#WhiteWash 2 - Nazi Britain: Empire to Brexit
Sadly, Britain's history of darkness precedes Hitler's Germany by centuries and something remains in the British psyche, even today, which is Nazi by its very nature. More worryingly, the United Kingdom now edges ever closer to Brexit, vilifying immigration, on the verge of transferring swathes of power away from parliament, and waving union flags and jingo as it goes.
"We are only a hair's breadth from a final transition, largely due to long-term failures in honest self-reflection, and in that universal deceit the most dangerous truth of the United Kingdom's identity has thrived. Nazi Britain has always existed."
I first served as a police officer with Derbyshire Constabulary in the East Midlands region of the United Kingdom. For the most part I'd grown up in the outer suburbs of Derby, in a village which was, in truth, closer to the picturesque market and mill town of Belper. Aside from the Saturday afternoon skinheads of the Derby Rams – known as the DLF (Derby Lunatic Fringe) – I hadn't been exposed to anything I'd have looked at as being Nazi. Not until policing.
Derbyshire had issues, and they were not just linked to the football. There was a small cell of Combat 18 activists mentioned at one of our first training sessions and the county was also the location of the fatal 1993 car crash in which white supremacist Ian Stuart Donaldson died.
Donaldson was a co-founder of Blood and Honour, a Nazi music promotion network and political group created in 1987. Composed of white nationalists, the network had close links to Combat 18 and organised so-called white power concerts by Rock Against Communism (RAC) bands and distributed a magazine of the same name. With official branches in several countries, the United States actually saw two rival groups claim the name. Germany outlawed the organisation in 2000, Spain in 2011, and even Russia in 2012 – the latter citing rumours of a coup and domestic terrorism plots.
Blood & Honour took its name from the motto of the Hitler Youth, Blut und Ehre, and a song of the same name by the white power band Skrewdriver. They commonly wear Nazi SS logos and other symbols on their attire. The roots of Blood & Honour go back to 1977, a period when the National Front (NF) originally started the RAC movement in response to a Rock Against Racism campaign. By 1986, the NF had split into two factions and it was discovered one of their chapters, the White Noise Club (WNC) who originally set up the RAC concerts had been defrauding bands and concert-goers. It was this which prompted Donaldson, then lead-singer of Screwdriver, to found Blood and Honour. A concert was held in Morden, Surrey, in September 1987 to commemorate this launch and by the end of 1988, Blood & Honour magazine was a growing quarterly. It included a column called "White Whispers" and also featured a mail-order service selling white power albums, T-shirts and flags, loyalist music, and Swastika pendants.
Advertising in the Magazine, Skrewdriver set up a London concert on the 12th of September 1992, listing a gathering point as Waterloo Railway Station but the police closed the gathering down. This caused an overspill of international white supremacists into the local area and they clashed with Antifa protesters. A riot took place on Southbank in which bricks and champagne bottles taken from bins were used as weapons. Surprisingly, the concert still took place in the Yorkshire Grey pub in Eltham.
A year later, Donaldson had organised a three day festival in the East Midlands, to start on the 25th of September. Three nights before the concert Donaldson died when the car he was travelling in span out of control and into a ditch. Each year, on or near the anniversary of Donaldson's death, a large memorial concert is held. The gathering to mark the 20th anniversary of the white supremacist's death was reported as the biggest: over one thousand people attended.
The dark history of Britain, however, goes back hundreds of years.
Even before Roman times, slavery was a part of life in what was then Brittania. Slaves were exported as a matter of routine and the practice was an accepted aspect of society both under the Roman Empire and afterwards. Anglo-Saxons continued the trade, often working with Norse groups and selling slaves to the Irish – this is how Saint Patrick was captured by raiders and taken to Ireland. This continued to operate out of Bristol until the 11th century but, by around 1200, the trade of British slaves had ended and when it was revived, the market was very different.
Admiral Sir John Hawkins, an Elizabethan seafarer, has been awarded the dubious title of “the Pioneer of the English Slave Trade.” Between 1554 and 1555, Hawkins create a trading syndicate of wealthy merchants dealing in slaves. Sailing with ships bound for the Caribbean via Sierra Leone, the convoy hijacked a Portuguese ship and sold the three-hundred captives found on board in Santo Domingo. In 1564, his crew captured four hundred Africans and sold them at Rio de la Hacha in present-day Colombia, making a significant profit for his investors. A third voyage saw him not only buying slaves directly in Africa but capturing a Portuguese ship with its human cargo. After his eventual return to Britain he wrote a book, An Alliance to Raid for Slaves, and his homeland soon became the leader in the Atlantic slave trade. By the 18th century it was the major economic output of the cities of Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow, who were part of the so-called "Triangular trade". Ships would sail from Britain loaded with trade goods, exchange the cargo in West African for slaves, and transport them through the infamous "Middle Passage" across the Atlantic. Once docked in America, the slaves were sold at considerable profit as plantation labourers.
