Everybody has heard of the Ku Klux Klan--not that many people rightly give these pillow-wearers much thought. The British franchise, when taken up, has long been a magnet for inadequtes, spooks, and the sartorially-challenged. Coverage of one such incarnation in the very first Notes From the Borderland eventually elicited a belated if splenetic response from 'real crime' writer Bernard O'Mahoney,
rather more entertaining than the KKK UK themselves--scroll down to enjoy! And remember children--as Frank might say, don't do drugs, especially early in the morning....
KKK UK--the coming of the pseudo klans?
Being wise after the event is a cheap commodity, the best kind of wisdom is during or before the fact. I have elsewhere written of the state's attempts to take over Combat 18 and turn it into a 'pseudo-gang', along the lines recommended by Brigadier Frank Kitson. In this scenario, forces that appear opposed to the state are in fact controlled at arms-length by elements of the apparatus. Now Combat 18 has passed into history, the question arises, what will the state and their flunkeys try next in order to succeeed where they (largely) failed with C18? This is a legitimate question because for us parapolitics is not merely speculation about events long past, but an analytical tool that can on occasion aid political struggles. As the BNSP episode detailed elsewhere in this magazine indicates, the state always has more than one iron in the fire. The 'next big thing' in the UK in terms of media demonisation is going to be the Ku Klux Klan. I stress media demonisation--there are other far right outfits who have far more realistic (from their point of view) and sophisticated strategies who have not received such a sustained public profile, nor are they likely to. As will be outlined below, there has already been a concerted effort by the state and their media outlets to 'hype' the Klan, exaggerating its significance and degree of support in what can only be described as a free advertising campaign, launched before the 'product' was even properly on the domestic market.
For most people, the Klan have an instantly recognisable image:red-necked bigots who go around at night wearing pointed pillows on their heads seeking to frighten the life out of racial minorities. In that sense the name already has strong brand recognition, and it is this established clandestine conspiratorial profile that precludes the Klan, in my view, from a serious future in the UK as a viable political grouping. What isn't well known, but should be by all concerned, is that in the USA the KKK is currently a shadowy organisation with barely any members--a recent report puts it at little more than 2,500, down from as many as 12,000 in the 1960s . The reasons for this decline are complex, but among other factors an important one has to be the intervention of US state agencies, in particular the FBI . The 1970s Klan was ravaged by disputes between David Duke's KKK and Bill Wilkinson's 'Invisible Empire' of the KKK. According to George & Wilcox (two knowledgeable commentators) in "1978 Wilkinson began engaging in a strategy that would make his Invisible Empire the main Klan group in the United States. His method was to openly and unabashedly engage in violent rhetoric. He said that the Klan had tried a moderate approach for years, but it had failed to stop black advances and it was time to try other methods, presumably including violence. One disquieting tactic was to pose for the media with weapons including machine guns. He went out of his way to engage in confrontations where violence might occur" . What a surprise (or not) when it transpired that Wilkinson was an FBI informant--and in that role had deliberately set the KKK on an even more violent path than before.
This is not the place to go into the various links between the KKK and UK fascists, which have been highly sporadic and short-lasting . Recent leaders since a 1990 reorganisation have included Alan Beshella, who lives in South Wales, and has been accused of being a child abuser who is a fugitive from US justice . Things only became really interesting in 1996, when two separate Klan organisations were set up. One of them, the 'Knights of the KKK' opened for business in both England & Scotland , and was soon after that featured in a News of the World article under the by-line of Special Branch mouthpiece Gary Jones who described them as having "small IRA-style cells growing nationwide"--a sure sign the secret state wants to prioritise targetting a particular group .
This Klan branch seems to have folded quite quickly, much of the membership joining the current Klan brand set for take off, the reconstituted and revitalised 'Invisible Empire' label, head office located in the run-down industrial town of Bethlehem Pennsylvania. The UK relaunch document speaks of "moving towards a more cell-based structure" .
Before returning to what this new franchise might be up to, it is just as well to remind ourselves just how much pre-publicity they have had, which makes me highly suspicious.
The first public sign of the Klan being hyped came in the 'Cook Report' TV programme transmitted 17/6/97. Cook ludicrously claimed that they had "effectively replaced Combat 18" . No evidence was given for this extravagant claim.
Next was a Searchlight 'security alert' sent to Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) branches dated 3/6/97. This was an example of rare (unique) humility from the 'team' who affected to be concerned that issue 1 of the UK Klan magazine January 30th had published an AFA national contact list. To see how suspicious this mailing was, one need only recall that such 'alerts' were never issued to AFA when far more accurate information was published in Redwatch or Combat 18 magazines 1 and 3. Why alert anti-fascists to largely inaccurate information when previously correct information was hoarded? No anti-fascist logic to that, but certainly a state logic. And, sure enough, towards the end of June an intrinsically ridiculous story started doing the media rounds, about the fact that KKK leaflets had been left on car windscreens in the towns of Arbroath and Cupar in Scotland! This was covered in the Mirror, Guardian and Sunday Telegraph . If you consider that BNP leaflets (or indeed NSM/ENM leaflets) are placed on similar locations virtually every weekend, then there has to be some reason why these incidents were being highlighted, over and above the content of the described actions. July's Searchlight mentioned having obtained an issue of January 30th magazine--but didn't (significantly) mention the refounding statement of the UK Klan.
