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LARRY O'HARA INTERVIEWS with RICH D. HALL (RICHPLANET.NET)

In August 2018 Notes From the Borderland Editor Larry O'Hara was interviewed by Richard D Hall for his richplanet.net web-site about a wide variety of topics we have researched and our approach generally. As Richard points out in his introduction to the interviews on richplanet.net (Video Archive numbers 258/31-8-18 & 262/12-10-18), there are important disagreements between our approach and that of most people viewing his site. That said, three further comments.

First, the conduct of both interviews from our point of view was exemplary and we welcomed the opportunity to introduce our methodology and research to a broader audience.

Second, it is unfortunately the case that the mainstream media itself gives increasing credence to conspiracy theorising: for example numerous Observer stories by Carole Cadwalladr, who has even won journalistic awards for them.

Third, despite profound differences over topics such as Madeleine McCann, the Jo Cox murder and 7/7, on one topic Richard D Hall has it absolutely right in the sense of raising serious questions, the 1999 London nail-bombings by neo-Nazi David Copeland. Whether as he believes her having knowledge of secret state involvement in the Copeland case (see elsewhere on this site) was the motive for the 1999 murder of TV presenter Jill Dando (we disagree) not only is it a valid line of investigation, Richards DVD's on the subject (Kill Jill: reviewed next NFB) shows he has absorbed and understood NFB's Copeland research in a way that puts main-stream media to shame.

An undeniable fact: and regarding the interviews, watch and make up your own mind, and if they encourage you to buy back issues, even better!

Larry O'Hara

VISIT THE BORDERLAND SHOP FOR ALL ISSUES OF NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND, OTHER PUBLICATIONS AND DVDS

THIS READER LIKES US!

Whilst I was aware of its existence and that of the publisher - Larry O'Hara - I had never seen a copy of the journal, 'Notes from the Borderland'.

I came across issue 10 in a radical bookshop and had a quick flick through. Whilst it seemed a bit expensive at £4.50, it was a huge 86 pages long, contained no adverts, and most important of all it looked really interesting. For those not familiar with the publication, they describe themselves as follows:

"Welcome to Britain's premier parapolitical investigative magazine Notes from the Borderland (NFB). We have been producing the magazine since 1997 but some published material before then. Our political perspective is Left/Green, but we welcome truth-tellers, whatever their affiliation. Research interests include the secret state (MI5/MI6/Special Branch) & their assets, including those in the media. We are resolutely anti-fascist, and to that end investigate the far right and state infiltration of various milieus. In a shallow age where many TV programmes and print/internet stories are spoon-fed to servile journalists/bloggers by shadowy interests, NFB stands out as genuine investigative research."
Issue 10 contains articles by several authors. The stand-out articles are, Gareth Williams: Murdered Twice, the Searchlight-Hope Not Hate split, and the BNP 2012 election analysis.

What immediately stands out is the attention to detail in teach article. They have been written by people who have gathered a large amount of information and intelligence on the subject in hand, who provide extensive evidence / footnotes, and who clearly 'know their onions'.

By the time I had finished reading the issue £4.50 seemed like a bargain, and I wanted more. Luckily the last page gave details of how to order the 9 previous issues that date back to 1997. I made contact via their website, and for £33 I received all previous issues, and issue 11 (when it is published).

I received a parcel within days, and to my surprise they had kindly sent me a couple of freebies - 'Turning up the Heat: MI5 after the Cold War', and 'A Lie too Far: Searchlight, Hepple, and the Left'. I was not to be disappointed - as all 9 back issues are to the same high standard as issue 10, albeit a bit shorter, and cover a diverse range of subjects - including useful updates of stories that have been covered in previous issues.

I purchase many political publications every month, most of which I throw in the bin when I have read them. This is not the case with Notes from the Borderland - which occupies a permanent space on my bookshelves. I really cannot recommend Notes from the Borderland enough. It is investigative journalism of the highest order - which provides a unique insight into many controversial issues and individuals around the left, the far-right, and the secret state.

I challenge anyone to read an issue and tell me they are disappointed.

Notes from the Borderland can be purchased from radical bookshops, or via their website -  http://www.borderland.co.uk/.

NFB CONTRIBUTOR DR PAUL STOTT ON BRITISH JIHADISM

As readers of this magazine well know, the vexed subject of British Jihadism is a topic we have already covered and will return to.  Long-time NFB contributor Paul Stott recently completed a Doctorate on this very topic which is soon to be published in book form.  In the interim, he spoke on the subject 19/9/17 at a meeting arranged by the European Forum For South Asian Studies, as a side-event coinciding with a UN Convention on Human Rights Conference in Geneva.

Click below to check out his talk:

To look at Paul's own web-site/blog, check here:

http://www.paulstott.typepad.com/

 

 

LOBSTER MAGAZINE REVIEWS NFB ISSUE 11

LOBSTER'S VIEW OF NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND issue 11 (from Lobster 73 Summer 2017) and our response

Larry O'Hara 9/10/17

It is one irony of the current age that serious engagement with research such as ours is hard to come by.  Fact is, it requires effort and the ability to actually analyse: thus it is no surprise that while we afforded 'Unofficial Conspiracy Theorists' the July 7th Campaign an uncensored opportunity to critique us in Notes From the Borderland issue 9, they have (8 years later) still not responded to our dissenting from their assertion the London bombings of 7/7/05 were an inside job.  Maybe their broadband speed is a bit slow? Equally, 'Official Conspiracy Theorist' the eternally self-regarding Raffaello Pantucci, while desperate to see our review of his book on Britain's Jihadists in issue 11, has since descended into a highly uncharacteristic silence. Not even a Twitter of a response! This despite (or because?) the review, with evidence, raises serious questions regarding his academic integrity.  Even though he is only a think-tank expert, Pantucci seeks to convey an air of academic respectability.  Thus one might have thought he would welcome the chance to defend himself: he has not.  Feel free to draw your own conclusions: we have.  On another tangent entirely, neither Assange nor his entourage (John Pilger and the other luvvies/Front-Line Guardianistas) showed the slightest interest in our research: after all, we never went to Oxbridge or public school, don't live in Hampstead, and are nothing to do with the Guardian or Hollywood.  C'est la vie!

It is gratifying therefore that somebody at least has responded to NFB 11: no less a figure than the redoubtable editor of Lobster magazine (now sadly on-line only) Robin Ramsay.  This review, and a lot more besides, can be found on the web-site https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk

To encourage debate, I have taken the liberty below of reproducing Robin's review (in black) and below relevant sections my responses in blue follow.

Notes from the Borderland 

Dr Larry O'Hara sent me a copy of the latest issue (no. 11) of his magazine, Notes from the Borderland (NFB). This is 80 A-4 pages, with the text in three columns per page. So that's about 60,000 words, maybe more. The following description is from the NFB Website http://www.borderland.co.uk: 

"Welcome to Britain's premier parapolitical investigative magazine Notes from the Borderland (NFB). We have been producing the magazine since 1997 but some published material before then. 

Our political perspective is Left/Green, but we welcome truth-tellers, whatever their affiliation. Research interests include the secret state (MI5/MI6/Special Branch, now SO15) & their assets, including those in the media. We are resolutely anti-fascist, and to that end investigate the far right and state infiltration of various milieus. In a shallow age where many TV programmes and print/internet stories are spoon-fed to servile journalists/bloggers by shadowy interests, NFB stands out as genuine investigative research."

Although the Website is basically a come-on for the hard copy, you will get a sense there of what NFB is about, as well as a contents list for this current issue.

Much of this was interesting to me. For one thing, NFB has continued doing what Lobster used to do: surveying published material on the intelligence and security services and producing synopses of it. There is a long essay about Lockerbie; and, while I am no expert on this subject, I didn't see anything that surprised me.

It is gratifying that Robin recognises this, given he co-authored the definitive book on secret state intervention in Labour politics 'Smear'.  I would only add two things.  First, we still analyse the secret state because it still needs to be done: virtually all coverage of the secret state elsewhere appears to conform to the agendas of one or other secret state faction, wittingly or unwittingly.  Secondly, as subscribers who peruse this web-site already know, at least half the articles here do not appear in the printed magazine, and are stand-alone in their own right, not just a 'come on'.

The best piece is a 15-page account by O'Hara of the assault on Julian Assange by some of the Guardian's journalists.

It's not for me to say if it's the best piece as I wrote it: but it is certainly a serious contribution to debate.  Pity all the Assangists can hear is the sound of one hand clapping (via hidden microphones in the Ecuadorean Embassy maybe?).  And while quite a few Guardian journalists are featured, the main one is Nick Davies, a man who makes Raffaello Pantucci seem modest.

But the material is all worthwhile, even the page in which Robin Whittaker presents Chapman Pincher's case that Roger Hollis was a Soviet agent. I don't agree with the thesis but it is interesting to meet it again.

Agreed: NFB has no party line on this issue!

On the down side, there's a jokey tone to some of it I find irritating (not least because the jokes aren't funny or clever). The front cover, for example, has the famous picture of Obama, Hillary Clinton and assorted military and spooks apparently watching the live feed of the American assault on the compound in which Osama Bin Laden was living.

Coming from the mouth of one anonymous figure are the words,  ˜ASSANGE HAS EVADED THE DRONE STRIKE MR PRESIDENT".

From another, ˜THAT'S DONE IT. WE HAVE TO SEND IN NICK DAVIES" (Caps in the original.)

Well, we believe life is too serious not to have a laugh every now and then: after all, we don't produce NFB for the money, so that's as maybe.  Indeed, the correct term for what we did on this front cover (and every other NFB apart from 2 9 & 10) is detournement, a subversive technique drawn from French Situationists.  Not to everybody's taste but then what is?  Speaking of that picture (humour aside) at 12.32 pm 3/10/16 Wikileaks themselves tweeted a reported quote from Hilary Clinton about Assange asking "can't we just drone this guy?". The report claims the statement drew laughter from the room which quickly died off when the Secretary kept talking in a terse manner.   While her campaign manager Robbie Mook declined to comment on this, there has to be a possibility this is true.  Even if not, she is certainly nasty enough and the cover within the range of poetic license...More to the point, perhaps this front cover was art imitating life, albeit unknowingly.  And the figure we have a speech bubble coming from isn't ˜anonymous" but Denis McDonough, then Deputy National Security Adviser.  We thought Robin the US politics expert, not us. Actually, this ˜best piece", as Robin describes it, raises disturbing questions about how the intervention of Nick Davies in the Assange affair seemed to conform to US State Department interests.  A coincidence perhaps?  Or maybe more: either way, it makes him a legitimate target for satire.  Read it and find out. 

In contrast, in their introduction to a piece continuing NFB's coverage of the politics of anti-fascism (Searchlight et al), authors Heidi Svenson and Dr Paul Stott are stern:

˜The current article is not stand alone, we constantly refer to the previous one. If that inconveniences, tough: this magazine is for grown-ups, not people who get facts from You-Tube [sic] and Wikipedia".

Robin describes Heidi and Paul as being ˜stern", but they are making a serious point: we do not, and will never, believe that only things on the internet are worth looking at.  Furthermore, we are all concerned about the debasement of thought and language that the instant gratification society facilitated by the internet has produced.  You-Tube is in no way a serious medium for conveying evidence-based research (where do you put footnotes?) and Wikipedia is a mish-mash of the Encyclopaedia of Fools and a spook's playground.  Here we are in accord with the critique by Jaron Lanier, articulated in his two books 'You are not a Gadget' and 'Who owns the future?'.

For my taste the magazine needs more rigorous editing to improve the punctuation, reduce or remove the speculation and jokey asides and tighten-up the writing.

Fair enough: we try to be as rigorous as possible, but certainly things slip through the net (to coin a phrase), though that said, the quote below isn't one of them: 

For example, what does this, from the opening paragraph of the introduction quoted above, actually mean?

˜We have been producing the magazine since 1997 but some published material before then".

Does the 'some' refer to material or does it mean ˜some of us"?  

It means both: some of that material is available on this site either as downloads or to buy.  Other material is not up yet, for instance the critique of the Green Party in 'Paradise Referred Back'.  Patience, children! 

There are also a couple of simple technical changes I would make. If you've got lots of source notes (and I like notes), make them legible.  In the O'Hara piece on Assange, to accommodate two not funny illustrations, the notes are tiny. 

Let you into a secret here: between issue 10 and 11 we perforce [look it up!] had to move to new publishing software, which we haven't totally got to grips with: those pictures were in fact not moveable during reconfiguration of the magazine as it would have left a blank section.  So, we left them in.  Admittedly, the footnotes are sometimes small, as here: about which two observations.  Anybody really interested can enlarge them, but more importantly we always try to have NFB articles finishing at the end of a page, so readers don't have to hunt elsewhere for foot-notes.

And why are the footnote numbers in the text in bold?

In this case a truth hidden in plain sight as Sir Francis Walsingham might say: they are in bold so they stand out, enabling readers to clearly see where we are citing evidence for an assertion, meaning they can in principle check the source in terms of existence and verifiability.

Finally: while keeping this going is an impressive achievement, why produce a hard copy at all? Put on-line with free access, the material would reach infinitely more people than the relative few who are going to spend £4.75 on a hard copy and would save all concerned in the magazine's production and distribution a deal of work.

A good question.  To which we say immediately that some articles are on-line anyway.  However, we do not anticipate ever putting all of it on-line for free not just because there are financial costs involved in gathering research material (some of it from human intelligence indeed), but also because by putting everything on the internet we would become indistinguishable from the plethora of conspiracy theorising and bull-shit the internet is awash with.  

In addition, there are two main reasons not everything will be on-line. 

Firstly, as Nicholas Carr in his book 'The Shallows' and Susan Greenfield in her 'Mind Change' postulate, relying exclusively on the internet dulls the senses and flattens our neural synapses, hindering an ability to construct (and follow) the complex chains of reasoning necessary for a truly thriving intellectual life and polity.  The practice common to many sites of highlighting the most popular articles exercises a gravitational pull towards those, rather than allowing visitors to exercise their own judgement and imagination.  Which is why we don't have such a section..

We are not Luddites, rather we believe in a twin-track approach that uses the internet but also realises the best thinking occurs reading things off-line or that have never been on-line.  To give a practical example, soon on this web-site (and not in the magazine first, note), we will launch an NFB project to compare and contrast the current policies of a potential Left Government run by Jeremy Corbyn with a detailed critique of what the Labour Left got up to strategically last time they were important, in the 1980's.  A key element of that will be placing on-line here (once the grammar is cleaned up and references double-checked) a detailed Left Government scenario, fully researched and referenced, I wrote nearly thirty years ago, which is over 40,000 words.  Like every other article on this site, it will be not only downloadable, but also printer-friendly, so those interested can peruse it (and look for inconsistencies and internal contradictions) off-line.  We will happily put responses on-line, but see this as the start of a process of updating the analysis in order to produce something that will then be printed.  In other words, this site is and will be part of a dialectical ongoing process leading to a hopefully cogent and relevant political intervention, under the aegis of NFB magazine, but not reducible to it.  Rather different than the simplistic view of this site as either just a 'come on' for the magazine, or indeed an adequate substitute for it.  As it happens, and to put it politely, the passage of time and the obsession with social media in all its forms has not produced a Labour Left more sophisticated and battle-ready than last time.  Another coincidence?  Maybe: more of that anon though.

Secondly, there is the prosaic reason of 'resilience'.  The internet and a society ever more dependent on it are thereby increasingly fragile.  Whether it be ecological or military disaster, or even cyber-attack (by states or other actors) no web-site is immune from disappearance, indeed this has happened to us in the past and no doubt will again.  To obliterate a web-site (including from the Way-Back machine) can be accomplished at a keyboard in minutes.  But to totally remove from circulation every copy of a printed (and therefore reproducible whether by using OCR software off-line or otherwise) magazine--that's a different proposition entirely. 

For all the above reasons (and more), we reject the binary opposites of print or online, and will continue as long as we can to do both.  And long may Lobster itself continue (although the Europhiliac idiot who runs their twitter feed would be no loss if he ceased and desisted). 

To find out more about issue 11: click on the purple link below

NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 11

THE EU REFERENDUM & AFTER: HOPE NOT HATE'S #MORE IN COMMON CAMPAIGN

Larry O'Hara 24/10/16

Now the dust has settled from the EU Referendum (albeit those favouring departure have yet to see movement), it is time to look at two different actors in this area. First, a debrief on fascist involvement. Second, the overt and covert influence of the Hope Not Hate organisation (hereafter HNH) is worth study. In that respect this is a companion piece to the article by colleagues Heidi Svenson and Dr Paul Stott in the latest issue (11) of Notes From the Borderland (hereafter NFB) magazine (p.7-18), which explores current HNH strategy, structure, finances and personnel in detail..

FASCISTS AND THE REFERENDUM

Fascists as a whole wanted to exit the EU. The British National Party (BNP) declared after the result they had “achieved one of its founding goals by winning the referendum to take Britain out of the EU…the BNP…helped shift public opinion in favour of getting Britain out of the EU”1. Evidence the BNP won the referendum was not forthcoming. The National Front also wanted to leave, primarily on grounds of opposing immigration2. Even the League of Saint George got in on the act, which was a bit tricky, because back in the day (and even now) they affect belief in Oswald Mosley’s ‘Europe A Nation’ policy. They get round this by claiming ultra-federalists have built an Empire, and in any event “if Britain leaves the EU so could others. Then, together, we can commence the building of, Europe a Nation!”3. Why, exactly, a Europe disintegrating into nation states would harbour enthusiasm for a new European political entity is not explained. It can’t be. Britain First also advocated a Leave referendum vote.

Policy stances taken by obscure (to the general public) fascist groups is one thing; how influential were they on the ground? Before answering it is worthwhile examining just how low the actual membership of fascist groups is today. BNP membership has shrunk so much they now no longer publish membership figures. Last time they did, in 2011, it stood at 7,681, itself down from 10,256 in 20104. In 2011 membership income was £227,813, with 2,709 members paying a reduced rate. Fast-forwarding to the December 2015 accounts , total membership income has now come down to £80,359. This means, other things being equal (and excluding nominal £25,000 life member income), membership can at most be 2,500, and many ‘life members’ have already left. As for the National Front, their December 2015 accounts5 show subscription income as £3,119, meaning a maximum 311 members. The League of Saint George has no actual members as such. The relevance of all this is that the far right have so few activists even should they want to they would not be able to have much effect. The self-declared exception is Britain First, whose leader Paul Golding boasted of mobilising 1.4 million followers when launching their Referendum campaign6. That they have nowhere near this number of followers is indicated by the fact that this Facebook post by Golding had a mere 9 ‘Likes’. He is fooling nobody but himself (perhaps). Britain First’s 2015 Accounts show a maximum membership number of 1,283 (at £30 a throw, total income £38,512).

With too few fascists to make much difference on the ground, there were nonetheless enough to provide fodder for media stories, whether by accident or part-design. The first was the Mail on Sunday’s ‘Far Right in Plot to Hijack Brexit’ 5/6/167. Most prominent here ex-BNP Youth Chairman Mark Collett and his swastika-tattooed girlfriend Eva Van Housen, though ex-BNP veteran Richard Edmonds (now in the National Front) and member Mark Layzell also featured. Collett has a history of shooting in the foot any cause he ostensibly espouses so you cannot entirely rule out his involvement being a ‘put up job’ to discredit the anti-EU cause. The article is significant for the paucity of fascists featured: it was bulked out by English Defence League organiser Andrew Edge, Blood & Honour guitarist Christopher Knight, and the barrel was really scraped by including ex-NF (and Third Way) member Graham Williamson, now an independent councillor in Havering. The only person currently influential within the organised far right mentioned is the veteran Richard Edmonds; all others are either uninfluential or formerly important. The Mail on Sunday carried other articles on fascist involvement too, perhaps part of its vicious war with the pro-Brexit Daily Mail8 . Another key article was the Daily Star the day after Jo Cox was killed: ‘MP Dead After Attack by Brexit Gunman’ (17/6/16) making explicit a tendentious link between the man accused of shooting Cox and Britain First, a phrase one witness seems to think he shouted. Other fascists were involved in the campaign: Jeremy Bedford-Turner of the London Forum, and Alan Harvey of the Springbok Club attended Leave events for example. The question is did fascists hijack or control the campaigns? It does not seem so; no proof of control has ever been offered or indicated. While a woman on the leaked 2006 BNP membership list, Gladys Bramall, gave Vote Leave £600,00010, there is no evidence this bought her any control.

A separate question is whether the vote to leave the EU has led to a rise in ‘hate crime’ and racist incidents (covered below).  It is worth remarking that history shows most racist attacks are not carried out by organised fascists. As to whether fascists were influential in getting the Leave vote out and accentuating anti-immigrant feeling, they wished to be, but were too small to have more than a marginal influence. Ironically, their biggest boost came from media stories claiming fascists were already having an impact, which is getting into wilderness of mirrors territory.

Some might say irrespective of influence fascists supporting leaving the EU reflects adversely on that cause. The same might be said of Remain supporter Alan Sugar’s tweet 21/6/16 aimed at redoubtable Labour MP and Leave supporter Gisela Stewart that “I find it strange that Gisela Gschaider a 1974 immigrant from Germany is on the Brexit panel telling us British what we should do”. Indeed, it almost seems a self-evident media truth (trumpeted by Ruth Smeeth MP11 and Nick Cohen12 for example) that Momentum supporters wanting to deselect Labour MPs are anti-Semitic as well as homophobic and misogynist, yet Momentum supporters lined up behind Jeremy Corbyn to support Remain. This characterisation of Momentum supporters is wrong, but I mention it to show alleged racists on both sides. Their presence should not be used to detract from the intrinsic merits of any argument. Furthermore, a small but significant section of Left opinion favoured withdrawal from an anti-racist perspective13.

HOPE NOT HATE AND THE REFERENDUM: OVERT INVOLVEMENT

Any understanding of HNH and the Referendum has to start from HNH Chief Executive Nick Lowles’ track record in this area: issue 4 of NFB magazine showed in great detail how (while working for the Searchlight organisation) he played a key role in encouraging a ‘drip feed’ of pro-EU propaganda into the media, and issue 5 reproduced his memorandum to the European Movement offering that service in full14. The veracity of this document has never been denied, and is the prism through which spurious HNH claims to EU Referendum ‘neutrality’ should be viewed.

HNH claimed ‘Find the Facts’ was a “new neutral mini-site packed with neutrally-sourced information about some of the key topics connected to the EU debate”, to be supplemented “with a series of fun street activities designed to encourage people to think about the issues”15. ‘Find the Facts’ was anything but neutral; the economy section made no mention of the UK’s massive trade deficit with the EU, surely crucial to any tariff negotiations. The section on legislation conveniently states “no-one really has a real figure of how many of our laws are imposed by people in Brussels” and repeats the canard that the EU guarantees paid holidays for workers: yet not only did the UK introduce them in 1937 (!) there are no such guarantees for workers on zero hours contracts. You get the idea: not neutral at all.

What might seem even-handed is not. Take, for instance, massive attempts by HNH to get young voters registered. Would this effort have been made if it were thought young people would vote Leave? I think not: no efforts were made to mobilise older voters in Labour’s heartlands. The organisation assisting HNH, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, has been criticised for building a factory at Be’er Tuvia, adjacent to the town of Kiryat Malachi, located in the former Palestinian village of Qastina, destroyed by Israeli troops in 1948. So much for Ben & Jerry’s ‘non-partisan social mission’16.

On a lighter note, I must mention Anthony Painter, all-round dullard and HNH director17. The day after the referendum, Painter began making a homebrew which he later proudly tweeted a picture of, named ‘Articale 48’ in homage to the 48% of voters on the losing side18. Had Painter any knowledge of European history (or indeed Nazism specifically) he would know the name is uncomfortably close to Article 48 of the Weimar Republic constitution, which paved the way for the Nazis by allowing rule by Presidential Emergency Decree. Still, we should be grateful Remain didn’t get 18% of the votes, or even worse, 88%! Returning to seriousness, given their partisan stance it is absurd of Lowles to state that “facing” Britain’s decision to leave the EU “will require Hope not Hate and every other progressive organisation to step up their game”19. As we have chronicled extensively in NFB, HNH are not progressive, but a cynical top-down attempt to defuse and incorporate/stifle any genuine grass-roots initiatives20.

HOPE NOT HATE & THE REFERENDUM: COVERT INVOLVEMENT

Central to HNH’s false claims about neutrality in the Referendum is a pretence Hope Not Hate Ltd “is the registered company through which we deliver our political activity” as opposed to the Hope Not Hate Charitable Trust21. An illusory distinction. On the individual level, Lowles has revealed he went for a drink with the late Jo Cox MP’s husband Brendan, the day he participated (15/6/16) in the pro-EU Thames flotilla organised by millionaire Bob Geldof22.

The next day (16/6/16) Nigel Farage’s launch of his infamous poster seeking to push immigration concerns to the campaign forefront was disrupted by Laurence Durnan with placards bearing the imprint ‘Best For Our Future Limited’. Raheem Kassam and Liam Deacon (on the Breitbart London web-site 16/6/16) correctly pointed out ‘Best for Our Future’ includes Cormac Hollingsworth (HNH Chair of Trustees) as a director. Though their description of HNH as ‘hard left’ is wide of the mark: and they missed the fact Simon Tuttle, another HNH Trustee, is involved, as too Simon Gallant, of HNH’s lawyers Gallant Maxwell23. Simon Tuttle has an overlapping interest with Will Straw (Remain Campaign ‘Stronger in Europe’ Director) and Laurence Durnan: since 27/3/13 Tuttle has been a Director of Political Pixel, run by Straw and Durnan24. This outfit pretentiously describes itself as a ‘left of centre’ ‘digital publishing co-operative’. The involvement of Will Straw makes the label ‘left’ inappropriate: Straw is on the Labour Right, and (like key HNH supporter Ruth Smeeth MP’s husband Michael) an alumni of the shadowy British American Project, aimed at covertly extending US influence on policy-makers in the UK25. He also co-authored a book aiming to copy the electoral methods (and success) of the Obama campaigns, while excluding “the self-destructive indiscipline of…members more likely to see the world through an ideological prism”26. Would this mean Corbynistas? You bet it would. Another non-radical pretending to be otherwise is merchant banker Simon Tuttle, whose specious self-description in ‘Best for Our Future’ documents is ‘community activist’. Only the naïve would be fooled by this crew’s ersatz radicalism: though there are lots about…

THE JO COX MURDER: A ‘NEW CONTEXT’ INDEED

Returning to Straw: he is now damaged goods having failed to get elected to the Commons in 2015 and failed again with Remain, but we should not underestimate his callous cynicism. Breathtakingly illustrated by a conference call to supporters 19/6/16, three days after Jo Cox’s murder and four days before the Referendum that “it is now time to…call out the other side for what they have done to stir division and resentment in the UK”, her death being “the new context we’re in”27. The irony of pro-EU Quislings like Straw criticising others in this way has subsequently been illustrated (for example) by virtually every Guardian and Observer newspaper post-Referendum whining about the result and looking desperately for any means to overturn it. Should they succeed, I surmise they will find out what resentment and division are really like.

In their own way, HNH are as cynical as Straw in using her death for their own ends. We have already noted her husband Brendan Cox went drinking with Lowles the day before she died, and was unapologetic about using her death for political purposes, stating a few days later that she died because of her views “and would want to stand up for those in death as much as she did in life”28. Which no doubt explains the shroud-waving Trafalgar Square Jo Cox memorial rally a day before the Referendum vote, clearly intended to influence voters. In this topsy-turvy world, while pro-EU speeches were made from the platform, exception was taken to a plane flying overhead with a ‘Vote Leave’ banner29. Had it been flying a ‘Remain’ banner, then presumably the crowd would have cheered and that would have been alright then?  If so, and I am sure that would have been the case, the cynical one-sided nature of this spectacle would have been emphasised rather than merely implicit, as it was.

No surprise, given all the foregoing, that when a crowd-sourcing appeal for funds in memory of Jo Cox was set up 17/6/16 on the site gofundme.com Hope Not Hate were one of three beneficiaries. According to the relevant page30 the fund is not registered as a charity in part because the funds are intended for HNH’s ‘Campaigning Arm’. Truly fortuitous for HNH, because as we have shown in NFB issues 10 and 11, HNH seem to routinely flout rules on political campaigning by charities, indeed the stated purposes monies are given for by such bodies as the Sigrid Rausing Trust seems to bear little relation to how money is actually spent. Within hours of being established the fund raised £210,00031, as of 24/10/16 the figure stands at £1,900,130, of which HNH get a third. Who says mendacity never prospers?

BRENDAN COX: A KNIGHT IN TARNISHED ARMOUR?

While it might seem tasteless to examine the politics and alleged personal behaviour of Jo Cox’s husband, it is justified for three reasons.

First, he has chosen that HNH receive the crowd-funded money mentioned above, so must take responsibility for that.

Second, the media circus surrounding Jo Cox has produced a situation where death is somehow presented as legitimising her politics; indeed some interventions in the parliamentary debate on Syria (11/10/16) retrospectively treated her views as almost unchallengeable. Yet surely death, however brutal, cannot legitimise views that may be wrong: if it did we might treat Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini as if they had anything useful to say. They didn’t!

Third, the beatification of Jo Cox (and by extension her surviving husband) is part of a worrying trend whereby politics are treated in an emotional and saccharine way as though the most important thing is personalities: in contrast I see issues as most vital. I do not remember Tories doing this when Ian Gow and Airey Neave were assassinated by the IRA/INLA respectively. And, to be frank, unlike Jo Cox these (especially Neave) were MPs many in the public had actually heard of before, rather than after, their death.

Brendan Cox is a political animal, sharing his late wife’s naïve optimism. A May 2016 article on refugee policy drew comfort from the fact that “demographic trends are on our side. In almost all countries, young people are more progressive than older people”32. Might I remind him young people (mostly) grow up, and may become reactionary. Sad but true. His politics are as vacuous as HNH, probably why he favours them. Try this for size: “The fight against hatred and division is a defining issue of our time…Activists need to work more effectively—whether with labour unions or the big businesses, religious groups or sports people—to unite institutions that stand for tolerance and diversity into a cohesive block”33. Missing here is any genuine radical project, certainly one that is anti-capitalist or anti-state. Forming a ‘cohesive block’ means foregoing political criticism: a revival for our times of the bankrupt popular frontist politics of the 1930s. Thankfully, the voters of Batley and Spen (Jo Cox’s constituency) did indeed reject the politics of division and hatred that are core to the EU project: the district of Kirklees overall voted 55% to 45% to leave the EU, a higher % than the national 52/48% split. Which shows how out of tune with voters Jo Cox was on this issue (like Labour generally with a few honourable exceptions).

Indefatigable blogger ex-diplomat Craig Murray has drawn attention to Brendan Cox's salary at Save the Children, which on 26/11/14 stood at £106,029. More recently (19/9/16), Murray flagged up a 2015 Mail on Sunday article reporting Cox resigned from Save The Children in September 2015 due to “complaints about him by women members of staff”. According to the article, “Cox strenuously denied any wrongdoing but agreed to leave his post”. Is it routine to resign from such a well-paid post if you see yourself as entirely blameless? The article goes on to quote an ‘insider’ as saying “some people were unhappy there was no proper internal investigation into the allegations. Brendan packed his bags and left suddenly”. Is this what you would expect from an innocent supporter of ‘diversity’? Another individual is quoted as saying “several of the women complained about inappropriate behaviour by Brendan. When the charity did nothing about it they threatened to make a huge fuss. Shortly afterwards it was announced that Brendan was leaving”34. Asked about this article, and the allegations, Save the Children declined to comment35. There may well be nothing untoward here: or there may be.  At the very least it is reasonable to surmise the allegations were not investigated (or if they were details have not been revealed), but Cox nonetheless got a lucrative severance package. The thought occurs that were Cox a lower menial employee, his case would have been formally investigated at the very least, with a public outcome. Indeed, from his point of view, if Cox is innocent (and he may well be) you would surely think he might want to remove this cloud of rumour and suspicion hanging over him from this period, would you not? Sadly, we can never know publicly what Jo Cox, who previously worked at Save the Children herself, thought of the allegations.

This affair provides useful ‘context’ (borrowing from Will Straw) to Cox’s response when asked whether he would stand in the by-election triggered by his wife’s death. He touchingly said “No, my only priority at the moment is how I make sure that I protect my family and my kids through this”36. Commendable sentiments, at face value, as too his comment that electing another woman MP would make “beautiful symbolism”. Mystical powers aren’t needed to speculate that maybe the reluctance of this highly political animal to stand might signify a concern that women who (reportedly) complained about “inappropriate behaviour” could surface during the by-election. How beautifully symbolic that might have been…Perhaps fittingly, Labour chose former actress Tracy Brabin to stand, and while she duly won the seat with 86% of the votes on 20/10/16, the turnout, 25.8% was one of the lowest since the Second World War. While not too much should be read into votes for far right candidates (English Democrats 4.8%, BNP 2.7%, NF 0.4%), as no other ‘mainstream' parties were standing, we can at least infer two things from this turnout and voting pattern. One, there are indeed some racists in the constituency. Two, the Jo Cox legacy has not necessarily permeated to her former constituents to the degree it has the Westminster/media bubble.

IF YOU KNOW YOUR HISTORY: THE HOPE NOT HATE BACKGROUND

Inasmuch as #MoreInCommon (hereafter MIC) is no stand-alone organisation but in fact a recruiting drive for Hope Not Hate, some understanding of the latter’s gestation will hopefully illuminate the MIC phenomenon. HNH started in 2004 as a campaign name for the Searchlight organisation, and the HNH web-site was only registered in 200737. As late as 2009 the HNH brand was still firmly under Searchlight control38, before the March 2011 split between Searchlight and what is now Hope Not Hate. This pre-history is relevant because it indicates that there has never been any member control of HNH, as for MIC: it has always been a choreographed top-down initiative. HNH has always reduced internet ‘supporters’ (clicktivists) to what Slovenian Marxist Slavoj Zizek calls ‘interpassive subjects’, carrying out pre-ordained actions (Twittering, uploading photos, ‘sharing’ on Facebook, e-petitions etc.)39. This conceptualisation, seeing apparently active supporters as fundamentally passive can explain the paradox of, for example, the Obama Presidency and preceding campaign. Constructed in large part by Blue State Digital (who have advised HNH from the start40) the campaign mobilised lots of supporters, and raked in lots of cash, but in the end changed very little. Nor was it intended to: the aim was not social transformation, but to get Obama elected and re-elected. That the next US Presidential Election is to be contested between a deeply misogynistic and Neanderthal demagogue like Trump and an equally boorish and foul-mouthed opponent (Clinton) in hock to Wall Street and other interest groups, not to mention a shady past (White water anybody?) proves the political bankruptcy of the whole clicktivist model. As for HNH, immediately preceding its launch they were supposedly in the midst of a ‘Together’ campaign, for which (as analysed in NFB 1141) significant funding had been obtained, with very little to show for it. That the sudden influx of funds used to start up #MIC led to the ‘Together’ campaign sinking immediately without trace tells you what variety of snake oil salesmen (and women) HNH are.

WHY #MORE IN COMMON WAS SET UP

Which brings us to MIC, an apparent attempt to transcend a key HNH weakness: a lack of sustained off-line influence in the ‘real world’ people live in. There are three reasons for the launch of MIC.

The first reason, or perhaps we should call it pretext, is the late Jo Cox MP’s political philosophy. In her 3/6/15 maiden Commons speech, Cox stated her constituents “are far more united and have more in common with each other than things that divide us”. An unexceptional truism: unfortunately in this shallow sound-byte age where Twitter is seen by many as a serious form of communication the slogan complete with hash-tag ‘#MoreInCommon’ has become the name and ostensible founding sentiment of a HNH campaign. At first sight unexceptional, the slogan raises more problems than it resolves. If people already have lots in common, why do you need a campaign? Even conceding people do, should what people have in common be a means of bringing them together? Do not billionaires and refugees have certain basic needs (reference Maslow) in common? So what? Do not people being bombed in Aleppo and elsewhere have lots in common with those bombing them? How helpful is it to stress that to victims? In itself, a slogan like MIC can never be enough to organise a campaign of any salience around, and of course it isn’t: merely a hook to draw people in.

The second reason behind setting up MIC is more parochial, to do with HNH themselves. It is my understanding the Jo Cox appeal money came at just the right time for HNH, concerned about possible investigation by the Charity Commission for contravening rules on political campaigning. Which is why they increasingly stress the difference between Hope Not Hate Limited and the Hope Not Hate Charitable Trust. Despite the fact they are run from the same address in a leafy London suburb, mail goes to the same office, and their activities are barely differentiated, the fiction is that the two are separate. HNH hope the Cox money will muddy the waters here, though as we have mentioned before and continue so to do42 virtually all HNH’s interventions are political. Because they are no threat to the system, they have hitherto been allowed to get away with it. Others are not so fortunate: the Badger Trust for instance (and the RSPCA for supporting them) has been relentlessly pursued (one might even say hunted) by the Charity Commission43. Clearly Badgers matter less as endangered species than serial grant-applicators.

The third ostensible reason for MIC being founded is as an attempt to come to terms with the 23/6/16 Brexit Referendum victory aftermath. I say victory, but we have already seen that for Lowles and Hollingsworth/Tuttle the result was a defeat. The magazine given to MIC supporters states “after this year’s EU referendum we have launched our new #MoreInCommon campaign to unite our divided communities. The Brexit vote has divided families and communities as never before and the result was seen, by a small minority, as a green light for racist abuse and violence”44. Accepting, for the sake of argument, there has been such abuse, this second justification for setting up MIC shows HNH as clearly in the camp of disappointed losers (of the Referendum), stating “however divided Britain might appear now things could get a lot worse as the country negotiates its split from the EU”45. Not only is this straying into politically contested and controversial territory, such doom-mongering markedly contrasts with HNH’s habitual manic positivity.

This point is worth dwelling on. HNH surveys have noted that a lot of working class people who voted for Brexit think that it will lead to an improvement in the UKs economic prospects. To use HNH’s perjorative terminology, 55% of ‘Latent Hostiles’ think this, and 49% of the Active Enmity Group46. At this point, HNH’s partisan prejudice over the EU kicks in: Lowles and HNH generally have deliberately ignored, or misrepresented, the intentions of Leave voters.

For a start, they do not mention the poll conducted on the day of the Referendum by Lord Ashcroft canvassing the views of 12,369 voters, more than three times as many as HNH questioned. Ashcroft found that the largest group (49%) voted Leave over issues of national sovereignty, indeed a further 13% voted Leave because of fear that remaining would lead to the UK being unable to limit further EU expansion, including of its powers. Aside from 6% who believed the UK would benefit economically, this leaves 33% who voted Leave to regain control over immigration and our national borders47. While some will undoubtedly be racist, inasmuch as many countries (Russia/China/Australia for example) have immigration controls that aren’t necessarily racist, the exact percentage is difficult to determine.

HNH’s own poll was carried out by Populus in the week after the Referendum, with 4,035 people in England surveyed. Lowles tells us “people who voted to Remain in the EU overwhelmingly believed the Leave campaign ran a racist and anti-immigrant campaign. Leave voters unsurprisingly had the opposite view”48. Yet perhaps Leave voters motivated primarily by racism might welcome the description of themselves as anti-immigrant? The problem for Lowles is that his own survey shows motivations close to the Ashcroft poll results: 45% voting Leave because they want sovereignty over decision making, and 35% citing “controlling immigration”. His explanation is ingenious, relating it to the Jo Cox murder: “perhaps, our pollsters have argued, it suddenly became unacceptable…to publicly articulate views that might have motivated Jo Cox’s killer”. So there you have it: respondents who didn’t cite immigration (even less race) as motivations were “perhaps” concealing their real views. One certainty, no ‘perhaps’ about it, is that HNH/Lowles concealed their real views by presenting themselves as honest brokers.

THE HATE-CRIME ISSUE

The HNH survey has 62% of people saying there is rising tension as a result of the Referendum, and there may be. But we need to stop and reflect here: an incessant post-Referendum barrage by sore losers like the BBC/Guardian/Channel 4/most MPs has argued that divisions have increased, along with racist attacks. Any fule knows that the minute the media start reporting something the apparent incidence goes up: what sociologists call a ‘moral panic’. While there may be increased divisions, they either might not be the kind of division HNH acknowledge, or be divisions that people think are happening because the media tell them it is. In this respect, the media scouring the country for racist incidents (and there have obviously been some) may well have magnified the problem by reporting on it, indeed emboldened racists to act.

Immediately after the referendum (29/6/16) the police had a big push to increase reporting of ‘hate crimes’ to either 101 or their True Vision web-site49. This followed an earlier (pre-referendum) initiative from the EU’s ‘Fundamental Rights Agency’ 28/4/16. The relevant minister in charge of ‘hate crime’ matters around the referendum period was Karen Bradley, who explicitly declared in a Commons statement a “desire to increase the reporting of hate incidents and crimes”, echoing then-PM David Cameron’s wish to “boost reporting of hate crime”50. As we all know (or should) increased reporting of a crime does not necessarily mean an increased incidence of such, but merely…increased reporting. Of interest on the True Vision web-site (report-it.org.uk) is that those reporting incidents do not have to give their details: in which case there is no check at all on bogus reporting. Another anomaly is that a racist attack by say an East European, or an ethnic minority member on anybody, will show up in the overall statistics, allowing those with a media/political axe to grind to add them to a litany of pro-Brexit hate crime.  Furthermore, the site speaks of both hate crimes and ‘incidents’, with people encouraged to report both. Fair enough in a way, but all this does not produce an established factual basis for informed public debate.

Another way of unpicking this is to look at the Dispatches programme ‘Racist Britain’ screened 11/7/1651. This programme did not seem to distinguish properly between crimes and incidents, arguing there had been a 400% rise in hate crime reporting in the week following the referendum. Which is rather intriguing: because official police data for that period now available (and True Vision was featured favourably in the documentary so the programme-makers cannot claim ignorance) showed only week on week rises (comparing year to year) of 46% in week 1, 27% in week 2 and 35% in week 352. With such an unpromising start statistically, the programme continued in a similar misleading vein, referring to (and showing footage of) racist incidents such as a mosque attack or abuse on a train that had nothing to do with the Referendum. To try and give themselves some gravitas, the show used Carl Miller of Demos who argued that in the week post-Referendum there were “more than 13,000 tweets that used terms that could be seen as xenophobic and racist”. Leaving to one side the hesitant words ‘could be’, and even accepting this was true (which it may be), how does this measure up to the fact that (according to Demos themselves) in the week following the (March 2016) Brussels bomb attacks “Demos identified and captured almost 60,000 tweets from people in Britain using words that could be seen as Islamophobic”. Again leaving aside the phrase ‘could be’, this tells us that using their own criteria the Brussels attacks generated over four and a half times more nasty tweets than the referendum. As it happens, Nazir Afsal (till recently a CPS Chief Prosecutor) rather deviated from the script when he said that many of the 13,000 post-referendum tweets may have been nasty, but were not criminal. Or maybe he didn’t: I imagine the programme-makers favour a massive extension of what is defined as ‘criminal’. They could then do follow up documentaries on prisons full of racists..

In any event there is a post-script to all this, that you will not hear from media Bremoaners, including Hope Not Hate. On 13/10/16 the National Police Chief’s Council released data for the period June-August 2016, and Hate Crime lead, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said “we have seen continued decreases in reports of hate crimes to forces and these reports have now returned to formerly seen levels for 2016”. Not 2015, note: because between 2015 and 2016 there has been (irrespective of the Referendum) an increase in reporting of all hate crimes: consistent with ongoing changes to encourage reporting as discussed.

The foregoing should not be taken to mean I deny the importance of racism and other kinds of prejudice: which is exactly the point. Racism, misogyny homophobia and such-like pre-existed the EU Referendum, have not been caused by the result, and in some cases (e.g. homophobia) it is difficult to find any conceivable connection. Certainly, enduring means need to be found to tackle these prejudices: suffice to say they do not include scenarios painting all working class Brexit supporters as racist. In that respect I have sympathy with the stinging article by Brendan O’Neill stating recently that “the true story here is not that Britain became more hateful post-referendum, but that officialdom, aided by spectacularly uncritical commentators, has developed new ways of cynically constructing crime epidemics”53. If you think that overstated, consider this story that few of you will have heard of, but surely would had the political affiliations been reversed. “Brexiter Duncan Keating, 58, was hit with a parasol, thumped repeatedly, and threatened he would be set alight in an attack at a retirement complex just days after the result. Six hours after being beaten up by neighbour and Remain supporter Graham Dunn in their communal garden, Leave voter Mr Keating was found dead in his room….the cause of death was given as positional asphyxiation”54. Certainly, the victim had been drinking and taking drugs, but hand on heart: do you not think if the victim had been a Remain supporter he would now (like Jo Cox) be a household name, his sad death yet another example of Brexiter prejudice?

There is of course a division, we might say chasm, the Referendum has revealed; between many MPs and those they supposedly represent. This division HNH doesn’t want to acknowledge, indeed to divert our attention from, but the rest of us need not be so coy.

WHAT #MIC IS REALLY ABOUT

Leaving aside my caveats about ‘divisions’ even if you accept there are divisions it might be useful to bridge (such as between ethnic groups and communities) MIC is far more than that: it is a targeted campaign aimed at politically neutralising and suppressing mainly working class voters who want to leave the EU. I say this with confidence based on two things: MICs operating assumptions, and its actual methodology.

Operating Assumption 1

HNH treat it as fact that Brexit will lead to economic problems. As Lowles put it “a hard Brexit, curtailing access to the Single Market, will have a disastrous impact on the local economies in many working class communities that are reliant on trade with the EU”55. Again leaving aside the UK trade deficit with the EU, this perspective also assumes there is no direct state intervention to rebuild local economies. That may not be the Tory aim (it certainly isn't), but those on the Left supporting Brexit see this as a more worthwhile goal than doom-mongering. In other words, what HNH/MIC see as a problem, others see as an opportunity. Yet they are so little interested in the positive that they ignore this.  The point isn't, actually, just whether the prediction is correct--it is that it is a politically partisan one, animated by an ideological position on the EU, which is not admitted up-front.  My own views are clear: but then I'm not running a scam pretending neutrality, like HNH.

Operating Assumption 2

Not content with a garbled foray into economic theory, HNH have a negative prognosis of future changes in attitudes. Lowles claims that while 55% of the ‘Latent Hostiles’ and 49% of the ‘Active Enmity’ tribe are optimistic about the economy post-Brexit, their optimism is misplaced (Operating Assumption 1). In that respect MIC is a pre-emptive strategy to contain future pessimism by such groups. As he put it, when economic fortunes don’t improve “these voters will be very angry and let down and they will be looking for someone to blame. So we must be ready and our #MoreInCommon campaign is the perfect way to start”56.

Again we see not only do HNH have a highly negative view of Leave voters, assuming they will scapegoat others (rather than focus on those really responsible), there is no consideration that should things not work out that may be due to politicians, multinationals, sabotage by civil servants and so on. Again, HNH do not want to draw attention to these fault-lines, as this undermines their whole political project of pacification.

MIC Methodology

Getting down to brass tacks, far from being a positive campaign of hope, HNH/MIC are instead a controlling campaign based on highly demeaning stereotypes regarding working class Leave voters. What terrifies HNH is such communities attempting to take control of their lives in a way that might undermine the local state and political establishment.

(1) Preventing demonstrations

Traditionally, anti-fascists have taken on fascists physically, most notably at Cable Street in 1936 but also Lewisham in 1977 for example. In both cases, police were (legitimately) in the firing line. Outrageously, HNH seek to present themselves as within this tradition. A pamphlet co-written by Steven Silver and David Emmett claims “today, HNH draws from the anti-fascist lineage of Cable Street and seeks to unite all those opposed to the politics of hate”57. An allied blog stated “today the barricades of Cable Street have become icons of communal resistance in defiance of fascist provocation”58. How can this attempt to recuperate the history of physical force anti-fascism be reconciled with this MIC claim that “faced with threats from the English Defence League (EDL) and other far-right demonstrations…preferring positive and peaceful community engagement to counter-demonstrations, we have sought to unite people around what they have in common and have used the threat of extremist demonstrations to get people to think about the type of community that they want to live in”59. The short answer is it cannot. But we can see the HNH/MIC method: diverting communities from defending themselves (as at Cable Street), and of course if people aren’t defending themselves then they must rely on the police. Which assumes that the police are neutral and not part of the problem (as they can be).

(2) De-mobilising political opposition

Not content with preventing community self-defence, the HNH/MIC ‘pacification programme’ is at times blatant. Politics is replaced by a kind of controlled therapeutic intervention designed to change individual attitudes not power structures. Speaking of the September 2016 Hope camp, trainer John Page referred to “an approach we explored…a combination of listening carefully to find what the real underlying concerns are and exploring with people their different views to encourage re-evaluation”60. In other words, re-programming: elsewhere Page revealingly talked of a mixture of “empathetic listening and Socratic questioning”61. Socratic questioning is actually a false stilted dialogue, whereby the questioner draws their companion into agreeing to certain propositions without any genuine (contested) communication.

In case you think this allegation of political demobilisation exaggerated, consider this aspiration for target areas adumbrated by Page: “our aim is that in a year or two in these areas while people will still say they are angry about their children’s often substandard education, the pressures on the NHS, the lack of proper jobs, poor housing conditions etc., rather than blaming scapegoats they will be saying ‘we need to bring our whole community together and convince those with power that they need to say ‘yes’ to measures improving our communities even when they would prefer to say no”62. Why should people have to wait one or two years? It is ludicrous to imply that blaming scapegoats is the only alternative to such quietism—which can truly be described as ‘participation without politics’.  What about direct action against the powers-that-be?  Not in HNH's playbook, that would be 'extremist'.

Sadly, such demobilisation is not unique today: for example veteran Momentum activist Tony Greenstein has said “it is a phone bank organisation that organises large rallies…at the moment, Momentum sees its role as holding the Left back not mobilising it. It acts as Corbyn’s cheerleader, fostering a cult of personality”63. HNH is no copy of that, merely similar in terms of no democracy. Also Nick Lowles would need to develop a personality first…

An important selling-point for HNH is its ‘anti-extremism’ and of course properly considered, within that anything that mobilises communities against the state and capital is ‘extremist’.

Thankfully, the whole HNH incorporationist project does not in any fundamental and enduring sense capture the imagination. For example, while well able to galvanise numbers for one-off events, they have never sunk real roots, despite the appearance of doing so. Their very strength, the accumulation of clicktivists, is also a weakness. In 2011 for example, HNH claimed to have “an activist base of 4,000 people”64. Yet as we have shown in NFB through detailed analysis, their activity on the ground has been paltry. At best, the adherence they secure is episodic, transient and demanding little. Graphically (if unintentionally) illustrated by Jemma Levene’s account of the Manchester MIC launch meeting posted 13/7/16: “almost 40 people attended a lively meeting…All but two of those attending were new to HNH”. Yet this, remember, is in the third largest city in England: a mere two people were (at best) remaining locally from what should surely have been a good segment of the supposed phalanx of 4,000 dating back to 2011. Looking at the various MIC reports on the Hope Not Hate web-site, as of 24/10/16 the most recent is 6/8/16. Reading through them all, lots of ‘soft’ initiatives like picnics/stalls/music and so on, but little to fire the imagination. And nothing at all indicating positive strategic community engagement with Brexit opportunities. No surprise there then. That said, HNH are good at monetising everything, seeking more funds for themselves. Not surprising given they have no transformative political project. This was noticed by one Hackney resident (Moritz Steiger) who commented of an August street party in Well Street (where they got 50% of cash collected that day of course) that it “in the final analysis was for the benefit of the new bars and cafes on the street”. He contrasted this with no mention being made of a local bike workshop servicing kid’s bikes for free that the council had shut down65.

As stated, the above is a companion piece to the more detailed analyses in NFB issues 10 and 11 (and the prehistory outlined in issue 9). Those interested should visit our shop and purchase them, if you want to see some points merely alluded to above fleshed out in substantial (and as yet unanswered) detail. Some extracts and further information are elsewhere on this site, but we do not believe the internet can (or should) entirely replace the written word..

We are now though, nonetheless, in a position to enumerate what is wrong with MIC/HNH

1) It is fundamentally undemocratic, based not on sovereign member participation but the ‘franchise’ model of politics
2) The activities urged are choreographed and no challenge to the existing order: indeed they are not intended to be.
3) The ‘anti-extremist’ basis of the model is politically and philosophically bankrupt.
4) #MIC is at best an attempt to undermine the Brexit vote result by stressing the negative aspects
5) There is at root a deeply patronising and dismissive attitude towards working class voters who in the Referendum told both the EU and established leaders (especially Labour) to ‘do one’.
6) Residents who get involved in HNH/#MIC will find themselves getting drawn away from fighting for their rights, and drawn into endless consultations with those who want to incorporate them into the local political system and thereby pacify them.
7) Fundamentally, HNH/#MIC is a money-making scam for those involved, and a diversion from genuinely autonomous street-oriented class politics. Which is no surprise as that is what it has always been from the start.


REFERENCES

1) British Nationalist (BNP) September 2016 p.1-2
2) The Flame (National Front) issue 45 May/June 2016 p.4
3) Special Supplement to League Sentinel issue 106 Spring 2016 p.2, League Sentinel 107 Summer 2016 p.3 has more in the same vein.
4) Information from electoralcommission.org web-site
5) Published 3/8/16, submitted 7/7/16
6) ‘Britain First Launches EU Referendum Campaign’ 23/5/16 britainfirst.org
7) Simon Walters/Glen Owen/Paul Cahalan, see follow-up on Van Housen by Simon Walters 19/6/16
8) Simon Walters/Glen Owen/Jaber Mohamed ‘Brexit link to Mair racists’ Mail on Sunday 19/6/16
9) Searchlight 466 Autumn 2016 p.14-15
10) The Times 22/6/16 (Henry Zeffman)
11) Interviewed in London Evening Standard 20/9/16
12) The Observer 2/10/16
13) See http://leftleave.org and also Joseph Choonara ‘The EU: A left case for exit’ (Socialist Worker pamphlet 2016), ‘EU Referendum: The socialist case for exit’ (Socialist Party 2016)
14) Notes From the Borderland issue 4 p.11-13/16-21 especially, and NFB issue 5 p.53-54 reproduces the Lowles Memorandum
15) #MoreInCommon Meeting Update on Hope Not Hate web-site 10/6/16 (Jemma Levene)
16) Palestine News (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) Spring 2013 p.25
17) See Notes From the Borderland issue 10 p.44-46 for details, also NFB 11 p.7-8 for an update.
18) anthonypainter on twitter.com 10/7/16
19) Hope Not Hate May/August 2016 p.3
20) Notes From the Borderland issue 9 p.9/11 outlines the de-radicalising franchise model copied from the Obama campaign, NFB issue 10 p.54-55/62-3 develops the critique, also see NFB 11 p.10-11
21) Quote from Hope Not Hate general leaflet, distributed July 2016
22) ‘The Language of Hate Has No Place In Politics’ (Nick Lowles) Opinion Piece Newsweek Europe 17/6/16
23) Companies House Director information regarding ‘Best For Our Future Ltd’ Company number 10164553, accessed 25/8/16.
24) Companies House Director Information accessed 1/8/16.
25) See Tom Easton ‘The British American Project for the Successor Generation’ Lobster 33 Summer 1997 p.10-14, ‘Friends in High Places’ The Guardian 6/11/04 (Andy Beckett). On Smeeth see NFB issue 10 p.38-39, issue 11 p.8-9
26) ‘The Change We Need’ (co-authored with Nick Anstead) Fabian Society 2009 p.96/98
27) Referenced in order-order.com 20/6/16, which refers to a tape-recording of the relevant conference call by Straw. In the London Evening Standard (22/6/16 Richard Godwin) Straw flatly denied he had made this connection, and the reporter (a friend) didn’t probe him further. He should have. Suspicion Straw has something to hide here is fuelled by the diary account of Cameron’s spin doctor Craig Oliver (‘Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of Brexit’ Hodder & Stoughton 2016), who admits to discussing the death with Straw, but then claims “the overwhelming sense is that we must not allow anyone to politicise her death” (p.332). After then recounting how he and Cameron in effect sought to do precisely that (p.333-39), the dog that didn’t bark is Oliver’s detailed account makes no mention whatsoever of the Trafalgar Square rally, at which Brendan Cox spoke.
28) Quoted in the Independent on-line 21/6/16 (Adam Withnall)
29) Independent on-line 22/6/16 (Lizzie Dearden)
30) www.gofundme.com/jocox
31) The Times 18/6/16 (Nicola Woodcock)
32) ‘Why the Populist right is winning the refugee debate’ World Economic Forum paper 20/5/16
33) New York Times op-ed piece Brendan Cox 23/9/16
34) Mail On Sunday 1/11/15 (Simon Walters)
35) Thirdsector.co.uk 2/11/15 (Andy Ricketts)
36) Independent on-line 21/6/16 (Adam Withnall)
37) See NFB 9 p.8 on this
38) See NFB 10 p.34-80 on all of this, and time-line on this site: put Hope Not Hate vs Searchlight timeline’ in the internal search engine.
39) Slavoj Zizek ‘The Interpassive Subject’ theenlightenedworld.org 25/6/09
40) NFB 10 p.64 gives details, NFB 11 p.8 updates
41) NFB 11 p.14-15
42) NFB 11 p.14-15
43) Dominic Dyer ‘Badgered to Death’ Canbury Press 2016 p.14/16/101-2
44) #MoreInCommon magazine Summer 2016 p.5
45) #MoreInCommon magazine Summer 2016 p.5
46) Hope Not Hate September/October 2016 p.13 (Nick Lowles)
47) See lordashcroftpolls.com 24/6/16 on the EU Referendum
48) ‘Fear and Hope Three’ (Nick Lowles) hopenothate.org.uk
49) National Police Chief’s blog 27/6/16
50) Both quoted in ‘Government unveils new ‘action plan’ to stamp out hate crime’ politics home.com 29/6/16 (Josh May)
51) Producer Bushra Siddiq, Reporter Seyi Rhodes, Director Ben Ryder, Executive Producer Lucie Kon, for a lot of detail see News Release on channel4.com 11/7/16
52) Hate Crime data for July-August 2016 available from report-it.org.uk
53) ‘It’s time to shoot down the post-Brexit hate-crime hysteria’ spiked.com 14/10/16 (Brendan O’Neill)
54) Manchester Evening News 14/10/16 (Chris Osuh)
55) Hope Not Hate September/October 2016 p.13 (Nick Lowles)
56) ‘How the EU Referendum has divided Britain’ HNH email to supporters 19/7/16
57) cablestreet.co.uk on-line 4/10/16
58) Hopenothate.org.uk blog-post by David Emmett 4/10/16
59) #MoreInCommon Summer 2016 p.4
60) Hope Not Hate September/October 2016 p.6 (John Page)
61) Quoted in ‘Labour Conference: how to win back UKIP voters?’ BBC on-line 26/9/16 (Gavin Stamp)
62) Hope Not Hate September/October 2016 p.15 (John Page)
63) ‘Winning the Battle But Losing the War’ 30/8/16 (Tony Greenstein) azvas.blogspot.co.uk
64) The Great British Party briefing paper 2011 p.3
65) Hackney Gazette letter 11/8/16

FASCIST VIEWPOINT - THESE NEO-NAZIS DON'T LIKE US?

You can't please everybody--nor would we want to. This review from Nationalist Week, e-bulletin of the British People's Party (whose membership features more than once in the issue 9 article about 'fascist plots', reproduced on this site), indicates the real animosity felt towards us by some creeps. Are we bothered? Not really....

NATIONALIST WEEK
No.180 - 31st August 2008

"If, by the instrument of governmental power, a people is being led toward its destruction,

then rebellion is not only the right of every member of such a people it is his duty."
Adolf Hitler

'Anti-Fascist researcher' Larry O'Hara, Class War and Antifa

The following article serves as a warning to make Nationalists aware of the unquestionable relationship between Larry O'Hara and the protagonists of 'Militant Anti-Fascism' (To you and me, that is the people that seek to kick our heads in) - The Anarchist Federation, Class War and it's front group Antifa.

Some people on the periphery of Nationalism, due to their naivety seek to sanitise Larry O'Hara and his role in attacking Nationalism. It will soon become clear that O'Hara not only supports these Organisations but also very probably shares intelligence with them.

If one takes a look at the Class War website, it will be seen that under the section for links there is a link to the Notes From The Borderland website that promotes the irregularly published conspiracy theorist red rag of the same name produced by O'Hara. Of course the link is reciprocated by O'Hara and he also supplies a link to the mainly Jewish run Lancaster Unity site. Here's what O'Hara has to say about Class War: 'Class War's website is hard-hitting and militant, just what we like. They are supportive of the NFB project and we are of them. Join their mailing list.' So, in other words, O'Hara freely admits he supports those that would use extreme violence and terror against Nationalism. Indeed one of the slogans used by Class War is 'By every means necessary'.

A quick perusal of the Class war Newspaper, 'Class War', issue number 94 of summer 2008, shows them gloating over an attack made on the BPP RV point at the London Victoria meeting held on Aril 19th just gone (Page 11 under the heading: 'In the area'). There is also an article on page two entitled 'Any Time, Any Place, Any Where', which gives a report on efforts made by Class War members using the Antifa front to attack BNP members in Oxford when both David Irving & Nick Griffin debated at Oxford University. On page fifteen of the same issue, there are a number of booklets for sale written by anti-fascists that reminisce about violence used in the past on Nationalists. Also to be had are issues 7 & 8 of 'Notes from The borderland'. On the same page various Antifa fund raising merchandise is advertised for sale from the same London Class War PO Box number - everything from stickers to t-shirts with such slogans as 'Antifa Hooligans'.

A link on the London Class War Site for Antifa reveals them to be at the hub of violent 'anti-fascist' terror and under Antifa's founding Statement can be read: 'We will not work with, accept information from nor pass information to the so-called anti-fascist magazine/organisation Searchlight...' Well, they don't really need Gable's info do they when they have a member with his very own Magazine who is in touch with various misguided Nationalists who for a whole host of reasons supply him with information on other Nationalists and Nationalist Organisations. Some of these reasons are that they are anti-Nick Griffin & Tony Lecomber, others are that they have a genuine wish to root the 'Rats & snitches' out of Nationalism.

Make no mistake, O'Hara is an enemy of the Nationalist Movement and his magazine serves the dual purposes of initiating psych-ops accusing some Nationalists of being plants and for intelligence gathering purposes. While we are all pointing the finger of accusation at each other the real plants carry on unnoticed. When one sups with the Devil one will need a very long spoon. You have been warned.

ES

LINKS INTRODUCED AND EXPLAINED: CHECK IT OUT/SEND US YOUR SUGGESTIONS

LINKS SECTION: INTRODUCED & EXPLAINED

Discerning readers we want to encourage, for the off-line real world magazine, and this site.  To paraphrase John Donne, no virtual user is an island, so too no site exists in isolation, even this one....While respecting their intentions & spirit, we are not Luddites, and do not believe at this juncture it is desirable--or feasible--to abolish (as opposed to sporadically disable) the internet.  Indeed, there are some sites well worth looking at, that we would like to direct your attention towards.  This we are happy to do....in our own inimitable way.  A macho-click fest, whereby a veritable telephone directory style long list of site/blog links with little or no explanation of why we rate them interesting is not for us, at all.  Such idiocy, abdicating intellectual & political responsibility, is almost as reprehensible in its own way as the profusion of fake 'friends' on Facebook.  Indeed making, or boasting about, virtual 'friends' isn't within our remit. 

Our approach is slightly different therefore, hopefully guided by the following principles:

1) Sites recommended are ones we think will interest visitors to our site, and not necessarily run by 'friends' of ours.  If we do endorse the content/aims that will be stated--but is not a necessary criteria for inclusion.  Articulate & important enemy sites can be learnt from--know thine enemy is for us not just an ancient Chinese precept but a living reality.

2) Every site we link to, as well as a brief summary of its nature, has a few words at least on why it is important, and what limits/defects--if any--we think the site possesses.  Some sites will in the fullness of time have more detailed critiques, if they warrant such.

3) We want to encourage you to think, not think for you--hence, unlike Google rankings, sites are set out in alphabetical and then numerical order only.  No prioritisation--to be featured here means a site is intrinsically important.

4) We will always listen carefully to requests to revise our opinions--but the final say remains with us.  If you want 'hive mind' consensual blandness, visit  Wikipedia, you're on the wrong site here!

5) We are open to constructive suggestions from people who want us to feature their sites--and will usually (not always!) be happy for reciprocal links to be put in place.  But we certainly don't demand such in order for us to mention a site.

6) Quality is better than quantity--and added to the fact links are not our top current priority, don't expect this section to expand massively before the next issue of NFB (number 10).  Just so you know.

Bearing all the above in mind, enjoy the links, and don't forget feedback/constructive suggestions (both for individual sites and new sections).  Visit the Contact/Media page for details.  As the number of links grow, we will summarise the purpose of each section here--there are too few to justify such a relatively grandiose endeavour at present.  Remember, patience is a virtue, albeit a PI (pre-internet) one.   If you're at a loose end, read a book (not an e-book mind, but one you can physically relate to)--now there's a thought... 

OCCUPY MOVEMENT: WHAT'S NEXT?

Like many people, I have been both excited and inspired by the fledgeling Occupy movement, of which there are 2000 (and rising) worldwide. Particularly impressive is the declared non-hierarchical & decentralist nature of the movement, making it difficult for external forces to pigeonhole and control.

However, as could have been predicted, the mailed fist has responded, and as I write Occupy Wall Street is (literally) under attack, and eviction notices have been served on London Occupy at St Paul's. One hopes this inevitable repression does not make the movement ephemeral. Even if some ground is lost, we should not give up: the goal is too important.

In considering where we go from here, there are a number of options/strategic paths, and I offer suggestions, not as tablets from above, but as a comradely contribution from somebody who has 'been around the block' (and then some).

1) Where we have won liberated spaces, we should where possible hold them, for symbolic and strategic reasons: visible spaces of counter-power in the heartland of the capitalist beast are always useful.

2) We need to build links with other groups who may lack our visibility and mobility, such as those in the 'Hardest Hit' campaign. The Condemn government are currently targeting society's most vulnerable: for instance there is an unseemly rush to declare many blind people sighted before April 2012, so as to avoid paying them disability Living Allowance. This does not arise from improvement in medical techniques, but a cold determination to victimise the defenceless. It is commendable that Occupy London have recently attempted outreach to vulnerable groups.

3) Broadening the struggle beyond natural allies (such as trade unions) to encompass those who previously radical forces have ignored (and vice versa). In particular, I refer to those struggling against the EU, which conflict is now entering a critical phase. In recent times both Greece and Italy have seen the effective abandonment of even the pretence of democratic government, replacing it by a new besuited Bonapartism. In Greece, PM Papandreou was done for the minute he had the temerity to speculate the Greek people might be asked their views on austerity measures in a referendum. Europhiles like referenda, but only if they can either guarantee the result or re-run it if the wrong result for them occurs. The Greek people were denied that possibility, and now have a government run by a European Central Wanker (or should that be banker?) responsible for the crisis in the first place. As for Italy: yes, we know full well Berlusconi was a corrupt philandering buffoon, but that is no excuse for abandoning any attempt at democratic government. Not one of the current Italian government are elected, and 'Super Mario' was only declared a Senator to make things look good: analagous (even if not exactly the same) to Hitler's Nazis getting a frightened Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act in 1933. Yet not only have we had no dissent at all to the junking of democratic forms, this 'Super Mario' is given a good press! Life, unfortunately, is no cartoon, and the last laugh will be had by international capitalists, crowing at how easily they have swept aside the democratic facade.

It is the same international bankers Occupy holds to account who are dictating terms to various EU governments, and they should be resisted on both the domestic and EU fronts. The Campaign Against Euro-Federalism, whatever its weaknesses, has consistently drawn attention to the links between attacks on working (and non-working) people here and EU policy. Now we are zeroing in on international capital too, these links should be made explicit. We fully support those struggling in the EU, and against the EU, not from a nationalist but internationalist perspective. It is quite clearly international capitalist forces who are trying to shake down the German government to provide more funds for them to snaffle, not any German-led plan. Certainly, there are forces within Germany and elsewhere who want a fully 'integrated' (ie imperial) EU, but that is a transnational project with quislings in all EU countries: Blair, Kinnock Cameron & Clegg in the UK for example.

4) We need to be clear, not ambivalent, about opposing capitalism in principle, not just this or that manifestation. Attempts at recuperation have been made by Vince Cable & Ed Milband, who both feign "sympathy" for ethical issues raised by Occupy. Well, these characters are part of the problem, not the solution, although their word-play indicates the establishment are worried: good, they are right to be!

5) Recuperation (stifling) of the struggle can take many forms. Most obvious are the thankfully dwindling but still shrill, voices of the 'Last Century Left', ever seeking to control corral and 'lead', without ever learning, and despite a track-record of failure spanning 3 centuries now. We at Notes From the Borderland originate in the Left tradition, and see much of remaining value in it, but unlike the LCL (Trotskyist epigones/deadbeat Labourists etc) understand that new movements should learn as much from the Left's historic failures as successes. Inasmuch as Green ideas regarding sustainability, social justice and so on, will be an important part of any solution, it might be thought politically organised Greens are in natural alignment with Occupy: and we note with approval Derek Wall's recent talk to London Occupy...However, we need to be wary here too: the recent 'Paris Declaration' by European Green Parties is a disgraceful document, calling for strengthened EU imperial institutions. These creeps clearly see their role as providing a Green tinge to the hem of the EU imperial cloak. Well, they can sod off and take the Leninists with them, as they dive into the dustbin of history (no recycling of this rubbish please).

6) Setting up social centres and enterprises in further liberated spaces is certainloy useful, strategically, as it will show contined fight and inspire others who might be demoralised.

7) A huge demonstration in 2012, providing it is 'imaginative' and not hemmed-in by state manipulation is a useful tool for mobilisation, certainly.

8) An important aspect of 1960's counter-culture was free festivals: next year, this tradition could and should be revived.

9) Important as being against something is, Zizek recently argued we need to develop ideas about what, specifically, should replace capitalism. A big ask, but essential. Some ideas and thnkers from the past are essential, even if contributions are only partial. Karl Marx, for example, had an acute understanding of the mechanics of capitalist crisis still relevant today: even if his alternative was, shall we say, a bit sketchy...The German Greens have been useful here: see the inspirational 1983 German Green Manifesto 'Purpose in Work/Solidarity in Life' for example. Now, sadly, they are largely a party of Empire, but some of their past is useful. Equally, Rudolf Bahro's vision of sustainable communities, as too the forgotten council communist texts of Cornelius Castoriadis. In understanding the symbolic political importance of occupying space and subverting institutions, the Situationists were pioneers (Raoul Vaneigem & Guy Debord), To understand what we as a movement might signify, the writings of Toni Negri on the 'multitude'. To oppose hierarchy effectively, Jo Freeman's critique of the 'Tyranny of Structurelessness'. To get the measure of Leninist/Trotskyist interlopers, Richard Gombin's superb 'The Origins of Modern Leftism'. On a positive note about how militants can create internal vanguards, check out Adriano Sofri 'Organising for Workers Power'. Learning from, as opposed to reliving groundhog day-wise, the past is important. As Karl Marx might have said were he here today and we could drag him out of the pub for long enough, 'Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it, the first time as tragedy, the second on You-Tube'

We will be returning to these issues both on this site and in Notes From the Borderland magazine. Suggestions welcome (including recommended texts). Tell us what you think!

KEN LIVINGSTONE HIS POLITICS & THE SECRET STATE

INTRODUCTION

For more than 35 years, ever since he mounted a successful coup to become Leader of the Greater London Council in 1981, the eternally preening nasally whining figure of Livingstone has fascinated the 'Last Century Left' and their media outlets like the Guardian, defining for many both the nature, and limits, of modern Leftism. In particular, his shameless promotion at the GLC of 'identity politics' at the expense of universalist transformatory projects (akin to the planting of dragon's teeth) has had untold adverse consequences on political discourse, and contributed in great measure to creating political space for the very fascist BNP Livingstone pereniially presents himself at the forefront of opposition to.

While never fit to be spoken of in the same breath as Tony Benn (for example) his stint as London Mayor plus an occasional spat with various New Labour leaders has ensured Livingstone's continuance in the public eye. Fair enough--but what is amazing is that this fundamentally pro-capitalist reactionary spiv should still be seen as 'radical', even after he mired the London Mayoralty in a cesspit of scandal involving the usual suspects, including Lee Jasper, another shameless freeloader. There could hardly be better testimony to the bankruptcy and political corruption at the heart of New (Generation) Labour than him being chosen as Labour's London Mayoral candidate in 2012. Save, perhaps, that the choice was either him or the ultra-reactionary characterless apparatchik Oona King, but we digress.. We should never forget there was a moment (if only that) when Livingstone seemed a genuine threat to the status quo. The article below, dating from Notes From the Borderland issue 3 2000 p.55-58, has, we contend, stood the test of time in getting to the heart of this creep's politics--and along the way, with forensic logic, dissected the self-serving and inconsistent platitudes which Livingstone spews forth with practised ease. Needless to say (but we will), the prediction below that he would call upon cops to crush demonstrators came true--and we did point it out at the time [see editorial for issue 4 elsewhere on this site]. For a later assessment of Livingstone's career by way of reviewing his biography, see Paul Stott's article in NFB issue 11 p.71-75

 

LIVINGSTONE, HIS POLITICS & THE SECRET STATE
by Harry Ainsworth

Media darling Left-wing MP Ken Livingstone was sworn in as London mayor 8/5/2000. after an election campaign many see as a watershed in British domestic politics. In essence, the Ken4London campaign represents the ultimate personalisation of politics. It is perhaps appropriate that a vainglorious chameleon like Turn-Again should successfully adapt US machine style politics to the UK. Ken's 'cheeky chappie' image is more important than real issues and the authentic problems of everyday people. Livingstone and his politics are not an antidote to the Blair phenomenon but another variant of the genus.

LIVINGSTONE'S COALITION

Turn-Again's coalition includes Tories Liberal Democrats (defeated mayoral candidates Norris and Kramer) and Greens. Livingstone garnered Green Party support by unattributably promising the deputy mayor position to Europhiliac candidate Darren Johnson and hypocritically suggesting voters support Greens in the Assembly elections. Also on board were politically correct groupies and capitalists. Turn-Again's first appointments were Lee Jasper of the National Assembly Against Racism and Kumar Murshid, Tower Hamlets Labour councillor. Jasper, veteran of the Labour Party Black Section is a key figure. According to The Guardian 9-5-2000, he is "very much in demand from the establishment", serving on Jack Straw's (Home Secretary) race relations forum, Met Police-Community Consultative Group and previously on the lay advisory panel to John Grieve's Racial & Violent Crime Task Force. C024 [1]. It is testament to Livingstone's wheeler-dealer opportunism that he has drawn together many different strands - but it has nothing to do with socialist politics.

THE EGO HAS LANDED

Using a slick highly polished approach, Turn-About has created an electorally popular coalition telling different and competing constituencies only & exactly what they want to hear [2]. Much of this recalls Livingstone's behaviour as Greater London Council leader. Even Turn-Again's erstwhile socialism was borrowed from veteran Trotskyant and former Lambeth Council Leader Ted Knight. Knight explains "it was useful for Ken to have somebody arguing with him who had very clearly defined views on matters of Labour Party and socialist policies" and that "he was able to win wider support and prepared to seek looser alliances than I would have" [3].

IRELAND & MI5

Livingstone interests NFB partly because he is an icon for many on the Left, who desperately want him to succeed, inspired by memories of what they imagine happened when he led the Greater London Council 1981-85. Many also idolise Turn-Again because he has in the past gone further than any mainstream Labour Left politician in raising two related thorns in the side of the British ruling class, Ireland and MI5. On closer examination, it transpires that not only was Livingstone never as astute on these issues as it appeared, but weaknesses and lacunae present then have persisted and look likely to affect his current and future coalition-building strategies. A strong claim, but first some background facts.

In July 1981, when the H-Block hunger strike in the Maze prison by Republican prisoners was at its height, Turn-Around supported the prisoners and called for British troop withdrawal [4]. Soon after Livingstone denied the IRA were criminals and called for them to be understood [5]. Subsequently, Turn-Again met Sinn Fein leaders, and visited Belfast. All these things earned great media hostility and broad Leftist sympathy.

After GLC abolition in 1985, Livingstone entered the parliamentary snake-pit with a controversial and telling maiden speech on 9th July 1987. He dealt with dirty tricks in Ireland, specifically the Wallace/Holroyd allegations, and into 1988 asked detailed questions about British Army psy-ops in Ireland and related matters Public schoolboy journalist Paul Foot thinks Turn-Around the best thing since sliced bread for embarking "on a long Parliamentary campaign to get to the root of the Wallace /Holroyd stories" [6]. At this stage, however, Livingstone could only have been pursuing the matter for two and a half years at most. That may seem long to Foot, but isn't really--perhaps the chancer is still reviewing his files on the Hanratty case, to work out how he got it so wrong, so we'll let it pass. Both Livingstone (unacknowledged) and Foot himself (for the Wallace book) cribbed much information from Lobster magazine [7], as have other plagiarists (such as John Pilger on the British American Project) since. While editor Robin Ramsay is mentioned by Foot two or three times [8] no casual reader would realise the depth of his debt.

In Turn-Around's constituency party (Brent East) he had a good parliamentary researcher, (teacher) Neil Grant, especially well informed on Ireland, thus providing regular speech material. That material dried up when Grant landed a research job at BBC Panorama. While Grant may have got the job on his undoubted merits, it is feasible that it suited the secret state to choke Livingstone's local source of fresh questions. At this stage, between 1981 and 1989-90, Turn-About was an undoubted irritant to the spooks on the question of Ireland. So they may have sorted it.

In The Independent 21/5/99. Livingstone returned to the subjects of Ireland. MI5 and dirty tricks. Robin Ramsay, with forensic thoroughness, dissected this piece showing how hazy is Turn-Again's recollection of even his own central allegations [9]. The criticism of Livingstone here is precisely because his interest in Ireland was based on opportunist grand-standing, not personal conviction and contemporary thirst for knowledge, he has never felt the need to brush up such knowledge. Fair enough, for a typical hack parliamentarian—but not for someone even now believed by the naive to be 'sound' on Ireland, Ireland was not a living issue, just another component in Tum-About's carefully crafted portmanteau of concerns. Livingstone raised no fresh evidence on British secret state activities there--why should he? Ireland was a prop, not a crusade. His happily regurgitating barely-understood information concerning events in primarily the 1970's is, as we shall see, of more than historical relevance.

