improving education that language does not act as a barrier to access to services. What is disappointing is that the Learning and Skills Council has recently decided to drastically reduce its budget to provide English as a second language to overseas learners."


Neo-Nazis on a Shopping Spree

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For years, the far-right NPD has been eager to buy land in Germany. The party will soon open a schooling center for young right-wingers in Gonzerath, a village near Trier. But are deals in Dresden and Bavaria a real-estate scam?

The sophisticated cuisine Heinrich Schöpf offered his guests in the Jägerstüberl inn, in the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel, was a grand success. The renowned chef was even picked out by the authors of the Michelin guide for specialties, said to combine "homeliness" with "cosmopolitanism."

But the gourmet attraction has been closed since the start of the year, just like the Waldlust mountain inn next door -- for economic reasons, people say. A "hint of Asia," a "dash of the Orient," a "Mediterranean touch" -- that's all gone now. The NPD, Germany's largest far-right party, is moving in.

The little town is a symbolic place for the German far right; Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, lies buried there. Now it seems a top-level NPD functionary named Thomas Wulff plans to open a "Rudolf Hess Memorial and Documentation Center" in the building complex. There's also talk of a "national schooling and education center" -- and of using the complex as a campaign headquarters for the NPD during next year's Bavarian regional elections.

Wulff is the right-hand man of the NPD's leader, Udo Voigt. He's also a middleman between the party and the unorganized and sometimes violent neo-Nazi groups called Freie Kameradschaften ("Free Associations"). Jürgen Rieger -- a Hamburg-based neo-Nazi known for nationwide real estate activities -- has been presented with a sales offer by the property owner, according to the NPD's Bavarian spokesman, Günter Kursawe, who added that negotiations were underway. Rieger is notorious for co-organizing the so-called "Rudolf Hess Memorial Marches," which have now been banned for two years. Several thousand right-wing radicals from all over Europe participated in the march when it was last held in 2004.

People in the city are worried, all the more so because one right-winger has been sleeping in the house during the past few days -- "to guard it," as the NPD says. The old inn is located in the middle of the woods, just a few hundred meters away from the natural stage of the Luisenburg Festival, which draws more than 100,000 theatergoers every summer.

Mayor Karl-Willi Beck from the conservative Christian Social Party (CSU) now has reason to worry that tourists might pass a national neo-Nazi office when they attend the festival. But he says the city has secured a license to sell the property and is itself negotiating with the proprietor. It remains unclear "to what extent this is simply a question of putting financial pressure on the city," Beck told center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Nazis on the tennis court?

A possible far-right real estate purchase is also being discussed in Dresden. Rumors the NPD may want to buy a long-defunct tennis hall in the Pappritz neighborhood have been circulating for months. The NPD's party organ Deutsche Stimme already held a so-called "press festival" in the sports hall last August; thousands of members of the far-right scene showed up.

Now Uwe Meenen, an NPD functionary from Lower Franconia, is said to have purchased the sports hall. The party's federal spokesman Klaus Beier says the sales contract was signed at a notary's office on Jan. 30 and the change of owner now merely needs to be registered in the cadaster. Beier called the sales price of €3.25 million ($4.26 million) -- reported by Germany's mass-market daily Bild -- "realistic." The NPD will hold party congresses and other major events there in the future, he says. They may even play tennis.

Saxony's conservative (CDU) governor, Georg Milbradt, lives a few hundred meters from the tennis hall. He acts relaxed about his potential new neighbors. "One shouldn't allow oneself to be blackmailed by the NPD," he said, according to Bild. "And if they want to play tennis in Pappritz, that's politically harmless."

What does he mean by blackmail? As in Wunsiedel, it's not out of the question that the threat of neo-Nazis on the tennis court is just a ploy to drive up the price of an unpopular piece of real estate. It wouldn't be the first time that NPD functionary Meenen presented himself as a far-right investor to help Wolfgang Jürgens, the proprietor, pocket a princely sum.

In spring 2005, Meenen said he was planning a "National Center" in Grafenwöhr, in Germany's Upper Palatinate region. Here too, the piece of real estate in question was a sports hall with a tennis court. Alarmed, the city made use of its license to sell and took over the building for €545,000 ($714,000). That was the price Meenen had previously negotiated.

The city administration complained about "a form of blackmail" and shelled out major sums for renovating and restructuring the building while the former proprietor laughed all the way to the bank. "I should have asked for €100,000 ($131,000) more," Jürgens sneered, openly calling the far-right purchasing offer "a pretty good pressuring device."

Neo-Nazis schooling center in Hunrücksdorf

In the Rhineland area of Hunsrück, on the other hand, the NPD's real-estate shopping spree is more tangible. The party has rented rooms in a former primary school in Gonzerath, a small town near Trier, and the state branch of the NPD wants to open its "Schinderhannes Center" there in early March.

The party held a congress there in December. The first schooling session for "functionaries, activists and (potential) candidates" took place in January, and the plan is to continue holding such sessions at the school grounds on every third Saturday of the month. The local NPD branch has announced on its Web site that the sessions will instruct people in the "foundations of national politics," and that this will involve defining concepts such as "race," "people," "nation" and "state" -- as well as explaining "the view of humans appropriate to life," and the NPD's political platform.