Two recent documents have been circulated aimed at winning recruits to the Klan, and both are illuminating. The first, headlined 'Please Read' was written by long-time Nazi occultist Alan Winder, who hails from Kent. He has had a varied career, active in the NF, British Movement, BNP and most recently on the fringes of C18 . Startlingly, as though meant to impress, he admits to having "formerly served as an Intelligence Operative in the British army" (p.2). This admission (even if fantasy) by anybody in any sphere of politics should be cause for concern, once an intelligence asset always an asset in my book. Bizarrely, he goes on to claim that he has been chosen as 'Imperial Wizard' because "it is hard for ZOG to pressure me into dropping my Klan activities, as they have with others". The reason he gives is curious--"I have recently been sacked from my job of the last ten years, without any form of the compensation, for my Klan work, and I am waiting now also to lose my home by repossession, as I cannot afford to keep up my mortgage payments. Therefore I cannot pay any fines imposed by ZOG" . While this might mean Winder could face prison with impunity, it might also mean he is very susceptible to financial inducements. In other words, it is highly ambiguous. An article he wrote for issue 2 of January 30th (July 1997) isn't so capable of nuanced interpretation. Firstly, he urged Ulster Loyalists to "fight on the mainland, and openly, against ZOG" (p.8). His talk of "being prepared to fight a terrorist battle" and promises he will go to prison rather than pay fines, and urging of others to do likwise, may well be sincere. The balance of probability has to be however that those who advocate (even in slight jest) stunts like "stealing an atomic bomb" (p.9) have to be watched very carefully indeed. That Winder's deputy is the ludicrous figure of Bill Binding, ex-NF/National Democrats & later BNP, hardly inspires confidence. Both these two characters have made too many quick zig-zags across the political spectrum to be seen as entirely credible.
As a post-script to the above, on 20th September two events took place in East London within a very short distance of each other. On the one hand, a KKK national relaunch meeting was held, the redirection point for which was Bow Bus garage. On the other hand, a BNP meeting was sceduled for Bethnal Green the same afternoon. This latter meeting place was moved at the last minute to Stratford, and BNP members as well as Anti-Nazi League puppets/others under the proximate control of the Searchlight team were directed from one place to the other, so they could beat up an elderly gentleman of pensionable age (John Tyndall) and his wife. In order to get from the original anti-BNP meeting point (Whitechapel Tube Station) to Stratford, the ANL and others had to pass within yards of where the Klan eventually met. As far as I know, no attempt was made to disrupt the KKK gathering. The day after, more free Klan adverts appeared in the Sunday Mirror and (Glasgow) Sunday Mail (21/9/97). No doubt Searchlight will soon claim inside knowledge of the Klan moot, and provide a disingenuous explanation of why the BNP were attacked and the Klan not. Could it be that Searchlight and their state paymasters wanted the latter meeting to go ahead so as to foster Klan growth? One cannot be certain, but at the very least this whole enterprise has the aroma of state license, if not sponsorship, about it. Army intelligence? No thanks.
As predicted, Searchlight later claimed inside knowledge of the 20/9/97 Klan meeting--one likely soiurce for which was the charmless Linda Miller, in whose flat the meeting was held! More recently, so-called gangland 'hard man' Bernard O'Mahoney explained in self-serving detail his antics while accompanying News of the World reporter Gary Jones to a 1996 Klan meeting for the article referenced in footnote 7. This, indeed the whole book, perfectly captures the mentality of the low-grade police informer O'Mahoney appears to be  SEE ADDITION BELOW FOOTNOTES. Subsequently, the Ku Klux Klan has done little in the UK, which has not stopped sporadic if half-hearted media publicity from time to time, usually with Searchlight input . Winder's reference in the original article to having summarily lost his job became a little clearer-- it is alleged he had been using Inland Revenue facilities to track down political opponents. Nice. He subsequently became BNP Eastbourne Organiser--presumably enabling him to interface with both the political undead and the soon-to-be dead.
1) see Sunday Telegraph 8/6/97
2) see John George & Laird Wilcox 'Nazis, Communists, Klansmen & others on the Fringe' (Prometheus Books/New York 2002) p.394-414. Michael Novick 'White Lies White Power' (Common Courage Press/Maine 1995) p.35-91 adopts a rather more sensationalist approach which tends to vastly overestimate the Klan's current strength, but to his credit outlines lots of instances of state:Klan collaboration.
3) George & Wilcox op. cit. p.405. See p.402-6 especially on the dispute between Duke & Wilkinson
4) in March 1978 when David Duke visited the farm of Robert Beauclair in Warwickshire, I was one of those protesting along with comrades from the Leamington Anti-Racist Anti-Fascist Committee.
5) Sunday Mirror 19/2/95. Another recent member of the Klan who later turned out to be a Searchlight/ state asset and wife-killer was Charles Hanson.