There were always two strands to Turn-Again's Irish policy. Firstly, commitment to dialogue with militant Irish Republicans, such as the IRA. Secondly, a commitment to withdraw British troops. While the second may still be anathema to the British Establishment (although many Loyalists would disagree!), from the moment in late 1990 when Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke was contacted by John Deverell, MI5 Intelligence Chief in Northern Ireland, and informed about a channel of communication to the Republican leadership, dialogue was on the agenda [10]. Certainly, there had been a back-channel between the British state & the IRA. involving Michael Oatley of MI6, but this was rather more. As we now know, one result of this dialogue (to date) has been a downgrading by Sinn Fein of the demand troops be withdrawn in practical terms [11]. Dialogue between the British state and IRA, while it may have seemed a vindication of Livingstone's earlier call, bypassed him and undoubtedly (along with his isolation in the Parliamentary Labour Party) led to him seeming less of a threat both to his own leadership and the spooks. Hence, in part, reinvention as 'cuddly Ken'.

TURN-ABOUT AS MI5 VICTIM

If MI5 decide certain targets are no longer important, they don't routinely inform them, as ongoing paranoia is opportunity, not problem, for spooks. In 1997 (ex?) MI5 operative David Shayler, who, as readers will be aware, has not replied to serious questions raised in our last issue, suggested MI5 handed a file on Livingstone to Blair, probably true, despite the source [12]. Turn-Again responded he "would be amazed" not to be on an MI5 list but it didn't really matter because MI5 are not just "appalling, right-wing and paranoid" but "a pretty derisory bunch and a complete waste of money" [13]. Taken at face value, it seems he wasn't worried. Not the impression Turn-Around had always given. You should, however, keep in mind his description of MI5.

One of Livingstone's most unattractive and irresponsible traits over the years has been the tendency to accuse MI5 of targetting him when in a political fix of a decidedly mundane variety. Too often, Turn-About uses such tactics as a smokescreen to avoid investigation of his reptilian activities or to defend antediluvian friends. The prime example is when the worm finally turned and members of the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) threw out close Livingstone buddy and sexual predator Gerry Healy. After Healy's death, Turn-Again wrote a fulsome introduction to a biography of him by two acoloytes, declaring it "a privilege to have worked with Gerry Healy". Furthermore, Livingstone declared he had "never changed in my belief that the split in the WRP during 1985 was the work of MI5 agents" [14]. Five years later, however, Turn-Around was singing a different tune, fatuously distancing himself from Healy by irrelevantly claiming "I never met the man till I was 36 years old and I am far too independent-minded ever to submit myself to Marxist discipline" [15]. Needless to say, Livingstone never advanced any proof for his claims about the 1985 split.

Another example of the same tactic was shown in the 1992 General Election. Turn Again's inflated ego was dented by Leftist sect the Communist Party of Great Britain having the temerity to stand against him in his local constituency. The CPGB argued they stood candidate Anne Murphy against "£750 a week Sun columnist" Livingstone to expose his posturing, particularly on Ireland [16]. How did the heroic Turn-About respond? "BBC TV's Newsroom South East screened Livingstone's absurd display of paranoia when he accused Communist Party members of being MI5 agents!". How seriously can we take comment from Turn-Around on this subject after such a preposterous allegation? Livingstone using MI5 as a sensational diverting device may have been good sound-byte politics for him, but to those genuinely under the cosh of MI5 and Special Branch without media access, these outbursts are worse than useless.

None of this is to deny that the Labour Party establishment used every trick in the book to prevent Turn-Again winning the mayoral nomination. Nor is it to deny that over the years Livingstone's affairs have been subject to far more media scrutiny than your average rich bastard MP. It is also reasonable to surmise it would fit a spook agenda to keep this little pot boiling. However, even on the basis of public domain information, Turn-About has been consistently deceitful. Thus, in 1994 when the media picked up on his nimble accounting footwork to evade tax, he responded by claiming this was acceptable because 1993 income levels were "not likely to be repeated" [17]. Livingstone's response for the next two years to such media scrutiny was to avoid filing accounts at all [18]. Hardly wise, nor something Turn-Around could blame others (even MI5) for. Yet when the subject of his financial evasiveness was again (predictably) raised in March 2000 prior to the mayoral election, Livingstone whined about "dirty tricks" and (again) tried the line that he was now going to change his entry in the Register of Member's Interests "because my earnings from speaking and writing had become more regular", as though this were something new [19]. Turn-About here is a typically shifty bourgeois politician. No surprise then.

DEAR TONY?

Livingstone's 'Open Letter' of 29/1/00 promised to support the current government and not use the mayoral office to attack the ruling order. Turn-About will find it far easier to do the latter than the former. Blaming the government if (when) things go wrong will be too great a temptation for this huckster. Whatever the future of Livingstone's one pseudo-radical commitment, opposition to privatisation of London Underground, the source and nature of his policy idea--a public-private partnership in New York, is telling. It should not be forgotten that Turn-Again despicably supported the NATO bombings of Kosovo and avidly supports the Euro and concomitant Imperial European superstate. Livingstone craves inward investment and a dynamic City of London. No doubt strengthening Metropolitan Police resolve following May Day 2000 was an early item on Ken's agenda something the Labour Cabinet will be pleased to support [20].

MI54KEN—KEN4MI5?

At a meeting in Brixton called by the National Assembly Against Racism during the April 1999 nail-bombings, Turn-Around revealed his contemporary views on both Ireland and the security services. We print these opinions in full below:

"We want the same weight that was used by the police against the IRA to be used to smash the racists of Combat 18 and other such organisations.That means the powers to intern and the powers to ban organisations.The difference with the extreme right is that they do not enjoy the support of 15 per cent of the population at the ballot box so measures such as internment could be very effective if used against them." [reported New Nation 3/5/99]

In an Independent article at the same time. Livingstone argued "we should ban the BNP' and "defeat them using all the powers of the state and with the backing of local communities" [21]. Banning, and "all the powers of the state" ineluctably includes both MI5 and Special Branch.

INTERNING AFFAIRS

What about internment, which Turn-Again supports? One academic summarised the view accepted by the vast majority of observers and activists regarding its use in Northern Ireland. "The introduction of internment instantaneously united all shades of Catholic opinion against the authorities. Far from stemming the violence, internment provided PIRA with an enormous propaganda victory which boosted recruitment. In the four months preceding internment there had been a combined total of eight civilian and military deaths. The four months after the introduction of internment saw the deaths of 30 soldiers, 11 RUC officers and 73 civilians" [22].

Here, we see the significance of Livingstone's ignorance of Irish affairs. Because Turn-Around knows (or remembers—same difference) nothing about the effects of 1970s internment he is prepared to risk lives by making BNP members martyrs. Can you imagine the political capital Nick Griffin, new BNP leader (or deputy Sharon Edwards), would make out of being interned? Frightening. It is fundamen tally disturbing that a politician affecting to be au fait with British state duplicity in Ireland, up to and including arranging assassinations (via Brian Nelson and independently) should for one moment contemplate using such tactics here. Especially by the same MI5 dismissed by Livingstone in 1997 as "appalling right-wing and paranoid".

PLAYING THE NUMBERS GAME

Caricaturing the BNP as mindless hooligans, "no more than a racist criminal conspiracy" [23] also misses the point. In a recent Bexley council election the BNP got over 20% of the vote and the BNP's new strategy in Tipton, West Midlands, led to a 23.7% vote, 50% up on previously [24]. Turn-Again's arbitrary and irresponsible 'cut-off figure of 15% is stupid. Livingstone's shallow understanding (or lack of) internment is revealing. It did work in the 1950s, precisely because the IRA did not have a sufficient base. Like it or not however (and we don't) the BNP's base in certain areas is already too large to make such a measure feasible.

That Turn-About should pick on a numerical % of support as a threshold for state action is revealing. His is a form of politics whereby transient coalitions (majorities) are deftly constructed from week to week or poll to poll. Therefore anybody who has sizeable 'clout' is a player, whatever their beliefs. In addition to his (now surpassed) mathematical basis for excluding the BNP, Livingstone has another argument which (interestingly) he applies to the IRA and the BNP apply to themselves—they "believe they're fighting for the freedom of their country and you've got to deal with them on that basis" [25]. It is not surprising Turn-Around's theoretical arsenal lacks the capacity to oppose fascists in principle-he has none.

All this makes Livingstone's call for state bans, surveillance, and use of "all the powers of the state" both dangerous and disturbing. The real as opposed to phony left know MI5 powers will always be used against the Left and new social movements as much (if not more) than fascists. It is deeply worrying that a political opportunist like Turn-About imports the imperialist terminology of the Irish War - banning TV broadcasts, proscribing organisations, internment—into London domestic politics. Whilst the immediate ploy was to gain ethnic votes, implementing such a policy would reinforce the state's armoury and move the secret state's agenda forward. Coupled with Livingstone's Europhiliac tendencies, linking the superstate express to MI5 commuter special, the coming Utopia for Londoners is extended state surveillance and intervention. At the very least, the spooks will have noted his knee-jerk reaction to the nail-bombings and realise that should they desire further repressive legislation, setting in motion (or allowing to run) another David Copeland will produce a predictably compliant Turn-Around reaction. Useful for reference.

CAPITAL 4 KEN?

Given Livingstone's recent well publicised statement global capitalism has killed more people than Hitler (true)--will he call for "all the powers of the state" to "defeat" multinational capitalist companies and finance capital? Thought not. It is unlikely capitalists will experience early morning sleep disturbance due to state raids. Instead, Turn-Again's friends in the City, like his Cabinet member Judith Mayhew, leading light in the City of London Corporation and Livingstone's link with City boardrooms, will be tucked up in bed safely, no doubt hungover from last night's Ken4Capital dinner party. Indeed, Ms Mayhew and her friends we hear [26] "are very impressed with Ken" because "he understands the world has completely changed since his GLC days. He understands the needs of business: he needs us and we need him". At the behest of the City, Turn-Around supports the creation of yet more skyscrapers, without demur. The stench of corruption is in the air [27], but will brave Darren Johnson oppose him? Thought not!

POLITICAL POLICING

Whilst Mayor Livingstone preens himself, scientifically rumpling his white safari-suit before returning to the political jungle and getting together with John Stevens, John Grieve, Alan Fry et al the rest of us have good reason to be wary. Turn-About's Election Manifesto for London has several promises on law and order, not least of which is restoring policing numbers through recruiting 2000 more Met officers (p.9). Other pledges include : the creation of a "representative" police force to help achieve "the vision set out by Sir John Stevens, new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police" (p.9) ; strong support for "the Government's initiative to set up new Crime and Disorder Partnerships throughout London" (p.11); and, interestingly, to "agree a plan with the Commissioner for increasing resources and investment in the latest anti-crime technology, particularly DNA testing and the new generation of CCTV cameras" (p.10). So you can rest assured if your image is captured on CCTV on a future London mobilisation - or even innocent shopping trip (autoreductionist or otherwise). The cameras have not only been updated by cheekie chappie' but also possess his personal blessing. Ironically, John Stevens, given his experience investigating 'shoot-to-kill' allegations in Northern Ireland, will be less keen than Turn-Around to copy such tactics here.

POLICING POLITICS

Coalition-building for Livingstone requires policing of the political spectrum. Mayor Turn-Again selects favoured community or special interest 'leaders' whose key job is not to advise Ken (ever tried 'advising' a weather-vane?) but politically control their own patch and co-opt/contain dissidents. Just like old GLC days, grant applicators and pc apparatchiks are guaranteed expense accounts but grassroots human beings get nothing. Cronies like Jasper and Johnson, for example, become special constables respectively within black and Green circles.

WILL LIVINGSTONE NEUTRALISE THE LEFT?

There is, sadly, little variety of position held by the Left on Turn-About. This despite his utterly reactionary regional chauvinism, whereby he nasally whines about London (centre of ruling-class power) 'subsidising' the rest of the UK. The SWP liberals are spineless groupies, even picketing the surgery of one MP opposed to Livingstone in support of Turn-Again. Livingstone responded by describing the SWP as "sectarian and parasitic" stating he "totally oppose[d]" their front-campaigns [28]. Predictably, the gutless SWP still supported Turn-About when it mattered [29]. Anarchists such as Class War, Turn-Around will not incorporate so easily. Met Commissioner Sir John Stevens was so worried by a Movement Against the Monarchy demonstration he seriously considered making a "highly unusual" call to Jack Straw to ban it [30]. Presumably Livingstone agrees, given his support for the "vision set out by Sir John Stevens". What of the CPGB, who stood against him in 1992? In April 1999 they were sceptical, hinting, indeed, that Turn-Again's tendency was proto-fascist. 11 months later they too capitulated. Inasmuch as the organised political Left are creatures of the last century, and a dying breed, he'll get little trouble from them.

CAN LIVINGSTONE NEUTRALISE THE GREENS & NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS?

Thankfully, this is a more open question. Take the Green Party first. Whatever deals may have been done with Darren Johnson and others on the electoral gravy train, recent changes in the Party Constitution to give some power back to activists might make a difference. Even if Turn-Again neutralises the Green Party, that organisation is not synonymous with the broader Green/anti-capitalist movement represented by strands as diverse as the J18 coalition and animal liberationists etc. If New Labour really want to undermine Livingstone, they could hold a future World Trade Summit (or even Bilderburg Group meeting) in London. After all, while Turn-About claims he would not invite the World Trade Organisation [31]—he couldn't stop them or similar coming, especially if his corrupt City friends give them the nod.

Interviewed in The Face May 2000, Livingstone praised May Day 2K activities, but later back-tracked blaming "shabby journalism" & denied supporting riots [32]. Consider what might transpire if (hopefully when) a J18 type event happens during Turn-Again's mayoralty Given his public pronouncements supporting the City of London and police operations things might get very tricky for him. Contradictory sound-bytes wouldn't save the day. If & when Livingstone orders cops in NFB will report on it--and say we told you so.

CONCLUSION

No way are we saying Livingstone is a spook. However, he is a vain shallow creature, and there is a gravitational pull to his political methodology. Faced with mounting problems, resistance (and state-sponsored atrocities) Turn-Around might find it advantageous, and certainly unproblematic, to broker deals with anyone, including spooks and other state factions. He believes in nothing but will do anything for power. It won't be over till the reptile swings on a political gibbet. Soon.

FOOTNOTES

1 Kumar Murshid's major claim to fame is criticising the Duke of Edinburgh's views on multiculturalism, not a difficult target.
2 John Carvel 'Turn Again Livingstone' Profile Books (1999) p.286 tells us "there was nothing especially novel or left wing about this policy mix". How true.
3 Carvel op.cit. p.35. For an attack on Turn-About's GLC record by a former ally, see 'Livingstone's legacy' John Bloxam, London Labour Briefing August 1985.
4 Evening Standard 21/7/81
5 quoted in The Times 13/10/81
6 Paul Foot 'Who Framed Colin Wallace?', Pan Books (1990)p.388
7 see Lobster No 11 April 1986 on 'covert operations in British politics 1974-78', published 14 months before the speech.
8 A broadcast on MI5 by Radio Telefis Eireann March 1987 was another (acknowledged) source for both Livingstone & Foot--see Foot p.362
9 Lobster 38 Winter 1999 p.24
10 E Mallie & D McKittrick 'The Fight For Peace'(1996) p. 102-5
11 Republican critics see this is a sell-out in principle, but that's another article!
12 Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding 'Defending the Realm: MI5 and the Shayler Affair'. Andre Deutsch (1999) p.93, Carvel, op cit.. p.290
13 Hollingsworth & Fielding op cit. p.94
14 March 1994 Foreword (p vii) to 'Gerry Healy—A Revolutionary Life' by Corinna Lotz & Paul Feldman Rufus Books (1994). The 1985 WRP split will be analysed in the next NFB by Campbell MacGregor. For background information on Healy see New Statesman 6/6/86. Solidarity Journal Spring 1988 p.3-10.
15 Quoted in The Guardian 19/1/2000
16 Jack Conrad 'In the Enemy Camp'. November Publications (1993) p.69. He favoured troops out of Ireland in the lifetime of a parliament, they wanted them out immediately (or sooner).
17 Livingstone letter printed 18/12/94 in response to article of 11/12/94 by Michael Gillard, both in The Observer.
18 The Observer 5/5/96-Gillard again...
19 Turn-About letter to The Times 17/3/00
20 Robin Ramsay 'Prawn Cocktail Party' Vision (1998) critiques Livingstone's craven Euro-enthusiasm and chauvinism.
21 Tum-Around The Independent 28/4/99
22 MLR Smith, 'Fighting for Ireland ? The Military Strategy of the Irish Republican Movement' Routledge (1995), p. 101.
23 Livingstone The Independent 28/4/99
24 see Red Action July/August 2000. RA/AFA offer timely advice to leftists who underestimate BNP strength and ridicule today's orthodox left opinion that left candidates, and. in particular, LSA candidates are doing better than fascists electorally. Put simply on the front cover of this issue 'LSA Refugees Welcome Here 46,530 BNP Rights For Whites 76.906'.
25 Evening Standard 27/3/00
26 The Express 4/7/00 (Sarah Helm)
27 Evening Standard 27/7/00 (Simon Jenkins)
28 quoted in Evening Standard 9/12/99
29 Socialist Worker 6/5/00
30 Daily Mail interview 10/5/00
31 News Unlimited internet update 18/1/00
32 ibid. see also Livingstone's article in Labour Left Briefing February 2000 p.12

EDITORIALCOMMENT

Having met some charming reptiles, including Arthur the iguana, I want to distance myself from any latent anti-reptilian sentiments in the above piece. Furthermore, no self-respecting reptile would want to join a Livingstone coalition.

I myself, as a delegate of the Green Party Anti-Racist Anti-Fascist Network, was the victim of despicable thuggish behaviour perpetrated by close Livingstone associate Lee Jasper in 1997, and consciously condoned by Livingstone both then and subsequently.

A TROTSKYITE MONSTER MYSTERY: THE DOWNFALL OF GERRY HEALY

INTRODUCTION

The following item first appeared in Notes From the Borderland issue 4 (p.32-34) and was written using a pesudonym by the author Dave Black, probably best known for the book 'Acid' on how the intelligence services (especially the CIA) helped propagate LSD for their own nefarious purposes (on which see here). He has now agreed we can attach his name to the piece--but potential contributors should note that subject to reasonable conditions, we have no problem with pseudonymous articles, and from our end security in such matters is watertight. This piece epitomises what both us, and hopefully you, expect from NFB--careful analysis of intrinsically interesting subjects. It is difficult now for those who were not around to realise just what an important group the WRP were in their day--and the unholy alliance chronicled between two disreputable exemplars of 'Last Century Leftism'--Healy & Livingstone--is little surprise to us. There is yet more to say on the historic infiltration of Leftist groups, and we will return to this subject--even apart from the NFB 5 'True Spies' extract featured in the journalism/SPIJwatch section of this site. Dot Gibson, it should be noted, is still very active politically, principally in the 'National Pensioners Convention'...

A TROTSKYITE MONSTER MYSTERY : THE DOWNFALL OF GERRY HEALY
by Campbell J. McGregor

In October 1985, the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) ousted its general secretary. Gerry Heaiy. This event precipitated the break up of Heaiy's "International Committee of the Fourth International" (ICFI), whose sections in various parts of the world imploded and split into a myriad of grouplets. Healy had long claimed the British party alone had 10,000 members, but in reality its membership was never more than 2,500 and by the time of the split was probably less than 1000. Also, by 1984 the party was heading towards bankruptcy - in the financial as well as political sense. Party assets, which included a printing plant, a chain of bookshops, a training college and various other properties, were under threat from the liquidator.

THE DESERT FOX

That the WRP had been financed to a great extent by certain Arab regimes was common knowledge inside the Left. But this was never confirmed or denied by the party publicly until the central committee had expelled Heaiy for the following reasons:
1) Sexually abusing female comrades.
2) Organising physical attacks on party members.
3) Making false allegations: in particular, that the head of the international's American section, Dave North, was a CIA agent.

Within weeks of his downfall however, an Investigation Commission was set up by the majority ICFI faction which confirmed that "Healy established a mercenary relationship between the WRP and the Arab colonial bourgeoisie" [1]. As the Commission revealed. Heaiy first informed the International Committee in June 1976 of "official contacts" between the PLO and himself/other party leaders. However some of these "official contacts" were known about only by Healy and his Inner "clique", notably Corin and Vanessa Redgrave, and former Sunday Times journalist, Alex Mitchell, editor of the newly launched party daily, Newsline. In April 1976, Corin Redgrave signed a secret deal with representatives of the Libyan government for: "providing intelligence information on the 'activities, names and positions held in finance, politics, business, the communications media and elsewhere' by 'Zionists'. It has strongly anti-semitic undertones, as no distinction is made between Jews and Zionists...".

By spring 1978, Healy and Vanessa Redgrave had established enough credibility in Arab 'diplomatic' circles to travel extensively on fundraising trips. In Kuwait Heaiy and Vanessa met Crown Prince Sa-ad to ask for help in funding a film documentary on Palestine. The meeting was a success and the Kuwaiti regime also coughed up £156,000 for the party. In October 1979 Vanessa visited Libya to ask for £500,000 towards the WRP 'Youth Training' project in Britain. She came away with £200,000, part of the £542,000 recorded total of Libyan donations. Healy and Vanessa also took in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai; and did so-.perhaps, in more ways than one. Heaiy somehow convinced several Arab regimes that WRP support extended well beyond film stars and movie directors to the wider British labour movement and political class opinion-formers. In the PR fieid, he assured them, the WRP could greatly help the Arab cause; furthermore, Healy was prepared to put party members to work for Arab intelligence agencies.

In 1980, Vanessa Redgrave helped the Libyans launch the English edition of Gaddafi's Green Book in London, amidst a fair blaze of publicity. Behind the scenes, Healy was making clear to Gaddafi that he was also prepared to sell out the party's Trotskyist principles as part of the deal. A document signed by Healy and presented to Libyan authorities in April 1980, according to the Commission, "reconciles the WRP perspectives with The Green Book. Instead of the 'working class' we find 'the masses' and the Libyan Revolutionary Committees are identified with Soviets". Coverage of Libya in Newsline was reliably servile. When, during a demo against Gaddafi outside the Libyan Embassy in 1984, WPC Yvonne Fletcher was murdered by a shot from inside the embassy, Alex Mitchell editorialised with a suitable conspiracy theory: "The Tory government, Home Office and Metropolitan Police all planned to invade the Libyan People's Bureau in St. James's Square last Tuesday to oust the supporters of Colonsi Muammar Gaddafi and install a bunch of right-wing pro-imperialist stooges. Their plan was to stage a provocation " at the entrance of 5 St James's Square between anti-Gaddafi and pro-Gaddafi demonstrators and use the ensuing clashes to storm the building"[2].

INTELLIGENCE

Relations were strengthened on the intelligence front in March 1981, when Heaiy visited Libya to ask for more money and recorded that "We suggested that we work with Libyan intelligence and this was agreed". In October 1981 Alex Mitchell spoke to a PLO representative acting as liaison and reported back to Healy that "[name missing] proposed to write a letter to Gaddafi and forward it through [name missing] at Libyan Intelligence". Throughout this period, says the Commission (rather naiveiy), "relations with the PLO" were "cynically used to make the PLO an instrument for obtaining money from the Arab bourgeoisie". The most damnable Middle East collaboration of the WRP was with Iraqi intelligence. An Iraqi communist, Talib Suwailh, who attended a WRP trade union conference was later a victim, in March 1979, of a wave of regime executions in Baghdad. The WRP central committee voted to support the executions! It was iater revealed that Newsline photographers had taken pictures of Iraqi Communists protesting outside the Iraqi Embassy. In the end it seems the Iran-Iraq War breaking cut cut short the WRP's relationship with the Iraqi regime, which contributed just £19,697 tc the WRP fighting fund [3]. In total, between 1977 and 1982, money received by the WRP from the Middle East amounted to just over £1,000,000. However, the Commission reported: "From internal evidence in the documents under our control, it is obvious that much more material must exist, which was either taken out of the centre when the rump was in control or kept elsewhere. Therefore the actual amount of money received from these relations and the extent of these relations must be considerably bigger than what we are able to prove in this report". The report added: "frequently cash was brought in to the centre which would not be immediately banked. Therefore, it was possible for large sums of cash to come in and go out without ever being recorded".

Healyites were quite adept at intelligence gathering. Burgling opponents for documents was regular, systematic and efficient (here I must declare an interest - I was burgled by the WRP and robbed of documents in North London in 1977). More refined methods included infiltrating other organisations. For example, between 1982-84 an agent planted by Healy in the offices of Communist Party monthly, Marxism Today fed the WRP regular reports and helped Alex Mitchell gather enough material to write a book on the CP entitled 'Behind the Crisis in British Stalinism' [4].

From the mid-1970s onwards the International Committee disrupted and soured relations amongst trotskyists internationally by falsely alleging the American Socialist Workers Party's veteran leaders had collaborated with the Russian intelligence service (the GPU) back in 1939-40 to help assassinate Trotsky, and since then had switched allegiance to the FBI.

WHERE WAS BRITAIN GOING?

The WRP lost its last real industrial stronghold in 1976, when Healy expelled the Oxford WRP branch led by Alan Thornett, a popular shop steward who had built up a strong WRP presence at the BL Cowley plant. By the eighties, Healyite influence in the British far left was eclipsed by rivals, such as the Labour Party Militant Tendency, in his old stamping ground of Liverpool, and the Socialist Workers Party, which made gains in the Universities and some white collar unions. Enter to the rescue, stage right, Ken Livingstone, a genuinely important member of the British political class, known throughout the world - the Arab world included - as a sworn enemy of Thatcherism, Reaganism and 'Zionism'. Livingstone first met Healy in 1981, shortly after becoming Greater London Council (GLC) leader. Livingstone found himself "captivated" by the old Trot's "vivid recollection of events", "impressed" by his "non-sectarian approach" and "challenged" by the "broad sweep of his knowledge and understanding of the movement of economic and social forces". Livingstone recalled: "Gerry Healy saw that it was possible to use the GLC as a rallying fortress for Londoners who were opposed to Thatcher's hard-line monetarism... Newsline's coverage was thorough and objective throughout our struggles. Given we were under siege by the Fleet Street press...".

During this period, Livingstone and Ted Knight, Lambeth Council leader and ex-Healyite, launched the weekly Labour Herald. Subsidised by GLC advertising money, Labour Herald was printed at the WRP's high-tech Runcorn printing plant at Runcorn and edited by WRP central committee member Steve Miller. Livingstone's eulogy continues: "The other area we had a close understanding about was the role of the security services in Britain. We know that joint campaigning between genuine Marxists and socialists in the Labour Party was viewed as a dangerous threat by the intelligence services. In particular contacts between us and national liberation movements such as the Palestinians drew even more attention from the British state" [5]. Such 'attention' would have come mainly from MI6 -the Secret Intelligence Service, though Livingstone doesn't appear to differentiate them from MIS -the Security Service: "MI5 considers even the smallest left organisation worthy of close surveillance and disruption. Given the pivotal role of Healy in maintaining contact with Yasser Arafat's HQ through the WRP's use of the latest technology, MI5 clearly felt that they had to stop the growing influence of the WRP. I have never changed my belief that the split in the WRP during 1985 was the work of MI5 agents". Livingstone made this claim - that MI5 engineered the WRP split - in his introduction to 'Gerry Healy, a Revolutionary Life', by Corrina Lotz and Paul Feldman, published 1994. Lotz and Feldman formed, along with the Redgraves, Healy and a few dozen others, the 'Marxist Party', one of a dozen splinter groups coming out of the WRP. Shortly after Healy died in December 1989, the Marxist Party announced their little faction of the 'International Committee' was organising a Commission of Enquiry into how, "in 1985, MI5, MI6 and the Special Branch, the CIA, BOSS and Mossad organised the WRP split".

TAKING LIBERTY: VANESSA AND THE NCCL

In February 1991, with not a shred of evidence for the above theory on the horizon, as if by Hollywood magic Vanessa Redgrave found a listening device in her London home and immediately contacted Liberty - the National Council for Civil Liberties. Here was proof, she told a Libertypress conference, of the state plot against loyal revolutionary followers of the late great Gerrard Healy.

There was however, a problem. The device had been planted in 1985 by an anti-Healy faction of the WRP during the splits. According to ex WRPer John Spencer, this comrade "offered to make a full statement to Liberty. He was quite open about it. But instead of investigating the story, Redgrave - and Liberty too, who ought to have known better - told the European Commission on Human Rights (they went all the way to the top) that Redgrave was not in a position to verify it. The truth was neither she, nor Liberty had any evidence at all. They simply added a line to their submission to the European Commission, saying that Redgrave believed that the man who said he made the device may have been involved as an agent, willing or otherwise, of the security service." [6].

A FEMALE PLOT

Ten years after Healy's expulsion from the WRP a public meeting was held in London to discuss its historical significance. Dot Gibson, who along with Healy's secretary Aileen Jennings had dedicated herself to the "responsibility of looking after Healy in his old age", told the meeting that they and a few other longtime women members of the party had engineered Healy's downfall and NOT "MI5, MI6a nd the Speciai Branch, the CIA. BOSS and Mossad". Gibson explained:

"It was a madhouse. The pressure of the financial crisis was intolerable... the bailiffs, the bank, the Inland Revenue, the need for thousands of pounds of paper, for ink for despatch... By the mid-1980s there were five of us ready to take action against Healy...".

It is one thing to claim that a small group of conscientious trotskyists, rather than "MI5, MI6 and the Special Branch, the CIA, BOSS and Mossad" engineered Healy's final downfall in order to try and save the Fourth International - a salvage job Dot Gibson is engaged in to this day with ever decreasing returns. It is something else to imply that such agencies had NO impact on the events leading to the crisis in the party that reached critical mass during the Miners Strike.

THE MINERS STRIKE AND THE SPLIT

Whilst Healy had cuddled up to Livingstone (metaphorically), he was sectarian towards miners leader Arthur Scargiil. Healy predicted that Scargill, as an ally of Stalinism, would betray the strike and pronounced that WRP members should not work with Miners Support Groups in a fight sure to be lost soon. But Scargill didn't capitulate and six months into the strike, with the WRP isolated from the Miners supporters, Healy finally switched to uncritically supporting Scargill's leadership. When the miners were finally defeated in March 1985 after a heroic year-long fight, the WRP's long-suffering membership was demoralised. Healy's crying wolf about Thatcher's supposed 'Bonapartist' plans to destroy parliamentary democracy [7] was no longer listened to. As Gibson put it, "Healy became more and more aware he was losing control. In a paranoid frenzy he was looking everywhere for the opposition he felt was building up". Clare Cowen, another conspirator, took up the story: "When it was decided Healy had to go, three possible means were considered. The first was to take up a political struggle... The second was to carry out an exposure of the crazy autocratic methods of running the partycompanies and finances. The third was the exposure of the sexual abuse of a large number of women comrades". The first was rejected because "Heaiy was extremely skilled at political manoeuvres. He knew how to rally the party"; the second because he "would have blamed Dot Gibson", who had responsibility for the accounts. The third option, eventually adopted, was to build up a dossier on Healy's abuses. Finally, in July 1985, Aileen Jennings delivered a letter to the WRP Political Committee and immediately went into hiding in fear of her safety. It said she "could no longer go on sitting on the volcano of Healy's opportunist sexual liaisons with female members of the party, comrades in Newsline and members of the International Committee and the Young Socialists". There were 26 names [of female members abused by Healy]. Vanessa Redgrave's reaction was to say it was a provocation and should be ignored; and as far as they were concerned, that was that. But the cat was out of the bag and events moved on from there. Alex Mitchell called the letter "a heap of shit" and moved rejection of the statement at the Political Committee meeting. He won by 8 votes to 4, but a meeting of the larger Central Committee insisted on seeing the Jennings letter and voted in October 1985 to expel Healy. The party fell apart within weeks [8].

UNFINISHED BUSINESS?

Jhn O'Mahony, Alliance for Workers Liberty trotskyist and self-styled Heaiyologist argued: "That there are state spies and agents in and around revolutionary organisations is as natural as bacteria in the air - but you have to be as paranoid as Healy to see them as all-controlling. They fish in troubled waters and that's all" [9]. Certainly those who blame the spooks for all the failures of the left often do so in order to avoid facing their own political failings; and after all, it is people, not sheep, who become politically active, and they have a responsibility to use their heads. On the other hand to argue that intelligence agencies make no difference ignores the long term strategic value of having infiltrators in place: to exercise leverage within targeted organisations in order to influence processes and events in which those organisations are participants.

Robin Ramsay, in Lobster magazine (issue 25), has cogently argued that through most of the Cold War period MI5 protected the Communist Party from exposure of its reliance on 'Moscow Gold' sent by the KGB to London - eventually confirmed by ihe KGB and their British bagmen in 1991. Ramsay points out that CP influence helped retard the growth of real left alternatives in the Labour Movement and other, newer fields of struggle.

Similarly, one might add, the WRP, with its large membership turnover, for twenty-odd years helped disillusion and deactivate a good part of two generations of rebellious youth. In the wake of the 1984 trial of Michael Bettaney (sentenced to 25 years for leaking information to the Russian KGB), the Guardian revealed that "In the last ten years, as the security commission noted in 1982, more attention has been paid to other left-wing groups [than the CP] with the Socialist Workers Party and Workers Revolutionary Party being particularly heavily infiltrated. This in turn, has taken the Security Service into the officially legitimate area of members of the Labour Party particularly" [10].

Did such "officially legitimate area of members of the Labour Party particularly" include the Livingstone-run GLC, which Thatcher decided in 1983 to abolish? (And was her decision perhaps influenced by secret MI5 briefings?). Could this be what Bettaney had in mind when he stated through his lawyer after he was sent down that the security service "cynically manipulates the definition of subversion and thus abuses the provisions of its charter so as to investigate and interfere in the activities of legitimate political parties, the Trade Union Movement and other progressive organisations"?[11],

Healyite involvement with Arab intelligence services would have made it a dead cert that MI6 as well as MI5 got on their case and would certainly have gone to great lengths to place a good number of agents in the party..preferably at the top. Had Six, whose covert ops in the Middle East constitute its bread-and-butter work (or should that be guns-and-oil?), been able to penetrate Healy's network of bag-carriers and what Livingstone so intriguingly called his "contact with Yasser Arafat's HQ through the WRP's use of the latest technology"? If so then they would have been able to identify a number of key Arab intelligence assets in target agencies. Whether Healy made more use of the spooks than they made of him remains a matter of speculation, if a few lessons have been learned by those engaged in the renewal of Left politics, perhaps it no longer matters. But as long as Left politics remains dominated by political racketeering in both new and old forms, then perhaps it does.

FOOTNOTES

1) Interim Report International Committee Commission, Workers News April 1988
2) Quoted in Private Eye 4/5/84
3) Solidarity : Spring 1986, Robin Blick '57th Variety Act', Ken Weller, 'The Party's Over' and Spring 1988 Tom Burns 'The Revolution Betrayed1.
4) 'Politics By Burglary' Brendan Martin,New Statesman 6/6/86
5)'Gerry Healy a Revolutionary Life' Corinna Lotz and Paul Feldman, Lupus Books 1994
6) 'Revisiting 1985' Workers International Spring 1998
7) For the WRP analysis and 'revelations' of ruling class moves towards military dictatorship, see 'Britain's State Within a State' (New Park 1981). [I have always found this book a mine of useful and relevant information despite its overall hypothesis being way over the top. Editor]
8) James Buchan, 'Beauty and the Beast' Esquire November 1993
9) John O'Mahony, 'Gerry Healy As I Knew Him' Socialist Organiser 2/6/94
10) Nick Davies and Ian Black, 'The Watchers' The Guardian 19/4/84.
11)Private Eye 4/5/84

DUNCAN ROBERTSON INQUEST: EXCLUSIVE

REPORT FROM THE INQUEST OF DUNCAN ROBERTSON, INFILTRATOR (20/6/13)

by Dr Larry O'Hara 23/6/13

On 20/6/13 myself and NFB colleague Paul Stott made our way into the tiny but historic St Pancras coroner's court to witness the last sorry episode in the tragic life of Duncan Robertson (hereafter DR), a predominantly Searchlight-controlled infiltrator into various far right groups, most notably the British National Party (BNP) and latterly National Front (NF). Few others were there: apart from Assistant Coroner Selena Lynch and her staff, the only other people in attendance were Mr and Mrs Gable and a London Ambulance Service paramedic. The extraordinary way in which Paul and myself were treated we will mention another day. Only two witnesses were called: Gerry Gable and paramedic Lee Davis. So perfunctory were proceedings, the whole thing ended at 10.26am: approximately 32 seconds for each year of his miserable life.

The article that follows only makes sense if you have read the earlier piece--Duncan Robertson Sad Life Mysterious Death--also on this site. Do so if you haven’t, and if that’s too difficult this web-site clearly isn’t for you, twitter off to You-Tube…This article has four sections: what was learnt at the inquest, what wasn't raised properly but should have been, who wasn't there to either observe or be questioned, and finally a reprise of questions that still need answering/areas requiring investigation.

(1) WHAT WAS LEARNT

Though some of what came out was already known to us, the advantage of the inquest (and being there!) was confirmation, and some further detail. DR’s date of birth was 13/4/64 in Leith, Scotland, and his last address was flat 2 31 Granby Street London E2. Interestingly, Gerry Gable was keen to emphasise how fleeting had been DR’s residence at that address. Though he died in University College London Hospital on 19/3/13 at 6.30am, this was due to a paracetamol overdose, taken by DR while resident at the Tavistock Hotel Russell Square WC1. He told paramedic Lee Davis that at 3am on 18/3 he had taken 140 tablets. Inasmuch as the ambulance service was only called at 12.30pm, nine hours later, the seeds of DR’s demise were laid then. He told Davis he had taken another overdose a week earlier, though this was not followed up by the coroner in any detail. Davis (whose evidence and probity was exemplary, as befits somebody doing a job I once did…) stated DR, who was conscious and sentient when the paramedic arrived, told him it was a deliberate attempt to end his own life, and handed a letter to the ambulance crew who took DR to hospital. It is worth remarking here that as few as 30 tablets can result in death: given DR’s underlying history of chronic alcoholism and concomitant liver problems, his fatality is no surprise. N/Acetylcystine, the antidote, only really works in the early stages [1]. That DR was hypoglycaemic when admitted could have been transient, or perhaps one more factor leading to a poor prognosis. Certainly, the fact a Dr Choudhury of the Royal London Hospital diabetes department submitted a report to the coroner on leg ulcers DR was treated for might indicate underlying diabetes. DR’s GP when he lived in Croydon (Dr Wells of Wrythe Green Surgery) provided useful background on the chronic nature of DR’s alcohol problems—drinking 150 units per week, and the fact he took an overdose a number of years ago, reporting suicidal feelings in January 2012. He last saw anybody at that surgery in September 2012, and if he did have a GP in East London, the coroner does not seem to have found them. DR was last prescribed (un-named) anti-depressants in September 2012, from Dr Wells at least.

As if DR didn’t have enough psychiatric problems, reference must be made to the physical problems caused by an underground accident in the 1990s, which left him in severe pain. Or should I perhaps say apparently—because no medical reports mentioned prescribed analgesia, when it would surely have been relevant. This chronic condition is what you might call Gable’s ‘get out of jail’ card regarding his duty of care (lack of) towards DR. The coroner was fully in accordance with this script, her concluding verdict (or rather premise) being “he made a choice against the background of a long history of depression—there was a cloud hanging over him, a long hospital stay in December brought him to his knees psychologically….he killed himself while suffering from depression”. All straightforward, you might think: except it’s not, by a long chalk.

(2) UNASKED/FUDGED QUESTIONS

These are so numerous, I will put them in list form

1) The precise nature of Gerry Gable’s relationship with DR was glossed over, instead he was present merely as a close friend and ersatz relative in place of his real ones who (perhaps conveniently) could not be contacted. While DR was described as a “research journalist” the stressful nature of that research was not mentioned, never mind explored. It should have been: for without exploring in detail the stresses on DR occasioned by his line of work, that his infiltration contributed to suicide cannot be ruled out. Which is where the duty of care argument comes in.

2) Gerry Gable was referred to as the Executor of DR’s will: I’m sure he is. What we want to know, and surely relevant, is whether he, or Searchlight (the same thing) are beneficiaries, and if so, to the tune of how much? DR’s accommodation seems to have been rented, part of a property split into 4 flats. If he owned it (unlikely but possible) there would be some serious capital involved: the address next door at 30 Granby Street sold for £470,000 in November 2011 [2]

3) Why exactly DR checked into the Tavistock Hotel in the first place, given he had a home already? My view, for what it’s worth, is he checked in to die, the whole thing having been pre-planned for weeks, which would point to Gable foreknowledge. The purpose of dying elsewhere is to prevent Granby Street becoming a crime-scene, thus allowing Gerry unfettered access to DR’s papers. Which would also explain the haste with which Gerry intervened to emphasise how little DR had stayed at the flat. Or, alternatively, had DR checked into the Tavistock because his home address was unsafe? I ask because of a rumour (which as yet I don’t give credence to but needs airing) that he was beaten up by persons unknown around this time?

4) The exact timing of the will in relation to when, exactly, DR moved to the Tavistock Hotel (his check out date is of course a matter of public record). In the May 2013 Searchlight, Gable claims that “when Duncan dropped out of sight he asked me to ask as executor of his will” (p.7). This was stated as being in November 2012. Does this tally with the will date?

5) The question of whether DR or the hotel staff called the ambulance service: surely important as regards intention, but seemingly not so for this coroner.

6) Any foreknowledge of DR’s intention to commit suicide on the part of Gerry Gable (or indeed both Gables). Gerry was initially very hesitant when asked the most obvious question “when did you last see him alive?”. After some bluster “I’m trying to get this right in my head” Gerry eventually came up with “the 14th or 15th” (of March). Less than three days before DR took what was to be his fatal overdose, and only a few days after the earlier overdose. You know, the one Lee Davis reported.

7) This mention by Davis of an earlier attempt should have made Gerry squirm, but he was helped out massively by the coroner on the issue of foreknowledge. At the start of his evidence, in response to a question about foreknowledge, Gerry gave a bland answer that DR was “extremely depressed after Christmas…I said to him get yourself fit and then attend hospital”. Despite Gable recounting frequent meetings/dinners with DR at the Tavistock in the weeks leading up to his death suicide was allegedly not discussed, though “on one occasion he said he might have been better off if he had died under the train…I suggested to him to keep going”. Gable went on to deny any foreknowledge. At the crucial point in Lee Davis’ evidence, mention of the recent suicide attempt, instead of properly confronting Gable regarding the absurdity of DR not discussing that attempt at least with him, the coroner Ms Lynch, disgracefully in my view, abandoned even a pretence of impartiality. She asked Gable did he have any questions for Davis. Somewhat taken aback by what Davis had said, Gable blubbered “if there had been an earlier attempt…I had seen him in the week before” and then petered into silence, probably fearful of self-incrimination. The coroner, unbelievably, simply moved on. Now, I am well aware relatives, rightly, can ask questions in inquests: but Gable was not a relative as such, he had another role as DR’s controller in a very stressful job, and a duty of care he seems to have disregarded as blithely as an empty beer can.

(3) ABSENT GUESTS: WHO WASN’T THERE OF INTEREST

Aside from any who might have been called as witnesses, three categories of person were not in attendance First, no fascists were present. Perhaps their counter-intelligence capabilities are not that sophisticated. Or maybe some of a pugilistic nature had good reason to duck out. Second, there were no police or intelligence service personnel. Given Robertson's career and demise there probably should have been: though this skeleton the state does not want rattled. Not attending, of course, allows interested parties to hide behind the coroner and her verdict. The third category of missing person is of course journalists. Readers of Notes From the Borderland magazine (and this site) will already know of my evidence-based contempt for The Guardian and all its works. Currently, one of their ‘top boys’ Paul Lewis is luxuriating in accolades arising from covering stories about undercover cops, indeed next month his book (co-written with Rob Evans) on that topic is published, trailed this very weekend in The Guardian by the old news presented as new that infiltrator cop Bob Lambert helped co-write the leaflet for which the McLibel Two were prosecuted. Fact is though, unless I’ve missed something, none of these cops actually committed suicide (though anybody forced to listen to Mark Kennedy’s self-piteous whining might be forgiven for doing so). My last article name-checked Paul Lewis and Rob Evans suggesting they might take an interest (or maybe not). My indefatigable colleague David Pegg went further—on 6/6/13 he phoned up Paul Lewis and alerted him to the DR story on this site, which Lewis quickly found. Sadly, the most significant question from Lewis concerned not DR, but the classic Special Branch type question “who are you funded by?”. That he asked this question does not mean he works for the cops: but does show a paucity of journalistic endeavour. It really is not good enough for the likes of Lewis to look the other way, ignoring an inquest that was held only 900 yards or so away from The Guardian’s office! Yet he did, as too his colleagues. While this is not the space to develop it here, the Met Police have long used cut outs like the Community Security Trust and Searchlight to out-source their intelligence-gathering/spookery. That the likes of Lewis and Evans want to ignore this does not mean serious investigative researchers should. As always, it seems The Guardian is about policing the parameters of political dissent, ignoring certain types of intelligence-gathering as they seek to incorporate radicals into an information-sharing nexus of their own, while The Guardian cultivates its own channels of information sharing with the Met’s upper echelons, via Alan Rusbridger and Nick Davies at least. More on all this next NFB…

Returning to witnesses. any rigorous inquest would have heard from

i) the “friends in High Wycombe” with whom DR spent the New Year

ii) His GP: especially as DR seems to have not been referred to any psychiatrist recently, despite recent presentations at hospital, albeit for physical ailments. Rather strange omission for somebody so depressed it features on his death certificate: not so strange if you want to distract attention from occupational stress. The GP might have been able to offer an informed (as opposed to the coroner’s highly speculative) opinion on how exactly an accident nearly 20 years earlier contributed to DR’s suicide.

iii) The staff at the hotel, to provide detail on when DR checked in/why, his general demeanour, and of course those final days/hours

iv) Others who DR may have/did spy for, Hope Note Hate Special Branch & the CST I’d have all liked to see questioned.

v) The last omission is perhaps the most staggering—Gerry’s wife Sonia, described along with him by DR as one of “my friends and closest colleagues” was present in the court but not asked to testify. The court-room was architecturally Victorian, but is it really the case that a husband nowadays is still legally assumed to speak on behalf of his wife? How quaint, or rather unbelievable.

It is worthy of note that two other inquests were scheduled for that morning, and the show only lasting 26 minutes highlights that from the start the coroner did not intend the important lacunae in DR’s life, work, and final days, to be explored. She might well say this was because there was indeed nothing untoward, but by leaving the politics out of it Lynch precluded herself from exploring those lacunae. As too did Dr Sheila Radcliffe, who signed the interim death certificate but dodged a bullet by making sure she was on the subs bench for the main event. That this was emphatically no ordinary death (or life) can be gleaned from DR as a ‘Searchlight Intelligence Officer’ appearing on the front cover of May’s Searchlight, sadly (for them) published after Notes From the Borderland had already broken the story. Selena Lynch seems too intelligent to be unaware of this broader context, yet the inquest was conducted as though it was of no consequence. NFB has our interpretation of why this was so, you draw your own conclusions. As a Deputy Coroner for the Royal Household, Ms Lynch is a safe pair of hands from an Establishment perspective. Somewhat ironically perhaps, she recently authored a Memorandum arguing for the integrity of independent coronial investigation [3]. Would that this case had been so treated...

(4) QUESTIONS REQUIRING ANSWERS STILL

This list owes something to the previous article, though some questions therein have been answered, up to a point.

A) When did the Met Police, Community Security Trust and Hope Not Hate last have dealings with Robertson?

B) Did DR disclose to hotel staff in particular (or any mentioned in A) notions of self-harm?

C) Did DR actually take an overdose a week earlier? After all, strange thing for a man about to die to lie about. And Davis described DR as conscious and “fully sentient” at this time. Paracetamol overdose rarely leads to loss of consciousness until the later stages, and no evidence was proferred that DR was inebriated at this point.

D) Regarding duty of care, in page 34 of ‘At War With Society’ (1993), an account of Searchlight operative Tim Hepple (see elsewhere this site for a dissection of his career by me) Gable states Searchlight “consulted a psychiatrist” regarding Hepple’s mental state. Why was this not done for Robertson, a ten year veteran, when it was apparently done for Hepple? Or if it was done, why no mention in the coroner’s court?

E) Who exactly benefits from DR’s will, to what amount, and how does the dating of it fit in with the chronology of DR’s movements?

F) Why exactly did DR check in the Tavistock Hotel? The view of staff there/others who weren’t his handlers are crucial here.

G) Why did DR’s suicide note have no date on it?

H) Why did the coroner dispose of such a complex and troubling case in 26 minutes, calling as the only witness who knew the deceased his main operational handler, though pointedly not questioning him about that relationship and how it may have contributed to DR’s death?

A final thought: think of the uproar if the only people called to give evidence in the Gareth Williams or Litvinenko deaths had been their MI6 handlers. Yet the equivalent of this (aside from the paramedic who only met him on a call) was deemed acceptable here. Is the fact that Robertson was not rich, but an alcoholic and depressed social misfit adequate excuse for denying him a proper inquest? We demur: more on all this, soon…

REFERENCES

[1] see A Zezulka & N Wright ‘Severe metabolic acidosis early in paracetamol poisoning’ British Medical Journal Vol. 285 25/9/82 p.851-2, and Medicines Regulatory Health Authority ‘Paracetamol overdose: new guidance on treatment with intravenous acetylcsteine’ September 2012

[2] see www.zoopla.co.uk for this information.

[3] see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200809/jtselect/jtrights/57/57we15.htm

 

CULTWATCHING: THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION OF OUR SITE

1) A source of critical comment and resources--send us ideas on such, and new section suggestions. We do not intend to be a comprehensive 9/11 (or 7/7) resource, but a signpost directing you to appropriate information.

2) A spur to debate on our parallel site where we welcome crossing swords with cultists-- http://paulstott.typepad.com/911cultwatch/ . That said, racist and anti-semitic abuse will disappear faster than Machon/Shayler from a truth-drug party (with or without green skull-candles).

3) To act as a collation point for ludicrous 9/11 & 7/7 cult media interventions needing a response--which we will act on as time permits.

4) Encouraging activists opposed to conspiracism to understand they are not alone, helping them speak up, and not be shouted down, intimidated or ignored. Such activists may well include a sensible reality-oriented minority inside the 9/11 Truth campaign itself.

5) An essential first step towards sanity, inspiring non-dupes within the UK 9/11 movement to excise Machon & Shayler from the ranks.

6) To enhance national/international networking of those genuinely committed to evidence-based parapolitical research. To this end, we welcome reciprocal web-links with those in agreement: email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7) To facilitate producing/distribution of relevant leaflets & analyses. If there is interest in a pamphlet, let us know. In the interim, and anyway, we will continue to research 9/11, 7/7 & associated cults in Notes From the Borderland magazine--if you have articles to submit email us. Alternatively write to NFB at BM Box 4769 London WC1N 3XX.

8) To help the precipitate serious analysis of the 9/11 & 7/7 cults as social political and quasi-religious phenomena.

A final message to 9/11 & 7/7 cultists keen to deluge us with spam--don't bother, or expect a reply. There is a web-site for public exchanges on the subject. As already stated. And if you really annoy us we (the Martian Directorate) will send the holograms round....

THE VARIOUS FEATURES ON THIS SITE

9/11 CULT DEFINITION & ANALYSIS

As it says on the tin, a preliminary definition of ways we see the 9/11 movement operating as a cult--as time goes by, this section will be expanded and refined, to take account of new developments

STOTT/SVENSON NFB 7 ARTICLE

Until now, 9/11 cult believers have evaded discussion of the article's content by whining about us charging money for it--like there isn't a whole 9/11 industry out there raking in the cash! Reproducing the piece allows more readers to judge for themselves what all the fuss is about. This latest Machon/Shayler stunt comes after a long succession of dodgy maneouvres--and we provide pointers to how you can obtain our previous research on the pair.

9/11 RESEARCH RESOURCES--A CRITICAL GUIDE
7/7 RESEARCH RESOURCES--A CRITICAL GUIDE

It is not our intention, or within our capabilities currently, to provide an exhaustive list of all research. Rather, we will highlight resources either apposite in terms of debunking 9/11 and 7/7 cult bullshit, or on the other hand make a real contribution to research. Inclusion here does not imply total agreement--some research we have important differences with but nonetheless think worth study--the writings of Nafeez Ahmed for instance. Again, suggestions welcome.

USEFUL WEB-LINKS

To people, and organisations, we feel are relevant interesting and/or supportive to the concerns of this site. Serious suggestions, and reciprocal web-links, welcomed. email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PRESS RELEASES

As & when we issue relevant Press Releases, we will place them on this site

AND FINALLY

One of many things to annoy us about cultists is the way they concentrate on things in the news already.  Whereas our approach is to look at things for their intrinsic merit.  Thus, we have been investigating the 1999 Soho nail-bombing scandal in all the years since then: no interest from cultists.  We are also 'on the case' regarding the late Gareth Williams (ex-GCHQ/MI6).  Serious interest from cultists? None either.

9/11 LINKS AND RESOURCES

Details to follow...

7/7 LINKS AND RESOURCES

We know some of you (hello Bridget!) will be most upset there is nothing here yet. Not because we are awaiting instructions from Lizard Central, but because we have prioritised other areas of the site first. In the meantime, instead of listening to music (on You-Tube or elsewhere), visit the cult-watching section of this site (if you haven't already) and check out our debate with the 7/7 Campaign.

SECRET STATE LINKS AND RESOURCES

https://www.mi5.gov.uk You might be surprised (honestly!) at how few people know MI5 have a web-site: perhaps taking the 'secret' thing too literally. For what it is, not a bad site: clearly set out & easy to read. Considering their resources, too infrequently updated--you'd almost think they don't trust us...It would be far too simplistic to dismiss as mere 'propaganda'. Although that in part--having sections explicitly aimed at schools, including outrageous falsehoods such as a denial of the Wilson plot. However, rather than get aereated about this, treat it as par for the course: and remember, 'open source intelligence' cuts both ways. Just as spooks trawl web-sites to gather information on target groups, so can critics trawl this kind of site to get important insights into how MI5 want us to perceive them, and at a deeper level the 'operational ideology' informing the construction of this site, and the language/terms of reference within it. Reproducing occasional speeches by various Directors General is also helpful here. More please! There is a tangible earthiness to this site which denotes those who produce it are busy at the 'cutting edge', what you might call the 'rougher end' of the security market. As such, for what it is, to be commended.

https://www.sis.gov.uk/index.html If the MI5 site is a virtual Ford Focus, MI6 is unquestionably an Aston Martin, or even better a BMW. Slick, polished and accessible, the tone is set by an impressive (in technique/scope, not content) 60 second video outlining how MI6 wants us to see it. MI6 are portrayed as representing modern British values, while glossing over their mendacious content (as experienced by Guantanamo Bay Hotel customers for instance), and past MI6 operations. Sir John Sawer's keynote speech of 28/10/10 pitching for increased funds and legitimacy is given due prominence--though sadly the site's commitment to "keeping staff safe at home and overseas" has no accompanying picture of Sawers attending the 2010 memorial service for MI6 secondee from GCHQ Gareth Williams. We do not expect the contradiction between Sawer's claims MI6 do not condone torture and collaborating with torture practised by the Qadhafi regime in Libya to be covered any time soon either. Critics like ex-SIS officer Richard Tomlinson are, also, simply airbrushed out of the picture, predictably. The whole site is mercilessly upbeat, a cross between top-range management seminar and religious cult, shot through with enough corporate jargon to make you reach for your exploding cigar. The 'virtual tour' offered by an attractive blonde woman verges on the chilling--reminiscent in its pointed emptiness of the prelude to a seance. An unavoidable tension bedevils this site--we are asked to believe in SIS "integrity" but simultaneously told SIS does not comment on its activities, or agents (even past ones). Except those they choose to comment on of course. Sadly (or perhaps not) there is no link provided to the Facebook pages for various members of the Sawers family, which have in the past been replete with photos/personal information concerning the spook. Ultimately, a site as believable as any New Labour spin-doctor, and it is noteworthy Alisdair Campbell described the previous head of MI6, John Scarlett, as a "mate". Not sure the late David Kelly would...Thinking about it, if MI6 has been so successful at "gathering intelligence to safeguard the UK's economic prosperity", just how bad would things be otherwise? As for BMW's--nowhere near as reliable as you might think...

PARAPOLITICAL LINKS AND RESOURCES

http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/index.php : an essential resource, which in its day did ground-breaking reearch, most notably into the 'Wilson Plot' (spook attempts to unseat Labour PM Harold Wilson) & also the British American Project, whereby the Labour Party was hijacked by US-sympathising neo-cons. Most articles are fully referenced, and over the years Lobster has covered a wide array of fascinating topics-use the site index to find out what. They still do--issue 60 had important articles by ex-Labour Minister Bryan Gould (editor Robin Ramsay's version of JFK-lite) and Corinne Souza on MI6. Nonetheless, it was a sad day when Lobster went 'defunctly virtual' (no new hard copies), though many back issues are still available for real. Three criticisms though. First, there are far too few sample articles to give browsers an idea of what Lobster stands for. Second, while going virtual is one thing, the form in which Lobster has done so, abandoning the concise formatting of hard copy for 210 pages (issue 59/Summer 2010) of widely-spaced text is a disaster, access-wise, and discourages printing out issues for perusal. Naughty! Third, the links page is partial & variable--an uncritical link to David Guyatt's bullshit about Nazi Gold & so forth. The lack of updated links makes life interesting though--spot the defunct link that leads to a DVD/Car rental portal! Or is it really a clever cover for Osama Bin Laden's current business (beyond his watery grave) trading second hand cars?  Then there is the strange situation where editor Robin Ramsay supported Brexit, yet the geek running the Lobster Twitter feed didn't!

http://www.statewatch.org/ In one guise or another, (as State Research Bulletin initially) this publication has been around for over three decades, although sadly the production values of associated Statewatch magazine (now defunct sadly) hardly improved, indeed deteriorated (essentially the magazine was square chunks of black & white text, no graphics, the site barely better). Their strength is the detail in which they explore issues/legislation/statistics. Strength can also be weakness--Statewatch is worthy not exciting, and covertly but rigorously censors opinions outside the Guardianista/London Left consensus. While many stories merely summarise newspaper/magazine articles published elsewhere, it would be a mistake to see it as comprehensive or authoritative--Notes From the Borderland and Eye Spy magazine do not exist in the eyes of this site. Statewatch's greatest asset is the close (even symbiotic) relationship it enjoys with the European Union's developing institutions in the repressive/surveillance sphere. Like a troubled courtier, Statewatch exhaustively chronicles, in pan-European detail, emerging trends. Resistance, of course, is not on the agenda--grants do not come your way for rocking the boat. But as a first port of call if you're desperate to track down that vital EU directive on sub-section xxvii of Schengen implementation Protocol 7, it can't be beaten. We ourselves have a slight preference for Molotov cocktails (to go). Nonetheless, we would far rather have Statewatch than not--now they have disappeared much essential background material of use in genuine investigative research has been dissipated. To provide welcome light relief with serious undertones peruse the still relevant critique of Statewatch from 2001 Visit the Last Century Left section of this site or type into our internal search engine 'Flyer given out'. Don't tell Grand Master Tony Bunyan though...

http://wikispooks.com is a UK-based hub, if you can call it that, for UCT's (unofficial conspiracy theorists). As such, a few general remarks. Like us, they have problems with Wikipedia (a topic for another day). To be fair, the site has a ‘general disclaimer’ of which Point 1 says “content may be wildly inaccurate and does NOT necessarily reflect the opinion of the site owner”. This means no crap filter, and furthermore an instinctive aversion to ‘official’ sources: “a presumption against authority as a reliable source of information and evidence”--makes it difficult to distinguish between genuine information and disinformation. Indeed, their dogmatic view is so narrow-minded and prescriptive it makes reasoned judgement, evaluating evidence on merit, almost impossible. Alice in Wonderland-like, they simply invert traditional rules of evidence, thus producing not a counter to official disinformation but a mirror-image. Editorial policy states any official information “should be assumed to be in furtherance of a hidden--if more or less obvious--agenda and thus designed to mislead rather than to inform”. Sometimes, certainly, but a priori assuming such cripples any genuinely critical inquiry. On this reckoning, to avoid scrutiny and hoodwink Wikispooks any official source has merely to utter the simple and unvarnished truth. There is the further editorial view that the “veracity and accuracy of official announcements, documents, press releases etc should be treated as inversely proportional to the Power, Wealth, Statutory (or other claimed) Authority, in 'current Establishment hierarchies of their source”. If accepted, this means we should discount what Richard C Clarke has to say about 9/11, but take as gospel the contradictory confabulating accounts of World Trade Center janitor William Rodriguez. That, we are not prepared to do. Wikispooks lacks discernment, a prerequisite to any evidence-based enterprise. Consequently, they give credence to ideas deserving none: the page on Tsarist forgery ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ says Zionist apologists reaction to mention of the Protocols shows their “sensitivity is palpable” and the text introduction concludes with the emphasised remark “the Zionist doth protest too much, methinks”. Predictably, perhaps, pages on 9/11 & 7/7 merely replace the official narrative with a supposed alternative (i.e. cultist) version of both events, as deconstructed on our site and the 9/11 cult watch blog. Hardly surprising, a page is devoted to the specious proposition “9/11: Israel did it”. In short, a site those interested in parapolitics should be wary of: were they a doctor, every scratch would be gangrene, on the premise gangrene often starts with a scratch.

MEDIA LINKS AND RESOURCES

It is not our intention to list sites you might come across easily. Here, we point out places that in our view are either very useful, or important.

http://journalisted.com/: excellent site, that allows you to analyse the output of journalists, including their coverage of specific topics. The ability to see how careers develop over time in terms of stories covered is essential. Ironically (or perhaps not) the actual biographical details of many journalists are sketchy. But an essential resource for both activists and serious researchers alike.

http://www.spinwatch.org/: a frequently updated and well set-out site, devoted to the important work of uncovering the links between lobbyists, PR spinmeisters & government policy. In an era where the Con-Dem(n) government is extending privatisation beyond even New Labour's wildest dreams (a feat in itself), an essential resource. Though the fact that the Joseph Rowntree Trust seem to be their largest donor guarantees they'll not be organising revolution anytime soon.

http://spinwatchwatch.wordpress.com/ : an attack site, devoted to criticising Spin-watch, worth including because it alleges Spinwatch veers towards anti-semitism (unacceptable) rather than anti-Zionism (entirely legitimate). A charge Spinwatch strongly refute.
See: http://www.spinwatch.org/blogs-mainmenu-29/david-miller-unspun-mainmenu-31/5382-on-alexander-meleagrou-hitchens-comment-is-free-piece. On balance, we side with Spinwatch: and like them, indeed we cannot be the only people wanting to know, who funds Spinwatch-watch?

MAGAZINES YOU MIGHT LIKE

MAGAZINES YOU MIGHT LIKE

In an age when hard-copy magazines are dropping like flies, here are publications that interest us, and are worth supporting, whatever their precise affiliations. More suggestions (hard copies of current & previous issues please) and reciprocal links/exchange proposals always welcome. Publications such as those below are candles to illuminate the dark night that is the lot of those who only get information in virtual form, and as such have an intrinsic value way beyond their specific content.

Northern Voices - A highly idiosyncratic (iconoclastic even!) publication, interesting even if you don't live in the North (West) of England. An interesting mix of the local and the national (where it intersects). Like any publication worth its salt, NV has axes to grind, feuds to participate in. Quite rightly covers a broad swathe of stories--ranging from employer black-listing & council/MP corruption all the way up to film art & poetry. Prepare to be amused entertained infuriated & even enlightened...

Shift - We can't praise this impressive publication highly enough. New, fairly regular (three times a year), sophisticated, coming from (independent) Left-field. While perhaps a bit over-theoretical (the German influence?), well worth supporting, and writing for. Only £2.50 per issue...At some point (after we have got all our exchange copies), we will carry a more detailed discussion of its content/trajectory.

INTERNET-AWARE LINKS AND RESOURCES

No prizes for guessing this may be our least-populated (though hopefully much-visited) links page. Nonetheless, as they say, quality versus quantity. More suggestions always welcome!

David Denby 'Snark' (Simon & Schuster New York 2009) is a wide-ranging critique of insults throughout the ages--and argues persuasively (even if too soft on pro-Democrat snarkers) that the internet has made the art of the insult even more pervasive/nasty than hitherto. Predictably, positive reviews have been rare: but see http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/06/snark-david-denby, which is as good as it gets. Denby argues his case here:

Andrew Keen 'The Cult of the Amateur' (2007) is a fascinating & infuriating book. Some points hit home very well concerning the internet dumbing down culture/discourse. However, he is far too trusting of official (powerful) sources, and his own (very slick) blog epitomises the two positions he adopts, almost simultaneously. On the one hand, an awareness of the need to deconstruct & criticise developments in the history of the internet. On the other, a far too deferential attitude towards some who (like Keen) have made lots of money from the web. Eating cake & having it springs to mind--but well worth a look, as is the original book--http://andrewkeen.typepad.com/the_great_seduction/

Link to an extract from, and Radio interview concerning, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger's book 'Delete' (Princeton University Press 2009), arguing for the importance of deleting digital material that in human terms is best forgotten. Anyone who has ever been in a room with someone who perenially Googles the internet as opposed to using brain cells/memory will empathise.

ANTI-FASCIST LINKS AND RESOURCES

http://antifainengland.wordpress.com/: although not updated much recently, this is no doubt for 'operational reasons'. Contradicting the old dictum, to travel is more important than to arrive. An essential resource carrying the banner (or should that be Molotov?) for the cause of street-based non-state-compromised militant anti-fascism. As such, Antifa are significant bearers of a historical tradition, and their archive is interesting. It would be a grave mistake to think the time for clued-up anti-fascist street politics has passed, never to return. If it does, these people will be there or thereabouts. Situated at what is called 'the rough end of the political market'--so make sure while viewing this site you dress smartly casual, with DMs polished. As you were.

http://uaf.org.uk/: whatever their effectiveness, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) have had some form of front organisation in this field since the late 1970s. Expect lots of frenetic activism, placards & fund-raising gimmicks. Especially fund-raising. Hardly very sophisticated, but at least not institutionally state-compromised. Compared to Hope Not Hate (who the UAF have belatedly realised are friends of the state) almost...street-credible. Pity their idea of a 'mass audience' is a paid advert in the Guardian newspaper. Will they ever learn? While Weyman Bennett is in post, the answer is no: Martin Smith (now persona non grata under his own name) was rather more clued-up though, if a tad abrasive. We think Taz Shifrin still is.  Just don't expect sharp analysis or (perish the thought) democratic input into UAF policy--'Conferences' are rallies. End of. Now get out there behind police lines and wave those placards.

PRESS RELEASE 9/11 CULTWATCH: 4.11.06

TEXT OF 9/11 CULTWATCH PRESS RELEASE DATED 4/11/06

As Goya knew, the sleep of reason brings forth monsters--or their modern day equivalent, conspiracy theorists. The events of 9/11/01 in the USA, and London 7/7/05, were disasters cynically used by the Bush and Blair regimes to start wars in Iraq & Afghanistan/impose repressive laws. That, we take as read.

However, there is another group, comprised of the deluded, the bewildered & the opportunist, who for a variety of reasons have leapt on the 9/11 band-wagon, and use these tragedies to spread various conspiracy theories (sometimes overtly anti-semitic), both about the events themselves and those allegedly behind them.

A group of us, most (but not all) involved with Left/Green political investigative magazine Notes From the Borderland (NFB--see www.borderland.co.uk) have become increasingly concerned at the activities of what we term '9/11 cult' believers here in the UK, not least (but not only) because of the involvement of ex-MI5 officers Annie Machon & David Shayler in this group. An irony not lost on us is that for years NFB has been pursuing evidence-based research--the audience for which is diminished/debased by the 9/11 myth-makers. Our reasons for the disquiet are many, and if you visit the web-site www.911cultwatch.org.uk you will find

1) Legitimate concerns about the UK 9/11 Truth Movement concisely set out in summary form.

2) A definition and explanation of why we think the UK 9/11 Truth Movement is a cult.

3) In full, a recent Notes From the Borderland piece critically analysing the role played by Machon/Shayler in all this.

4) An ongoing critical guide to research resources concerning what did happen on 9/11

5) On the links page, a guide to essential on-line resources countering 9/11 cult propaganda/delusions.

WHAT WE SUGGEST YOU DO NOW

1) Look at the web-site (which we will be adding to) to assess our claims/plausibility

2) If writing news stories/scheduling programmes on the 9/11 Truth Movement, contact us for a right of reply/comment.

3) If you do intend to show any 9/11 cult films, or air 9/11-related programmes/interviews to fill empty schedule slots, not only think twice, but if you go ahead, allow us a right of reply/comment in any ensuing discussion

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
web-site: www.911cultwatch.org.uk
phone: 0777-5964367
postal address: 911 cultwatch, BM Box 4769 London WC1NN 3XX

OUR FLYER - ARROW FOR TRUTH IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD?

Below is the front and back of a glossy A5 flyer designed to be given out to those interested in 9/11 and/or Film shows/Meetings organised by the 9/11 Truth Cult. As CIA funding is still in the post (joke!) if you want quantities to give out, either send sterling cheque/postal order payable to Larry O'Hara only to 911 Cultwatch BM Box 4769 London WC1N 3XX or scroll down to the bottom of the page to purchase some by credit card using Pay-Pal.

Costs (so we can print more): 50 for £1.75, 100 for £3.00. Pay-Pal currency options come up only in dollars for reasons beyond our control, but are automatically reconverted to stated £ sterling amounts, at our expense. For quantities up to, say, 5 of the leaflet, send SAE to the address above.

Click here to order (Link to go in when website on borderlands domain)

If you want copies of relevant NFB magazines to sell, or are outside the UK, or have related queries, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

911cultflyer

QUESTIONS FOR THE UK 9/11 TRUTH MOVEMENT

You oppose the US/UK war-machine--good. Both countries plan, and carry out, mass murder--the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan testify to that. Everybody likes a good story--and the 9/11 Truth Movement has plenty of these, plus lots of movies. However, before fully throwing all your energies to the cause, we respectfully have a few questions for you to consider.

(1) IS 9/11 REALLY THE KEY TO EVERYTHING?

In the light of lies and disinformation daily spewed out by the ruling class, if it were proved 9/11 was a state-sponsored 'inside job', would scales automatically drop from the eyes of 'ordinary people'? There is an answer to that--US polls show many already believe there may have been state complicity in 9/11, but it hasn't rocked the capitalist system's foundations, has it? Anyway, might not concentrating on one 'crime' primarily mean others are missed? Just as the CIA once advised mass release of JFK files as a diversionary tactic. By all means, hold another 'Inquiry' into 9/11. However, this issue should co-exist alongside others, not substitute for them. Believe us--the 9/11 cult encourages a descent into paranoia, whereby those not wholeheartedly (uncritically) into 9/11 Truth are denounced, as 'shills', 'gatekeepers', 'limited hang-out merchants' and so on. Do you prefer Bull Horn bullshitter Alex Jones to Noam Chomsky? We don't!

(2) HAPPY WITH SPOOK CONTROL OF YOUR CAMPAIGN?

Reality sometimes trumps fiction--at least in the UK & Ireland 9/11 'Truth' movement. Despite claims it is 'non-hierarchical', the main public speaker is ex-MI5 officer David Shayler, as is Campaign Secretary Annie Machon. Objectionable for two reasons.
First: neither has yet come fully clean about MI5 work, and their late 'conversion' to 9/11 Truth does not add up, as we show elsewhere. So, they could still be on an intelligence operation--a risk any serious campaign wouldn't feel worth contemplating. For details see [here].
Second; Machon recently liaised with Met police over a US Embassy demonstration. Perhaps meeting old friends from MI5 anti-IRA operations? Days before she quit MI5 the Met executed unarmed young IRA volunteer Diarmuid O'Neill in cold blood. An execution never properly investigated--and off Machon's radar, but not ours.

(3) DO CONSPIRACY THEORIES WORRY YOU?

Shayler uses his high profile to propagate off-the-wall ideas such as there were no planes on 9/11 (holograms instead), almost designed to humiliate activists. He also alleges a "Zionist conspiracy...they were behind 9/11" (New Statesman 11/9/06). Doesn't this belong in a sewer with David Icke's lizards? If the secret state were intent on 'covering up' unpalatable 9/11 truths, wouldn't an agent infiltrating the movement act as Shayler has done, establishing some credentials before sabotaging from within? Conspiracy theorising rightly has a disreputable aura--and the deeper you get into the 9/11 cult the more such takes hold. Check out 'super poster' contributions on the nineeleven.co.uk uk web-site. Sadly, anti-semitism aside, conspiracy theories tend towards the conventionally racist--implying non-whites couldn't destroy the WTC without Uncle Sam's help (or even direction). A UK equivalent is the denial (in relation to the London bombs 7/7/05) that those involved did visit Luton (not that bad surely?), commit suicide that day, or were even in London!

(4) DOES 9/11 TRUTH REALLY INTEREST YOU?

This might seem an odd question, but isn't. To arrive at an approximation of truth all angles need looking at. However, the 9/11 Truth Industry (TM) has not, by and large, been built on dispassionate evaluation and rigorous standards of evidence-gathering and sifting. Too often, a circular pattern emerges whereby believers quote each other at (inordinate) length, and ignore contrary research, seeking to fit facts to pre-ordianed conclusions. Hostility to outsiders, suspension of critical faculties, intimidation of critics, denunciation of heretics, abdication of responsibility to charismatic 'leaders', repetition of mantras and so on--these characterise cult behaviour. Hence, our slightly provocative self-designation '9/11 Cultwatch'. If the tin-foil hat fits, wear it--or bin it!

DUNCAN ON CONSPIRACY THEORY & THE 9/11 CULT

Conspiracy Theories by Duncan

I get a phone call at midnight and go to meet my handler in an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of a nearby town.

He has a message straight from the top. Silently, they hand over a sheet of paper with a message composed of words cut out of newspaper articles.

Silently I read it, “You must write an article on conspiracy theorists, they are getting too close to the truth. We must stop them”.

I nodded to show that I accepted the assignment and the piece of paper crumbled into dust.

Cover ups, secret agendas, agents, shadowy figures, smoke-filled rooms, clandestine organisations and the real terrifying truth. Together these ingredients make an exciting combination that goes some way to explaining the enduring attraction of conspiracy theories.

They’ve been around for centuries and show no sign of disappearing. On the contrary, the advent of the internet has only caused them to multiply and mutate into ever-stranger views of the world. In recent years both the anti-globalisation and the anti-war movement have proved fertile ground for the growth of conspiracy theories. When groups like the G8 are holding closed meetings to decide the policy of major governments it isn’t hard to believe that there are secret groups engaged in conspiracies all over the world.

The current conspiracy theories gaining currency are those surrounding the events of September 11th 2001. These vary from arguing that the US government, or elements within it, allowed 9/11 to happen or that they orchestrated and carried out the attacks themselves. Following on from this are ever more bizarre arguments that there were no planes, the twin towers were hit by a missile, there were no Jews at work that day, etc. All of these are encapsulated in a variety of organisations that comprise the 9/11 truth movement who are united on little apart from a refusal to accept the official account of events and an unshakeable conviction they alone know the truth.

The UK branch of this movement is the 9/11 Truth Campaign. It’s a slick, increasingly high-profile organisation with films that neatly explain world events and appeals to vague anarchist ideas of opposition to the state. Piggy-backing on the anti-war movement 9/11 conspiracy theories have been gaining adherents all across the country and organisations promoting these theories now have a regular presence at radical events. A good indicator of the size of any radical group is whether they have a group in Cumbria, where little political ever happens, and the 9/11 Truth Campaign do have a well-established group here.

It’s an organisation that is frequently labelled by its critics as being a ‘cult’. Notes from the Borderland Magazine, who are behind ‘9/11 Cultwatch’, accuse it of having a rigid belief system, aggressive proselytising, hostility to outsiders, intimidation of critics and near devotion to charismatic leaders. All of this is behaviour characteristic of a cult organisation.

My own experiences of the 9/11 Truth Campaign has done little to dent the impression that they are becoming an odd cult.

I’ve always had my suspicions of the campaign. Much of their arguments, particularly on the internet, focus on simply listing links to other 9/11 truth campaigns, links to videos. Finally there are the exhortations to ‘challenge authority’, as if the radical left doesn’t aim to do that anyway, and ‘wake up’.

Having been told that they make regular appearances at anti-war events on the anti-war march February 24th me and a mate handed out about a dozen leaflets from ‘9/11 Cultwatch’ to anyone who appeared to be from the campaign.

Let’s examine how they react when they meet with anyone questioning the movement.

While at the time they accepted and read the leaflets carefully a few days later I was emailed a link to an internet thread on their website discussing what had occurred at the march. Apparently some, “brain-washed”, “spotty youth” who was probably in the pay of MI5 had been handing them leaflets. Furthermore, there will be, “BIG TROUBLE”, if the same teenager does it again. Charming aren’t they?

It is baffling that such a small gesture of opposition and questioning generates such a reaction. One poster even ridiculed the leaflets as being from, “a small group of ultra-paranoid loons”. This coming from people who think teenagers handing them leaflets are being paid to do it by the intelligence services.

Reading through their website what is disturbing is the zeal with which they carry out their self-appointed task. They imagine they are battling a gargantuan conspiracy unprecedented in human history and anyone who offers the slightest criticism of this is condemned with ridiculous, baseless accusations. Even a couple of teenagers handing out leaflets is seized upon as yet more evidence of the evil secret state battling these nobles paragons of truth when in actual fact I imagine MI5 think the 9/11 Truth Campaigners are harmless idiots.

The basic assumption is that whatever opposition they face is not that people don’t believe them but because they are being paid or forced to oppose them by people in positions of power who are becoming worried. Anyone who doesn’t find their slim evidence utterly compelling are smeared as secret state agents.