Dietmar Thömmes, Gonzerath's head official, is horrified by the prospect of a far-right schooling center in the town. The CDU politician says he and others feel helpless at the moment, but haven't given up the fight.

The property owner's decision to rent to the NPD in the first place goes back to an argument with the local administration, according to Thömmes. He says the town clerk's office took the man's snappish dog away -- prompting him to announce to the administration that he would present them with a "nice surprise."

Spiegel Online

Four jailed over taxi driver murder

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Two 19-year-old men have been jailed for life for the racially aggravated murder of an Asian taxi driver.

Christopher Murphy must serve a minimum of 25 years in jail and Michael Hand must serve at least 21 years in prison for the murder of Mohammad Parvaiz, 41, who was ambushed and beaten to death as he responded to a fare in Huddersfield in July last year. The pair were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court. Graeme Slavin, 18, and Steven Utley, 17, who were also convicted of murder, were told they must serve a minimum of 17 years in jail for the racially aggravated murder.

Trial judge Dame Heather Steel said it was a joint attack in which they all took part, but Hand and Murphy were the ringleaders - whereas Utley and Slavin played a lesser part.

She said: "Mr Parvaiz sustained a serious head wound from which he was bleeding profusely when he was attacked from the driver's side and dragged out to be kicked and beaten to death. Violence on this scale is savage beyond belief. It is not difficult to imagine the terror that Mr Parvaiz must have experienced as he lay dying on the road. It is likely that the last words he heard were 'You f****** P*** b******'."

The judge said there were a number of aggravating features including racial abuse, the theft of the victim's watch and cash, the fact Mr Parvaiz was a public servant and the planning involved in the murder.

Speaking outside court, Mohammed Ramzan, the brother of Mr Parvaiz's wife, Naheed Kausar, said the family believed justice had been done. He said: "We are very happy with the result. Justice has been served. People have been sentenced according to the evidence. We believe the truth has come out."


Now read this (from January 26th)...

Taxis drivers 'racially abused'

A BBC investigation has found evidence of racist abuse directed at Huddersfield taxi drivers in the area where one of their colleagues was murdered.

In July last year, Mohammad Parvaiz was beaten to death by white teenagers in a racially-aggravated attack. BBC Look North put a hidden camera into one cab driven by an Asian driver in Kirklees.

Some of the footage shows passengers threatening to destroy the taxi and "get rid of it back to the Taleban". Others said they hoped the British National Party (BNP) would get into power one day and another told the driver of how a mosque had been desecrated.

The drivers are now calling for tougher security measures to help prevent another attack. Mahmed Ravat, of the Kirklees Hackney Carriage Association, said: "I feel total disgust and something should be done immediately about this. We are doing a job and doing a very important job - we keep the night scene running. We should be at least respected for that."

The hidden camera film shows a woman describing how a mosque had been dishonoured.

She said: "I know a mosque where they put a pig's head in the place where you pray to Allah."

One man, referring to the taxi, said he would "...steal it, cut it up and get rid of it back to the Taleban".

Another said: "I hope the BNP get in one day, I'll tell you."

After his death, 3,000 of Mr Parvaiz's colleagues held a seven-hour strike demanding better protection. Three teenagers have been convicted of his murder and a fourth pleaded guilty.


Always a BNP connection somewhere...

Europe: Racist and xenophobic acts surge as much as 70 percent

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Racism and xenophobia are becoming decidedly more pronounced across Europe, and it is fast becoming an issue of major concern for Germany which currently holds the presidency of the European Union.

"Xenophobia and racism is tremendously on the rise in Europe," said European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini said Tuesday at a news conference in Berlin:

Frattini cited a report by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, which found that racist and xenophobic acts in 2006 compared to the previous year have risen by as much as 70 percent in "one member state."

"In many states, the surge was between 25 and 45 percent," he added.

Frattini refused to name the specific country that topped the list with 70 percent, but said the states where racism was becoming more alarming were France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

EUMC spokeswoman Waltraud Heller told United Press International in a telephone interview the country Frattini referred to was Denmark, but added that the total cases there were minimal, also because the country lacks an efficient monitoring method. Frattini did not, however, mention Germany, another country where extremist crimes have surged according to national statistics.

Late last year, a German newspaper said that may have been a record year for neo-Nazi crimes. The German government reported 10,154 far-right crimes from January through the end of October 2006, the Tagesspiegel newspaper said. The number exceeds the intermediate results of previous years by 20 percent and is the highest since 2001, when the German government reformed criminal codes to include hate crimes. When it comes to neo-Nazi violent crimes, the submitted figure (593) is greater than each of the single year totals from 2001 until 2005.

Berlin, which currently holds the rotating six-month EU presidency, wants to revive the EU-wide framework to combat racism and xenophobia, the goal of which is to harmonize provisions on criminal liability for racist acts, disseminating racist and xenophobic statements, and for inciting violence and hatred against other peoples. Berlin wants to make denial of genocide accepted by international courts, such as the Holocaust, a crime in all 27 EU member states. Unofficially, the Germans would also like to see Nazi signs such as the Swastika banned (which is illegal in Germany). But Berlin knows that such a move will not be backed by all member states.