6) see interview in Highlander issue 1 (Glasgow/1996) p.6
7) News of the World 30/6/96 (Gary Jones)
8) p.1 of 'Important Announcement' document distributed Summer 1997
9) direct quote from Roger Cook's commentary
10) see respectively editions for 19/6/97 (Andy Bevan) 23/6/97 (Erlend Clouston) and 22/6/97 (Tim Reid)
11) one of his Monomarks Boxes (Kaotica) was listed in the 'Our Race is Our Nation' document, the organisational high-water mark of C18.
12) p.2 document cited. ZOG is the fascist term for the so-called 'Zionist Occupation Government' (ie World Jewish Conspiracy).
13) Bernard O'Mahoney 'Hateland' (Mainstream/Edinburgh 2005) p.204-5/210-24 covers the Klan
14) 'Klan Knights cash in on Celtic racism' Sunday Times 21/3/99 (David Bamber & Rajeev Syal)
BERNARD O'MAHONEY: FURTHER DETAIL 8/11/07
We are always pleased to get feed-back from readers: such exchanges brighten up our day, no matter how early. At 6.40am this morning I received a text-message from a mobile that has the same number as on O'Mahoney's web-site. This, and other messages/quotes from O'Mahoney both today and in print are highlighted in purple:
"I suggest u remove your pathetic allegation that I am a low-level police informer from your site asap. This is the only warning u shall get. BERNARD O'MAHONEY"
To which I responded at 8.48 am (having consulted Agent Q & other key associates)
"If the level is wrong provide further detail and I'll amend it. Or would a PII Certificate apply?" [PII=Public Interest Immunity certificate, used to protect informant's identities]
This generous offer seemed to upset Mr O'Mahoney. He immediately left a phone message
"You gutless fucking mug. I'll know who you are by the end of the day. I told you to fucking move it. You're trying to be clever. Fuck you!"
Soon followed another text, timed at 8.51 in which O'Mahoney now threatened violence:
"I am not nor have I ever been so move it or get your head redesigned"
Timed at 9.29 am, the head-redesigner (O'Mahoney) sent an email to the NFB address expressing objections to the above passage in which we:
"state that I am a low-grade police informant. This is entirely false and I am advised is damaging to the True crime books that I write. I have asked the people concerned to remove this falsehood but they have refused. I am now asking you to do so, should it still be in place by Monday, I will start legal proceedings. Thank you Bernard O'Mahoney"
So, Mr O'Mahoney seemingly disagrees that he is a low-level police informer/informant. The precise level is a delicate question--hence me asking him. The substantive question is whether O'Mahoney is (or is not) a police informer. To clarify, the (on-line) Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines an informer as "Noun: a person who informs on another person to the police or other authority". Some informants are registered by police, and paid a salary--we do not know if O'Mahoney is.
Bearing the definition in mind, and just using quotes from the 'Hateland' book alone, consider if the following supports the claim above:
1) speaking of his acting as a prosecution witness at the trial of the man who supplied Leah Betts with the Ecstasy tablet that killed her, O'Mahoney refers to "my decision to assist the police" (p.203). Clearly a voluntary act, therefore.
2) "I also made a self-incriminating statement to the police about my efforts to pervert the course of justice on behalf of Lisa and Michelle Taylor" (p.203). Again voluntarily.
3) The original News of the World article on the Ku Klux Klan referred to above, that O'Mahoney chronicles his detailed assistance with, is quoted extensively, including this passage "Now we are making our dossier of evidence available to the police" (p.220)
4) Moving on to the Copeland case, in which letters O'Mahoney wrote to Nazi nail-bomber David Copeland in jail pretending to be a blonde girl called 'Patsy Scanlon', O'Mahoney says "the main purpose of my hoax would be to coax from him details that might damage him at the trial" (p.237-8). O'Mahoney also describes voluntarily letting officers from Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch into his home, at which point, speaking of the correspondence with Copeland "I produced my thick file and they read through everything...they took the letters away as possible evidence" (p.275). And the letters were indeed used at Copeland's trial as evidence by the prosecution.
If O'Mahoney did not inform the police about matters they might be interested in along the lines quoted from 'Hateland' above, then he might have a point, and the original statement above we would happily remove. In any event, O'Mahoney (like most featured in NFB) has right of reply, as here. However, given he does not deny co-writing 'Hateland', and has never to my knowledge denounced it, everybody (including a court) can come to their own conclusions. The question also is not whether the various people O'Mahoney provides information to police about--alleged murderers, paedophiles, Ku Klux Klan members, David Copeland etc--anybody can have much sympathy with. We certainly don't. We thank Mr O'Mahoney for providing us with the opportunity to flesh out the original remark, using his own book. Finally--can the reputation and professional standing of O'Mahoney, who has participated in neo-Nazi violence (p.86), worn a T-shirt on national TV advertising the National Front phone number (p.185) and by his own admission been closely involved in the drug-dealing underworld (the exact level a matter for debate) be lowered by being described as a police informant? Have his own references to co-operating with police hindered O'Mahoney's sales? If not, why does it matter when others comment on such?