During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Britain transported and enslaved an estimated three million people from Africa. Out of approximately twenty-four million people who were forcibly removed from Africa and enslaved by the European powers and United States, only ten million managed to survive long enough to reach the Americas and the Caribbean. On the 25th of March 1807, Britain abolished the slave trade. This was not the end of slavery, people could still own other human beings, but it ceased the trade between Africa and the British colonies.
In 2001, Britain was accused by the UN's anti-racism conference of blocking the European Union from issuing a straightforward apology for the transatlantic trade in slavery. Only in 2007 did then Prime Minister Tony Blair offer an apology, saying: “I have said we are sorry and I say it again … [It is important] to remember what happened in the past, to condemn it and say why it was entirely unacceptable.”
In truth, the days of the British Empire are almost inseparable from the horrors inflicted by the Nazis. The values were certainly aligned. Yet, this whole history has been set aside and rejected in favour of remembering a brief period of later action in which the British nation took on the identity of a plucky little island taking on Hitler's might for Queen and Country and the greater good - a national persona Britain has become so wrapped up in it has obfuscated the island's true nature even from its citizens. Failure to confront British history has returned to collect its dues.
Prior to the transition, before the Churchillian view of the UK took a hold and the Battle of Britain spirit became the dangerous and jingoistic nostalgia notion of the future, the nation found itself on the brink of aligning with Hitler.
The British Union of Fascists (BUF), was a political party formed in 1932 by former Labour MP Oswald Mosley. The movement changed its name to "British Union of Fascists and National Socialists" in 1936 and again in 1937 to "British Union". It was finally disbanded in 1940 after it was outlawed by the British government following the declaration of the Second World War.
The BUF first emerged in 1932 from the British far-right after the electoral defeat of its previous incarnation, The New Party, in the 1931 general election. Initially met with popular support, the BUF developed a sizeable following and the press baron Lord Rothermere was a notable supporter - the BUF claimed fifty-thousand members at one point and Rothermere's Daily Mail, ran the headline "Hurrah for the Blackshirts!" before he later withdrew his endorsement.
Despite resistance from anti-fascists, including the local Jewish community, the Labour Party, the Independent Labour Party, and the Communist Party of Great Britain, the BUF found a following in London's East End. In the County Council elections of March 1937, the party even obtained successful results in Bethnal Green, Shoreditch, and Limehouse, polling almost 8,000 votes although none of its candidates were elected. Having lost the funding of newspaper magnate Lord Rothermere, however, the 1935 General Election saw the party urging voters to abstain, calling for "Fascism Next Time". This opportunity never came as the next General Election was not held until July 1945 and the BUF had been banned by then.
The party became increasingly radical during the 1930s, largely causing its support to decline. At a rally in 1934, in Olympia, a number of anti-Fascist protestors were attacked and this saw the party isolated from much of its following. The level of violence shocked many, turning formerly neutral parties against the BUF and contributing to support for the anti-fascist movement. One commentator noted: “I came to the conclusion that Mosley was a political maniac, and that all decent English people must combine to kill his movement.”
Nonetheless, the BUF's continued Nazi anti-semitism provoked yet more violent clashes with opponents, most notably the 1936 Battle of Cable Street in London's East End where anti-fascist groups built roadblocks in an attempt to prevent the march from taking place. The barricades were set near the junction with Christian Street and an estimated twenty thousand anti-fascist demonstrators turned out. They were met by six thousand police officers, who attempted to clear the road and protect the march of around three thousand fascists, allowing it to proceed. The demonstrators fought back with sticks, rocks, chair legs and other improvised weapons - rubbish, rotten vegetables and the contents of chamber pots were thrown at the police by women in houses along the street. Due to the rioting, Mosley abandoned the march and the BUF were dispersed towards Hyde Park. About one hundred and fifty demonstrators were arrested though several members of the police were also arrested by demonstrators. Almost two hundred people were injured including women and children. The subsequent introduction of the Public Order Act 1936, which banned the wearing of political uniforms and required police consent for marches, was no coincidence, By design it particularly affected BUF supporters - known as "Blackshirts" after the uniforms they wore.
By 1939, total BUF membership was around twenty-thousand but in May 1940 the BUF was banned outright by the government and Mosley, along with nearly eight hundred other fascists, was imprisoned for much of the Second World War. It has since emerged secret Nazi envoys had donated about £50,000 to the BUF.