Germany seizes the initiative

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries, who appeared alongside Frattini in the news conference, said that due to its special historic responsibility, Germany was determined to bring racism and xenophobia back on the political agenda.

"The aim of the framework decision is not to restrict people's freedom of expression," she said. "Rather, it is to honor the memory of victims of genocide and to protect all people -- regardless of their race and skin color -- against defamation."

She said while the minimal standards of the framework decision were binding for member states, countries still can go beyond those restrictions; meaning that the swastika will remain banned in Germany, for example.

Tricky details like those have been a source of debate for several years and have blocked any agreement. Zypries acknowledged there still are "different positions" in Europe on the fine line between taking advantage of free speech and inciting hatred. "But I am optimistic that we will come to an agreement before the end of the German EU presidency," she said.

The pair were also in favor of harmonizing legal standards across Europe in a bid to "strike the right balance between security and protecting individual rights," Frattini said. He agreed with Zypries that every EU member taken to court in a foreign country should be informed about the legal peculiarities of that country, have the right to an interpreter and a lawyer. While every country agreed to those minimal standards, realizing them was often difficult because of the differences in the countries' legal systems, Frattini said.

Another German initiative mentioned on Tuesday was the fight against violent computer games. That debate was sparked in Germany after violent ego-shooters appeared to have motivated young killers to embark on bloody rampages through local schools.

Frattini said the Commission supported such an initiative, adding there was still "not enough knowledge about the danger for children from very violent video games."

While most countries already have minimum age rules for buying some games, in many member states, Frattini said, there was no enforcement of these rules, with poor or totally absent in-shop control of the buyer's age.

World Peace Herald

February 20, 2007

UAF conference calls for unity against BNP

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A broad gathering of delegates met last weekend to discuss how best to organise against the threat of fascism, reports Anindya Bhattacharyya

Some 600 delegates gathered at Unite Against Fascism’s annual conference in central London last Saturday to launch this year’s campaign against the British National Party (BNP).

The Nazi BNP has been exploiting the climate of racism unleashed in the wake of the “war on terror” and the widespread disillusion with mainstream parties. It currently has 49 councillors across Britain and hopes to grab more at the May elections.

Broad alliance

The Unite conference drew together a wide spectrum of trade union activists, anti-racism campaigners, students, musicians and representatives of faith groups all committed to fighting the BNP at the ballot box and beyond. Cabinet minister Peter Hain opened the conference by recalling how a broad alliance of activists had successfully defeated the National Front in the 1970s.

“Members of the Socialist Workers Party, Labour supporters like myself and trade unionists came together to form the Anti Nazi League,” he said. “Despite the differences there were between us, we united in action against the fascists.”

Nevertheless, many delegates were critical of how government policies and statements by front bench MPs had fuelled an atmosphere of Islamophobia. Their attacks on multiculturalism have also played directly into the BNP’s hands.

Maleiha Malik, lecturer in law at King’s College London, noted that according to the government’s own research, Muslims are now the group most likely to be objects of prejudice and hatred among the wider population.

“This cannot be divorced from the international context of the ‘war on terror’ and US dominance in the Middle East,” she said.

Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite, criticised the mainstream media for giving platforms to BNP speakers and shying away from describing the organisation as fascist.


Unite campaigners needed to increase the pressure on the media to stop giving Nazis an easy ride and expose them as Holocaust deniers and Hitler worshippers, he said: “It’s time to pull the plug on the fascist thugs.”

Workshops examined specific issues such as mobilising young people through Love Music Hate Racism’s work, and the threat of the BNP on university campuses. One of the busiest workshops covered how to tackle the BNP in areas where the fascists had established a presence.

Tony Barnsley from West Midlands Unite noted that “flag waving” strategies by some anti-fascists were counterproductive. Tony said, “In Sandwell the council organised a St George’s Day march. It was meant to be on a ‘multicultural basis’, but it was exclusively white. BNP leader Nick Griffin turned up and was able to march through the streets of West Bromwich.”

The council learned its lesson when the BNP took four seats at the elections last year, he added.

Ted Parker, principal of Barking College in east London, described his shock when the Nazis grabbed 12 council seats in Barking & Dagenham last May. He paid tribute to Unite’s work in the borough.

“We should all do our best to build this organisation – it is organising the resistance,” he said.

© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

Socialist Worker

The face of hate

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Waving a Union flag and hurling race hate abuse, lout Paul Grainger targets a mosque. The jobless 38-year-old tried to kick his way in to the Shahjalal Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre on Sceptre Street in Newcastle's West End, at 3.20am.

Inside were more than 400 Muslims praying on the holiest night of the Islamic calendar. And after their worship was disrupted, they came out to find Grainger leering at them, hurling racist abuse while waving a Union flag and St George's flag with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier in tow.

Now Grainger, of Campbell Place, Elswick, Newcastle, has been convicted of racially aggravated harassment at the city's magistrates' court. And today, his actions were condemned by religious leaders, police and anti-fascist groups.

Insp Gerry Barker, of the New Deal Police Team, in the city's West End, said: "This was a nasty incident. It was totally un-called for and there is no justification for it whatsoever. We take this very seriously because we have got an ingrained British right to worship."

