Nothing gets liberals foaming at the mouth more than talk of imminent fascist bombing campaigns, going right back to Column 88 and the (fictional) Notting Hill Bomb Plot of 1981. In 2009 the main stream media was awash with hints, and rumours. With our finger on the pulse (as usual) Notes From the Borderland issue 9 (2009) carried the following 'state of play' summary. Not constrained by the need to remain 'on side' in terms of state news media management, we referred to some cases definitely off the official media radar, and analysed all known evidence in as dispassionate a manner as possible. We will return to this topic in a future NFB. 8/10/10
PLOTS AND RUMOURS OF PLOTS: IS A UK FASCIST BOMBING CAMPAIGN IMMINENT?
by DAVE HUGHES
Intrigue in the form of bomb plots, both real and alleged, is hardly in short supply, usually attributed to adherents of Islamist ideology. Summer 2009 saw a flurry of allegations about fascists planning their own, in particular David Leppard's Sunday Times claim that "a network of suspected far-right extremists with access to 300 weapons and 80 bombs has been uncovered by counter-terrorism detectives" (5/7/09). Such claims gain credibility because in recent years a number of fascists have been apprehended in various stages (usually early) of preparation for armed struggle/bombing campaigns.
The task for those outside the charmed circle of spook spin-doctors and disinformation conduits is to disentangle fact from fiction, and provocation from invention. As usual, information from ground-level sources has to be combined with that from court cases and scrutinising media reports, noting carefully their origins. We need to ask whether incidents are connected, ideologically, operationally or geographically. Additionally, it is important to assess how serious a threat each instance actually presents. A crucial matter is ascertaining whether defendants were caught as a result of state prior knowledge or some other factor. Beyond that lies the big question--are we entering a period where the secret state (or elements within it) might allow a spectacular bombing campaign, so as to justify repression not just against fascists, but also the Muslim community, presenting such as 'even-handed'. Anyone who thinks that could never happen has never read this magazine's coverage of David Copeland's 1999 bombing campaign , or been fooled by Christopher Andrews' 'Authorised History of MI5' and other fables...
THE LECOMBER PLOT
Little covered outside NFB , the then BNP Head of Group Development Tony Lecomber's attempt to inveigle ex-BNP member and gangland figure Joe Owens into assassinating leading politicians in January 2006 is important. That Owens declined the bait does not make the plot less real, but marks it as a failed state provocation. As such, not something spooks and their journalist outriders want to mention. Inasmuch as Lecomber wanted Owens to provide the personnel, and armaments, this case differs from the others, as Owens' refusal meant there was literally no case to answer (or inquest to attend).
Next up was BNP member (and former candidate) Robert Cottage (49), arrested 28/9/06 along with retired dentist and BNP member David Jackson (62). At his home in Colne (Lancashire) police uncovered a huge chemical stash that could be used to make explosives. Both were acquitted at their first trial of 'conspiracy to cause explosions', however implausibly. Cottage possessed bomb manual the 'Anarchist Cookbook', and talked in his diary about shooting then PM Tony Blair. While the two met at BNP meetings, there is no evidence of operational contact with Lecomber or any other fascists. The armaments were pathetic--four airguns, a crossbow and a bow and arrow. The prosecution forensic expert stated the chemicals would only make a 'squib'. Cottage was caught after his wife, increasingly worried by him stock-piling chemicals, informed the police via a mental health worker. This has the ring of truth--Kerena Cottage could have shopped him covertly, but is unlikely to admit turning him in if she hadn't. The court accepte d Cottage's (defensive) motives, a Muslim would not receive such a derisory two and a half year sentence .
Goole British People's Party Organiser Gilleard (31) was arrested in Dundee 3/11/07, having fled after police raided his home 31/10/07. This yielded 34 .22 bullets, 4 home-made nail bombs, gunpowder, at least one fuse and much Nazi propaganda. In a notebook he had written "the time has come to stop the talk and start to act. Unless we the British right stop talking of racial war and take steps to make it happen, we will never get back that which has been stolen from us" . That recruitment was intended can be gleaned from a sympathiser referring to Gilleard showing "nail-bombs on webcam" .
Consuming child porn (39,000 indecent images on his computer) might explain his entrapment . 'Operation Koala', a worldwide swoop targeting users of an Italian based paedophile web-site had just moved into the arrest phase . On the other hand, he could have been shopped from inside the BPP or National Front, which Gilleard was also in. BPP infiltrator Robin Steele only departed in 2006 and Eddie Morrison has long been thought a police informant .