After this there was a long absence before Nazi rhetoric returned to the centre of conservative thinking, with MP Enoch Powell's infamous 1968 Rivers of Blood speech. He laid fresh foundations upon which the modern political far-right has built.
Responding to the reading of the Race Relations Act 1968 - which made it illegal to refuse housing, employment, or public services to a person on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origins - Powell spoke unchallenged to a conservative audience. “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal,” he said.
Over the years, despite the huge loss of life and the destruction of the Blitzkreig, the Nazi culture in Britain never disappeared. I has simply been waiting for its moment, growing dangerously and covertly all the while.
By 1992 Combat 18, the activist group which would be most closely associated with Blood and Honour, had been created by two men, Charlie Sargent and Harold Covington. They quickly attracted national attention due to their threats of violence against immigrants, members of ethnic minorities, and what they termed “leftists”. The group went as far, in their publication Redwatch magazine, as printing photographs, names, and addresses of perceived opponents. An openly Nazi movement, they made no bones about encouraging violence and were also hostile to electoral politics.
When Combat 18 eventually split into factions, Wilf "The Beast" Browning, sought to return Sargent to the core membership. Due to tensions between the two men, however, they used a 28-year-old member, Chris Castle, as go-between during negotations over the return of plastering tools. During one meeting, while Browning waited in the car outside Sargent's Essex address, Castle was fatally stabbed by former Skrewdriver guitarist Martin Cross. Sargent and Cross were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Between 1998 and 2000, dozens of other Combat 18 members in the UK were arrested for various offences following extensive operations by police forces. These raids were conducted by Scotland Yard in co-operation with the British security service, MI5. Those arrested included Steve and Bill Sargent (the brothers of convicted murderer Charlie Sargent), David Myatt and two serving British soldiers, Darren Theron (of the Parachute Regiment) and Carl Wilson. Another of those whose house was raided was Adrian Marsden, who went on to become a local political councillor for the British National Party (BNP). Several of those arrested were later imprisoned, including Andrew Frain, sentenced to seven years, and Jason Marriner (who was sentenced to six years). The UK was not an exception, however. Over the years Combat 18 chapters had sprung up in Illinois, Florida and Texas and, on the 6th of September 2006, Belgian police arrested twenty members of Combat 18 in Flanders. Fourteen of them were soldiers.
Conflicting membership of the armed services and extreme right-wing groups continues to be a problem even today. On the 5th of September 2017, Four British soldiers were arrested on suspicion of being members of a neo-Nazi terror cell, part of the far-right National Action group. The group, which celebrated the right-wing murder of the MP Jo Cox, also organised marches in 2015 and 2016 in Liverpool, Darlington and York. It became the first right-wing organisation to be officially banned by the UK government and was outlawed in December 2016 by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. She said at the time: "National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology. It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone." West Midlands Police declined to provide any information on the units or ranks of the arrested men.
In a 2014 investigation by the Daily Mirror newspaper, Benjamin Raymond, then aged 25, was alleged to be the leader of National Action. A former double-glazing salesman who had graduated with a degree in Politics from Essex University in 2013, a year later he had blogged: "There are non-whites and Jews in my country who all need to be exterminated. As a teenager, Mein Kampf changed my life. I am not ashamed to say I love Hitler." Raymond also expressed admiration for Anders Breivik, the far-right terrorist, saying he was "the hero Norway deserves" and told BBC News in 2015: "The source of all of the conflict in society is all the different racial groups that have been brought here. They have been brought here to create a people who are deracinated and easier to control". Alex Davies, another member, described the group as "like the BNP but more radical".
According to reports, National Action self-styles itself as a "revolutionary nationalist" organisation which grew out of a failed offshoot within the youth wing of the British National Party and has made effective, large-scale use of social media and blogging platforms. National Action also wanted to reintroduce a rule which prohibited the "promotion of homosexuality" in schools and have been found distributing material in twelve universities, one of which Davies was forced to withdraw from. "We're targeting universities regularly. That's something the BNP never had. We've built something in a few months the BNP didn't have in 20 years,” he said.
National Action are a special interest group in terms of this investigation and will be covered in more depth at a later point. Meanwhile, racist attacks on immigrants have continued from members of Combat 18.
Weapons, ammunition and explosives have been seized by police in the UK and almost every other country in which the group has active chapters. In late 2010, five members of Combat 18 Australia (among them Jacob Marshall Hort and Bradley Neil Trappitt) were charged over an attack on a mosque in Perth, Western Australia. Several rounds were fired from a high-powered rifle into the Canning Turkish Islamic Mosque.