Mike Hartman, of the Tyne & Wear Anti Fascist Association, said: "This completely senseless and deeply offensive attack was motivated by nothing but hatred. It shows the need for ordinary, decent people and communities to continue the fight against racism, whether it is expressed by a lone idiot like this or by organised groups."

Grainger staged his racist rampage during the month of Ramadan, on the day when Muslims gather to celebrate the time when the first part of the Holy Koran, the Islamic sacred book, was initially given by the god . Hundreds had packed the mosque from 8.30pm on and planned to pray until 6am the following day. But they were disturbed by a drunken Grainger, who tried to kick down the doors on October 19.

At his hearing, he admitted a racially-aggravated charge of causing harassment, alarm or distress and was fined a total of £180.

Clive Freemantle, prosecuting, told the court: "It's said that in the early hours of the morning on the day in question, numerous persons were at the mosque. The mosque had been full as this was one of the holiest nights in the Islamic year, a night regarded with a certain degree of sanctity and high regard. The defendant was seen waving a Union Jack flag and a St George's flag and he also had with him a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which was not on a lead [and incidentally, crapped on film - should have been done for that too].

"He was shouting racist abuse at the worshippers as they left, he waved both flags at them and one of them was upset by this so he placed a call to the police to report the incident."

The court was told Grainger was swearing at worshippers, calling them "f****** **** b*******."

Mr Freemantle added: "The officers drove up and saw the defendant standing with his dog and his flags and he was shouting abuse, waving his flags as they left the mosque. He saw the officers and started to walk away from the officers walking towards him and he turned around and shouted `you white Judas'. He was warned to stop or he would be arrested and shouted `white Judas, white Judas'."

The court was played CCTV footage of Grainger's antics.

Dressed in a blue jumper and jeans, he is seen waving his flags and shouting at those coming out of the mosque. As a police car arrives, he angrily points his finger and yells at the officers. One officer injured his leg as they struggled with Grainger.

John Foley, defending, said: "He can't remember very much about it. The bit that he can remember is that he was walking his dog and he had been drinking. He was heavily intoxicated. It isn't shown on the CCTV, but he said as he walked past the mosque, one of the people coming out of it kicked his dog. The dog was not injured but one of the people came out of the mosque and kicked it. He says he is not a racist, he's got black friends and he doesn't know where he got the flags from. He says he can only think he picked them up somewhere, he must have found them and in his anger, he raged against the people in the mosque in the way that has been described to you."

But Insp Barker added: "During Ramadan we have extra patrols because of problems we have had in the past of cars being targeted during prayer times and so on. This shift finished at 3am and lo and behold he turns up shortly after that. To me, that shows what he did was pre-planned, which makes it even worse."

Mugol Miah, 52, a mosque committee member, said: "There were more than 400 people who had gone to pray in the mosque. This was the most important night for us as this was the time that the first part of the holy Koran was given by the gods. Every Muslim believes that this is the most holy night and so everyone joined together to pray. But during the early hours one of the men heard something outside. He rang the police and then told me. I went to the window and looked out and saw the man with the Union Flag, shouting abuse and kicking the door to the mosque. The police were already there and were arresting him. Some of the worshippers had gone outside to see what had happened but they were advised to go back inside. The prayers continued and that was the end of it."

Mahmud Miah, chairman of the mosque, said: "This guy started knocking on the door and he had a Union Jack and a big dog with him. He was calling everybody names and using foul language. We don't normally get problems like this. We can only hope it doesn't happen again."

Chronicle Live

There's also a video (without sound) of this dickhead in action outside the mosque (5.6Mb) here.

Explosives case update: defendants cross-examined

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Dentist: 'explosives were chemistry hobby'

A dentist accused of plotting to make bombs was hoping to revive a chemistry hobby when he ordered explosive materials from the internet, a court heard today.

David Jackson, of Trent Road, Nelson, was due to retire in September last year and was looking for something to fill his spare time, he told Manchester Crown Court this morning. Jackson denies conspiring to cause an explosion with co-defendant Robert Cottage, of Talbot Street, Colne.

Jackson, 62, claimed he ordered supplies of chemicals, some that could be used to make high-powered explosives, to re-stock an old chemistry set he had last used in the 1970s. Jackson told the court he had used it to show local youngsters experiments and added: "They would be amazed by the impressive colour changes and colourful flames."

He said he had only an intellectual interest in chemistry. He said: "Explosions are just a part of it. It's also the wonderful colours and the things I use in my work."

Jackson told the court that Cottage's interest in chemistry was more to do with antiseptic and practical uses of chemicals.

The court was told Jackson and Cottage met four years ago through in interest in the BNP. Jackson said he did not share Cottage's views that the country would soon see a civil war. The court has earlier heard that Cottage, 49, had stockpiled food, weapons and chemicals in preparation for an attack on his home.

Jackson denies the pair were working together to create a bomb. He said: "I do have strong views, but I suppose I am too idle to do anything about them."

This is Lancashire

A&E cuts led to 'kill Blair' threat

A former BNP candidate accused of plotting to make bombs threatened to shoot Tony Blair over the closure of Burnley hospital's accident and emergency department, a court was told.