The fearless investigators of dark secrets at the 9/11 Truth Campaign are so obsessed with seeing the hand of the security services behind any and every terrorist atrocity that they fail to pay any attention to the two ex-MI5 agents who are running their campaign! The word ‘ironic’ doesn’t even come close.

The prominence of ex-MI5 agents David Shayler and Annie Machon, who is described as 'Secretary, UK & Ireland 9/11 Truth’, in the campaign has never been explained properly. As late as early 2005 Machon was still blaming Al-Qaeda for carrying out the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Similarly in 2003 Shayler was blaming the failures of the intelligence services for 9/11 rather than blaming the intelligence services themselves for 9/11.

Going by the logic of conspiracy theorists surely if there was a movement very close to uncovering one of the greatest conspiracies of all time then the shadowy forces of the secret state would have infiltrated the movement. Completely co-incidentally the job of both Machon and Shayler at MI5 was infiltrating radical groups like the Socialist Workers’ Party. Funny that.

That ex-spies who have never come clean about their past and spent their careers spying on the movement they now claim to be a part of are given prominent positions in the 9/11 Truth Campaign indicates how serious these people are about investigating the secret state.

Rather than 9/11 itself we need to be asking questions about 9/11 truth campaigns. If the American and British governments, 7/7 and 9/11 conspiracy theories go hand in hand, were really responsible for huge terrorist attacks against their own citizens then why have they behaved so nicely towards the 9/11 truth movement? No-one has been mysteriously silenced, the organisation hasn’t been harassed and they carry out their activities largely unhindered. Surely if these people had uncovered a terrifying, gigantic plot then the state would be furiously attacking them and government experts would be wheeled out to desperately try and disprove their ideas.

That they haven’t suggests that the people in positions of power consider the various 9/11 ‘truth’ organisations to be harmless, to them at least.

The harm that they can do, and all conspiracy theorists can do, is to the anarchist and socialist left whose ideas are discredited by association. When we link up with organisations that admire David Icke, people who believe ‘Zionists’ attacked the twin towers or that the Freemasons run the world we look ridiculous. People simply laugh at us and it allows our opponents to dismiss us as hysterical cranks.

Apart from embarrassing us and discrediting our ideas conspiracy theories encourage ideas that are opposed to the radical political traditions of anarchism and Marxism.

Conspiracy theories like those peddled by the 9/11 Truth Campaign suggests that the state has an omnipotent power and that our rulers are almost super-human, capable of anything. This is a damaging myth. The most powerful state in the world, the US, couldn’t cover up Watergate or the Iran-Contra scandal. The British government couldn’t cover up the collaboration with loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland. What is there to suggest they have the capability to carry out and cover up a huge terrorist attack on their own cities?

In reality our governments are incompetent. The British government can’t even set up a computer system in the NHS without the project falling behind schedule, the budget spiralling upwards and all the embarrassing details leaked to the press. We can and must challenge our governments as they are not all-powerful behemoths against who all opposition is futile.

More importantly, conspiracy theories teach us that to change the world all we need to do is convert others and help them see the ‘truth’. Once people have seen through the lies then the conspiracy will be overthrown. This is nonsense.

For example let’s imagine it’s true that the US government was responsible for the atrocities on 9/11. According to recent surveys cited by the 9/11 Truth Campaign 1 in 3 Americans already believes that this is the case. And what has happened? Has global capitalism been shaken to its foundations? Has the Bush administration been toppled? Has a secret cabal controlling world affairs been uncovered?

These are important questions for all advocates of conspiracy theories. A significant minority of the population believes in a conspiracy theory that, if true, has enormous implication and surprise, surprise nothing has changed. Massive demonstrations haven’t forced out the US government, the world isn’t quaking with revolutions in the Western world. There hasn’t even been another investigation into 9/11.

We must not be naïve about the role of the British state and all capitalist governments. When threatened the British state reacts ruthlessly regardless of the niceties of modern liberal democracy, just ask the people of Northern Ireland. All states do. Even the famously neutral Swiss government operated Projekt 26 a secret ‘stay-behind’ army that operated outside governmental control and spied on Swiss citizens.

Investigating the actions of the secret state is conspiracy theory territory but it is a vital area of research. It badly needs rescuing from people who are willing to blame anything and everything on mysterious, hidden groups (or the Jews) without a shred of evidence that stands up to scrutiny. The dominance of conspiracy theorists in this area lets governments to dismiss any real revelations of their illegal, immoral and dodgy activities as precisely that, conspiracy theories to be ignored or laughed at.

Conspiracy theories are very damaging for opponents to capitalism and for this reason are ultimately reactionary politics. They help foster the illusion that there’s nothing really wrong with our system. Things would be fine except that there is this secret group of people who manipulate things for their own benefit. All we need to do is expose this conspiracy and get rid of these people and everything will be alright.

The reality is that there is no-one in charge. No secret group masterminding world events. Powerful individuals and small groups do not control the forces of history. Under capitalism the working class is in thrall to the alienating power of capital that dominates our planet not the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Jews or even the Bush administration. The madness of capitalism is like a car accelerating towards a cliff edge, and there is no-one in the driving seat. This is our enemy not some ill-defined group controlling world events from behind the scenes.

But don’t take the word of a spotty brainwashed MI5 agent for it. Ask questions of conspiracy theorists. Ask them what will change if we all believe their theory, ask them how devoting your time to spreading it will bring about a better world and ask them if poverty, war, oppression, inequality and exploitation will be ended if everyone believes this theory.

Remember, question everything.

THE AIMS OF 9/11 & 7/7 CULTWATCH

THE PURPOSE of 9/11 & 7/7 CULTWATCH

1) To act as a source of critical comment and resources--send us ideas on such, and new section suggestions. We do not intend to be a comprehensive 9/11 (or 7/7) resource, but a signpost directing you to appropriate information.

2) A spur to debate on our parallel site where we welcome crossing swords with cultists-- http://paulstott.typepad.com/911cultwatch/ . That said, racist and anti-semitic abuse will disappear faster than Machon/Shayler from a truth-drug party (with or without green skull-candles).

3) To act as a collation point for ludicrous 9/11 & 7/7 cult media interventions needing a response--which we will act on as time permits.

4) Encouraging activists opposed to conspiracism to understand they are not alone, helping them speak up, and not be shouted down, intimidated or ignored. Such activists may well include a sensible reality-oriented minority inside the (fast dwindling) 9/11 Truth campaign itself.

5) An essential first step towards sanity, inspiring non-dupes within the UK 9/11 movement to excise Machon & Shayler from the ranks.

6) To enhance national/international networking of those genuinely committed to evidence-based parapolitical research. To this end, we welcome reciprocal web-links with those in agreement: email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

7) To facilitate producing/distribution of relevant leaflets & analyses. If there is interest in a pamphlet, let us know. In the interim, and anyway, we will continue to research 9/11, 7/7 & associated cults in Notes From the Borderland magazine--if you have articles to submit email us at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Alternatively write to NFB at BM Box 4769 London WC1N 3XX. To purchase issues 7 8 & 9 visit the NFB shop by clicking on the icon above

8) To help the precipitate serious analysis of the 9/11 & 7/7 cults as social political and quasi-religious phenomena.

THE VARIOUS FEATURES ON THIS SITE SECTION

9/11 CULT DEFINITION & ANALYSIS

As it says on the tin, a preliminary definition of ways we see the 9/11 movement operating as a cult--as time goes by, this section will be expanded and refined, to take account of new developments

9/11 RESEARCH RESOURCES--A CRITICAL GUIDE
7/7 RESEARCH RESOURCES--A CRITICAL GUIDE

It is not our intention, or within our capabilities currently, to provide an exhaustive list of all research. Rather, we will highlight resources either apposite in terms of debunking 9/11 and 7/7 cult bullshit, or on the other hand make a real contribution to research. Inclusion here does not imply total agreement--some research we have important differences with but nonetheless think worth study--the writings of Nafeez Ahmed for instance. Again, suggestions welcome.

USEFUL WEB-LINKS CAN BE FOUND on THE LINKS SECTION OF THE SITE

To people, and organisations, we feel are relevant interesting and/or supportive to the concerns of this site. Serious suggestions, and reciprocal web-links, welcomed. email us

PRESS RELEASES

As & when we issue relevant Press Releases, they will be placed on this site

A final message to 9/11 & 7/7 cultists keen to deluge us with spam--don't bother, or expect a reply. There is a web-site for public exchanges on the subject. As already stated. And if you really annoy us we (the Martian Directorate) will send the holograms round....

PETER DALE SCOTT: INTERESTING BUT FLAWED

INTRODUCTION

The comments below first appeared on Paul Stott's 911cultwatch blog (13/6/08)--strange to say, no response was ever forthcoming. Bit cerebral for cultists, perhaps. So we're putting it here too...

Peter Dale Scott: interesting, but flawed (by Larry O'Hara)

It would be trite to assume that all those supporting, or in the orbit/thrall of the 9/11 cult, are intellectual charlatans. Some have interesting things to say, and in this category comes former Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott. The originator of the term 'parapolitics' (which describes both the Notes From the Borderland and Lobster tradition here in the UK) Dale Scott's research into 'deep politics' predates 9/11. He is important both for this and because he uses past (and legitimate) research in a way that does not challenge, and in effect drums up support for, the 9/11 cult. In doing so (and this is difficult to prove) he has compromised his intellectual and political integrity to a degree, at least, by evading key evidential issues or skipping lightly round them. Well illustrated by a recent article on the Global Research web-site entitled 9/11 Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics.

To what extent Dale Scott himself has actually become a cultist is unclear--he says he is merely offering "a hypothesis for further investigation: that the American state is somehow implicated with al-Qaeda in the atrocity of 9/11". The phrase "somehow implicated with" is extremely nebulous indeed: perhaps intentionally so. Dale Scott is important, and shaky, because he continually equates past events with current ones on the basis of flimsy evidence or mere assertion--referring to the "simulated 'surprise' of the Bush administration to the 9/11 attack" as "indeed analogous to the simulated 'surprise' of the Truman administration to the outbreak of war in Korea on June 25 1950". Was Bush really not surprised? Or Richard C Clarke? Dale Scott doesn't prove his point, merely asserts it. As too in his reference to COG (Continuity of Government Orders) before 10 am on 9/11 having "constitutional implications" albeit that "what COG means in practice is still largely unknown to us". Very helpful (not). That said, he is right to say that 9/11 has been used to centralise power by the administration, with little check by Congress or a compliant media.

Dale Scott's solution to the problems he raises is not just pitiful, but symptomatic. He advocates "internet politics" putting pressure on electoral candidates in support of various (eminently desirable) political demands as regards oversight, document release etc. Not only will the internet alone never overcome the powerful ruling class forces and secret sate agencies operating in society, the internet itself is no neutral medium--this 'Devil's Harp' is in a very important way responsible for precisely the debasement of politics among the 'Google Generation' (see previous post by Paul) that the 9/11 Cult exemplifies. Tellingly, Dale Scott criticises Alexander Cockburn's attack on the 9/11 cult by way of misrepresenting him, claiming that Cockburn only took exception to the "displacement of coherent Marxist analysis" by 9/11 'Truth' activists--yet Cockburn's critique (and ours) is far more wide-ranging. His 'answer' to Cockburn, that there are both continuities and divisions within powerful US circles is, fundamentally, irrelevant to Cockburn's concerns. And not likely to have been accidentally so--perhaps Dale Scott just lacks the moral courage to attack the cult, and wants (a bit like Robin Ramsay I might say) to hedge his bets on 9/11 by being all things to all people. Not something we at 9/11 Cultwatch could ever be accused of...

Dale Scott's overall work, available in various books, is well worth detailed examination and scrutiny--which we will give it--however the internet is not the place for that. I just wanted to point out, for the record, he is an important and worthy opponent who we rate more highly than charlatans like Webster Griffin Tarpley & the holy snake-oil salesman David Ray Griffin.

J7 CAMPAIGN: A REPLY

BACKGROUND

In 2008, the J7 Campaign, who think the London bombings of 7/7/05 were an 'inside job'/state provocation, sent an article critiquing NFB which we were happy to publish unaltered in Notes From the Borderland issue 9 (p.17-19). They also put this article on their site, and while the article below does make sense in itself (hopefully) nonetheless you might find it useful to read J7's article first - see here. To date, they have not responded to the piece below--read it, and you might understand why...Page numbers referred to are from the J7 article in NFB 9. 6/10/10

J7 CAMPAIGN: A REPLY by Larry O'Hara

INTRODUCTION

The first thing to be said about the response from the J7 Campaign above is how happy we are to print it. In this kind of area, nobody has a monopoly on knowledge, and dialogue between those of differing perspectives is healthy, and an important means by which we all may get closer to the 'truth', whatever that might be. In any dialogue, the need to defend one's position must inevitably, if undertaken in good faith, require some re-examination of past statements, and just as NFB's forte has often been holding others to account for inconsistencies and lacunae in how they cover issues, so it is entirely legitimate for the J7 Campaign (hereafter J7) to turn the tables on us, or at least try to....

I particularly welcome the J7 response's courteous tone, a departure from the occasionally acid rhetoric characterising this debate--although J7 non sequiturs and logical fallacies do encourage my flippant side still. To be fair, J7 have always been more reasonable in exchanges with us than the spooks fruit-loops censors and downright disturbed who overpopulate the 9/11 Cult in the UK.

What follows can be divided into three parts, although there is some overlap in each segment.

First, a refutation of J7's specific criticisms concerning the NFB/Cultwatch perspective (with reference to those things they have got right).

Second, a brief but essential outline of the areas and issues where NFB shares common ground with J7We object not to them criticising the secret state, but the paucity of the evidence they advance in order to do so.

Third, the precise differences between the NFB and J7 approaches are spelt out, with reference both to particular court cases and also the 'oppositional' articles on the J7 site they drew my attention to as exemplifying the type of radical 'research' they want more of.

(1) LARGELY WASTED ARROWS? J7's CRITIQUE OF THE NFB POSITION

NFB has not covered 7/7 in detail

There is a grain of truth to this claim, that regarding 7/7 there has been a "lack of serious investigation and analysis" (p.17). However, while the amount has not been as much as J7 (and ourselves) might have liked, it is misleading to say NFB has not covered 7/7: J7 admit NFB 7 (p.40) outlined 11 issues to be investigated, in a four page article that started the process. Areas such as the 'Covenant of Security', possible MI5 foreknowledge, the relationship of 7/7 to Islamist ideology and how 7/7 was used by spooks and the media to influence policy were discussed. In rather more detail than the flag-ship articles by messrs Bowles MacGregor & Rahman on J7's own web-site.

In NFB 8 we reviewed two influential DVDs and do not apologise for that-more people nowadays (sadly) get information from this medium/YouTube than the written word in such matters. Far from merely comprising "various side-swipes" (p. 17) the article confronted two central J7 tenets-that the Peter Power 'Visor Consultants' exercise was linked to 7/7 (p.44-45), and that 7/7 bomber video testimonies were doctored/bogus (p.45-46). It is ironic, then, that J7 suggest we examine the martyrdom videos (p.19). For J7 to ignore our substantial points does not augur well for their investigative capabilities. Disagree with us, but don't use the lack of overwhelming detail in coverage to date as an excuse to ignore our analysis altogether. We do not, currently, think the Visor Consultant exercise was operationally linked to 7/7, and set out why we believe that. Argue with us-but don't pretend we didn't investigate or analyse.

NFB has been reluctant (along with others) to "examine...the ...scripted 'War on Terror' and the increasing moves in the UK towards a police state" (p. 17)

In a second NFB 8 article (on ex-MI5 Director General Eliza Manningham-Buller) we also covered 7/7. This in a 3 page section entitled (rather big clue this) 'The War on Terror--A Deadly Pantomime For The Dame' (p.34-6) which not only looked again (as had NFB 7 at MI5 & 7/7 specifically, but analysed how plots and rumours of plots are used by MI5 to enhance their budget/remit. So J7's claim here resoundingly falls-those who only read their reply on the internet may fall for this analytical casuistry, readers of this magazine will not. Or perhaps it's just sloppy research-either way, not very convincing.

the official version of 7/7. with "minor tweaks" is NFB's "accepted narrative" but is "entirely unproven. unsupported by evidence" (p.17)

Two slightly separate claims. NFB certainly believes the government, police, MI5 & MI6 committed grave errors of misjudgment concerning 7/7, including lying about possible foreknowledge, and have systematically attempted to conceal this. However, NFB does not accept the implicit J7 position that the four deceased said to be behind the bombings weren't there, or were controlled patsies. We have before drawn attention to J7's flawed logic whereby premises (initial positions) are identical to conclusions (NFB 8 p.46), replacing research by divination, and rigour by wish-fulfilment. Furthermore, an absolutist statement the official narrative is "unsupported by evidence" flies in the face of information in the public domain, including film footage--for example the picture [NOT REPRODUCED HERE] shows three 7/7 bombers at King's Cross Station nine days prior to the bombings. It is valid to argue about the significance of this footage and other data, including DNA evidence. Would footage of three known bank robbers casing a premises be in itself enough to convict? No-but might form part of an overall case. However J7 rule themselves out of reasoned debate by asserting evidence is "entirely" (not even largely!) "unsupported". J7 argue the guilt of those said to be responsible has "never been tested in a court of law" (p.17). Well, since John Wycliff was exhumed after the 1381 Peasant's Revolt, the state hasn't made it general policy to try corpses, for various reasons even J7 could work out...

Bin Laden denied any part in the 9/11 attacks, just as those convicted in the Operation Crevice trial deny any conspiracy to cause explosions in the UK (p. 18)

I am grateful to J7 for confirming their ideological debt to the 9/11 denial movement-and it is par for the course that they focus on a (tactically necessary) Bin Laden statement from September 2001, not subsequent pronouncements [1]. As for the post-Crevice denial by those convicted, how seriously you take that depends on which aspects of trial evidence you focus on, or ignore-as will be seen.

NFB should "learn from history" (including) "British state complicity in atrocities-in Eire and the Six Counties" (p. 18)

Not merely patronising, but amusing. Should J7 care to read it, my 1994 book Turning Up The Heat: MI5 After the Cold War' extensively covers Irish-related British state dirty tricks not just in Ireland but England too (p.28-59). Furthermore, Gianfranco Sanguinetti, cited above J7's response, is also quoted in that book---not as a substitute for analysis, or mere decoration, but to summarise the preceding analysis concerning neo-Nazis Combat 18 & the state [2].

Leaving that book aside-after all, is it real if not on the intemet?--it is nonetheless remarkable that J7, in an article headed 'Response to NFB 7 & 8' should so blithely ignore Irish-related items in NFB 8. Not just Martin McGartland's post-employment contract (p.6-7), but also a passage analysing 'MI5 & the Dirty War in Ulster'-focussing specifically on the 2002 Castlereagh police complex raid and the 2005 murder of MI5 asset Denis Donaldson (p.33). I will be interested to see if J7's take on these matters differs from NFB's-but suspect they have none, instead they plucked a portentous phrase from the air with which to metaphorically berate us. More generally, I have always thought NFB does seek to "learn from history" and apply it to contemporary events-indeed, I imagined that the Redwatch article (NFB 8 p.8-26) did just that. Or perhaps not? I await with bated breath a detailed J7 critique of the above writings--on second thoughts, not exactly "bated breath"...

Shayler Machon & 9/11 Truth

A direct quote would help little, as what J7 are trying to say is convoluted--I suggest readers look again at the two paragraphs below the picture in Column 2 on p. 18 above. The import seems to be that J7 see Shayler & Machon as genuine opponents of the secret state regarding 9/11, challenging the "official version of events" in an "outspoken" way (p. 18).

J7 have once more simply ignored contrary arguments-most specifically the NFB 7 article clearly if provocatively entitled 'The Cuckoos Change Nests-Machon & Shayler Target British and Irish 9/11 Campaigners' (p.13-17). Additionally, given J7's focus is, presumably, J7, why make no reference at all to the fact one DVD reviewed in NFB 8, 'Mind the Gap' was narrated by...David Shayler, and for good measure has yet another take from him on Al Qaeda, now declaring it mythical (p.45). Once more, J7 are welcome to disagree with our interpretation of Shayler Machon & 9-11/7-7 'Truth'-but to simply ignore our analysis while rhetorically taking us to task by citing Shayler and Machon as "outspoken" critics is weak indeed.

"Perhaps some of the...criticisms NFB aims at so-called 'conspiracy theories'-.would be better levelled at the State itself" (p. 19)

If we criticised only conspiracy theorists and not the state, this point might carry weight. However not only do we always 'speak the truth to power', NFB further contends that conspiracy theories, in contrast to evidence-based research, actually let the state off the hook. The J7 attack on NFB here can only be sustained by largely ignoring not just what we say about 7/7 (as seen) but much else besides-or was the Lecomber murder plot coverage in NFB 7 & 8 (for example) merely a mirage? I think not, except for those with a mind-set that demands they blank out contrary evidence. Comforting, but hardly credible research.

(2) POINTS OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN NFB & J7

In what has preceded, and is to come, sharp differences with J7 are spelt out. Nonetheless, there are two important areas where we agree.

The civil liberties aspects of recent prosecutions

Exactly what constitutes terrorism, and a terrorist, has been ever more broadly-defined in recent years, frighteningly so. It appears that merely knowing somebody deemed to be a terrorist is almost sufficient these days for a prosecution-an intolerably wide pretext whatever the danger. It is not good enough for supporters of repressive legislation to plead an 'urgent' threat--as Benjamin Franklin remarked, those who sacrifice liberty in the name of security deserve neither.

Especially invidious is one case J7 highlight, that of Khalid Khaliq, a father of three who knew some of the 7/7 bombers, but after 7/7 voluntarily assisted police with their inquiries. His premises were searched, and a CD containing an Al Qaeda manual downloaded from the US Department of Justice web-site was found in July 2005. Nearly two years later, in March 2007, he was charged with (among other things) possessing the manual, and in March 2008 got 16 months jail [3]. The delay in prosecution, and this of somebody who had assisted the authorities, speaks of bad faith and arbitrary power, even aside from the fact there is no indication Khaliq had ever read, or intended to use, information that in any case originated with US law enforcement. It really is an Alice in Wonderland world where this type of prosecution can be successfully undertaken.

The secret state can and does use traditional methods in this sphere

It would be implausible for entrapment techniques used by the British secret state since Francis Walsingham's time (the Babington plot) and more recently in Ireland, to not be tried in this sphere. These include disinformation, character assassination, infiltration, agent provocateurs, dirty tricks, pseudo-gangs, fabricating evidence and the occasional murder. J7 rightly pinpoint individuals already on NFB's radar as suspect, such as Hassan Butt, a notorious self-publicist who in 2002 boasted about recruiting volunteers to launch attacks in the UK [4]. He was (eventually) arrested but released in May 2008 after admitting inventing claims about recruiting for Al Qaeda, meeting the 7/7 bombers etc [5]. The role of Junaid Babar & Agent Q [6] in Operation Crevice is equally questionable. Hence, to repeat, we do not oppose any public inquiry into 7/7 & Operation Crevice, as J7 demand.

In short, spook operating practices refined elsewhere have certainly been deployed in the 'War on Terror' by MI5/MI6/CIA/ISI etc. But not each technique, all the time, and this does not mean there are no individuals ready and willing to become suicide bombers whether with or without outside 'help' from spook assets. Each instance has to be looked at on merit, and the evidence.

(3) WHERE NFB DIFFERS FROM J7

We do not deny there are suicide bombers

A simple proposition, but as already shown, one with which J7 seem to disagree. I say 'seem' because despite discussing it on their forum, there are (for example) no headline articles on the site home page concerning the failed 21/7/05 bombings. Is this because the bombers were captured alive? It is sleight of hand worthy of Jesuits for J7 to reiterate that the "official version" of 7/7 is untested in a court of law (p.17). They say the 7/7 helpers trial at Woolwich "presented no conclusive evidence to prove the guilt of the four men accused of perpetrating the London bombings. Quite the contrary" (p.18). This is disingenuous-the four were not on trial by virtue of being dead. The jury were asked to deliberate on whether the three defendants were also involved--another matter. J7 quote prosecution counsel Nigel Flewitt on the 7/7 bomber ID documents (p.18), but omit his claim that DNA from two defendants, Sadeer Saleem and Waheed Ali was found at a reported 7/7 'bomb factory' in Alexander Grove, Burley. At the first trial the jury could not reach a verdict. At retrial, the three were acquitted of helping the bombers, their claim they visited London with the deceased for sight-seeing before 7/7 could not be disproved beyond reasonable doubt. Fair enough. That Wahid Ali and Mohammed Shakil intended to visit a jihad training camp in Pakistan is undeniable, for which they got 7 years--their claim this was unconnected to possible UK operations I doubt [7]. Anyway, no defendants put the J7 line at either trial--for an obvious reason....

By not denying there are suicide bombers we do not rule ourselves out of understanding why they do it

Hardly an earth-shattering assertion, relying on the first proposition, but with far reaching ramifications. Continued denial anybody from the Muslim community sympathises with suicide bombers up to and including possible emulation helps three groups.

First, those who want to recruit further bombers and escalate religious and racial tension.
Second, organised racists like the BNP and their tabloid cousins, whom it suits only too well to paint Islam as a doctrine of evil and murder. Third, those in the police and security services with something to hide, whether incompetence or indeed entrapment. How, in circumstances of blanket denial, can genuine instances stand out? Furthermore, if nobody attempts to understand why some young men (as they invariably are) become drawn to this kind of ideology, what is to stop further imitators?

Once you go beyond knee-jerk denial, analysis becomes more, not less, interesting, as genuine open-ended questions come into play.

A fascinating book, which I heartily recommend to NFB readers, is 'Human Being to Human Bomb: Inside the Mind of a Terrorist' [8] by Consultant psychiatrist Dr Russell Razzaque, himself a Moslem working in East London. Having encountered what he calls 'extremist Islam' while at University in 1989, Razzaque has kept a watching brief since on such phenomena, and after 7/7 decided to apply his professional skills as a psychiatrist to understanding both the 9/11 and 7/7 bombers. He came up with an interesting typology of those who in the right (or wrong!) circumstances can become a bomber in the West-often not very religious in early life (or even a convert), a distant father-son relationship, who at first made significant efforts at Integrating into Western society, often interested in strenuous sports [9]. In a crucial passage, after describing the inevitable journey taken by second generation Muslims towards the West (values, ways of living) Razzaque says such a "journey can be rudely interrupted. In a time of insecurity and uncertainty coming up against a major experience of racism or rejection can be instantly destabilising...The actual event may be anything from a slight to being ignored, being treated differently in an unexpected way, or an overt verbal or physical attack. Often it takes the form of the denial of a goal or an ambition that the young man had, apparently on the basis of race" [10]. Of crucial importance here is the word apparent-whether the knock-back is actually due to racism or just the perception of it is not material here. At this moment, the individual is vulnerable, by virtue of character, upbringing and environment (sometimes the novel surroundings of a University) to those who seek to explain who they are, how they are superior to unbelievers, and the means to resolve social problems (violently). In this situation theocratic Islam of the Wahabbist kind is a toxic but psychologically seductive offering, and those recruiting for bombing networks like Al Qaeda have a wide array of theological arguments and initiatory practices to ensnare new blood.

As well as what he calls a 'cognitive reframing of death' [11]. Razzaque does not flinch from drawing out the sexually repressive and, one could say, latently homo-erotic nature of 'terror cell' socialisation. Razzaque doesn't just deal with psychology-he traces some displaced emotional affiliations of cell members back to the extreme sexual frustration of key Al Qaeda source ideologist Sayyid Qutb for example. He is also definitely mindful of the foreign policy context of Al Qaeda sympathies among Western Muslims [12].

Whatever might be thought of Razzaque's proposed 'Ideological Extremism Vulnerability Scale' (a questionnaire devised to ascertain the susceptible) his research nonetheless has predictive power. Razzaque's typology does seem to fit cases other than those he has analysed. For example, take those charged (of whom three were convicted) in the Liquid Bomb Plot of 2006, which trial finally ended in September 2008. Cell leader Abdulla Ali only became fervent religiously at aged 15. Like another jailed, Assad Sarwar, he became radicalised in Afghanistan. Interestingly, Sarwar had dropped out of his degree course and subsequently had a string of temporary unskilled jobs. The third man convicted, Tanvir Hussein, only became a strict Muslim in 2005, before that, by his own account, drinking and chasing girls. Leaving aside the one defendant acquitted, Mohammed Gulzar, a supposed Al Qaeda 'fixer' from abroad, the other four (who may face a retrial) have intriguing CVs. Arafat Khan had a 2001 conviction for possessing Class A drugs, and Ibrahim Savant and Umar Islam were new converts to Islam. The final defendant, Waheed Zaman, had met Savant at a martial arts class, although his support for Liverpool FC brings a Scandinavian dimension into play [13]. What leaps out is how well they fit Razzaque's typology--the lateness of religiosity and the failed aspirations in particular. However charismatic Abdulla Ali was (three defendants he had known since school) he would not have been able to inveigle them into anything if there had not been a burning sense of injustice felt about Western policies, and of course a ready-made ideology and support network overseas, with whom Sarwar had liaised most of all. Especially given the relatively recent adherence of those involved to what (following Ed Husain) I term Islamist ideology, it would be particularly inappropriate (as do the simplistic and bigots) to see this sort of activity as deriving in a straightforward way from Islam itself-in that case, you would expect to find life-long believers involved, not returners/parvenus.

Belief there are suicide bombers does not rule out agents provocateur

Another unremarkable statement--though one that J7 have difficulty in grasping, given their reluctance accepting those planting bombs on 7/7 could have done it precisely because they died, hilarious were the events not so macabre. J7 labelling the Operation Crevice proceedings a 'Show Trial' (p.2*) is pertinent-in a show trial, evidence is almost entirely manufactured, and posited connections false. Yet there are undoubted linkages between those accused of 21/7, and allegedly involved in 7/7 and other 'plots', which even if manipulated by state agents were not entirely fictional. Provocateurs can only succeed if those they seek to entrap are amenable to some degree.

The J7 website recommends three articles on Operation Crevice. The first two, from The Guardian, bear the hallmarks of leaks from within the state apparatus, especially given two journalists involved often seem 'on message' regarding spook agendas [14]. Which flags up another J7 methodological deficiency. They have no idea that individual journalists might be close (or not) to one or other state agency, yet such knowledge is often essential to make sense of the vicious information wars they fight. The third recommended article is exemplary parapolitical research deserving a wide audience: The Entrapment of Omar Khyam: Parts One & Two' [15]. An excellent contemporary overview of the troubling questions concerning the 'Fertiliser Bomb Plot', it makes a convincing case that Junaid Babar and Mohammed Quayyum Khan (the ostensible original focus of Operation Crevice) are quite possibly directed agents of the security services, without whom this 'plot' might well not have happened, at least the way it did. Nevertheless It is worth noting what the blogger 'Szamko' says in conclusion:

"I have not argued that 7/7 was an 'inside job'—it doesn't seem that way to me, despite a long list of questions that an inquiry should ask and have answered. Most of them can be found at the July Seventh Truth Campaign. What seems more likely to me is that 7/7 was a case of blow-back from covert attempts to infiltrate radical groups in Pakistan...as well as groups supporting fighters in Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine etc. Most emphatically, I believe that MI5 has been active for a long time infiltrating, redirecting and breaking up groups that are opposed to the Saudi monarchy" [16].

The blow-back hypothesis is alien to 7/7 and 9/11 cults, but nonetheless viable. The article itself, as shown, does not endorse the J7 'inside job' approach, and is far more in line with the NFB world-view than J7's, where research starts with conclusions.

Proper research not shallow sloganising is needed

J7 drew my attention to articles on their site by messrs Fazal Rahman, William Bowles & David MacGregor [17], "well worth reading to advance the necessary debate and critical understanding of how the Left can analyse these events in their correct historical and political context" (p.2). So I read them....

(A) Fazal Rahman

At best, his two articles are a collection of hypothetical non sequiturs. The quality can be gleaned from this passage, written August 2005, referring to "whatever forensic evidence was found or concocted" (which is it?), going on to state that suicide bombs were unlikely because the "most rational option most probably was to leave the explosives on the targets" and then "disembark". Dr Razzaque is more convincing. Speaking, it seems, of 21/7, Rahman wrote it "may have been staged to further implicate the 'Muslim Extremists"'-news to defendants who pleaded guilty. A fact-free article draws to a close by declaring that "whatever evidence is being produced could have easily been planted by resourceful planners and perpetrators" [18]. Or not!

Time has not honed Rahman's critical faculties-by 2006 little is added, save praising J7 (on their own site [19]). He admits the first article was hypothetical, but the second is simply bizarre. For example, Rahman attacks "idiots" who said in the early years of the Vietnam War the Vietnamese could not resist the US-failing to see he is a contemporary equivalent if he thinks nobody influenced by Islamist ideology could carry out a suicide bombing. He does make a logical point that given CIA dirty tricks in various countries "why would it not do the same in the UK...when needed"-indeed-but credible evidence they might have done in this instance is not provided by him or anybody else in J7.

Carried away by J7's speculation, Rahman extravagantly posits a scenario involving organised crime groups, with the secret service co-ordinating-whether CIA MI5 or MI6 not stated. Also, an extremely busy "fifth man who followed the four men to one of the trains. This man was carrying the explosives. He left them near the four men and then got off the train. He noted down the car number and its location etc so that his contacts in the secret service knew exactly where to find the body parts of the four men who then, through some key contact in the police managed to link each of the four to the different sites of the explosions".

(B) William Bowles

Apparently a Marxist, he claims to survive capitalism needs "a new strategy based upon the existence of a seemingly irrational individual the suicide bomber, against which the only defence is almost a complete lock-down of the population" [20]. The current situation is used by ruling classes to do just that-though the roots of Islamist ideology and resurgence do not lie in Western ruling class strategy alone, but the interplay of that strategy and geo-political reality. Bowles refers disparagingly to "setting off a few home-made bombs"--an insensitive reductionist way to dismiss 7/7 & Madrid, let alone 9/11. To say, as he does, that "international terror doesn't exist, except as a propaganda message" is to let off the hook Western rulers (like Brzezinski) and agencies (like the CIA) who fed and nurtured the hydra that became Al Qaeda. On 7/7 Bowles offers little, save his "own take" that the bombers were "patsies"-no evidence given. He says "the war on terror represents a desperate attempt to deal with the vast over-accumulation of capital that has taken place since the fall of the Soviet Union". Exactly how (alleged) overaccumulation led to 9/11 & 7/7 is asserted not explained. Jargon may fool the gullible—I prefer evidence.

(C) David MacGregor

In a striking phrase, MacGregor terms 7/7 'Machiavellian state terror"--"spectacular violence perpetrated against the state by elements of the state itself" [21]. After citing instances abroad, e.g. the Putin-inspired Moscow apartment bombings, he references Peter Dale-Scott comparing the JFK assassination to 9/11. Dale-Scott is an interesting thinker of weight [22]--MacGregor, not quite. He notes "three possible culprits usually impugned during episodes of Machiavellian state terror, a foreign state, a marginalised group...a lone nut". Maybe, but not exclusively so-therefore a redundant remark. MacGregor sees a similarity between 9/11 & 7/7 in simultaneous 'training exercises'. For 7/7 NFB has already covered this--with no J7 response. MacGregor praises 'Ludicrous Diversions' (a DVD J7 criticises NFB for reviewing). He ends with a two page description of the Hamburg bombing in World War Two, intended to undermine post-7/7 legitimacy of references to the 'Blitz' mentality. It cannot, for folk memories of the Blitz rely on popular experience here-not Germany.

Ultimately, none of these three convinces-and thus the standard of research J7 holds up as exemplary hardly advances critical understanding, though it does show where they are at.

CONCLUSION

The above isn't NFB's last word on 7/7-and readers with anything evidence-based to contribute welcome. Many (indeed virtually all) stories covered in NFB will either not be featured in the main-stream media, or not treated in our unique way. We reserve the right to examine 7/7, 9/11 (or anything else) as and when we decide, not when critics demand we should. End of.

FOOTNOTES

[1] see 'Messages to the World' edited by Bruce Lawrence Verso London 2005
[2] 'Turning Up the Heat' p.83 (p.65-86 covers dealings with fascists).
[3] see Yorkshire Evening Post 11/3/08 (Tony Gardner), Yorkshire Post 12/3/08 (Kate O'Hara), BBC News on-line 11/3/08 'Man Jailed over Al Qaeda manual', Daily Mail 11/3/08 (Chris Brooke) and of course 'Justice Defiled-the conviction of Khalid Khaliq' J7 Campaign blog 12/3/08
[4] BBC News on-line 'UK Terror Target claim dismissed' 7/1/02
[5] Channel Four News 21/5/08 (Simon Israel)
[6] Not to be confused with NFB's very own (late) 'Agent Q', editorial director & all-round inspiration.
[7] see BBC News on-line 'Jury dismissed in 7/7 plot trial' 1/8/08, 'Flawed Trial of Leeds Trio' 28/4/09, The Independent 29/4/09 (Cahal Milmo)-for a start...
[8] Icon Books, Cambridge 2008
[9] ibid, especially p.79-108
[10] ibid. p.94-5
[11] see especially p. 109-57
[12] ibid. p. 159-82
[13] Daily Telegraph (9/9/08: no named journalist). Scandinavian bit is a joke...
[14] The Guardian 1/5/07 (Ian Cobain, Jeevan Vasagar & Richard Norton-Taylor). Vasagar is the unknown quantity..
[15] http://szamko.ann.tv.blogs/23122/ The Entrapment of Omar Khyam Part One-links to Part Two. 3/5/07
[16] op. cit. Part Two p. 14
[17] see footnotes 19-22 below the J7 Response for exact on-line references.
[18] Fazal Rahman 'London Bombings Unasked & Unanswered Questions' 8/8/05
[19] Fazal Rahman 'On the hypothesis of the article on London bombings' 31/10/06
[20] William Bowles 'The economics of 7/7 and other mysteries of capitalism explained' 26/2/07
[21] David MacGregor 'July 7th As Machiavellian State Terror' 7/3/07
[22] Originally comment on http://paulstott.typepad.com/911cultwatch/2008/06/peter-dale-scot.html which is where any reply can still be posted. The comments on Dale Scott are also reproduced on this web-site.

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 10" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

 

WHY THE BBC/SEARCHLIGHT PERSPECTIVE WILL NOT DEFEAT THE BNP

INTRODUCTION

An example of the fluid and interlinked nature of NFB's research interests is this extract, taken from pages 32-34 of the NFB 6 of the 2004 BBC 'Secret Agent' documentary. That show was a truly awful piece of work both as 'investigative journalism' (not) and political progranda--for the BNP rather than against them, in its effect. We could have placed it in the journalism section (how not to do it) or the Searchlight section (as they were greatly responsible, indeed have boasted about such). Ultimately though, and in the absence here of the forensic detail in the original article, we placed it here because of the pithy summary of what is different about the Nick Griffin BNP, and why old demonisation/criminalisation strategies won't work. All very relevant when seemingly endless attempts to drag the BNP leadership through the courts continue to evade the key question of how and why such neo-fascists retain a significant reservoir of support.

WHY THE BBC/SEARCHLIGHT PERSPECTIVE WILL NOT DEFEAT THE BNP

...Consideration of the Secret Agent should not exclude the documentary's woeful inadequacy in terms of explaining the nature of the BNP and its support, never mind undercutting it. Not surprising, for Ford later admitted the programme's "purpose was to expose illegal activity, and if you make such allegations it would be perverse not to make the evidence available to people who might bring a prosecution" [155]. In other words, no duty to educate entertain and inform, but merely to incite prosecution.

The programme not only failed to address why the BNP is getting support in Yorkshire and elsewhere, but not doing so played into the BNP's hands. Take one reason for BNP progress, paedophilia in Keighley, with at least in part a racial element (Asian men, White girls). Griffin was shown vehemently denouncing such activity, in terms that will have appealed to some beleaguered families in the area. No attempt was made to explore his allegations, and they certainly weren't refuted, indeed many voters would have got the clear impression only the BNP cares about the issue. As it happens, another programme did attempt to address paedophilia locally, Anna Hall's 'Edge of the City', eventually shown on Channel Four 26/8/04. Originally due to be broadcast before the June elections, it was pulled after pressure from West Yorkshire police [156]. Not surprisingly, Livingstone's 'Race Adviser' and Met Police hireling Lee Jasper, who favours a new apartheid of racially segregated schools, didn't want Edge of the City shown, complaining that "innocent people will be scapegoated" [157a]. A more interesting take came from Rob Waugh of the Yorkshire Post who after pointing out White men are just as capable of grooming and exploitation, made two further telling points. "There is no denying that there is a racial or cultural context to what has been happening in the Bradford area and the film raises uncomfortable and ultimately unanswered questions about how and why such targeted abuse has emerged in the Asian community". He reported "a large gap between what the mothers perceive as systematic abuse and ultimately what police and social services, at least corporately, will admit" (11/8/04). It is in this gap between popular perception and officially admitted reality that the BNP seek to position themselves.

Certainly, Anna Hall did not solve the problems she addressed --but that is not necessarily her role, bringing them into the public domain was good enough journalism. Contrast that with one issue Secret Agent conspicuously flunked-whether Steve Barkham was, or was not, racially attacked, the event he said propelled him into joining the BNP. If he wasn't, that would be as interesting as if he was, either way a greater understanding of his psyche would have been gained. The 'criminalisation' strategy for dealing with the BNP fails to address local issues-housingproblems, unemployment, council corruption and so on. Criminalisation has never defeated Republican (or Loyalist) paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, and will not eradicate the basis of support for the BNP or similar. It also misses another historical reality-some voters favour Far Right parties in a crisis situation not despite criminality, but precisely because they have a certain edge, and ability to 'look after themselves'. While the BNP are not Nazi, one important lesson of Weimar was some middle class voters (and politicians) tolerated Nazis precisely because they were more effective (pro-capitalist) thugs than opponents. Then the obvious point—in many working class communities today, criminal convictions are either irrelevant or grant street credibility.

On a theoretical level, Secret Agent, as with other Searchlight-sourced drivel, doesn't begin to grasp the real (not cosmetic) changes facilitating a BNP breakthrough. Put simply, there have been three historic strategies (or 'Paths') on offer to British fascists since World War Two, and all to a greater or lesser extent still exist today.

Path One is the gravitational pull of classical Nazism, an entirely dead-end fetishism adhered to by sad losers addicted to violence and strange uniforms. In the old National Front, at least until the early 1980's, this ideology was both partial sub-text (Strasserism) and rival (the British Movement). In the BNP's early days, and also in John Tyndall's Spearhead Support Group, base of his ongoing challenge to Nick Griffin, Nazism is an openly accepted current. And as such, any growth in popular support for a Tyndall-recaptured BNP would be severely circumscribed.

Path Two is semi-Tory populist electoralism, the main problem of which as a strategy is being outflanked by either the Tory Party proper or the likes of the UK Independence Party. In our current electoral system, very difficult for this to succeed on its own, for any group, even with a fascist past (or perhaps especially with a fascist past) just offering electoralist solutions will not have the ideological organisational and personnel werewithal to compete with more pure versions.

Path Three is non-Nazi fascist strategies, of increasing importance since the early 1980s, reaching an apparent deadend when 'third positionist' fascists of the 'political soldier' tendency captured and then dissolved the Official National Front in 1990. In that decade, and organisation, Griffin (an enthusiastic national revolutionary) cut his political teeth and refined his strategic thinking. On its own, the non-Nazi fascist strategy pursued by the political soldier NF was never going to succeed, partly because of esoteric elements (pro-Qadhafi/Khomeini for example) but also because it was self-consciously elitist [157b].

However, what is unique about Griffin, and partly explains his success, is his combining for the first time elements of Paths Two and Three, while rejecting Path One. The BNP's current presentation of racism (as separatism not superiority) and making tactical alliances with non-white groups were all first tried there, as too dropping anti-semitism, even if Griffin didn't like it then. Playing with street politics (as he is shown doing on Secret Agent) does not make Griffin a Nazi, and for him is not counterposed to electoral politics. This is a qualitative strategic advance on the old NF policy, with elections merely excuses to hold provocative marches, or simply publicity stunts.

Even if my understanding is debatable, at least I have an explanation for BNP success-something Secret Agent doesn't, indeed partially contributes to. As for Searchlight, consider this recent gem. Griffin's (now reversed) decision to stand against David Blunkett in Sheffield is on the one hand mocked because "Sheffield is not one of the BNP's key areas...it is a sign of the BNP's current weakness". On the other hand "Griffin stood a good chance of coming second, giving the BNP a publicity coup...Sheffield has also witnessed growing BNP support in recent years and Brightside specifically has been targeted in successive local elections" [158]. In other words, they explain everything and nothing, like Goebbels (or Stalin) offering facts to suit any conclusion. But then, fighting fascism was never their main agenda. Leave it to these 'experts'? Hardly. Speaking of 'Secret Policeman', and it should apply to 'Secret Agent' too, Ford has said of the BBC "we would not deserve to be funded if we did not do this sort of thing". On the contrary, they do not deserve to be funded as long as they do.

Mention must be made of another programme on Yorkshire BNP, 'Boots and Suits', (Yorkshire TV 26/8/04) thankfully only transmitted in that region. Screened just before Channel 4's 'Edge of the City' it acted as trailer not antidote. Fronted by Nick Ryan, long-time Searchlight collaborator and shallow hack, Boots & Suits plumbed new depths in terms of counterproductive coverage. A guided tour of his birthplace (Saville Town, Dewsbury) saw BNP Organiser Nick Cass make observations about the changing local population and their dress code that fitted the pictures perfectly. Given Cass actually pointed to the house his family used to live in, Ryan's lame riposte that the BNP "offer a false vision of the past" would have convinced few watching. Nor too would another local disagreeing with Cass when what was shown backed the latter. Unchallenged, Cass and David Exley word perfectly articulated the BNP's new 'race policy' in cultural terms. Cass refuted Lord Ahmed's stupid prejudicial remarks about young white males with short hair and tattoos by adroitly citing David Beckham, to which the programme again had no reply. Ryan is perhaps too used to drinking with Nazi Satanists like David Myatt, and worrying about bats following him to confidently take on the BNP. After falsely presenting himself as 'victim', Ryan accuses Nick Griffin of " naked [political] opportunism" as if this is a criticism. Ultimately, if this documentary wasn't BNP-made, it should have been. A classic "journalist...doing the party's job, helping to publicise its threat and create an image that's far greater than reality" [159]. Ryan's inability to comprehend the BNP (garbling history to imply Griffin joined the party in the early 1980s not 1996!) is a luxury antifascists cannot afford. Although Ryan is hardly an anti-fascist. Over the years he has persistently equated the Far Left/Greens with the Far Right, seeking to exaggerate similarities/ connections and even manufacture them [160]—just the line Special Branch take. While Ryan admits meeting SB only once, the similarity of his agenda to theirs hints at extensive and ongoing contact, even aside from indirectly via Searchlight [161]. Illustrating the incestuous intersection between secret state, their informants and media disinformers, Ryan Nick Lowles and Darren Wells have been on friendly terms since at least 1998 [162]. If 'Boots & Suits' had any effect, it would (like Secret Agent) have boosted the BNP in a key target area. Ryan and co probably gave Yorkshire BNP free rein to divert attention from the Secret Agent operation. Not worth it--a verdict unaltered by Sykes' baseless claim Ryan's programme "clearly showed" the BNP "harbouring hard-line Nazi views" [163].

Secret Agent. and Boots & Suits, illustrate how shallov. the BBC/Searchlight understanding is. The BBC's grasp of the BNP's nature and support is so poor that Nick Griffin is not standing in Keighley at the General Election despite Secret Agent but in large part because of it.

FOOTNOTES

155) cited Daily Telegraph 22/7/04
156) BBC News Online 20/5/04.
157a) Black Information Link (web-site) 13/8/04
157b) on this very period, read the detailed account in the PhD thesis to which there is a link to the right of this page.
158) Searchlight January 2005 p. 16
159) Nick Ryan 'Homeland' Mainstream (Edinburgh) 2003 p.245
160) see 'Homeland' p.75/99 for a start
161) 'Homeland' p.37
162) 'Homeland' p.42
163) Bradford Telegraph & Argus 27/8/04 (Caroline Wright)

COMBAT 18 & MI5: SOME BACKGROUND NOTES

INTRODUCTION by Larry O'Hara

While the British National Party (BNP) is by far the most significant fascist group in the UK today, in 1995 the far right group attracting most interest was the violent neo-Nazi 'Combat 18' group, headed by Charlie Sargent and Wilf Browning. For those who don't know, the numbers 18 correspond to the first letter of the alphabet (A) and the eighth (H), meaning 18 is an abbreviation for the initials of Adolf Hitler. In 1997, C18 shattered into fragments following the fatal stabbing of Nazi activist Chris Castle by Charlie Sargent & Martin Cross. For a period (and even today in imitation/on the internet) C18 exercised an influence--on the far right and elsewhere--far out of proportion to its numbers.

The article below (which first appeared in Lobster magazine issue 30 December 1995 p.28-29) was a contemporary attempt to make sense of developments. It is still pertinent today, for a number of reasons. First, being online it allows me to correct the simplistic impression given on Wikipedia that I believe C18 was 'created' or 'run by' the secret state--my interpretation is more subtle than that. Secondly, with time some facts become more interesting not less. Notably, the keynote 'C18' booklet referred to below was written by Wilf Browning, but with significant input from Darren Wells (aka McKenzie) who later 'came out' as a Searchlight/Special Branch informant in 2002. To top it all, Browning did a deal with Nick Griffin in 1995 to get the C18 booklet distributed along with Spearhead to BNP branches--how Special Branch/MI5 must have laughed at that! I have never thought either Browning or Sargent were state assets, in the case of the latter, while he may have been, the paucity of substantiated evidence means a Scottish-style verdict of 'not proven' has to be returned. What is certain is that genuine assets like Wells helped create a siruation where Browning and Sargent each thought the other was. This is classic disruption from the FBi's COINTELPRO playbook-- and, I would contend, led to an escalation of violence, most notably the 1997 parcel bombs sent from Denmark to various UK anti-fascists/celebrities, in which escapade Wells played a role that has not yet been revealed--but it will be...Finally, two key players in this whole C18 saga--MI5 and the Searchlight organisation--are still active today, the former curtailing civil liberties and the latter presenting themselves as squeaky clean 'Community-oriented' anti-fascists via their 'Hope Not Hate' front. Don't be fooled for a minute...At some point this site will dissect the tendentious disinformation peddled by Searchlight editor Nick Lowles in his 'White Riot' book on C18. While best read in conjunction with the relevant chapers from my 1994 book 'Turning Up the Heat: MI5 After the Cold War', the article below hopefully stands muster as a serious analysis in its own right...

COMBAT 18 & MI5: some background notes (December 1995)

Observers of the activities of the neo-nazi Combat 18 (C18), otherwise known as the National Socialist Alliance (NSA), have been treated to some bewildering documents and allegations recendy. In an attempt to clarify who is saying what, and why, I will examine the origins and initial purpose of C18, the role (if any) of alleged state agents within it, and accounts of its current status and purpose. The interpretations examined are those of C18 themselves, the British National Party (BNP) and others on the far right, Searchlight magazine, and my own.

The origins of Combat 18

For its leaders, the origins of C18 have hitherto not been a subject of dispute. The trigger is said to have been the events surrounding a fracas at a League of Saint George meeting in Kensington in May 1991 [1]. Their initial aim was to provide strong arm defensive and then offensive protection for the far right, the first publicly admitted 'action' being an incendiary attack on a Communist Party premises in March 1992 [2]. The gap between the events that were the catalyst (including a failed November 1991 Fred Leuchter meeting in London), and the first admitted 'action' accounts for my earlier description of C18 as having been founded in early 1992 [3]. John Tyndall, leader of the BNP, has written about C18 on a number of occasions. His first treatment, in the 14 December 1993 Organiser's Bulletin, did not actually dwell on the origins of CI8, perhaps because he himself had been publicly photographed with people, later said to be prominent in C18, acting as stewards. His more recent (September 1995) Spearhead article concentrates on the role played by US Nazi Harold Covington, discussed below. This later emphasis is not inconsistent with his earlier treatment, more an elaboration of it.

Consistency cannot be claimed for the analysis of Searchlight magazine, the importance of whose views should not be underestimated. The Third (May 1994) report of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee into Racial Attacks gave Searchlight's opinions on the organisation equal ranking with those of the Home Office and police, counterbalancing the views of the authorities against their thesis [4]. In the written evidence submitted by Searchlight in 1993 they dated C18's arrival back to Autumn 1991 (p. 3), and elaborated on this in a paper 'The Genesis Of Combat 18' which was another part of their evidence. A crucial role was attributed to Harold Covington, described as the 'outside influence to bring together several disparate factions and groupings into C18' (p. 2). There was speculation of a possible intelligence input, that of the 'South African state security services' (p. 3), though the only evidence offered was the presence of some anti-Apartheid individuals on the Redwatch hit-lists. The contribution by Searchlight publisher Gerry Gable to a recent book on European fascists is similar, in that Covington's role was still seen as central (p. 261), although the South African aspect had been dropped without explanation [5]. Nonetheless, Gable was clear in describing C18 as being in part a response to the Leuchter meeting getting turned over: 'Such a disaster could never be allowed to happen again. An effective group of bodyguards and stewards had to be formed'[6].

Speaking of a hypothetical ban on C18, Searchlight's 1993 Commons evidence argued that 'MI5 and the police should find no problem in dealing with such groups' (p. 6). Searchlight's written evidence was followed up by the verbal evidence given by Gerry Gable, on 8 December 1993 in which he called for investigation of C18 to be turned over to MI5, in particular because of C18's links with groups such as the UDA [7]. This was followed in the Searchlight January 1994 editorial, hostile to Special Branch, by a call for 'the investigation of nazi terror groups either to be put into the hands of a special police unit..or to be turned over to MI5 and MI6'[8]. All this changed in April 1995 when, in an astounding about turn, Searchlight (pp. 2 and 3) announced that MI5 had in fact set up C18, in order to 'know the extent of such joint operations' between the UDA/UVF and British fascists. This theme has been intermittently repeated since, for example in the assertion in the issue of October 1995 (p. 4) that 'perhaps there is some truth in claims that CI8 has come near to achieving the aims set for it by its original creators and is running down many of its activities'. The reasons for Searchlight's abrupt change of tune I have already analysed and need not concern us here [9].

Harold Covington revisited

I have summarised elsewhere the available evidence on the possibility of his being an FBI asset, since when there have been three published references to Covington which carry the debate forward [10]. The first is Searchlight's statement of April 1995 that when 'C18 was formed some of its key players had links to the intelligence services. They included Harold Covington, a US nazi and long time asset of the FBI' (p. 2). Given that I had castigated Searchlight eight months before for building him up without ever mentioning this possibility, this admission is almost as amazing as their about turn concerning C18's origins [11]. The second published reference to Covington comes from the BNP's John Tyndall. He cites an unnamed US leader as telling him that Covington is a long time FBI employee. While careful not to endorse this opinion as necessarily true, he then makes the same point as I did a year earlier viz.'large numbers of people in Britain who have written off to his mailing address in response to C18 literature would have had their names and addresses passed on straight away to the FBI, who would in turn have supplied them to the political police in this country, whether MI5, Special Branch or both'[12].' The third mention of Covington recently has been in an anonymous pamphlet entitled C18 distributed this summer to all BNP and selected other right-wing PO Boxes. This also comments on Covington's mail being monitored, and results passed back to MI5, but Covington is presented as an innocent party who let his PO Box be used 'as a favour' [13].

The current situation in C18: various theories

While not really alleging that any of the British C18 leadership were originally state plants, John Tyndall has long been of the opinion that they have operated under some kind of implicit state license, making them immune from prosecution for the distribution of inflammatory literature [14]. By introducing Covington into the picture Tyndall has deepened this criticism, while careful (no doubt partly because of the sympathies of some BNP members) not to unequivocally condemn the current C18 leadership on the question of their ultimate allegiance (as opposed to political strategy or ideology). Thus he asks, 'Does this mean that the chief operatives of C18 are conscious and willing agents of the state, deliberately working against the nationalist cause?' And answers, 'Not necessarily' [15].'

Searchlight's account of current developments is contradictory. On the one hand they stated 'that C18 is controlled by the security services and has become a no-go area for decent police officers who wish to halt its activities' [16], and have reported 'claims that the NSA [National Socialist Alliance] is trawling for information on nazi activists, which could end up on MI5's computers' [17]. On the other hand an unusually lucid article in the July 1995 issue described the NSA 'as a network of semi-autonomous groups united by their modus operandi and certain core beliefs' (p. 2). But if C18 was set up, and is controlled by, MI5, can it also be a semi-autonomous network?

A highly intriguing and imaginative account of current C18 developments is contained in the anonymous 'C18' document discussed above. Authorship has been widely attributed to a well-known BNP member, who has denied it [18], and the text is written as if it comes from within C18/NSA ranks. It alleges that those who originally set up C18 are more or less conscious or unconscious MI5 assets. The aims are stated to have been 'using C18 to wreck/disrupt the BNP and entrap national socialists in militant activities that carry big bird'. (p.3) Evidence for these allegations is less than overwhelming, and in one case, concerning the leaking of details about a January 1994 'Blood and Honour' concert in London, contradicts existing information [19]. What is fascinating for our current purposes is that in line with my thesis of October 1994, that it was within MI5's game-plan to supplant the original leadership for their own purposes, this anonymous pamphlet alleges that the original C18 leadership are state agents, and should be replaced. I am not saying this means that the pamphlet is a state production, merely that the call for an internal coup is redolent of my earlier analysis. My view of C18 remains that it was not set up by MI5, but they have sought to influence it, at all levels, so far without signal success [20].

The opinions offered by Searchlight on the key issues are the most contradictory of any available, and that includes those offered by fascists themselves. This is particularly disturbing given the serious nature of the issues involved and Searchlight's continuing grip on media analyses of the far right. For their part, C18 still declare themselves to be 'At War With The British State' [21].

FOOTNOTES

1 Interviews given to The Order, issue 1. April 1993. p. 9 and Terreur d'Elite, issue 4, Autumn 1994.
2 Terreur d'Elite ibid.
3 In my 'At War With The Truth', October 1993. p. 28.
4 See p.xxvi, paragraphs 71 and 72.
5 'Britain's Nazi Underground' in L. Cheles (ed) The Far Right in Western and Eastern Europe, (Longman, second edition, London, 1995).
6 Ibid. p. 262.
7 See (London) Evening Standard and The Independent, 9 December 1993.
8 Gable's contribution to the 1995 book, discussed above, was somewhat similar, saying the "vital question is whether or not the British government and its instruments of law and order will step in to end such dangerous operations and to stop those who control them" -by clear implication and earlier analysis, not the state (p. 266).
9 See my piece in Green Anarchist 38, June 1995, pp. 13-14. Red Action, issue 71, Summer 1995, pp.1-3, was the only other publication to comment in detail on this change of line.
10 'Turning Up the Heat--MI5 after the Cold War', (Phoenix, London, 1994), pp. 68-71. But see National Socialist Vanguard Report, Vol. 12, no. 4 (Oregon, USA) October/December 1994, which makes a careful and spirited defence of Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance against charges of state collaboration laid against them by Covington. Not having seen yet the primary sources to which the NSV report refers, my mind is still open on this episode. If their case against Covington here is correct, then his hurling of false accusations would be just the sort of thing he would do were he an FBI asset, although of course there might be other (sectarian) reasons for doing so.
11 The 1995 book contribution by Gable doesn't refer to Covington being an FBI asset when it would surely have been relevant.
12 Spearhead, September 1995, p. 10. Cf my 'Turning Up The Heat', p. 70.
13 This text is un-numbered, but taking inside front page as page 1, this quote is from page 7.
14 BNP Organiser's Bulletin , December 1993, and British Nationalist, January 1994, p. 7, texts analysed in my 'Turning Up The Heat', pp. 79-82.
15 Spearhead, September 1995, p. 9.
16 Searchlight October 1995, p. 3.
17 Searchlight October 1995 p. 6.
18 Spearhead, October 1995, p. 10
19 pp. 4-5. Tyndall makes the same point in Spearhead, September 1995, p. 10.
20 We should take note of a general downturn in media coverage of C18 recently, and the comment by Duncan Campbell that as far as Scotland Yard Anti-Terrorist Branch is concerned 'Far-right neo-fascist groups such as Combat 18 are not regarded as posing big threats'. The Guardian, 21 August 1995.
21 Title of an article in The Order issue 12, July 1995, pp. 5-8, an article which Searchlight (September 1995, p. 4) absurdly and despicably 'speculated' was written by me.

ANTI-BNP STRATEGY: A PATH NOT TAKEN YET..

Right from the start NFB has watched with trepidation the BNP's stuttering but real advance since Nick Griffin became Chairman in 1999. We have not just analysed, but derived from that analysis strategic suggestions, and we still do. Below is reproduced an article from Notes From the Borderland issue 7 2006 (p.3-4) sadly as relevant (if not more so) now than when it was written. 19/8/10

AS BNP ELECTORAL ADVANCE CONTINUES--NOW IS THE TIME FOR ANTI-FASCIST PLAN B

As the May 2006 council elections fade into memory, it is now opportune to revisit the vexed subject of Britain's largest fascist organisation, the British National Party (BNP), to assess where it leaves them and, more importantly, anti-fascist opponents. The following areas are looked at:

1) How well the BNP did and why.
2) Futile methods of opposition.
3) Some ideas about what successful opposition should include.

THE PROBLEM

Excluding parish councils & such-like which the BNP cheekily include in their total, the BNP currently have 49 seats, give or take two court actions. The England First Party, who entered into a local electoral pact with the BNP, have two in Blackburn. This means a BNP gain of over 30 seats from previously, and they now have over 16 times more seats than all previous fascist parties put together—one for the 1930s BUF, 2 for the 1970s National Party (in Blackburn also). A total of 238,727 votes in 364 wards far eclipses the NF's best ever showing (191,719 votes in 303 constituencies: 1979), and indicates the BNP are likely to better the 192746 votes they got at the 2005 General Election. Within the overall figures, there are variations--most notably in Barking & Dagenham, where the BNP won 12 out of 13 seats contested. Reports have reached me of BNP representatives being harangued by voters about not standing in enough seats! Worryingly, the BNP came second in 79 seats—indicating they are potentially poised to gain at least some in future elections.

Putting to one side successful areas, like Sandwell and Stoke-on-Trent, the underlying picture is still disturbing. In Oldham, where no BNP candidates were elected, they got an average 20% of the vote, and in Sunderland (standing 25 unsuccessful candidates) 15%. Bradford, where only one BNP councillor was elected and two seats were lost, nonetheless saw 16 candidates get 25.5% of the vote (and 8 second places). While there is no certainty the BNP will make further advances, these statistics give the lie to propaganda from the usual suspects that the BNP has been decisively routed in those localities. Taking into account that whatever spin the BNP place on their ethnic relations policies non-whites are unlikely to vote for the party, some of these percentages are frighteningly high. And no fluke--between 1999 and 2004 the BNP's vote in European Elections increased more than five-fold, from 0.9 to 4.9%.

WHY THE BNP DID WELL

Cassandra wasn't too popular in Ancient Greece, and neither will I be for pointing out that many reasons for BNP break-through have already been covered in this very magazine [1], Without going over old ground, the nine reasons given were:

  • Tory failure strategically
  • Labour writing off the working class
  • occupying empty political space
  • improved BNP organisation/image
  • media/Left complacency
  • election frequency helping momentum
  • lack of credible fascist rivals
  • the odd secret state favour
  • inadequate opposition

Most of the above still apply. Specific 2006 circumstances include:

(1) THE MAY 2006 MOMENT

It could be argued (wrongly) that the national political climate prior to the elections uniquely favoured the BNP. Media headlines were dominated by stories concerning the non-deportation of illegal immigrants who had served prison sentences. Though Charles Clarke lost his job as Home Secretary just after the elections over this, its roots went back far further, inasmuch as accurate records have not been kept for 15 years. Did somebody leak this chronic problem to harm New Labour—or even help the BNP...Every day brought a fresh 'prisoner problem' headline. The fact is, though, there were equivalent 1970s scare stories & moral panics (Ugandan Asian immigration/mugging) yet the National Front never broke through. So we must delve a little deeper to explain BNP success. Some, of course, don't want to delve—far easier to shoot the messenger, or amplifier, than come to terms with an uncomfortable message, one they don't like.

(2) HODGE & THE BNP

One straw clutched at by opponents to account for BNP success in Barking & Dagenham was the admission by Employment minister Margaret Hodge weeks before the election, that when knocking on doors "eight out of ten of the white families" announced their intention to vote BNP [2], Media coverage of this was seized on as evidence that "by exaggerating the BNP's hold, they have helped the fascists to spread their poison" [3]. This is beside the point that without fertile ground for the BNP, Hodge wouldn't have made the admission, the media wouldn't have covered it, and votes wouldn't have been cast in their favour. Granted, others had motive for talking up the BNP. On Labour's part, to mobilise disillusioned voters, and on the Tory side (Telegraph/Spectator) to keep David Cameron's 'liberal tendencies' under control [4]

(3) HOUSING ISSUES

Searching beyond Hodge's admission and resultant media frenzy, serious policy problems explain BNP success in East London and elsewhere. Exemplified by three interesting local studies published recently, two from the same source. First is the 2005 Report 'The Far Right in London' [5], with an afterword by John Cruddas Labour MP for Dagenham. Researchers found a correlation between high levels of BNP support and lower middle class voters, and Cruddas got to the heart of the matter. He outlined how New Labour's success is based on appealing to Middle England swing voters—for whom 'social housing' is not an issue, whereas it is locally. Cruddas also pinpointed how "immigrant labour is the axis for the domestic agenda of the government yet it fails to defend the principle of immigration" [6]. Another report (April 2006) from the same group The BNP: the roots of its appeal' [7] found that "a significant minority, as many as 18 to 25% of the population, would consider voting for the BNP even if they do not do currently" [8]. Not all the report is spot on--the BNP strategy chapter buys into the BNP=Nazi/criminal line peddled by Searchlight and their academic Quislings. In a hardly prophetic passage, they state that "even in Barking and Dagenham...the party is disliked and distrusted. The BNP was seen as a racist, anti-immigrant and deceitful party and voting for it an aberrant or embarrassing act" [9]. Yet the BNP won 12 out of 13 seats. A graphic illustration of consequences when academics pontificate outside their competence.

As regards the BNP's success in Barking & Dagenham 'The New East End: Kinship Race & Conflict' [10] is particularly useful. A detailed and empathetic book, it brings out well the resentment felt by the traditional white working-class in Tower Hamlets, especially at family members being excluded from social housing locally. It is many of these family members who have perforce moved to Barking and Dagenham. Predictably, this report's authors have been attacked, unfairly, for "legitimising racism by accepting the argument that Whites in the East End have lost out as the welfare state provides for Bengali immigrants" [11].

(4) LEFT WEAKNESS

Ultimately, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) decision to liquidate itself into the Respect Unity Coalition was a historic mistake. De facto subordinating the universal Leftist agenda to George Galloway MP on the one hand, and a minority ethnic community on the other, is bad news. While Respect commendably did well in Tower Hamlets, they are not competing for the same political space as the BNP. Few Leftists are—the Socialist Unity web-site carries details of where the BNP stood against candidates to the Left of Labour. In 10 contests the Left came out on top, in 14 the BNP did [12], Elsewhere, therefore, in 340 or so seats, the BNP were unchallenged. With the best will in the world, the IWCA, successor to Anti-Fascist Action, isn't directly challenging the BNP either [13].

(5) BNP STRATEGY

The BNP are getting ever more adept at electoral campaigning, and novices receive detailed strategic instructions, including how to 'target wards' as good as anything issued by the Liberal Democrats [14]. The BNP Council Election manifesto is a hybrid, some parts such as LETS schemes and reducing councillor allowances undoubtedly resonated with voters aware of them. Launching the manifesto at a Press Conference including three women was not a new tactic to disarm the media, and thus voters, but effective. Well organised canvassing teams, sophisticated computer technology, and the capacity to issue multiple leaflets, including attack rebuttals--all helped. Nick Griffin's web-log ('Chairman's Column') certainly kept the election momentum going. Momentum being an important facet of BNP strategy right now [15].

HOW NOT TO FIGHT THE BNP

Currently, despite committed activists, weaknesses/omissions hinder much anti-BNP struggle:
1) Plugging the Nazi=criminal label, as exemplified by the front page of Searchlight's tabloid headlined 'The Nazi Assassin...Nazi godfather spills the beans' and the back page on 'Neo-Nazis target England's World Cup Stars'. Pathetic [16],
2) Combining Respect with existing groups like 'Unite Against Fascism'. Two failures don't make even half a success.
3) Denying there are serious issues over Housing, jobs, and council services.
4) Constantly alleging the BNP are/were 'imploding' (see the Lancaster UAF website for daily details).
5) Ludicrously blaming it on Hodge/the media, as in this Searchlight classic "Hodge's ridiculous comments...lit the fuse. The media were never out of the area....Against this backdrop, there was little anti-fascists could do" [17].
6) Now the BNP have significant representation, producing specious arguments about their 'inexperience' and the fact that councils can't change national policies, or having a go at them for not standing in various towns/cities etc [18]. All those things are not insuperable for the BNP, in that they want to change national policies, and expand their numbers. If, along the way, this causes chaos in town halls, as 'revolutionary nationalists' BNP strategists would welcome that.
7) Popular frontism, whereby all other parties line up against the BNP. This only confirms their sense of persecution, and dismissal of opponents as 'in it together'.

SOME POSITIVE IDEAS

Given the dire situation anti-fascists find themselves in, nothing is easy. Again I draw on my article in NFB issue 5 (p.56-7), which outlines a strategy (Plan B) rather more fully than here:
--dropping the term Nazi as description
—-downgrading the obsession with pinning the 'criminal' label on the BNP
--taking the BNP seriously and not automatically assuming they will fadw
-—properly analysing BNP ideology
--exploiting tensions between elected councillors and the rest of the party
--street opposition where apposite
--closing down the BNP's political space, by connecting with legitimate aspirations.

I stand by all of that, and supplement the above list as a matter of urgency with:
1) Detailed analysis of BNP policies and their fascist sub-text. Supplemented with strategic analysis. This hard work is essential. Shallow analyses like that of Copsey, whose work skewed the Democratic Audit Report, are lacking [19],
2) Rigorous examination of the precise weaknesses of UAF/Together strategy.
3) Positive engagement with the Trevor Phillips proposals on national identity, without his emphasis on using the state, or indeed the CRE interfering in elections.
4) Paying attention to housing policy, and expanding Housing Association properties.
5) Placing new arrivals into to the country directly into prosperous neighbourhoods, like Hampstead, rather than already-overburdened (in terms of demand on services) working class areas.

In the end, rather than mere opposition, we need a new social vision, articulating a self-sufficient equitable and sustainable decentralised model applicable to those local working class communities written off by the established political and economic system. Or else we will remain chasing the game—a deadly pursuit antifascists cannot afford to lose.

FOOTNOTES

1 NFB 5 (2003) p.56-57.
2 Sunday Telegraph 16/4/06 (Melissa Kite)
3 Socialist Worker 29/4/06
4 see also The Spectator 15/4/06 (Peter Oborne).
5 'The Far Right in London' Joseph Rowntree Trust (York) 2005. Just ignore Lowles self-serving waste of a few pages.
6 ibid. p.23
7 published by Democratic Audit, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex 2006
8 ibid. p.5
9 ibid. p. 12
10 Geoff Dench, Kate Gavron & Michael Young (Profile/London 2006).
11 'Where Now For antifascists' www.socialistunitynetwork.co'uk/activate/Election2006/bnp03.htm (Andy Newman, Searchlight's representative on earth)
12 'Left Right clashes' Socialist Unity web-site May 2006
13 see Black Flag 225 2005 p.6-11
14 'Guide for Prospective BNP Candidates' (internal publication)
15 Voice of Freedom May 2006 p. 12
16 see NFB 6 p.33
17 'It was the media that won it' stopthebnp web-site 6/5/06.
18 Andy Newman (op. cit.) is interesting but nonetheless plays all these tunes.
19 see my review of Copsey 'The BNP & the Quest for legitimacy' (Palgrave 2004) & the far better Alan Sykes 'The Radical Right in Britain' (Palgrave 2005) in Lobster 49 Summer 2005 p.30-32. For my alternative see NFB 6 p.33 and in rather greater detail 'Striding the Paths to Power?' (2005/unpublished)

REVIEW: DAVE RENTON 'FASCISM: THEORY & PRACTICE

This article first appeared in Lobster magazine issue 38 Winter 1999 p.39-41

review of 'Fascism: Theory and Practice' Pluto 1999 £9.99 by Larry O'Hara

This book has been touted in some areas as a radical, new contribution to the study of fascism; and it is certainly well-packaged and cheap. To start with the good points which, although few, are important: if you want to know who the current academic theorists on modern fascism are - Griffin (not Nick, Roger), Payne, Sternhell, Eatwell - then Renton provides a passable summary of their views. He does the same for an oft-neglected group, Marxist theorists of fascism, going beyond the obvious to include the likes of Karl Korsch (though not Otto Ruhle). Renton is also right to warn that, contrary to the view of many historians, fascism is not just a phenomenon of the past but is still (potentially) a threat today. Furthermore, if it needs restating - and in some academic circles it does - he recites statistical chapter and verse on how the Italian Fascists and German Nazis served capitalist interests (ch.3). Inasmuch as some claim fascism was socialist, he is right to emphasise that it was not (p.26); and that contrary to ingenious claims by some academics, fascists have characteristically found their allies on the Right not Left (p.27).

He is also correct to stress that fascism is not just a set of ideas but has also to be looked at in practice. Renton has also noticed, and rightly draws attention to, the disturbing metamorphosis of the formerly radical Left journal Telos to the radical Right, embracing a concern with European ethnic identity.

Thus far, you might think the book is useful; and up to a point it certainly is. In these de-politicised times, some truths need restating, and the list above includes some of them. However, anybody reading this book for new insights into either the theory of fascism, or its practice, will be badly disappointed. Not that Renton doesn't try to say something new (or at least give that impression). This is his definition: 'fascism should not be understood primarily as an ideology, but as a specific form of reactionary mass movement' (emphasis in original, p.3). All very well and good, but what is the nature of this 'specific form'? Merely that it has a "defining ambition to crush the organised working class and to eradicate the reforms won by decades of peaceful struggle", (p.101) This, I would remind him, could equally well characterise both Thatcherism and the New Labour project. 'Reaction' in Renton's shaky hands is merely shorthand for people whose views he and the SWP leadership (before whom he genuflects) don't like.

In case you think I'm a bit harsh on his definition, consider this gem, from somebody who, according to the back cover, has 'made a key contribution to a wide-ranging and heated debate'. It is Renton's counsel that 'it is pointless to waste time in choosing in precise detail which ideas are fascist and which are not' (p. 101). But it is not pointless at all: it is of vital importance to understand in order to oppose real fascist mutations; and to avoid condemning and/or opposing non-fascists by misapplication of the term.

Renton gets into trouble because he does not understand even the most basic relationship between ideology and practice. He is so consumed by the need to declare his opposition to fascism at every turn that he paints a false picture, claiming historians who take fascists' ideas seriously have a positive view of them (pp.2 and 24). While this may be true for some - AJ. Gregor and S. Cullen, for example - this sweeping attack on academics is totally unjustified. Indeed, his misrepresentation (without evidence) of Martin Durham as someone who 'portrays fascism as a feminist movement' (p.2) is probably libellous.

While he puts himself forward as a Marxist, the genuine path-breaking contribution of Tim Mason to the Marxist analysis of fascism is something Renton shows little sign of understanding, let alone using. Rather than answer the serious questions Mason posed for co-Marxists (and others) about the Holocaust, the motivations of Nazis, the instability of the Nazi regime, and the suicidal autonomy of the state apparatus from 1938 on, all Renton has to say is that Mason's assertion of the 'primacy of politics... comes close to delinking the connection between capital and fascism' (p.93). No, Mr Renton, he does not. Rather he raises important theoretical and political questions about what the practice of the Nazi state does for/to vulgar Marxist categorisations.

Renton makes the ludicrous claim that 'if there is one area in which Marxists have developed genuinely new theories after 1933, it is in the study of the Holocaust' (p.91). Would that were so! While Norman Finkelsein's critique of the Daniel Goldhagen thesis that all Germans were responsible for the Holocaust is well summarised, and as far as it goes accurate, this misses the central point that, contrary to Renton's representation, the Holocaust was not a 'rational state policy' (p.97) even if it was deliberate. It does not easily fit into a Marxist perspective, something which Marxists of the calibre of Deutscher - and Mason - had the humility to accept and be troubled by.

Renton's presentation of Trotsky as the ultimate theorist on fascism is a fatuous hypothesis: he was merely less wrong than the Stalinists, but as equally uncomprehending of the basic ideological motivations of fascism as most other Marxists.

It is sad that a self-proclaimed Marxist like Renton should, contra Marx, so resolutely refuse to allow empirical evidence to influence his theories, except as insubstantial and contradictory adornments. Take, for instance, his references to the British National Front. By the mid-1980s according to Renton, 'the organisation was in a state of utter collapse' (p.7). Might I suggest Renton actually examines the articles I wrote for Lobster on the NF in the 1983-86 period and actually attempt to refute them - maybe even with just a sliver of evidence? As is usual with someone who has little knowledge of the Far Right (but worrying in someone who affects such a knowledge), Renton shows no understanding that between the election of British National Party Councillor Derek Beackon in late 1993 and his loss of the seat in mid-1994, the British National Party vote actually increased.

Beyond these shores, when it comes to contemporary fascism, he is equally ignorant, showing not that slightest grasp of the predominant organisational form the Far Right takes in the US (p.11); and he is just as remiss in the case of contemporary Germany. On p.8 he draws attention to the DVU (German People's Union) gaining 13% of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt in May 1998, while telling us on p. 114 that the Republikaner were stopped by mass protests......in 1992. In which case, on this evidence, one fascist group merely replaced another - hardly compelling proof of anti-fascist success.

In 150 pages Renton has not one word to say about the disturbing influence some fascist groups have in Eastern Europe. Is this because he is afraid of finding out that maybe not all fascism, or even all aspects of fascism, are reducible to classical capitalism? The task of any serious anti-fascist investigator is to research what actually is, without fear or favour, rather than impose preordained limits on what can be studied and what not.