Aspiration aside, Gilleard was not part of a larger movement. If so, why flee to his brother's address? Writing things down, keeping firebombs under your four year old son's bed, secreting munitions at home, boasting on MSN webcam-all the actions of a fantasist. The BPP leadership only slowly picked up the pornography angle--it was implicitly raised in December but they did not comment until it came out at the trial . Tellingly, child porn precipitated his expulsion, not the other charges. A hurried BPP follow up declared they "vigorously opposed to any form of illegal activity of the sort Gilleard has been found guilty of" . Not vigorously enough to throw him out for planning such (however ineptly). Gilleard's defence on the terrorism charges was risible—"curiosity", having "forgotten" about the bombs once he had made them etc. His sentence was 16 years: 11 for terrorism, 5 for child pornography.
Another BPP member, Nathan Worrell (34), was arrested on 24/1/08 at Grimsby (Lincolnshire) 52 miles from Goole . Gilleard's photo and prison address were on his mobile phone. Police raided Worrell for harassing a local mixed race couple, putting stickers condemning 'race mixing' on their gate and nearby lamp-post , They found membership cards for the BPP, November 9th Society and Ku Klux Klan, plus stickers(including 'England First'). Additionally, there were bomb manuals such as the 'Improvised Munitions Black Book', 1.5kg of sodium chlorate weedkiller, 171 match heads, numerous fireworks and basic detonators.
Compared to Gilleard, preparations were at an even earlier stage. His QC argued there was "no bomb, no home-made bomb, no improvised explosive device was found in Worrell's flat, nor any such thing under construction...There are no targets identified" . Worrell was evidently a sad loner, the sticker trail bound to lead to him sooner rather than later. Eventually, he may have done something--having no steady job, Worrell had lots of time on his hands, and still does--he was jailed for 7 years and three months on charges of terrorism and racially aggravated harassment .
Arrested at Lowestoft Railway station (Suffolk) 30/10/08 for a public order offence, he had travelled from Tilehurst (Reading) to meet a woman first contacted online, Lewington (43) seems serious. His holdall contained two viable explosive devices at an advanced construction stage. A subsequent search of his home uncovered bomb-making components, a handwritten oddity the 'Waffen SS handbook, plus Ku Klux Klan and Blood & Honour propaganda. His destination. Lowestoft, is not an interchange, but the end of the line. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to suppose Lewington was on his way to plant the bombs. The drunken behaviour that led to his arrest could have been the result of Dutch courage. He did not talk to police, or give evidence at his trial. "Lone wolf" Lewington may have been, but a serious player too. He received a minimum 6 year jail sentence .
At this point, the evidential trail narrows considerably but not completely. Leppard reports 32 people questioned in six weeks to the start of July 2009, with recovery of "rocket launchers, grenades, pipe bombs and dozens of firearms", though of 32 only "several have been charged", also "police are examining allegations that many of the guns were manufactured or reactivated, then sold over the internet to viewers of a right-wing website" . Arrests which may be connected, and obviously without any presumption of guilt, include Terry Gavan (38) of Batley, (Yorkshire), charged under the Terrorism Act after guns and explosives were found at his home 21/5/09 , also Ian Davison (41) and his son Nicky (18), arrested in Burnopfield County Durham 2/6/09 on suspicion of inciting racial hatred, then charged under the Terrorism Act once the poison Ricin was allegedly discovered .
WHAT TO MAKE OF ALL THIS?
Leppard (unusually) names his source here--Norman Bettison, West Yorkshire Chief Constable, who perhaps wants to steal a march in the intra-state resource war. On 1/7/09 Shaun Sawyer, Commander of Scotland Yard's Counter-Terrorism command (S015) told the Muslim Safety Forum of fears that the far right "will have a spectacular...that will lead to loss of life" . A third 'player' joined in—Public Order Intelligence Unit analyst Sarah Ewings claimed on 14/7 that 'Project Guillemot' had identified 1,122 "right wing extremists" who are no threat to national security-i.e. leave it all to the POIU .