Robert Cottage, 49, wrote a threat in his diary during a "fit of pique" after Blair announced NHS plans Cottage, of Talbot Street, Colne, told Manchester Crown Court he was angry following his father's death from a heart attack. He said: "The closure of that unit would mean that anybody... needing emergency treatment would face a journey out to Blackburn."

He said politicians had ignored a petition with 10,000 signatures. Cottage wrote that the "easiest way to save the country would be to shoot Tony Blair." But he told the court: "I don't believe that political violence furthers political ends."

Cottage denied that he had ordered explosive material from the internet to carry out terrorist attacks. He only wanted to make harmless devices to scare away attackers in the event of civil war, which was imminent because of the "chaotic mess" the country was in.

Cottage said he was a target because of his previous involvement in the BNP. The former children's bus driver said he had received threats while canvassing in Vivary Bridge, Colne.

He bought iodine crystals to fight radiation poisoning from uranium bullets which he said were being [used] in Iraq. He purchased hydrogen peroxide to coat face masks to protect him from bird flu. He had filled a store room with food and weapons and taught his wife and 16-year-old son how to shoot a gun.

Cottage said it was a person's duty to protect himself and his family.

Cottage met co-defendant 52-year-old David Jackson from Trent Road, Nelson, through the BNP. He ordered chemicals for Jackson in September last year as "chemistry was an interest he had very close to his heart." But he denied they ever spoke about making a bomb.

Cottage denied trying to cover his tracks by spreading his order across several dates.

Prosecuting, Louise Blackwell said he tried to disguise his purchases by stashing them in coffee tins. Cottage replied: "If I wanted to hide them I would have dug a hole and buried them. When supplies become short they are not going to be available. I was just stocking up."

Cottage has pleaded guilty to possession of explosives but denies conspiracy to create an explosion.

Jackson denies both charges.

Burnley Citizen

Papon's Posthumous Controversy

1 Comment (s)
Should Maurice Papon be buried with his légion d'honneur? The political élite says "no", while his family and his lawyer plead "yes". The death of one of France's most controversial characters continues to stir the country.

Maurice Papon, who died last week at the age of 96, is causing controversy even after his death. Maitre Francis Vuillemin, acting as lawyer for Papon and his family, promised that his client would be buried with the celebrated Légion d'honneur, the prestigious award that was given to him by Charles de Gaulle. It was, however, taken back seven years ago after Papon was found guilty of collaboration with the Vichy régime in the second world war, and helped in the deportation of Jews. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Reaction to the lawyer's comments has run strongly. Bernard Accoyer, who is head of the UMP group in the National Assembly, said that it would be "shocking" if Papon were to be buried with the medal, and called on Jacques Chirac to prevent it. Michèle Alliot-Marie, Minister of the Defence, said that Papon no longer held the Légion d'honneur, but "opening graves is something quite displeasing".

Naturally, Jean-Marie Le Pen declared himself in favour of burying Papon with the medal, saying that Papon was hardly the "highest placed functionary in Vichy" and that his family "deserve to pay him this last respect".

Paris Link

There's an old (2002) BBC article that gives a reasonable background to Papon's story: reprinted below in full.

Maurice Papon: Haunted by the past

Maurice Papon deftly switched allegiances, moving up the political ladder under both the Nazis and post-war government until his war crimes caught up with him.

As head of the south-western Gironde region of France during the Nazi occupation, he signed effective death warrants for hundreds of Jews by ordering their deportation to concentration camps. But he covered his tracks skilfully, becoming involved with the French Resistance, and avoided the post-war purge of collaborators.

He was even decorated by General Charles de Gaulle and became a cabinet minister more than 30 years after the war before his past was revealed.

Maurice Papon was born in the Paris region in 1910, the son of a solicitor-turned-industrialist. He studied law, sociology and psychology at university and at the age of 20 entered public service.

Clever and ambitious, he rose through its ranks and in 1942, aged 31, he took over the powerful position of General-Secretary of the Prefecture of the Gironde region, in the collaborationist Vichy government.

Collaborator turned informer

Armed with special responsibility for Jewish affairs, Papon had regular contact with Nazi Germany's SS corps, responsible for the mass ethnic cleansing of Jews. At his trial, it was alleged that 1,560 men, women and children were sent to detention camps at Drancy outside Bordeaux on Papon's direct orders. Most went on to concentration camps such as Auschwitz and all but a handful died.

By mid-1944, by which time it was clear that the war was turning against the Germans, Papon began to inform on the Nazis to the Resistance - actions for which he was later to be decorated with the treasured "Carte d'Ancien Combattant de la Resistance".

After the war, Papon moved to Paris as Prefet de Police under General de Gaulle, a post he held until 1968. He then moved into politics, going on to serve as Budget Minister to President Valery Giscard d'Estaing in the 1970s. But in 1981, the past came back to haunt him.

Hundreds of documents were found by accident in the recesses of Bordeaux town hall, among them the deportation orders signed by Papon.

Legal quagmire

The papers were published by the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaine. Legal proceedings began and Papon had to leave public life because of the scandal.

The first charges filed in 1983 were dropped because of legal technicalities in 1987. Fresh charges laid in 1988 accusing Papon of crimes against humanity were changed to complicity in crimes against humanity in 1995.