As to Renton's conclusion, where he purports to outline an anti-fascist strategy devised by the luminaries of the SWP leadership and the massed ranks of the Anti-Nazi League, a genuine and actually-existing organisation, Anti-Fascist Action, has witheringly disposed of his claims in that area (in Fighting Talk issue 22, October 1999 pp.10-11).

Two final observations. First, I am sure the editor of Lobster will allow Renton access to these pages to to defend himself and his book. However, the publication Searchlight to which Renton is now a frequent contributor, where he and other academics in its orbit happily simulate a free exchange of ideas, does not allow me an equivalent right of reply or intervention. That is because, as he well knows, Searchlight has defined me as a fascist/Combat 18 associate/drug smuggler/stalker etc. When he exercises his 'democratic rights' in some future Lobster, he should not lose sight of that. Indeed, I would welcome his comments on this matter and the self-proclaimed closeness of Searchlight to the secret state - a proper topic for a real 'antifascist historian'. If Renton doesn't believe in studying British fascists or their ideas, how about the study of self-proclaimed 'anti-fascists'?

 

9/11 CULTWATCH PRESS RELEASE 2008

PRESS RELEASE

17 September 2008
To: All News Outlets
From: 9/11 Cultwatch

Resist 9/11 Conspiracy Theories 

This month has seen a concerted push for respectability by the 9/11 ‘truth’ movement.

Around the seventh anniversary of the attacks in New York, some more ostensibly rational ‘truth’ activists such as Ian Henshall, Belinda McKenzie and Ian Neal, along with the ex-MI5 spy Annie Machon, are looking to hang out in press rooms and have attempted to buy major advertising space in at least one national newspaper.

Whilst cloaked in the language of opponents of US/UK foreign policy (among which we include ourselves) it should be understood that behind their charm offensive are the all too familiar shrill voices and oddballs who tell us 9/11 was carried out by the US government, Mossad, beam weapons, remote control planes, controlled demolition etc. etc.

The ‘truth’ movement seeks to rebrand itself under the banner of ‘Reopen 9/11’ and ‘Make War History’ because people were repelled by the absurd arguments, cult like behaviour and rampant anti-semitism that characterised their previous incarnation – the UK and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement. 

Perhaps most worryingly of all the 9/11 truth movement has spawned mutant offspring, with theories looking to blame anyone but the actual perpetrators of subsequent terrorist outrages such as the 2004 Madrid bombings, the July 2005 London bombings and even the attack on Glasgow Airport. Any future bombings will no doubt be explained away in the same manner.

What price social cohesion if we cannot even recognise the challenge events like 7/7 pose to all our communities?

Encouragingly some former activists are beginning to see the danger of the 9/11 ‘truth’ movement. One such person, Mick Meaney, comments:

"In my experience, the truth movement provides a safe haven for anti-Semitism and is a breeding ground for ludicrous theories that only serve to divert attention away from the valid concerns about the War on Terror and the erosion of our civil liberties.

“shills” or other government agents, making the problem almost impossible to combat as those in prominent positions refuse to acknowledge its disturbing presence.Heidi Svenson, on behalf of 9/11 Cultwatch, London. http://paulstott.typepad.com/911cultwatch/

Notes to Editors

You can find out more about 9/11 Cultwatch at http://www.911cultwatch.org.uk/ or the related blog

Mick Meaney is editor of RINF Alternative News. See www.rinf.com ’Hara and Paul Stott of 9/11 Cultwatch at 0777-5964367 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 0773-2719663 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. respectively. Both men have been observing the truth movement, often at depressingly close quarters, for a number of years.

You can contact Dr Larry O

"During my involvement with the truth movement I have seen first hand racism and prejudice towards the Jewish people. Influential members of the movement will often label those who oppose this fascism as

"Attacks against those who refuse to share their conspiracy theories have become all too common as journalists, terrorist attack victims (and their families), politicians and members of the public have been subjected to harassment, insults and slurs. What could have once been a credible campaign for justice and freedom has festered into a shameful display of aggression, racism and ignorance."

?

CONSPIRACY THEORY & THE 9/11 CULT--A STORY

Conspiracy Theories

I get a phone call at midnight and go to meet my handler in an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of a nearby town.

He has a message straight from the top. Silently, they hand over a sheet of paper with a message composed of words cut out of newspaper articles.

Silently I read it, “You must write an article on conspiracy theorists, they are getting too close to the truth. We must stop them”.

I nodded to show that I accepted the assignment and the piece of paper crumbled into dust.

Cover ups, secret agendas, agents, shadowy figures, smoke-filled rooms, clandestine organisations and the real terrifying truth. Together these ingredients make an exciting combination that goes some way to explaining the enduring attraction of conspiracy theories.

They’ve been around for centuries and show no sign of disappearing. On the contrary, the advent of the internet has only caused them to multiply and mutate into ever-stranger views of the world. In recent years both the anti-globalisation and the anti-war movement have proved fertile ground for the growth of conspiracy theories. When groups like the G8 are holding closed meetings to decide the policy of major governments it isn’t hard to believe that there are secret groups engaged in conspiracies all over the world.

The current conspiracy theories gaining currency are those surrounding the events of September 11th 2001. These vary from arguing that the US government, or elements within it, allowed 9/11 to happen or that they orchestrated and carried out the attacks themselves. Following on from this are ever more bizarre arguments that there were no planes, the twin towers were hit by a missile, there were no Jews at work that day, etc. All of these are encapsulated in a variety of organisations that comprise the 9/11 truth movement who are united on little apart from a refusal to accept the official account of events and an unshakeable conviction they alone know the truth.

The UK branch of this movement is the 9/11 Truth Campaign. It’s a slick, increasingly high-profile organisation with films that neatly explain world events and appeals to vague anarchist ideas of opposition to the state. Piggy-backing on the anti-war movement 9/11 conspiracy theories have been gaining adherents all across the country and organisations promoting these theories now have a regular presence at radical events. A good indicator of the size of any radical group is whether they have a group in Cumbria, where little political ever happens, and the 9/11 Truth Campaign do have a well-established group here.

It’s an organisation that is frequently labelled by its critics as being a ‘cult’. Notes from the Borderland Magazine, who are behind ‘9/11 Cultwatch’, accuse it of having a rigid belief system, aggressive proselytising, hostility to outsiders, intimidation of critics and near devotion to charismatic leaders. All of this is behaviour characteristic of a cult organisation.

My own experiences of the 9/11 Truth Campaign has done little to dent the impression that they are becoming an odd cult.

I’ve always had my suspicions of the campaign. Much of their arguments, particularly on the internet, focus on simply listing links to other 9/11 truth campaigns, links to videos. Finally there are the exhortations to ‘challenge authority’, as if the radical left doesn’t aim to do that anyway, and ‘wake up’.

Having been told that they make regular appearances at anti-war events on the anti-war march February 24th me and a mate handed out about a dozen leaflets from ‘9/11 Cultwatch’ to anyone who appeared to be from the campaign.

Let’s examine how they react when they meet with anyone questioning the movement.

While at the time they accepted and read the leaflets carefully a few days later I was emailed a link to an internet thread on their website discussing what had occurred at the march. Apparently some, “brain-washed”, “spotty youth” who was probably in the pay of MI5 had been handing them leaflets. Furthermore, there will be, “BIG TROUBLE”, if the same teenager does it again. Charming aren’t they?

It is baffling that such a small gesture of opposition and questioning generates such a reaction. One poster even ridiculed the leaflets as being from, “a small group of ultra-paranoid loons”. This coming from people who think teenagers handing them leaflets are being paid to do it by the intelligence services.

Reading through their website what is disturbing is the zeal with which they carry out their self-appointed task. They imagine they are battling a gargantuan conspiracy unprecedented in human history and anyone who offers the slightest criticism of this is condemned with ridiculous, baseless accusations. Even a couple of teenagers handing out leaflets is seized upon as yet more evidence of the evil secret state battling these nobles paragons of truth when in actual fact I imagine MI5 think the 9/11 Truth Campaigners are harmless idiots.

The basic assumption is that whatever opposition they face is not that people don’t believe them but because they are being paid or forced to oppose them by people in positions of power who are becoming worried. Anyone who doesn’t find their slim evidence utterly compelling are smeared as secret state agents.

The fearless investigators of dark secrets at the 9/11 Truth Campaign are so obsessed with seeing the hand of the security services behind any and every terrorist atrocity that they fail to pay any attention to the two ex-MI5 agents who are running their campaign! The word ‘ironic’ doesn’t even come close.

The prominence of ex-MI5 agents David Shayler and Annie Machon, who is described as 'Secretary, UK & Ireland 9/11 Truth’, in the campaign has never been explained properly. As late as early 2005 Machon was still blaming Al-Qaeda for carrying out the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Similarly in 2003 Shayler was blaming the failures of the intelligence services for 9/11 rather than blaming the intelligence services themselves for 9/11.

Going by the logic of conspiracy theorists surely if there was a movement very close to uncovering one of the greatest conspiracies of all time then the shadowy forces of the secret state would have infiltrated the movement. Completely co-incidentally the job of both Machon and Shayler at MI5 was infiltrating radical groups like the Socialist Workers’ Party. Funny that.

That ex-spies who have never come clean about their past and spent their careers spying on the movement they now claim to be a part of are given prominent positions in the 9/11 Truth Campaign indicates how serious these people are about investigating the secret state.

Rather than 9/11 itself we need to be asking questions about 9/11 truth campaigns. If the American and British governments, 7/7 and 9/11 conspiracy theories go hand in hand, were really responsible for huge terrorist attacks against their own citizens then why have they behaved so nicely towards the 9/11 truth movement? No-one has been mysteriously silenced, the organisation hasn’t been harassed and they carry out their activities largely unhindered. Surely if these people had uncovered a terrifying, gigantic plot then the state would be furiously attacking them and government experts would be wheeled out to desperately try and disprove their ideas.

That they haven’t suggests that the people in positions of power consider the various 9/11 ‘truth’ organisations to be harmless, to them at least.

The harm that they can do, and all conspiracy theorists can do, is to the anarchist and socialist left whose ideas are discredited by association. When we link up with organisations that admire David Icke, people who believe ‘Zionists’ attacked the twin towers or that the Freemasons run the world we look ridiculous. People simply laugh at us and it allows our opponents to dismiss us as hysterical cranks.

Apart from embarrassing us and discrediting our ideas conspiracy theories encourage ideas that are opposed to the radical political traditions of anarchism and Marxism.

Conspiracy theories like those peddled by the 9/11 Truth Campaign suggests that the state has an omnipotent power and that our rulers are almost super-human, capable of anything. This is a damaging myth. The most powerful state in the world, the US, couldn’t cover up Watergate or the Iran-Contra scandal. The British government couldn’t cover up the collaboration with loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland. What is there to suggest they have the capability to carry out and cover up a huge terrorist attack on their own cities?

In reality our governments are incompetent. The British government can’t even set up a computer system in the NHS without the project falling behind schedule, the budget spiralling upwards and all the embarrassing details leaked to the press. We can and must challenge our governments as they are not all-powerful behemoths against who all opposition is futile.

More importantly, conspiracy theories teach us that to change the world all we need to do is convert others and help them see the ‘truth’. Once people have seen through the lies then the conspiracy will be overthrown. This is nonsense.

For example let’s imagine it’s true that the US government was responsible for the atrocities on 9/11. According to recent surveys cited by the 9/11 Truth Campaign 1 in 3 Americans already believes that this is the case. And what has happened? Has global capitalism been shaken to its foundations? Has the Bush administration been toppled? Has a secret cabal controlling world affairs been uncovered?

These are important questions for all advocates of conspiracy theories. A significant minority of the population believes in a conspiracy theory that, if true, has enormous implication and surprise, surprise nothing has changed. Massive demonstrations haven’t forced out the US government, the world isn’t quaking with revolutions in the Western world. There hasn’t even been another investigation into 9/11.

We must not be naïve about the role of the British state and all capitalist governments. When threatened the British state reacts ruthlessly regardless of the niceties of modern liberal democracy, just ask the people of Northern Ireland. All states do. Even the famously neutral Swiss government operated Projekt 26 a secret ‘stay-behind’ army that operated outside governmental control and spied on Swiss citizens.

Investigating the actions of the secret state is conspiracy theory territory but it is a vital area of research. It badly needs rescuing from people who are willing to blame anything and everything on mysterious, hidden groups (or the Jews) without a shred of evidence that stands up to scrutiny. The dominance of conspiracy theorists in this area lets governments to dismiss any real revelations of their illegal, immoral and dodgy activities as precisely that, conspiracy theories to be ignored or laughed at.

Conspiracy theories are very damaging for opponents to capitalism and for this reason are ultimately reactionary politics. They help foster the illusion that there’s nothing really wrong with our system. Things would be fine except that there is this secret group of people who manipulate things for their own benefit. All we need to do is expose this conspiracy and get rid of these people and everything will be alright.

The reality is that there is no-one in charge. No secret group masterminding world events. Powerful individuals and small groups do not control the forces of history. Under capitalism the working class is in thrall to the alienating power of capital that dominates our planet not the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Jews or even the Bush administration. The madness of capitalism is like a car accelerating towards a cliff edge, and there is no-one in the driving seat. This is our enemy not some ill-defined group controlling world events from behind the scenes.

But don’t take the word of a spotty brainwashed MI5 agent for it. Ask questions of conspiracy theorists. Ask them what will change if we all believe their theory, ask them how devoting your time to spreading it will bring about a better world and ask them if poverty, war, oppression, inequality and exploitation will be ended if everyone believes this theory.

Remember, question everything.

THE 9/11 CULT: DEFINITION & ANALYSIS

The world of cults, and the study of them, is a complex one,  as even a cursory glance at the Wikipedia entry shows.  Furthermore, while most cults are religious or quasi-spiritual, the 9/11 cult is definitely secular.  In that sense not all extant literature can simplistically 'explain' the 9/11 Truth movement.  The methodology adopted here uses the Weberian 'ideal-type'--in other words, not expecting every single aspect of 9/11 'Truth' to correspond to accepted sociological definitions, but arguing that correspondence to a majority of accepted criteria is sufficient in this imperfect world to make the provisional label of 'cult' fruitful.  Those interested in exploring the academic background further can follow up references cited--and supply us with more.  It is worth stating at the outset we did not start out with a pre-determined intent to apply the label.  Instead, we began with a brutal and unsettling experience--the disgraceful 9/11 intervention at the 2005 Anarchist Bookfair, mentioned on the Home page.  The level of  intolerance, concerted barracking and closed minded initimidation was astounding to us.  While (for example) you would get far greater violence at a fascist/anti-fascist interface, you would historically expect that.  In this case, by contrast, the ostensible 9/11 cult purpose wasn't to disrupt the Bookfair, but to proselytise.  It is true those attending were an activist minority expecting trouble--or as Fran Trutt put it prior to the event "Shayler...may need some support as some people are hostile towards him".  However, key activists are useful research material for ascertaining the movement's 'core' identity--or at least the nature of those at its heart.  We are particularly interested in whether antics of 9/11 cultists overseas are similar to those here.  And reiterate, once again, there is a massive difference between those studying aspects of 9/11 and 9/11 cultists--but the latter run the misleadingly-named UK 9/11 Truth Campaign.         

DEFINITION & ANALYSIS

1) Rigid belief system

The claim 9/11 can only be properly understood from within the group's mindset--assertions about explosives pre-placed inside the WTC, US government complicity, the Pentagon being hit by a missile rather than a plane on 9/11--these tenets and similar are integral core beliefs.  It is not permissible, within the cult, to question such--doing so immediately excludes the person.

2) Intense activism/aggressive proselytising

Not an exclusive characteristic, patently.  However, the messianic and intolerant zeal displayed does make these people stand out somewhat.  A nasty variant of the aggression was the practised spook tactic (unsuccessfully) employed by Machon at the 2005 Anarchist Book Fair of trying to goad--by posture/insulting language--opponents into violence so she could play 'victim'.

3) Advancing non-falsifiable propositions

In vernacular language, there is no amount of evidence that can shake these people in their beliefs--and despite claims they seek 'truth', they want nothing of the sort--merely one-sided information that bolsters their conclusions (premises).  As one incisive (US) source of comment stated "no evidence, of any kind, has been found that gives any evidence that the government planned or organised these conspiracies.  No documents have been found...Nobody involved in these alleged conspiracies has stepped forward".  To the cult believer, this mundane statement is intrinsically ludicrous, if not malevolent.  We disagree, but concur with  remarks by US commentator Bill Weinberg that "the endemic sloppiness of the self-styled 'researchers' is delegitimising the entire project of critiquing the 'official version'.  The ostentatiously named 'Truth movement' is not clearing the air, but muddying the water".  That may well be the idea, of course, in some quarters.  Fundamentally though, the fact that 'anything goes' and the most elementary rules of evidence do not apply in the cult's discourse is disturbing, to put it mildly.

4) Exclusivism

An inelegant word, denoting the idea that the only way of approaching 9/11 is through the prism of cult belief.  Alexander Cockburn memorablystates that "I meet people who start quietly, asking me 'what I think about 9/11?'.  What they are actually trying to find out is whether I'm part of the coven.  I imagine it was like being a Stoic in the second century AD going for a stroll in the Forum and meeting some fellow asking, with seeming casualness, whether it's possible to feed 5,000 people on five loaves of bread and a couple of fish".  Those who 'believe' see themselves as uniquely privileged, having found the one world issue key to everything else--all others subordinate.  An unflattering term for this reductionism is monomania. 

5) Leadership deification/elitist decision-making

Traditionally, cult leaders are charismatic to some degree and exercise great power, able to act in ways unacceptable in followers.  Inasmuch as the 9/11 cult is ostensibly a loose federation, with few central resources, this criterion cannot straightforwardly apply.  However, cultists display a naivety staggering on the sycophantic in uncritically accepting the bona fides of real-live ex-MI5 spooks Machon & Shayler.  In practice, the pair have a substantial hold over the weak-willed celebrity-obsessed inadequates nominally at the helm.  Some, however, are perceptive enough to discern not all is quite right.  Michael Meaney recounted how it "was made perfectly clear that there is no real central body governing the actions of the movement, instead it is made up of people and groups throughout the country working independently".  Meaney became uncomfortable later  when at a subsequent demonstration "protesters were instructed by Annie Machon and David Shayler that this was to be a silent protest and told the sheeple to put down banners, posters etc when the families came out" (of the US Embassy).  Machon's rejoinder that a "silent demo" was part of the "terms I applied under when I asked the police for 'permission' to demonstrate" moves us into surreal territory--especially her observation that the "Met will be more relaxed when we next want to demonstrate".  We bet they will, in a campaign so palpably under the control of spooks!

6) Use of thought-terminating cliches

The 9/11 cult has a rich variety, mostly transatlantic in origin.  A 'shill' is anybody they disagree with, who is thereby an implied spook (being an actual spook is no problem as the Machon/Shayler dominance shows).  Then there is 'limited hang-out', to describe people who agree on some facts but don't buy the whole package.  Webster Tarpley Griffin has a language all his own, involving 'moles', patsies and such like.  'Sheeple' is another derogatory term, used about people who disagree.  A favourite phrase is 'Gatekeeper', handily divided into Right and Left Gatekeepers.  In the UK, perhaps reflecting a relative lack of sophistication, a characteristic 9/11 cult response to critics is psychiatric-style abuse.  Thus, two particularly challenged individuals--Keith Parkin & Tony Gosling pepper their language with references to insanity/asylums/ delusions/lunatics/lunatic rantings/mental illness and so on.  All this in an internet exchange where the two originally denied the contents of an encounter outside the 2005 Book Fair which was later conceded, but with no grace.  The debate was also insightful for precipitating UK Cultists into the local variant of 'shill'--the accusation critics are working for the spooks.   

7) Bizarre beliefs/conspiracist mind-set

It is sadly the case that (as shown by David Shayler's interview in New Statesman 11/9/06), and the toleration of David Icke's anti-Jewish ravings, that the distemper of anti-semitism and other variants of racism incubate within the 9/11 cult.  Bill Weinberg has usefully pointed this out in relation to Holocaust denier Eric Hufschmidt and the xenophobic Alex Jones (a Shayler groupie, or is that vice versa?).  The aforementioned Tony Gosling is somebody whose ravings about the Bilderburg group can be construed as anti-semitic, despite his denials.  The glee with which UK cultists seized upon supposed Israeli Embassy prior knowledge of the 7/7/05 London bombs can certainly be perceived in this light.  Ever more ludicrous claims about holograms (instead of planes) on 9/11, pods/drones/missiles hitting the Pentagon/WTC, disappearing planes and passengers-- all these can be seen as fantasies, albeit ones serving the US secret state very well indeed.

REFERENCES

Donna Ferentes '10 characteristics of Conspiracy Theorists' (Urban 75)

Dennis Tourish 'Ideological Intransigence, Democratic Centralism & Cultism' (1997)

Wikipedia 'Cult'

MACHON & SHAYLER TARGET BRITISH AND IRISH 9/11 CAMPAIGNERS

INTRODUCTION

The following piece, which first appeared in Notes From the Borderland issue 7 2006 (p.13-17) was our first attempt to explore what was then Machon & Shayler's new sphere of operation/infiltration, the wacky world of the 9/11 & 7/7 cults. Whatever else their intervention in this field signifies, it was/is emphatically not a search for truth. Nothing new from spooks there then. Needless to say, not one argument below has ever been answered/refuted. No surprise there either. Enjoy

THE CUCKOOS CHANGE NESTS--MACHON & SHAYLER TARGET BRITISH AND IRISH 9/11 CAMPAIGNERS
by Paul Stott and Heidi Svenson (copyright NFB 2006)

"Unlike some other former intelligence officers, he is not prone to confirming or encouraging wild conspiracy theories. And he understands the importance of not releasing genuine security and state secrets. He never disclosed, not even privately, names of MI5 agents or ongoing sensitive operations". Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding praise David Shayler in the preface to their 1999 book 'Defending the Realm-MI5 and the Shayler Affair" [1].

Previous issues of NFB have analysed the on-going trajectory of former MI5 officers David Shayler and Annie Machon. In particular, we raised concerns at the unquestioning welcome given to them by many on the fast dwindling British Left, and queried the repeated ducking and diving by both Shayler and Machon when anyone questions either their credentials or conduct [2].

Three significant events have occurred since NFB 6:
First--May 2005 saw the publication of 'Spies, Lies & Whistleblowers--MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair' by Annie Machon [3]. This book is the most detailed statement to date by either Shayler or Machon.
Second--June 21st 2005 saw David Shayler belatedly accept the gauntlet thrown down by NFB editor Dr Larry O'Hara, and debate with him at London's Conway Hall [4].
Third--and our main focus in this article--Shayler and Machon have shifted away from the British left and anti-war movements, to instead become leading figures among the writers and activists who reject the American and British government view of exactly what happened in New York on September 11 2001.

Robin Ramsay outlined in Lobster magazine how a whole industry has rapidly developed out of the 9/11 ashes. Putting "9/11" and "conspiracy" into Google gets 6 million hits [5]. Amongst the myriad books, DVDs, web-sites and conferences are a range of opinions too numerous to list here. As the American government continues to use what happened on 9/11 to justify an expansionist foreign policy, interest in 9/11 is unlikely to fade in the near future.

THE ORIGINAL SHAYLER/MACHON 9/11 LINE

At the time of the attack on the Twin Towers, David Shayler had been out of MI5 for five years, and was attempting to make a living as writer and communicator, usually on matters pertaining to the security services. As Hollingsworth and Fielding outlined in their 1999 book, Shayler's primary critique of MI5 was that it was too bureaucratic, old fashioned and inefficient for the task of defending the United Kingdom. This was a theme Shayler continued in late September 2001, when he warned Sunday Express readers that future 9/11s could only be avoided if the security services were updated. Shayler is quoted as saying "Our lives will continue to be put at risk by inefficient security services...it could be the difference between 5000 dead and people behind bars" [6]. Showing he believed 9/11 was a case of secret state incompetence, not malevolence.

Mail on Sunday readers had earlier been treated, similarly, to Shayler's view that the security services inability to work together, plus elitist recruiting policies, ensured future terrorist attacks could not be prevented [7].

Despite a high media profile for David Shayler in both 2001 and 2002 (when he was briefly jailed for breaching the Official Secrets Act by passing stolen MI5 documents to the Mail on Sunday) and increasing interest in Annie Machon from the British media, they expressed no public concern or doubts about the official narrative of the September 11th attacks.

In 2003 long term Shayler collaborators Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding rewrote their 1999 book, giving it the new title of 'Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and the War on Terrorism' [8]. This continued Shayler's theme of national security being undermined by by a security service that had failed to adapt to the post-cold war world. Somewhat shamelessly they criticise the fact that in the UK "Islamist radicals were able to organise and operate for years with impunity" [9], a failing neither they nor David Shayler appeared concerned about in the first edition.

Discussing security matters in 2003, Shayler maintained his standard line, consistent with his submission to the Cabinet Office review of the security services, arguing MI5 is "too wedded to the past and the bureaucracy is still too rigid and cumbersome" [10]. In the books's pictures section, a shot of the twin towers had the following caption: "the devastating attack on the twin towers of the WTC is widely regarded as a failure of intelligence".

A new chapter in the 2003 book, looking at how MI5 failed to get to grips with Al Qaeda, is credited to Nick Fielding, and appears to have been written with little, if any, significant input from either Shayler or Machon.

In 2003, therefore, David Shayler appears to have consistently taken the view that the American and British security services needed to modernise to better fight Islamic terrorists, who wished to perpetrate devastating terrorist attacks against the West. This view is also compatible with that of David Shayler's old MI5 supervisor and girlfriend, Annie Machon, in a book he was quite happy to tell people in conversation on 21/6/05 he had written, 'Spies Lies & Whistleblowers'. This 2005 book praises FBI whistleblower, Coleen Rowley, saying after her actions the "US has reorganised its agencies to ensure that in future intelligence is properly shared and exploited" [11]. The inference of this comment is clear--9/11 happened because intelligence wasn't properly shared or exploited, but this had now (by 2005) been resolved, with the US intelligence agencies constructively moving in the right direction. Again, no hint of malevolent pre-planning here. She further states that Al Qaeda taking over Libya in 1996 would have got them "the ability to launch many more attacks like 11 September"--clearly indicating Machon still blamed Al Qaeda for 9/11 in early 2005 [12].

9/11: THE RANGE OF VIEWS

The official government version is the USA was attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists. Such an attack could not have been envisaged or prevented. The original Shayler/Machon line, to the extent it deviates at all from the that, loosely corresponds to the first of the three main 9/11 alternative hypotheses.

1) Incompetence--that the US security services were poor at their job, allowing a group of better motivated, able terrorists to attack America. This could perhaps be seen as an articulation of the cock up, rather than conspiracy, theory of history.

2) LIHOP--Letting it happen on purpose. Put simply, the authorities were aware of an imminent attack on America, but 9/11 was allowed to happen as it would enable the US neo-Conservatives to better meet their political goals.

3) MIHOP--Making it happen on purpose. This view centres on the belief that the Americans either co-ordinated or to some degree directed the 9/11 attacks, to ensure that they happened. This would then pave the way for the same ourcome as above--a clear political field for the neo-Cons and the US military [13].

In both the US and UK, the political left has tended to shy away from openly embracing any of the three positions above, preferring instead to concentrate on politically exposing the consequences of 9/11--the American invasion of Afghanistan, and later, the US led invasion of Iraq. No doubt there will be further opposition to any future moves on Iran.

STOPPING THE STOP THE WAR COALITION?

In Britain both David Shayler and Annie Machon joined the 'Stop the War Coalition'. who eventually organised (to absolutely no effect) the biggest political demonstration in British history, when an estimated 1.5 million people marched in London on 15 February 2003 to oppose any invasion of Iraq. In their history of the Stop the War Coalition, Andrew Murray and Lindsay German make clear the organisation's view of 9/11 "Flying hijacked aircraft into the World Trade Centre was an atrocity. The Stop the War Coalition condemned it...There is no room for pointless conspiracy theories--9/11 was not carried out by the US government or by Israel's Mossad" [14].

Another writer involved with this book was none other than David Shayler, who commented on what he saw as "the disproportionate response to 9/11" leading to a war between two world leaders "motivated by religious hatred" (presumably he means Bush and Bin Laden). Use of the word 'disproportionate' is interesting here, implying, again, that the attacks were carried out by some force external to the US state, and certainly not under their control. Shayler was in no doubt that a political solution was available to those concerned about what was happening in the world. "The Stop the War Coalition is the only organisation that is dedicated to changing the destructive policies of the Bush-Blair axis. It is a broad-based non-aligned movement with mass support". Shayler warns us to defend human life and democracy "we can only do that by banding together against the 'forces of darkness' under the aegis of the Stop the War Coalition" [15]. Given the times Shayler claims to have been misquoted by the press, NFB stresses these words have come from Shayler's own pen.

THE LINE CHANGES

During 2005 both David Shayler and Annie Machon switched emphasis away from anti-war activities per se towards far more of a concentration on 9/11. They dramatically abandoned their previous viewpoints on 9/11, and in a few short months became leading figures in the movement condemning official positions on the terror attacks. This culminated in Machon being appointed as Secretary of the 9/11 Truth Campaign (Britain and Ireland) on 18 February 2006. What happened, and why?

As can be seen above, at the time of the March 2005 publication of 'Stop the War' Shayler was almost misty-eyed in his devotion to the STWC. It was, indeed, "the only organisation defending human life and democracy". Annie Machon, in her May 2005 book comments that "Anyone with any knowledge of counter-terrorism knew the risks of invading Iraq. The Joint Intelligence Committee even warned Blair that it could lead to an increase in terrorist activity. David and I have been active in the Stop the War Coalition for precisely these reasons" [16]. During the Conway Hall debate 21 June 2005, David Shayler mentioned the STWC, as victims of state surveillance. He claimed that "on one occasion I was on the phone to Stop the War, and I clicked the line shut, opened it again, and my conversation was being played back. This indicated to me MI5 were interested in Stop the War Coalition" [17]. Interestingly, several questions from the floor speculated as to the honesty of the relationship between the Socialist Workers Party (one of the main groups in STWC) and British Muslim organisations. This to a backdrop of Muslim communities under intense surveillance from the security services. Annie Machon, as an MI5 officer formerly responsible for running agents in the SWP, is arguably uniquely placed to answer questions on this.

During Summer 2005, with the book containing their original views hot off the press, David Shayler and Annie Machon appear to have dramatically rethought their views on STWC, and campaigning generally. Come the October 25th Anarchist Bookfair, Shayler talked about the STWC in remarkable terms. Knowing that if he approached the Bookfair organisers wishing to speak at the event he would almost certainly be turned down (for some reason Anarchists tend to take a less tolerant view of unrepentant spooks than other leftists) Shayler and Machon instead spoke (unannounced) at a meeting under the auspices of the 911 Truth Campaign. Put under pressure by NFB collective members to name agents on the left, Shayler condemned agents provocateur on the left, saying they were clearly operating at big political events. This is what he had to say about the STWC--quoted in full to avoid any charge of misrepresentation

"about Stop the War, I really do wonder. I have worked with Stop the War but I find that sometimes their attitude seems to...the only way to explain it is they have somehow been penetrated. They had 2 million people on the streets in 2003 and whewre's that gone? The last demonstration I went on about a month ago was really quite a damp squib basically. They don't seem to want to take forward what they have and seem to have squandered an opportunity. And I don't think that is down to incompetence, I really don't" [18].

However, he failed to explain how either his or Machon's experience could be used to deal with this alleged penetration, instead calling upon people to use their own intelligence to root out infiltrators. Yet in a hierarchical organisation such as STWC it is highly likely that such infiltrators are in senior positions. Otherwise they would have no input into the policies that contributed to the alleged "squandered opportunities" Shayler speaks of.

When pressed as to who such assets might be, Shayler completely changed the subject to a spurious call for unity between activists against Tony Blair [19]. Does this mean he wants us to unite with the very infiltrators he condemns? STWC activists might well think Shayler and Machon's support is something they could do without--unless it be to enlighten all of us as to who these state infiltrators are, other than the dynamic duo themselves.

Curiously Annie Machon has continued to circulate STWC newsletters on the British 9/11 Truth campaign web-site www.nineeleven.co.uk. Does she too believe STWC is penetrated? In which case, she is inviting people to join a thoroughly compromised organisation. Have Machon or Shayler done anything to save STWC from such damaging penetration: or to root out and expose infiltrators, especially given only a year ago Shayler described STWC as the only option for protecting democracy and human life? No they have not.

Given there is no evidence Shayler/Machon have done anything to help the security of the STWC here, we are left with two possibilities--either Shayler doesn't believe his own comments on STWC and infiltration, or he does, but can't be bothered to do anything about it. Either way, STWC members should have plenty of questions for him next time he speaks in public. As too, Annie Machon. If STWC is infiltrated at a leadership level, there is a high probability at least one 'infiltrator' might well be a long-term MI5 asset inside the politically dominant SWP--something (and probably somebody) her previous MI5 job puts her in a position to know all about.

THE 9/11 COWBOY & COWGIRL SWITCH HORSES

On 4/6/05 Shayler spoke at a high profile 9/11 Conference at Manchester Town Hall, billed merely as an "ex-MI5 officer". In the months since he and Machon have been intimately involved with the 9/11 'Truth' movement, and Shayler has vigorously pushed their new line--that the 9/11 attacks happened because the Americans made them happen.

On 20/6/05 Shayler was interviewed by Alex Jones of the American web-site prisonplanet.com. Shayler had no hesitation when discussing 9/11 in stating that the attacks occurred not because of incompetence, but because "they made it happen". As he put it "when I first started to follow 9/11 in the papers, I was very worried by certain reports emerging". Note carefully the phrase "first started"--indicating quite clearly these worries were early and contemporary. Specifically, these worries included the fact that "all the metal from the buildings is shipped out to China, there are no forensications done on that metal. They never wanted anybody to look at that metal, because they were not going to provide the evidence they wanted to show it was Al Qaeda". He added that "you almost have a coup d'etat" [20]. Given that the same people remained in power after 9/11 as before, this is an extremely curious supposition. Not quite as bizarre however as Shayler's suggestion in the same interview that a subsequent plane crash in the Queens area of New York--a month after 9/11--was instigated to silence firemen who were beginning to doubt the official version of events that day.

Having got his gander up, there was now little stopping Shayler. Next stop was an interview with Revelation Tapes, run by Dave Starbuck of Walsall [21]. Here Shayler is in interesting company. Mr Starbuck's catalogue (which is advertised amongst other places, in England First's---formerly the International Third Position--Final Conflict magazine) contains titles questioning the guilt of Ian Huntley with regards to the murder of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, and a tape by National Front founder, the late AK Chesterton, on "international finance". Clearly Shayler is taking the 9/11 'truth' message into into some pretty dark corners. In the interview Shayler not only repeats his supposition 9/11 was an "inside job" but sets a hare running about the 7/7 London bombings, where he again doubts the official version. When Dave Starbuck asserts that the bombing "stinks" and that proof of this is the fact that only one bus was diverted in London that day, which he claims then blew up at the site of the Balfour declaration, Shayler joins in Starbuck's incredulous laughter. Given the tendency of some anti-semites to blame any Islamic bombing on Mossad, and some of the more lurid anti-semitic claims about 9/11, at NFB we choose not to join in messrs Shayler and Starbuck's frivolity. Even if the latter sounds like John Shuttleworth on acid (or meths).

Come 2005's October Anarchist Bookfair, Shayler and Machon appeared to have reached such a position of authority within the 9/11 'Truth movement' that a coterie of supporters hung unquestioningly on their every word. Earlier conflicting views from the pair (indeed views expressed only a few months earlier) were erased from history.

WHY SHAYLER/MACHON'S VIEWS ON 9/11 CHANGED--THEIR VERSION

Let us be clear--we do not object to anyone, including Shayler and Machon, changing their views on any subject, including 9/11. However, given (as chronicled extensively in NFB) their track record of evasion, dissimulation and total fabrication, it is appropriate to critically and dispassionately examine when how and why they claim to have changed their minds. One might have thought the necessity of doing this would occur to 9/11 sceptics themselves, believing as they do in a gigantic overarching cover up, in which government agents (and even victims of 7/7 like Rachael North) are certainly implicated. Sadly, they hadn't thought of it--no worries, we've done the work.

To recap the Shayler argument on why he is concerned about 9/11: from the start he was worried about the debris being removed, which points to the US security agencies having something to hide. There are, however, three problems with this 'reason' as an explanation for Shayler's conversion to 9/11 'scepticism'.

First, if he has genuinely had these doubts since 2001, as revealed in the June 2005 Alex Jones interview, Shayler has missed countless opportunities to raise them. He could have done so in his press articles shortly after 9/11, in his Punch column, many interviews around the time of his conviction, or even when speaking to Hollingsworth and Fielding for their 2003 book. Much the same applies to Machon, who as late as her May 2005 book appears to accept the view 9/11 was an attack on America, not the 'inside job' she and her partner now claim so energetically.

The second weakness in Shayler's claim to have 'always' had doubts about 9/11 due to the debris story, can be found in the landmark memoir of New York fireman Richard Picciotto [22]. Reading Picciotto, the story about all the debris being swiftly taken away is bollocks. As late as November 6 2001 Picciotto was at the debris field, and witnessed an accident there where a fireman fell through a hole in the debris. In his words, "after the commotion had died down somewhat...I inched over to the opening. I was astonished to see this enormous drop...dropping thirty feet and opening into the area about the size of a small gymnasium" [23]. So, far from the debris being spirited away instantly, there were still debris piles, being worked on, at least 30 feet deep. Given his record, why believe Shayler over a New York fireman? Also relevant to debunking Shayler's immediate removal of debris claim is the April 2006 coroner's ruling that New York police detective James Zadroga died from respiratory disease incurred after spending 470 hours sifting through the twin towers smouldering ruins [24]. Why, exactly, would he be doing that if all relevant debris was removed straight away?

The third reason Shayler's argument about early suspicions concerning 9/11 doesn't ring true is he himself departs from it--in one recent film put out by Tony Gosling Shayler brazenly states "when I was following 9/11 in the media as a former counter-terrorist officer...like many others I thought this was incompetence on behalf of the Anerican intelligence services and government" [25]. Contrast this with Shayler's statement to Alex Jones 20/6/05 (less than nine months earlier) quoted above that he had concerns about debris from when he "first started" looking at 9/11. Vintage Shayler, and both versions can't be right--while you're pondering that Versions 3 & 4 will be along shortly.

WHY THEIR VIEWS ON 9/11 REALLY CHANGED

Following Shayler/Machon's twists and turns is tricky, but not impossible. The most charitable interpretation is a financial motive. The growing 9/11 movement offers a better opportunity to hawk their book than the dwindling British left where they had arguably outstayed their welcome. One example is the fact Shayler was reluctantly forced to back down from standing against Tony Blair in the 2005 election, as the STWC wanted to support a far more crediuble candidate--Reg Keys. That must have hurt.

Another interpretation of the pair's motivations, not necessarily ruling out the first is that Shayler/Machon have an ongoing relationship with, and are performing tasks for, some faction or other of the secret state. The pair's change of mind could be seen as a dishonest feint, conducted as part of ongoing secret state disinformation/intelligence-gathering operations.

Before dismissing this second possibility out of hand, consider the following. A paradox lies at the heart of the relationship between Shayler, Machon and 9/11 sceptics. The reason (presumably) why they take Machon/Shayler so seriously is that the two are former (?) MI5 officers--intelligence insiders. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that 9/11 was, as most sceptics believe, an 'inside job'. Surely Shayler/Machon were in a position to find this out before June 2005, nearly four years after the event? If they knew the facts before then, why peddle a different thesis--incompetence--to the one they now affect to believe in? Using 9/11 sceptic logic, if 9/11 was an inside job, such a criminal enterprise had to have involved senior members of the US security and intelligence service. It also implies the involvement of the British state, either as direct participants, or condoning the cover up--over 100 Britons were killed that day. Come 7/7, as with 9/11, Shayler & Machon call for a public inquiry. If the state (or at least the secret apparatus of such) can do something as enormous as 9/11, surely they can swat away a public enquiry?

AN MI5/MI6 AL QAEDA PLOT?

Shayler/Machon's stated beliefs include his crucial filmed comment of August 2005 [26], after referring to both MI5 and MI6, that in the "mid 1990s the services...let thousands of Al Qaeda members and associates into Britain. The reason they did that of course was to create a new terrorist threat. I stress they did this knowingly". Given he and Machon were in MI5 at the precise time this happened, why exclude them from culpability here? Especially as this was never mentioned before 7/7 by either Shayler or Machon. Yet given he worked in G9A (Libyan dept.) Shayler shared a line-manager (Director G) with the 'Islamic terrorist' sub-section (G9C), and probably even a desk!

The already-cited 2003 edition of 'Defending the Realm', despite referring to a "growing number of exiles from Islamic countries" settling in the UK, also says the "full significance of what was happening was never fully appreciated by MI5" [27]. So, if we are to believe Shayler's comments of August 2005, he & Machon (and perhaps Hollingsworth and Fielding) have, in recent years, been "knowingly" complicit by silence (at best) in MI5/MI6 plans to "create a new terrorist threat". Indeed, on 21/6/05, two months before his August 2005 bombshell claim about the spooks and Al Qaeda: Shayler had this morsel to offer: "certainly MI5 will be interested in Muslim communities because of the rise of the threat of Islamic terrorism"--no hint here they had 'created' the threat. Even more damingly, at the same (London) meeting, just 16 days before the 7/7 London bombs, Shayler offered this pearl of wisdom: "even if there is a threat from Islamic terrorism it's not that great. The chances of dying in an attack are virtually nil...We are scared of dying in terrorist attacks because of headlines in newspapers. Stop taking the tabloids" [28]. Using 9/11-7/7 believers logic, and his own 'revelations' of August 2005, Shayler was engaging in a pre-7/7 disinformation exercise. Indeed, Machon/Shayler's infiltration of the 9/11 truth movement makes far more sense as a pre-7/7 strategic positioning of known spook assets than accusing Rachael North or activist MIlan Rai of being such, as some 9/11 activists do.

Again being charitable, if neither Machon or Shayler were privy to 'inside knowledge' between 2001-2005, why accord their views any more credence than those of David Icke, or others in the LIzard community? Fundamentally, if what 9/11 sceptics say is true, Shayler/Machon's untruthful version of their conversion to this truth is a good indicator their movement role is intentionally harmful, preventing activists becoming effective.

THAT NEW-TIME RELIGION?

It may well be--and we don't want to prejudge the NFB editor's ongoing 9/11 research here--that we are misunderstanding the 9/11 movement's true significance. Some issues do trouble us though. One author of this article attended the 9/11 Truth meeting at the 2005 Anarchidt Bookfair, and has since taken part in forum discussions on the British 9/11 Truth Campaign web-site, as well as monitoring other internet debates, such as those at www.urban75.com. The zeal of some 9/11 campaigners, and intolerance towards those not accepting their 'truth' has a sectarian, indeed millenarian, feel. Conversely, any shyster pronouncing themselves a believer is naively welcomed.

The British Truth Campaign web-site reports repeatedly attempts to take the '9/11 message' to other campaigns and organisations, who have the nerve to campaign in their own specific fields without any reference to 9/11. Should an organisation prove immune to their charms, 9/11 activists then either rubbish their campaign, or pooh-pooh its leadership, whilst regarding the grass roots membership as still open to approach on the issue of 9/11 [29]. This is not always the response however--one poster, Ally, even informs us "Clearly NO2ID are yet more fake opposition. Very limited hang out. Any group not exposing 9/11 are part of the cover up" [30]. The world seems very clear cut from his/her perspective.

As well as showing an interest in the campaign against ID cards, British 9/11 campaigners also comment on the 7/7/05 London bombings. Here the treatment handed out to a survivor, Rachael North, gives cause for concern. Caught up in the King's Cross bombing, an interview she gave to 9/11 sceptic Alex Cox is discussed at huge length on the site. The intolerance shown towards this survivor for having the temerity to concentrate on her 7/7 experiences rather than broaden her approach into talking about 9/11 is astonishing. The attitude, like that of any cult is--you are either with us or against us [31].

Seeing 9/11 true believers as a cult goes a long way to explaining why they are so uncritical about Shayler and Machon, and irresponsibly provided him with a platform and her with an ideal intelligence-gathering opportunity (as Secretary) with no discernible dissent. If the Britain & Ireland 9/11 Truth Campaign are genuinely serious, they must act on the Shayler/Machon 9/11 activities outlined here. Doing so will lead to Machon/Shayler denouncing them as state 'penetrated' like the STWC. Without, of course, giving the details. Not confronting Machon and Shayler, however, will prove the British & Irish 9/11 Truth Campaign gullible security compromised fools. Your call.

CONCLUSION

We hope to have set out that the current political trajectory of Annie Machon and David Shayler is, rather like their past history, contradictory, dishonest and at times downright suspicious. Those genuinely interested in finding out the truth about 9/11 are not well served by these chameleons. It is time the cuckoos were moved on, permanently. Machon's services as 9/11 Truth Campaign Secretary should be immediately dispensed with. We also urge activists in other organisations, such as the campaign against ID cards, to be extremely cautious if approached by Machon, Shayler or their minions. Let (almost) the last word go to Shayler himself: "I do not know about [some] things. I am better off admitting that than trying to impress people with invention" [32]. Shayler and Machon have certainly tried yet more invention--but continue to fail to impress.

FIRST PUBLISHED IN NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND 7 JUNE 2006 copyright NFB

FOOTNOTES TO NFB 7 ARTICLE ABOVE

1) 'Defending the Realm--MI5 and the Shayler Affair' (Andre Deutsch, 1999) p.viii
2) Notes From the Borderland issues 2-6 inclusive
3) Artists Guild (Lewes Sussex) 2005
4) DVD available from NFB (see above)
5) Lobster 50 December 2005 p.29
6) Sunday Express 30/9/01
7) Mail on Sunday 23/9/01
8) Andre Deutsch 2003
9) 'Defending the Realm' 2003 p.viii
10) Hollingsworth and Fielding (2003) p.14. Shayler's submission to the Cabinet Office is Appendix 2 of
Hollingsworth & Fielding (1999)
11) Machon (2005) p.14
12) Machon (2005) p.283
13) For more on these viewpoints see '9/11 Revealed--Challenging the facts behind the War on Terror' by Ian Henshall and Rowland Morgan (Robinson 2005). Some silly claims about 9/11 are skilfully dismantled in 'The Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories' by James McConnachie and Robin Tudge (Rough Guides 2005).
14) 'Stop the War--the Story of Britain's biggest mass movement' by Andrew Murray and Lindsey German (Bookmarks 2005) p.12
15) All quotes from p.15 op. cit.
16) Machon (2005) p.13
17) 21/6/05 Shayler-O'Hara Debate DVD
18) NFB recording of 25/10/05 meeting.
19) NFB recording of 25/10/05 meeting
20) Shayler tape-recorded interview 20/6/05 www.prisonplanet.com
21) 'Revelation Tape' interview of Shayler by Starbuck, conducted 20/8/05
22) 'Last Man Down--the Fireman's Story', Richard 'Pitch' Picciotto (Orion 2003)
23) ibid. p.242
24) 'Autopsy Links Policeman Death to Sept. 11' Amy Westfeldt (AP) 11/4/06
25) 'Shayler on 9/11 Part 1' 6/3/06 (911TruthBristol web-site)
26) On the Alex Jones web-site www.prisonplanet.com (Undated August 2006 'Extra London Footage')
27) 'Defending the Realm' (2003) p.165-66
28) Shayler-O'Hara Debate DVD 21/6/05
29) See Annie Machon's post of 14/3/06 on STWC's leadership ignoring her belief that "9/11 is the root cause behind all these wars" (http://nineeleven.co.uk/board/viewtopic.php?p=3988&highlight= On the reluctance of the No2ID card campaign to get into bed with Ms Machon and co. see http://www.nineeleven.co.uk/board/viewtopic.php?p=4449&highlight= 28 March 2006
30) ibid.
31) see thread 'Rachael from N. London on Alex Cox's Forum' started 19/1/06 (nineeleven.co.uk web-site). [NFB reserves the right to disagree, profoundly, with Rachael North's analysis--pertinent here is the way her experience, and even reality, has been insultingly traduced by some 9/11-7/7 campaigners. EDITOR] NB: North was not "interviewed", rather contributed to the Cox forum
32) Shayler-O'Hara Debate DVD 21/6/05

9/11 RESEARCH RESOURCES--A CRITICAL GUIDE

As stated on the home-page, this is not a total guide to all research materials available, but is worthwhile in terms of pointing you (9/11 believers, critics and the curious alike) towards sources performing the following functions, in general (but not exclusively) from perspectives that are either critical of the 9/11 cult, or agnostic on the subject--in other words merely outlining facts/events without conspiracy theories in mind.  Our list is necessarily selective.  We aim to:

1) Draw attention to the deep background to 9/11, particularly the origins and nature of Al Qaeda, seen from various angles.

2) Look at the technical/narrative details of what actually happened on 9/11

3) Comment on the activities and especially arguments of the 9/11 Truth cult in broader perspective.

Where relevant, web-based resources will be cited, but a curse of the internet is that for many, if something is not on the internet, or was pre-internet, it is discounted in various ways.  Especially remiss concerning a topic where many interesting first-hand memoirs have been written, that only fleetingly, like comets, impinge on the consciousness of net-heads.   This page will be updated and extended as time goes by--suggestions welcome.  The use of three red asterisks after a source below (***) indicates that for legal reasons it is difficult/impossible to get in the UK: US booksellers are useful here.  A majority of these books (all as far as we know) seem to have been stamped on, using the UK's libel laws/the threat of them.  In every case so far, the litigious parties are powerful Saudis.  For reasons that will be obvious if you read them--even if such elementary logic has eluded the razor-blunt minds of 9/11 cultists.   

THE BACKGROUND TO 9/11

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed 'The War on Freedom:How & Why America was Attacked 11/9/01' Tree of Life Joshua Tree California (2002) ISBN 0-930852-40-0: an important early work, placing 9/11 properly within the context of US foreign policy.  While drawing negative inferences about the lack of an adequate US military response before/on 9/11, a world away from loony-tune rubbish about pods/holograms etc.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed 'Subverting 'Terrorism'--Muslim Problem or Covert Operations Nightmare? Institute For Policy Development & Research Working Paper London (2006): carefully argued and meticulously referenced attempt to locate Al Qaeda as a Saudi/US construct.  Doesn't quite prove his case about Al Qaeda representing a global 'strategy of tension', but worthy of detailed study

Abdel Bari Atwan 'The Secret History of Al-Qaida'  Saqi Books London (2006) ISBN 0-86356-760-6: while weak on the subterranean links between Al-Qaeda and the CIA etc, captures well enough the reality and self-image of the network

Jean-Charles Brisard & Guillaume Dasquie 'Forbidden Truth: US-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden' Thunders Mouth Press/Nation Books New York (2002)  ISBN 1-56025-414-9: written by authors with extensive contacts in French intelligence, this fascinating book explores in substantiated detail the close relationship between the US government, spooks, the Taliban & Bin Laden.  Along the way some key documents, including CIA/FBI & State Department files on Bin Laden are reproduced.  As too the first ever arrest warrant on him (prompted by LIbya).  Essential source. ***

Jason Burke 'Al Qaeda: the true story of Radical Islam' Penguin London (2004) ISBN 0-141-01912-3: a mixed bag.  On the one hand, very weak on original links between Al Qaeda & the CIA, for example.  On the other, good in explaining how Al Qaeda is now a franchise, or idea, as much as solid network.  In that sense, the banner can be (is) taken up by many with no formal connection to Bin Laden/his lieutenants.

Steve Coll 'Ghost Wars--the Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan & Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10 2001'  Penguin London (2004) ISBN 0-141-02080-6: all the complex detail missing from Burke (for example) on this topic.  Particularly good on the complex politics of Pakistan & Afghanistan, rightly placing the latter country at the forefront of understanding Al Qaeda

John K Cooley 'Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America & International Terrorism' Pluto London (1999) ISBN 0-7453-1328-0: another essential source, all the more so in that Cooley outlines the woeful consequences of US covert foreign policy, in alliance with the Saudis, before 9/11 itself.  Hence, he cannot be accused of merely being wise after the event.

Peter Dale Scott '9/11 in Historical Perspective: Flawed Assumptions': Briefing for US Congressional Staff (2005): concise (perhaps overly so) attempt to remind decision-makers of US role in Al Qaeda creation

DAVID ICKE: THE FRAUD CONTINUES

We have long been in the vanguard of countering anti-semitism and bs masquerading as 'progressive' politics. Not everybody knows that of course. One bad penny who keeps turning up is con-artist David Icke. Below, check out the article by colleague Paul Stott. As time permits (focussed as our main energies are on the next issue of NFB plus another imminent publication), we will add a past article deconstructing Icke's anti-semitism written by Larry O'Hara. But the article is a start.. Heidi Svenson 27/10/11

Countering Nonsense In The Occupy Movement 23/10/11 (Paul Stott on 911 cultwatch blog)

From speaking to activists over the past few days, it is interesting, and slightly concerning, to note some news emerging from the Occupy movement.

Spreading from Occupy Wall Street, a series of similar occupations have occurred internationally. In the UK this has included an attempt to occupy the London Stock Exchange, and events in regional cities like Norwich and Birmingham. Opposition to the disastrous decision to bail out banks on the verge of financial collapse has now found a degree of articulation.

There are of course issues and debates around this. Speaking to Anarchists like Ian Bone at the Anarchist Bookfair yesterday, there were concerns that the importance of the Occupy movement was being greatly overstated, usually by sympathetic activists who want it to be so many things. It's particular form has also been criticised, whilst the vagueness of its anti-capitalist message has been condemned by libertarians, who draw a distinction between what they see as capitalism and corporatism/crony capitalism.

A more serious debate is now on-going about how to deal with the presence of conspiracy theorists at occupy events. The financial crisis is naturally something easily explained by the likes of David Icke, who has been vociferous in his condemnation of what he sees as Rothschild-Zionism. To Icke, no discussion of 9/11, or the financial crisis, can be made without reference to this conspiracy. Such nonsense makes all protestors easy targets for media exposes, hit-pieces on their 'racism' or their portrayal as addled thinkers. The serious questions raised about government economic policy, capitalism, our financial system and government relations with it, are in danger of being ignored in place of arguments about anti-Semitism or the sheer oddness of certain protestors.

There is only two responses to this. I discount ignoring them, because they will not go away, and numerically will form a significant number of the protestors in many cities. For such thinkers, the financial system is one of the issues - they certainly will not abandon it. Icke has been calling on the human race to get off its knees for so long, when they actually see it happening, their movement is energised

One response is to allow the Icke types to dominate. To walk away and do something else instead. The second response, which I know many are now turning to, is to try and counter them. This is difficult, not because their arguments are so strong - they are not - but because arguing with people full of Zeitgeist or Icke thought is not an easy process. They have been exposed to an absolute truth. Those who do not follow it cannot be allowed to simply disagree with them, but become part of the problem as soon as they disagree.

It is neccesary to attack Icke's anti-Semitism, his ludicrous reptilian fantasies and to ask what Icke has proved in twenty plus years of 'exposing' the system. Other than improving his bank balance - the answer is nothing. Events like the banking crisis and 9/11 are actually very simple. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for attacking New York, and the evidence for US or Israeli participation is nil. The banking crisis occurred because the banks gambled lots of money, and governments who had long dropped any pretence of regulation, bailed out their mates with our cash.

Keep it simple. Because it is simple.

OUR PROBLEMS WITH SEARCHLIGHT/HOPE NOT HATE

Scattered across this site, and in more detail in this section, you will find various references to Searchlight (the magazine/related organisation) and their front campaign, 'Hope Not Hate'.  Mostly, these references are critical--and given we are resolutely anti-fascist, that might strike some as strange, contradicting our aims.  Therein lies a tale, however.

In the shadowy world which Searchlight inhabit, at the 'business end' of the tangled undergrowth where the secret state, media organisations, and fascists/anti-fascists collide, the 'team' as they style themselves have long been significant yet plausibly-deniable players/outlets for spook disinformation and all round dodginess.  Suffice to say, anti-fascism, especially of a non state-compromised variety, has never been high on Searchlight's agenda, indeed it has often seemed their agenda to at the very least suborn, and latterly crush, such anti-fascism.  A large claim, hopefully substantiated by the articles/further references in this part of the site.  It might explain, though, why Searchlight are so anxious to prevent street mobilisations against the English Defence League (EDL) today--not as the result of reasoned reflection, but as the reflex actions of low-grade police pimps.

This section is very much a 'work in progress', and will be added to as time permits.  We hope to include a segment listing where sources critical of Searchlight can be found--in time, some hitherto unavailable ones we will put online.  Feel free to send us (anti-fascist) suggestions.

In the interim, especially as many will have only come across Searchlight via 'Hope Not Hate' (HNH) it might be a good idea to glance at the critique of HNH, extracted from Notes From the Borderland issue 9.  This hopefully establishes both the continuities between the then Searchlight front HNH, and the extent to which this new form of 'virtual politics' raises troubling questions in itself, not least when the Obama Presidential Campaign in the USA, the BNP's on-line efforts, and HNH use very similar software and often terminology.

However glitzy and web-wise Searchlight's (and even more Hope Not Hate's) current incarnations might be, there is no getting away from it--their politics remains, as it has always been, state-compromised to the core.  There are virtually no depths to which Searchlight will not stoop to undermine, spy on, and help crush genuine Leftist dissent.  If you doubt that for one minute, take a peek into the malevolent universe, and world-view, uncovered in 'At War With The Truth' (still available from our shop--click 'other publications' once you get there), the introduction and foreword to which are summarised here, as too the antecedent 'A Lie Too Far', concerning the antics of Searchlight/state provocateur Tim Hepple (who later became Tim Matthews) and fellow Searchlight thug/racist Ray Hill.  There are many incontrovertible sources for what he got up to, with Searchlight's knowledge & connivance, not least extensive letters in Hepple's own handwriting.

Just to show that there are few things new under the sun, savour this extract from the highly-publicised text 'Searchlight for Beginners' (visit shop, same location).  This deals with the similarities between Searchlight's two big stories/operations involving sinister far right mobilisation over the years--in the 1970s 'Column 88', the 1990s 'Combat 18'.  Over and aside the downright lying, mendacity and factual somersaulting revealed by these two stories alone, reading them the thought cannot failt to cross anybody's mind--is Searchlight's coverage of the English Defence League straightforward, and uncompromised by other agendas?  We think the answer to that will be obvious.  On past form, Searchlight do their best build a group up in the media and amongst potential supporters/opponents, using its activities as a reason (cover) for extending state powers, then much later purport to 'reveal' such a group was a honey trap for the state all along.  They did this with C88 & C18, and may well intend to get away with it regarding the EDL.  At the very least, an informed perusal of Searchlight's past track record shows nothing Gerry Gable or the equally dishionest Nick Lowles say on the subject of state connections of any far right (or indeed far left) groups should be given even a morsel of credibility.

The entire text of 'Searchlight Fiction Pulped' (SFP) is here online for the first time--albeit one for the connisseur perhaps.  It was written after a hysterical two page attack on Larry O'Hara in the January 1997 edition of Searchlight, which though a response to 'Searchlight For Beginners' signally failed to outline, never mind refute, once sentence therein.  A true product of what Trotsky memorably termed the 'Stalinist School of Falsification'.  Although a historical offering, it has contemporary relevance because the tired lies and ludicrous claims SFP refutes in detail are still trotted out occasionally behind the scenes by Searchlight/their fellow-travellers in order to evade this or that argument raised in/by Notes From the Borderland.

GABLE MEMO: PROVING MI5 LINKS

THE GABLE MEMORANDUM PROVING HIS MI5 LINKS IN FULL

In discussions about Searchlight over the years one thing that often comes up is the allegation those who accuse Searchlight of secret state links are fantasists/ conspiracy theorists. To dispel such nonsense, savour below a 1977 memo Gerry Gable wrote when working for a TV programme. He has never denied the existence of this memo, nor its accuracy. At some point, we will place it in full context. Suffice to say the Aubrey/Berry/Campbell case was a clear instance of radical journalists persecuted by spooks. In this struggle, as the next to last paragraph shows, Gable was clearly on the spook side. More later. Dave Hughes

LONDON WEEKEND TELEVISION

From Gerry Gable
Date 2nd May, 1977
About Agencies
To Julian/Mike Braham/Barry Cox (Please keep these reports secure)

Phil Kelly was a member of the Young Liberals who in the sixties joined what was known as "the Red Guard". Young Liberals like Peter Hain and Peter Hellyer went against the traditional Liberal line and started campaigning along lines more akin to the Radical left. They stood out against the Vietnam War/Apartheid and for the Palestinians against the Israelis. At home they were for direct action on housing and other evils in our society.

In the first place, as I understand it, Kelly was an odd fish in the rather middle class Young Lib circles, he had a strictly working class background.

He was up to his neck in various campaigns in 1967. The Biafra aid set up was one of them. He was also seen frequently during that year at the offices of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign. It was suggested that in either late '67 or early '68 he travelled to Cuba and was trained as was "Carlos" during the same period. Certainly Cuba held a Tri-Continental conference at that time involving many third world and Latin American states where Cuba was active in spreading their own brand of revolution. It is suggested that parallel to the conference, an extensive course of training in Guerilla warfare and Espionage took place. If the latter is true, then certainly Cuba's own Secret Service would have been aided by the KGB on the espionage side of the courses. In the early part of 1969 Kelly was seen at the Soviet Trade Mission in London.

I think that around this time he worked on the Hornsey Journal or another paper in that area, then he moved to work in the new radical press - being a familiar face at Black Dwarf/Seven Days and later Time Out. Hellyer and some other Young Liberals got very involved with the Palestinians around this time and in the summer of 1969 Kelly went to Jordan, not, as he told people, to see the refugee camps, schools and medical aid groups, but to a proper Fatah training camp. Members of the Baader Meinhof group also attended these camps and learnt their bombing and killing skills in them. Kelly was taught firearms/explosives and went out on some treks to the Israeli border with Fatah patrols.

Around this time, returning to London, Kelly acted as a cheer leader on several Arab demonstrations in London and during fighting in one of them he was seen to kick a policeman.

But although he seemed firmly in the left camp, a number of odd things about his attitude towards a person he knew to be hostile to the left are rather strange, on several occasions he could have blown the cover of a man who had infiltrated the Palestinians and some left groups. This man ran into him time and time again, including once at a function organised by the Cuban embassy in London. Kelly was seen on Irish Rights marches the night the Ulster office was attacked, medical aid for Vietnam, Portugese meetings and even a demo over Anguilla.

Wherever he worked on left journals he always seem to get into a position [section illegible, but probably "had access to the"] names and addresses of subscribers. Reports from left watchers state that he has been to Cuba, America, East Germany, Jordan and Sofia in Bulgaria for a Peace Conference. In the early seventies he went to work in West Germany and was away for around two years, I understand that he worked as a sports reporter (he was there at the time of the Munich massacre). He also had a German girl friend whose name is either Gerde Jager, or Jaegar, the daughter of a rich lawyer. She is said to be close to SWAPO operations in Western Europe and tied up with something named "Informist"?

Back in Britain Kelly worked at Time Out and was instrumental in introducing Mark Hosenball to stories that are part or even all of the reason for his deportation order. Around Time Out a group of Americans, Kelly, Duncan Campbell (the technology freak), plus Crispin Aubrey and John Berry (not just a former Army signals clerk, but a former member of British Military Intelligence) began to operate.

More than a year ago Kelly started to work for Interpress Services, a press agency of which he appears to be the sole employee in this country.

Even some of the left watchers here thought that this agency was set up at the time of a Third World Conference held in Colombo in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago and that in some way it is connected with the Yugoslav State Press Agency. However our checks reveal that it was set up in Italy in 1968 as a press co-operative and the directors are South Americans and Italians, one of the original people before Kelly at this end was John Rettie - a man I still have to check out but was in some KGB scandal in Moscow some years ago.

The last return made by the co-op shows an annual turn-over of a quarter of a million pounds sterling, although it preceeds Kelly's joining them (at least officially) salaries are shown as only two thousand per annum.

Hosenball, who to my knowledge was always keen to meet any new contacts, told me that he had refused to meet Kelly's contacts in Germany but would say no more. He was also prepared to tell me that the co-op was, as he understood it, set up by some Chilean Christian Democrats who in more recent times dropped out to be replaced by the Iraquis, although no signs of this appear on the company house records. Hosenball is frightened to tell me more about Kelly and it is almost certain that Kelly could blackmail Hosenball to keep silent. Since the Agee/Hosenball expulsion notices were issued, Kelly is often being seen more and more running round organising things. When Hosenball made it clear that he did not wish to be used as political cannon fodder, Kelly wrote an attack on him that appeared in the Leveller, a radical magazine.

This is not all that Kelly has done for the Leveller, he has also produced material on West Germany for them about the trials of the Terrorist groups.

The arrest of Campbell/Berry and Aubrey has caused a civil rights row, but according to my top level security sources, they inform me in the strictest confidence that for about four years Campbell, Berry and Kelly and others have been systematically gathering top level security material. Campbell, who claims to have only an interest in technological matters in as far as the state in involved, had done four years detailed research into the whole structure of the other side of not only our Intelligence services but those of other NATO countries. He has also gone to people who work on top security contracts and started off by asking them about open commercial work their companies do and then gradually asked them for information on top secret work, including that on under-water detection hardware, which he clearly knows is beyond the pale.

Politically it appears that the group have no one political guiding light or line, but Kelly is suspected of being the KGB man who reaps the goodies gathered by people who are possibly as disapproving of the KGB as they are of the CIA. [Two words illegible but probably "Other teams"] like this have been operating in France and Sweden. (Agee has been in contact with the Swedish set up.) The security services feel that once the real nature of this case begins to emerge they expect people like Jonathan Aitken will fade away fast. The security service accepts that a number of decent people have been signed up to support these people on civil rights grounds and they also unofficially accept all the short-comings of the act that they have been held under, but they say they are sure this has gone well beyond the bounds of Press Investigation.

Hosenball, although supposedly having his differences with Kelly, was party to a strange chat between Kelly and Steve Weisman at Granada's Christmas party. They were going through a list of contacts and what Hosenball's reaction would be be if he were asked about them. I could not catch the names but when one name came up all three of them seemed very keen to keep it out of the hearing.

Hosenball got extremely angry with Malcolm Southam of World In Action when asked about a man named Karl Von Metre, thought to be an American living in Paris, and would not talk about him. Hosenball's Paris trips are a mystery.

He told me two years ago that the reasons for his Paris visits were to go through files taken from a Portugese office of an extreme right wing group that used a press agency as a cover. At the time of the army take over in Portugal they had been seized and taken to Paris. However, my own investigation showed that the files were not in Paris at all had had never been taken out of Portugal, so why lie? His contact in Paris is Frederick Laurent, a young man who works for the left wing paper Liberation and who lives in very grand style in a huge Paris apartment.

When Hosenball and Kelly had hold of the Crozier material they were very keen not to check out right wing connections but to trace phone numbers they felt belonged to Secret Service establishments etc. Hosenball also went to Spain, I think to track down one of the people mentioned in the Robert Moss letters, but despite all this research most of what they got was not appearing in print anyway. Kelly was not happy about Searchlight using the documents and I think Hosenball, who had done work for Searchlight on various occasions, felt embarrassed by his attitude.

Kelly's current girl friend is Dorothy Jones who works for the People's Press Service or News Service, a sort of Agitprop outfit. Kelly moved into a house in Hemmingford Road, Islington, some time last winter. He shares it with Richard Fletcher who is on the London Co-op Education Committee, (strong links with East Germany) this is at 104 Hemmingford Road, N7.

I went to the house one dark winter night just after they had moved in. I was with Mark Hosenball and the reason for our visit was to get some more photocopies of the Moss letters.

When we arrived, a man who I thought must Fletcher came to the door. The building is a shop, basement and upper part, it was in a bad state of disrepair and the man was plastering or something like that. He said to Mark "there is a caucus meeting, Phil's up top". Mark told me to hang on and ran upstairs to the top floor. Being a nosey bugger I followed and in the top floor front room were about seven or eight men, no women, all seated on cushions on the floor with no centre light.

They were a mixed age group. I didn't recognise any of them and they did not seem to know me. Kelly looked at me staring in over Hosenball's shoulder and leapt up and pushed us out of the room. He said to Mark in a low voice "Why did you bring him here?" and Mark waffled on about not being able to contact him in advance and I needed the letters that very night as Searchlight was going to press on the next day. Kelly took us to the basement and produced the papers and then ushered us out as quickly as possible.

I have now given the names I have acquired to be checked out by British/French security services, especially the French and German connections and the South American stuff is being checked by Geoffrey Stewart-Smith's institute. He has strong CIA links. I may try somebody in the Israeli Foreign Office that I know for some checks on Kelly. It is now a time of waiting for feed-back and also further checks here.

I have attached a number of documents including a transcript of Kelly's interview with World in Action. It goes without saying that I would like this kept strictly secret

SEARCHLIGHT FICTION PULPED - ENTIRE TEXT

SEARCHLIGHT FICTION PULPED
(February 1997)

In October 1996 Phoenix Press published my pamphlet, 'Searchlight for Beginners', offering a concise outline of the magazine's history and sketches of key personnel. It proves that Searchlight magazine is a disinformation outlet and listening-post for MI5. In January this year Searchlight responded with a two page attack on me and my research entitled 'Bile, Paranoia & Collaboration (p. 14-15). The article uses selective quotations to make suggestions about my mental state, and prints a photograph of me and the address of where I work. Searchlight is unable to answer the detailed evidence against them and are forced to rely on personal abuse and thinly veiled threats.

There are eight key points in 'Searchlight for Beginners' (hereafter SFB) that they cannot answer.

1. The underground paramilitary group Column 88 in the 1970's was Searchlight's first major 'scoop', and one they went to great lengths to publicise. Yet, much later, Searchlight alleged that C88 had been a state 'honey-trap' all along. In which case, Searchlight were working for the state bee-keepers.

2. While Searchlight operatives Dave Roberts and Daphne Liddle used Forewarned magazine to circulate 'hit-lists', they were simultaneously calling for the state to clamp down on the very violence they were helping escalate. My explanation is they were acting on behalf of the state.

3. Sonia Hochfelder (now the wife of current editor Gerry Gable), wandered in and out of a Maoist group, and later joined a variety of fascist organisations. Is it feasible that she used this guise to set up anti-fascists for assassination by the UVF? Read it and make up your own mind.

4. Ray Hill's role in foiling a non-existent fascist plot to bomb the Notting Hill Carnival of 1981 is re-examined. The collusion between Hill and Special Branch in this episode is discussed.

5. In the 1990's Hill and others such as Tim Hepple took part in infiltration/disinformation campaigns against green activists. Further evidence of Hill's role is outlined.

6. In the 1990's, Searchlight again circulated 'hit lists' just like the 1970's.

7. At first, the threat from neo-nazi group Combat 18 was promoted by Searchlight, who in 1993 publicly called for MI5 to 'investigate' them. Subsequently, Searchlight announced in 1995 that MI5 had supposedly created CI8 in the first place?

8. The reasons behind this propaganda operation regarding CI8 are explained, and Searchlight's Column 88 and Combat 18 operations are compared and contrasted.

There is much more in SFB besides these points, but nonetheless, they're a good start. There must be a good reason why none of my allegations are even referred to in the January 1997 Searchlight.. The explanation is straightforward: either they are not able to effectively answer them because they are true, or they dare not mention my claims because even discussion of them would be damaging—which in itself strongly implies they are true. After all, if I'm worth two pages, why not trash my supposedly 'absurd' work by reference to evidence?

Why Write Such An Article?

During 1996 Searchlight only referred briefly to my work. There was a garbled story in February which complained that I had put a statement on the Internet. This mention did not try to refute my arguments, nor reveal that Searchlight 'team' member Graeme Atkinson had earlier placed a venomous and lengthy personal attack on the Internet (dated 30/1/95, German Anti-fascist section 31/12/95), available from me for SAE plus first class stamp [2010 note: the original is no longer on-line. It is reproduced on litigious former Searchlight associate & far right sympathiser Alexander Baron's web-site. Link is here]). This diatribe entitled 'Re:Secret Service Accusation' (hereafter referred to as Atkinson/Internet) takes a rather different line in significant respects than the Searchlight piece. To avoid confusion I will comment on it elsewhere, although a few relevant quotations will be cited here. All was quiet until December, which saw a muted aside about SFB. Then in January I was given the full 'treatment'. Given the purpose of the article was not to answer my claims directly, why write it? One reason clearly was to take the opportunity to reprint my photograph. This was taken illegally at my work-place by two of their operatives, as part of an ongoing campaign of harrassment by the Searchlight 'team'. This harrassment also included impersonating bank employees and in one case Gable pretended to be making a TV documentary on a student at my college. In the course of this deception he flourished his NUJ card as proof of his sincerity. There was even, around this time, a mysterious 'break in' during which nothing was stolen but records rifled through. The printing this January of even more precise details about where I work, along with my photo, has an obvious purpose:to facilitate a physical attack.

Searchlight carefully avoid mentioning the subject of my second complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. This was that their first printing of my photo and slightly more imprecise workplace details was intended to set me up for attack. The PCC rejected this complaint, without even investigating it.

The tendency for Searchlight to be personal and abusive not only illustrates that they are unable to defend themselves convincingly against my arguments. This particular article also seems to be projecting their own deepest fears and anxieties onto me. Searchlight are worried my work is increasingly being listened to by Leftists, anti-fascists, members of the Jewish community and even journalists. The fact there is an ever-increasing audience for my work has led to this out-pouring of their "bile and paranoia". For I have uncovered hard evidence of their "collaboration" with the secret state and some fascists, and they don't like it. I am the first to admit my work is sometimes complex (isn't life?), but as the long list of positive reviews (see Appendix 2) shows, those who put in the effort find it worthwhile.

Searchlight coverage is likely to have been influenced by a matter touched upon in SFB: the 'British National Socialist Party'. This is a bogus organisation with Searchlight connections. I can now reveal that BNSP 'leader', hermaphrodite 'Lady Athena McHugh' has also been, with the full knowledge of the Stalinist 'New Communist Party', infiltrating the left-oriented campaign London Against the Job-Seekers Allowance, as well as gathering intelligence on ethnic minority groups. This led to a unanimous vote to suspend the NCP 'front' organisation, the National Union of Unemployed & Workers, from London Against the JSA on 6/1/97. The weight of evidence against the NUU&W was so overwhelming, they didn't dare vote against their own exclusion! Such activity as that carried out by 'Lady Athena' is fully consistent with the Searchlight/MI5 modus operandi outlined in the pamphlet.

Another possible reason for the article is to discredit me as a reliable information source in advance of the imminent General Election. As far left group Red Action have pointed out, selling information to the media is highly important to Searchlight, not least financially. Red Action go on to say "...for the Searchlight operation to work, the absence of serious rivals is absolutely vital. One, it allows them to corner the intelligence market, and, two, no-one is in a position of authority to invalidate their projections. This puts them in pole position, allowing them...by a rigidly regulated dispensation of information (both true and false) to attempt to control the agendas of other organisations as well. And everything, literally everything, the operational effectiveness of the broad anti-fascist movement, and even the personal safety of anti-fascist activists, is subordinate to the Searchlight agenda" (Red Action issue 71 Summer 1995 p.2). The point is not that I spend time hawking stories to the media, I don't, and my experience of the latter is in any case distinctly negative. The attempt by Searchlight to control the media's coverage of fascism is but one facet of the state's ongoing efforts at news management - a point presumably lost on most of Searchlight's readers. Searchlight's fear is that I might sow the seeds of doubt concerning their activities in this sphere. Searchlight do not like my challenge to their research monopoly, and with good reason...

State News Management

Reference to 'state news management' might strike you as irrelevant jargon, but consider two recent examples, the first involving the recent letter-bombs sent from Denmark and Sweden to selected UK targets, by persons in/close to C18. The story hit the national media on 18th January 1997, receiving almost blanket coverage. Yet the first device was intercepted at Gartcraig sorting office in Glasgow, addressed to Stephen Cartwright's Highlander magazine a full three days earlier on 15th January. Thus, hundreds of potential targets (such as those featured in Combat 18 magazines 1 & 3, and International Redwatch issue 1) weren't warned, as they would have been by media coverage, until well after the information would have been most useful. This puts in perspective the comment by Express journalist Alex Hendry as late as 20th January that "the worry last night was that those behind the campaign may have organised the posting of more letter bombs which will arrive in the next few days". If this was true on the 19th January when the Express went to press, it was even more true on the 15th 16th and 17th of January when a total news black-out was in force. The relevant Post Office circular [CPC/97/14] was faxed to all sorting offices in the UK on the 15th (not the next day as Searchlight state in February issue p.4). There has been little critical comment about the suppression of the story (save by Denis Campbell & Severin Carrell, on different grounds to me in Scotland on Sunday 26/1/97). Why was the story sat on for three days? 'Operational reasons' is the standard police justification for this type of thing, and it was in this case too. The common sense presumption is that the state must 'have their reasons'. Individual journalists don't care, because in return for dropping or delaying one story, the police , MI5 (or whoever) will give them another. All very cosy for them, but as my research (and reality) shows, this collusion isn't done at all with the interests of the mass of the people in mind.