Despite the online forum presence of Combat 18 officially closing down at the end of November 2014, with the site redirecting to a USA-based nationalist video and DVD merchandising store, they have not gone away. As recently as 2016 a former Combat 18 member, citing concerns over the nationalist rhetoric surrounding the then pending Brexit referendum, claimed a plot to recruit teachers into the organisation was under way. The threat was clearly credible as, by spring 2017, the updated national counter-terrorism training scheme - under the title Prevent - was being delivered to teachers across the UK. It specifically cited right-wing extremism as an equal or greater risk than that posed by IS. I was present during one of these sessions as it was delivered to staff of a secondary school in an affluent area. None of the staff were surprised.
During my time with Derbyshire Constabulary, I discovered Combat 18 and Blood and Honour were not the only domestic extremists on the doorstep.
The British National Party (BNP) hosted an annual event in the county: The Red, White, and Blue Festival. Though I didn't know this when I bought a house in Denby Village in 2008, the farm where the festival took place was on the lane behind the property. In 2009, the year my son was born and we left for London, Antifa protestors blockaded the road by dropping breeze blocks having disembarked a coach directly outside my house. The farmer no longer hosts the event and I no longer own the house.
The BNP was formed in 1982 by John Tyndall and other former members of the National Front. According to Tyndall, it remained ideologically identical to the NF and took its name from a defunct 1960s party. Ideologically positioned on the extreme or far-right of British politics, the BNP was characterised as fascist or neo-fascist by political scientists, though, under Tyndall's leadership, it was more specifically regarded as Nazi. During the first twenty years, the BNP put no resources into contesting elections – and performed poorly where it did. The group focused on street marches and rallies instead. However, a growing faction who wished to modernise the organisation felt frustrated by Tyndall and, in 1999, they ousted him from his leadership position.
The new leader, Nick Griffin, sought to broaden the BNP's electoral base by moderating some of its policies – concentrating on exploiting media driven concerns about rising immigration rates. He took the step of emphasising attention on localised community campaigns and this provoked increased electoral growth throughout the 2000s to the point the BNP outstripped Mosley's BUF and became the most successful far-right party in British history. However, stories regarding financial mismanagement resulted in Griffin being removed in 2014 and the BNP's membership and vote share declined dramatically. Subsequently, the remaining member groups split up and formed rival organisations such as Britain First.
A far-right, ultranationalist political movement, Britain First was formed in 2011 by former BNP members including Jim Dowson, an anti-abortion campaigner linked to Ulster loyalist groups in Northern Ireland. Its leader was former BNP councillor Paul Golding, and the acting leader of the party was Jayda Fransen - who stood in for Golding when he took a six month leave in November 2016. The group campaigns primarily against multiculturalism and what it sees as the “Islamisation of the United Kingdom.” It advocates “the preservation of traditional British culture,” and has attracted attention by taking direct action such as protests outside homes of Islamic extremists. Britain First also carried out what it terms "Christian patrols" and "invasions" of British mosques. It has also been noted for its effective online activism. The party has unsuccessfully contested elections to the House of Commons and the European Parliament and the ran a candidate for the Mayor of London's office.
English Defence League (EDL) co-founder Tommy Robinson was also a former BNP activist — although Griffin proscribed the organisation and condemned it as having been manipulated by "Zionists". The EDL is a far-right protest movement which focuses on opposition to what it considers to be a spread of Islamism and Sharia in the United Kingdom. Robinson left as leader in 2013, stating he had concerns over far-right extremism. He is now a commentator for Canadian far-right media organisation Rebel Media. Robinson, the EDL, and Rebel Media are special interest groups in terms of this investigation and will be covered in more depth at a later point.
The BNP itself was ethnic-nationalist, and promoted the view only white people should be citizens of the United Kingdom, calling for an end to non-white migration and the removal of settled non-white populations from the country. Initially, it called for the compulsory expulsion of non-whites, although it has since advocated voluntary removals with financial incentives – something which has recently been proposed by a UKIP leadership candidate. The BNP promoted biological racism and the so-called white genocide conspiracy theory, espousing the need for global racial separatism and condemning mixed-race relationships. Under Tyndall, the BNP emphasised anti-semitism and Holocaust denial but Griffin switched the party's focus to Islamophobia.
The party promoted economic protectionism, Euroscepticism, and a transformation away from liberal democracy, while its social policies opposed feminism, LGBT rights, and societal permissiveness. The BNP also had a highly centralised structure which gave its chairman near total control. It also established a range of sub-groups — such as a youth wing, record label, and trade union — and built links with extreme-right groups internationally.