Papon lodged a number of appeals to stop legal proceedings against him, but he finally stood trial in October 1997. Some French lawyers and human rights activists suggested that the government dragged its heels in pushing the prosecution because of its reluctance to expose French complicity in the Holocaust.

Delays continued to arise during the trial, with Papon often absent through ill-health.

His defence played heavily on possible mistaken identity and the difficulty of interpreting 50-year-old facts in the light of current knowledge.

Papon told the court that he kept his job to try to help the Resistance and conduct an underground struggle to help Jews. He also claimed he did not know what was happening to the Jews he put on the trains, but it was judged that he was guilty for complicity in war crimes.

Difficult reminder

His six-month trial was the longest in French history and stirred uncomfortable memories for many in France. Other collaborationist officials had been put on trial, but only pro-Nazi militia leader Paul Touvier was ever brought to court charged with crimes against humanity.

At the time of his trial, correspondents pointed out that Papon's case shattered the myth clung to by many French that there was mass national resistance under the occupation.

He had undoubtedly been protected for a long time by President Francois Mitterrand who, as a former Vichy official himself, had his own reasons for not raking up the past. While some hoped that the jailing of Maurice Papon would allow France to accept its past and allow a healing process to begin, his early release may yet open old wounds.


February 19, 2007

Explosives trial: 'blood in the streets' belief

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A former Pendle British National Party candidate was "apocalyptic" and a "radical" who suggested locations where he could plant a ball-bearing shrapnel bomb, a court heard. Robert Cottage (49) believed if there was not "blood in the streets" the country was "lost'", his friend and co-accused, David Jackson, told police.

The jury at Manchester Crown Court was told Cottage had spoken of bombing techniques and suggested bomb targets. The court heard bus driver Cottage, of Talbot Street, Colne, had been stockpiling food, along with chemicals which could be made into explosives, as he feared the country was on the brink of civil war.

When police raided his home they found 21 different chemicals including nitrates, chlorine, ammonia and acids. Officers also discovered crossbows, air pistols, ammunition and ball bearings.

At the end of the first week of the trial, the jury heard police interviews of dentist Jackson, who is also accused of bomb plot charges. Jackson (62), of Trent Road, Nelson, told officers he felt the British had given away their country without a fight. The court was read a transcript of his interview with detectives when he was quizzed about whether he had mentioned a specific plan and was asked where Cottage was planning to plant the devices.

Cottage, who failed to be elected as a BNP candidate in local elections, has admitted possession of explosives but denies conspiracy to cause explosions. Jackson has denied possession of explosives and conspiracy to cause an explosion.

Police raided Cottage's home on September 28th last year after is wife Kerena (29), who suffers from mental health problems, told social workers she was concerned about his behaviour.

Asked how he felt about immigration, Jackson said: "The sadness comes in passing through the middle of your native town and walking a 150 yards sometimes without hearing a word of English. And it makes you think, well we've just given the land away, to another culture, another religion and that's the wickedest thing a nation can do to itself. It's much worse than being colonised in some war; I mean, it's all happening without a fight and with encouragement from the powers that be."

Burnley Today

Three million tenants face boot

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Three million council house tenants face losing the right to stay in their homes for life.

A Government report out tomorrow is expected to say the current system of social housing is out of date. And it looks likely to pave the way for major reforms including time limits on how long someone can remain in their council home.

Economist Will Hutton, who advises Tony Blair, said: "Council housing is a living tomb. You dare not give the house up because you may never get another. But staying is to be trapped in a ghetto."

But Adam Sampson, of Shelter, said the plans were "terrifying". He added: "People in social housing are often poor families, single parents and the longterm sick and disabled. They need and deserve security and affordable rents, not the fear and uncertainty of homelessness."

Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly will unveil the report by housing expert Professor John Hill of the London School of Economics. It is expected to call for oldfashioned estates where tenants settle for life to be broken up. And children will no longer have the right to take over their parents' tenancy. More will be done, including offering cash bonuses, to move people out so that those in dire need can get a home. Tenants could be meanstested and lose their cheap rents if their income goes up.

But there are fears that the measures could give added ammunition to right-wing groups such as the BNP. Left-winger Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham in Essex, said: "Access to housing is becoming racialised because of a lack of supply. It's feeding extremist political forms."

Industry minister Margaret Hodge warned last year that white, working-class voters were so angered by immigration and a lack of affordable homes that they were flocking to the BNP.

A Government source said that in some estates there was "concentrated deprivation". He added: "We need to see how social housing can help us create genuinely mixed communities - places where people from different backgrounds and at different life stages live together."

But Alan Walter, of Defend Council Housing, warned there could be a backlash from the three million council tenants. He added: "The right to a secure, life-long tenancy was a hard-won right against Victorian landlords, exploitation and Rachmanism. There is a strong, right-wing pressure within government to get rid of this."

The Department for Communities and Local Government said: "We are increasing the building of new social housing by 50 per cent and tackling the £19billion backlog of repairs. But we need to go further with more market homes, shared ownership and social housing to meet the needs of the next generation."


Galloway declares war on the borough's BNP

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George Galloway declared war on the BNP at the official launch of Respect for Barking and Dagenham. The left-wing MP - who wants to recruit members and candidates for future borough elections - threw down the gauntlet to the 'jack-booted Holocaust deniers.'