Taking a closer look at the letter-bomb saga, isn't it strange that nazis were allowed to send devices unhindered in the period between the 15th January and the 18th? Campbell and Carrell's article states that English Special Branch HQ at Scotland Yard were aware of the likelihood of suspect devices even before the 15th, issuing an alert "days before the Glasgow incident". These two journalists use this merely as a stick with which to beat Strathclyde police (and not Special Branch England/MI5), but other conclusions can be drawn from the information they impart. On the surface, we have here a callous disregard by the state for the safety of possible targets, which wouldn't be surprising. Or, given nobody seems to have been harmed, it could illustrate a strong degree of foreknowledge as to exactly what was sent, to whom and who posted them. In this case, such knowledge strongly hints at state manipulation of CI8. Consideration of that hypothesis is 'off-limits' for Campbell and Carrell; it is one thing to attack Glasgow CID with information fed by the Met. in London, another thing entirely to question the 'good faith' of the state as a whole in this area. Not a wise career move for a journalist, and very understandably so. Searchlight themselves boast of intimate knowledge as to exactly who was sent what, stating "informants inside CI8 were emphatic that six packages had been dispatched" (p.4). They admit getting "information from our international network, police and intelligence sources in several countries and Searchlight's own moles and informants inside the international nazi camp" (p.2/February). Searchlight and the media in general are drip-fed stories by the police and state intelligence apparatus, a relationship they will not want to endanger by pushing or publicising information their state sources suggest would be best delayed, covered with a particular spin, or not covered at all. While profiles of 'spin doctors' acting on behalf of political parties such as Labour's Peter Mandelson & Alastair Campbell are staples of the 'quality' press, there is no such attention given to those like Searchlight who spin on behalf of a faction that never loses power.the state. When a journalist hears of a potential story involving the far right they will usually check its veracity with Searchlight at some stage. This is where Searchlight are highly influential, advising on which stories will 'run' and which to ignore. In this sense, mostly behind the scenes, media agendas are set, and stories given the particular slant which suits Searchlight's various paymasters. For Searchlight truth is an irrelevant concern, so it is hardly surprising that what they say to the press and TV publicly is often radically different from their own magazine's spin on the same subject. Thus, while for the consumption of Guardian readers Steven Silver (using the pseudonym Peter Brighton) affected to find it "incredible that the authorities here know who are behind this but are letting these people walk the streets" (22/1/97), February's Searchlight editorial, which had just gone to press, referred to a "two-pronged thrust" by the "security forces...against C18 during the past 18 months...the latest parcel bombs are clearly one of the final moves in this intelligence chess game...the security forces are serious about cleaning out the stable" (p.2). These two versions are mutually inconsistent, yet again illustrating the tricky balancing act Searchlight have in servicing their various agendas. Any comment from Searchlight about the role of the secret state in relation to fascists has to be treated as disinformation.

On 10th February 1997, following a brawl at Charlie Sergeant's home, an intruder was stabbed to death. As I understand it, someone other than Sergeant was charged with the stabbing, and an intruder charged with aggravated burglary and intent to cause Grievous Bodily Harm. On the 12th , two days later, Ken Hyder had a story in the London Evening Standard about MI5 'protection' for possible letter-bomb victims. Yet no mention of the stabbing, when it was surely relevant, and something which with Hyder's sources he would have known about, especially as it made a fleeting appearance on the Press Association wire. The story's timing, on the day the suspects were remanded in custody, is highly suggestive, and like all Hyder's pieces repays careful reading. Either the murder was a trigger for the story in the first place, or at the very least it deserved inclusion on public interest grounds. To the best of my knowledge, at time of writing, there has been no media coverage at all of these events. Perhaps due to the forthcoming trials on other matters of various parties in the incident, although there might be other reasons. Is it not strange this story hasn't hit the media, when lurid tales of C18 violence (many undoubtedly true) are ten a penny? It is newsworthy, it is in the (relatively) public domain, yet it has been successfully suppressed so far. Contrast this with the (eventual) mass coverage of the Danish letter-bombs above. That story was hyped due to the possibility that somebody might be harmed'.in the stabbing somebody definitely was.

As it happens, two journalists just mentioned, Denis Campbell and Ken Hyder, have a close relationship with Searchlight, but this should not be misunderstood. They are all operators in the twilight world where the state security apparatus, media and 'political underground' intersect Thus, it is inevitable there will be overlap, collaboration and occasionally competition between them. I have not gone for Searchlight because they in charge' of such matters, but because they are one particularly visible and nasty head of the Hydra, engaged in far more than media massage, and as such useful exemplars of the problems I'm concerned with generally. I come across similar stories to the two above about twice a month - many but not all featuring the far right. The above examples illustrate censorship, and beg questions unlikely to be asked in the mainstream media, never mind answered. Much of my research, including that into the Searchlight organisation, involves studying the long-term setting of agendas and parameters of 'acceptable' discourse. Combining a critical attitude towards the state with my own information sources and detailed knowledge of the far right (among other areas), I am a big problem for Searchlight's attempts at agenda-setting using stories involving fascists (and others accused of fascism). It is thus essential to rubbish my work and me as an individual. Searchlight are only one (influential) facet of media manipulation by the state, but I am particularly active on their turf, so they see it as their job to 'sort me out': or incite others to.

Lies About My Political Past...

Searchlight claim that "in the summer of 1992 O'Hara joined forces with Mark Taha...and Al Baron". I first came across Baron when he sent me (via Lobster magazine) a crude leaflet showing himself in a yarmulke outside a synagogue followed by a clearly spurious document purporting to show far right historian David Irving engaged in gay sex. Even if Irving has such an orientation (highly unlikely), I would hardly regard it as of political relevance. I could see that Baron, who advertises himself as a homophobe, was trying to use me as a vehicle for disinformation. My suspicions about Baron were confirmed when he told me he had met with Gerry Gable, and also sent me material which looked like it had been stolen from Irving's flat. As it became clear that I was not going to repeat any of the disinformation he was feeding me, or otherwise collaborate with him, Baron came to the conclusion it was fruitless to continue bombarding me with documents. I regard Baron as an anti-semitic homophobe, and stated this in 'At War With The Truth', written before Searchlight had alleged we were working together (1993/p.25). Searchlight's attempt to smear me as anti-semitic is done despite them knowing full well that in 1990 the Union of Jewish Students (with whom Searchlight have close links) referred to my research on the persistence of anti-semitism among fascists as "a lucid analysis". They go on to say "O'Hara clearly shows how the 'mask' over NF anti-semitism slips frequently...O'Hara's expose of the NF's fascism is a positive contribution to anti-fascism" ('Jews & Jew-Haters' 1990). Searchlight do not actually believe that I "joined forces" with Baron and Taha. Still with no credible evidence to support their claim of an association, the next sentence asserts that our mutual "egos...were too large to be constrained together in one small political pond". A political association said to have begun in 1992 is described as "short-lived". Writing in December 1995 however, Graeme Atkinson was peddling the lie that I was even then working with Baron, described as my "friend" (p.5) and the pathetic figure of Mark Taha as my "friend and ally" (p.4/both quotes from Atkinson/Internet). That these two versions contradict each other, and over such a serious matter as an alleged political association with an anti-semite and his close collaborator Taha, is evidence enough neither version is true—and that Searchlight are incompetent as well as habitual liars. Taha I have met once in order to interview hint on tape for my research. At time of writing, Baron is sojourning in Brixton prison, detained, I understand, for, among other things criticising Searchlight in a letter to the police! No doubt, while pacing up and down his cell, Baron has had ample opportunity to reconsider his two printed defences of Searchlight from my charge of being 'state-connected' ('Searchlight on Gerry Gable'/1994, and 'Mr O'Hara & The Radicals'/1996).

In the 1970's I played an active part in the anti-fascist movement, attending some key mobilisations such as the NF Remembrance Day march and Digbeth in 1978, Southall and Leicester in 1979. After the trouble at Leicester during the 1979 General Election I gave evidence in court for a comrade, Derek Hemphill, found guilty of public order offences. I was present at the NF march in Corby 1980, there as elsewhere among the ranks of militant anti-fascists. So much for Atkinson's mendacious claim that "O'Hara has no record or history whatsoever as an activist in the anti-fascist movement in Britain" (Internet p.3). I did see Ray Hill in his tacky white suit on a number of such occasions, the same Ray Hill under whose by-line numerous attacks on me have appeared in Searchlight. However, while I was among the anti-fascists, he was consorting with the far right, among whose company this racist was clearly at home. The lies about me not being a member of the SWP (4 years) or Big Flame (6 years) I have already refuted in my letter to Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) branches of 12/10/92, in which I named Leftists who can vouch for my presence in both groups:and gave details of numerous articles written for both Big Flame's paper and internal Discussion Bulletin spanning the period 1981-84. So involved was I in Big Flame that I even wrote the newspaper Editorial following the Falklands war (issue 107 July 1982), my conclusion being that the "whole affair has shown the need for a strong far left" (any readers who want copies of articles I wrote for Big Flame should send an SAE and a few stamps). I again challenge Searchlight to produce the name of this fictitious person who claims 1 only attended "part of a single meeting". After Big Flame dissolved (and I remained in it till the end, as can be confirmed by their last National Secretary Paul Smith), I joined the Socialist Federation, and in 1988-89 joined the Green Party—of which I remain a member. In 1990 I co-authored a pamphlet 'Paradise Referred Back' on the need to construct a far left-Green axis in politics, sentiments I still stand by. Of course Searchlight know all this. The purpose of falsely implying I am not a Leftist is to cast doubt upon my integrity and motives, and indeed present me as a 'non-person', with no recognisable past or political/moral core.

The article starts off by claiming I have conducted a "vitriolic hate campaign against Searchlight and the organised anti-fascist movement [since] the start of the 1990's". What are the facts? My first printed comments on Searchlight came when I intervened in (but did not initiate) a debate in Labour Briefing. This commenced in July 1991 with an article entitled 'Black activists challenge Searchlight', followed by two pieces defending Searchlight from 'team members' Ray Hill and Daphne Liddle. Only then did I intervene, informing readers of unsavoury episides from their recent past. A characteristic collection of smears was the response of Searchlight's Graeme Atkinson, effectively refuted in the closure of the Labour Briefing debate by respected Leftist former AFA National Committee member and veteran anti-fascist/anti-zionist activist Tony Greenstein. It was only after this debate, and my scooping them with a story in Tribune, that Searchlight lied about me for the first time in their own pages (July 1992). This story the PCC refused to investigate when I complained, something Searchlight have construed as support for their fiction. Since then, the lies have come thick and fast:21 mentions so far.

Condemned In My Own Words?

The last part of the article uses quotes from my work, the intent being to trawl through my writings for damaging or ridiculous statements, to use against me. Ideally I should be shown expressing racist or similar sentiments, at the very least peddling some morsel of 'fascist disinformation' or displaying some 'paranoia'. The very first quote; my statement that (Anti Fascist Action) "AFA have been infiltrated by a state asset" is presumably meant to expose me to ridicule, as if such an eventuality is preposterous. AFA themselves don't think so, for example the current issue of Fighting Talk states that "in recent weeks two people connected with AFA have been approached by Special Branch in different parts of the country. This is part of an ongoing police strategy..." (Issue 15 November 1996 p.6). Why would Searchlight want to downplay state interest in the Left? Read my research and you'll find out.

As for the Anti-Nazi League, would anybody in the know apart from the SWP seriously disagree with the validity of my characterisation? Hardly. Incidentally, those comments were made in the context of a defence of the ANL from the suggestion by British National Party Leader John Tyndall that they be prosecuted for incitement (see 'Turning Up The Heat:MI5 After the Cold War' p.42/48 on this).

CARF is a magazine I used to contribute to, and have every right to criticise when appropriate (see TUTH p.75-6/84 on the "affair" in question). On the Tyne & Wear Anti-Fascist Association see p.45-46 of the same book, and again make up your own mind.

The quoted comments on journalists I stand by, though for the full details, including the existence of "honourable exceptions" again see TUTH p. 19-20. The allegation that I accused all 36 journalists listed at the back of the book of "working for" the security services is, of course, false. Information concerning the relationship between each agency mentioned and each journalist cited is in the text of the book: not one journalist appears on that list whose output is not analysed. It may well be that Andrew Bell is one of World In Ac tion's "finest journalists"—given his past editorship of Searchlight and the programme's output that is hardly an impressive accolade.

My comment on the Board of Deputies is unexceptional, if necessarily wounding :essentially I am criticising them for inadequate intelligence on fascists, something I would hardly draw attention to if I were a 'fascist errand-boy' is it? I am not alone in my concerns about the Board, through their 'Community Security Trust' (CST), interfering in the political process in an unacceptable manner. The Observer recently carried a piece praising them for their "sophisticated intelligence system" and "investigative service". Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Condon (the same man responsible for racist accusations about crimes of violence and black youth) endorsed the trust, speaking of how "developed" and "disciplined" they were (2/2/97). A response from the activist Jewish Socialist Group painted a rather different picture, complaining of "surveillance and harassment of members of the Jewish community itself, especially those on the Left...As victims of their harassment, we have seen neither sophistication nor intelligence displayed by the officers of the CST" (Observer 9/2/97). Which is my other criticism of the Board:instead of investigating fascists properly, the CST concentrates on smearing anti-fascists, Jewish and non-Jewish, as part of a complex bargain with the state. This subject I will return to elsewhere, suffice to say disquiet among the Jewish community about the Board/CST and Searchlight has led Jewish comrades to provide me with valuable information.

What I am quoted as saying about Searchlight personnel possibly being involved in cemetery desecrations I stand by:and careful readers will note in no way did I "blame Jews for anti-semitism". I do not see Searchlight as primarily Jewish, since they have so many (allegedly reformed) non-Jewish fascists like Ray Hill, Tim Hepple and Steve Tilzey on the staff. Searchlight quoting New Statesman for 15/10/93 is a bit rich even for them. Because the piece went on to conclude that "the ferocity of Searchlight's attack seems out of all proportion to the nature of O'Hara's articles. Is it really such a crime to question Searchlight's assumptions about the nature of the far right?". Hardly a denunciation of me is it, but then the selective use of quotation has always been a hallmark of the 'Stalinist School of Falsification'. As for Brady/Harrington, what Searchlight fear above all else is the accuracy of my research concerning them and others—I don't lie about people.

The Logic Of The Smear

If my work is "very poorly researched and edited, and often barely intelligible", then why devote two whole pages to it? After all, as far back as 22/10/93 (when November's smear had just gone to press and a few weeks after his operatives had photographed me at work) Searchlight editor Gable stated "I think that most New Statesman readers are as bored by Mr O'Hara as we are" (p.28). The answer, logically, is that my research is not only not as bad as Searchlight claim, but so good that it has got them very worried indeed, hence the need to 'innoculate' readers against it. If my work is "slanderous", why not sue? I have not (so far) sued them: but will vigorously defend myself against all-comers.

It is highly illogical too, to call someone "paranoid" in the same article that contains, for no obvious public interest purpose, my photograph and work details, but not my mailing address. Furthermore, evading the content of what I have to say by resort to the simple expedient of declaring me "mad" or "paranoid" is the oldest trick in the book of smears. All their published quotations of mine show is an occasional sharp turn of phrase—hardly a psychiatric disorder. The 'psychiatrisation' of politics in this way is a deliberate attempt to further corrupt the public sphere by replacing consideration of the content of my research by insults. The intent is, like interning dissidents in the old Soviet Union by Searchlight's Stalinist mentors, to translate my (unexplained) political ideas into symptoms of psychiatric disorder, so as to prevent you taking them seriously.

The fact that in a seven page assault a year earlier (Atkinson/Internet) the terms paranoid and conspiracy theorist were not mentioned once shows that Searchlight do not for one minute believe it themselves:it is just a tactical ploy to debase my work. Different lies for different audiences. The gist of Atkinson's rant is that anyone criticising Searchlight must be working for the secret state themselves. Try this passage for example:"behind O'Hara's friend Baron stand far-right Tory MPs as well as a very right-wing former MP whom Searchlight exposed ten years ago as being in league with the 'secret state'....Also known is that O'Hara has worked closely with three men— Barrington (sic!), Brady and Sargent—who are as well as being nazis have either worked with or are working for British Intelligence...the intelligence services, not willing to attack us publicly use mouthpieces like O'Hara, Taha and Baron to do their dirty work...O'Hara is...a tool of the most reactionary forces within the secret services in Britain" (Atkinson/Internet p.5-6). It is indeed a serious allegation, to suggest I might be a 'tool' of the secret state ('reactionary forces' possibly being code for MI6). Not something to be claimed lightly, or without evidence. Yet Searchlight themselves attach so little credence to the charge that it is not mentioned in the January piece. Instead I am described as "either a paranoid conspiracy theorist or a fascist errand boy". Hardly charming, or true, but different claims than being a 'tool' of the secret state, which if true unquestionably deserves a mention. What sort of people make such grave allegations and then drop them without explanation? My answer is Stalinist trash in league with the state: a generously charitable description of the 'team' in the circumstances.

Is it really good enough to censor and condemn me because some things I write may be of interest to fascists? Shouldn't mine or anybody's research stand or fall on its intrinsic merits? If you stop yourself reading or thinking about something because told by 'authority' (in this case the shrill Stalinoid voice of Searchlight) not to do so, then is not one of the most important bulwarks against fascism, independent critical thought, undermined? Such considerations are irrelevant to Searchlight, who learned their slander techniques in what Trotsky rightly named the 'Stalinist School of Falsification'. That CI8 sold SFB is something as little under my control as the fact that item 6 on the literature list reproduced, very obviously blanked out, is Searchlight. Thus, while C18 selling my pamphlet is 'proof of supposed collaboration, selling Searchlight isn't proof of their 'collaborating' with C18. The regimes which spawned this evil Stalinist method of character assassination have been largely swept into the dustbin of history—so why should people continue to be duped by such techniques, and Searchlight's attempts to stifle debate and alternative views? If there is one fundamental theme which informs my research, it is that the fascists who over the next few years have a likelihood of success are not going to be traditional 'Nazis', but those sophisticated far rightists who have gone beyond nazism and have redefined, and Me redefining, the nature of fascism. Simply opposing such people by the old slogans, and assuming that fascists are all Nazis underneath, really, is a grave error (viz the 'Anti-Nazi League'). It is precisely examination of the new forms into which (particularly British) fascism has mutated in recent years that is my distinct contribution. Searchlight probably hate me for that above all else, because when it comes to such analysis, they just aren't interested (or capable), and intuitively recognise that the emergence of new paradigms arising from my work threatens their lucrative operation. Ultimately though, I can do no more than suggest you read my research as well as contrasting opinions on it to those Searchlight quote; then make up your own mind.

What Is Missing From The Smear: And Why

Aside from the lies and distortions, there are five significant things missing from the two-page attack, surely not omitted for space reasons therefore:

1) Any reference at all to my research exposing Searchlight operative Tim Hepple as an MI5 asset:yet my pamphlet on him 'At War With The Truth' was published November 1993. This is because every word in it is so true, and damaging, they have up to now felt it to be political suicide to even refer to it, never mind refute it. On this at least, their judgement is sound.

2) Any reference to my membership of the Green Party, and indeed my leading role in the Green Party's moves against David Icke for his anti-semitism in 1994 and subsequently (see Green Party Anti-Racist Network Newsletter October 1994 p.l/The Way Ahead September 1994 p.l and my article 'David Icke:Time For The Hard Truth' Greenline December 1995 p.15-17). To mention this would hardly fit in with the insinuations I am an anti-semite or fascist collaborator would it?

3) Any reference to Searchlight's depiction of what is incontrovertibly me (a Catholic) in the June/August/September 1994 issues as a courier setting up meetings between Combat 18 and Ulster Loyalists for the purposes of drug-dealing. In June 1994 Searchlight posed the question "If [Charlie] Sargent is such a keen loyalist, why is he using a Catholic, who has posed as an antifascist researcher, as a courier to Ulster for meetings with a key Third Positionist...Our view is that his beliefs take second place to the potential profits from drug-dealing" (p.5). In the August issue they wrote that "Searchlight has heard from Protestant friends that the loyalists are furious with Charlie Sargent for using a Catholic to send his messages to political contacts in Northern Ireland. Their annoyance is not surprising when so many lucrative deals are going wobbly these days" (p.7). This was followed in the September 1994 issue by reference to Sargent "using a Catholic teacher from London to convey messages to a man called Kerr in Ulster...This would not be the first instance of a Catholic being involved with the UDA" (p.3). These lies were printed before an IRA ceasefire had been declared, at the very time 'unfinished business' was being undertaken by the IRA in the form of executing drug-dealers under the banner 'Direct Action Against Drugs'. Thus, more than at any other time before or since, these insinuations were printed at precisely the right moment for them to have been potentially (and fatally for me) acted upon either by the IRA or trigger-happy Loyalist paramilitaries. I pointed out in my futile correspondence with the Press Complaints Commission that the figure referred to in these pieces was unquestionably me, something they refused to even comment on. Happily, that I was the person described was made crystal clear by Searchlight's Graeme Atkinson in December 1995, who lied that "O'Hara has done occasional favours for Combat 18...His contact with Combat 18 is via its street leader Charlie Sargent, a criminally convicted drugs racketeer and thug...So now we know what O'Hara is:a political errand boy and confidante of nazi thugs, nazi terrorists, nazi drugs racketeers" (Atkinson/Internet p.5/6).

Not only was this a despicable set of lies, to refer again to it would remind Searchlight readers that anybody (especially a Catholic who occasionally visits Ireland) having this said about them is in principle in very real danger of being 'taken out'. This was patently the purpose of such stories in the first place. For if the 'CI8-Loyalist' drug-dealing story was true, wouldn't it be highly relevant to remind readers of in the context of an article (January) devoted to my supposed "collaboration" with fascists? To not mention it now is a clear admission it was untrue:and thus to have printed such lies along with my photo and work details can only have been done for the same purpose as the current piece—to set me up for attack.

4) Any mention of the earlier allegation circulated on the Internet by Atkinson that I am a "tool of the most reactionary elements in the secret services" (Internet p.6). They know it to be a fiction, invented for a (German) Leftist audience who would have no means of checking it easily if at all. Nonetheless, as with the 'CI8-Loyalist' drug-dealing fantasy, intended to have harmful effects.

5) Any outline of the thesis and supporting evidence in my pamphlet 'Searchlight for Beginners'. The same as 'At War With The Truth' above, to not even outline my arguments in the course of a two-page attempt to dismiss them is a pretty clear indication I have hit the bulls-eye again, and my pamphlet is so accurate that it is very damaging indeed. Again, I concur with Searchlight's editorial judgement here.

Some Comments On My Critics

The second page of the attack has an unusual format. Here is Searchlight, habitually so shrill and indeed 'sollipsistic' in their approach, giving space to people they all (allegedly) disagree with. They are at pains to point out disagreement because the target audience is primarily journalists, to whom Searchlight are saying 'this person is an isolated crank, even the Left don't like him, it's not just us'. Clever, but not clever enough. They certainly don't distance themselves from the first 'witness', Stewart Home, already convincingly exposed by myself and others as a true 'fascists flunkey' for his long-standing political associations with, and covering up for, fascists such as Tony Wakeford, ex-NF/IONA and now in the band Sol Invictus. Just like his political allies at Searchlight, Home has not dared to effectively answer any of the evidence against him, instead resorting to smears lies and obscene homophobic pornographic tracts. Speaking of 'sanity', Home wrote that "forced to choose between Searchlight (democracy) and Green Anarchist (fascism) anyone with their sanity intact would opt for the former". Searchlight return his bootlicking slaverings by openly defending Home, ludicrously described as a "radical cultural theorist and writer...the victim of O'Hara's distortions and innuendos". This mutual support is fine to see, and something I will return to elsewhere.

Here & Now's abuse in Issue 17 was inspired by their defence of (lying for), Home (see my reply—hopefully—in the forthcoming Issue 18). It is for Black Flag to explain the snide review of my work by 'Anonymous of Bradford':an opinion disagreed with by other anarchists, and not necessarily representative of Black Flag's collective view. Big Issue journalist, Oxbridge/public school clone Ed Piatt, who had clearly never read a word of my research, was hostile right from the start, perhaps related to his also working for the Evening Standard, something he omitted to mention. He was intent on trapping me into saying something provocative or foolish. As the published article confirms, in the two hours I did not make one slip. He chose to ignore what I actually said and concocted slurs about my personal appearance. These were then reproduced in Searchlight. Fortunately, the inaccuracy of Piatt's description is illustrated by the photograph placed next to it in Searchlight—does the person on the left fit the description on the right? I have raised questions about the allegiances and honesty of journalists, and make no apologies for that.to paraphrase Primo Levi, if not me, who? If not now, when? Robin Ramsay's criticism of my work on this occasion (as opposed to others) I find strange: but as he has published my work subsequently, and expressed his willingness to do so again, I can certainly allow him the liberty of a dissenting opinion:a liberty Searchlight do not afford their critics.

In any case, Searchlight don't for one minute believe any of the paranoid/conspiracist rubbish they print about me. Atkinson didn't mention these terms once in his 1995 diatribe, even referring to my "well-organised efforts" (Atkinson/Internet p.5).

Once More To Leeds

In Searchlight over the years I have been slanderously associated with just about every far right group/individual. David Owens (Leeds BNP) is just the latest. What Owens really thinks of my research on Leeds you can read for yourself shortly, but needless to say I have never collaborated with him. 'Turning Up The Heat' went to print in August and was published October 1994, the first printed mention of possible malign intervention by the state concerning fascists in Leeds. My ongoing investigations into events in Leeds, initiated using my own (anti-fascist) sources clearly preceded fascist writings on the subject, 'White Lies' coming out March 1995. After reading my book, Leeds fascists were prepared, within the parameters of their own agenda, to divulge further information I did not have. As a serious researcher, this opportunity I could not pass up, and in early 1995 I met Owens (and others) in Leeds. Not to give them information, but to see what leads they were prepared to give me, concerning a state-sponsored attempt to escalate political violence. Meeting them was a (physical) risk—but a calculated and necessary one. I wanted to tape the meeting, something they would not accede to, although some local fascists seem to believe I taped the encounter anyway. That it was them who didn't want the meeting taped indicates which direction information flowed in:from them to me, and not vice versa. Interesting information was gleaned, but the use made of it was my affair, and anything discovered, was checked independently before use. Obviously, Leeds fascists want to destroy anti-fascist opposition, but that wasn't (and has never been) on my agenda. Any hopes they might have had of me using information to help their cause, as opposed to that of independent anti-fascism, were soon dashed by my review of Leeds BNP's 'White Lies' for Green Anarchist (Summer 1995). Owens was so displeased he described me as "a real liar", having written the piece "with the dual intention of wounding Gerry Gable and attempting to carry out a campaign of smears and innuendo against myself' (letter 28/7/95: See Appendix 1). That he and the BNP didn't like what I wrote indicates I certainly wasn't a conduit for disinformation.

With the above sequence of events in mind, consider this gem from Searchlight (September 1995 p.7), that "crazed self-styled independent researcher Larry O'Hara has also accused Owens of working for the state". This, the first mention of me in connection with Owens, can only have been based on my review of White Lies:for I have not written about him before or since, and that review aired for the first time publicly (without endorsing them necessarily) various allegations about Owens. Despite this, the next mention of me in relation to Owens (December 1996 p.14) describes him (falsely) as having "spent his time cossetted with the self-styled 'researcher' Larry O'Hara, writing material aimed at disrupting the anti-fascist movement". The White Lies review, is now (January 1997), dismissed as "rehashed...nazi smears in Green Anarchist ". After referring to my meeting Owens, Searchlight say "it was obviously in the BNP's interest to spread disinformation against Leeds AFA and Searchlight, and O'Hara and Green Anarchist were the willing disseminators of this propaganda". So, the same article is both evidence of me ("crazed") accusing the Leeds BNP Organiser of working for the state and simultaneously spreading disinformation on his behalf. Doesn't make sense does it? Nor is it meant to. The purpose is not to inform but to incite.

To Interview Or Not?

At root is the question—are Searchlight and TV crews/bourgeois journalists the only people allowed to interview fascists? Consider journalist Denis Campbell. This long-time Searchlight ally even travelled to Germany with the BNP on holiday (see Time Out 26/8/92). According to Fuse (University of North London Student magazine October 1992 p.6), Gable supported Time Out's decision to publish the resulting article. In his words "Denis got a lot of stick for that piece. And as I said I am totally against giving them a platform. But sometimes you've got to show them up for what they are....Denis interviewed one guy who spoke about armed struggle...These are dangerous bastards—Denis was right to show them up as that". But of course I am not allowed to show fascists up in their own words—yet why not? This double-standard is maintained by Searchlight to distinguish between their friends and those who aren't, having no consistency other than this. In Scotland on Sunday (24/4/94) Campbell went one better than his German trip by interviewing a member of CI8. The objection from Searchlight is not that I interview fascists when useful and prudent, but that I do not do such interviews under the control or in the orbit of either them or their friends in the state apparatus. The January issue attacking me has an advert on page 24 (ring any Andrew Bells?) stating that "author and broadcaster writing a book on Combat 18 would like to hear from members and former members about its formative period and more recent times". Is it not highly likely that this person will meet and interview such people? What Searchlight really object to, and fear so much they daren't give address details of how to obtain it, is the content of my research, not me conducting interviews.

Andrew Bell: Patrick Harrington's Errand Boy?

One of Searchlight's regular themes is to associate me in the public mind with former NF Directorate member and current Third Way activist Patrick Harrington, whom I have interviewed (along with others) for my research. I was also instrumental in persuading him to deposit the National Front archives at Warwick University Modern Records Centre where they are accessible to any researchers. I have viewed and photocopied material that Harrington has periodically sent to Warwick to supplement the collection, some of it specifically sought out at my request to fill gaps. Patrick Harrington's stated position is that he never refuses interviews to any journalist or student enquiring about political matters. Something that is, I would imagine, easily verifiable. Denis Campbell and Andrew Bell (both mentioned in the January Searchlight) are well aware of his attitude already, having met and interviewed Harrington on a number of occasions. The famous photograph showing Nick Griffin and Derek Holland in Tripoli on the January 1989 cover of Searchlight was actually given by Harrington to Andrew Bell in one interview. Bearing in mind tensions within the Official NF over attitudes towards Libya, Harrington had a political motive for leaking this photograph—and by printing it without attribution cannot Bell (a past editor of Searchlight) be said to have acted as Harrington's 'errand-boy', using Searchlight's logic? Obviously Andrew Bell isn't Harrington's 'errand boy'—but then, neither am I. Bell is not the only Searchlight editor to have spent a lot of time interviewing members of the far right. On 15/10/85 the Guardian published a story by David Rose about the NF printing press getting £4,000 in government grants. When giving evidence to the Press Complaints Council close Searchlight associate Rose stated that "the principal allegations in the article...were based on a series of interviews with a source from the highest level of the National Front..I held three meetings with the source in the summer of 1985. At two of them, both of which lasted an entire day, Mr Gerry Gable, a journalist with Searchlight magazine, was present" (p.2 part II.6/response to complaint W12723/D5049). I have my own views as to that 'source' (not Harrington), which I will reveal elsewhere. Returning to the point, while I am not allowed to interview fascists, Searchlight editors are. Curious is it not?

The two pieces of 'evidence' advanced by Searchlight to support linking me to Harrington are firstly an article in Tribune, and secondly attendance at a Third Way Conference in June 1992. On the first, how about my comment in Tribune's letter pages that "while Third Way is definitely not Nazi, this would not rule out it being an attempt to construct a highly sophisticated (and innovatory) form of non-anti-semitic fascism, akin in this sense to Benito Mussolini's...attempts by Third Way...to construct a non-Nazi far Right make them both interesting and potentially very worrying" [19/6/92]. On the second point, I attended a Third Way Conference two days later 21/6/92, but not as a sympathiser;something this letter indicates. My primary aim in attending was to interview US Rabbi Mayer Schiller for my PhD, to ascertain his opinions on the NF's trajectory, especially as regards anti-semitism:which I did. A secondary aim was to write (if I could place it) a news item on the Conference itself. This being my intention is shown by a letter received from the magazine CARF (Campaign Against Racism & Fascism) dated 1/6/92, three weeks before the event. CARF stated "we would have liked to have received something about the conference. The only trouble is that we come out next in July, and the date of the conference is after our copy deadline. By the time we come out next in September a report on the Conference would look odd". Needless to say, while that article wasn't written for CARF, others were. A French journalist covered an earlier Third Way Conference (issue 1 Feb/March 1991 p.5) which gave me the idea of suggesting an article. As I understand it, she was admitted to the relevant Conference, like myself and Denis Campbell in 1992, not as sympathisers, but because 'open meetings' (subject to ticket purchase) are Third Way's policy. This places my Conference presence in a rather different and more legitimate light than Searchlight have. The idea that going to a Conference implies support for the group holding it is ridiculous anyway—in the 1970's and 1980's often strenuous efforts were made by journalists to gain entry to NF AGM's:yet did this mean they were sympathisers? Of course not. Me contacting an anti-racist magazine weeks before going, to see if they wanted a piece indicates Third Way Conference attendance was part of my research. Otherwise, why advertise it in advance? Denis Campbell attended the same Conference, sitting right in front of me, and engaged in deep and lengthy discussions in the bar with Harrington. I never saw an article about the Conference by him, but Searchlight haven't referred to his attendance or questioned his 'motives'. Campbell has had extensive contact with the far right over the years, but his relationship with Searchlight exempts him from criticism by them. I trust you now get the idea—one rule for them/friends, another for everyone else.

And Another Thing...

Following, you will find numerous quotes illustrating that fascists are aware of my conflict with Searchlight, but know very well I am not 'one of theirs'. You will also find positive comments about my research from a wide variety of Leftist/anti-fascist sources. Both revelations might surprise anyone taking January's disinformation at face value. Hopefully you will have now formed your own views as to the truth of the matter. In which case, a question will have probably occurred to you...

GIVEN 'SEARCHLIGHT FOR BEGINNERS' CONTAINS STRONG ALLEGATIONS DISMISSED AS "MALICIOUS LIES AND DISINFORMATION" BY SEARCHLIGHT, WHY DON'T THEY PUT UP OR SHUT UP AND ACTUALLY SUE ME? IF SEARCHLIGHT CONTINUE TO DECLINE THIS INVITATION (FIRST ISSUED IN 'AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH' 1993) THEN YOU MY READERS/THE ANTI-FASCIST MOVEMENT IN BRITAIN AND ELSEWHERE MAY WELL CONCLUDE SEARCHLIGHT CANNOT REFUTE MY ALLEGATIONS BECAUSE THEY ARE FACTUALLY CORRECT.

LARRY O'HARA 18/2/97
copyright Larry O'Hara/Mina Enterprises 1997 Printed By The Whitby Press

APPENDIX ONE Far Right Views Of Me Not Mentioned By Searchlight

"Larry O'Hara...writes for CARF (the Campaign Against Racism & Fascism) as well as various other anti-Nationalist publications. All nationalists please take note O 'Hara is a red!! Just because he has some feud with Searchlight does not make him one of us ".
Charlie Sergeant in The Order issue 11 (Combat 18) March 1995
"I have recently come across your review of 'White Lies' for Green Anarchist....Obviously you have written the piece with the dual intention of wounding Gerry Gable and attempting to carry out a campaign of lies and innuendo against myself, so be it....You neglect to mention the physical assaults on the Blackpool BNP candidate, the Birmingham BNP Organiser, and now the attacks on Alf Waite and his wife. These go on all over the country, all inspired by YOUR friends in Red Action..the person you sa\ produced the booklet (me) is a state asset and has brought out a booklet that exposes another State asset (White) and put pressure on another State asset (Gable)....step aside John Le Carre...it's all good stufffor people like yourself who are able to use it to smear people with, step aside Gerry Gable, the real liar is ready to spring forth... ".
Letter from David Owens (Leeds BNP) to author 28/7/95 (all emphases in original)
"O'Hara is a fanatical anti-fascist, but his concern is that Gable is betraying their cause with his blatant lies and crude attempts to start a street war"

Wild Boar issue 3 (Leeds BNP) April 1996
"O'Hara has close contacts with the anarchists of Direct Action who help make up Red Action. Any info, shared with O'Hara is then shared with Red Action....the meeting lasted for nearly 5 hours. The mind boggles as to what information was passed over to O'Hara in such a length of time....The Active Service Unit does not know when these further meetings were held with O'Hara, or other more prominent members of Red Action, or what further info. Owens was willing to share on these occasions. Shortly after these meetings Red Action carried out an attack which could not have been successful without the help of an insider".
Supposed 'Leeds Central BNP Special Bulletin' sent to all BNP Branches October 1996
" By December of last year....Peter Rushden [Manchester BNP/widely suspected Searchlight /state asset] acting as an agent provocateur tried to get some of the younger Nationalists to attack Larry O'Hara and a bookshop in King's Cross, whose manager, like O'Hara, is Red scum but also an enemy of Searchlight boss, Gerry Gable ".
Editorial in The Order issue 3 (Combat 18) July 1993
"O'Hara refers to the 'deeply sickening homophobia' which permeates my writings. Guilty!...Not only is O'Hara totally opposed to my methods, he also stresses his commitment to 'fighting anti-Semitism & other forms of racism'. When will these stupid people ever learn ? ".
Alexander Baron 'Searchlight on Gerry Gable:Secret State Asset or Liability' 1994
"A conspiracy crank...O'Hara's vanity and cognitive dissonance are exceeded only by his paranoia... O'Hara's claim that Ray Hill is a violent fantasist is nonsense... Searchlight is not run by the secret state ".
Alexander Baron 'Mr O'Hara & The Radicals' October 1996
"On pages 89-95 he mentions me personally a few times and claims that I'm a state asset and promises to write about this in detail later. If he really believes this then I pity him, if not then I hope he rots in hell!".
Stuart McCullough in Final Conflict issue 7 (International Third Position) March 1995
"So he's a dodgy fucker, either he's a dodgy cunt or I'm a dodgy cunt then
Tony White Leeds BNP/Special Branch informant) taped September 1995
"Complete garbage Larry—just like your politics, but my word Stalin would have loved you on the staff of Pravda, or even better Goebbels on one of his lie sheets ".
Greenwave issue 2 (Third Way) October 1991
"O'Hara reviews the booklet ['White Lies'] and comes across as quite bitter. In fact he goes so far as to attempt to smear the author of the booklet as an MI5 asset".
Final Conflict issue 9 (International Third Position) January 1996
"You quote the opinion of Larry O'Hara as an arbiter on the subject of fascism but any opinion he holds is subjective—he could change it tomorrow...Larry O'Hara has backtracked from his original statement after pressure from his more orthodox comrades. What difference does that make except to our opinion of him?".
Patrick Harrington in Alternative Green issue 12 Spring 1995

APPENDIX TWO Positive Comments About My Research By Others

"I did experience a certain confusion over Searchlight's call for MI5 to take over monitoring of such groups as Combat 18, then only to read their position that C-18 was set up by MI5. So all the enclosures you sent have been quite useful. Whether you now have underway a COINTELPRO-type state operation is beyond my knowledge to render an opinion, but the scene certainly bears watching which makes your work highly valuable ". Letter from Philip Agee to the author 15/1/96
"A lucid analysis...O'Hara clearly shows how the 'mask' over NF anti-semitism slips frequently, or provides only thin disguise. ..O'Hara's expose of the NF's fascism is a positive contribution to anti-fascism ".
Jews & Jew-Haters' (Union of Jewish Students on Return articles) 1990

(A) Turning up the Heat:MI5 After the Cold War

"This little book is an essential work to all activists...putting (through well researched examples) into concrete what many of us have said for years, but were just scoffed at for being paranoiac ".
Earth Liberation Prisoners issue 2 March 1995
"a timely reminder of the old adage 'idle hands find mischief ...the book is well researched and balanced"
CARN 88 (Celtic League) Winter 1994-5
"If you are at all politically active, then this book makes essential reading. Inside you will find out exactly how and why MI5 operate ". Frontline issue 2 Winter 1995
"The book should be read as an introduction to the internecine and fractured nature of Britain's opposition groupings and to MI5 's control of them " An Phoblacht/Republican News 15/6/95
"In this very readable and well researched book...author Larry O'Hara details just how much the State, through the use of it's security forces, has its grubby fingers in our everyday lives...Great to see someone take the time to go into it in detail and to provide such irrefutable proof Mandatory reading for anyone considering an 'active outdoor life'". Bypass issue 4 February 1995
"A revealing book on the secret services...a timely reminder that MI5 continues to be active in seeking a new role hunting 'subversives' within the British state now the Cold War is over...a thorough examination of the targets ". Y Faner Goch 72 Medi 1995
"Excellent investigative research into the activities of the British secret state...As (recently) ordered by the MOD it must be worth something if they 're interested!".
AK (anarchist) Catalogue 1996
"Compelling reading...O'Hara's book may well rely on supposition, but it is supposition based on a reasonable amount of research. It's worth a read even if it does give you some sleepless nights as a result".
Tiocfadh ar La (Celtic fanzine) issue 11 February 1995
"O'Hara has fantastic sources of information and appears completely au fait with the entire milieux of the British far Right and Left...a rivetting read:I whoofed it down in one sitting ".
Lobster issue 28 December 1994 (Robin Ramsay)
"An interesting insight into the inner life of one of the leading western secret services in the post-Cold War era". Fortress Europe (Sweden) December 1994
"A surprisingly calm and well-referenced guide to a difficult and controversial area ". Green World (Green Party) Autumn 1995
"ALF and Green activists are covered in the last chapter, which, although short, is very well informed covering the recent arrest and charging of the ALF Press Officer, Robin Webb. For anyone interested in just how secret government services such as MI5 operate and how any of us may become a target to them, this book is well worth a read". ALF Support Group Newsletter Winter 1995
" The value of this book is that it raises the question studiously ignored by the left of state infiltration and manipulation. For O'Hara, quite correctly, the questions raised throughout are not on the basis of if or maybe but of who, where & when. Recommended with reservations". Red Action issue 70 Spring 1995
"0'Hara..is one of the few really investigative reporters active. If you really are involved in any sort of activism or you want to know what really goes on behind the scenes in Britain's secret state you should read this book ".Head issue 5 Spring 1995
"I read it so quickly and avidly, and agreed with so much it said, that I found it difficult to review ".
Greenline issue 123 April 1995

"Gives plenty of evidence of the increasing attention being paid to animal rights and Green groups. The fact that a known state asset, Gerry Gable the editor of Searchlight has repeatedly smeared him and tried to set him up for attack by publishing his home address, is evidence enough that O'Hara's diligent researches have caught the state with its trousers down ". Freedom (anarchist fortnightly) 23/9/95

(B) A Lie Too Far/At War With The Truth

"The book covers the whole story of Searchlight's campaign of disinformation and does a remarkable job of describing a conspiracy of incredible complexity in a relatively easy to understand manner".
Organise issue 33 (Anarchist Communist Federation) Jan. 1994 (ALTF)
"Although Searchlight's links to the secret state are—or should be—well known, this pamphlet gives a vivid picture of the depths the magazine will sink to in order to please its masters... This pamphlet should be widely read! ".Freedom 18/9/93 (ALTF)
"Detailed further evidence which could point to the even more chilling conclusion that Hepple may have been trying to turn the Green Anarchist team into a high-tech armed cell—in which he would have had a central role...shows the direction things were going in before O'Hara stepped in with well-timed warnings .
Open Eye issue 3 1995 (AWWT)
"There are many revelations in this pamphlet which totally discredit Searchlight as a source of information on the far right, and raise the question of just how far the magazines (undoubted) links to the state go. Searchlight is exposed as a listening post on the Left and a conduit for disinformation ".
Freedom 5/2/94 (AWWT)
"The importance of the Hepple case can hardly be exaggerated for those interested in the covert manipulation of the British left by the state. For the first time I can think of on the mainland UK, a state infiltration and disinformation operation has been sussed and spiked while it was happening. This one will run and run ". Lobster issue 26
(Robin Ramsay) December 1993 (AWWT)
"These booklets show that Searchlight has close links with MI5 and the security services...O'Hara's research indicates that Hepple is in fact an agent provocateur, a member of the security services, sent in to destabilise and spy on groups which the state doesn't like, both right and left... read O 'Hara's work and make up your own mind".Leave Nothing To Chance issue 1 (Middlesborough) 1994 (ALTF/AWWT)

(C) Searchlight for Beginners (so far!)

" Yet more superb work by the overweight researcher in a suit!...Searchlight's previous editor dropped dead whilst on the phone to a Special Branch officer. Can anybody think of a better way to go for its current editor? " London Calling (London Class War Bulletin) November/December 1996
"Aimed mainly at those who are unfamiliar with the magazine, or who read it and are unaware of—or unconvinced by—the serious and if true, disturbing allegations about this ostensibly anti-fascist periodical....Essential reading ". Freedom 30/11/96
"This would be a good read for as yet unconvinced naive anti-fascists, people new to politics, college antifascist SU officers, and other members of the 'Ostrich Left' still unaware of 'A Lie Too Far', 'Turning Up The Heat' and the rest of Larry O'Hara's earlier work ". Green Anarchist 45-46 Spring 1997

SEARCHLIGHT FOR BEGINNERS: EXTRACT

SEARCHLIGHT FOR BEGINNERS: EXTRACT

Since its foundation Searchlight has propagated three really major stories: 'Column 88' in the 1970's, the 'Notting Hill Bomb Plot' in 1981 and the 'Combat 18' story in the 1990's. The Column 88 and Combat 18 fantasies are the most interesting, both in themselves and for the parallels with each other. Of equal importance is what these stories and the activities of Searchlight operatives reveal about the organisations real agenda: spying on and disrupting the Left/Greens as well as running errands for various state agencies.

COLUMN 88: SEARCHLIGHT'S HOMUNCULUS

In May 1975, four months after their relaunch as a magazine, Searchlight entered the lists with their first major scoop. This was a detailed treatment of 'Column 88'(hereafter C88), so named because each number stood for the letter H: hence 'Heil Hitler'. C88 was described as a well-organised Nazi group whose "long-term objectives are to have their members in places of influence across the whole spectrum of the Right, from Monday Club to the National Front, and to slowly but surely make sure National Socialism is not only not forgotten but also hedges ahead bit by bit within these groups" [2]. The only media coverage of C88 I have been able to find before this date are three articles in a local paper the Western Daily Press in April, just before Searchlight's May issue went to print [3]. In content they are very similar to Searchlight, clearly derived from each other or some other common (secret) source. There is a major difference between the local press coverage and Searchlight though: while the newspaper explicitly stated much of their information came from "a man helping Special Branch with their inquiries" [4], this was not something Searchlight told their readers. Yet if Searchlight was a genuinely independent magazine as opposed to a satellite publication, surely they would have told their readers the source of their story was a state asset. In April 1976 C88 hit the national headlines in a big way when it was revealed a unit had carried out joint military exercises with members of Britain's reserve (Territorial) Army in the Savemake forest a few months earlier, in November 1975. One source of these allegations was unquestionably Dave Roberts, Searchlight's first disclosed 'star agent' [5]. That Searchlight were not coy in trumpeting their own role 'exposing' C88 in this way is made plain in all the relevant newspaper articles. In the follow up issue of May 1976, Searchlight boasted of their "scoop on the activities of Column 88 and a Unit of the Territorial Army...the many stories that have resulted from Searchlight's research into the extreme right Column 88" [6].

At this time, Searchlight was estimating C88 membership as "in the region of 200-300" and again describing "the long term aim of C88 to provide a highly trained and efficient cadre for a national socialist party of the future" [7]. Searchlight concluded by pompously stating "C88 is a private army. It is illegal. There is no legitimate reason why it should be allowed to continue" [8]. Roberts, like Gable another former CPGB member only 'came out' as an agent after he was caught in the act and convicted in March 1976 for trying to assault the staff of an Indian Restaurant after a botched arson attempt on nearby Communist Party premises in Birmingham [9]. His co-defendants, when it came to sentencing, issued (implausible) statements denying his involvement, leading to him receiving only a suspended sentence (later served for a public order offence). The facts of Roberts presence and role are undeniable: without a police patrol stumbling across the scene he would never have been caught, and his co-defendants were so convinced he was as complicit as they were that one entrusted to Roberts the task of visiting his home address and removing documents for safekeeping [10]. Searchlight returned to the topic of C88 in May 1978, implying very strongly that contemporary attacks on Black Left and Community bookshops were "co-ordinated on a national scale...Whatever the name used, C88 or 11th Hour Brigade; they all come from the same stable, with an interchangeable personnel" [11].

These extracts don't quite do justice to the flurry of TV and other Media stories covering C88, nor the way the whole phenomenon captivated anti-fascists. As late as October 1980 a Searchlight-written story in Left magazine The Leveller depicted C88 as "by far the nastiest group...thought to have 250 members organised into small cells...Currently lying low, their potential more worrying than the reality" [12]. Without Searchlight's lurid 1975 coverage and subsequent follow up in April and May 1976, there would not have been any national C88 story. This fact is of great significance, as we shall see. The other story Searchlight pushed with all their might at this time was a reprise of the themes in the anonymous 'Monday Club' document mentioned earlier: exaggerating the political clout of George Kennedy-Young (former deputy head of MI6) and various associates, the height of whose influence had been a failed attempt to take over the Monday Club in September 1973. Particularly noteworthy was 'The Men In The Shadows' issue (November 1976) crammed full of primary source material intended to illustrate "the growing trend towards a military/political involvement on the right which bodes ill for democracy in Britain" (p.4). It was thus MI6-connected initiatives or sideshows/irrelevant failures who attention was being focussed on. That this occurred while Ludmer was still the editor, and it was he who initially 'controlled' both Dave Roberts and Sonia Hochfelder (see below) makes me highly suspicious of his lack of integrity. A fitting epitaph for Ludmer is provided by the fact that according to Gable at the very moment he died Ludmer was on the telephone to a "senior Special Branch officer" [13].

As we now know, the key murky secret state activity of the mid-1970's was MI5's efforts to use the situation in Northern Ireland to their own advantage, and even undermine Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson [14]. MI5 did not make the slightest appearance in either of the Searchlight-hyped stories, which is a chilling omission. C88 never added up to much" [15], and neither, frankly did George Kennedy-Young and his friends. As I stated in 1993, "by the Left (and media) concentrating contemporaneously on the agenda Searchlight were pushing...the more dangerous strategies and personnel constructing them were left in peace unmolested" [16]. Searchlight can thus, in the politically charged and volatile 1970's, be seen to have performed a very useful function as a 'distractor', diverting potentially prying eyes away from what was really going on.

SEARCHLIGHT COME CLEAN ABOUT COLUMN 88:OR DO THEY?

Having built up C88 so much, indeed based their reputation on it, the admission by Searchlight concerning the group later on, in for example, their 'Community Handbook' (1995) is nonetheless staggering. After two pages of an (as usual) error-strewn chronology of the far right, they stated "C88, the nazi underground group that existed from around the late 1960's until the end of the 1970's was a honey trap operation by British intelligence and should not be counted as a genuine far right or racist group" (Section 2.2-2). Shortly before, Searchlight had gone even further, claiming that "Column 88...is now thought to have been an unofficial adjunct to the British section of the Gladio network" [17]. In January 1991, while still asserting C88 had been an "underground fascist paramilitary organisation", and not, therefore, a state operation as such (p.6), there was an attempt to retrospectively tie C88 in with George Kennedy Young himself, saying that he "and his close associates used organisations like Column 88 as a smoke screen for their more criminal plans" (p.3). Attacking MI6 in this general way (ie with little evidence) is yet another instance of Searchlight's predisposition towards their MI5 rivals, something we will have reason to return to. If we take their 1995 argument about C88 being a state 'honey trap' at face value, then if C88 was a state operation from start to finish, why did Searchlight not disclose this when it was relevant to do so: ie when it was actually functioning, or while George Kennedy Young was still alive to answer their allegations about his supposed involvement? By not blowing the whistle when it mattered, they themselves acted as "unofficial adjuncts" and disinformers on behalf of this very same "honey trap operation". Indeed, without them, this "honeytrap" would not have been able to function at all in the first place. If Searchlight had not existed, no doubt the secret state would have used (or set up) some other conduit to hype C88-ie peddle disinformation. But the fact is the state didn't need an alternative outlet. Searchlight willingly did the job of selling C88 to the media Left & Right, and at the time were happy to take the credit. In the light of Searchlight's record on C88 alone, everything they say on the subject of security service involvement in fascist politics should be treated as disinformation, in no way as credible 'hard' information. The alternative charitable view, that Searchlight weren't aware at the relevant time of the nature/function of C88 hardly sees them as coming out better: they would be equally lacking in credence but merely naive as opposed to malign..

THE COLUMN 88 AND COMBAT 18 OPERATIONS COMPARED

Searchlight themselves have drawn attention to C88:C18 parallels, stating that "those who have watched C18 have noted that in some ways it resembled a little too closely a nazi underground group called Column 88. C88 turned out to be a 'honey trap operation' set up by British intelligence...[and] disappeared into the wilderness of mirrors that is intelligence once Searchlight and Members of Parliament started to ask too many questions and even infiltrate its ranks" [57]. With hindsight, what are we to make of this? Aside from the posthumous rehabilitation of Dave Roberts, this account of how C88 panned out is an inversion of the true sequence of events. For as we have seen it was Searchlight's publicising C88 in 1975 and feeding stories to the media and MPs in 1976 concerning the Savernake forest exercise and so on that led to the effective launch of C88 nationally without which it couldn't function as a 'honey trap'. And as I have repeatedly stated, there is no evidence MI5 created C18, indeed the only motive suggested by Searchlight for them doing so is preposterous, that concerning Ulster Loyalists. For of virtually all 'extra-parliamentary' groups Ulster Loyalist paramilitaries are the most susceptible to infiltration by the state. The case of the UDA's Chief Intelligence Officer 1987-1990, state asset Brian Nelson, under whose auspices Loyalist paramilitaries were flooded with arms via South Africa, springs immediately to mind. Given that in any fascist-Loyalist co-operation the Loyalists would unquestionably be the senior partner, MI5 would already know, via their assets inside the Loyalists, precisely what 'joint activities' might be going on, indeed they'd be in a good position to organise them! CI8 has far more of a reality and street presence (although a patchy record on functioning cells), than C88 ever appeared to have, so the parallels there are not exact. No significant reports of substantial power struggles within C88 were ever filed, this is not the case concerning C18, for close observers like myself. There are two similarities between C88 and C18 though. The first is one that would not unduly perturb Searchlight. The operations (real/imagined) of both are clearly matters within the province of the secret state generally, both Special Branch and MI5. The second similarity is one which would, and should, make Searchlight very uncomfortable indeed were it to gain wide circulation, and will hopefully already be apparent to those of you who have read this far. Just as Searchlight lied about C88 on behalf of the state when it mattered, so they have already done, and are still doing, in relation to C18. If C18 is a 'honey trap' then Searchlight have helped it become effective, by building it up so much: the first TV programme featuring it was co-produced by them and old friend Andrew Bell for 'World In Action' April 1993. On this 'honey trap' scenario, Searchlight acted in exactly the same way concerning C18 as they did with C88. On the other hand if CI8 (no matter how distasteful a band of neo-nazi thugs they evidently are) is at present run by a leadership who are largely independent of state control, by lying about the allegiance of this Mark I original leadership Searchlight are facilitating a take over by real state operatives. Such a takeover would not be undertaken for pacifist purposes, that much is for sure.

FOOTNOTES

2 Searchlight May 1975 issue p.5
3 7/4/75,29/4/75,30/4/75
4 7/4 /75 and 29/4/75: exact same phrase used in each article
5 see Searchlight May 1976 issue p.4, also Sunday Telegraph 18/4/76 & Guardian 19/4/76
6 pages 2 and 3 respectively. This was (and is) an established pattern: stories are sold to the media and then recycled/embroidered in the next months magazine
7 Searchlight May 1976 issue pages 3 and 4 respectively
8 Searchlight May 1976 p.4
9 The Observer 21/3/76

10 June 1976 issue p.ll. Roberts own story is contained in the May/June/July 1976 issues of Searchlight. See also issue 26 (August 1977) and issue 1 of Unity Against Fascism (1977).
11 issue 35 May 1978 p.3
12 29/10/80 p.25
13 BBC Radio 4 'Soundtrack' programme 16/3/95: it would perhaps be too unkind to speculate about the content of the conversation
14 see for example Peter Wright 'Spycatcher' (Heinemann Australia 1987), Lobster 11 April 1986, Paul Foot 'Who Framed Colin Wallace' (Pan London 1989) and Steven Dorril/Robin Ramsay 'Smear!Wilson & The Secret State' (Fourth Estate 1991)
15 see my piece in Lobster 23 June 1992 p.16/18
16 'At War With The Truth' p.27
17 April 1995 p.2: Searchlight's customary inaccuracy/invention is shown by the statement here that C88 operated "in the late 1960's and early 1970's"—if they can be out by four or five years on the ending of this operation, why should we take seriously any factual claims they make about it?
.......
57 Searchlight April 1995 issue Editorial p.2

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN THE PUBLICATION "SEARCHLIGHT FOR BEGINNERS" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

HOPE NOT HATE: AN ANTI-FASCIST CRITIQUE

INTRODUCTION

The piece below is extracted (p.8-11) from a longer article in Notes From the Borderland issue 9 (2009) 'An Expected Shock: The 2009 BNP Election Success & Anti-Fascist Strategy' p.3-14, written after the June 2009 European Elections when the BNP gained two seats, the first time any fascist party had done so in the UK. The extract is preceded by a detailed analysis of BNP voting patterns & strategy, and followed by a critique of the other main anti-fascist show currently in town, 'Unite Against Fascism', concluding with pointers to a realistic anti-fascist strategy (some covered in the extract from NFB 7 in the the 'Fascism/Anti-Fascism' section of this site). After you have read the article below, check out that of 4/11/11 'No Hope, Lots of Hate: Civil War Breaks out in Searchlight' on this site also.

Aside from old anti-fascist hands (like NFB) most people in recent times will have heard of Searchlight through contact with their 'Hope Not Hate' front. It is fitting then, especially as HNH's structure is 'virtual', for this critique to be placed on the internet. Not least because issues raised about the nature of politics, democracy, and the role of the internet in all these matters are of profound importance generally, and increasingly preoccupy (and trouble) NFB. Searchlight themselves, as befits their Stalinist origins, don't do debate--that is expected. Inasmuch as Blue State Digital were informed of this article, and sent copies, it might surprise the uninitiated that they too, have not dared answer criticism, something further indicated here http://www.lexferenda.com/05032010/matthew-mcgregor-blue-state-digital-at-uea/. Not surprising, fundamentally--for BSD anti-fascism is primarily a PR/money-making opportunity--and responding to NFB would not be good PR/business. Nonetheless, even if belatedly, should BSD care to respond we would be happy to hear from them. We hope that anti-fascists inadvertently sucked into Hope Not Hate's orbit take up the issues raised herein--especially the perfectly legitimate questions we suggest are asked at HNH events. Tell us how you get on (in confidence if needs be)--we might even publish what you have to say! The BNP's performance in the 2010 UK General Election does not, it should be pointed out, undermine our critique of HNH --but that is an argument to be had another day/ article.

SEARCHLIGHT/HOPE NOT HATE--ONE FRONT BEHIND ANOTHER

(A) PHASE 1-ORIGINAL SPIN?

Perhaps surprisingly for an entity describing itself as "Britain's leading anti-fascist organisation", 'Hope Not Hate' (hereafter HNH), brand name for Searchlight's anti-fascist leafletting campaign, was not founded 2005, as stated [66]. HNH is a 'front' every bit as fraudulent as any BNP scam. 'Hope Not Hate' was first used as a slogan in Spring 2004, emblazoned on the red bus touring around the country before the European elections. The smiling (if slightly demented) grey and yellow sun logo was first used on t-shirts sold for Searchlight by long-time ally, ex-Marxism Today contributor and professional 'England supporter' Mark Perryman [67].

Prior to using the 'Hope Not Hate' label, Searchlight persuaded local activists under their spell to distribute (from April 2003) a Searchlight tabloid newspaper geared at specific elections. Unfortunately for Searchlight, some militant anti-fascists, aware of their track-record in disrupting/smearing anti-fascists and pimping for MI5/Special Branch declined the bait [68]. Searchlight adapted by setting up 'Stop the BNP'. Initially just a list of groups in the magazine, the name was registered as a web-site in April 2005 [69], in preparation for a split from the SWP-dominated 'Unite Against Fascism' that took place that June [70]. The disappearance nationally of Anti-Fascist Action had emboldened Searchlight--instead of just whispering disinformation in anti-fascist ears, offering highly selective and partial 'intelligence', they aspired to taking over the whole show. 'Stop the BNP' didn't cut the mustard, being neither a memorable or unique slogan. It was decided to make more of the longstanding HNH name, and in February 2007 the site was registered-two years after Searchlight claim HNH was founded [71].

Given there was no HNH organisation, merely a change of name, the core activity remained standard--leafletting target areas with localised propaganda. Additional techniques included phone banks, direct mail-shots and voter identification, which were innovative for anti-fascists. A pity, however, that the message content was not appropriate. Just as the working class deserted Labour in droves, Searchlight/HNH became even more explicitly aligned with the Labour party, admitted by Nick Lowles & Paul Meszaros--responsible for the BNP's best ever publicity, the 2004 'Secret Agent' documentary. Speaking of a 2007 Halifax initiative the dynamic duo wrote that "anybody...serious about stopping the BNP was by now mobilised behind the Labour Party campaign. The campaign was carefully planned with Hope Not Hate Yorkshire to coordinate Labour activity and third party interventions" [72]. These two geniuses reported "communities once threatened by the BNP are returning to Labour now that we are once again visible on their estates" [73].

(B) PHASE 2--BORN IN THE USA (& BACK IN THE USSR)

We have already seen Nick Griffin's explicit debt to the 2008 Barack Obama campaign. Searchlight finally decided to access the Obama magic [for his online strategy see brief analysis following this extract]. In January 2009 Blue State Digital (hereafter BSD) began work with HNH [74]. What matters is not whether these techniques helped Obama (they patently did) but whether importing them root & branch into the UK is a good (or even effective) way of 'doing' anti-fascist politics.

The UK BSD operation is headed by director Matthew McGregor, but the employee most involved with HNH is Dan Thain, who joined in December 2008 and before that was "the Labour Party's e-Campaigns Manager" [75], While the timing of his exit could just be a media-savvy rat leaving a sinking ship, Tory blogger 'Guido Fawkes' (aka Paul Staines) recently reported a presumably friendly conversation where Thain admitted on record he knew about Labour plans to set up an anonymous Labour blog attacking Tories, the fall-out from which greatly embarrassed Labour spin-doctors Damian McBride and Derek Draper, not to mention Gordon Brown [76]. Strangely, nobody in the media seems interested in ascertaining who leaked Fawkes those internal Labour emails Thain (among others) was privy to.....It is not known whether Thain, in his new guise as 'anti-racist guru' asked Staines whether he is in fact the Paul Delaire-Staines who reportedly wrote to Ian Walker, Hull BNP Organiser on 22/5/86 wondering if "Perhaps members of the BNP would care to join us in our anti-leftist activities. We can arrange a meeting to discuss possible joint future activities" [77].

BSD has altered the way HNH/Searchiight do business somewhat:

More effective fund-raising--early on Searchlight's Nick Lowles claimed "we have had more small individua donations in the past two weeks than we have had in three or four years", and Thain later boasted of a "1000%" online funding increase [78]'

Increase in web-based activity--using BSD 'tools' such as Twitter, Face-Book, viral emails (recipients asked to forward-the virtual equivalent of pyramid-selling) and so on. Designed to simulate participation, the tools are sometimes absurd. Take the 'Not in My Name' petition. Up to 90,911 people signed to say that Nick Griffin did not represent them. For Searchlight "the standout example of capturing the public's imagination... tapping into the public's emotional reaction to an event" [79]. However, even assuming accurate numbers, this was less than voted for the BNP in either constituency they won in (120,139 and 132,094)! In any event, Griffin & Brons do not purport to speak for those signing this petition. To claim the pair "do not represent Britain in the European Parliament" [80] is casuistry worthy of Jesuits--the BNP see themselves, like all partisan politicians, as representing their own voters primarily. To pretend otherwise makes anti-fascists look stupid.

Statistical trickery--we have discussed [on p.3 of the article this is extracted from] Searchlight's dishonest attempt to 'prove' the BNP flopped in the Euro Elections. PR evasion from BSD and Searchlight's regard for truth acquired in the 'Stalinist School of Falsification' means unverified numbers get thrown around like confetti. Searchlight allegedly "began the 2009 election campaign with 6,000 email addresses and ended it with 111,000, the largest and most active political email list in Britain" [81]. How was this rapid expansion achieved? Showing a disregard for personal security typical of an ex-Communist Party member, Perryman volunteered 21,000 names from his business database--philosophyfootball.com customers please note [82]. Also, union members received unsolicited personalised emails from their new 'friend' Nick Lowles. Given Searchlight closeness to the bureaucracy, I advised anti-fascists to keep quiet, for fear of victimisation. Unions handing member details to a known MI5/Special Branch satellite is unsurprising, but still appalling.

Incessant self-praise--gushing admirers are quoted, testimonials are never in short supply [83]. BSD's Thain is equally frugal with the truth, claiming HNH got a February 2009 Liverpool BNP meeting cancelled--no evidence given [84]. His immediate post-election take was priceless, wailing "Everything was against us-and everything was supporting the BNP...when BSD teamed up with HNH, the general consensus was that under the present political climate the BNP would win 5,6 or 7 seats in the European Parliament" also arguing "HNH stopped a BNP breakthrough" [85]. Both untruths indicate BSD & Searchlight are well-matched indeed.

Dropping the pretence of coalition with existing activists--previously, Searchlight affected humility at times, in 2006 claiming "we are not arrogant enough to believe that we have all the answers nor do we want to run your campaigns but we might just be able to make a positive difference to what you and your group will do next year" [86]. Insincere, certainly, but different from HNH, where the inexperience of activists (who are thus unlikely to ask difficult questions) is presented as a positive. "Our new activists have challenged standard political orthodoxy. The internet campaign and our emails reached a new layer of people who either had not thought anti-fascism was important or did not want to get involved in the usual way" [87]. It is obviously essential to get more anti-fascists involved--but in addition to existing militants, not instead of them. To anticipate somewhat my conclusion, anti-fascism cannot be treated as just another franchise opportunity, or marketing campaign. It is a serious matter, and to cynically recruit, as HNH do, untried people without alerting them to very real personal risks they are potentially taking by becoming involved is unacceptable. Campaigning against the BNP isn't a mere life-style (or even voting) choice, but far more important: maybe life and death ultimately.

(C) WHAT HAS NOT CHANGED

Contrary to ex-staff mutterings, BSD entering Searchlight's clique has not fundamentally changed them. Continuities outweigh changes as follows:

THE SAME OLD STORY-LINES

The rationale behind Searchlight dominating HNH is the supposed understanding of what the BNP stand for. Over the years their perspective is more widely-known than my alternative take on matters [88].

Nevertheless, two particular defects came to the fore during this campaign:

First. Searchlight have become so accustomed to lying-about fascists, themselves, anti-fascists & much else, they do not know the difference between propaganda and fact. Graphically illustrated by the keynote Searchlight article before voting day by Sonia Gable (publisher Gerry Gable's wife), 'BNP campaign comes off the rails' [89]. The impression is given of BNP collapse amid scandal, financial meltdown and political ineptitude. The 'evidence' laughable--references to internal BNP documents no voters have heard of, leaflet drafting errors (80 million as opposed to 75 million Turkish population) and best of all attacking BNP use of non-members on the 'British Jobs For British Workers' leaflet. A BNP mistake, certainly--but media coverage played into their hands, what is known as the 'dog whistle' effect. I suggest Madam Sonia looks that one up (and it isn't a coded reference to how she actually gained her intimate knowledge of fascism in the 1970s). If her article had an outcome, it would have encouraged anti-fascists to think the BNP a busted flush, and redoubled effort superfluous.
Second, repeated assertions Griffin and the BNP (rather than some individual members) are 'Nazis'. As the HNH site (from which most HNH acolytes derive knowledge, along with You-Tube) puts it "Nazism combined extreme nationalism, racial superiority, state authoritarianism and a conspiracy theory which blamed all of the world's ills on a single racial group, namely the Jews. The BNP might have toned down its political tone but the core beliefs of its leaders, especially Nick Griffin, remain hardline" [90]. Not only has Griffin never been Nazi, the label hinders apprehension of his developing post-modern fascist strategy. While inaccuracy will not encourage BNP defections, it might cause increased member/voter allegiance to the party.

POWER: BUT NO RESPONSIBILITY

Searchlight play an important role shaping the BNP's media portrayal. "Our media strategy was designed to set the narrative for the campaign, to highlight the stories and issues that we wanted the media to talk about" [91]. As 4th June loomed Searchlight "went on the offensive placing dozens of articles in the press" [92]. Very lucrative-but if 'placed' stories miss the mark, such as the Manchester Evening News depicting the BNP as 'neo-Nazi' [93], what then? The BNP anticipating the 'Nazi' tag ied to them using Churchiliian imagery in the first place. Searchlight were (and are) incapable of adequately responding, instead repeat tired cliches with less and less effect. They can neither change approach (that needs ideological sophistication and analytical skill) nor will they accept even partial responsibility for BNP success. Typical of petty Stalinists, Searchlight sweep under the carpet stories that might embarrass them. Sadie Graham & Matt Single being charged over the BNP membership list theft was reported (22/8/09) but neither the Hope Not Hate site nor Searchlight have mentioned Single's conviction!

STILL PRO-LABOUR

Despite a claim to be even-handed, appointing ex-Labour apparatchik Dan Thain, and BSD generally, means HNH remains a New Labour front. BSD founder Thomas Gensemer is on record saying "We are and will continue to be supportive of Labour's efforts and will help in any way we can" [94]. In Griffin's constituency Green candidate Peter Cranie was his most credible challenger, but Searchlight's efforts went into supporting Labour. "Another success of our campaign was ...that Labour managed to turn out a significant section of its traditional vote but also new voters" [95]. No nudging voters in a Green Party direction [96].

CENTRALISED CONTROL

For something styling itself "Britain's ieading anti-fascist organisation" [97], HNH has an elusive structure, especially financially. According to Sonia Gable "Hope not Hate...is run by Searchlight Information Services" [98]. Yet, the downloadable HNH standing order form suggests writing to another group 'Friends of Searchlight', making regular debits payable to a third--the 'Searchlight Fighting Fund'. Rendering totally uncheckable her claim that "money given to Hope not Hate is spent 100% on the campaign" [99]. Taxation without a pretence of representation. What 'leading organisation' doesn't have its own bank account? One whose proprietors (Searchlight) dread accountability to the actual 'grassroots. Not so much 'Hope Not Hate' as 'Jupe and Bait' .

How could "a genuine grassroots organisation" [100] launch the 'Not in My Name' e-petition within minutes of Brons being elected (32 to be precise [101])? Even better, how come it was Searchlight readers who first heard (in the October 2009 issue) "HNH is launching a 'People Together' initiative as a way of mobilising opposition against the English Defence League" after it had been set up [102], when even the HNH web-site hadn't mentioned this additional initiative?

PRO-POLICE STANCE

Searchlight/HNH urge the police and Home Office to ban EDL activities, facilitating not state action just against them but the tools they use, such as static protests. This continues Searchlight's ignoble tradition of pimping for the political police [103]. Should the EDL turn out to be a state-sponsored safety valve, Searchlight would be reprising the role they played in relation to Column 88 in the 1970s and Combat 18 in the 1990s [104].

(D) HOPE NOT HATE--THE DEBATE

Genuine discussion about antifascist strategy Searchlight fear, lest the outcome is unfavourable. Blogs they control exclude troublesome anti-fascists. Nonetheless, by aspiring to control national anti-fascist organising, Searchlight have come under fire.

THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY/UNITE AGAINST FASCISM

Martin Smith (SWP) has criticised Searchlight, if not HNH. Like a dog walking on two legs, the signal fact is he has done it at all. Some is cringe-worthy--such as denouncing Lowles for not using the term Nazi enough [105]. He is on stronger ground objecting to the 'Vote Labour' policy, as "this slogan actually weakens our movement", accepting for many voting BNP is "a protest against the mainstream parties" [106].

KEIRON FARROW

Keiron Farrow's piece critiquing HNH and Unite Against Fascism is more like it [107]. Much I agree with, having made identical arguments over the years--the idiocy of the 'Nazi' label, how counter-productive harping on about BNP criminality is, that supporting repressive measures against the BNP quickly leads to them being used against the Left, the folly of urging a working class abandoned by Labour to support it & so on. Farrow astutely grasps how Griffin could turn accusations of 'Holocaust denial' to his advantage [108], and questions the worth of music festivals and 'No Platform' from above, rather than a "community-led and supported refusal to allow the BNP to operate in their area" [109]. I disagree with Farrow over whether the BNP could ever take power, also the rhetorical demand Searchlight abandon their pro-Labour position, but his refreshing contribution all anti-fascists should read.

Farrow's article was only printed in Red Pepper after critical responses were sought. Green Party member Paul White "for one, would not be actively encouraging people to vote" Labour [110]. Good! HNH's Paul Meszaros untruthfully claims Searchlight now use the BNP member 'criminality' tactic "sparingly", and ignores Farrow's objection to the Nazi label [111]. He is though, unrepentant on the disastrous HNH alignment with Labour.

A PR INDUSTRY VIEW

Stuart Bruce, Wolfstar MD and ex-Labour councillor, sees HNH as motivating the"professional classes" to oppose the BNP, but does "not think it did anything to connect directly with people in the communities being targeted", especially as internet take up in such areas is low. He saw "too much hate and not enough hope" and doubts replicating Obama's campaign in the UK would work, with "outsiders coming in and telling [communities] how they shouldn't vote" [112].

(E) THE INTERPASSIVE SUBJECT?

If the 20th Century taught anything, it was that technology (including the web) is not a socially neutral form. The great Jurgen Habermas has questioned Web 2.0's effects on public discourse, but Slovenian Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek's critique is most salient. To explain interaction between the individual and contemporary mass culture--including the internet--he has conceptualised a construct, the 'interpassive subject'. Zizek argues those "who praise the democratic potential of new media generally focus on...how cyberspace opens up the possibility for the large majority of people to break out of the role of passive observer following the spectacle changed by others...and to participate actively not only in the spectacle, but more and more in establishing the very rules of the spectacle". As seen, neither HNH (or Obama's campaign) allow that.

He sees the "other side of this interactivity" as "interpassivity...the situation in which it is the object itself which 'enjoys the show' instead of me". In other words, by choreographing in minute detail and statistically tabulating the actions of participants-Twitter, blogs, uploading photos, e-petitions etc--their very spontaneity and individuality is crushed. He proposes "the notion of false activity: you think you are active, while your true position..is passive". Zizek alleges interpassivity "deprives me of the very kernel of my substantial identity" [113]. As a Lacanian Marxist, Zizek's intricacies are sometimes difficult to follow, but nonetheless (and uncomfortably!) this concept is useful in explaining how all relevant actors-the Obama campaign, HNH and BNP-use similar techniques to construct online 'imagined communities'.

BEYOND THE MATRIX

Searchlight are acutely aware HNH has no off-line reality as an organisation--Lowles recently admitting HNH has "a huge online network but to turn these people into offline activists we need to be able to slot them into local campaigns that can organise meaningful activities in which they can get involved" [114], Pawns, of course, get 'slotted'. HNH want local groups, to be led by patronisingly termed "super-activists" [115]. One fear is groups might think for themselves, deviating from the centrally-imposed 'line'. Lowles again: "a network set up incorrectly could have severe and negative consequences" [116]. Some are more equal than others, "local coordinators who show an apparent ability and eagerness to take their anti-BNP campaign beyond a basic level will be invited to residential training courses" [117] --taking a weekend unlike the standard three hour course.

HNH reduces anti-fascism to a marketing initiative, with local franchise holders (appointed organisers) encouraged to "take ownership of the HNH campaign in your area" [118]. The aim (even if naive franchisees do not know yet) is to hoover up local market share by obliterating the UAF--seen as competitors not allies.

Does Hope Not Hate combine Stalinism with market-oriented mind-manipulation techniques? To help find out, some questions for'grassroots' activists to ask at HNH events:

1) Why were local anti-fascists such as UAF not asked to this meeting?
2) Why does HNH have no constitution? When will members get to vote on HNH policy and organisation, including the removal of incompetents?
3) Where are the HNH accounts, and why does it have no bank account?
4) What anti-fascist suggestions have been rejected since HNH inception?
5) How come only Lowles seems to make HNH policy, and invent initiatives he doesn't even put on the web-site?
6) Why should we accept Lowles and Meszaros' expertise in opposing the BNP (including choosing organisers), when both are responsible for the BNP's best-ever free publicity--the 'Secret Agent' documentary [119]?
7) What is Searchlight's cut of the Blue State Digital (BSD) contract?
8) Is BSD's contract performance-related? If not, why not? If so, why wasn't it terminated in June? What level of BNP success would trigger termination? Or is BSD's contract mainly a fund-raising one?
9) Given Searchlight's dealings with Special Branch, which agencies have you given our personal details to?
10) How many of your 113,000 email addresses were acquired by people contacting you, and how many by breaking the Data Protection Act?
Record for posterity if at all possible....