As the most electorally successful far-right party in British history, the BNP attracted the most support from White British working-class communities in Northern and Eastern England, particularly among middle-aged and elderly men. More widely, it was highly unpopular and faced much opposition from anti-fascists, religious organisations, and mainstream politicians and media. BNP members were banned from a number of professions – including policing - and opinion polls long-indicated a majority of Britons favoured the party's criminalisation.
The BNP was a Nazi party in the truest sense and prior to its fracture members were allegedly radicalised during their involvement, subsequently seeking to carry out acts of violence and terrorism. One man, Tony Lecomber, was imprisoned for three years for possessing explosives after a nail bomb exploded while he was transporting it to the offices of the Workers' Revolutionary Party in 1985. He was later imprisoned for three years in 1991 whilst serving as the BNP's Director of Propaganda for assaulting a Jewish teacher. Additionally, in 1999, ex-BNP member David Copeland used nail bombs to target the LGBT community and ethnic minorities in London and in 2005, the BNP's Burnley candidate Robert Cottage was convicted of stockpiling chemicals for use in what he believed was a “coming civil war.” A further BNP member from Yorkshire, Terry Gavan, was convicted in 2010 for offences of stockpiling firearms and nail bombs.
Under Griffin, the BNP created a number of links with various far-right parties across the EU, including France's National Front headed by Marine Le Pen, Germany's National Democratic Party (NPD), Sweden's National Democrats, and Hungary's Jobbik - Griffin had unsuccessfully urged the NPD to move away from Neo-Nazism and embark on the same 'modernisation' project as the BNP had under his leadership. Le Pen of the Front National, who was more progressive in her approach, was the guest of honour at an "Anglo-French Patriotic Dinner" held by the BNP in April 2004. Griffin also met leaders of the Hungarian Jobbik party to discuss co-operation between the two groups and spoke at a party rally in August 2008. In April 2009, Simon Darby, deputy chairman of the BNP, was welcomed with fascist salutes by members of the Italian nationalist Forza Nuova during a trip to Milan. Darby stated the BNP would look to form an alliance with France's Front National in the European Parliament and, after the 2009 election of two BNP MEPs, the following year saw the BNP join with other extreme-right parties to form the Alliance of European National Movements. Griffin became its vice president.
In 2014, ahead of the UK's general election as Nigel Farage's UKIP sealed its previously silent pact with Steve Bannon - then the head of right-wing news outlet Breitbart (see Alternative War) - Nick Griffin's BNP was on the slide and he announced his plan to vote for Farage “to shake up the political system”. Griffin believed it would increase the chances of an EU referendum happening and tweeted at the time: “I will hold nose & vote Ukip because it will help break up the Westminster system. & hold Cameron's feet to referendum fire.”
This signalled a final shift, in which the extreme far-right openly aligned with the more publicly palatable Farage.
The co-ordination continued to become increasingly overt and, in November 2016, a host of far-right groups were set to join Farage in a march on the Supreme Court, organised after judges ruled Theresa May had no right to begin Britain’s exit from the European Union without first consulting Parliament. Britain First, the remnants of the BNP, and the EDL were among the most well known planning to send delegates to protest the decision. Farage called the ruling a: “Deliberate, wilful attempt to frustrate this referendum” and even said one of the judges should not have been allowed to sit on the High Court panel. In a dark nod to its history with the BUF, the Daily Mail declared the judges “Enemies Of The People.”
A spokesperson for Farage and Arron Banks' Leave.EU campaign organisation discussed the march with The Telegraph, saying: “This will remind the Government, politicians and the establishment, including the court, that they cannot ignore the democratic vote of the people in the referendum.”
The event itself was a damp squib. However, following extensive investigation, Farage and his associates has been substantively linked to far-right parties across Europe, the Trump Campaign, Breitbart, and Russian interference in the Brexit, Trump, and Macron elections. He remains a person of interest in the FBI's Russia investigation and has been found in breach of group and individual spending rules by the EU. This previous investigation is covered in full in the book Alternative War which is now available worldwide.
Farage will be in Berlin on Friday the 8th of September 2017, at a campaign event ahead of the German election for the far-right group Alternative for Germany. He will speak alongside the party leader, a politician who once said police should be able to shoot refugees.
The AfD is a special interest group in terms of this investigation and will be covered in more depth at a later point.
We are only a hair's breadth from a final transition, largely due to long-term failures in honest self-reflection, and in that universal deceit the most dangerous truth of the United Kingdom's identity has thrived. Nazi Britain has always existed.
"the United Kingdom now edges ever closer to Brexit, vilifying immigration, on the verge of transferring swathes of power away from parliament, and waving union flags and jingo as it goes"
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