Mr Galloway stood before 100 people at a meeting on Thursday and said: "White working class people who are angry about their position in life have transferred that onto black people and other minorities. Once upon a time they had good wages, good quality council housing, and good public services. But now there's a huge housing problem in Barking and Dagenham, with too many people living in run-down council houses, and thousands on the waiting list. When that happens and suddenly a number of foreigners appear on the same street, the consequences are not surprising. But we mustn't blame those who are taken in by the jack-booted Holocaust deniers with their Hitler packs under their covers at night. We must win them over."

The Tower Hamlets MP cited the success of his party in the East London borough, saying: "Ten years ago, the BNP had 10 councillors in Tower Hamlets, now it's a no-go zone for them. Respect is here in Barking and Dagenham because we feel there's no way the core Labour vote is going to stop the rise of the BNP - we have to fill that gap."

Mr Galloway rounded off a line-up of guest speakers at the Eton Community Centre, in Ilford, that included the Fire Brigade Union's regional organiser, Paul Embery. He told the Post: "I'm deeply disturbed by the rise of the BNP, and have no hesitation in saying they do need to be tackled head on - we need to build up the left. I was born and bred in Barking and Dagenham, my parents were born and brought up here, and my grandparents were in that generation who fought to prevent the fascists moving in. I think it is incumbent on our generation that their good work is not undone."

The launch was also attended by anti-fascist organisations, Love Music Hate Racism, and Unite Against Fascism.

Barking and Dagenham Post

BNP case may aid reporting of allegations against politicians

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A libel case between two members of the British National party and the anti-racist magazine Searchlight, which goes to the court of appeal this week, could make it easier for the media to report unverified allegations of misconduct against politicians without ending up in court.

The BNP members, brothers Christopher and Barry Roberts, are appealing against a high court ruling last May that the magazine's report of a feud between party factions amounted to "reportage" on a matter of public interest. Mr Justice Eady ruled that the report was protected by "qualified privilege". This means that even if the allegations are untrue, the publishers cannot be held liable unless they were acting with malice - knowing they were untrue or reckless as to whether they were true or not.

The "neutral reportage" defence to libel originated in the US but is a developing area of English law. The appeal court's ruling is expected to give fresh guidance to the media on when it will apply. It was unsuccessfully raised as a defence by the Daily Telegraph when the paper was sued by George Galloway, who won £150,000 over a report claiming documents found in Baghdad during the Iraq war alleged that he was in the pay of Saddam Hussein. Mr Justice Eady - the same judge as in the BNP case - found that the paper did not merely report the allegations but "embraced them with relish and fervour". Had the Telegraph simply reported the contents of the documents and allowed Mr Galloway a fair chance to reply, it would have been reportage, the appeal court said later. In the few cases which have gone to court so far, judges have made clear that there is no duty on the media to verify the accuracy of any allegations before they report them, as long as they are not putting them forward as true.

This week's appeal concerns an October 2003 article in Searchlight reporting the contents of a letter from members of a faction opposing Nick Griffin, the party leader. The letter alleged that Christopher Roberts stole money from a BNP rally and only returned it after threats to report him to the police, and that he and his brother had threatened to "kneecap, torture and kill" opponents and their families. The judge held that it had been reasonable for the reporter not to approach the Roberts brothers to ask whether the claims were true. He had reported the cross-allegations between the two factions and "the readers would understand that each of the factions was denying impropriety but accusing the other".

The development of reportage as a defence appears to be at odds with a longstanding rule of English libel law, which says that it is no defence to argue the report was only repeating an allegation made by someone else. One leading libel QC said: "This is a startling development which if right will produce fundamental revision to the basic principles of libel law."


February 18, 2007

Tasty price for Hitler's red wine

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A rare bottle of Nazi wine dating back to World War II has sold for nearly £4,000 at an auction in Devon. The bottle of red Fuhrerwein, thought to be from a collection given to Adolf Hitler's senior officers, has a picture of the dictator on the label.

The lot was expected to fetch about £800, but went for £3,995 at Plymouth Auction Rooms.

The wine is undrinkable because of its age. The successful bid came from an unnamed English collector on the phone. The 1943 bottle had attracted worldwide interest and bidding on Saturday was described as "vigorous".

"I have never seen or heard about anything like this in my 20 years [in the business]," auctioneer Paul Keen said before the sale. "Not only is it unusual, it is also extremely rare to find. We understand these bottles were given out to Hitler's top-ranking officers on his birthday."

The bottle of wine was previously owned by a person from Ivybridge in Devon, after it was discovered by a friend in France.


February 17, 2007

Musicians and unions unite over BNP

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Politicians, trade unions, religious and ethnic leaders and musicians gathered to plan a heightened campaign against the British National Party (BNP).

The Unite Against Fascism conference in central London saw former Specials musician Jerry Dammers and the group Babyshambles joined Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, Muslim and Jewish leaders, students and gay rights campaigners to discuss how to combat the far right organisation.

Delegates discussed why communities should unite against the BNP and strategies to stop them gaining votes, as well as how to defend multi-culturalism, challenge homophobia and prevent the party gaining a platform in the media and education.