(NB Don't forget to scroll down for analysis of 2008 Obama Campaign & the internet)

FOOTNOTES TO EXTRACT

66) Searchlight Extra September 2009 has the claim of suprancy on p.12, and of foundateion date p.2
67) see Perryman's www.philosophyfootball.com 'About us' & 'Heart on our sleeves, well chest actually' 13/7/09 on www.strongerunions.org (accessed 2/10/09)
68) For references on this see my 'Searchlight For Beginners' (Phoenix 1996)
69) see the whois site, showing the Registrant as Gerry Gable.
70) on the ostensible reasons for Searchlight leaving UAF, see 'Letter of resignation to UAF' Steve Silver 30/6/05, editorial Searchlight 361 July 2005 p.3, and the Morning Star debate between Ken Livingstone (27/8/05) and then co-editor Steven Silver (3/9/05)
71) Registered 23/2/07, owner Gerry Gable, see also Searchlight 381 March 2007 supplement 'Anti-Fascist Fortnight'
72) see their article 'Stopping the BNP' in Fred Grindrod & Mark Rusling (ed) 'Stopping the Far Right' Fabian Society 2007 p.31
73) op. cit. p.33
74) see Chloe Markowicz in PR Week on-line 21/1 & 23/1/09.
75) see www.bluestatedigital.com/blog/people/dan-thain/ (last accessed 24/7/09)
76) 'Red Rag: the Others Who Knew at Labour HQ' Guido Fawkes blog 19/4/09 (last accessed 5/10/09).
77) quoted in The Guardian 31/5/86 (David Rose: who else!). Guido Fawkes Times on-line article (17/4/09) fails to address the issue in usual spin-doctor manner.
78) Lowles in The Guardian 26/1/09 (the eternally-gullible Matthew Taylor), Thain's claim in 'Hope Still Stands' Blue State Digital blog 10/6/09 (last accessed 24/7/09)
79) Searchlight Extra September 2009 p.8
80) http://action.hopenothate.org.Uk/page/s/notinmyname (last accessed 25/7/09)
81) Searchlight 409 July 2009 p.11
82) Nick Lowles 'Help Still needed' HNH blog 4/4/09 (last accessed 2/10/09)
83) for example Searchlight 412 October 2009 p. 12
84) see Thain's blog on bluestatedigital.com 26/2/09 (last accessed 24/7/09)
85) 'Hope Still Stands' Dan Thain blog 10/6/09
86) Searchlight 375 September 2006 p.17
87) Searchlight Extra September 2009 p.8
88) see my articles in Lobster magazine (Hull) issues 23/24/25/26/29/30/38/49 [which will all be placed on this site in time], also NFB 6 p.33 has a one page summary of my position
89) Searchlight 408 June 2009 p. 12-13
90) see the 'real BNP' & the 'Nick Griffin: Not in my name' sections on www.hopenothate.org.uk where (unreferenced) quotes give the same impression (last accessed 10/6/09)
91) Searchlight 409 July 2009 p.9
92) Searchlight 409 July 2009 p.10
93) e.g. 'BNP's Dark Past' (David Ottewell) Manchester Evening News 28/5/09
94) 'Correcting the record in London' 17/9/09 on www.bluestatedigital.com (last accessed 17/9/09)
95) Searchlight 409 July 2009 p. 11
96) for a dignified, if livid, take from the Green candidate see 'Reflections on the NW Campaign' 15/6/09 http://petercranieblogspotcom/2009/06/reflections-on-nw-campaign.html
97) Searchlight Extra September 2009 p.12
98) 'BNP's fake AFA email' www.hopenothateorg.uk/news 8/4/09 (accessed 26/6/09)
99) ibid.
100)'Run the campaign in your community' on http://notinmyname.tv/page/s/organiser (last accessed 25/7/09)
101) Lowles 'Not in my name' on Hope Not Hate blog 8/6/09 (last accessed 16/6/09)
102) Searchlight 412 October 2009 p.9
103) On their relationship with the police, my 'Searchlight For Beginners' (Phoenix 1996) gives multiple references, and see virtually every previous issue of this magazine. Searchlight 412 October 2009 p.5 states their campaign "might involve taking to the streets if the authorities do not or cannot act".
104) see 'Searchlight For Beginners'
105) p.69 of 'How Do We Stop the BNP?' International Socialism Journal 23 Summer 2009 p.41-79
106) ibid. p.69 & 70
107) Red Pepper 167 August/September 2009 p.33-35
108) ibid. p.34
109) ibid. p.37
110) ibid, p.36
111) ibid, p.36
112) 'We need more hope and less hate to defeat the BNP' 11/6/09 on www.stuartbruce.biz (last accessed 24/7/09)
113) Slavoj Zizek 'The Interpassive Subject' 25/6/09 http://theenlightenedworld.org/home/ 2009/06/25/the-interpassive-subject-slavoi-zizek/ (last accessed 23/7/09)
114) Searchlight 412 October 2009 p. 11
115) Searchlight Extra September 2009 p.10
116) Searchlight 410 August 2009 p.20
117) ibid, p.21
118) Searchlight 412 October 2009 p.11
119) for a detailed critique of the documentary, and the fall out, see my 'The Secret Agent' Notes From the Borderland issue 6 2005 p. 11-38

BACKGROUND: THE 2008 BARACK OBAMA ON-LINE CAMPAIGN

Few deny Barack Obama's campaign was impressive, not just because it show-cased his charisma and intelligence. According to organisers Blue State Digital (BSD) 3 million individual donors contributed $500 million online, with a staggering 200,000 offline events. 13 million email addresses were harvested, John Kerry had only 3 million four years earlier [a]. The most impartial witness to his success is Andrew Keen, some-time web entrepreneur, author of a flawed masterpiece denouncing the internet's pernicious effects on society & culture. A new Chapter, 'Web 2.0 and Politics', written early in 2008, stated that as opposed to the internet "TV, newspapers, books and other traditional media will remain the primary vehicles of information-and for this we can be grateful" [b]. By polling day, he accepted that "old mainstream media and the supposedly new media of the internet have become so entangled in America that it is becoming increasingly hard to cleanly separate one from the other" [c]. Two additional points:

First, not all Obama money was raised online-50% came from traditional wealthy politically powerful elites, and "his key political relationships...were all forged in the classically analog environments of the US Senate or on the streets of Chicago rather than in the abstraction of cyberspace".

Second, the "Obama Presidency will be a singularly top-down organisation...resembling his tightly run campaign, Obama's administration will sell the appearance of democratization through direct email campaigns, personalized text-messaging announcements and intimate flickr photo spreads, but will actually be a highly centralized marketing operation" [d].

BSD's 'Obama For America' campaign had four key features:

1) Technologically sophisticated--a bewildering array: Face-Book, Twitter, viral emails, merchandise, banner advertising, graphic design, Search Engine Optimisation, You-Tube videos (from below & above), photo galleries, phone banks, user blogs, advocacy tools, redirection sites etc. All cutting-edge.

2) Financially manipulative--the success of the Obama campaign in general is most critically measured by its fundraising success" [e]. As Ben Self, BSD co-founder put it, "the more they were asked, the more they gave. In most emails, there was a request for a donation of $5~a small sum. Even voters experiencing economic troubles can commit to $5. Once they have donated, they then have a vested interest in the success of the campaign" [f].

3) Emotionally manipulative--a "powerful suite of community content generation and social networking tools facilitate a range of real-time person-to-person activities, from user profiles to blogs to online forums, that will leave your site visitors with the feeling that your online community is richly alive with content and commitment...your active users can encourage each other to post, participate, and get more deeply involved" [g]. A feeling is not necessarily a reality.

4) Centralised--the "BSD management dashboard ...enables authorized staff to control the look and feel of landing pages, create new fundraising and action campaigns, produce an outbound email fundraising program, manage a community content and blog program...Statistics are tabulated automatically, so that the campaign's program managers could monitor performance on a continuing basis and modify promotions to maximise response and results" [h]. Clients can "create and manage petition campaigns that help you to identify your most committed activists, channel their energy, and lead to viral activity and more sign ups. Petition content and look and feel are fully controllable" [i]-but not by activists.

Although the campaign styled itself 'grassroots', this was a marketing ploy. One incisive observer commented Obama's "brand communication strategy cleverly exploited the fact that no consumer can resist an approach that talks about them and helps them feel they are in control" [j]. That word feeling again...all told, a great achievement. Don't, however, mistake any of this for sovereign democratic political participation.

TO READ THIS NFB 9 ARTICLE IN FULL, IN EITHER A HARD COPY MAGAZINE OR AS A PDF, CLICK ON THE SHOP ICON ABOVE

FOOTNOTES

a) http://www.bluestatedigital.com 'Case Study: my.barackobama.com' (last accessed 23/7/09)
b) Andrew Keen 'The Cult of the Amateur' DoubleDay (New York) 2008 p.214
c) 'Did the Internet elect Barack Obama?' 7/11/08 on www.cultoftheamateur.com/ (last accessed 30/7/09)
d) ibid.
e) see footnote (a)
f) 'Who is Ben Self www.dominiquehind:wordpress.com 16/2/09
g) 'Community tools' on the BSD site
h) see footnote (a)
i) bluestatedigital.com 'Advocacy Tools' section.
j) Paul Temporal 'Building Brand Obama' 25/11/08 on www.temporalbrand.com (last accessed 30/7/09)

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 9" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH:INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Given the articles below are themselves introductory, an introduction might seem superfluous! Nonetheless, a couple of points are worth making.

First, although the events described below, and in 'At War With the Truth' took place in the early 1990s, many of those around--institutionally and individually, are still 'players' today.

Second, if the events outlined below did not happen as we surmised at the time, why has there never been any attempt even to respond to the pamphlet alluded to below?

Third, if the events outlined did occur as we suggested, then those involved, such as the Searchlight organisation, should be isolated and condemned by all anti-fascists.

In any event, absorb yourself in the maelstrom below (and check out the List of Organisations/Players) and then read the pamphlet (visit other publications in shop above). Finally, act on what you have read...

AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH THE TRUE STORY OF SEARCHLIGHT AGENT TIM HEPPLE

This booklet is about a man of many faces and many possible allegiances. For the mainstream media and readers of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight Tim Hepple was simply a member of the fascist British National Party who 'saw the light' and approached Searchlight asking if he could act as a mole for them. As such he seemed to follow in the footsteps of other Searchlight moles, the most famous being Ray Hill who in 1984 in a blaze of publicity and a World in Action documentary 'came out' exposing his former friends in the far right. This was followed in 1988 by book detailing his fascist career 'The Other Face of Terror' co-written with World In Action and Time Out journalist Andrew Bell.

In April 1993 in a dramatic World In Action programme Tim Hepple appeared on camera as a source helping expose the violent Nazi group Combat 18 (C-18). However, at the end of April a pamphlet 'A Lie Too Far', exposed Hepple as an agent provocateur in the Anarchist movement. This pamphlet focused on a list of names and details of C-18 thugs which Hepple encouraged Green Anarchist magazine to publish. The list contained many factual errors and was composed with the intention of getting Anarchists arrested and encouraging C18/BNP members to mount counter-attacks. However the lists had another purpose. They had been designed to put Green Anarchist under attack on 2 fronts -arrested by the state, attacked by C-l8/BNP thugs and also by anti-fascists. This would come about because after Green Anarchist had published them Searchlight would 'expose' the lists as being supplied by Nazis and thus draw negative conclusions about the group which published them - i.e. would call them Nazis. The resulting smears would open the target up to attack from the Left/anti-fascists. It was this third front of desired assault - by their own comrades and others on the Left - that points most clearly in the direction of the list-passing as being part of MI5's current battle plan.

Luckily O'Hara was able to prevent Green Anarchist from publishing the lists, but unfortunately, unknown to him, Tim Scargill of the Class War Organisation was also passed a copy of this list (by presumed Searchlight assets still under investigation) and published it himself. As O'Hara had predicted Scargill was immediately attacked by Searchlight as being a fascist. O'Hara responded by working with Green Anarchist and Tim Scargill to produce a pamphlet, A Lie Too Far (ALTF), to try to repair some of the damage and to prevent such events happening again. In ALTF Searchlight magazine, its editor Gerry Gable, Ray Hill and Tim Hepple were accused of implementing a plot to physically and politically subvert the Anarchist movement. Searchlight was plotting against the British left. Why? Some would answer that Searchlight is an arm of the the secret state. This pamphlet certainly does. However this is nothing new, even before the Hepple saga prominent journalists had already made such accusations. Many years ago Duncan Campbell in the New Statesman unearthed a document which incontrovertibly showed that Gerry Gable had spread disinformation on behalf of MI5. This 'Gable Memorandum' was recently published in Lobster magazine (issue 24).

ALTF contained extracts from letters which Hepple wrote to Green Anarchist's editor, and this publication uses letters not disclosed in ALTF to prove beyond doubt that Hepple was an agent provocateur. It is up to you to decide is whether you should continue buying Searchlight. If you do -remember Searchlight is a thoroughly discredited organisation serving the secret states' agenda.

Zapata

Dedicated to the memory of EP Thompson, and with thanks to patient people, esp K.

An Introduction To Further Exposes of Searchlights Duplicity, As Revealed In Their Latest Publication, At War With Society.

Last April, I contributed to the Mina Production booklet, 'A Lie Too Far Hepple, Searchlight & The Left' (or ALTF for short), and now, six months later, I find myself introducing Mina's second booklet on this same subject.

Even after the addition of a glossary, readers complained that ALTF was hard to understand. We'll not deny that it was written in haste but we'll add that life - particularly when it comes to anti-fascist/anti-state counter-intelligence - is not simple and usually doesn't even have definite answers and conclusions. Discussing a broad range of options allows the reader to assess the worth of all of them.

However, for those that get confused by too many options or for new readers fresh to all this, we've begun At War With The Truth with the Wild Man O' The North's summary of events, Confused? You Won't Be! (and you'd better believe it...!). Prior reading of ALTF isn't essential to understand what this booklet is all about, but it will definitely help, especially given ALTF includes important documentation.

The main reason for a follow-up to ALTF is the publication of Gerry Gable/Tim Hepple's 'At War With Society: The Exclusive Story Of A Searchlight Mole Inside Britain's Far Right' (A WWS) which is, in part, an attempt by Searchlight to repair some of the damage done to their unprincipled smear campaign by ALTF. As demonstrated in Larry O'Hara's extended review of A WWS included in this booklet, Gable has actually done himself more damage than he has managed to repair. For the first time here are divulged further facts concerning malfeasance by Hepple and Searchlight.

Subsequently, after the dust has settled, we will do a 'Review Of Reviews', which will go some way towards summarising discussion around ALTF and proposing alternatives to Searchlight for the future. No doubt debate will continue long after six months hence - until then, here's At War With The Truth for you, and see that you act on it! Editor, Green Anarchist 29/10/93

CONFUSED? YOU WON'T BE! An extended summary of A Lie Too Far: Hepple, Searchlight & the Left (Mina Productions, April 1993) for the confused

The information revealed in A Lie Too Far is a story of infiltration (spying), disinformation (lying), anddoubledealing. We'll introduce the characters as we go along

Tim Hepple started his association with Green Anarchist (GA) early in 1991. Before this he had been involved with the Quakers, the anti-poll tax movement and the anti-Gulf War campaigns in Lancaster. He attended the Green Party conference in Bridlington and the Wolverhampton conference later that year. He never hid his fascist 'past' and was an enthusiastic, if somewhat 'imaginative', activist but we should have taken more seriously his boasts to ourselves and others that he had worked for M15 and been mixed up in an army assassination squad in Northern Ireland.

During the course of his involvement with GA, Hepple introduced a friend of his, Ray Hill, who very conveniently lived just round the corner from Tim Hepple and ran the village shop in Caton. Tim Hepple boasted he had worked for MI5. Ray Hill was the same Ray Hill who had once been a fascist mole and who has a regular column written under his name in Searchlight, the anti-fascist magazine. At this stage we were naive enough to believe in the positive credentials of Searchlight.

Ray Hill wrote an article in the Autumn 1991 issue of Green Anarchist titled Creating A Community [GA28, pp. 14-15] which advocated that people donate £1,000 each to get together and buy a Scottish island and set up a self-sufficient rural community. At the time it looked fair enough. Looking back we see how Hepple and Hill reinforced each other's credibility on initially making contact with Green Anarchist.

Understandable so far, isn't it? OK. Tim Hepple made contact with GA in Oxford during August 1991 claiming he wanted to set up a north west anarchist network. He asked to see GA's address list. The point about this is that GA is not an open organisation and quite a lot of nasty people would like to know the names of people who are crazy enough to subscribe to such a publication.

Some time after this, he used a stunt at the Wolverhampton Green Party conference where a group of GA activists and others invaded the platform and unfurled a banner saying "Planet not Parliament" as a springboard. Tim Hepple also became involved with the setting up of the new Left-Green publication Green Revolution, and was trying to get hold of the address list belonging to Green Revolution which was being used to send out publicity material and begging letters to disaffected Green Party members to launch this magazine. In October 1991, Tim Hepple stole an address list from a table in the corridor outside the Independent Anti-Poll Tax conference in Manchester Town Hall.

Just a short time afterwards, he decided to change direction and infiltrate the BNP in London on behalf of Searchlight. In January 1992, BNP and White Power stickers started appearing on lampposts in Lancaster and the publicity from this no doubt helped him gain entry into the BNP shop in Welling. Shortly after the 1992 General Election, Tim Hepple disappeared from London and eventually resurfaced in Lancaster in August, claiming to have broken with Searchlight. He continued to hang around in the GA orbit.

Are you keeping up with this? Let's change the scene a little. Just put Tim Hepple to the back of your mind and think about Combat 18. Combat 18 stands for 'Combat Group Adolf Hitler' - 'A' for Adolf being the first letter of the alphabet, 'H' the eighth. CI8 is a fascist paramilitary organisation at least in aspiration. It publishes lists of anti-fascists; names, addresses and telephone numbers of Left-wing activists in Redwatch. Target, a similar magazine produced by Pro-Fascist Action publishes the same sort of information. Some of this information was then used to target individuals, and Combat 18 also carried out attacks on the Morning Star and Freedom Press.

Once knowledge of the existence of these lists spread through into the Left, Tim Hepple appeared with the obvious answer - a Left-produced list of fascists. After all, who would be better placed to do this than the mole who had worked in the BNP bookshop just a few months before? So Tim Hepple passed a list of fascists to Green Anarchist, together with some interesting information about just who was responsible for Redwatch and Target.

Unknown to Tim Hepple, the editors of Green Anarchist had been contacted by Larry O'Hara, the independent anti-fascist researcher, at the Anarchist Bookfair in October 1992. He had seen Hill's article in GA and decided to find out what a Searchlight asset was doing writing for us. Larry O'Hara soon put us wise to Tim Hepple's infiltration of GA, and the role of Searchlight as a mechanism for the State to keep tabs on the Left. Suddenly, a lot of Tim Hepple's behaviour fell into place. Our suspicions about his intelligence background, his list kleptomania, his role in winding things up, and all those sudden changes of political direction - all of this was explained.

Instead of going right ahead and publishing the lists, Tim Hepple had so very conveniently given us under our own name, as he urged us to do, we passed them on to other people, including Larry O'Hara, for verification. We quickly found out that the information about Combat 18 was wrong, deliberate disinformation. Like all disinformation, it wasn't all bullshit. Some of the names were correct and even a few of the addresses. Thus, it was potentially plausible, especially on the surface Hepple was being used by Searchlight to feed disinformation into the anarchist movement.

As well as trying to palm the list off on GA, Hepple claimed that while he was infiltrating the BNP shop in Welling he heard from fascist sources that Tim Scargill, who was then in the process of splitting from the Class War Federation, was a 'turncoat' supplying C18 with information on Left-wing activists for use in C18 hit-lists. A month or so after Hepple tried to put this story about in anarchist circles via GA, Scargill published a list of fascist names identical to the one Hepple had given to us, together with the disinformation about Combat 18, in a Class War Organisation internal bulletin called Network News. Hepple had boasted that he "dropped Scargill right in it". We were to find out why, and something of the slimy way in which Searchlight operates, when the April 1993 and subsequent issues of Searchlight attacked Scargill for circulating the very list ('Targetters Targetted') which Hepple, a Searchlight pawn, had planted in the anarchist movement.

The story doesn't end there. The 'Targetters Targetted' list started out by saying "The BNP have published the membership lists of Class War and Red Action in a magazine called Target". Hepple tried to palm the list off on GA in November 1992 and stuff about CW and Red Action only appeared in the second issue of Target, published in February 1993. How come Hepple knew what was in Target 2 a good three months before its publication? Ask yourselves, then, was it just 'a lucky guess' by Hepple - or collusion between Searchlight and the far Right? Then ask yourselves how come Searchlight has never made any public mention of Target 2 or that Tim Scargill was at the head of its hit list? If Scargill is a 'fellow traveller' with C18, how come they've attacked his Redhill home with such frequency and ferocity that he's had to move out? Then remember Hepple's boast that he'd "dropped Scargill right in it". Think about it.

OK, we've nearly finished the story. On Monday, 19th April 1993, Tim Hepple appeared on World In Action talking about his role as a spy on the fascists. He also admitted taking part in an attack on SWP members. With the publication of At War With Society and its serialisation in New Statesman & Society, some more of his activities as a spy in the far Right have been revealed, though it's obvious that whatever claims are made there will have been edited by Searchlight. The hand of its editor, Gerry Gable, is embarrassingly obvious in what is presented as Hepple's own words as well as Gable's 'explanatory notes'. We should know how Tim Hepple writes and we do know that At War With Society was cobbled together from rough notes he'd bunged Searchlight to ghost-write into 'coherent' form for publication.

The attacks on Tim Scargill, Larry O'Hara and, after the publication of A Lie Too Far, on Green Anarchist itself in the pages of Searchlight only serve to confirm our view of what has happened. If the facts and interpretations in A Lie Too Far are incorrect - and they include the reproduction of a letter to GA's editor by Hepple in his own handwriting that "Tim Scargill, Larry O'Hara and co.... are the victims of a vicious smear campaign" - detailed exposition would illustrate this. In fact the opposite seems to be the case, with Gable himself conceding in At War With Society that Hepple was responsible for the lists being printed by Scargill! Personal attacks on A Lie Too Far's authors and publishers are beside the point. Is it true or isn't it?

If somebody like Tim Hepple can infiltrate the far Right, pretending to be a fascist and walking off with their address list, is it so far-fetched to believe that the same person could do the same thing to the Left? If this is true, then what does that make his employer?

SEARCHLIGHT IS A 'LISTENING POST' ON THE LEFT AND A CHANNEL FOR DISINFORMATION--YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. THIS IS A GENUINE SECURITY ALERT!! WILD MAN O' THE NORTH, 8/10/93

List of Organisations/Players/Terms

AFA Anti-Fascist Action. Umbrella organisation founded 1985, key policy is physical opposition to fascists. Patchily (eg London) controlled by Red Action/DAM [see below], especially now (Trotskyist) Workers Power have left.ALF Animal Liberation Front. Illegal group taking autonomous direct action against animal abusers (labs/butchers etc.).

ALFSG ALF Support Group aimed at helping those accused of undertaking ALF actions, including prisoners. A legal organisation set up in 1982.

Arkangel Magazine founded by veteran ALF activist Ronnie Lee & Vivienne Smith devoted to publicising animal abuse, ALF actions/prisoners and aiding debate.

ARNI Animal Rights National Index. Set up in 1984 by the Met at Scotland Yard to combat the ALF. Widely suspected of using CointelPro tactics [see below].

Autonomy Local short-lived anarchist group in Lancaster infiltrated by Tim Hepple and intended to be used as a 'front' by him/his masters.

Andrew Bell Former Time Out journalist, co-author of Ray Hill's autobiography. Long time Searchlight associate. Producer of World In Action (WIA) documentary on CI8, transmitted 19/4/93.

Black Flag Much respected Anarchist paper committed to exposes of the secret state/fascism etc. Newly relaunched in magazine format after several years absence.

British Movement (BM) Founded in 1968 by Colin Jordan. Explicitly neo-Nazi group, underwent decline while still continuing to exist on a clandestine level, c. 160+ members.

BNP British National Party. Founded 1982 by John Tyndall, ex-NF leader. At the moment the most visible fascist group in the UK recently winning council seat. c. 1,150 members.

Class War Group of Class struggle Anarchists, founded 1983. In recent times it divided into...
Class War Federation CWF) who have retained the paper 'Class War'.
Class War Organisation (CWO) of which Tim Scargill is a member.

CoIntelPro Counter-intelligence Program. American FBI's counter-insurgency operation against radical dissident movements, including the Black Panther Party who suffered many deaths as a result. Experimental use of centrally coordinated disinformation, phone-taps, character assassination, burglary, agent provocateur actions and, of course, murder. Ended 1971. Successful results led to new progams which continue today.

Combat 18 Neo-Nazi underground group, founded early 1992. Committed to taking 'action' against perceived Leftist/Jewish enemies. The '18' stands for the initials A[dolf] (1) H[itler] (8)..

COTC Church Of The Creator. US White supremacists, founded by Ben Klassen, leadership now in dispute. Hepple involved in UK branch with Alan Milnes, the former writing/editing the newsletter 'White Resistance'.

DAM Direct Action Movement. Anarcho-syndicalist group who have themselves been smeared by Gable in the past (Hackney 1988), who now seem closer to Searchlight, but in any case barely exist.

Disinformation The putting of information into circulation that is either totally bogus, or deliberately slanted so as to convey a different impression from that which the disinformer knows to be true.

ELF Earth Liberation Front. New direct action group formed in the aftermath of the Twyford Down protest.

Freedom The longest running Anarchist paper in the UK. Have print works/bookshop which was subject to repeated attacks by, it is assumed C-18, commencing 27/3/93.

Gerry Gable Editor of Searchlight, sometime TV journalist/ Stalinist/Special Branch/MI5 asset. Disinformation creation/distribution expert.

Green Anarchist (GA) Magazine founded 1984, subject to heavy infiltration by Searchlight assets.

Green Revolution Radical Left-Green magazine founded 1991.

Tim Hepple One-time BNP member, thug, MI5/SB asset, infiltrator into both Left/Green orbit and BNP/COTC almost simultaneously. This booklet proves he was an agent provocateur in these organisations.

Ray Hill Another Searchlight asset/thug. One-time BM/BNP member, and Hepple's local controller in the North.

HSA Hunt Saboteurs Association. Founded 1962, committed to doing just that and seen by the state as the recruiting ground for the ALF.

League of Saint George (LSG) International Nazi coordinating group, founded 1974. They currently publish League Sentinel, a forum for dissemination of information within far-right circles.

Lobster Highly respected investigative magazine produced by Robin Ramsay. Specialises in para-politics - the covert activities of our ruling class and the Right. Send £4-00 (2 issue sub.) to 214 Westbourne Ave, Hull, HU5 3JB.

Meibion Glyndwr (Sons of Glyndwr) Illegal Welsh Nationalist group. Known for direct action tactics particularly burning down English holiday homes. Subject to heavy state (MI5) and Searchlight attention in recent times.

MI5 Military Intelligence. Responsible for countering foreign spies in UK, domestic subversion, the ALF, the IRA. First Woman in charge at present - Stella Rimington. Seriously expansionist, now that the end of the 'Cold War' has meant they have to invent new reasons for their continued existence. Strongly suspected of involvement in various mainland murders eg Hilda Murrell, Willie McCrae etc.

Brian Nelson One time Ulster Defence Association (UDA) intelligence officer, who was all the time working for British Army Intelligence.

Network News Internal bulletin of Scargill's CWO [see above] in issue one of which they printed 'Targetters Targetted' [see below].

Larry O'Hara Independent Leftist researcher, who helped GA foil entrapment by Hepple/Searchlight in late 1992. Ludmer Memorial Prize nominee??

Red Action Small group of militant Irish Republicans/anti-fascists, expelled from the SWP in 1982. Until recently politically close to Gable. A key member Gary O'Shea, was acquitted (along with Gable) in July 1992 with a fine following 1991 attack on LSG [above] meeting. Subject of major operation by MI5 in which Gable is believed to play a part.

Red Brigades Originally a Leninoid class struggle grouping, the 'first generation' leadership of this Italian group was selectively removed by the secret state, leaving a 'second-generation' leadership who appear to have worked for the secret state in a manner not dissimilar to that of Nelson above.

Redwatch Bulletin of Combat 18, first one issued March 1992, in which details including addresses/phone numbers of Jews/Leftists printed.

Tim Scargill (formerly Tim Wright) Ex-NF/BM, prominent in CWO, and the second intended victim of Searchlight's 'Targetted Targetted' scam.

Searchlight Apparently an anti-fascist magazine, in reality much, much more. The overt political home of Gable, Hill, Hepple, Bell etc.

Special Branch Originally set up in 1880's to counter Irish Republicans, and more latterly the 'operational arm'/local intelligence gathers for MI5/6. In April 1992 they lost primacy to MI5 in matters concerning IRA/INLA, & now in battle-to-death struggle with MI5. Reported to be very knowledgeable about/not worried by, CI8...

Target Quarterly bulletin of 'Pro-Fascist Action', started Nov. 1992. Issue 2 Feb. 1993 featured Red Action & Class War especially. Issue 3 August 1993 still not mentioned by Searchlight.

Targetters Targetted The name given by Searchlight to their original (Nov. 1992) disinformational list of BNP/C18/COTC members, which Hepple tried to get GA to print, & Scargill did. To cover up their tracks, Searchlight (probably) published at least two more lists of the same name, to distract attention from source of the original list.

Wombat 92 Another anonymous unattributable leaflet, appearing March 1993, implicitiy linking Scargill/O'Hara, and full of gross 'errors', thus fitting Searchlight's agenda.

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN THE PUBLICATION "AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

AGAINST THE LIE MACHINE: WE RESPOND TO MARTIN BRIGHT

INTRODUCTION
(Larry O'Hara)

As is often the case with NFB, those we criticise have calculated that their best course of action is to say nothing publicly, but privately has been a different matter. There have been a couple of on-line spats that we will refer to in due course, but regarding the internet as a trivial and ephemeral medium by and large, we are in no rush (sorry kebab-man).

Critics are usually so desperate to deny us the oxygen of publicity that we are rarely named, even when criticised. A classic example is the tendentious article by journalist Martin Bright in the Jewish Chronicle 10/8/12 p.5 (also on-line). Inasmuch as it purports to deal with the HNH: Searchlight split, it is worth mentioning. And the Jewish Chronicle is an important news outlet. We have previous with Bright of course, not least when he wasted hours of my time a few years ago pumping me for information on matters of interest to the security services, with whom he has long had an intimate connection. Below, in black, are Bright's words: mine follow in red.

 

Over the years, Searchlight has provided an invaluable service to those investigating British fascist organisations, whether it was the street-fighting thugs of the National Front in the 1970s, or their slicker, be-suited successors in the British National Party.

If by this he means the atrocious BBC 'Secret Agent' documentary, analysed in NFB issue 6, the only organisation to find this "invaluable" was the BNP--it even inspired Nick Griffin to stand for election in Bradford.

This is a nasty, dangerous job, often involving the infiltration of the violent world of neo-Nazi groups and Searchlight did it brilliantly, sometimes by "turning" far-right activists to work for the anti-fascist cause.

As we have chronicled on numerous occasions, with the likes of Tim Hepple/Matthews, Ray Hill and such like, those involved have often worked against the anti-fascist cause.

In recent years, a new generation of activists, led by Mr Gable's heir apparent Nick Lowles and Labour Party rising star Ruth Smeeth,

As we outline in detail in NFB 10, Smeeth is hardly a 'rising star', more of a US Embassy 'protected source'. But of course Bright wouldn't know the difference--thankfully voters in Labour's recent NEC elections do, and she failed to win a seat.

have transformed the organisation with the creation of the Hope Not Hate movement. With particular attention to tackling the electoral threat of the BNP and the rise of the English Defence League, Hope Not Hate has worked to unite communities in the face of Islamophobia and racism.

There is a strong case for arguing HNH have exaggerated the significance of the EDL, and the related British Freedom Party, to justify their £60,000 (or more precisely we now hear £66,000) DCLG grant.

I am proud to say I helped provide support through my charity, New Deal of the Mind, for young unemployed people to work on the oral history of the anti-fascist movement at the Searchlight Educational Trust.

Bright here shows his alignment to Hope Not Hate: and is this history available? Will it include testimony from anti-fascists fitted up by Searchlight? We doubt it.

There could not be a better tribute to the anti-fascist work of Gerry Gable than Hope Not Hate. Which is why it so saddening to report that the two have split in an increasingly bitter dispute over the direction of this most honourable of causes.

To use the word honourable to describe either side in this squalid squabble is a misnomer. But then, what would Samurai sword fantasist Bright know of honour? Nothing.

The word "tragic" is overused in politics, but there is something genuinely Oedipal about the way the Lowles-Gable narrative has played out. The Byzantine detail of the dispute is the subject of frenzied debate by various obsessives and conspiracy theorists on the web.

Here Bright excels even himself at dishonesty. The full dispute is outlined in NFB issue 10, and there is no conspiracy theorising in the article, rather a wealth of internal documentation/verified fact, neither side (and Bright himself) have dared refute one thing we have said. There is no "frenzied debate"--NFB has explained in a wealth of substantiated detail twelve serious issues over which the two sides differ, and both sets of gutless cowards haven't dared refute one word. Precisely because NFB is a serious organ of record, we believe in a hard copy magazine--that Bright should omit to mention this is characteristic casuistry from him. The problem for Bright and others like is him is the fact that we are not conspiracy theorists. Which makes it more difficult to mention us, as JC readers might find out for themselves were we to be named.

But, at its simplest, Mr Gable has retained control of Searchlight magazine and its website, while Mr Lowles has effectively spun off Hope Not Hate as a separate organisation.

At best, this is a description of who has control over what: not why they are fighting.

There is no need to take sides. It is quite possible to pay tribute to the contribution made by Searchlight and Gerry Gable, while recognising the need for the more modern approach of Hope Not Hate.

What exactly is modern? Being run by a right-wing Labour clique? Or conning money out of unions like Unison opposed to public spending cuts, while acting as Coalition/DCLG stooges trying to prevent resistance to cuts?

Bright himself we should perhaps dismiss, as a conspiracy crank in league with the security services, as he has admitted in the past. But, sadly, Bright has influence, hence the reply.

EXCLUSIVE: INTRODUCTION & TIME-LINE TO HOPE NOT HATE VERSUS SEARCHLIGHT CIVIL WAR ARTICLE NFB 10

Below is the introduction (and time-line) from the massive article in Notes From the Borderland issue 10.   To read more, purchase the magazine (details below).  Enjoy.  It seems, from the way our site was 'taken down' immediately this time-line appeared, some people found the time-line itself rather worrying.  Wait till they read the article.  Of course, rather than give NFB praise for diligent and fact-based investigative research, the main focus will be a witch-hunt and evasive blame game.  Pathetic.  Trolls on Indymedia [i] have even criticised the introduction below for having too many facts.  Let them hate so long as they fear...

On the positive side, we came across this piece from Indymedia entitled 'Unions Attack Progress' 23/6/12 by an anonymous 'union activist' which raises some very interesting questions and underlines how relevant this article is to current national debates.  If this activist has 'got it', hopefully others will too.  We reproduce it (in italics) to aid debate, and help clarify our position:

"During the last week or so, an unholy row has erupted between the unions and Progress, including an intervention by Lord Peter Mandelson. At the recent Unison conference, Dave Prentis, the General Secretary, spoke out against what he called 'an intolerable think tank,' referring to the Blairite grouping Progress. Progress is said to be like a party within a party and has recently attracted some controversy because the trade unions think it represents New Labour policy rather than Labour policy, particularly over the pay freeze and public sector reform. The unions need not take any lessons from the discredited Peter Mandelson who had to resign twice from Labour cabinets. Whilst a European Commissioner scandal followed the Prince of Darkness around, in 2012 he has been known to have attended Bilderberg group meetings.
The situation has become even more complicated recently. The trade unions (GMB, Unison and Unite) have expressed deep concern about Progress and its organisational and ideological positions. The new issue of Notes from the Borderland magazine, just published (see www.borderland.co.uk) announces that Hope Not Hate has been taken over by Progress. There was recently a fractious split between Seachlight magazine and Hope Not Hate over financial, organisational and political issues.
The new issue that therefore arises is if Unison, for example wishes to see the back of Progress, then they should also oppose the takeover by Progress of Hope Not Hate. However, Unison have recently donated £60,000 to HNH, this appears to be contradictory. Whilst I support the questions being asked by Unison and Paul Kenny at the GMB about Progress, I would argue that all Union activists should consider whether to give Hope Not Hate any support or funding in the future, especially after the recent Borderland revelations"

Our position is that while we wouldn't reduce recent HNH developments to a 'Progress' takeover, that the flagship campaign has been captured by a pro David (and anti-Ed) Miliband faction of the Labour Right is undeniable.  What disturbs us equally though is the way those who run HNH want to cynically mobilise HNH supporters in accordance with the Tory government's 'anti-extremism' agenda.  Thus, in a bizarre symmetry that is almost amusing, as well as getting £60,000 from Unison recently, Hope Not Hate have also got £60,000 from the Tory-led coalition, for fighting 'extremism'.  Somebody is clearly being conned here: we would actually suggest both the unions and the government, for HNH are incompetent as well as dishonest. Politically, HNH symbolise an overlap between the Labour Right, some Tories/Lib Dems, and elements of the state security apparatus.  All very distasteful, and explored in depth in the article itself.  Speaking of which, there now follows the introduction proper.  

PANDORA’S POX: HOW FAR RIGHT LABOUR HIJACKED THE HOPE NOT HATE CAMPAIGN

Larry O’Hara and Heidi Svenson

Observers of the UK anti-fascist scene have noticed the major fall-out between Searchlight magazine, published by Gerry Gable, and erstwhile front campaign ‘Hope Not Hate’ headed by former Searchlight editor Nick Lowles. Below, we exclusively recount the origins mechanics and significance of that split,  The article arises from an extensive anti-fascist intelligence operation launched some time ago, overseen by Agent Z, ably assisted by ES Riney.  As Comrade Machiavelli said "no enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution".  Nobody should, after reading it, doubt HNH is being used as a template/springboard to take the Labour Party even further to the Right, along the way junking even the pretence of a specific anti-fascist project.

INTRODUCTION

NFB readers are uniquely placed to understand this dispute because of prior research. Into Searchlight generally (‘Searchlight For Beginners’) Hope Not Hate (hereafter HNH) itself (see NFB issue 9 p.8-11) and this very split: which we were the first to break in detail: see ‘No Hope Lots of Hate’ 4/11/11 www.borderland.co.uk.  We could not ignore what we found inside HNH: a coup mounted by rich finance capitalists, political associates of Tony Blair, his disciple David Miliband and even Gordon Brown, PR gobbledygook merchants, a US Embassy ‘protected source’ married to an executive member of the spook-friendly ‘British American Project’ and various other failed Labour Party candidates.

In case you’re wondering about the title: for reasons best known to themselves HNH deem ‘Pandora’s Box’ an important symbol of their campaign  [ii]. We think pox a far more apposite metaphor than box...Another analogy you might ponder is cuckoos: those involved entered a nest and turfed out the original occupants.

As Leftist anti-fascists we have contempt for both sides in this dispute. If the bulk of (new) evidence raises questions about HNH and their backers, this should not be misconstrued as endorsing their opponents. One co-author (Larry) has been relentlessly harassed over the years by both sides [iii]. This history does not negate our research, but testifies to the accuracy of previous critiques: a tradition we hope to continue.  Obvious, but worth emphasising, the Labour Right could easily hijack HNH precisely because it was never democratic, and always a front/hollow shell. A shell which Gerry Gable had no problem with when under control and ‘on message’. This structural democratic deficit, to which NFB has previously drawn attention, is the problem, and neither side welcomes participation by independent-minded anti-fascists. In one sense, therefore, the Gable clique has been hoist by their own petard. Unfortunately, the implications go far deeper than which set of shysters gets the Searchlight/Hope Not Hate franchises.

As usual, many helped, we will not betray their trust [iv]. Our task was helped by internal discontent about HNH’s current/future direction, concerns that cannot be articulated within a rigidly-controlled structure. We have no quarrel with grassroots HNH activists, but think the vast bulk need politically educating: this article is a start. If, having read it, you still want to be a dispensable stage-army for the serial funding applicants who run HNH, while imagining you are changing the world, don’t say you weren’t told.

AIMS/SCOPE OF THIS ARTICLE

1. As background, explaining the organisational/political relationship between the three parts of Searchlight: the magazine (SML), Searchlight Educational Trust (SET) & Searchlight Information Services (SIS), which has unravelled.

  1.   Breaking the news blackout by outlining what has actually happened, on which see the timeline below.
  2. Paying particular attention to the roles played by individuals, some of whom even those familiar with Searchlight won’t have heard of. To that end, key biographical data is contained in text boxes scattered throughout the article.  Inevitably, we focus more on HNH than Searchlight, not least because previous research has exhaustively examined the career and characters of Gerry and Sonia Gable especially.   Matthew Collins and Nick Lowles were mentioned before: but their recent activities break new ground.
  3. Outlining the political programme those running HNH have been/are pursuing.
  4. Drawing out the implications for both anti-fascism and progressive politics generally. You do not have to vote Labour or even support them to note with trepidation how the Labour Right have muscled in on HNH for their own purposes.
  5.   Including enough information to substantiate assertions, strangling at birth any preposterous claim the article is ‘invention’. We will not stoop to the Searchlight/HNH tactic of giving out home addresses, or even SET’s office location. Some assets unearthed in our investigations (such as the ‘Captain’) we will keep quiet about. Should either faction target us, we will review our stance. You have been warned.
  6.   Elucidating what we think might/will happen, and how anti-fascists should respond. One anticipated consequence is furious abuse/character assassination of NFB magazine. Rather than waste space here on lies (some about photographs/ ghost-writing etc have already reached us) we will shortly set up a specific rebuttal page in the Searchlight/Hope Not Hate section of this site, entitled ‘Against the Lie Machine: Answering Pandora’s Pox critics’. Anybody interested can check there: and if you come across new lies not mentioned, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   with details.

CIVIL WAR TIMELINE

May 2010 General Election: BNP did not break through, and lost all elected councillors in Barking and those up for election in Stoke. Seen as triumph for HNH.

July 24th 2010: Smeeth becomes SIS Secretary, Tuttle elected to Management Committee

Summer 2010: rumoured meetings between Nick Lowles, Cormac Hollingsworth, Ruth Smeeth, Simon Tuttle and Anthony Painter, at which game-plan is worked out. Lowles states around this time Gerry Gable told him he would ‘step aside’ in 2011. Gable vehemently denies this.

September 2010: Labour-supporting financier Richard Brindle moves into HNH orbit, entrancing Lowles

September 2010: Ruth Smeeth joins Searchlight Educational Trust

December 2010: Lowles proposes management committee of 5: him (‘Overview’), Ruth Smeeth (‘Office Manager’), Gerry Gable (‘Head of Research’), Sonia Gable (‘Finance Director’), Matthew Collins (‘Operations Director’). Collins claims privately he was going to replace Gable as ‘Head of Intelligence’.

December 2010: Cathy Pound, office worker, resigns (conflicts with Smeeth)

January 7th 2011: Painter & Hollingsworth join SET Trustees, the latter becoming Chair on 1/2

February 2011: publication of ‘Fear & Hope’, co-written by Painter and Lowles

March 28th 2011: Lowles & Hollingsworth meet Gerry & Sonia Gable, asking for the Searchlight magazine shares from Sonia, & Gerry to resign from SIS and SET by end of June 2011. Gable offered ‘honorary’ Presidency of SIS and nomination for a royal honour.   Arise Lord Gable of Sheepshead!

April 2011: both sides canvas support from the Community Security Trust’s Richard Benson & Gerald Ronson.

April 14th 2011: Gerry Gable’s ‘Lone Wolves’ report published: to deafening silence on the HNH blog.

May 2011: Lowles demands access to all Searchlight bank accounts including those on-line (until then controlled by Sonia Gable)

June 1st 2011: Hollingsworth accuses Sonia Gable of leaking SET information: he should look closer to home...

June 2011: exchange of letters/emails between Lowles and Gerry Gable. Lowles criticises his competence and suggests immediate resignation. Gable disputes this and refuses to hand over the extensive Searchlight research archive. David Middleburgh of Gallant McMillan lawyers starts advising Lowles.

June 2011: Lowles writes to SET Trustees informing them Gable has to leave in 2011, leaving in 2014 is “unacceptable to me and Cormac”

July 5th 2011: SET Trustee Peter Adams & ex-Trustee Paul Hammond offer mediation to both sides. No takers.

July 2011: CST also offer to mediate; again no interest from either party.

July 27th 2011: Sonia Gable registers name ‘Hope Not Hate Ltd’, a clear pre-positioning for war.

August 2011: disagreement between Gerry Gable & Nick Lowles over September Searchlight content. Articles disputed concern Eva Gabrielsson (Stieg Larsson’s partner) and Matthew Collins’ book ‘Hate’.

August 12th 2011: HNH begin process of getting Hope Not Hate registered as a trademark

September 23rd 2011: Lowles resigns as Searchlight editor

September 24th 2011: that month’s Searchlight had still not been mailed out by SET staff-- “can’t be fucked, let it die” according to one source

September 24-25th 2011: both Gables, and ‘persons unknown’ visit SET offices to collect the magazines and ‘liberate’ (their term) ‘steal’ (HNH term) 20 filing cabinets plus numerous other materials/archives.

September 26th 2011: Sam Tarry (HNH) visits SET offices and finds the cupboard stripped bare: immediately informs Hollingsworth/Lowles who are junketing at Labour Party Conference in sunny Liverpool

September 27th 2011: emergency SET Trustees meeting called by Hollingsworth, following which both Gables immediately sacked, and police contacted about the archive removal. Smeeth appointed Secretary [v].

October 2011: that month’s Searchlight reports Lowles resigning as editor, but not why.

November 4th 2011: article ‘No Hope Lots of Hate: Civil War breaks out in the Searchlight Gang’ published on NFB web-site, causing consternation on both sides.

December 1st 2011: Gable writes letter to select circle announcing his & Sonia’s resignation from SIS in order to focus on other projects and wishes HNH “every success” (really?)

December 2011: HNH lobby CST to ensure all funds to Searchlight cut off and transferred to them.

December 2011: that month’s Searchlight criticises “poorly written” and plagiarised account of a New Right meeting on HNH web-site. Renewed appeal for funds.

December 4th 2011: Simon Tuttle replaces Gerry Gable as Director of Searchlight Information Services Ltd, Ruth Smeeth replaces Sonia Gable as Secretary.

December 2011-present: ongoing intemperate exchanges involving threatened legal action between both sides, mostly conducted through solicitors. Gallant McMillan (now Gallant Maxwell) act for HNH, Steel & Shamash for Searchlight.

January 20th 2012: Searchlight re-establish Nominet control of HNH & associated web-sites.

February 22nd 2012: Searchlight email European anti-fascists with their version of events, including a draft article naming a HNH/SET employee: HNH legal threats result in the February magazine getting pulped.

February 25th 2012: European anti-fa network votes to confirm HNH as their sole UK representative.

March 2012: Searchlight magazine publicly mention the split, and attacks SET board member Tehmina Kazi, .

March 2012: first issue of Hope Not Hate magazine

April 2012: Searchlight issue joint election leaflet with UAF (Goresbrook)

April 2012: HNH get £60,000 and future free Conference Stall from Unison the Union. Searchlight don’t.

TO READ MORE OF THIS ARTICLE, BUY NFB issue 10, either by post (see article below this one) or by visiting www.borderlandmagazine.co.uk   You will not be disappointed.....

[i] https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/06/497109.html?c=on#comments

[ii] See hopenothate.org.uk/Pandora and the back cover of Hope Not Hate issue 1 March-April 2012 p.48

[iii] See ‘Against the Lie Machine’ and ‘Searchlight Fiction Pulped’ on www.borderland.co.uk

[iv] Needless to say, documents anonymously received were dealt with MI Mark 1 style.

[v] Searchlight Educational Trust (SET) minutes 27/9/11 p.2

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 10" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

 

SUPPING WITH THE DEVIL? HOPE NOT HATE & UKIP

By Larry O’Hara (with assistance from David Pegg & Heidi Svenson) 20/3/13

With wry amusement Notes From the Borderland (hereafter NFB) has watched closely recent public posturing by Hope Not Hate (hereafter HNH), purportedly triggered by ‘concern’ at racist trends within the UK Independence Party (hereafter UKIP), set in motion on their blog 14/3/13 and issue 7 of HNH magazine. There is far more to this story than meets the eye, and NFB are happy to provide context, albeit partial, in that much detailed proof of our assertions lies in past issues of NFB magazine, namely: issue 4 (highlighting the secret state plot to undermine UKIP in 2000), issue 5 (reproducing in full the strategy document Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate wrote for the European Movement), and issue 10 (detailing exactly how much HNH are in the pay of the current government, specifically the Department for Communities and Local Government). To obtain these magazines, visit our sister-site www.borderlandmagazine.co.uk or alternatively click on the top-right of this site where it says 'How To Buy NFB By Post/On-line'. Nonetheless hopefully enough evidence is cited here to substantiate our argument that HNH are in no position to comment with either accuracy or good faith regarding any UKIP matter, and anti-racists within UKIP should give these shysters a wide berth. A timely intervention, given HNH are to meet the UKIP leadership imminently.

After briefly looking at HNH’s stated motivation, we discuss HNH’s ‘dialogue’ with supporters, pointing to the absurdity of any pretence this is a genuine grass-roots organisation. Next we probe HNH’s tendentious ‘History of UKIP’, and misrepresentation of what UKIP supporters actually believe. Then, we look at two explanations for HNH dishonesty: first, the political past/ideology of head honcho Nick Lowles, and second, HNH’s position as hirelings of the DCLG, and therefore servants of the political establishment rocked by UKIP. Finally, a few comments on what anti-racists in UKIP and elsewhere should, and should not, do.

(1) WHY ARE HNH CONCERNED?

The cat was let out of the bag right from the start: to quote HNH’s initial blog post “UKIP is surging in the polls and could well come first in next year’s European Elections. How should HNH respond? Should we begin to oppose them or should we stick to extremist groups like the BNP?”[i]. In other words, it is UKIP’s electoral threat to the old order that bothers HNH, not their essential nature. They claim “UKIP is increasingly taking an anti-immigrant tone and as anti-racists we cannot ignore that”[ii]. Yet twelve years ago Lowles said virtually the same thing “UKIP has swung to the right in the last two years…UKIP now represents a nationalist rump”[iii]. If this was true, or he really believed it to be so, HNH and the Searchlight organisation from which they sprang would have opposed UKIP consistently. Yet they haven’t. We are not talking about principles here: Lowles wouldn’t know what one was The real motives for HNH’s opposition to UKIP I will return to, but suffice to say, anti-racism isn’t chief among them.

(2) A PSEUDO-CAMPAIGN?

HNH has no democratic structures whatsoever, and the mugs who give them money, even assuming the incessant online polls aren’t rigged, are ignored anyway. This 'consultation' was meaningless like other fund-raising gimmicks that HNH presents as such. Firstly, the question asked was skewed: with only two options, counterposing “campainging” (i.e. something active even if mis-spelt) to the negative phrase “just ignore them”. There is no option for supporting UKIP in any form, therefore from the outset anti-racist UKIP sympathisers are excluded from participating as themselves. Second, not only was the stated turnout/response pitifully low (“over 1200”) the results were discounted anyway. For “67% voted to campaign, while 33% said we should continue to ignore them”[iv], yet apparently HNH are not going to campaign against UKIP, because, according to Lowles, “within the attached comments the position was much more nuanced”, consequently “because of the nuanced comments you made, I don’t believe there is a clear mandate to run a national campaign against UKIP. However we will monitor them more closely”. Yet 67% is a clearer mandate than any elected UK government has received this century, or last! If Lowles had objected on the basis of turnout, fair enough, but this arrogant twerp is objecting ostensibly because of ‘nuances’, thereby discounting the very views he pretended to canvas. Such disdain for the punters is, as we have shown in NFB 10 (p.64) integral to the HNH model of pseudo-participation. Supporters don’t control policy, rather they are the object of endless marketing/fund-raising campaigns dressed up as participation: clicktivism.

(3) FALSIFYING HISTORY: UKIP AS PORTRAYED BY HNH

To encourage supporters to see things their way, HNH got erstwhile photographer Joe Mulhall to cobble together a distorted account, verging on the libellous[v]. He refers to leader Nigel Farage MEP having “admitted meeting Dr Mark Deavin (the BNP’s then head of research who had briefly infiltrated UKIP…at the latter’s request, to discuss his defection from UKIP to the BNP”. Inasmuch as Deavin is described as infiltrator, not ‘defector’, Mulhall seems to imply the defection of Farage himself to the BNP was on the menu: or else he (Mulhall) is an illiterate idiot, the charitable view. Wonder what Nigel makes of this? Equally dishonest, UKIP founder Alan Sked (the real subject of the Farage/Deavin meeting) is given an easy ride, described as “alluding to the damaging revelation that a…close ally of his Mark Deavin, was actually a BNP infiltrator”. This is not the half of it. Firstly, it was Sked himself who introduced Deavin to the higher ranks of UKIP, without him even being a member. Secondly, the whole murky business of Deavin’s involvement in UKIP, and the subsequent Cook Report documentary on the BNP/UKIP was one in which Searchlight themselves were intimately involved from start to finish. While HNH have now split from Searchlight (in a deeply acrimonious dispute fully chronicled in NFB 10) they share both a common past and approach. As argued in detail in NFB 4 (p.18-23), the Deavin affair, and the attempt to set up Nigel Farage by photographing him with both Deavin and Tony Lecomber of the BNP was orchestrated not so much by the BNP (as some believe)[vi] but by Searchlight (who Lowles worked for) themselves. Deavin was in UKIP’s orbit before he was involved with the BNP, for instance. Other fascists Mulhall mentions with past UKIP involvement have a more interesting past than he discloses, such as Trevor Agnew and Matt Single, both featured in NFB as acting in a way entirely consistent with them being in the orbit of both Special Branch and Searchlight[vii]. Is this the standard of research you get for one day a week’s work? Even if it is, Lowles knows Mulhall’s account is poor fiction, yet evidently approves it being on the site.

Aside from rewriting the past, HNH consciously misrepresent the views of UKIP supporters, by exaggerating differences between them and other voters. To that end, research by Rob Ford of Manchester University is cited, along with that of Matthew Goodwin, to show how extreme/racist/supportive of violence UKIP supporters are. These self-styled and lavishly-funded ‘anti-extremism’ experts we will deal with another time, suffice to say racist attitudes are very common in society at large—in 2010 the Citizenship Survey found that of 16,200 adults 76% wanted a reduction in immigration[viii]. An even larger YouGov poll for Channel 4 of 32,000 voters in May-June 2009 found that while 76% of UKIP voters saw immigration and asylum as one of the top 3-4 political issues, 58% of Tory voters and 46% of Labour’s wanted a halt to immigration[ix]. The real problem with racism therefore, is much broader than UKIP (or the BNP) and to single out UKIP supporters is misleading, intentionally so. No more so than when castigating UKIP supporters for being “hostile to multiculturalism more generally”[x]. In a March 2011 Searchlight magazine editorial, Lowles wrote of a David Cameron speech criticising multiculturalism, “by demanding integration, an end to state multiculturalism and an acceptance of a core liberal belief system Cameron is not playing to the far-right gallery, as some have argued, but creating a firewall between the mainstream middle and those totally opposed to immigration”. Thus, UKIP are not allowed to criticise multiculturalism, but Tories are. Furthermore, Lowles and co-author Carl Morphett (for some silly reason persisting with the pseudonym Simon Cressy) wrote that “while UKIP is not a far right or fascist party many of its members and supporters hold views little different from those held by the BNP”[xi].

(4) HNH’s REAL MOTIVES

Anybody who thinks Lowles an honest broker regarding UKIP clearly does not know his political past regarding Europe. In 1996 he wrote an infamous document (while working for Searchlight) offering to provide pro-EU propaganda for the European Movement in the struggle against anti-EU forces. The proposal (which was taken up and is reproduced in NFB issue 5 p.54-55) ends by saying

“this research will be a unique insight into the anti-European network in Britain. Utilising sources inside these organisations, the European Movement will be furnished with information not otherwise easily accessible. The report and the drip flow of information will provide your organisation with invaluable ammunition to add to your cause”.

Note the charming phrase ‘drip-feed’. How can anybody think that a venal pro-EU disinformation-peddler like this should be listened to by anybody genuinely concerned about opposing the EU in an anti-racist way?

In case it be argued, utterly implausibly, that Lowles has changed his pro-EU spots, consider two further things. First, the clique of which he is a part now running Hope Not Hate is largely composed of the pro-EU hard right Labour faction ‘Progress’ (see NFB 10 p.59-60/75), chief among whose patrons is the oleaginous pro-EU Peter Mandelson. It gets even worse. In both February 2012 and (we understand) in February 2013 (see NFB 10 p.61-62), HNH have been in receipt of substantial funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government, brokered by DCLG ‘Integration Division’ boss Andrew Jordan, and HNH speakers are frequent participants at DCLG-sponsored seminars, along with Matthew Goodwin and various spooks. In this respect, whereas originally funding was forthcoming to counter the EDL, it now seems legitimate to argue that here we have government funded HNH turning its sights on a political party, UKIP, that is a major problem for their Tory paymasters. That cannot be right, and is surely questionable legally.

(5) WHAT NEXT?

Hopefully, readers will now understand just why NFB regards HNH’s stance on UKIP with wry amusement, especially this announcement: “following the launch of our consultation last week we have been invited to meet the leadership of UKIP. We immediately agreed and while we are keen to hear what they have to say we will also be outlining our position and the red lines between what we consider to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour”[xii]. Just why would anybody of good faith listen to what the likes of Lowles, known Europhiliac and DCLG hireling, might have to say by way of ‘advice’ to the anti-EU movement generally/UKIP in particular? Rather we suggest:

UKIP itself acts against racists in the ranks and expels them.
No meeting with HNH, and especially no handing over of membership lists, as Sked did in the past[xiii]
Those on the Left/Greens abandon their shameful acquiescence (by & large) in the racket that is the EU, thereby shifting the anti-EU debate Leftwards and linking it to a transformative political strategy. Unless and until the Left deals with Elephant in the room that is the EU, they will (rightly) remain marginal.
Urgent Freedom of Information Act requests concerning ongoing HNH funding by DCLG and other government departments, as a prelude to legal action to ensure this is not used for tawdry (pro-coalition) political purposes. Opponents should not baulk at taking legal action against HNH: they don’t ‘do’ genuine debate. For example, in the dispute with Searchlight they have threatened legal action/called in lawyers on no less than six occasions (NFB 10 p.73 has details) rather than have genuine public debate over differences. What is really at stake is taxpayers money being used for proxy campaigning on behalf of the coalition.
Further examination of the way political discourse is being polluted by anti-extremism discourse, as bought into by the DCLG/HNH/the Home Office/spooks and various intellectual prostitutes posturing as academics like Ford and Goodwin
If there is to be a meeting between Lowles and others in the HNH orbit with anti-EU forces, a clear red line should be drawn, preferably at the top of some stairs, and the whole rotten lot booted out over it into the gutter where they belong.

IF YOU LIKE THE ARTICLE ABOVE, AND WANT TO EXPLORE IN FURTHER DEPTH NFB's STANCE/ANALYSIS ON THE ANTI-EU movement, UKIP and HOPE NOT HATE, CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO CHECK OUT OUR SPECIAL OFFER OF THREE RELEVANT ISSUES OF NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND MAGAZINE ON ALL THESE MATTERS (AND MORE). YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED, INDEED, YOUR WORLD-VIEW MAY BE DRASTICALLY ALTERED...

www.borderlandmagazine.co.uk/hope-not-hate-vs-ukip-offer/

[i] ‘UKIP: We want your views’ 14/3/13, see also HNH magazine issue 7 p.3 Editorial

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Quoted in Searchlight Information Services Press Release ‘UKIP Lurches Right’ 22/5/01

[iv] ‘Hope Not Hate takes a position on UKIP’ 18/3/13

[v] ‘UKIP A Brief History’ hopenothate.org 13/3/13

[vi] Mark Daniel ‘Cranks and Gadflies: The Story of UKIP’ (2005) p.48

[vii] On Agnew see NFB issue 4 p.19-20/NFB 5 p.62, on Single see NFB 9 p.46/49

[viii] Published on communities.gov.uk 14/4/11

[ix] ‘Who Voted BNP & Why’ www.yougov.com 8/6/09

[x] ‘Hope Not Hate Takes a position on UKIP’ 18/3/13 hopenothate.org.uk

[xi] Hope Not Hate magazine 7 March-April 2013 p.13

[xii] ‘Hope Not Hate takes a position on UKIP’ 18/3/13 (Lowles)

[xiii] Publicly referred to in ‘Cranks & Gadflies’ (p.174), though we know this to be true from another source

OUR INTEREST IN JOURNALISTS, & THE CONCEPT OF SPIJ

Even before the magazine started, collective members had a long-standing interest in the dire standards of  'investigative journalism' in this country.  In particular, the way some journalists recycle information (and disinformation) from 'official sources'.  In the case of political journalists this is patently obvious--witness the way both Nick Robinson and Andrew Marr of the BBC act as flatulent mouthpieces for whoever is in power--NFB's prime focus is slightly different.  We are particularly concerned at the way some stories in the print media, and many so-called 'investigative documentaries' on screen, are  little more than the recycling of 'leads'/propaganda fed to journalists by the police and security services.   There is nothing wrong with stories explicitly sourced to the state--eg Crimewatch--but everything wrong with such stories being passed off as 'independent' or even critical, when they patently aren't, on closer examination.  Lies about Iraq's fictitious 'weapons of mass destruction' prior to the Second Gulf War are only the tip of the iceberg as far as we are concerned, and not so much deviation from routine journalistic practice as amplification.

The world is not so simple that we automatically dismiss everything from official sources (or even certain journalists like the much-reviled David Rose) as worthless, or 'untrue'.  Truth is a complex mosaic, and the reality of inter-agency rivalry, both domestically and overseas, means a fuller picture of events can be found by cross-referencing a variety of sources than relying on just one or two.  Crucial is putting aside political prejudices that mean certain sources (such as Sky News) or newspapers (eg the Daily Mail) should be ruled out on ideological grounds.  That path leads to a restricted and enervated world-view, epitomised by the 'Last Century Left' mantra that the Guardian newspaper and the BBC represent good journalism.  They don't--some outrageous disinformation is peddled in the Guardian & on the BBC, but  Guardianistas usually  cannot or will not see it!
 
In this section of the site, as well as relevant extracts from NFB magazine,  we hope to publish pertinent critiques illustrating the relevance of our approach.  As with elsewhere, we welcome articles for publication here or in the hard copy magazine that explore these concerns in a rigorous way.  Contact us.

PETER TAYLOR'S 'TRUE SPIES' DOCUMENTARY ON SPECIAL BRANCH CRITIQUED (Extract)

INTRODUCTION

In 2002, as the Cold War receded into history, and Special Branch began (SB) looking for a new role, Peter Taylor's landmark BBC 2 series on SB hit the small screen. It purported to be a rigorous journalistic investigation of past SB intervention in the political process, and even today is lauded in (lazy) circles as the last word on the subject. It was hardly that, and not because of insufficient resources--on the contrary, the problem was that Taylor (as usual) was so closely intertwined with the agenda of those he was nominally investigating that the result was critically flawed. Lacking any of the BBCs resources, and certainly their priviliged access to officers/assets, disclosed & undisclosed, NFB undertook (in issue 5 p.35-48) a genuinely rigorous investigation of our own, contrasting the way 'True Spies' treated key episodes and the ascertainable facts, including events and operations that should have been covered in 'True Spies' but weren't [see magazine section of shop above for details of how to obtain the whole thing]. Operations we covered were the actually career of SB/MI5 asset Peter Marriner, including two instances of infiltration by Marriner Taylor omitted--that of the Gay Liberation Front and the Labour Party. We also looked at SB dealings with Anti-roads activists and animal liberationists. Also integrated into the text is not only analysis of the genesis and precise series purpose, but detailed consideration of what contemporary reactions to True Spies revealed about those commenting. The result was a tour de force on our part, that has certainly stood the test of time....

PETER TAYLOR'S 'TRUE SPIES' DOCUMENTARY SERIES ON SPECIAL BRANCH: EXTRACT FROM A CRITIQUE

THE WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY: MUCH ADO ABOUT LITTLE?

The aspect of True Spies given most media publicity was spying on the Far Left, especially the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) [44]. There is a consistent pattern--Taylor omits or evades the most interesting questions at the expense of concentrating on the sensational and shallow. In the latter category, adding nothing to her 1994 Dimbleby Lecture, was Stella Rimington asserting "part of the Trotskyist route to revolution is violence on the street and undermining forces of law and order like the police" (Programme 2). Those of us with close up experience of Trotskyists over many years know how laughable is this imputation of violence or even serious revolutionary intent to the placard-waving liberals preponderant in the 'Last Century Left'. As does Taylor, who has covered Northern Ireland paramilitaries for over 30 years.

That said, WRP revolutionary rhetoric was taken seriously by some members. And, as pointed out last NFB (issue 4 p.32-34), the WRP interested MI6 as well as MI5. The most prominent associate (not even member) featured was actor Ricky Tomlinson, who (after involvement with the National Front) played an important role in the 1972 Shrewsbury building worker's strike that undermined the Heath government's industrial legislation. Given the national significance of this dispute, and the way he and co-worker Des Warren were freed due to industrial action and mass protest, it is no surprise Tomlinson was targeted. It would have been peculiar if he hadn't. Tomlinson affected shock when told SB had a file on him, but unlike other interviewees at least has the excuse of being a comedian. The WRP infiltrator Taylor interviewed seemed to be from an ethnic minority, although what he actually did (other than draw £500 per month tax free) wasn't specified. After all, the 1975 raid on the WRP's Derbyshire 'Red House' uncovered only three bullets probably planted by those discovering them (Programme 2). Aside from WRP links with Middle East regimes, MI5/SB would have been intrigued by sources for the perceptive WRP classic on ruling class strategy 'The State Within a State'. Taylor says nothing of these matters, and gives not even passing mention to the belief held by some in/around the WRP that their late former leader Gerry Healy was deposed by an MI5 plot. That this paedophile shyster was probably deposed for entirely legitimate reasons (see NFB 4 p.33-34) is not quite the point. To set the record straight, this matter deserved examination far more than the three insubstantial WRP stories (Tomlinson, Red House and BBC blacklisting of playwright Roy Battersby) covered in True Spies. Even while compiling this review, information has come in concerning a possible high-level state asset in the WRP: but more on that next NFB....

THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY: EVASIVENESS ENCAPSULATED

If the WRP were marginalised as the 1970's progressed, not so the International Socialists, who became the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1977. True Spies promises much, but delivers little here. Taylor says "the Security Services went to extraordinary lengths to find out what the SWP was up to" (Programme 2), but even less is revealed of operations against the SWP than WRP. Much was made in the obligatory two page free Guardian advert of Special Branch infiltrating the SWP. Taylor reveals that the Met Police set up "an elite unit....known as the 'special demonstration squad'--or less prosaically as the 'hairies' because of the way its officers dressed looked and lived" [45]. In fact, the 'hairy' interviewed, Geoff, although an SWP and consequently Anti-Nazi League member, seems to have been more interested in getting close to Peter Hain (see below) than anything else. Typical of True Spies evasiveness is Taylor's claim Geoff helped the ANL by arranging for money collected at a carnival in East London's Victoria Park to be taken back to HQ by Securicor. Taylor describes this as the "ANL benefiting from the organisational skills of a hairy" (Programme 2). Very droll, when a normal SB perk is to rob the petty cash of infiltrated organisations blind. Interestingly, Taylor hums a refrain also taken up by MI5 officer David Shayler in relation to Class War covered elsewhere in this issue. The argument is that without spook help the Left would hardly function-claims never made, strange to say, concerning the Far Right. Yet given Geoff's squad remit was public order, the key questions concerned his possible role in the controversial ANL/SWP leadership decision to refuse switching the second ANL Carnival (24/9/78) to the East End so as to defend Brick Lane against an NF march, feeding lies to platform speaker Ernie Roberts MP about the numbers defending Brick Lane on the day (300 became 7,000), and moves to expel SWP branches who had mobilised in defence of Brick Lane [46]. None raised by Taylor, who instead gives the impression this Special Branch officer aided the anti-racist cause. Throwaway comments in Programme Three about SWP front-group 'Globalise Resistance' will be dealt with later.

MILITANT: A TENDENCY TO DECEIVE

Taylor's revelations about the International Marxist Group were hardly momentous. An SB agent purloining office keys for duplication to facilitate breaking and entry is unexceptional in the extreme. As too, the stated purpose of such burglary, copying membership lists (Programme 1). Paul Anderson has quite rightly ridiculed the IMG's ploy of interrogating a suspected SB asset over 10 pints of a beer in a pub-pathetic at best [47]. If the IMG was a dilettantish thorn in the establishment's side, in their heyday the rather more working class Militant Tendency (now the Socialist Party) were a substantial threat, not because they were revolutionary, but because some members had the commitment and serious attitude that might have seen them move towards such a position. True Spies covers SB/MI5 operations against Militant in such an unbelievable way as to obliquely confirm (by omission and disinformation) that Militant were a real problem for the secret state. Coverage of Militant predictably starts in the 1980's with the charismatic Derek Hatton, former Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council. We are told that both he and Militant came under scrutiny, though Tony Robinson of Lancashire Special Branch carefully states that "Hatton only came to my notice as being an active member of Militant" (Programme 2). No other detail given. Inasmuch as Derek Hatton was subjected to major legal actions over a number of years, code-named 'Operation Cheetah' by the police, designed to prove corruption and tie his life up in legal knots, this beggars belief. That, in the end, nothing was proven shows how motivated by political malice these legal actions were. Indeed, this tendentious prosecution hinged on the slender thread of two ambiguous diary entries, as Robin Ramsay pointed out at the time [48]. Hatton knew police investigations into him were politically inspired but didn't "criticise the way the police did their job...they were thorough but they were fair" [49]. That may have been so for Fraud Squad officers, but not for the shadowy SB who are adept at getting other police to do their dirty work. Given Hatton's diaries were only demanded after police first interviewed him [50], he must have been targeted before, for political reasons. Again, Taylor lets SB off the hook by not asking about this.

Suspicion SB/MI5 operations against Militant were both extensive and illegal/highly provocative can be found by looking at what SB admit to. A graphic description of monitoring and recording Militant's annual conferences is given, complete with details of toilet arrangements for confined spaces (Programme 2). Allegedly, Militant conferences had to be surveilled this risky way due to "fearful internal security...which made them one of the most difficult groups to spy on. Getting inside was not easy" (Programme 2). A patent lie. For given Militant had more working class members than other groups, infiltrators wouldn't need to spout the pseudo-sophisticated rhetoric common in student-based groups like the SWP. Furthermore, there was a potential short-cut into Militant via joining a Hatton innovation, the Liverpool City Council 'Static Security Force', one member of whom is shown barring a reporter entry to a Militant meeting (Programme 2). According to one critic, "many in the force had criminal records", in other words ideal recruitment fodder for SB assets. This critic of the Static Security Force went on to say "in time the force came to be known as Hatton's Army. It was not only used to protect Hatton; members of the force began turning up at District Labour Party meetings in uniform. They were used to eject people from meetings, and some DLP delegates found them intimidating" [51]. The critic should be familiar to Taylor: it was sometime BBC Panorama colleague Michael Crick. Even if a hostile interpretation of the force is rejected [52], at the very least its existence, personnel and function puts the lie to Robinson's claim Militant were difficult to infiltrate. Also, Militant's onward march inside Liverpool Labour Party meant plenty of disgruntled right-wingers prepared to inform on them. Hence, reference to recording Militant conferences from concealed hiding places, while it almost certainly happened (to obtain a full verbatim transcript), is undoubtedly done to divert attention from infiltrators.

The only other anti-Militant operation True Spies refers to is placing an agent inside Coventry Labour Party to spy on MP Dave Nellist. Exactly what Nellist did to merit such close attention wasn't spelt out, other than presence at Militant meetings. While it would be logical for SB to also target Militant's two other MPs, Tony Mulhearn and Terry Fields, this was not mentioned. Perhaps significantly, these two were based on Merseyside, like Hatton. Therefore silence here again denotes major league dirty tricks against Militant in Liverpool and surrounds, in the course of which Militant and the District Labour Party were well infiltrated. One stunt that bears the hallmarks of MI5/SB jiggery-pokery was the fact that in May 1986 a number of Merseyside Militant members received letters from the National Front inviting them to join. The NF claimed a list of several hundred local Militant members had been provided by a 'mole' inside Militant. They probably had: but far more likely an SB mole than fascist infiltrator [53]. Spurious attempts to equate Far Left and Far Right are, as long-term NFB readers will know, an MI5/SB speciality. This operation was most likely the tip of an iceberg. True Spies is more revealing than intended in the matter of Militant, but only by omission, lost on most viewers.

PETER HAIN: ENEMY OF THE STATE?

While his politics are now filleted of residual radicalism, current Leader of the Commons and South African former Young Liberal anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain once had fire in his soul. He was consequently subject to secret state attention, and two separate instances feature in True Spies. The first concerns Hain's anti-apartheid activism, starting with attempts to stop the 1970 Springbok rugby tour of the UK. One asset, 'Mike' allegedly worked his way up to become Hain's number two, and gave advance warning that one match against the Barbarians at Twickenham would be disrupted by throwing tacks and smoke bombs on the pitch. This was foiled by police using electric magnets and sand (Programme One). Next, True Spies fast-forwards to 1978, where, as discussed above, SB officer Geoff infiltrated the SWP and "got close to the young Peter Hain" (Taylor/Programme Two). Why he did so wasn't spelt out. The public order dimension of the ANL was not explored by Taylor, as we have seen. Hain himself was merely a useful figurehead for an organisation controlled by the SWP. Nonetheless, viewers will have got the idea Hain is a long-term subversive of some kind.

Predictably, True Spies leaves out the most interesting bit of Hain's political CV directly relevant to the series stated purpose. In October 1975 Hain, already a public figure, was charged with robbing a Barclays bank in Putney, London. Gordon Winter, former officer of the South African intelligence service, BOSS, later claimed the operation was an elaborate BOSS sting to remove a redoubtable political opponent [54]. Over and above fact BOSS was created following recommendations from ex-MI5 Director Sir Percy Sillitoe, connections between BOSS and SB/MI5 were ongoing throughout the period covered in True Spies. The Anti-Apartheid Movement was infiltrated by Special Branch on Boss' behalf, according to Winter [55]. He describes the "relationship between British intelligence and BOSS [as] basically simple. They feed each other information about known communists in both countries" [56]. Simple in 1981: embarrassing now. Furthermore, in February 1987 Peter Hain "established through a serving British intelligence officer the contents of a record held by the security services in London. It states that the Metropolitan police were tipped off by security agents almost immediately after the bank theft that I was responsible....! was informed that it was on security service records that BOSS was involved as well" [57]. Hain's reference to an intelligence officer (MI6?) telling him about a security service (MI5) file may be just a loose form of words, but possibly not. MI6 were long believed by the South African apartheid regime to be hostile: and on that basis, especially in the regime's twilight years of 1987, MI6 reasoning may have been that my enemy's enemy (Hain) could be a friend. The claim that MI5 phoned police to incriminate him accords with the recollections of Hain and his solicitor [58]. Winter also points out that British spooks knew all BOSS' main agents in London [59].

The above evidence of BOSS links with Special Branch and MI5 puts into perspective True Spies silence on the 1975 plot to frame Hain, coming midway between two operations against Hain True Spies covered. The word plot is used advisedly: Hain's 'Putney Plot?' book marshals enough proof to show that not only was he palpably innocent, but a high level of chicanery was integral to the case coming to trial in the first place. At the very least, SB/MI5 would have been aware of the plot, yet did nothing to stop the fit-up and subsequent trial. This complicity goes a long way to explaining a curious aspect of True Spies. Whereas the Stop the Springboks Tour campaign was certainly a legitimate story, the ANL wasn't in the vacuous way it was covered, with Hain's gratuitous inclusion. This underlines the fact that True Spies not covering some stories they should have wasn't due to space reasons, but other considerations. The motive for Hain being hung out to dry by True Spies, put on the spot to defend a radical past long left behind, is not hard to find. In June 2000, ten months before True Spies reached the drawing-board, Hain reportedly asked MI5 for his 'bank raid' file, the only minister to do so since Harold Wilson, given neither Peter Mandelson nor Jack Straw have [60]. Release of this and related material would inevitably embarrass Special Branch and MI5: which is why Hain requested it. This political time-bomb would explain the attention True Spies gave Hain and the way he was portrayed: and also why the Putney Plot wasn't covered. Wriggle as Taylor and his apologists might, there is no legitimate journalistic reason for leaving this episode out, as (like Marriner infiltrating Labour) it goes to the heart of questions about spook interference in politics Taylor rhetorically claims True Spies is about. Nonetheless, there are excellent reasons from MI5/SB's point of view to avoid that story. So True Spies did.

BREAKING THE UNIONS AT COMPANY LEVEL

Anti-union measures in the 1970's and 1980's were an important strand in all three programmes. As usual, we are asked to take at face value operatives testimony, although it is noteworthy that no union assets/infiltrators, as opposed to SB officers, were shown. The unpleasant Tony Robinson (Lancashire Special Branch 1965-81) fills the gap by claiming he successfully spied on the 1970 Pilkingtons glassworks strike (St Helens). Supposedly, his cover was blown by a jealous colleague, sparking a confrontation with strike committee members following a mass meeting (Programme 1). The authoritative book on the strike by sociologists granted unique access to the striker's deliberations doesn't mention this incident. There is talk of one SB man "decked out as a 'leftie'—long hair and beard" getting "a thump on the jaw" when turning up at the picket line. "Another, posing as a press cameraman, was scared off by a genuine cameraman who tried to photograph him" [61]. Neither corresponds to Robinson's tale, which if genuine you would expect to be in a book, which (unlike True Spies) is rigorously researched. However, given Robinson is on record as stating "the whole business of being a Special Branch officer is based on lies and deception" (Programme 1), we shouldn't be too surprised.

Undoubtedly poignant was the revelation Ford motor company only invested in the Halewood plant on Merseyside because SB vetted job applicants to weed out known union activists and Leftists (Programme 1). One blacklist victim was found, and the effects on him and others were unquestionably harmful. True Spies usefully highlights this practice--although given the motor industry and factories generally have been decimated, the impact of such disclosure is far less than it would have been in the past. Nonetheless, Taylor earns a brownie point here.

Of mixed utility is the way True Spies recounts secret state operations against Derek Robinson, Chairman of the British Leyland Combine Trade Union Committee in 1979, and based at the Birmingham (Longbridge) plant. True Spies coverage falls into two analytically separate parts. First is secret state input into Robinson's sacking by management and preventing his reinstatement. Second is the content of what Robinson actually believed: the truth of what was really going on.

Michael Edwardes (BL Chairman) was shown, at the Cabinet Office, minutes of a meeting between prominent Communist Party members and Leyland shop stewards in response to his plan for BL's future (Programme 2). Given general True Spies evasiveness, it seems unusual at first sight that this was revealed, even over twenty years later. A clue as to why is contained in the phrase a "political decision was taken" to reveal information from AUEW Agent 910, close to Robinson. This one, therefore, was down to the incoming Thatcher government. By letting this slip, SB/MI5 are warning other governments that any politically delicate operations might be subsequently publicised. An effective way of ensuring MIS and SB retain operational autonomy, including setting their own agendas. Aside from providing minutes, True Spies is vague about what Agent 910 got up to. He apparently 'greased the wheels' to ensure workers voted against strike action to secure Robinson's reinstatement. The methods used aren't gone into: an indication they (and perhaps he) are still in use and probably illegal. While SB/MI5 have no compunction about dumping politicians in it, full and frank disclosure about their own actions is something else.