As often happens, MI5 probably disagree. In an arrest to my knowledge not covered in any UK media, veteran gun-maker Philip Luty (jailed for 4 years in 1998 on similar charges relating to the essentially light-hearted 'Expedient Homemade Firearms-the 9mm Machinegun') was taken into custody from his Harrogate (Yorkshire) home, on 22/5/09 (the day after Gavan). He was charged under the Terrorism Act with making "a record of information likely to be of assistance to terrorists", most probably via now dormant web-site www.thehomegunsmith.com. A friend in Portugal was allegedly raided by "a task force of Interpol and Portugese [counter-terrorism squad]. They had been specifically asked to do so by Britain's MI5 as part of an investigation surrounding Mr Luty" .
Though there is no reason to suppose Luty has fascist sympathies, it appears some material from his site may have been found in at least one case above. Furthermore, in recent times the international Blood & Honour network have been under intense electronic surveillance, related to 'practical' information discussed there. On 1/10/09 Dame Pauline Neville-Jones (ex-MI6) asked the Home Secretary to act against Blood & Honour, mentioning the on-line 'Field Manual' . While still on-line, Chapter 4 on 'Violence And Terror' is not, perhaps because of exhortations that those who "take the dark and lonely road of counter-terrorism, you should put all your energy, all your heart and all your brain into your actions".
So, to assess how imminent a fascist bomb campaign might be, further information is needed-questioning has brought few charges, and those convicted not that close, Lewington aside. I would not, however, bet against an EDL cell being 'found' about to blow up a mosque . Would you?
1) see NFB issue 3 p.14-38, issue 5 p.16-19, issue 6 p.43-47, issue 8 p.48-49
2) NFB issue 7 p.24-33, issue 8 p.3-4 [reproduced elsewhere on this site], also Neil McKay on the plot in the (Glasgow) Sunday Herald 28/5/06, analysed in NFB 8.
3) see on this case for example The Times 14/2/07 (Andrew Norfolk), Daily Mail 13/2/07 (Jaya Narain), BBC News on-line 31/7/07, Lancashire Telegraph 31/7/07 (Camilla Sutcliffe)
4) (Glasgow) Sunday Mail 4//07 (Billy Patterson & Raymond Hainey), Daily Telegraph 25/6/08 (Paul Stokes), 'Neo-Nazi had child abuse images' BBC News on-line 25/6/08
5) C18/Blood & Honour Guestbook 2/12/07, comment from 'Pino', Liverpool (accessed 2/12/07)
6) Peter McDonagh, CPS counter-terrorist lawyer, speaking on BBC File on 4 'Right Wing Extremists' 22/9/09
7) Daily Mail 5/11/07 (Charlotte Gill)
8) Vanguard 17 (BPP) September 2007 p.6 reports on the Goole Day of Action.
9) on the sexual allegations against Gilleard see 'The Nazi Nail-Bomber & the BPP' Indymedia thread 7/12/07. Anything appearing on Indymedia alone if not corroborated should not be taken seriously. Also see BPP Statement 'Ex-BPP Member Martyn Gilleard' 16/6/09 www.bpp.org.uk
10) 'The Martin Gilleard Case' National Executive Statement 25/6/08 http://www.bpp.org.uk/ (accessed 13/10/09)
11) I understand Worrell attended the Goole 'Day of Action' 1/9/07.
12) 'I'm Scared of the backlash' 13/12/08 thisisgrimsby.co.uk (accessed 13/10/09)
13) 'Terror trial' 11/12/08 thisisgrimsby.co.uk (accessed 13/10/09)
14) also see Yorkshire Post 13/10/09 (Alexandra Wood), Daily Mail online 12/12/08
15) The Times 16/7/09 (Sean O'Neill), 'What had white supremacist planned?' BBC News on-line (Dominic Casciani) 8/9/09, Daily Mirror 9/9/09 (Martin Fricker), BBC File on 4 22/9/09
16) Sunday Times 5/7/09, followed by others e.g. Daily Telegraph 7/7/09 (John Bingham), The Independent 14/10/09 (Johann Hari)
17) Yorkshire Evening Post 28/5/09
18) The Times 2/6/09 (Robin Henry), The Northern Echo 3/10/09 (Gavin Engelbrecht)
19) The Guardian 6/7/09 (Vikram Dodd),
20) quoted in Police Review 17/7/09 p.8
22) letter reproduced on www.socialcohesion.co.uk 1/10/09
23) for a wary Nazi commentary on plot rumours see Broadsword (British Movement) issue 37 Summer/Autumn 2009 p.3