Mr Hain was heckled as he rose to speak, with a delegate shouting: "You are a minister of a racist government. You have no right to be here." Mr Hain did not respond but went on to say: "The BNP now poses a bigger threat with its poison of racist and fascist ideas than we've had for probably 30 years in British politics. It is vital that everybody stands together, whatever their politics, whatever their background to say that we are standing for a belief in a society based on multi-racialism, multi-culturalism and multi faith, and we are proud that Britain is such a society."

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber told delegates: "Some people have said 'don't give the BNP credit by taking them too seriously'. We can't afford to take that risk. That's the message of today's conference - that the BNP have to be fought, and they have to be fought on every level."

Holocaust survivor Henry Guterman MBE said 80 members of his family had died in Nazi concentration camps, adding: "Can you therefore understand my disdain for the BNP who deny that the Holocaust happened."

Also attending the conference were Keith Sonnet, Deputy General Secretary of Unison and Dr Mohammed Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Daily Mail

The rise of the fascist BNP is a threat to democracy - so why is it being legitimised?

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We have the opportunity to stop the BNP before it makes a major breakthrough, but it requires more serious attention, says Ken Livingstone

The British National Party now receives the highest votes for a fascist party in British history. So where is the media outcry about the fact that in some parts of Britain fascists are getting large votes and gaining access to seats on local councils?

The answer to that question is that, with one or two honourable exceptions, there is no outcry in many parts of the national media at all. And yet this is a political party with a long record of racist activity, peddling hatred and mistrust in order to gain access not just to seats on local councils but - more insidiously - access to mainstream debate.

Just over 60 years since the end of the second world war, we seem to have lost sight of the lessons of the fight against fascism - that unless you openly confront the racism and intolerance of the far right, they will grow.

The fight against home-grown fascism can often focus on historical events: the victory at Cable Street or the battles against the National Front in the 1970s. But we have our own battles to fight now.

At the 2006 local elections the British National party polled over 238,000 votes compared to 3,000 votes in 2000, increasing their number of councillors from 19 to 49. In the last six years the BNP vote has increased more than 75-fold.

Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands continue to be the BNP's key target regions. The BNP will aim to make further gains in West Yorkshire - particularly Bradford and Kirklees - and will attempt to make their first breakthrough in South Yorkshire.

In the West Midlands, they will be seeking to gain more seats in the Black Country towns of Sandwell and will look to extend this to bordering councils such as Dudley. They will continue to target Stoke, where there are currently five BNP councillors.

The Welsh and Scottish elections will see the BNP raising its ugly head in the devolved bodies, and next year the far right will be hoping to get elected onto the London assembly. At the previous elections in 2004, the BNP only jut missed getting elected onto the assembly by 0.1%.

Ignoring them or caving in to their agenda does not work. In the London elections next year I will make sure that my campaign puts the issue of defeating the BNP up front as a key message.

The problem we have at present is that not only is the rise of a fascist party not being given adequate attention, but its agenda is being capitulated to and fed from the mainstream.

The daily diet of attacks on Muslims based on lurid headlines and without thought to the impact on community relations is dangerous and counterproductive and feeds the BNP. The stigmatisation of legitimate political engagement by Muslims and their community organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain, the hysterical debate on the veil, and so on, are doing the BNP's work for them. Muslims are being singled out for attack.

The fascist right sees the demonisation of Muslims as one of its chief weapons in sowing the seeds of division. Hatred and fear of Muslims is key to the BNP's rhetoric, and its purpose is not to have a sensitive debate about multiculturalism in modern Britain but to whip up racism and discrimination.

We have seen the notion of "Islamofascism" invented, whilst mainstream Muslim organisations are openly equated with the fascists. On BBC News on January 29, for instance, Mark Easton reported a dossier on extremism and said: "Tonight the author of the report confirmed to me that they are likening the Muslim Council and the British National party."

This comparison is false. Fascism is an ideology in whose name millions were murdered on the basis of their race or beliefs. Such comparisons prettify the BNP. Meanwhile, too little attention is paid by politicians and the media to the threat posed by the BNP. The BNP's aim is an eventual national breakthrough on the same scale as its European counterparts who have just formed a caucus in European parliament, where - it is worth noting - there are more fascist MEPs than there are black MEPs.

Violence and terrorism associated with the BNP are rarely mentioned. Since the last local elections, BNP councillors and activists have been found guilty of violent crimes. David Enderby, BNP councillor for Redditch, was found guilty of three counts of assault. His election agent Kevin Hughes was jailed for racially aggravated common assault. In January, BNP activist Mark Bulman was sentenced to five years for attempting to firebomb a local mosque. David Copeland - the London nailbomber - was a former BNP member. Such incidents are the consequence of fascist ideology.

Falling for the trick that the BNP should have freedom of speech to promote racist hatred only aids it making further gains. The BNP is not a legitimate political party but a conspiracy against Britain's black and Asian communities.

Unlike many European countries, we have the opportunity to stop the BNP before it makes a major breakthrough but it requires more serious attention, a serious campaign and the correct leadership in challenging the racism that is currently allowing the BNP to grow.

The Unite Against Fascism national conference on February 17 will be an opportunity to discuss some of the issues raised in this article.

· Ken Livingstone is chairman of Unite Against Fascism. For more information or to register, telephone 020 7833 4916 or visit www.uaf.org.uk