The pretext for sacking Robinson, his signature on a pamphlet 'The Edwardes Plan and your job' isn't challenged. Nor is Edwardes' description of this document as aimed at breaking the company, bringing it down. This is far from the truth: it was a defensive text aimed at saving jobs. As they put it, in typical Left Reformist fashion, "in the interests of our members, workers generally, and in the national interest, Britain's manufacturing base must be defended" [62]. Disgracefully, Taylor put the proposition to Edwardes that it was either Robinson or the (new) Metro car, to which Edwardes agreed. Yet the inexorable decline of UK car manufacturing means trade unionists had it right all those years ago--"to continue along the present road will mean the death of BL as a major manufacturer" [63]. In Lobster, Robin Ramsay accuses Edwardes of gilding the lily by only retrospectively claiming the pamphlet and earlier minutes referred to bringing the country down [64]. In fact, for what its worth, at the time Edwardes saw "attempts to sabotage the 'Edwardes Plan' as an opportunistic gamble to cause disruption, which could well lead to total and final closure. Just the fluid situation required by the Party planners" [65]. Mistaken, but at least Edwardes is consistent. One reading of Ramsay could imply he also believes Edwardes 'gilding the lily' includes seeing minutes at the Cabinet Office. Unlikely, for Edwardes' memoirs came out in 1983, before MI5's existence was officially acknowledged. So he could hardly detail how he came by such information if it was in this manner.

BREAKING THE UNIONS AT NATIONAL LEVEL

The most headline-grabbing story in True Spies was the claim by Alan Day (Met Police Special Branch 1965-1983) that 22 or 23 trade union leaders talked to Special Branch (Programme 1). The most high-profile name offered was Joe Gormley, Arthur Scargill's immediate predecessor as head of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Allegedly, Gormley told SB in advance of the planned 1972 miner's strike which set in train the chain of events leading to the downfall of Ted Heath's Conservative government in 1974. Tantalisingly, Day claims this information was passed to MI5 who (according to him) reported to the government this strike would not take place. Shortly after reporting the strike plans, the SB industrial section garnering the information was disbanded, followed by a massive increase in industrial unrest. If true, this points to MI5 autonomously pursuing an anti-Heath agenda. Yet again, the implications of this are not explored by Taylor. He does not consider the possibility that Day, aggrieved his former squad was chopped, is now endowing them with foresight they may not have possessed. As it happens, it does look like the Heath governments initially confrontational attitude to the January 1972 NUM vote for an all-out pay strike meant they probably thought the miners would cave in. When they didn't, the government felt compelled to grant the 20% pay award recommended by the Wilberforce Inquiry in February 1972--with' disastrous political consequences [66]. These might have been avoided had the miner's determination been accurately gauged in advance.

Establishing the truth of True Spies claims 22 or 23 union leaders were SB informants would be helped immeasurably by provision of their names. Yet to my knowledge Taylor only supplied two, Gormley and Ray Buckton of rail union ASLEF [67]. He did not even mention the still-living Brian Nicholson past TGWU President and informant during the 1970 Dockers strike [68]. Given Gormley and Buckton are dead, and thus unable to confirm or deny his claims, this is hardly impressive. It is possible many union leaders spoke to SB, and Robin Ramsay in 1996 handily summarised just how extensive spook penetration of the Labour movement has been, up to .and including MI5 happily allowing the CPGB to function with the help of 'Moscow Gold' [69]. For some union leaders, their own rank and file membership, especially anti-capitalist elements, were more a problem than employers they were cosying up to, whether it be with 'sweetheart' recognition/no strike details or more brutal collaboration, as sometimes practiced in the building trade for instance. Trotsky's description of the 'Labour Lieutenants of Capital' was (and is) still valid for these people. That said, a distinction can be made between union leaders prepared to talk to Special Branch: sources, and those taking political direction and money from SB, assets. In the real world, such nuances matter-but not for a propagandist like Taylor. Then there is also the intriguing question of trade union leaders in exclusive contact with MI5 rather than Special Branch.

STILL UNDERMINING THE NUM

Given its historic significance, and information already in the public domain, True Spies understandably dwelt on the 1984-5 Miners Strike. Not that details are always right or placed in proper context. Programme Two parrots unquestioningly the police line on the 1984 Battle of Orgreave that they were victims of union violence. Taylor interviews both Tory fixer David Hart and then Assistant Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Anthony Clement. Nothing was shown of these men's recorded views that the Battle of Orgreave was a set up by the state to fight the miners on their terms and chosen ground. While this view is not universally accepted any proper documentary would have examined the claim. Taylor doesn't [70]. To do so would have necessitated exploring the possibility that state assets inside the NUM were not merely reporting on union strategy, but had an influence in determining that strategy, including choosing Orgreave coke depot as a target for mass picketing. Equally, reference to Orgreave should have included discussion of the strong evidence that violence was initiated by police, and TV news footage doctored to present defensive action by the miners as if offensive. No hint of that debate in True Spies either.

Discussing high-level assets inside the NUM leadership during the strike, True Spies excels as a disinformation vehicle. Roger Windsor, NUM Chief Executive is widely believed to have been an MI5 asset [71] and went to Tripoli in Autumn 1984. He was filmed meeting Colonel Qadhafi, hardly a propaganda coup for the miners, given the 17/4/84 shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher by (it is presumed) gunmen inside the Libyan Embassy in London. Stella Rimington headed MI5 operations against the NUM at the time, and if Windsor worked for MI5, she was his ultimate boss. After showing TV footage of Windsor meeting Qadhafi, Taylor reports that Windsor denied being an MI5 agent, and won substantial damages to clear his name. Such legal action was never undertaken or won against Seumas Milne, author of the definitive book on MI5 and the miners, and in any event True Spies misses the main point, and not by accident. To win a libel action (if Windsor did: Milne cites cases he lost) is not the same as establishing truth-after all Jeffrey Archer won a libel action over claims he paid off a prostitute, but recently served time for being found out. Fully prepared to name dead union leaders who may have just passed information to Special Branch (like Gormley) Taylor fights shy of definitively stating whether Windsor did, or did not, work for MI5. Even worse, after evading that question, Taylor editorialises that "MI5 judged Scargill and the miners by the company they kept...to MI5 the Libyan connection confirmed Scargill needed watching". Rimington is then shown, unchallenged, stating that "when you consider Colonel Qadhafi's other connections with the Provisional IRA for example, it says something about judgement, if no more" (Programme 2). She is allowed to justify opposition to a Libyan connection on the basis that would be "interference by a foreign power in the workings of this country". The objection is not to Rimington making such claims, but Taylor not challenging them. After all, if Windsor was MI5 then the real 'interference' came from MI5 via their hireling. Rimington wouldn't like such questioning, and would probably lie about Windsor: but viewers could draw appropriate inferences. Compelling viewing: but instead Taylor allows her spook interpretation to pass as fact. Sadly, Milne's review of 'True Spies' did not go for Taylor on the NUM, when he had excellent grounds-but then, he writes in a spook-friendly publication that the previous day gave Taylor pages of free self-advertisement [72].

While ducking fundamental questions about Windsor and MI5, Taylor happily casts aspersions elsewhere. Programme 2 refers to a highly-paced SB informant 'Silver Fox' who passed police detailed information on the disposition of flying pickets, and thus frustrated them. Who was Silver Fox, if not Windsor? Disgracefully, Taylor sneeringly asks Arthur Scargill whether he knew, and palpably didn't tell him or us. A typical Taylor insinuation is speaking of "an agent, very close to you, at your shoulder almost, who was feeding information to his or her Special Branch handler about the movement of pickets". Taylor's 'gender neutrality' leapt out here—in a male institution like the NUM, only one female could fit the bill, Nell Myers, long-time Scargill personal assistant and confidante. In other words, Taylor was subtly fingering her in words whose significance would be lost on most viewers-but not those with close knowledge of the NUM. There is no reason to suppose he is correct, and every reason to suppose this is just mischief-making. Essentially, while Taylor masquerades as a journalist, his fundamental orientation is spook apologist. Thus, he did not query Scargill's claim he wanted to legitimately bring about a change of government 1984/5. Yet legitimacy sharply contrasts with legality in bourgeois political discourse. Perhaps the main True Spies agenda required no such journalistic exchange.

FOOTNOTES

44) e.g. The Sun TV Magazine 26/10/02 p.21
45) Peter Taylor The Guardian 23/10/02
46) see 'The ANL--A Critical Examination' (Colin Roach Centre 1995) p.6-7 & 'The Anti-Nazi League & the Struggle against Racism' (Revolutionary Communist Group January 1979) Postscript p.13-15
47) Paul Anderson Tribune 1/11/02
48) Lobster 25 June 1993 p.11
49) 'Inside Left' (Derek Hatton/Bloomsbury 1988) p.116
50) 'Inside Left'p.116
51) 'The March of Militant' (Michael Crick Faber & Faber 1986) p.251
52) see'Inside Left' p. 117-119
53) The Guardian 13/5/86 (Martin Linton)
54) 'Inside BOSS' (Gordon Winter Penguin 1981) p.460-464
55) op. cit. p.418
56) ibid, p.417
57) 'A Putney Plot?' (Peter Hain Spokesman 1987) p.150, see also 'Inside BOSS' p.460-461
58) op. cit. p.135
59) 'Inside Boss' p.416,/415
60) Sunday Times 11/6/00 (Nicholas Rufford)
61) 'Strike at Pilkingtons' (Tony Lane & Kenneth Roberts Fontana 1971) p.176
62) 'The Edwardes Plan & your job' (Leyland Combine Trade Union Committee 1979) p.13
63) op. cit. p. 13
64) Lobster 44 Winter 2002 p.22
65) 'Back From the Brink' (Michael Edwardes William Collins Sons & Co.) p.109
66) 'The Whitelaw Memoirs' (William Whitelaw/Aurum Press 1989) p. 124-5
67) Daily Mirror 25/10/02 (Tom Newton Dunn)
68) see file referred to above, also The Guardian 1/1/01
69) Lobster special issue 'The Clandestine Caucus' (1996)
70) see Seumas Milne 'The Enemy Within' (Pan 1995) p.371-2
71) see Milne (op. cit.) esp. p.190-241
72) Seumas Milne The Guardian 24/10/02

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 5" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

 

LEAFLET GIVEN OUT AT SHEFFIELD DOC FESTIVAL 2005

FORD, HEWLETT & THOMPSON ON TV DOCUMENTARIES:YOU'RE HAVING A LAUGH!

Overleaf is an article Broadcast magazine (Lisa Campbell, Deputy Editor) suggested we write following Notes from the Borderland (NFB) magazine's intervention at the Royal Television Society awards 24/02/05. Despite contacting us in the first place, Broadcast instead ran a fawning profile of increasingly ludicrous Donal Macintyre.

Since we wrote the piece, the state of documentary journalism has hardly improved. Indeed, the fact this festival's keynote Q & A session is 'produced' by Simon Ford underlines perfectly the extent to which genuine non-state compromised documentaries are out of fashion. No matter that there have been cosmetic changes to BBC Governance (one thing ex-Panorama Editor Steve Hewlett got right), the key problem of poor output quality continues. Simon Ford is a symptom of that. Ford's ouevre includes: police nark Donal Macintyre's second lamentable 'Investigates' series (2002); 'Fighting the War' (2003) using footage from crews embedded (entombed) with British forces in Iraq; and 'Secret Policeman', all critically examined in NFB issue 6. So, the incestuous Spectacle 'The DG & The Doc' has one ex-Panorama Editor Hewlett interviewing another ex-Panorama Editor, BBC Director General Mark Thompson. How unfortunate if one of Thompson's examples of good TV journalism is Ford's 'Secret Agent', the programme systematically demolished in NFB 6. Even more unfortunate if Ford has recruited Jason Gwynne to show delegates local mosques after a pub visit.

Steve Hewlett's finest hour came as Editor of Martin Bashir's Panorama interview with Princess Diana, broadcast 20/11/95 and attracting Panorama's highest ever audience of 22.8 million. The programme became infamous when news leaked out about the backroom skullduggery involved in making the programme. Bashir ordered Matthew Wiessler (Panorama graphics artist) to forge bank statements implying a plot to bump off Diana. Andrew Morton wrote that she did "the interview because she was terrified of the implications of those bank statements. She genuinely thought her life was in danger." ('Diana in Pursuit of Love' 2004). Interesting ethics, especially as a case could be made that this very interview hastened Diana's end. Forger Bashir referred all queries to Editor Hewlett, who defended Bashir. Hewlett told three concerned BBC veterans (Killick, Mangold & Dean) seeking an explanation, "I don't see why it's any of your fucking business" (Richard Lindley 'Panorama' 2002). Maybe he had a point-forgeries were crucial to Panorama's 1993 & 1994 programmes on ex-football manager Terry Venables, leading to writs flying around like BBC redundancy notices. Nonetheless, given his role covering up for Bashir, should chairing a session on the state of TV documentaries really be Hewlett's "fucking business"?

Current Director General Mark 'Gnasher' Thompson recently claimed that "BBC journalism (is) currently going through a golden period' and 'investigative journalism (is) alive and well post Hutton"(LSE lecture 14/4/2005). News to us mate! In the most recent Panorama (9/10/05) 'Blair v Blair' an otherwise interesting analysis of new anti-Terrorism laws was turned into pantomime with actors pretending to be the nation's favourite yuppie couple given a facile, unnatural script - more 'Sunset Beach' than Peter Kosminsky. Crass populist personalisation of politics, not much bettered by 'A Right Royal Shambles' (2/10/05) about Charles & Camilla. What next for Panorama and the hysterical Vivian White? Ceaucescu v Ceaucescu? or Peter v Jordan (presented by Natasha Kaplinsky)? Steve Hewlett should be wary interviewing the DG-in 1988 Gnasher, then an editor on BBC Nine O'Clock News, hungrily went for fellow journalist Anthony Massey - "he just bit me in the arm for no reason". 9.30 am is a bit early for munchies-had he just seen Kate Moss? One for the Animal Hospital!

Undeterred by us taking apart his (2003) True Spies' documentaries in NFB issue 5, Peter Taylor returned to the fray with the 'New Al Qaeda' (2005). A right horlicks too--revealing (shock!) the internet extends to Iraq, and running a trial by TV of jailed Babar Ahmed, including intrusive and dishonest interviews with the man's family. No surprise--Taylor's head is so far up the secret state's intestine it nearly pokes out the top end...

No SIDF would be complete without the perennial preening figure of Roger Graef, affectionately known as 'Graef of the Yard'. At the start of his career somewhat critical of the police, more recently avuncular journocop Graef has been glamourising the hardly photogenic British Transport Police in the Rail Cops comedy series.

We would welcome a radical restructuring and re-orientation of current affairs and TV documentaries, so as to build a genuine non-state compromised sector. Possible with the current license fee arrangement? Maybe not....

To trace the roots and some branches of the real problem afflicting TV documentary, avail yourself of the NFB Broadcast Journalism pack (£10.00) including:
* NFB 3 critiquing pseudo-investigative journalist Donal Macintyre
* NFB 5 featuring Peter Taylor's True Spies and Macintyre update
* NFB 6 on Secret Agent where we enunciate/explain the new concept (pioneered by NFB) of SPIJ, State-compromised Pseudo-Investigative Journalism (media students take note).

We remain willing to take on antagonists in open debate. If Simon Ford & the motley crew involved in police sourced 'Secret Agent' want to defend themselves in public, we will happily oblige. After all, having recently debated with ex-MI5 agent David Shayler (DVD available either this weekend or via www.borderland.co.uk), wannabe spooks will be even less of a problem. La Lotta Continua. 14/10/05

THE ARTICLE BROADCAST MAGAZINE ASKED FOR BUT WOULDN'T DARE PRINTA CRITIQUE OF CONTEMPORARY TV DOCUMENTARIES BY DR LARRY 0'HARA

Since inception (1997), Notes From the Borderland (NFB) magazine has been concerned about dire so-called 'investigative journalism' on screen and in print. Certainly, excellent work is produced-Anna Halls The Edge of the City' and (to a lesser extent) Adam Curtis' 'The Power of Nightmares' lit up a poor 2004. We do not hanker after a halcyon golden age (remembering the sometimes disgraceful 'World in Action'), but contend that especially since Death on Rock (1988) there has been a growing tendency for programme makers to compromise their independence by working too closely with state agencies in particular. The Royal Television Society (RTS) honouring Panorama on Hutton was fair enough, but the much publicised BBC:government spat over Gilligan/Kelly is not the whole story. Parallel to headline confrontations, at the operational level of day to day programme-making seedy compromises and shabby 'investigations' abound, including (from the Panorama stable) the truly pathetic Rageh Omar special on 'knife culture'. Less evidence (and style) than a John Scarlett dossier. While Crimewatch is no problem (WYSIWYG) one milestone in the degeneration of TV journalism was the lamentable Macintyre Undercover series, extensively analysed in NFB issues 3 4 & 5. A classic example of what we now call 'SPIJ'--State-compromised Pseudo-Investigative Journalism, a baser form of spin. Scandalously, in the football hooligan programme Macintyre went to great lengths to pretend information acquired from the Police Football Intelligence Unit was obtained independently. Predictably, neither Macintyre nor his entourage have responded to our criticisms. That Macintyre is now reduced to acting as a Channel 5 police game show host doesn't excuse his earlier activities, which secured a 1999 RTS nomination. While Macintyre is marginal, not so Peter Taylor, RTS award winner 2002, and nominated this year. The 2003 BBC Report stated "Taylor's dogged pursuit of truth in the secret world of True Spies helped him to gain the RTS award for TV journalist of the Year". Only dogged up to a point-as our NFB 5 dissection showed, a crucial but fatally flawed series, pulling factual punches and accepting secret state disinformation unchallenged. Taylor's team lacked the ability-or perhaps inclination~to undertake independent research we showed can be done.

When it came to our attention that Simon Ford/Karen Wightman were behind the 2004 BBC 'Secret Agent' programme infiltrating the British National Party, we took a close look at them, resulting in the (very) recent NFB 6 analysing Ford's oeuvre in the round, including Secret Agent. As anti-BNP propaganda Secret Agent was so woeful it inspired BNP Leader Nick Griffin to stand in Keighley (heavily featured) in the forthcoming General Election. An own-goal of Steven Gerard proportions. The revamped BBC Producer Guidelines Secret Agent was touted as applying do nothing to encourage genuinely independent and rigorous non-state compromised investigative journalism, and are thus irrelevant at best. A central premise of Secret Agent's story-line was, we argue, fundamentally dishonest. The screened confession by one racist to participation in an assault during the 2001 Bradford Riots was fantasy, a fact already known to the police (who questioned him) programme consultants (who wrote about the assault in 2001) and even the courts (who jailed somebody else for it). Our central point is that what makes good TV from a Southern metropolitan perspective is not necessarily received the same way up North.

SPIJ is a problem (to abbreviate our NFB 6 critique which gives examples) because (1) Complex & new issues are not covered until very late-e.g. Fathers 4 Justice (2) Secret state agencies are not properly held to account (3) Useful material is often covered in a drab derivative way-such as the awful Panorama (27/2) on Scottish football (4) Staple use of agent provocateur techniques is counter-productive (5) Too often, substituting infiltration for investigation oversimplifies and trivialises complex issues (6) Prioritising a search for criminality debases and demeans potentially interesting stories, and can reduce journalists (literally in the Ford/Wightman case) to what we call 'Journo-Cops'. (7) By passing off state-compromised (or even sponsored) research as 'investigative journalism' the meaning, and even possibility, of the latter is corroded. NFB iconoclastically uses stark phrases and images (Journo-cop) to kick-start a complacent media into self-examination.

It is unfair to simplistically blame just those working in the industry for product deficiencies-any pitch has to conform to the overall Zeitgeist, the creation of which is also the responsibility of players such as government, global corporations, print media and the burgeoning academic 'media community'. It is a sorry comment on TV journalism that there is little sustained critical reflective work undertaken. Instead, we get endless awards, self-promotional advertising, fawning uncritical profiles and the like. Various 'viewer participation' programmes are tokenistic and heavily circumscribed. The ever-expanding media sections of newspapers (especially the Guardian and Independent) are too often full of industry PR, and reluctant to even gently nibble the corporate hand that feeds them.

NFB is grateful to Broadcast for allowing us to sketch our perspective, even if we cannot here fully substantiate it given length constraints. Let debate (battle) commence! Notes From the Borderland can be contacted/obtained via www.borderland.co.uk copyright Larry O'Hara 2005 Notes from the Borderland, BM4769, London WC1N 3XX

PC DONAL MACINTYRE UNCOVERED..STEVE PATTERSON & LARRY O'HARA

INTRODUCTION

The article below first appeared in Notes From the Borderland issue 3 2000-2001 p.3-8 and is, we believe, of enduring importance, as it accurately nailed the dishonest 'new breed' of TV 'investigative journalists', an insult to the term. Macintyre & those behind him were certainly clever, not in the sense of undertaking genuine investigations, but in dressing up information received primarily from 'official sources' as though it were not. In the day (as they say) Macintyre was a 'big thing', his talent for self publicity knew no bounds. His career subsequent to the show analysed below has hardly flourished, intermittently chronicled in various NFBs (issue 4 p.5/issue 7 p.47/issue 8 p.50). Most recently, he was spotted on regional TV in London looking sheepish reading out reports of lost pets & such-like, still trying to inject an air of mystery into the blindingly obvious. Amusing as his trajectory might be, the hammer-blows Macintyre & other practitioners of SPIJ (State-compromised Pseudo-Investigative Journalism) delivered to the already ailing body of TV investigative journalism are no laughing matter. Though he is, we think you'll agree, an intrinsic figure of fun--a far better clown than journalist.

PC MACINTYRE... UNCOVERED
by Steve Patterson & Larry O'Hara

In 1999 the BBC showed a major investigative series, 'Macintyre Undercover', with accompanying book and glowing media accolades. In the BBC's 2000 annual report Chairman Sir Christopher Bland singled the programme out for particular praise. Donal Macintyre, former print journalist in Ireland and graduate in England of the World In Action reporting school, had made it [1].

What a difference six months made. Macintyre's laughable documentary on football hooliganism screened 10/11/99, and a seriously shifty performance on Radio 5 Live's Nicky Campbell Show (8/12/99) more than alerted the interest of NFB. To date, while others have been subject to scrutiny, nobody has commented critically (as opposed to satirically) on the football programme. No longer. We have analysed both film and book cross-referencing them with each other and our own information. While the results didn't surprise us. we hazard they will surprise people naive enough to imagine Macintyre was/is a genuine investigative journalist. But then such people no doubt believe The Guardian a cracking good read. In what follows we refer to the football TV documentary as film, and related book 'Macintyre, One Man Four Lives' as book. Page numbers in brackets refer to this text.

PREVIOUS FIXTURE: HEADHUNTERS 1 POLICE 0

On 12 May 1987 5 Chelsea football hooligans were jailed for a total of 38 years. The trial, costing £1.75 million, followed a police operation initiated October 1985 in West London -'Operation Own Goal'. The own goals in this match however, came from police. Dodgy notebook evidence from dodgy geezers led to eventual acquittals and the collapse of 3 similar trials [2]. Not only had crimes been mistakenly attributed, the role of the boys in (temporary Chelsea) blue as regards encouraging, facilitating and participating in violence meant they themselves were compromised. Subsequently, the police, and Football Intelligence Unit (hereafter FIU) especially, have been obsessed with Chelsea. As regular as clockwork, every new football season starts with a 'briefing' on how dangerous Chelsea are (off the pitch at least). In August 1993 for example, Bryan Appleby, FIU Head at NCIS singled out (yet another) "new generation of extreme right-wing football hooligans...involved in violent crime in Britain and abroad" [3]. There was also wistful reference to the failure of Operation Own Goal, which had created a mythology of Chelsea as "untouchables" [4].

REPORTING FOR DUTY

In view of past matches between police and Chelsea, it was no shock Macintyre focused on the Chelsea Headhunters, and visited the Football Intelligence Unit. It is our contention, however, that Macintyre's dealings with the police were so extensive, and incestuous, his was in effect a police programme, all the more pernicious in that (unlike 'Crimewatch') it masqueraded as 'investigative journalism'. In case you think that too strong a statement for a genteel magazine like NFB, review the facts below. For convenience, we divide evidence into the openly disclosed, and that which Macintyre made some attempts to conceal, or has not trumpeted.

DISCLOSED EVIDENCE OF POLICE INPUT

The final TV programme stated "I started with some background research. A sheet from the police files revealed a rogue's gallery of some of the most dangerous hooligans in the country" [5]. Indeed, his reading (and access) was extensive, for "in the files one man's name keeps cropping up, Andy Frain" (film). In the book, Macintyre states he initially had in front of him an extensive press rogue's gallery of photos—a semantic distinction because these picture galleries come from the police anyway, even if presented as journalistic 'investigation' [6].

As well as written files, Macintyre & company were given photos. At one point Macintyre admits two researchers used Operation Own Goal trial pictures for identification purposes in the field (p.40). Macintyre himself was so well acquainted that in Lens he recognised "Stuart Glass instantly from the mug-shots" (p.40).

In addition to a free run through police files, Macintyre and crew got excellent access to police footage of football related violence and activity. This included not only a ruck filmed inside Maine Road during the Man City versus Millwall game 6/2/99, but CCTV footage of a fracas outside a pub near Baker Street 11/4/98. Such access has a price-lack of independence and genuine 'investigation'. There again. Macintyre wouldn't know the meaning of either word.

In the book, Macintyre makes no mention of FIU assistance apart from one aside concerning Clothier (see below). Yet the film of Macintyre getting briefed by Chief Superintendent Bryan Drew of the FIU clearly shows the starting point of his whole journey was West London FIU HQ. Indeed, Macintyre is even warned by Drew as to how Headhunters would react if he were discovered to be a journalist. This illustrates the Drew interview was early in the investigation, rather than simply added on at the end. Or if it was added on later, the complicity would be even greater than it appears.

CONCEALED/DOWNPLAYED EVIDENCE OF POLICE INPUT

The book provides ample indication, though indirectly, that the football programme was a police idea. On 17/4/98, the team had no idea as to what programmes to make, with a "blank briefing paper...and an empty folder". Macintyre affects to find this a good thing, admitting "we are touting for ideas. Anything is possible". Amazingly, he claims "Broadcasting doesn't get better than this" (p.24). Nothing we write could indicate better the shallowness and malleability of Macintyre & friends. By 5/5/98 the Headhunter "story comes from a producer, Pip Clothier, who is joining the team shortly" (p.25). A week later "Pip explains his reasoning...the Chelsea Head-hunters...have been causing trouble for decades. A major police undercover operation against them in the late 1980s failed. The group is still organised and responsible for some vicious attacks. The World Cup & Chelsea European matches next year give them plenty of excuses to cause trouble" (p.26). Any similarity between that and the FIU script was intentional. A clue as to origin is Clothier's next recorded comment--"journalists haven't travelled with this gang before. They have to be seen up close and personal to be believed" (p.26). If Clothier's source here (obviously) wasn't a journalist, it must have been the police, unless Clothier himself participated? Inasmuch as the idea for infiltrating the Headhunters came from Clothier, or at least is only credited to him by Macintyre, a revelation elsewhere in the book casts things in a different light. Later in the investieation, it was feared Manchester police (or even the FIU) had leaked information about footage taken at the City-Millwall game to the press. Clothier's response, and access, is significant in revealing his operational linkage to the FIU. According to the book "Pip has phoned the head of the Football Intelligence Unit, one of the parties present when our case was discussed in chambers. He assures us that the leak did not come from his organisation. He agrees to remind the police officers involved that it is contempt of court to reveal the information outside agreed channels" (p.203). Given the FIU is part of NCIS (National Criminal Intelligence Service), an organisation so riddled with corruption even Mafia-connected officers regard it a bad posting, this is fanciful. More to the point, there is no way a close relationship between the production team and FIU head (no less) would develop just as a result of being in chambers, or even merely filming an interview a few months before. That Pip Clothier contacted the FIU, rather than anyone else, speaks volumes about where the idea for 'infiltration' came from in the first place. The FIU were, it seems, just looking after their own. Clothier's close working relationship with the FIU, capable of getting the head to send memos to police colleagues shows how dishonest it was (if typical) of Macintyre to pretend the programme idea was Clothier's alone.

Although bound to be misrepresented we reiterate--what is objectionable is not Macintyre speaking to police on the record, but his pretence that spouting a police script using information they provide is investigative journalism. It isn't. Two contemporary newspaper articles preceding the June 1998 World Cup also articulated police concerns--but these journalists properly flagged up the police origins of their stories [7]. Equally unimpressive is Macintyre using police methods without admitting provenance--for example bugging a car and then getting hooligans to boast was effectively used against Man City thug Mark Chapman in the 1980's [8].

A further indication not just of Macintyre's reliance on police, but attempting to cover this up. can be found in the yarn spinned to explain how targets Andy Frain and Jason Marriner were tracked down. The film shows Macintyre persistently hanging around Reading pubs hoping to bump into Frain. Yet this line of enquiry is not mentioned in his diary style book at all when surely it would have been relevant? Furthermore, there is a preposterous scene where Macintyre is filmed shown looking through micro-film of Reading newspapers for Frain's court appearances. This too isn't in the book. That the whole thing is a contrived cover-story, is emphasised by stating the plain obvious. Is it really likely that the FIU, free with Frain's photo, conviction-sheet and even witness statements from a supposed assault he carried out--is it likely they would not know and/or be unwilling to give out the addresses of Frain Marriner and Uncle Tom Cobbley (Shed End) to Macintyre? In which case these TV sequences are a fraud--perpetrated not against fascist hooligans, but viewers. The TV version clearly showed Macintyre at the FIU office receiving a guided tour of police Headhunter archives—no Data Protection laws in the way here! Whilst points like walking around Reading or visiting Reading Library may appear minor, they are important because these scenes purport to show Macintyre carrying out research. That his book does not mention this is crucial--why keep a diary during an investigation if key chunks of investigation are left out? That they were shown on TV self-evidently indicates Macintyre and crew thought these scenes important. The truth, as Macintyre well knows, is he had no need to tramp the streets looking for Frain or Marriner because their addresses and drinking dens were recorded in the very police files he obtained from the FIU. Of Frain, Macintyre later remarked "police had been after him for years" [9].

Looking for consistency between book and TV programme is a hard task, but constant bellyaching about Operation Own Goal acquittals is as close as you get [10], That Macintyre summarises the Operation Own Goal trial as having failed because there "were some discrepancies in the police evidence" (p.95) is like stating Jeffrey Archer's bid to become London Mayor failed merely due to CV 'irregularities'. The absence of freshly-filmed violence from Macintyre's finished product would have pleased the FIU--previous documentaries on football hooliganism hyped the subject and bolstered the reputations of the crews featured, most famously the 1985 documentary on West Ham's ICF. Significantly, the only footage shot from inside a ground was abroad in Copenhagen, where legal restrictions do not apply. You might see that as fair enough, but one reason for not filming inside British grounds is there would be no possibility of showing police malpractice or thuggery. The police would have been equally pleased Marriner's allegation that in one case (at least) they fabricated evidence against him was not shown on screen, or even looked into by Macintyre (p.182). Macintyre is many things—but investigative journalist isn't one of them. If he had been such, or even aspiring to be, he might have stood back and asked what the FIU were getting out of co-operating with him. Or, to be more exact, Macintyre might have had the courtesy to admit to viewers exactly what the motivation behind his programme really was. Crucial to Macintyre's attempted deception here was presenting cause (a police agenda) as effect (response to the programme). Thus, in the final follow-up programme Chief Superintendent Anthony Wills of Fulham police was interviewed, stating "as a result of our evidence police are looking at the possibility of conspiracy charges". Macintyre did not tell viewers the Football Intelligence Unit, who gave him so much assistance, is based at Fulham police station—in other words he presented a police response to a programme following their agenda as genuinely reactive. If deception was not the intention, why not have someone from the FIU openly on screen, maybe even previous interviewee Bryan Drew, also a Chief Superintendent? But that would have given the game away.

THE REAL TARGETS?

The two main targets of Macintyre's investigation, Chelsea fan Jason Marriner and roving hooligan/nazi Andy Frain seem to have been conspicuously absent from the 1998 World Cup, where Macintyre started his investigation. Coincidentally (or not) whilst Macintyre was busy in France with his back up team of 6, the BBC were also recording a Radio 5 Live documentary on the work of under-cover police officers investigating hooliganism in France i.e. the very same FIU that provided Macintyre's targets from their files [11], As Macintyre and team seemed extremely well briefed on Headhunter Stuart Glass, brother of former NF BNP and Combat 18 activist Warren Glass, one wonders if Marriner and Frain. neither the most intelligent of men, were the true targets of their investigation or simply ended up as the easiest ones to focus on due to big mouths. The fact Macintyre (and Clothier) flew to Majorca to see Chelsea play after Marriner said he was not going indicates a net cast wider than Frain and Marriner [12].

PC MACINTYRE: ALONE ON THE BEAT?

When presented with criticism of his care home investigation. Macintyre responded with hurt indignation. How could somebody be so beastly as to seriously compare screened footage with unedited film? Sadly for Macintyre and his BBC supervisors comparison between Macintyre the book and Macintyre the documentary on hooliganism throws up identical faults. There are serious chronological differences between the two. that raise doubts about the validity of the whole exercise - after all, if we believe what Macintyre's book is telling us how can we believe something entirely different in the film? We don't, but such discrepancies are interesting as they point towards things Macintyre and company want to conceal. In particular, not just the extent of collaboration with the police, but assistance from those within the milieu Macintyre asks us to believe he was bravely infiltrating.

Take what Macintyre himself portrayed as a crucial defining moment in his journey into the Headhunter world, acquiring a tattoo. In the book, the Chelsea tattoo was done 17/11/98 (p.104). In the film however, the tattoo was done just prior to meeting Marriner the day of a postponed game against Aston Villa—over two weeks earlier. 31/10/98. Earlier in the film, the impression is given the tattoo was done straight after moving into a flat near Marriner-in August! These inconsistencies are significant: the most likely explanation is some scenes presented as being filmed secretly were done with the connivance of targets. Hence, retrospectively producing a narrative that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. After all, the film stated of the tattoo that on 30/10 Marriner "doesn't seem too impressed". Indeed he wouldn't if this was a genuine sequence—the tattoo was not there for another 19 days. On 31/10 Marriner was still stand-offish, yet five days later met Macintyre in Copenhagen-how come? There is an answer, on which more below.

Another chronological discontinuity (to put it politely) concerns Danny Walford, a loud-mouthed Reading hooligan. The film shows Macintyre in a pub along with Danny just after Chelsea's visit to Copenhagen (5/11) and before the away trip to Leicester (21/11). Yet according to the book, Macintyre first hears a young Reading supporter talk about violence and introduces himself as late as 25/1/99 (p. 147). This is Walford, though he is not named until 30/1/99 (p.150). Then the most ludicrous mention of the lot—Macintyre is invited to Manchester for a ruck by Danny & friends after "having 'accidentally' bumped into them on the concourse at Euston" (p. 156). We are meant to believe Danny is being duped here, but the incongruities concerning Macintyre's dealings with Marriner and Walford (plus others) point strongly to Macintyre poorly concealing the level of inside help he had while filming.

Such help is not likely to have come just from assets inside the hooligan scene, nor even the FIU directly. There seems strong circumstantial evidence Macintyre had a code-word to give to uniformed police if stopped and searched. Not that Macintyre admits to this—he frequently emphasises how he has tricked police and daren't admit his true undercover role (e.g. p.149/150). Yet on one occasion, at the airport on the way to Amsterdam, Macintyre does admit his role to an airport official—thankfully just before Jason Marriner comes into view (p.99). This is as plausible (or not) as the frequent occasions when Macintyre claims he was only searched by police when lacking covert equipment [13] . On the 30/1/99 attack on the Bloody Sunday march, Macintyre asks us to accept he was searched twice by police minutes after divesting himself of such equipment. While Macintyre admits these searches were filmed by associates, the dialogue from either was not shown, especially relevant for the tiny fragment of him separated from the others at Embankment station. Full disclosure of these tapes would be most useful, though we strongly suspect there will not be full dialogue available from both occasions, for obvious reasons. The way it would work is simple—ancillary police assets like Macintyre will be given a code-word (perhaps of a police operation), or the name/telephone number of an officer contactable immediately, in order to get uniformed police instantly off their case. Any hooligan confidently expressing knowledge as to who Gold/Silver (police command terms) were that day would have to be taken seriously. One hopes wiseacres don't start routinely doing this to disrupt police operations...An amusing post-script is Macintyre's voice-over concerning this counter-demonstration. Speaking of his proximity to Frain Marriner and Walford he says he was "surrounded by three people I had spent a year befriending"--this when according to the book he only met Walford five days earlier. Intriguing, if not so amusing, is Macintyre's reference in both film and book to standing next to the head of Combat 18 (p. 152). Yet that person-Wilf Browning—is not named.

Macintyre's crude attempts to rewrite his relationship with various characters is likely to have been done to divert attention from who helped him and how much, and, just as importantly, what he did for them. It is noteworthy here that much footage of Macintyre interacting with hooligans came from two narrow time periods—between the post-poned Aston Villa (31/10) and West Ham (8/11) games on the one hand, and just before/after the Bloody Sunday counter-demonstration 30/1/99 on the other. Yet the impression is given of footage from a far wider period. Not that it is convincing to careful onlookers-the film showing Macintyre displaying his tattoo to Marriner for the first time (November at the latest) has them both wearing the same clothes and in the same location as the debriefing after the Leicester game, dated in the book as 3/12/98.

No doubt Macintyre and co will flannel about the need for artistic license to produce entertaining television where some hard and fast editing may be required. However, this was a documentary, not news programme, so the speed justification falls. Such an argument dashes against the rocks of our question - in which medium is Macintyre telling the truth? Or is he lying in both? If we can weaken his case simply by comparing book to TV programme -something nobody else has had the wit to do so far - what would we do to Macintyre if we got access to his unedited film? We hope to find out. An indication unedited football footage is as damnmg to Macintyre as unedited care home footage came in November 1999 when Chelsea FC requested access to unscreened footage so as to consider banning Marriner from the ground. To quote Ken Bates "Surprisingly the BBC have been uncooperative following the screening of their programme and have so far been evasive to our requests for access to their unscreened material." [14].

TRIPPING DOWN FULHAM BROADWAY?

"The golden rule is this: as an undercover reporter, you must never encourage anyone to do or say anything they would not otherwise do if you had not been there. The strict guidelines within broadcasting organisations about covert filming mean that every time I go into the field, a BBC committee or compliance officer has to grant me permission first" Macintyre hoists himself from his own petard, taking the BBC with him. (p.8)

Thus far. we hope to have shown Macintyre to be an evasive liar, pushing a police agenda, while presenting it as something else. Furthermore, we have raised questions about the extent of inside assistance Macintyre may have had from some he was covertly filming. Evidently, however, he did not have assistance from all of them, and even to those he was 'in' with. Macintyre had to offer something to ensure co-operation. We have more than a suspicion as to what it was. Macintyre on TV showed us a man able to slip into very different personas with considerable ease --football hooligan, fashion photographer. body guard, care home worker. There was one guise not considered suitable for the viewing public - Macintyre the drug dealer. Indeed, only the BBC, in their patrician arrogance, could publish a book in which a staff member poses as a drug dealer (see p. 14) yet produce a TV programme by the same journalist in which he is (apparently) never connected to drugs.

Not everybody at the BBC was blind to Macintyre's difficulty on this issue. On Nicky Campbell's Radio 5 Live programme. Macintyre faced a caller who innocently wondered how he explained his affluent lifestyle to fellow hooligans:

Callum from Liverpool "What did you tell these people your employment was when you hit the area in a big Merc?"
Macintyre "We certainly gave the appearance as one of the guys in the film says, that we were at it"

Campbell quickly moved the conversation on. with the eager participation of Macintyre, and when Callum tried to come in again he was simply talked over.

This hardly squared with the open admissions of Macintyre in his book to posing not just as a drugs dealer but having work for Marriner in the drugs field. In the film Macintyre hires a fancy car so as to be someone 'worth knowing"—in the book he is cast as a drug-dealer (p.50). Indeed, allegedly. Marriner thought him "a serious player who brings in high-grade 'skunk' from the West Indies" (p.105). In April 1999 Macintyre was even promising Marriner work running drugs himself, a "bogus cannabis run that is to take place at the end of the season" (p. 196).

Amsterdam is a Mecca for drug-dealers, and it is instructive Macintyre admits to telling Marriner he had transacted some 'business' in Amsterdam (p.94). In an interesting piece of film, taken in Copenhagen. Marriner tells Macintyre he "knew you were at it". This was used in the film as an instance of Marriner's general paranoia, but viewed in a drug-dealing context, it makes sense. It would explain why there was an apparent change of heart between 31/10. when Marriner was standoffish. and 5/11, when he was friendly and conspiratorial. The missing ingredient is likely to have been not just promise but provision of illegal substances by Macintyre. In case you think that too strong an imprecation, just apply some common sense. Given Macintyre posed as a drugs dealer (in the book) from August 1998 until May 1999 it would be remarkable, indeed incredible, if he neither took nor supplied drugs in that period. After all, if someone tells you they are a van driver would you not expect to see them at least once, during a nine month period, actually in a van? Frain and Marriner may be daft, but they are not that daft. Indeed, from the moment of Macintyre allegedly seeing Stuart Glass snorting cocaine off a table in June 1998 to a drug-fuelled attack on the Bloody Sunday march in January 1999, these people were presented as frequent drug-users. He claims to have postured as a supplier—in which case not only will they have asked for drugs, not supplying them would have blown his cover.

During Macintyre's investigation into fashion modelling he went to elaborate (filmed) lengths to apparently avoid taking cocaine and then flushing it down the toilet. That no such footage appears in the football film of Macintyre either disposing of drugs or even discussing their supply adds to our suspicions about why someone as unbelievable as Macintyre (complete with Southern Irish accent) lasted so long around the Chelsea scene. We await with interest any published report from the BBC committee (and the two Professors Tumber & Mahoney) sanctioning this behaviour, as Macintyre clearly stated he was working within BBC guidelines. Perhaps Frank Bough & Daniella Westbrook drew them up? Given drugs featured prominently in at least two of Macintyre's stories (and most probably in the untransmitted one involving City traders) it is legitimate to ask whether this committee or these tame academics ensured Macintyre submitted to standard FBI practice for informants infiltrating the Hells Angels--"periodic unannounced urinalysis tests to prove [they] don't use drugs" [I5]. If Macintyre did undergo tests, we'd like to know the results & who conducted them and how. If he didn't, then we trust readers have worked out why not.

SEARCHLIGHT: MORE INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE

No expedition into murky waters would be complete without sighting the rusty hulk of Gerry Gable and ship-mates. Gable appeared in both the documentary and Evening Standard article (10/11/99) promoting it, although is not mentioned at any stage in the book as advising Macintyre or thanked in the acknowledgements. This suggests Gable's role was to a large extent merely to add weight to the evidence presented in the documentary. Proof positive of the weakness of Macintyre's case that Marriner and Frain were super hooligans forever bringing society to the brink of destruction - when Searchlight are needed to patch up your story you really are in trouble! Evidence Gable can be trusted to spout any given script was shown by him speaking to camera unprompted—a contrast with the care homes film, where the MENCAP official had to be shown and talked through deliberately-doctored footage to produce the desired response. Visible collaboration with Searchlight, state annexe as they are, went a bit beyond this-the photos used in the documentary of the 30/1/99 demonstration previously appeared in Searchlight March 1999. There could be an element of double-bluff here, with Searchlight facilitating Macintyre's entry into the Chelsea milieu directly. Certainly, the April 1998 'World in Action' documentary on Combat 18 saw Darren Wells (for example) appear on screen unchallenged. Wells featured prominently in the January 1998 two-page free advert for the FIU in The Mirror [16]. However, there is no need for Searchlight to have eased Macintyre's way into Chelsea circles via Wells or anyone else. Why should Macintyre depend on monkeys (Searchlight) when he was being guided by organ-grinders (the FIU)? To be fair, Macintyre's pathetic grasp of fascism is reminiscent of Searchlight, as when he claims to have purchased a (non-existent) BNP magazine called Insignia at a Southport Loyalist march [17|. On the subject of the 'team' we were fascinated to hear that during Macintyre's investigations at Chelsea who should be spotted enjoying a laugh and a joke with police officers at Stamford Bridge before the 1999 Chelsea v Man United FA Cup replay but Searchlight's man in Manchester Steve Tilzey. Football really is a funny old game!

MACINTYRE versus POLICE?

Casual readers of Macintyre's book could be forgiven for seeing Macintyre as an irritation to the police. During his book Macintyre claims to have had a run-in with Greater Manchester Police (to the extent that GMP took court action to access his footage from the Manchester City v Millwall riot 6/2/99). When news of his investigations into the Headhunters leaked out, Macintyre was so rattled he accused both Greater Manchester Police (p.202) and implicitly the FIU (p.203) of being to blame. Additionally he claims to have been stopped and searched frequently during the course of his investigations. Such an impression is false, and deliberately so. As discussed above, according to his documentary Macintyre was afforded the honour BEFORE beginning his investigation, of a tour of FIU files, and had ongoing help from them.

Being in cahoots with one section of the police, even the powerful FIU, is not the same as being in league with all of them (ask John Stalker). Prompted by Macintyre's show on care homes, Kent police investigated his allegations concerning the Brompton Care Home in Gillingham. As a result, they found Macintyre's documentary to be ''misleading". A former World In Action colleague of Macintyre, Alasdair Palmer followed up by going for Macintyre's jugular (Sunday Telegraph 25/6/00) listing a series of deceits in the Brompton documentary accomplished by highly creative editing and splicing of tape. Methods, as we have seen, also used in the football documentary. For Macintyre, low-life tricks and misrepresentation are no aberration, but the norm.

Macintyre's response (Press Gazette 7/7/00) to criticism of his care-home programme was to threaten Kent Police and The Sunday Telegraph with defamation writs--something both parties wisely laughed off. We hope to have shown Macintyre's investigation into the Chelsea Headhunters to be a concoction of fantasy, 'faction' and flannel, with the shadowy hand of the Football Intelligence Unit never far away from their not-so-cuddly glove puppet Macintyre. Happy to make allegations, Macintyre is not keen to back them up in detail. Whilst mere accusations amidst cleverly edited footage was enough to close down 4 care homes, making 84 people redundant and forcing 42 disabled people to move home, slightly weightier evidence is required in a court of law. When (in his book) Macintyre was expected to back up allegations from an earlier World In Action documentary, he suddenly came over all shy and wished to give evidence from behind a screen. How a supposed investigative journalist expects privileges normally reserved for operatives of Special Branch/MI5 when giving evidence is an interesting question. Perhaps the answer is as obvious to you as to us.

Why, you might ask, would the FIU use Macintyre to advance their agenda? The first reason is that through his prime-time programme they hoped to influence the policy-making process to their advantage. To have a supposed liberal journalist make propaganda while appearing autonomous must have been enjoyable. Second, an important operational reason—virtually all local FIU personnel are known to the Chelsea crew, as are their equivalents elsewhere known to local crews. Therefore, a new face, Macintyre, was necessary for such an exercise. The third reason for using Macintyre to gather evidence and intelligence is the FIU could thereby mount an operation unconstrained by normal budgetary restrictions. In this age of privatisation and self-finance for state agencies, the FIU remotely running an operation this way must have seemed attractive. Particularly, as remarked, because the results of an investigation the police themselves (especially after the failed Operation Own Goal) would probably have not been able to mount could then be used as ammunition in a campaign to widen conspiracy laws. From a BBC point of view, allowing police to write the script avoided them having to, and the great advantage of FIU programme sponsorship is that they (unlike Kent police) certainly weren't going to criticise their own show. Nor have they. The aim of FIU activity is not to eliminate football hooliganism, but manage it in a way consonant with police interests. As a former Chelsea hoolifan well put it, for the police "it was a mini industry...Lots of trips around the country and further afield. Overtime and expenses. Poring over information. Exchanging intelligence with other forces. Basically containing a problem that was really containing itself. I'm sure they loved it. It was in their interests to be seen to be on top of it—but not so much on top of it that the powers that be might consider disbanding the Football Intelligence Unit or other special divisions altogether" [18].

THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY

Playing fast and loose with the lives of vulnerable people in care homes is meat and drink to the likes of Macintyre. As too is slagging off Nazi no-hopers like Frain & Marriner. When it comes to the rich and powerful however, like all cowards Macintyre backs off. Thus, the Radio Times for 6/11/99 referred to his "covert filming operation" as. amongst other things, an "insider trader ". That programme, on the City, never appeared. Private Eye took up the story more recently, and reported the result of an enquiry made of the BBC. A Ms Lucia Fortucci claimed the City Trader programme "will be shown at a later date", the delay had been purely an "editorial one". Supposedly, the series was so popular the City Trader one scheduled for 7/12/99 was pulled to make way for an update--ludicrous, for clearly an update could have been shown a few weeks later. In June 2000 Fortucci again stone-walled, saying "there has still to be a date confirmed" [19], Private Eye contend it was pulled due to 'serious legal problems'—i.e. Macintyre tried to turn over the powerful, and bottled it. Whatever the reason, the book has no reference whatsoever to this fifth investigation, it has been airbrushed out as though it never happened. Unlike Nazis, or those in care homes, City types have legal clout—so Macintyre 'walked on by'. How brave (not).

Employing the soccer metaphor, Macintyre has a lousy record. The football show was ultimately, in terms of accuracy and integrity, a goal conceded, and it doesn't end there. After all, not only did Macintyre's care homes scam turn belly-up (2-0 down), the alleged Nigerian fraudsters had him well sussed (3-0). The City Trader blank makes it 4-0, and the only goal scored (an amazing revelation model agency chiefs lust after young girls) may well be disallowed—they apparently got their jobs back. Even granting Macintyre this consolation, a 4-1 thrashing is exactly that—but as a claimed Wimbledon supporter he knows all about getting stuffed and nothing about football.

EXPLAINING THE BANALITY

Quite rightly, satirical commentators such as David Baddiel [20]) stressed how Macintyre not only states the blindingly obvious as though it were new (football hooligans organise fights using mobiles and are often a tad racist) but also fills the screen with his ego. We contend that these two elements are there to fill a vacuum arising from the lack of any investigation other than what police wanted. This too explains the weight Macintyre attached to Headhunter illegality (drugs apart). This show was. in the end. an expensive self-justifying police trawl only simulating (poorly) journalistic investigation. As with much police work it was (like Macintyre himself) rather boring.

AFTER MACINTYRE: THE GOLDEN GOAL?

As a result of the TV documentary, Marriner apparently lost his job [21]. He and Frain were subsequently arrested as part of Operation Athena, co-ordinated by the Metropolitan Police's Racial andj-Violent Crimes Task force, on 22/3/2000.' As both were charged! with conspiracy to commit violent disorder, the accuracy of Macintyre's investigation may receive a public airing. Those individuals fate was the hors d'oeuvre, not main course. Though by the criteria of Macintyre's police sponsors, a poor return indeed for such expenditure, amply explaining why the FIU's pay-masters would not spend police (as opposed to TV license-payers) money on this nonsense in the first place.

Following minor disturbances in Belgium during England's ill-fated Euro 2000 campaign, the expected media onslaught saw ever-pliant Home Secretary Jack Straw give police yet more powers in his new law against football hooligans, the Football (Disorder) Bill. Put simply an individual can be banned from travelling abroad to a football match if the police state he is a hooligan. Whether the person has any criminal convictions or not is irrelevant. This is frightening legislation—how long until it is extended to people the police say are political or industrial troublemakers and they are banned from attending demonstrations on the police's word? Such a law raises considerably the FIU's profile stature and funding. Macintyre's show was intended to help set that agenda-and did.

DONAL: TRANSFER LISTED?

The next 12 months are important for Donal Macintyre's career. Having raised the possibility of writs against Kent Police and The Sunday Telegraph he will be expected to put up or shut up. According to Private Eye Macintyre has a £150,000 contract with the BBC to record 4 new documentaries, less than the £300,000 he was reportedly demanding [22]. Things are so bad, there seems only one logical (free) transfer option left—to join Andy 'Pip-squeak' Bell Nick Lowles and the other spook conduits on Panorama.

Should Frain and Marriner plead not guilty to charges arising from the programme, and encouraged by the collapse of Macintyre's Brompton case, attempt to cry foul, Donal Macintyre may have to take the uncomfortable step of appearing in public, as himself, and without back up in court. It will certainly make more interesting viewing than his TV programmes.

REMAINING QUESTIONS

Inasmuch as Macintyre's programme is touted as the template for 'investigative journalism', our analysis was needed. It raises, albeit indirectly, disturbing questions. What are the implications for critical and engaged examination of contemporary society if this is the standard lo be aspired to? In the privatised age of channel fragmentation, is this fusion of cash-strapped programme makers and state agencies to become the norm? Looked at in the context of the happily defunct 'MI5 in Action' (aka 'World in Action') and the holed flagship 'Panorama' (see article on Copeland), are we witnessing a near-total closure of such possibilities? In a postmodernist age where principled opposition to dealing with secret state agencies is seen as passe, and Macintyre's target audience, Guardian readers, see MI5 recruitment adverts more in their paper than any other, is this it? We don't know the answers to these questions, but unlike Macintyre and his sponsors we care-as we do about football.

He may have won the propaganda battle, for that is what Macintyre Undercover was--staged propaganda stunts pretending to be investigations. Macintyre and his kind have not won the war-it is ongoing. Next!

FOOTNOTES

1 The Radio Times (6/11/99) promised a 5 part series with covert investigations into the worlds of the hooligan, fashion photographer, body guard, care home worker and insider trader. For legal reasons as yet unclear to us. the insider trader programme never appeared. The BBC may now wish the same could be said for the whole series.
2 See for instance The Guardian 2/6/88. For an insider Chelsea view on the original trial see Martin King & Martin Knight 'Hoolifan' Mainstream 1999 p.134-136
3 paraphrased by Terry Kirby The Times 4/8/93
4 see also News of the World 12/4/98 (Alex Montgomery) reporting that Terry Last (lead fall-guy in the trial) had joined the England Supporter's Club.
5 7/12/99 BBC1
6 see for example The Mirror 12/1/98 (Oonagh Blackman— a surprise: not!).
7 'World Cup police to take the fight to football thugs' The Sunday Times 19/4/98 (Yvonne Ridley & Paul Nuki). 'Why police show a red card to this hooligan's book' The Independent 2/6/98 (Jason Bennetto).
8 Mickey Francis & Peter Walsh 'Guvnors' Milo Books (Bury) 1997 p.144-5.
9 Final TV programme 7/12/99
10 See for example p. 13, 26, 52 & 95.
11 The programme appeared 12/7/98.
12 On the Stuart Glass briefing see p.40-41. Macintyre also claims Glass sussed him at Tottenham at the close of the 1998-99 season. Oddly he states Glass had never seen him with Marriner or Frain (p.209). Is there a sub-text we're missing here?
13 see p.130, p.149. pp 153-54 & p.157
14 Chelsea v Bradford match programme 28/11/99.
15 Yves Lavigne Hells Angels' Harper New York 1996 p. 111.
16 Oonagh Blackman by-line 12/1/98.
17 p.44. Or was this just another Tim Hepple/Matthews' locally-produced scam?
18 Hoolifan (op. cit.) p.171. Not that 'elimination' is feasible even if it were desirable. The Hundred Years War was a series of rucks organised by the English state involving much the same social categories as hooliganism 600 years later.
19 Private Eye 14/7/00
20 The Guardian 9/12/99
21 Evening Standard (London) 11/11/99.
22 On Macintyre's contract problems see Private Eye 14/7/00. On his earlier demands see Daily Mirror 22/4/00 (Katy Weitz).

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 3" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

 

NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND - THE FIRST DECADE

The article below first appeared in NFB issue 8 (2007 p.27-29) and is a useful history of where we came from and the contents of each issue up till that date....We have now resolved the technical difficulties alluded to in point 5 of the conclusion below.

NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND - THE FIRST DECADE
by Stephen Booth

INTRODUCTION

November 2007 will be NFBs tenth birthday. Since we began, the magazine has come a long way, in the breadth of subjects covered, and also in production values. Two factors are important; the rigour and depth of the analysis; and secondly the wide range of documentation and sources drawn on to substantiate the analysis. Turn the pages of NFB and you'll see an internal memo of some dubious far right group, or the internal Searchlight pro-Europe research bid reproduced in issue 5, or those 'White Wolves' communiques. Some of these docs have exceedingly limited circulation. Sometimes I've looked at this, and asked 'How did they get hold of that?'. Now, I know better!

The unique selling point about NFB is intervention--confronting David Shayler in Newcastle or the London debate, bush-whacking an investigative journalist back-slapping fest in Sheffield, protesting about media disinformation against Mayday protesters outside The Guardian, or braving the Hepple UFO conference in Southport, to name but a few. NFB activists ask awkward sharp questions, trying to prick the complacent into action or the corrupt bubble for the sheer exhilarating hell of it.

NFB magazine did not come from nowhere--those involved, including Larry O'Hara, have a 30 year record of Left/Green/Anarchist/Animal Liberation activism in some cases. Research preceding NFB has been built on, most notably four publications Larry wrote (with help from others, including me and those producing Open Eye magazine RIP) between 1992-96. First was 'A Lie Too Far' (ALTF) quickly followed by 'At War With the Truth' (AWWT) (both 1993). Using primary sources and fearless logic, they put the disinformational Searchlight empire to the sword, as did the text for which Larry is (unfairly) best known, 'Searchlight For Beginners' (1996). Equally important, if not more so, is the book 'Turning Up the Heat: Ml5 After the Cold War' (1994), on targets and strategy. A notable feature of ALTF and AWWT was 'detourned' images on the front cover-enemy images and publications and are subverted: in ALTF Searchlight/Nazi thug Ray Hill had his moment in the limelight. This technique, subliminally echoing French Situationism, has been used by NFB in most issues-1, 3, 4, 5 & 6. Long may it continue. Issue 7 was 'detournement-lite', 8 sees a return to normal practice image-wise.

ISSUE BY ISSUE COMMENTARY

Issue 1 (November 1997) started on an investigatory high point with the report on the fascist ITP (now England First) Spanish village of Los Pederiches, Valencia. The item was followed up, acknowledged and unacknowledged, by several mainstream papers, and with a half-hearted Charity Commission investigation. Another article told of the hermaphroditic Lady Athena McHugh, who ran the British National Socialist Party, and simultaneously infiltrated both Left and Right. Issue 1 also blew the whistle on Jamie Damji/De Mayo, infiltrator, creeping round the London Anarchist Book-fair, a Liverpool meeting, the BNP in Manchester, and then canvassing for the Third Way in East London. Truly a "Man for All Seasons".

The NFB style was further defined In Issue 2 (Autumn-Winter 1998-99). A detailed article opened the lid on dirty far Right goings on in Yorkshire: "Sid Carthew has a large dog, so caution is advised", and as the Redwatch investigation elsewhere this issue (8) shows, research still relevant today. A piece on Matthew Collins, Searchlight provocateur, maintained the high standard. NFBs examination of David Shayler, the supposed MI5 'renegade' asked serious questions, breaking away from the common reaction by other radicals, of uncritical adoration. This long, thoughtful piece drew on the Shayler case to ask broader questions on the role of the security services, and how these are used against dissident groups of both Left and Right. What future did Annie Machon and David Shayler have?

As an example of the Interventionist approach, the 134 page 'pamphlet'(!) 'At War With The Universe' (November 1999) recorded the career of one-time far Right and Green movement infiltrator, Searchlight asset, agent provocateur, and then Ufologist, Tim Hepple a.k.a. Tim Matthews. Or to give its full title—'At War With The Universe: the British X-Files-How & Why Nazi Thug and State Asset Tim Hepple/Matthews has infiltrated Ufology. Some Ufologists, particularly those who had been the butt of Matthews' activities, appreciated the book, while others exhibited exactly the same ostrich tendencies shown six years earlier, in certain regions of the Left, when 'A Lie Too Far', and 'At War With The Truth'came out. Nonetheless, AWWU continues to have an effect, and sells steadily, as much for the detailed UFO research as anything else, debunking Nazi UFO claims with (again) detailed reference to primary sources.

Issue 3 (Autumn Winter 2000 - 2001). Perhaps the most important article here was the piece analysing David Copeland fascist bag bomber. Significant questions were asked about Ml5 foreknowledge that gays would be targeted before the Soho bomb. Why did it take so long - ten days, for the Brixton CCTV picture of Copeland to be released? Were some in the secret state letting the bomber run?

As with David Shayler, Copeland has been a recurring theme. The article traced his political trajectory, as a member of the BNP, present at the Stratford incident in September 1997, where anti-fascists attacked John Tyndall and his wife. His membership of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) was examined, and the relationship (if any) of Copeland's actions to the 'White Wolves' communiques and the tactics set out in the original document were probed. The activities of state agencies, including MI5, Special Branch and Searchlight, in relation to the attacks and aftermath, were also analysed. This issue was also notable for NFB's first foray into deconstructing main-stream TV investigative journalism, in this case the widely praised (at the time) 'Macintyre Undercover' series. By combining (in a detourned way) images of Macintyre and Copeland on the front cover, an arresting image was produced [SEE BELOW] that, in our experience, has had the most reaction of any NFB to date. A lesson there.

NFB 3 cover

Issue 4 (Winter 2001-2002) marked the rise in production values with a glossy cover for the first time, although despite being printed, some inside pages hardly seemed so--especially dreadful was a very sun-tanned (except he wasn't!) lain Dale on page 52. Principal focus here was a ground-breaking 28 page article on the secret state and fascist disruption of the anti EU movement. This included secret state interference in the UKIP and other anti EU groups like the James Goldsmith Referendum Party. The career of Andy Carmichael, MI5 infiltrator, was shown. A great scoop was the Searchlight document exposing their pro-EU dishonesty. The career of Dr Mark Deavin was dissected, including his role in a plot to discredit UKIP. Mealy-mouthed hypocrisy from The Guardian was also laid bare, in a detailed critique of their May Day 2000 coverage.

Issue 5 (Winter 2003-2004) led on the link between newly appointed MI5 Director Eliza Manningham-Buller and the Royals. This put in context the Paul Burrell royal butler trial fiasco. Russell Miller wrote about the Wombles Trial, a failed state attempt to showtrial seven anti-capitalist protesters. A Copeland update asked further important questions. Max Burns exposed disinformation artists operating in Ufology. Peter Taylor's 'True Spies' BBC2 documentary was cut up on the slab; the career of Special Branch controlled fascist infiltrator, Peter Marriner, malign secret state campaigns against the WRP, SWP and Militant, Trade Unions, the anti-roads movement and animal liberationists were all looked at, in minute detail.

While the BBC has recently debated with 9/11 cult members about the BBC 2 'Conspiracy Files' on 9/11, no answer has been made to this broad-ranging and substantiated criticism. The BBC prefer tilting at windmills to engaging with serious critics.

Issue 6 (2005) 'Journocops', continued the media theme, examining the 'Secret Agent' BNP documentary, and the term 'SPIJ', (State Compromised Pseudo-Investigative Journalism) was coined. While this merely codified research NFB had always done, defining it as a phrase is useful short-hand. Journalists infiltrating targets to set them up is a staple of low grade TV documentaries. Macintyre used the tactic against Chelsea Headhunters, and Simon Ford against Greater Manchester Police. Here it was being done to state order, against the BNP in Yorkshire, to an agenda, with prosecutions to follow. They failed anyway, to the BNP's PR advantage.

At 29 pages, the 'Secret Agent' article was perhaps three in one-there is ongoing debate in the collective about the wisdom of such lengthy pieces. On the one hand, they allow for detailed analysis unrivalled elsewhere~on the other, are they too indigestible for some readers? Maybe it depends on the audience-whereas anti-EU activists quickly assimilated the NFB 4 article, there was little intelligent response from BBC types to this piece. Is it simply that anti-EU activists are not brain-dead smug coke-snorting yahoos?

NFB 6 had more on Shayler's smears against Tony Benn, and coolly looked at the late Paul Foot, SWP, journalist, Private Eye contributor, and ultimately trustworthy scion of the upper class. This treatment rattled a few coffins in the Last Century Left grave-yard. Tough. A new area of investigation was Paul Marsh reviewing 'Gang Wars' a book on the drug gangs of Manchester. We will see more on this topic (non-political crime) in future, especially given there is a whole industry whereby police-friendly journalists use classified information to lucrative effect, immune from any legal sanction.

Issue 7 (2006) marked the extremely worrying BNP electoral success, reaching 49 council seats. The failure of much anti-fascist strategy was reviewed (as in NFB 4 and 5), and constructive suggestions made. Scraping the barrel, Shayler/Machon had switched targets, now picking on the 9/11 conspiracy theorists' cult. Our examining this produced a furious response from cultists-but to date not one serious reply engaging with what we published, or adequately explaining the inconsistencies and evasions uncovered. Further claims by Machon and Shayler that Blair spied on CND and Militant on behalf of MI5 during the early part of his political career were studied. The 'SPIJ' concept was elaborated, while a follow up article on BBC's 'Secret Agent' reported the Griffin and Collett trial in Leeds. The shock exit of Tony Lecomber, an important figure in the BNP, was given a preliminary examination, showing NFB can be news-worthy and analytical. So confident are we of NFB's quality, if you go to the shop section of this site & click on the subscriptions/offers section, we will send you this issue for the princely price of 1p plus postage...Can't say better than that (HS 20/11/10)

THE BALANCE SHEET SO FAR

So what can we say to date? Aside from points made already, the great strengths of NFB are its independence and fearlessness. Through it, inconvenient areas of the political world have been put under analysis. Despite having clear Left-Green allegiances, there is no area NFB will not in principle examine, and we are not afraid to ruffle anybody's feathers. Well-meaning readers, seeking to classify us, sometimes compare NFB to Private Eye. Certainly, issue 7 had a Private Eye type speech-bubble on the front, as does issue 8. We do have a sardonic sense of humour, but the analogy should not be carried too far. A key difference (aside from politics) is the fact we reference statements and allegations where possible, which the Eye certainly doesn't. And we readily admit mistakes. Using footnotes is intended to help readers judge for themselves, so when we make inferences there is no documentation for, that absence will be obvious.

Others, equally well-disposed, compare us to Lobster magazine, and there is more substance to this. Whatever the editor of Lobster might think--you can find reference to NFB in its pages only by using a microscope--we don't see ourselves as rivals, but complementary. Our focus is more contemporary, and targets at times more obscure than Lobster staples like JFK/the Wilson Plot. Not always though: Princess Diana the BBC, BNP are definitely not obscure. Maybe we are more willing to look at new areas. A lot more could be said about both magazines different trajectories, but for our part, hope readers get Lobster in addition to NFB, as many do.

NFB is not without critics, and seven common points made are:

1) Sectarian attacks by people who have been criticised or analysed, and/or those who have been 'up to something' or who have a vested interest in suppressing an independent voice. These critics we can live with.

2) People who say its "too complicated". We have taken this on board, for instance a precis of each section in AWWU went down well. We could do even more to make ourselves more accessible and user-friendly. Some people, however, make this criticism as a cover for their own intellectual laziness dishonesty and unwillingness to face the issues. Even aside from such people, we have to accept that reality is complicated and messy-that's the way it is, and our stories reflect that.

3) We 'see spooks everywhere': a strange criticism, in that this is a specialist magazine which certainly doesn't reflect the life-interests (or even political concerns) of all involved. We have come into conflict with the 9/11 (and 7/7) cults precisely because we believe in examining the evidence for specific assertions, about Ml5 or anybody else. If somebody is widely reputed to be a spook, but the evidence doesn't stack up (e.g. Nick Griffin BNP leader) we say so. The minute you start allowing premises to effortlessly become conclusions, you've crossed the line into La-La land. Somewhere we refuse to go, except on the occasional fishing-trip.

4) The switch away from Left-wing politics, and increase in coverage of media-oriented materials/topics. Inasmuch as the 'Last Century Left' (a phrase we invented) has atrophied, a fair point. However, how the state mediates and manipulates reportage of politics is a legitimate concern. In any event, NFB certainly covers 'activism' in its broadest sense as much as we ever did-ranging from animal liberation to events on the Far Right/anti-fascist strategy and the 9/11 cult. We would like a far stronger Left/Green movement in this country--which is one valid reason for looking at those lost in the 9/11 cult blind alley.

5) From uninformed quarters emanates the amusing charge of us being in the pay of the secret state. Slightly contradicting this, we are also depicted as money-grabbing shysters because not all NFB is on the internet. Both criticisms hilarious to those who know the true state of NFBs finances. An ongoing project to put one sample story from each issue on the web-site continues. We have now reached issue 2. For technical reasons not yet resolved, we cannot copy and paste existing articles--they have to be re-typed using a complicated programme.

6) Our relatively small circulation. Not a criticism of NFB as such, or its content, but rather a comment about the market and the political world. We are addressing this, and within the last year have had proper national (and international) distribution for the first time. We do need to come out more frequently: twice yearly is the aim.

7) That we are not fashionable enough, in that we refuse to follow the easy options-for instance adherence to 9/11 & 7/7 cults. Guilty - we prefer to examine evidence, not imagine it.

THE FUTURE: THROUGH A GLASS BRIGHTLY?

Putting things in historical perspective, NFB operates in a radically different political (and publishing) environment than 1997. At that time, the internet was in its relative (political) infancy. Internet dominance has meant a proliferation of conspiracy theorists, which we are not, and never will be. For people whose knowledge of life and history is purely internet-based, the rigour involved in reading (never mind writing) something like NFB is too much to contemplate. While more of NFB will go on the internet, the whole magazine never will be. A cursory glance at any WH Smiths or Menzies reveals many high production value niche magazines, which means there is a market for such. Exactly where NFB comes in--we never will be, or want to be, a bland populist magazine. But a readership of 1% of the population would do us fine. The trick is reaching that audience--even 1% of 1% would do for a start.

We are branching out into other genres and presentation formats, DVDs and web-sites. There are now four NFB associated web-sites-the magazine itself, 911cultwatch, the 911cultwatch blog, and Paul Stott's blog. Given the time NFB has been in existence, some say a change in page lay-out is overdue. Perhaps we will see NFB publishing books. I personally would like to see a documentary film version of NFB--this would be worthwhile.

Anyway, here's to the next ten years. We welcome any contributions (including articles) from readers.

SPIJ: DEFINED & DECONSTRUCTED

INTRODUCTION

The article below is extracted (p.27-29) from a much longer article 'The Secret Agent--BBC Journo-Cops on the Case' from Notes From the Borderland issue 6 2005 p.11-39. This was a searing critique/deconstruction of the 2005 BBC/Searchlight documentary centred around an infiltration of the British National Party in Yorkshire, by reporter Jason Gwynne & asset Andy Sykes. While NFB had criticised state-friendly journalism before, this show saw a new low in journalistic standards, and catastrophically played right into the BNP's hands, encouraging them so much it precipitated party leader Nick Griffin into standing in Bradford (where the documentary was based) at the 2005 General Election. The ensuing court cases arising from this shoddy documentary also played into the BNP's hands, further consolidating their support base locally and nationally. Nonetheless, the show had one useful effect--it precipitated NFB into codifying exactly what makes us uneasy about much modern journalism, pretending to be investigative but in reality anything but. The BBC did not come well out of all this: something underlined by our intervention at the October 2005 Sheffield Documentary festival, where activists memorably reduced BBC Director General Mark Thompson to a quivering jelly, and media blabbermouth Steve Hewlett to a floundering goldfish (see NFB 7 p.10). One thing producing the grandees stunned silence was the hard-hitting leaflet NFB handed out that day, featured elsewhere in this site section. Just how bad the 'Secret Agent' was came out even more when we acquired the original programme 'pitch', reproduced & analysed in NFB 7 (p.34-36). Over and above interest in the specific documentary, the piece below is important methodologically, and we trust readers will recognise, and apply, the paradigm of SPIJ widely. If you like what you read, visit our shop (click on box above) to get the whole article, either as hard copy magazine or PDF download.

SPIJ DEFINED AND DECONSTRUCTED

...'Secret Agent' exemplifies SPIJ: State compromised Pseudo-Investigative Journalism. It fitted well into broader agendas, yet on the surface looked a stand alone independent investigation. Not for one minute would I claim newspaper immunity from SPIJ-Mazher Mahmood (News of the World) has made a career out of following closely the agendas of various secret state agencies in terms of stories covered and entrapment techniques used. His News of the World colleague Neville Thurlbeck is a registered police informant, something which doesn't seem to have hampered his career [120]. In an earlier era, both Colin Wallace and Chapman Pincher ran dodgy stories almost exclusively in print rather than other media. Today, the Sunday Times, Observer and other Sunday titles are prime SPIJ repositories, probably related to journalists wanting stories of apparent depth and novelty more than immediacy, because they cannot compete with daily papers. Furthermore, whatever Crimewatch's inadequacies, its allegiance and provenance is undisguised. It is elsewhere, where this is unclear or deliberately concealed, that concerns us here. At issue is not particular programme's intrinsic interest or worthiness, but how journalistic independence may have been compromised to make them. Past NFB's are littered with instances, drawn (for example) from Panorama & World In Action (RIP) as well as the lamentable Macintyre Undercover. Rather than recapitulate them, some new ones. Take, for example, programmes that function as indirect means for the state to bring recalcitrant outposts or quasi-autonomous sectors into line. In this genre, 'gaps' in existing surveillance and monitoring procedures are 'exposed' in order to justify more resources spent on the same, and/or heighten everybody's paranoia about the 'terrorist threat'. Not just perennial infiltration of Royal Palaces by newspaper journalists, but BBC1's 'Whistleblower' investigation into lax security at Manchester airport springs to mind here [121].

At times, and without any ethical discussion, so-called investigative documentaries function as secret state information outlets, enmeshed in spook agendas while retaining a crucial, and misleading, semblance of independence. Ireland is an area where this is commonplace-and there is little doubt one trigger for this was the fallout from Thames TV's (1988) 'Death on the Rock' documentary. Even Brian McNair's anodyne standard text-book admits that later IBA abolition and Thames TV losing their franchise "was not entirely unconnected with the 'Death on the Rock' affair" [122], After that, the BBC and other broadcasters were scared of covering Ireland in a way directly challenging government policy. While one BBC Panorama programme by Tom Mangold dealing with the same Gibraltar shootings as 'Death on the Rock' did get made, it was relegated to a later slot [123]. Subsequently, few BBC programmes have been as daring, despite claims otherwise. Peter Taylor has carved out a niche as chronicler of the "Troubles' in a manner that clearly does not annoy the spooks-evidenced most recently by the extensive access to secret state files for his BBC 1 Brighton Bomb 20th anniversary programme 14/9/04. Aside from Peter Taylor, Panorama programmes fronted by John Ware stand out here. First was the Omagh bombing special (9/2/2000), which made shameless and uncritical use of spook material (including phone tap results inadmissible in court). Then there are Ware's later Panorama documentaries on Patrick Finucane's murder (19/6/02 & 23/6/02). In one patently contrived scene, in which filming is supposedly covert, or at least made to look that way, Ken Barrett was shown confessing his involvement while sitting in a car with John Ware. Immediately after transmission, he was arrested and charged. Not the whole story, or even half of it. Though Barrett received a nominal 22 years jail for confessing, under the Good Friday agreement he will probably be free within months, something that only the utterly naive would imagine he did not anticipate when speaking to Ware, indeed without this foreknowledge (and cash payment) it is unlikely he would have spoken on camera [124], David Leppard, writing just prior to Barrett's trial in the Sunday Times (29/8/04), chose not to name Ware, but we need not be squeamish. Finucane's killing (and the Omagh bomb) were disgraceful events, but nonetheless the role of TV documentaries in relation to these matters has not been to get at truth so much as to do this while conforming to the agendas of various state factions, particularly those engaged in fratricidal interagency rivalry. This war within the secret state largely determines the extent (and limits) of what gets exposed and when. Undeniably, truth surfaces on occasions, but when the time is right-for spooks, not justice, except by accident. In a future NFB, I hope to prove that in relation to differing interpretations over the years of Pat Finucane's death with reference to the work of John Ware and Peter Taylor (featured heavily in NFB 5).

It would be too easy to let journalists off the hook by listing the powerful constraints circumscribing their independence and integrity. If they cannot stand up to power, and for what is right, fair enough--but then please do not present yourselves as though you are, something Taylor (or indeed the deeply flawed Liam Clarke) never fail to do. Also, many journalists need no prompting to sell their souls, and did so even before 'Death on the Rock', as the 1970s disinformation campaigns orchestrated by Colin Wallace in Northern Ireland (that he later came clean about) amply showed.

We have a SPIJ continuum, whereby SPIJ is more or less obvious. The more obvious, the less it is SPIJ, merely police/state PR, along the lines of 'Police, Camera, Action' or police-friendly dramas like The Bill/MI5-friendly Spooks. One hypothesis is that ever anxious to neutralise and recuperate genuine investigative reporters, they are steered towards scoops by sections of the state, to the annoyance of those always following the party line. Over time, they may come to 'expect' such favours, thus their critical antennae wither away-could this explain the careers of David Rose & Martin Bright? Another hypothesis is the SPIJ quotient in journalists output varies over time, especially given personnel changes on TV production teams. Andrew Bell, for example, was on World In Action, but now graces Panorama with his 'unique expertise' in this area. A third possibility is that some journalists are dodgy from start to finish. Ken Hyder or Mark Macaskill spring to mind here, as does David Shayler, apparently a journalist before he joined MI5 (officially anyway), and then there is Yvonne Ridley, whose adherence to ethical and independent investigative journalism rings as true as her conversion to Islam. Each hypothesis probably has something going for it, depending on those involved.

SPIJ is not quite the same as state-sponsored investigative journalism, the term 'compromised' is more nuanced and apprehends reality better for encompassing variation--for example levels of compromise, and whether such arises from individual personnel, story ideas, funding constraints or at the commissioning level. While much has been implicit anyway, it is worth restating just why SPIJ is a problem:

1) Some important issues of fundamental concern to ordinary people don't get covered. If they do not fit state agendas, or do offend political correctness they are far more likely to be excluded from consideration and hence screening. Off the top of my head, nation-wide council policies of rehousing problem tenants (including drug dealers) by paying other local authorities over the odds to take them is a widespread scandal that has never featured critically in any serious investigation I'm aware of. Nor has the reality of councils off-loading their housing responsibilities to Housing trusts. Then there is the whole range of social policy issues arising from the utterly unaccountable and outrageous activities of some social workers and family courts. Bob Geldof's October 2004 Channel Four programmes skirled round such matters, and dozens of other investigative documentaries should be made. But probably won't. Especially not any comparing the obsequious silence concerning the Blair's 'family problems' in 2004 with the way other families 'at risk' are treated by Social Services. The rise of 'Fathers 4 Justice' proves a general point-nobody viewing the politically correct documentary output of major UK TV channels could have anticipated the development of F4J. While it is palpable New Labour lying over Iraq has been covered, scandals such as Donnygate and numerous Labour corruption examples, not least those involving Blair's inner circle and property purchases, have never received the attention they should. Past Tory sleaze (and their ongoing Archer problem) have rightly been high-lighted: but it seems New Labour are not going to get equivalent coverage. The fall of David Blunkett in December 2004 is exceptional in this respect, and he could well be forgiven for thinking initially he could brazen it out, given the precedents.

2) Secret state agencies are not properly held to account, many damaging stories never reach commissioning stage: for instance the ways in which the secret state has long subverted and disrupted those opposing the EU, extensively covered in NFB 4. Even more pertinent, the 1999 situation whereby Nazi nail-bomber David Copeland acted under license from both MI5 and Special Branch, for which no-one has been brought to book, yet. Every now and then something slips through, like the murder of Hilda Murrell, but even there nobody has yet been brought to book. More characteristically, sensitive stories (such as the state interest in the Welsh 1980s Meibion Glyndwr arson campaign) get on screen only in ways that make various state factions look good, and in a bitty fragmented manner. In relation to Meibion Glyndwr this point will be fully explored in NFB as soon as practicable. The appearance of secret state accountability via the media substitutes for the substance. How about, for example, undercover infiltration of local Special Branch operations, family courts, the Cabinet, an MI5 cell or indeed the deliberations of national newspaper editors? Thought not....

3) Even when useful and relevant material is covered, it is often not done so in a way that engages with ordinary people, or is indeed properly researched. Too often (and we're moving into Jon Ronson/Louis Theroux territory here) the subject matter is merely a back drop for subjective musings by tedious presenters. A series classically combining both these weaknesses was BBC2's 'Drugland' offering January 2005. A visit to Manchester by Sarah O'Connell merely resulted in footage of addicts getting stoned, plus anodyne references to the 'supply chain' and vapid talking head clips from local police. How much more interesting if O'Connell had explored the contention in Peter Walsh' 'Gang War' that Manchester police themselves introduced crack to the area. O'Connell's show was trumped by the hilarious next instalment when the 'undercover camera crew' visited Ibiza, without local police protection, and got seen off by street-wise Scousers [125]. Without state guidance, many so-called investigative journalists lack originality or even competence, never mind detailed local knowledge. Hence there is often considerable dissonance between local reality and state-limited journalism, a criticism pertinent to 'Secret Agent', as will be seen.

4) The staple use of agent provocateur techniques, especially against political 'outsiders', may well rebound on those routinely using them to secure stories determined in advance rather than undertake genuine investigation. This has often been so with programmes/media offensives directed against the animal liberation movement for example. Viewers are often cleverer than shoddy programmes take them for, in terms of spotting set-ups.

5) Substituting infiltration for genuine investigation, rather than having the two go hand in hand (if needs be), means story-lines are determined (or at least circumscribed) in advance, rather than arising from an iterative interaction between scrutineer, subject and evidence. Stories not readily amenable to infiltration, such as complex causal processes and phenomena are either excluded or debased. To my knowledge (and not just due to predominantly Europhile TV channels) there have been virtually no rigorous programmes on the EU's proposals for ever more state control of citizenry. Regarding infiltration, once a decision is made to commit resources/personnel to such an operation, everything becomes skewed to finding (or manufacturing) evidence of criminality, even if petty and unrelated to the supposed investigative focus. A Channel Four 'Dispatches' programme on the Post Office-Third Class Post'-transmitted 29/4/04 exemplifies this. Six months later C4 admitted that a Royal Mail casual employee filmed boasting about stealing a credit card from the post had obtained it elsewhere, and tried to sell it off (not on) Royal Mail premises as implied. Furthermore, a widely-used photo advertising the programme showing a Royal Mail casual worker stealing money from a birthday card was in fact a 'mock-up' (i.e. fake), and no such activities were ever filmed [126], Similarly, a BBC 'Whistleblower' programme, screened 4/11/04 seems to have had similar failings—in the words of respected rail commentator Christian Wolmar "because the BBC invested six months of effort, with three undercover reporters, it had to produce a film. But their pickings were thin indeed: various employees who behaved badly such as passing off stolen credit cards and getting drunk, and a few stories that might have made the inside pages of regional newspapers" [127].

6) The high priority given by SPIJ to uncovering criminality as opposed to less sensational and more complex stories inevitably means there is a tendency for journalists to rely not just on the methods and information police can supply, but also those of more straightforward gangsters. In case that sounds too dramatic, consider the career of James Raven, an undercover reporter who will not be receiving any awards imminently. Raven worked for 'Macintyre Undercover' and (fittingly) 'Crooked Britain' as well as Channel Four's 'Sleepers' on a £40,000 per year salary, it seems likely he was hired not despite a prison sentence for violence, but because of it. Indeed, he even has a tattoo stating 'psychopath' on his body, a characteristic displayed fully when (in a drug debt dispute) he led a gang who tortured a drug-dealer to death in front of his family, leaving him with 123 different injuries [128]. Raven is most likely the tip of an ice-berg that conventional media will avoid no matter how large it is.

7) By passing off state-compromised (or even sponsored) research as 'investigative journalism' the meaning, and certainly possibility, of the latter is corroded. There is a world of difference between following up leads and slavishly conforming to state agendas without informing viewers of that fact. The programmes that cause us concern are not peripheral, chosen to suit our own critical agenda-they are lauded in the industry. Thus, the Royal Television Society (hereafter RTS) declared Donal Macintyre 'Presenter of the Year' for 1999. The BBC Report for 1999-2000 boasted that "Macintyre Undercover extended the frontiers of investigative journalism". Though in true Orwellian style, the recent apologia by then Director General Greg Dyke [129] has no mention of Macintyre. Not too surprising — Dyke probably sussed Macintyre and passed him to Channel Five with minimum fuss before the BBC's reputation became even more tarnished. If Macintyre is now almost a non-person at the BBC, Peter Taylor certainly isn't: his deeply flawed 'True Spies' meant he was RTS 'Journalist of the Year' 2002. Others whose stars still ascend include former Macintyre producers Simon Ford and Karen Wightman.

SECRET AGENT IN SPIJ CONTEXT

Secret Agent producer Simon Ford is no shrinking violet, often seizing the opportunity to defend (or attempt to) the 'integrity' of his output [130]. An opportunity we at NFB offer him too. Ford has fingers (tentacles?) in many production pies, some simultaneously. Therefore a critique is necessary, and overdue. It is neither possible nor necessary to cover Ford's whole 'opus', the focus is on relevant items. Of prime importance is Ford producing the second 'Macintyre Investigates' series, screened April/May 2002. A later episode—on abandoned babies—(30/3/04) was directed by close associate Karen Wightman. Bearing in mind Gwynne's recording equipment malfunctioned at crucial moments, consider this analysis from last NFB of the fact Macintyre's technology too was non-operational at a crucial moment when he was waiting in a Brixton housing estate at night for a contact to return. "A disjointed soundtrack means we cannot determine whether Macintyre was (or was not) urging the man to procure illegal substances and/or sexual partners, far more likely scenarios than waiting around for a phone" [131]. Is this happening twice on Ford programmes mere coincidence-or a dishonest methodology? You decide...Then there is Ford's crucial involvement as Executive Producer of the June/July 2003 series 'Fighting the War' using footage from nine film crews 'embedded' with British forces in Iraq. 'Secret Agent' producer Karen Wightman (along with Neil Grant) was another Director/Producer on this series too. It is not just that for 'embedded' read 'entombed' integrity-wise, Ford (or Wightman) would never have been considered for such a sensitive role if the secret state did not consider them 'one of us'-he would have had to undergo 'positive (security) vetting' for a start [132]. While Ford did show a different story than the official one concerning the death of a Royal Marine by 'friendly fire', this no more makes him a radical than the military sources who supplied the scoop. Ford is no sentimentalist--he justified screening an allegation Sky News reporter James Furlong had faked a news report on the grounds it.....

TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE, BUY EITHER THE HARD COPY OR PDF OF NFB 6 FROM OUR SHOP--CLICK ON THE SHOP ICON ABOVE

FOOTNOTES TO THE ABOVE EXTRACT

120) registered number 281, codename 'George' (Press Gazette 28/7/00 p. 13)
121) transmitted 7/9/04, see also Sunday Times 5/9/04 (Michelle Cox)
122) Brian McNair 'News and Journalism in the UK' (Routledge 2003) p.87
123) Richard Lindley 'Panorama' Politicos 2002 p.344-5
124) see BBC News On-Line 16/9/04
125) programmes transmitted 5/1/05 & 6/1/05 respectively, Executive Producer Fiona Stourton.
126) Joint Statement issued 5/11/04 (clever timing) by Channel Four/Hardcash Productions/Royal Mail. Also Daily Telegraph 6/11/04 (Tom Leonard).
127) (London) Evening Standard 5/11/04. See also feature article that day by Patrick Sawyer.
128) (Liverpool) Daily Post (Carl Butler), The Guardian (Mark Oliver), Daily Telegraph (Nigel Bunyan)-all 19/8/04
129) 'Inside Story' (Harper Collins/2004)
130) for example see Ford's input into Media Guardian 27/10/03 (Oliver Plunkett) & Daily Telegraph 22/7/04 (Patrick Stoddart).
131) Micky Droy NFB issue 5 2003 p.49
132) 'Fighting the War' BBC Press Release 30/5/03

 

MEDIA LENS: AN INSTRUCTIVE EXCHANGE?

MEDIA LENS: AN INSTRUCTIVE EXCHANGE?

While revamping this site, we naturally looked for others to link to, even get help from, who share some of our concerns. Media Lens was (is?) one such site (www.medialens.org). Their 'mission statement' speaks of "our conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a profoundly distorted picture of our world. We are convinced that the increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other establishment interests. The costs incurred as a result of this propaganda, in terms of human suffering and environmental degradation, are incalculable. We started up Media Lens to raise public awareness of this reality, as we see it". Amen to that! Below follows correspondence between NFB editor Larry O'Hara & Media Lens (although 'correspondence' is too strong a word). Subsequently, after comments & a suggestion, we reproduce a Media Lens 'Alert' dated 20/1/10. Worth it for Richard Keeble's article alone, though that is not the reason for inclusion.... 6/10/10

Thursday, 26 November, 2009,

From: Larry O'Hara <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cc: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,

Dear Media-Lens

first, on my part, an apology for not having contacted you earlier. I have long been aware of you in general, but your focus on Chomsky & the fact you concentrate on the Guardian etc made me (mistakenly) assume you see yourself as a satellite in their orbit. Prompted by a friend, I have taken the time to review in detail your statement of aims, and see far more in common between the magazine I edit (Notes From the Borderland) and yourselves than I had assumed. Our site (poor as it is!) is www.borderland.co.uk and we also have a sister site www.911cultwatch.org.uk

second, [this was a request for possible help concerning our web-site redesign, which we offered to pay for]

third, I would be grateful for review copies of your two books so far published, to be sent to me at Notes From the Borderland, BM Box 4769 London WC1N 3XX. I will review them in the next issue. I will happily send copies of our magazine so you can see where we are coming from.,

fourth, although there are tantalising differences of emphasis between NFB and Media Lens (post-modern revolutionary green socialist as opposed to Buddhist, concentrating on the role of spooks in influencing stories vs the role of corporate interests), there is important common ground in deconstructing the mainstream media. We ourselves have largely given up on such, except in terms of detailed critiques--eg BBC Secret Agent in 2005, Peter Taylor's True Spies in 2003, instead we see ourselves as going out and investigating stories the MSM will not touch, or not in our unique way. Nonetheless, that is an overlap with Media Lens rather than any direct conflict. Ways we can work together to our mutual advantage I would be most interested in hearing about. For example, we are profoundly disturbed at the corrosive effect the internet is having on political discourse and participation--and in our next issue intend to look at this in some detail. Does that bother you as much as us?

And so on.

This is just an exploratory email, but I would be most interested in your response to my requests/suggestions
Dr Larry O'Hara (Editor, Notes From the Borderland)

...There then followed two further emails, each re-sending the email above, with the following additions:...

Friday, 4th December 2009
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Having had no response, thought I would send again!
Larry O'Hara

and

Friday, 11th December 2009
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I checked your web-site to see if you are still functioning, and on 4th December there was a post where you complain about...nobody at the BBC properly responding to your communications.

No need for me to say more, is there?
Larry O'Hara

>>> Quite frankly, we would have left it there, were it not for the following 'Media Alert'. The contrast between the Media Lens attitude to us, and complaints about the media's attitude to them is interesting. The symmetry is exact: we contacted Media Lens three times, they contacted Blackhurst three times also. Surely whether Media Lens respond to emails isn't determined by 'celebrity status' ranking, or whether you work in the reviled 'corporate media' or not, is it? Hardly Buddhist, or showing "respect for others". A simple and polite refusal from Media Lens would have ended the matter: just as Blackhurst's ignorance elicited further action by them, discourtesy has ensured continuance from us. What you might call 'Karma'. NFB respectfully suggests those who agree we have a point take a leaf out of Media Lens' book and email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (in a "polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone"). Copy us in too (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). There are differences between us & Media Lens, so let's have that debate. We will review the two Media Lens books, though as we don't work for the BBC or anything else 'corporate', without using review copies. Richard Keeble's article below is important, even though we disagree in places (over Chomsky, the internet etc.). That, however, is what genuine dialogue is about. Media Lens take note.

From: Media Lens Media Alerts
Date: 20 January 2010
To:
Subject: How Alternative Media Provide The Crucial Critique Of The Mainstream

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

January 20, 2010
GUEST MEDIA ALERT: HOW ALTERNATIVE MEDIA PROVIDE THE CRUCIAL CRITIQUE OF THE MAINSTREAM - RICHARD KEEBLE RESPONDS TO TIM LUCKHURST
Introduction
On January 4, Tim Luckhurst, former BBC journalist and current Professor of Journalism at the University of Kent, wrote an article in the Independent with the dramatic title, ‘Demise of news barons is just a Marxist fantasy.’ Luckhurst argued that leftist critics are gleefully predicting the end of corporate journalism:
“There will be no further need for newspapers or broadcasters to host debates and represent public opinion. The internet will let every citizen speak for themselves. The masses will seize the means of media production. We will witness an era of revolutionary change.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/opinion/tim-luckhurst-demise-of-news-barons-is-just-a-marxist-fantasy-1856668.html)

But according to Luckhurst “there is an elementary delusion behind the idea that amateurs can report accurately”. How so?:

“... the public right to know [cannot] depend on the dictates of an individual's conflicted conscience. Such decisions should be guided by professional priorities and ethics. The fallacy rests on the delusion that private ownership by capitalists has damaged journalism. The facts suggest the opposite. Since the first American newspaper baron, James Gordon Bennett I, created the New York Herald, and his British disciple Alfred Harmsworth followed with Britain's Daily Mail, profit-driven ownership has liberated reporters.
“Before the barons, journalism readily succumbed to direct sponsorship by political parties. Impoverished publications were bullied by powerful litigants. They could not afford professional reporters and printed opinions not facts. Afterwards, while journalism has often exercised power without responsibility, it has done so in the name of a version of the public interest that is gloriously independent of the state.”

Luckhurst concluded:

“There is not yet a single one-size-fits-all model for profitable, professional journalism in the 21st century, but a powerful alliance of commerce, conscience and intellect is converging around the certainty that such journalism is essential if representative democracy is to endure.”
We responded to the article on January 5:

Dear Tim Luckhurst

Hope you're well. I enjoyed your article in the Independent, 'Demise of news barons is just a Marxist fantasy.' You write:
"In fact, the people who now predict the end of professional journalism's reign of sovereignty have attacked edited, fact-based reporting for decades."
Who are these Marxists predicting the end of the reign of professional journalism? And who are the people who "have attacked edited, fact-based reporting for decades"?
You write that "there is an elementary delusion behind the idea that amateurs can report accurately". But isn't there an elementary delusion behind the idea that corporate professionals can report accurately and honestly? After all, corporate media are tasked to report on a world dominated by allied giant corporations. These are the corporations on which newspapers like the Independent and Guardian depend for fully 75% of their revenues (from advertising). Isn't the conflict of interest obvious and important?

Best wishes
David Edwards

We received no reply. We wrote again, twice, and again received no answer.

We asked Richard Keeble, Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln, what he thought of Luckhurst’s piece. His reply was so interesting that we asked if he would expand it for a Guest Media Alert. This he has very kindly done. Sincere thanks to Richard for taking the trouble. We hope you enjoy his article.

Best wishes
The Editors - Media Lens

How Alternative Media Provide The Crucial Critique Of The Mainstream

By: Richard Keeble

I welcome Tim Luckhurst’s contribution to the debate over the future of journalism (“Demise of press barons is just a Marxist fantasy”, Independent, 4 January). But I disagree with him profoundly. Tim places far too much stress on the role of professional journalists in the current “crisis”. It is clearly important to work for radical, progressive change to the corporate media from within.

The closeness of the mainstream to dominant economic, cultural and ideological forces means that the mainstream largely functions to promote the interests of the military/industrial/political complex. Yet within advanced capitalist economies, the contradictions and complexities of corporate media have provided certain spaces for the progressive journalism of such excellent writers in the US, UK, France and India as John Langdon-Davies (1897-1971), Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998); George Orwell (1903-1950), I. F. Stone (1907-1989), James Cameron (1911-1985), Albert Camus (1913-1960), Phillip Knightley (born 1929), Seymour Hersh (1937), Susan George (1939), John Pilger (1939), Barbara Ehrenreich (1941), Peter Wilby (1944), Arundhati Roy (1960), George Monbiot (1963) and Naomi Klein (1970). Many of these have combined an involvement in the corporate media with regular contributions to the “alternative”, campaigning media.

Crucial Role Of Alternative Media

But most significantly Tim Luckhurst fails to acknowledge the crucial role of the non-corporate media in the development of progressive journalism. Historically, the alternative media have helped provide the basis on which an alternative, global, progressive public sphere has been built. For instance, John Hartley has highlighted the centrality of journalists such as Robespierre, Marat, Danton and Hébert to the French Revolution of the 1790s.

In the UK, in the first half of the 19th century a massively popular radical, unstamped (and hence illegal) press played a crucial role in the campaign for trade union rights and social and political reforms. In his seminal history of these early radical, “citizen” journalists, James Curran commented: “Unlike the institutionalised journalists of the later period they tended to see themselves as activists rather than as professionals. Indeed many of the paid correspondents of the Poor Man’s Guardian, Northern Star and early Reynolds News were also political organisers for the National Union of Working Classes or Chartist movement. They sought to describe and expose the dynamics of power and inequality rather than to report ‘hard news’ as a series of disconnected events. They saw themselves as class representatives rather than as disinterested intermediaries and attempted to establish a relationship of real reciprocity with their readers.”

Later on many feminists, suffragettes (such as Sylvia Pankhurst), trade unionists and anti-war activists were both radical journalists and political agitators.

Informal underground communication networks and newspapers (such as the Sowetan in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s) were crucial in the independent movements in Africa and India. Jonathan Neale, in his seminal study of the Vietnam War, identified around 300 anti-war newspapers in the armed services during the course of the conflict. Seymour Hersh’s exposure of the My Lai massacre of March 1968, (when US soldiers slaughtered up to 504 men, women and children) was first published by the alternative news agency, Despatch News Service.

From 1963 to 1983, the Bolivian miners’ radio stations highlighted the rights of workers. In Poland during the 1980s alternative publications of the Polish Roman Catholic Church and the samizdat publications of the Solidarity movement played crucial roles in the movement against the Soviet-backed government of the day. In Nicaragua during the 1980s and 1990s the Movement of Popular Correspondents produced reports by non-professional, voluntary reporters from poor rural area that were published in regional and national newspapers – and they helped inspire revolutionary education and political activities. In the 1990s, the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan bravely reported on the abuse and execution of women under the Taliban producing audio cassettes, videos, a website and a magazine.

This century we have seen the use made of websites by reformist movements in Burma and more recently (with Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube) in Iran. Similarly, in Peru, in 2009, Indigenous activists used Twitter and YouTube to highlight human rights abuses as more than 50,000 Amazonians demonstrated and went on strike in protest over US-Peru trade laws which threatened to open up ancestral territories to exploitation by multinational companies.

Celebrating The Internet And Blogosphere

Today, the internet and the blogosphere provide enormous opportunities for the development of progressive journalism ideals in both the UK and globally. Stuart Allan, for instance, celebrates the bloggers and the “extraordinary contribution made by ordinary citizens offering their first hand reports, digital photographs, camcorder video footage, mobile telephone snapshots or audio clips”. A great deal of this “citizen journalism” (while challenging the professional monopoly of the journalistic field) actually feeds into mainstream media routines and thus reinforces the dominant news value system. The internet and blogosphere only become interesting when they serve to challenge the mainstream as crucial elements in progressive social and political movements.

Moreover, we need to follow John Hartley in making a radical transformation of journalism theory. We need as both academics and citizens to move away from the concept of the audience as a passive consumer of a professional product to seeing the audience as producers of their own (written or visual) media. Hartley even draws on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which he suggests proclaims the radical utopian-liberal idea that everyone has the right not only to seek and receive but to “impart” (in other words communicate) information and ideas. If everyone, then, is a journalist then how can journalism be professed? “Journalism has transferred from a modern expert system to contemporary open innovation – from ‘one-to-many’ to ‘many to many’ communication.” Let us see how this redefinition of journalism can incorporate many different forms of media activity into the alternative public sphere.

Firstly, there is the role of radical, non-mainstream journalists. George Orwell (1903-1950) is best known as the author of Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) but he was also a distinguished progressive journalist who concentrated most of his writing on obscure, alternative journals of the Left – such Controversy, New Leader, Left Forum, Left News, Polemic, Progressive, Politics and Letters. From 1943 to 1947 he was literary editor of the leftist journal, Tribune, and through writing his regular “As I Please” column, instinctively developed a close relationship with his audience. This relationship was crucial to the flowering of Orwell’s journalistic imagination.

While he realised mainstream journalism was basically propaganda for wealthy newspaper proprietors, at Tribune he was engaging in the crucial political debate with people who mattered to him. They were an authentic audience compared with what Stuart Allan has called the “implied reader or imagined community of readers” of the mainstream media.

Today, in the United States, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffery St Clair produce Counterpunch, an alternative investigative website (www.counterpunch.org). Out of their writings come many publications. There’s also the excellent Middle East Report (www.merip.org), the Nation (www.thenation.com), Mother Jones (www.motherjones.com), Z Magazine (www.zcommunications.org/zmag), In These Times (www.inthesetimes.com); in Chennai, India, Frontline (www.frontlineonnet.com); in London there’s the investigative www.corporatewatch.org.

Coldtype.net in the UK brings together many of the writings by radical journalists, campaigners and academics (such as Felicity Arbuthnot and William Blum). Dahr Jamail is a freelance journalist reporting regularly from a critical peace perspective on the Middle East (seewww.dahrjamailiraq.com) while Democracy Now! is an alternative US radio station (with allied website and podcasts) run by Amy Goodman overtly committed to peace journalism.

Drawing Inspiration From Chomsky

Chris Atton argues that alternative media such as these often draw inspiration from Chomsky’s critique of the corporate myths of “balance” and “objectivity” and stresses, instead, their explicitly partisan character. Moreover, they seek “to invert the hierarchy of access” to the news by explicitly foregrounding the viewpoints of “ordinary” people (activists, protestors, local residents), citizens whose visibility in the mainstream media tends to be obscured by the presence of elite groups and individuals.

Then there’s the role of radical intellectuals such as the American historian Tom Engelhardt (www.tomdispatch.com). Other radical intellectuals prominent in the blogosphere have included the late Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Norman Solomon, James Winter, Mark Curtis and the recently deceased African intellectual campaigner and journalist Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. In the UK, activists David Edwards and David Cromwell edit the radical media monitoring site www.medialens.org which monitors the mainstream media from a radical Chomskyite/Buddhist perspective and in support of the global peace movement. Professor David Miller and William Dinan are part of the collective running www.spinwatch.org which critiques the PR industry from a radical, peace perspective.

Some research centres play important roles in the formation of an alternative global public sphere. For instance, http://globalresearch.ca is the website of the Centre for Research and Globalisation, an independent research and media group based in Montreal. It carries excellent articles by Michel Chussodovsky, Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa. Special subjects on the site include US war agenda, crimes against humanity, militarisation and WMD, poverty and social inequality, media disinformation and intelligence. There is also the website produced by the London-based Institute of Islamic Political Thought (www.ii-pt.com).

Political activists often double as media activists. Take for instance IndyMedia (www.indymedia.org). It emerged during the “battle of Seattle” in 1999 when thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the World Trade Organisation and the impact of global free trade relations – and were met by armoured riot police. Violent clashes erupted with many injuries on both sides. In response 400 volunteers, rallying under the motto “Don’t hate the media: be the media”, created a site and a daily news sheet, the Blind Spot, which spelled out news of the demonstration from the perspective of the protestors. The site incorporated news, photographs, audio and video footage – and received 1.5 million hits in its first week. Today there are more than 150 independent media centres in around 45 countries over six continents. Their mission statement says:

"The Independent Media Centre is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media’s distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity."

In the UK, Peace News (for non-violent revolution), edited by author and political activist Milan Rai and Emily Johns, comes as both a hard copy magazine and a lively website (www.peacenews.info) combining analysis, cultural reviews and news of the extraordinarily brave activities of peace movement activities internationally. As its website stresses, it is “written and produced by and for activists, campaigners and radical academics from all over the world”. Not only does their content differ radically from the mainstream. In their collaborative, non-hierarchical structures and sourcing techniques alternative media operations challenge the conventions of mainstream organisational routines. Atton describes the alternative journalism of the British video magazine Undercurrents and Indymedia as “native reporting”. “Both privilege a journalism politicised through subjective testimony, through the subjects being represented by themselves.”

Fitwatch: Monitoring The Monitors

Members of Fit Watch, a protest group opposed to police forward intelligence teams (Fits), the units that monitor demonstrations and meetings, similarly combine political and media activism in their “sousveillance” – the latest buzzword for taking videos and photographs of police activities and then uploading them on to the web. They are part of a growing international media activist, protest movement. In Palestine, for instance, B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, gave video cameras to 160 citizens in the West Bank and Gaza and their shocking footage of abuses by Israeli settlers and troops was broadcast on the country’s television as well as internationally.

Citizens and campaigners in the UK and US who upload images of police surveillance or brutality on to YouTube or citizens who report on opposition movements via blogs, Twitter and websites in authoritarian societies such as China, Burma, Iran and Egypt can similarly be considered participants in the alternative media sphere. Commenting on the role of citizen blogs during the 2003 Iraq invasion, Stuart Allan stressed:

“... these emergent forms of journalism have the capacity to bring to bear alternative perspectives, contexts and ideological diversity to war reporting, providing users with the means to connect with distant voices otherwise being marginalised, if not silenced altogether, from across the globe.”

And for Atton, participatory, amateur media production contests the concentration of institutional and professional media power “and challenges the media monopoly on producing symbolic forms”.

Peace movement and international human rights organisations also produce excellent campaigning sites which can be viewed as forms of activist journalism. For instance, http://ipb.org is the site of the International Peace Bureau founded in 1891 and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1910. It currently has 282 member organisations in 70 countries. Or there is the Campaign for the Abolition of War (http://www.abolishwar.org.uk). Formed in 2001 following the Hague Appeal for Peace in 1999, its founder president was Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat FRS, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; while its founder chair was Bruce Kent. They work closely with the International Peace Bureau in Geneva for an end to arms sales, economic justice, a more equitable United Nations, political rights for persecuted minorities, a world peace force (instead of gunboat democracy), conflict prevention and education for peace in schools, colleges and the media.

Exposing Human Rights Abuses

The organisation, Reprieve (www.reprieve.org.uk), campaigns on behalf of those often unlawfully detained by the US and UK in the “war on terror” and its director Clive Stafford Smith writes regular pieces for the “quality” press and the leftist New Statesman magazine, highlighting cases of abuse. For instance, on 10 August 2009, he wrote in the Guardian of three cases of government cover-ups. In the first, the government was refusing to hand over to the High Court details about the horrific torture of Binyam Mohamed (in Morocco and at the notorious US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba) on the grounds that it would endanger future intelligence co-operation with the Americans.

In the second case, after the government admitted that two men had been taken for torture (“rendered” in the jargon) via the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, they were still refusing Reprieve’s requests for their names. And the final case involved cover-ups over Britain’s complicity in the renditions of prisoners from Iraq to abuse in Afghanistan. In the US, the American Civil Liberties Union (see www.aclu.org) has consistently campaigned to expose the human rights abuses which have accompanied the “war on terror” and produced a important series of reports on the issue.

Finally, Tim Luckhurst is wrong to suggest that advocates of alternative media are fired by “postmodern, Marxist fantasies”. Certainly my own writings on journalism and teaching for 25 years have not been based on any fantasies but rather grounded, in part, on a real desire to problematise the notion of professionalism. So, while clearly acknowledging the many achievements of progressive professional journalists I have always seen it as one of my crucial responsibilities as an educator to present students with an alternative to professionalism – drawing, indeed, for inspiration on a critical engagement with Marxism and postmodernism amongst a range of important concepts.

Richard Lance Keeble, Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln, is the joint editor of Peace Journalism, War and Conflict Resolution, shortly to be published by Peter Lang. David Edwards, of Media Lens, has a chapter titled “Normalising the unthinking: The media’s role in mass killing”. Richard Keeble’s chapter, “Peace journalism as political practice: A new, radical look at the theory”, expands on some of the ideas in this piece. John Pilger provides a Foreword.

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BARKING & DAGENHAM AND THE BNP

A month or so ago, there was an internal Green Party discussion about the wisdom of the Greens putting up a candidate against both Nick Griffin (BNP Leader) and Margaret Hodge (ex-New Labour Minister) in her Barking constituency at the forthcoming General Election. That discussion came to an end when the local party voted overwhelmingly to stand. I fully support that decision, and in the light of splenetic criticism of the decision from political deadbeats/the Last Century Left/some well-meaning if naive Greens, I have decided to make public a slightly edited version of my contribution to that debate. Some points below, especially as regards Hope Not Hate/the UAF are asserted rather than proved herein--the analysis buttressing those assertions can be found in the latest Notes From the Borderland. Nonetheless, many of the points are stand alone ones, valid in themselves. Let us know what you think (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) ...

About one thing everybody is in agreement--we live in politically dangerous times, with the BNP on the verge of a major breakthrough, having already done far better than any previous British fascist group in terms of seats. The difficult, political, question is how anti-fascist Greens should respond, in particular to the suggestion that we run up the white flag in Barking, and act as footsoldiers in Margaret Hodge's New Labour army. That course of action, you will already gather, is not my preferred one, and I'll tell you why. I have been a veteran anti-fascist for over 30 years, a Green Party member for 20, and have been closely watching and analysing, the trajectory of Nick Griffin and other fascists for all that time, much of my research published in Notes From the Borderland as well as in the past Lobster, Tribune, Labour Briefing, New Socialist etc. I have also appeared discussing the far right on Channel 4 News, BBC 'On the Record' and Sky News. Additionally (when there was one) I edited the Green Party Anti-Racist Anti-Fascist Newsletter. For good measure, my PhD subject was modern British fascism--and featured, as one to watch, Nick Griffin (London University 2001 'Creating Political Soldiers' for those into that sort of thing). None of this makes what I have to say necessarily correct, but does, hopefully, at least indicate my views are not uninformed.

As is my style, I will put my arguments in point form--which will make it easy for third parties to see which points get answered, and which not..

1) Margaret Hodge--she really does epitomise all that is rotten about New Labour. Incompetent, arrogant, unprincipled. Her role in presiding over the chronic abuse that took place in Islington children's homes while she was council leader, that she swept under the carpet, is bad enough. So bad, in fact, that in 2005 one victim of that abuse, Demetrious Panton, stood against her. Even worse, when she should have been drummed out of politics, she was made Minister for Children by Tony Blair--the ultimate insult.

2) Hodge herself has given the BNP great publicity--and in doing so, helped legitimise them politically locally. Don't just take my word for it--even local Labour critics have said as much. Check out The Times here

3) The role of New Labour politics in helping create space for the BNP--a difficult but essential point to geasp: and the fault lies not just with the Labour establishment, but full-square with the GLCs 'pioneering' policies of the early 1980s. The key political problem facing the ruling class in the early 1980s was black street miltancy, evidenced in the uprisings in Brixton (1981/85) & Toxteth (1981) etc. The GLC set out to do what the Thatcherite Tories were unable to do--incorporate key leaders of ethnic communities into the state structure, as a way of channelling and defusing militancy. This is relevant, because it is this 'racialisation' of politics, from above, that allows the BNP to, astutely, appropriate the very language of ethnic identity, and rights, in order to appeal to the disaffected white working class. Not surprisingly, because there is no funding (or kudos) in researching this topic, studies have been few--though I would commend Kenan Malik's recent book 'From Fatwa to Jihad' and also the recent Independent Working Class Association report here . Once you realise that the BNP is feeding off the very language and political discourse supposedly intended to marginalise them, you see what a political mess we are in. And, crucially, how the Green Party aligning itself with the ideology and practice that created space for the BNP to capitalise on (once they got their act together under Griffin) would not only be wrong in principle, but counter-productive, especially considered alongside the next reason...

4) We should reach out to, not write off, the white working class--already, I suspect my daring to use the word class will have caused near asphyxiation to any muesli-eaters amongst you if you are having your breakfast. But the fact is, New Labour already have a core message to the white working class, whether it be in Barking & Dagenham, or Burnley, or Gateshead--it is, to be indelicate, 'Fuck off & die'. The Greens cannot and should not write off these people, whether in Barking & Dagenham or elsewhere. Yet that is the implication behind the targeting of the 20% BME voters in the constituency alone (or even primarily), and as such disastrous. We need to have something to offer to all, irrespective of colour--and that means people of all ethnicities. Green politics has hitherto been seen as irrelevant to such areas, and I concede, gladly, that we are weak. So I am glad the Greens have grasped the nettle in Barking & Dagenham, and will hopefully use the publicity of this election to try and do something about it. I strongly suggest people have a look at the book by Geoff Dench et al 'The New East End' (Young Foundation 2006) especially p.55-87 before you condemn them to the disgusting political choice of Hodge or Griffin alone. BNP voters need to be understood before they can be won away--something I have attempted to do with regard to their European Election votes in 2009 in NFB issue 9.

5) We need to pose a national alternative to both New Labour and the BNP--a simple statement, but with far-reaching implications. Put bluntly, do we want the Greens to continue to be seen as the 'nice' people (alone)--the party of wheelie-bins, bicycle clips and worthy comatose meetings about Agenda 21. Or do we want to give the voters an idea that, actually, we do have a broad range of policies, including ones on the economic crisis. Whatever it's limitations, Sean Thompson's recent (if elusive) Green Left pamphlet on the economic crisis is an attempt to address that very issue. Imagine if a Green candidate was up there confidently articulating those policies--tremendous! As for Griffin, do you really think Hodge will be giving a detailed critique of his pseudo-Green policies: not just Climate Change, but also nuclear power etc? Hardly. The real question--do we as Greens believe, or want to believe, we could ever form a government? If we don't, then by all means 'walk on by' the media opportunity that will be Barking & Dagenham in 2010.

6) We do not need to, and shouldn't, tail the multiple failed groupings that I term the 'Last Century Left'. Let me put my cards on the table, I have been for many years, and remain, a revolutionary socialist, albeit of a Green variety, but regard with contempt, frankly, the assorted failures, Stalinists, Trotskyants and other peddlers of clapped out verbiage who litter the political scene. They had their chance in the 20th Century, and failed, spectacularly--there is a lot we can learn from them, but it is mostly from their failures, about what not to do. It amuses me, knowing intimately as I do the harsh arrogant and empty core that lies at the heart of their politics, the way these grouplets pretend to be 'friendly' and 'open to Green ideas'. Individuals within these groups certainly are--but the leadership cadre merely view the Greens as a recruiting pool, part of their 'periphery', of whom 'class conscious' elements can be won over, and those not won over dismissed as 'petit bourgeois'. Work with these people in specific campaigns, yes--the United Front as Trotsky would say--but taking their advice and supporting Hodge? That's political disaster--aka the 'Popular Front'.

7) Supporting Hodge means lining up with her against anti-fascist Labour critics--I'd rather not, thank you. Councillor Val Rush, for example--who spoke out against Hodge over the BNP in 2006 was deselected, as was another councillor, John Denyer, apparently deselected because he was unable to canvass--yet he is disabled. There is indeed civil war in Barking & Dagenham Labour Party--and her critics strongly allege--in Leftist publication Tribune and on their own blog that the reason for this split is Hodge's attempt to root out local critics from the Labour party itself. Therefore, if we had endorsed Hodge the Green Party would ineluctably--like the UAF/Hope Not Hate--be taking sides, consciously, with a reprehensible faction in an intra-party dispute. I am not saying that everybody Hodge opposes and has had deselected is worthy of our support, nor should I be misrepresented as saying that. What I am saying is we should emphatically not use Labour rebellion against the local Hodge regime as an excuse to support her. I left the Labour Party in 1976 as not fit for purpose, and I'm damned if the Green Party is going to be turned into a New Labour satellite when the going gets tough. If it is, I'm clearly in the wrong party.

8) Those providing the political 'anti-fascist' rationale for Greens not standing are not all what they seem. I obviously do not intend my criticism to apply to Green Party members who in good faith reproduce the arguments of Searchlight's Nick Lowles (SearchlightJanuary 2010). I do doubt Searchlights approach & have done so (with good cause) for many years--see here for a start. To be specific: Hope Not Hate is not an independent or grass roots organisation, but a cleverly constructed but rigidly controlled front group--and right from the start has been pimping for New Labour. It is particularly galling to see Lowles referring to the publicity 'Nick Griffin MEP' will get in Barking, when it is the Hope Not Hate strategy of pushing Labour that cost the Greens Peter Cranie the North West MEP seat in the first place! Thus, the decision that anti-fascists 'have to' vote Labour is not unilaterally come to, but a Searchlight/Hope Not Hate starting point! To turn Lowles' mendacity on its head, if the Green Party had not stood, posing a Left/Green alternative to both the BNP and Hodge, the election may have become merely a referendum on the BNP, just as the presentation of Question Time in October benefitted the BNP greatly by turning them into the sole/main issue. Anti-fascists should not repeat that mistake. In any event, let Searchlight explain how much cash they and their front Hope Not Hate get from Labour-funding union leaderships, and John Denham's Home Office 'anti-extremism' fund for white working class communities? They won't of course. Lowles is so desperate to gull the unsuspecting into voting for Hodge not only does he not mention anti-fascist rebels like Val Rush, he puts UKIP support in the constituency as 14.8%, not clearly spelling out that in the 2005 parliamentary election, UKIP only got 2.8%.

9) The model of campaigning against fascism on offer in Barking & Dagenham, which Lowles suggests we adopt, is that of Hope Not Hate--a model I have extensively criticised in NFB 9--and as inappropriate in its way as the UAF model, which I also dissect. Sadly, since the demise of Anti-Fascist Action (and Antifa is willing but to small to make an impact) there is no viable anti-fascist strategy on offer nationally. Elements of one, yes, but no nationally viable model. Which means Greens need to incorporate those elements into our overall strategic approach in Barking & Dagenham, using it as a test-case. Better that, than aligning ourselves with bankrupt strategies (HNH/UAF) in support of corrupt policies (Hodge). To take just one contradiction manifest in the article--Lowles suggests anti-fascists both increase turnout generally and reduce BNP turnout. Yet measures to do the former, especially if they present it (as will Hope Not Hate) as a referendum on the BNP, will merely serve as footsoldiers to galvanise their support. Very clever, it is not. But then, Lowles doesn't really care a fig about it--to him, its a (lucrative) job. As for the UAF, inviting Hodge to their 13/2/10 National Conference says it all about their lack of independence from New Labour, when it comes to the crunch. Concerning the BNP themselves, while fascist, they are not Nazi, and absurd attempts to present them as such, however transiently amusing, are not helpful. Undoubtedly, local BNP councillors are inept, and maybe on more than a few occasions inebriated--however many people voted for them despite these weaknesses, and it is for us as Greens to offer people genuine hope and a radical alternative to both failed ideologies on offer.

10) Not standing against the BNP allows them to pose not just as victims but as the anti-establishment option--sad, but true. Lowles, desperate to shore up the vote of his New Labour paymasters, presents it all as a defensive battle, we've got to hold the line etc. Yet fascism can only ultimately defeated if we put across a radical alternative Green vision, that has strongly positive aspects. Lining up alongside/behind the failed politics of New Labour that created the breeding ground for fascism in the first place--Livingstone as well as Hodge--means we deprive ourselves of that opportunity. If a moment of the collapse politically of the old order is not the time for radical Green politics to be articulated, when is, exactly? Ours cannot, and should not, only be a politics for comfortable areas, comfortable times, 'nice people'. A moment of crisis is also a moment of opportunity--if the Greens want to be a serious political party, rather than a collection of Guardianistas, the time to act is now. To paraphrase the great Primo Levi: if not us, who? If not now, when? If not Barking & Dagenham, where? We cannot just say, let's support Hodge and hope our turn will come later--the time to fight for an independent Left Green politics is now. Old Labour cut its teeth locally (Poplarism), as are the BNP hoping to. If we Greens are serious about politics, and ultimately state power, we cannot bottle this one. In the 2009 Election YouGov exit poll Greens came out as the most anti-racist voters of any major party. We really need to be addressing the policy questions, and false panaceas, the BNP have to offer, counterposing a genuinely radical alternative. In other words, by standing we can use the platform given to articulate our alternative, distinct from both New Labour and the BNP.

Finally, not an argument, more a tactical observation. The reason why Last Century Left groups (and Greens) are so weak on the ground in Barking & Dagenham is because they (and we) have hitherto had little to say to the white working class. It is time that changed. Concretely, we should reach out to those Labour Party rebels who have strong anti-fascist principles and certainly consider strategic alliances with them. No reason in principle, given our weakness on the ground, why we can't call for suppport for genuinely anti-fascist/anti-corrupt disaffected Labour independents and stand against Hodge herself. That way, we can help energise and galvanise politics in the constituency while supporting genuine anti-fascist council candidates.

Of course, if after reading & assimilating all the above, some of you still want to act as New Labour foot-soldiers, whether directly or via their Hope Not Hate front, feel free. In which case though, consider strongly which party you think you should be in--not the same one I'm a member of, which last time I looked wasn't the Labour Party...

I am very pleased to say there are excellent Green Party candidates standing in the General Election locally. In Barking, Jayne Forbes (Chair of the Green Party Executive), Dagenham & Rainham, Debbie Rosaman. Nearby in Hornchurch & Upminister Melanie Collins is standing, and in Romford Gerry Haines. Quite rightly, many Greens are focussing on winnable seats in Brighton & Norwich: but if the Greens are to be taken seriously as contenders for power, we have to relate to all sections of the population, not just 'winnable seats'. Getting into parliament is all well and good--but we need to arrive with a purpose, and a strategy, that includes having something positive to say to those written off by New Labour, and potentially susceptible to the dead-end politics of fascism. Those battles will be fought in places like Barking & Dagenham--recruits welcome!

AGAIN PLUCKING THE WHITE ROSE: FASCISM IN YORKSHIRE REVISITED

AGAIN PLUCKING THE WHITE ROSE: YORKSHIRE FASCISM REVISITED

In my book 'Turning Up the Heat: MI5 After the Cold War', published October 1994, there was one section that brought the house down, provoking a furious response, culminating in October 1995 with my near-lynching at the Anarchist Book Fair in Conway Hall, London. This concerned my daring to allude to events surrounding the theft of a contact/address book from a Leftist/Community newspaper in Leeds, the now defunct Northern Star, and the subsequent appearance of its contents in Combat 18 magazines issues 1 and 3, distributed in 1993 and 1994 [1]. What makes a review of events in Leeds timely is two recent items that have sent shock-waves throughout the anti-fascist movement. The first item was the April 1998 revelation in Fighting Talk (journal of Anti-Fascist Action) that AFA have proscribed the Searchlight organisation for their activities in Yorkshire and elsewhere. The second item is the follow up explanation in the June-July issue of Red Action--going into more detail on the circumstances of that proscription, and revealing that AFA in Yorkshire have been reconstituted, following the forcible dissolution of Leeds AFA and Huddersfield AFA branches for working hand-in-glove with Searchlight. The former piece I reproduce in full later on--the latter piece I strongly suggest interested readers purchase [2].2010 update: click on the links in footnote 2 below to access the relevant articles online

Below I outline the essential features of what happened in Leeds 1993-4, and the various responses to it. Then a few events in the last year or so, most significantly in Bradford, will be sketched in. Finally, I will draw attention to the possible ramifications of what has gone on, both in Yorkshire and nationally.

WHAT HAPPENED IN LEEDS 1993-4

Nobody disputes that in Spring 1993 local Leeds fascist Tony White went into the offices of the Northern Star and took their telephone contacts book listing details of people the magazine was in touch with nationally and Yorkshire especially. Leeds AFA at the time were crystal-clear, stating in 1994 that "in Spring last year nazi activist Tony White went into the Northern Star offices and stole the address book belonging to the editor" [3]. White doesn't deny it, nor does Searchlight. This wasn't an isolated act--over an extended period the Northern Star was subject to a vicious, incessant and unwarranted campaign by nazis throughout Yorkshire to shut them down--which eventually succeeded. This campaign included arson attacks, threatening phone-calls, break-ins and assaults, carried out by fascists.

There are two interesting things about White obtaining the Northern Star address book, making it of national significance. First, how he got hold of it. Second, how it was used. On the first point, sources on both Left and Right agree that all was not as straightforward as it appeared. As Mike Peters of now-defunct magazine Here & Now said to me in 1994, and repeated in 1995, he'd heard it was "dodgy", an "inside job". This is a serious allegation: it is one thing to be under constant siege, but for someone 'inside the walls' to be helping the enemy in this way, if true, would be disgraceful. At my near-lynching in October 1995, the liberals present seemed to find it utterly unthinkable that anybody would do such a thing. The idea that the vast majority of those under virtual daily attack would contemplate this sort of action is unthinkable and wrong. But all an 'inside job' needed was one person who knew the layout of the centre and when staffing levels would be low to tell White exactly where the book was, and he could then do the rest in a trice. That, I suspect, is exactly what happened.

WHY THESE EVENTS MATTER

What might have been the possible motive for tipping White off about the address book location, and putting him up to stealing it? Here, events in Leeds intersect with national developments. In 1993 Combat 18 first broke into the political scene, courtesy of a World In Action/Searchlight special in April, and were relentlessly hyped thereafter. White sent the address book to Charlie Sargent, then C18 boss. C18 graduated from producing an irregular photocopied bulletin Redwatch to a glossy 40 page magazine entitled (with zero originality) Combat 18. In late 1993, as well as lurid attacks on 'race-mixers' and other perceived 'race traitors' the whole of the first half of the Northern Star address book was printed. All hell then broke loose on the national political stage. Labour MPs in Yorkshire were so furious their details appeared on this hit-list they signed an Early Day Motion in the Commons (14/2/94) calling for C18 to be investigated. By May 1994 Max Madden MP was calling for MI5 to get involved [4]. In December 1994 the second C18 magazine of 88 pages came out misleadingly numbered 3 (rather than 2) and it contained the rest of the Northern Star address book, thereby piling on the political pressure. The timing of events in Leeds struck me as suspicious in terms of the national picture; in December 1993 Searchlight editor Gerry Gable appeared before a House of Commons Select Committee and urged that MI5 be used to 'investigate' Combat 18. Given Gable's proven status as low-grade MI5 errand-boy/pimp, the Northern Star address book theft was exactly his type of operation.

The motive for MI5 is straightforward--get someone (White) under your control but plausibly deniable, to steal and send details of Yorkshire Leftists to C18. They print them, MPs get annoyed, leading to the spectacle whereby Labour MPs, normally critical of MI5 (because of past efforts to undermine Harold Wilson for example), have a change of heart. Ironically, my attention was first drawn to Leeds by a Leeds AFA circular in 1993, disseminated throughout Europe, denouncing me among others, by name, for performing no useful service to the anti-fascist movement etc. Evidently, this circular was written under the instructions of, if not actually by, Gerry Gable or his local representative Nick Lowles. I have drawn attention before to the track-record of Searchlight in compiling and circulating hit-lists. Indeed, the circular attacked me for writing 'A Lie Too Far' exposing Searchlight for doing exactly that. So I was even quicker to get on the case than I might have been otherwise.
WHY YORKSHIRE?

That any one area rather than another is chosen for a covert operation, as I believe happened in Yorkshire, will hardly be a matter of chance rather than design. In the political jungle that is the extra- parliamentary milieu, there are a multiplicity of state and para-state agencies competing for space. MI5 obviously have their own assets separate from any they share with Searchlight, and there is also Special Branch or even (as persistently alleged locally) Army Intelligence. Yorkshire seems to be a political laboratory, looked at in much the same way as Northern Ireland, with experimental covert operations using ethnicity rather than religion as an organising factor. Advantages of using Yorkshire include its social mix and densely populated urban metropolises as well as a distinctive regional identity, enabling experimental results to be more easily quantified. Then there is the long-standing propensity for street politics in the area to get nasty of their own accord, particularly (though not exclusively) on the fascist side.
Another great advantage of Yorkshire as a site of political intrigue is the ideology of what I call 'inverse provincialism'. The way it works is this: most political/media cognoscenti are London-based and couldn't care less what happens outside the M25, or even place Leeds on a map, never mind follow events there closely. This also applies to the leadership of most 'radical' political groups of Left and Right. Therefore, shady antics are far easier to perpetrate longer without being nationally 'spotted' in such a place. Understandably many Leftists living in places such as Yorkshire, if independent of spirit and intellect, strongly resent this Southern arrogance, and continually point to the negative or more usually absent coverage of such areas. Quite rightly. Paradoxically, this can lead to an ultra-defensive reaction whereby people outside Yorkshire are both taken to task for not covering events there, or for covering them in a way not entirely in accordance with perceived 'local wisdom' however misguided or partial that might be. Probably the most characteristic expression of this ideology at work in the Yorkshire context has been the coverage in the highly self-regarding but now defunct Here & Now magazine. They sought to dismiss the controversy surrounding Searchlight's activities as a "London phenomenon" and referred to Leeds as "the site for a particularly nasty episode in the fascist/anti-fascist game in which both Gable and O'Hara have been active". They finish with a (rather good) quote from Groucho Marx, when told garbage-men were at the door "tell them we don't want any" [5].

The deeper message though, confirmed by the outrageous and relentless smears on me they printed, was that I had transgressed by daring to take a concerned interest in their patch which raised uncomfortable local questions better swept under the carpet. After all, as just mentioned, Mike Peters of Here & Now was well aware the Northern Star address book theft was suspicious. In deference to local pressure, Here & Now not only misrepresented my research, but allowed their PO Box to be used by an anonymous thug to issue threats against me. Very post-modern. More to the point, if this stance was taken by people previously affecting sympathy and interest in my work, no wonder Yorkshire has been (and still is) a useful site for the secret state to try out occasional role plays. And unlike Here & Now, that isn't a "game" I find amusing in the slightest. In all then, Yorkshire, especially West Yorkshire, is as good a place as any for skullduggery, and rather better than most.

MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES?

Even allowing for the 'inverse provincialism' factor at work, and the importance of personal loyalty to those involved, I was still slightly surprised at the ferocity with which some people jumped down my throat at the 1995 Anarchist Book Fair. One could be forgiven for thinking it was myself who stole the Northern Star address book, or printed it, or made harassing phone calls as a result! All I did was draw attention in print to the circumstances surrounding the theft and later use of the book before anybody (Left or Right). The recent Red Action article confirms things I suspected, but couldn't definitively prove. "It would appear that Leeds AFA has over the years been nothing less than a Searchlight dynasty, with each organiser grooming his successor. Since the early 90's four have operated in that particular organising capacity" for example. One of the central 'link-people' between Searchlight nationally and Leeds AFA was Nick Lowles, Searchlight editor-in-waiting. As 1994 progressed, violence in Yorkshire escalated, peaking with the arrival in the area of a Channel 4 Dispatches TV crew. Tony White appeared on the programme (screened 26/10/94)--though wasn't named. His father later admitted to me (29/8/95) White worked with the documentary team. If this had been a genuine investigative programme it would surely have been worth naming White, especially as other key fascists were featured and one even visited at home. As Red Action points out, Lowles was involved in that show, "which zeroed in on the situation in Leeds in 1994. A situation it can now be assumed was primarily of Searchlight's creation" [6].

QUESTIONS THAT STILL NEED ANSWERING

There are important unanswered questions about this Leeds "situation primarily of Searchlight's creation"--not least, how much of the violence in Leeds/Yorkshire that took place when the Dispatches crew were in the area was encouraged by their presence and would not have happened otherwise. In 1994 (and not subsequently to my knowledge) the SWP were so under attack they held their regional paper sales en masse in Leeds for safety of numbers. What inciting role was played by Dispatches 'advisers' such as Gable and local link-man Lowles? On 20/8/94 a flat very recently vacated by Leeds AFA Organiser Paul Bowman suffered a cross-bow attack: just coincidence? The Channel 4 crew was conveniently on hand to witness glass being cleared up the night after a fascist attack on another man's home. It is fascinating there was more political violence just before and during Dispatches' visit to West Yorkshire than before or since [7]. All this while Tony White was working with elements of Leeds AFA in league with Searchlight. One scene showed local fascists in Leeds city centre, as they had been led to expect an AFA 'attack' on a drinking place. In a further twist, both White & Dave Appleyard (a prominent local fascist who's been in and out of more groups groups than Paul Gascoigne has had drinking binges) seemed to be under the impression Charlie Sargent and other C18 leaders were due in Leeds that day. Where did that rumour originate, and whose interests did it serve? Obviously, the vast majority of Leeds AFA members did not know about the precise relationship between the local leadership and Searchlight/Dispatches TV crew, which is why full disclosure now would be most welcome. As for White, what state agencies did he liaise with directly, and what involvement direct or indirect was there between the local Special Branch and AFA? White has conceded (in handwritten evidence reproduced in the original article) that he "gained the trust of this AFA group only 2 members of AFA know and 1 or 2 Jewish people that for 3 months I gave them details of racist activities and names and addresses of persons responsible for attacks....From this info which was also passed onto Leeds police and Special Branch, Leeds BNP and so-called Combat 18 have cooled activities" [8]. Was it just for three months? I doubt it. White admits he passed on names and addresses of fascists: not disturbing in itself necessarily, but set it alongside another admission: in a taped conversation with Appleyard. White boasted of passing on names and addresses of anti-fascists to Combat 18, for inclusion in their magazine. Therefore, he passed fascist addresses to anti-fascists/the state, and anti-fascist addresses to fascists.
At one point in my lynching, the penny almost dropped for Alice Nutter, well-known member of Leeds band Chumbawumba, whose speciality is macho drinking songs (eg Tub-Thumping). She asked, incredulously--did I mean someone was passing iunformation on fascists to anti-fascists and anti-fascists to fascists? Why do that? A good question, even if she wasn't interested in the answer. This is strange activity,: outside common-sense behaviour patterns. It does fit the MI5 agenda of escalating violence, and proven Searchlight involvement in such elsewhere (through the activities of Tim Hepple Matthew Collins etc). Local Special Branch involvement is revealed by Searchlight's March 1994 boast that a "large scale plain clothes police operation was mounted" against the BNP, and April 1994 boast that "joint intelligence operations enabled Leeds AFA and Searchlight last month to help expose key players in the Yorkshire region of the BNP", [9], reiterating next month "joint work by Searchlight and anti-fascists in Leeds has led to a number of nazis being detained, and some charged" (May 1994 p.2). Case proven: to those who can read.

MORE WHITE LIES?

This is not the place to go over my detailed 1995 review of the Leeds BNP pamphlet 'White Lies' for Green Anarchist. I suggest those who dismiss what I wrote there read it--because evidently many never have. I referred to the motives of White LIes' author/compiler David Owens as being to "implausibly present the BNP as a thoroughly law-abiding party" and commented that whatever White had "got up to, this in no way exonerates or justifies the attacks on Leftists undertaken by local fascists"[10]. Owens himself, then BNP Regional Organiser, wasn't exactly ecstatic about my review, and wrote [11], telling me so. "Obviously you have written the piece with the dual intention of wounding Gerry Gable and attempting to carry out a campaign of lies and innuendo against myself...the person you say produced the booklet (me) is a State asset and has brought out a booklet that exposes another State asset (White) and put pressure on another State asset (Gable)....Yet you say it was produced by a State asset, wow step aside John Le Carre...step aside Gerry Gable, the real liar is ready to spring forth". I don't think he liked it, do you? In a display of chutzpah Leeds AFA claimed to be a "fiercely independent anti-fascist group and we are effective because of that. No-one pulls our strings". They attributed to the BNP the claim that Leeds AFA was run by Searchlight [12], neatly side-stepping the issue. The truth, however, has now caught up with them. Although it was always evident, for those who cared to look--the Spring 1994 edition of Leeds AFA's Attitude publication sold & advertised Searchlight, for example, but did not sell, or even advertise, Fighting Talk, the then national AFA magazine...

I was first drawn to look at Leeds by the 1993 Leeds AFA Security Alert, and noted the individual credited with this had penned a hilarious three page 'Call For Class War Members to Isolate Larry O'Hara' in the internal bulletin. Although he had named me twice in attacks it was hoped I would never see, far less be able to reply to, I probably concentrated far too much fire on defending myself against this person, Paul Bowman. Up until this point I had not named Bowman, despite being well aware who he was. Because debate around Leeds got side-tracked onto Bowman this helped those who wanted to bury more central issues like Lowles. In retrospect, this was probably the intention--Bowman was used as a diversion for both me and others to concentrate on. There is nonetheless a lesson here for those who act as Searchlight patsies--when the shit hits the fan, Gable is usually down-wind. To be self-critical, before going to print I should have taken my criticisms to AFA nationally. I all too readily assumed they wouldn't see things the way I did. That was too pessimistic (although in mitigation I am a life-long Everton supporter)--as Red Action recently pointed out concerning the 1996 inquiry triggered in large part by my published writings, "in hindsight, the 'not proven' outcome can be seen more clearly as an order for more rope" [13]. On the inquiry itself see editorial 'Notice to Quit' in Red Action 73 Spring 1996. There is no way I set myself up as the ultimate arbiter of any situation. It is though, gratifying that AFA nationally now seem to broadly agree with my earlier criticisms of some Leeds AFA people. Certainly, AFA had to conduct their own investigation, which they have done. AFA is a militant combat organisation, operating in an increasingly hostile climate, and for them organisational integrity has to come first. Nonetheless, given the anti-statist orientation of my research I am bound to come across information to all anti-state forces. At the heart of all this is the possibility of independent non-state-compromised anti-fascism. Intervention of the political police in the ranks of fascists and anti-fascists concerns me as much in one milleu as the other--the role of assets in either sphere is likely to be the encouragement of political violence, and as we've seen with White, passing details of each side over to the other. Thankfully, the most important chapter in the Tony White story was never written--his access to weapons and CS gas, which he claimed to have offered to football 'crews' throughout the North West, didn't result in the mayhem he and his controllers hoped for. That I played a part in preventing it is something I am well pleased about.

Unfortunately, at the 1995 Anarchist book-Fair, the issue was not White's activities, the overlap between sections of Leeds AFA Searchlight and the police, or even C18 hit-lists. No, the problem was--me for having raised questions about all this! The widely distributed (and anonymous, slightly 'nutty') leaflet 'A Bosnia of Trivia' accused me of taking up the rumour in a BNP pamphlet on the affair (White Lies) that "a member of Leeds AFA is an MI5 agent". Interestingly, the leaflet admits AFA contact with White, saying he "sang like a bird when encountered on the street by anti-fascists" [14]. Writing in their own publication Attitude rather than a flag of convenience, Leeds AFA reiterated the point. They stated "Tony White did speak to Leeds AFA, but then again he also spoke to the Anti-Nazi League, Militant, animal rights campaigners, the police, CID, Special Branch, Lord Lucan and the little pixies at the bottom of the garden" (1995/p.10). Rather clever this sentence as was the whole article--by mixing in fact with palpable fiction, and ending on a humorous note, the full force of the admission about White is weakened, even destroyed for most readers. I have to hand it to those writing Leeds AFA's script at that time--as masterpieces of evasion, conflating serious charges and known facts with extrapolations, their propaganda was very effective. Given the aim wasn't to answer questions, but avoid them while constructing a damage-limitation firewall, they did a very good job. The hard questions still remain unanswered--in particular, how long did the relationship between White and AFA continue? After all, White's involvement in the Dispatches programme (screened October 1994) was so valuable he wasn't even named in it. A rare feat, given the programme did manage to mention theNorthern Star address book theft, which nobody disputes White carried out. What was the exact role played by the leadership of Leeds AFA in the Dispatches programme? Another unanswered question. It would be happy to think the whole White/Northern Star address book matter was past. That is not the case, there have been curious recent happenings in Yorkshire worthy of mention.

STILL LIVELY ON THE NORTHERN FRONT

The focus of fascist/anti-fascist street conflict in the region shifted in 1997 from Leeds to Huddersfield and Bradford. Reports are patchy, but what seems to have happened is this. Just as the Northern Star was subject to fascist attack, ao too has been the Bradford Resource Centre, perhaps by the same people, and with similar motives. These include driving out of existence an alternative political space represented by the Centre, whose personnel overlap to an extent with the 1 in 12 anarchist Club, who have in the past produced some excellent research on their local ruling class/Freemasons. That is the fascist game-plan, which I am in as little sympathy with (none) as when carried out against the Northern Star. They got away with it then, hopefully they won't now.

The intriguing thing about these events is they show people up to dirty tricks in Yorkshire have, as a result of the White affair, undergone a sharp learning curve. It is disturbing that the actions of Bowman, Lowles White and others involved in the Leeds episode have encouraged the invention of specious stories by fascists, who no doubt view the 'White Lies' affair as a propaganda success. It would not have been a success if Leeds AFA hadn't been so operationally compromised. This is the saddest aspect of the White affair, though one that a creature like Lowles will have regarded with glee. After all, his role in relation to AFA can only be characterised as infiltration and disruption--in which he was successful for a good while. Disinformation is still being peddled and violent attacks/threats are still happening, only it is far from clear exactly who is responsible for everything that is going on.

As I wrote about White, it is inevitable that besides my own independent information sources, various people in Yorkshire, including fascists featured in events, have contacted me. David Appleyard, suspected by the local police of producing at least one issue of the Northern Front, and facing two charges of assault on local anti-fascists, has sent a stream of letters and allegations. Like communications from any source, I have read carefully what he has had to say, and measured it against my own sources/the known facts. Unsurprisingly, Appleyard and other local fascists seek to blame everything on a unholy alliance of Searchlight, the local Special Branch, and local AFA branches, particularly the now-disbanded Huddersfield AFA. They and Leeds AFA were dissolved for closeness to Searchlight, a relevant background fact. While Appleyard has sent a profusion of documents (most also obtained from 'other sources'), the refusal of Huddersfield AFA to respond to queries has certainly hampered my investigation. If Appleyard's motives are clear, Huddersfield AFA's refusal is strange, given they have previously ordered a number of my publications, and are well aware of my legitimate interest in events. Perhaps they are just closing ranks under pressure. Or maybe they really believe what Searchlight writes about my research, rather than actually read it. Dear oh dear! Lack of sufficient information from this quarter means in what follows there are more loose ends than I would like. Lack of hard evidence in crucial respects also means I am not prepared, at this stage to print the names of anti-fascists allegedly in league with Special Branch. I do not intend to give false succour to those whose idea of political fun is printing hit lists.

HOW DID THE FASCISTS GET THEIR INFORMATION?

In Spring 1997 a bulletin--the Northern Front--began circulating on the far right in Yorkshire. I have only seen four, and suspect there are more. I appeal to readers with other copies to send them, including what you know of provenance/post-marks etc. Reproduced above are the tops of those seen.

The Northern Front is a typical fascist/Searchlight hit-list, evidently written by people within the locality, full of Leftist names and addresses/phone numbers. Considering previous events in Leeds, how fascists got hold of this information is of interest. The fascists provide an explanation, but more about how they got hold of details theyhaven't printed. According to the Northern Front "nearly all the personal details of the reds produced in Northern Front are from sources in Leeds". [15] As well as Leeds, information on selected Bradford enemies was printed. As the bulletins go on, the story develops and surmise/speculation turns into hard fact. Issue 1 (as I call it: only one has a number on it and that's false!) remarks that "stupidly staff at the {Bradford} Resource Centre (who never expected Nationalists to visit their 'establishment') had their membership lists on public display. We hear nationalists spent up to two weeks happily copying all their most vital addresses down before they were rumbled" (p.2). On this reading, staff were merely slightly remiss at allowing this to happen. That it took fascists two weeks to gather such information doesn't point to collusion between the centre and the fascists. In any case, if you are running a community centre (as opposed to the Press Complaints Commission or Hitler's bunker) encouraging members of the public you may not know to use the service is what it's all about. By the next issue of Northern Front I have seen, entitled 'Anarchists co-operate with Bradford's police' there was reference to misplaced keys and "good old-fashioned nationalist harrassment" of visitors to the 1 in 12 Club. Also there was talk of keys having been 'misplaced' by a Committee member, but I take this to mean straightforward theft. In what is probably the third Northern Front, (although misleadingly numbered 7 & distributed June 1997) the story of how the information was obtained hasn't changed signifcantly. "Scum at the AFA Bradford Resource Centre have pissed off their comrades by letting their membership lists pass into nazi hands". (p.1)

By the July 1997 'Special Bulletin' edition of Northern Front the story was significantly modified. The person running the Bradford Centre was now described as a "long time AFA activist and police informer". This person "deliberately allowed nationalists access to his membership files...it is inconceivable to think that [a] long time AFA activist would not recognise top nationalists wo spent up to 2 weeks walking around the centre, the membership files were left in an open box on a table allowing nationalists to take handfuls, photocopy and then replace them". Even though each edition of Northern Front is supposedly produced by different people, this is still a significant change. Implausible. If the staff at the centre consciously allowed fascists to take the information, why did it take 2 weeks? Why didn't the AFA activist walk out and allow the Nazi to take membership files and not bring them back as in the Northern Star case? In the absence of evidence, apart from the possible naivete of an AFA member not recognising a presumably well known local fascist, and given how the story changed after the fact the charge of collusion has to be dismissed. My conclusion will no doubt be greeted with fury in various quarters - but the reasons are clear. Indeed it is disingenuous of Northern Front's authors to congratulate themselves on not having fallen for the Tony White/Northern Star scam of printing hit-lists when issue 3 prints address details of 57 people! I have said it before, and I'll say it again - hit-lists are as reprehensible when issued by fascists as bySearchlight. The fact Searchlight publish such information in their own magazine, or get assets like Hepple & Dave Roberts/Daphne Liddle or White to arrange it, without a word of criticism or complaint from the media does not make the publication of hit-lists by anybody, whether fascists or anti-fascists acceptable.

A TRANSATLANTIC CONNECTION?

In June 1997 matters took yet another violent turn. Amongst fascists in Yorkshire there is often vicious infighting, such as the classic brawl at the Halifax NSA meeting 26/8/95. According to the Northern Front 'Special Bulletin' (July 1997) long-time Leeds fascist Sid Carthew was targeted by a fire-bomb, on the morning of 17/6/97, a few hours before the laughable 'Cook Report' programme on the BNP was screened [16]. The motive put forward as to why Carthew was attacked is certainly plausible. His testimony was used by James Pepper, lawyer for the late James Earl Ray, (probably) falsely accused of the murder of Martin Luther King. Pepper's book on the case 'Orders To Kill' says Carthew met a mysterious gun-runner called Raoul (whose existance is crucial to Earl Ray's defence) by chance in a Montreal bar. Carthew is one of four sources corroborating Pepper's case that Earl Ray was involved in gun-running, so his evidence is important, if not crucial. [17]. The book didn't mention that Carthew is a BNP member and sometime Organiser and even back in the 1960s was a racist sympathiser, something surely relevant to a racist killing.

This omission of Pepper's was seized upon by Searchlight as a pretext for rubbishing the book in January 1996. The article's purpose was transparent - an errand run for the FBI to get them off the hook. Martin Luther King's family, the people with most interest in the matter, have supported Pepper's call to reopen the enquiry, as too has the Reverend Jesse Jackson - rather more credible figures than trash like Searchlight/the FBI [18]. Thankfully this request was recently granted by UA Attorney General Janet Reno (27/8/98), even if limited in scope. Searchlight concluded their hatchet-job with a revealing statement that "Pepper's analysis, focusing blame on the state rather than the nazis, serves only to let them off the hook for whatever role they may have played in this heinous crime" (p.6) If you substitute the word Searchlight for Pepper, and swap around the words nazis and state, a perfect summary of where they are coming from.

From the above, it is certainly possible Carthew's house was attacked for a transatlantic motive. US ruling circles have sought to place their own people in positions of power in the Labour party, as in the 'British American Project'[19]. Thus there is no reason why the FBI wouldn't contemplate dirty tricks in the UK on a street level. Attacking activists and producing dummy documents hand over fist was a feature of the FBI's own COINTELPRO initiative [20] never wound up, merely continued in a different form. So the attack on Carthew could have been inspired by some transatlantic agenda.

WHO ATTACKED CARTHEW?

There are four possible candidates for carrying out the firebomb attack. They are the FBI or their direct agents, Searchlight, local AFA activists and fascists themselves. Linked with the fire-bombing is a supposed communique issued by those responsible Northern Cunts, accompanied by a one page document entitled 'Paramilitary Red Commando'. Careful examination of both indicate they are poor forgeries, in no way the Leftist product they purport to be. Taking that as given for the moment, various possible perpetrators will be looked at in turn.

SEARCHLIGHT ARSONISTS?

The Searchlight organisation, or 'team' as they call themselves, have to be strong suspects, given the proven role of their public (magazine) face in a FBI propaganda campaign against Pepper. Their response to Northern Front alleging they had a hand in it was hardly robust, merely describing it as a "childish dirty tricks" and said if Carthew is Earl Ray's "best witness" the "right-wing murdering rat will end his days in jail" [21]. Are Searchlight capable of carrying out such an attack, or having dupes under their control carry out such an attack? Unquestionably. Their first star asset Dave Roberts (consort of the charming Daphne Liddle) was caught red-handed about to fire-bomb an Indian restaurant in Birmingham, and staff member Manny Carpel apprehended by police after an arson attack in Sussex. [22].

Searchlight's usual role, however is plausibly deniable incitement and facilitation. So is it likely Searchlight were involved in this particular case? On current evidence the answer has to be no. While it made sense for the FBI to use a disinformation conduit and media agenda- setting magazine like Searchlight to scorn Pepper's book - damage limitation - a physical attack is something else. There is no way the FBI would entrust an important operation like physical witness intimidation to low grade pimp/errand-boy like Gable. His notorious unreliability, and the marked leakiness of the organisation surrounding him makes this a non-starter. The bulletin claims the attack on Carthew was preceded by Ku Klux Klan stickers being plastered over the area, and KKK daubed on Carthew's house and surrounds. The now deceased English KKK seemed to have as few members in Yorkshire as elsewhere.

It is suggestive, certainly, that at that very moment Searchlight Special Branch and the Cook report were hyping the Klan from Land's End to John O'Groats, as featured in the last NFB. However, due to Griffin's resistance to being set up, the Cook Report screening was so eagerly awaited by various people on all sides, so isn't conclusive of anything. I don't think the FBI, however incompetent and in crisis they might be, would dream of using clowns like Searchlight for witness intimidation.

When it comes to dummy documents such as the 'Paramilitary Red Commando' Searchlight are experts editor Gable probably fell out of his cradle doing it [23]. There obviously has to be a possibility the Searchlight gang were involved in the fire-bombing and subsequent communique. However, despite powerful media and secret state contacts, Searchlight are not clever or reliable enough to undertake this type of operation. While they have a death-grip monopoly on most TV documentaries, and outposts of influence like Radio 4, there are less and less print-media stories (apart from free adverts in the Guardian and Independent.) They are increasingly a laughing-stock, a fact as noticeable to overseas observers like the FBI as people in the UK. I may be wrong about their non-involvement here, and welcome hard evidence ot the contrary. Searchlight not taking part wouldn't preclude a state operation - the White affair would hardly inspire the secret state to routinely inform Searchlight of such things.

WHAT ABOUT THE FBI THEMSELVES?

Assuming the FBI did not want to get Carthew sorted out, the actions described hardly seem wise. The FBI are no amateurs, having perpetrated a massacre at WACO, culminating in a horrific fire, in front of TV cameras and got away with it in 1993. The ineptitude of Carthew's assailants, merely throwing a petrol bomb at the wrong car (his daughter's) hardly seems up to FBI standards. Why bother sending a crew over and stop at such a half-hearted attack?

The Northern Front bulletin tries to make something of the police taking 30 minutes to arrive, hinting at possible collusion with the arsonists. Little should be read into this - I have personal experience [24] of recent shootings in separate cities where police took over two hours to arrive. Crime affecting ordinary working class people is, as those of us who live in working class areas know, something the police have no interest in. 30 minutes seems a good response time to me, especially as it was 2am (club chucking out time). Furthermore, it would be highly unusual for any state agency (British or foreign) to inform the local plod about any illegal act in advance. Need to know and all that.

ARE AFA PARAMILITARY RED COMMANDOS?

The Northern Front 'Special Bulletin' states the 'Paramilitary Red Commando' was Huddersfield AFA. They produce no real evidence for this, other than speculating the "bulletin claiming responsibility for the attack could have been produced in the Bradford anti-fascist resource centre" (p.1) Certainly it could have been - or anywhere else. This isn't evidence, merely assertion.

Before examining this in detail, what might be a hypothetical AFA motive? The fascist answer would be to provoke local fascists into launching a counter-strike against anti-fascists and other 'soft' targets, using information already gathered from the Bradford Resource Centre. This would parallel the Northern Star case, but with information printed locally rather than nationally. It might explain the fact that despite Searchlight being sold in the Centre, people featured in its pages (such as Appleyard) were not recognised early enough. However matching faces to photographs isn't something I would expect Resource Centre workers to spend time doing unless the persons concerned were behaving aggressively. Also, I have already disposed of the fascist claim they were given the information from inside sources at the Centre. Therefore in the absence of an overall game plan there was no strategy for the firebombing and communique to fit into. In any case, the Northern Front was already in production, so the fascists can't credibly off-load blame like that.

Ironically, the item Northern Front states points most strongly to the involvement of Huddersfield AFA doesn't do any such thing. This is the Northern Cunts document sent to various PO Boxes in the North. It mentions the attack on Carthew's home, and is supposedly anti-fascist in origin. Yet there is no way it reads like a genuine anti-fascist production. The title 'cunts' is, in these politically correct times, not credible as something put out by such sources. Some language sounds anti-fascist - e.g. the reference to identifying Klan members by 'soiled bedsheets and hoods". Other phrases are unbelievable like a self-description of Huddersfield anti-fascists as "Brave Red Warriors". Classic fascist language, accompanied by a threat to local fascist Kevin Watmough that "we may have to shoot him just to silence his mad nazi rantings" [25]. Not AFA rhetoric - cracks about introducing fascists to the pavement certainly, but I have never seen a reference to shooting people in any AFA document. Another thing to make me doubt is the only two address details given are Sid Carthew's and Ian Wilson's (Dewsbury), older BNP members seen by some local Nazis as past it.

A further factor suggesting the document wasn't Leftist is the ludicrous self-description as the 'Paramilitary Red Commando'. A name virtually unthinkable for Leftists because of similarities with the Ulster Loyalist Red Hand Commando, a Loyalist paramilitary force founded in 1972 and later merged with the UVF, a cover-name still used for various actions from time to time. While the fascist image of all AFA members as Republican sympathisers is caricature, any AFA member would be aware of the similarity of the names - a non-starter then. Especially as the communique describes the 'Red Hand of Ulster' as neo-nazi propaganda. There is a magazine called the Red Hand widely distributed amongst fascist circles, but it hails from Airdrie, and is hard-line Loyalist not Nazi. Finally, the promise to "Execute Any Person Suspected Of Involvement In The Distribution Of Neo-Nazi Propaganda" is equally unlikely - not AFA policy, and silly to advertise even if it were. If those attacking Carthew were responsible for this communique, I hardly see how it would help the cause of dealing with him. Why would people who intend to 'Execute' Carthew warn "Sid has a large dog" - wouldn't they advise (themselves!) to use a silencer? Laughable.

The Northern Front alleges that accompanying the 'Paramilitary Red Commando' communique were "photos of shotguns, grenades and other weapons". One of the photos had been used before by Searchlight mole and police informer Tony White when he launched his "Revolutionary Action Force - RAF". If they are right that must mean they had seen them before, perhaps White distributed them? Or maybe they were taken from his home/dust-bin by the 'counter-intelligence unit' involved in gathering material for the 'White Lies' pamphlet? White certainly boasted about access to weapons - but would it really be wise for an AFA group (even if not Leeds) to use such photos traceable back to him?

Analysis of 'Northern Cunts' and the 'Paramilitary Red Commando' leads me to think there is no way AFA was involved. A counter-argument is the communique is so unbelievable it was meant to look like fascists trying to be anti-fascists. Why would anti-fascists produce such an implausible text? Far easier, surely, to fabriacate an apparently fascist document, to put opponents off the scent. After all, there's no shortage of fascist groups who have it in for each other.

FASCISTS THE MOST LIKELY CULPRITS

Another scenario could fit the known facts more easily - state assets among fascist ranks without help from the other side, implementing a proactive programme of escalating politcal violence. Or even fascists acting the same way for palpable political reasons. Either way, the attempt to falsely smear anti-fascists as involved in this enterprise could be seen as a fairly clever attempt at an intoxicating smoke screen.

This seems closer the mark than blaming anti-fascists. Interestingly, especially given much information in Northern Front refers to students in Leeds, the University newspaper Leeds Student for 7/6/96 had a sensationalist article fingering Appleyard as somebody who "over the last two years has regularly been seen entering Leeds University Union in an attempt to collect names and phone numbers of left-wing students". The main source quoted in the article was Searchlight team member Nick Lowles, using his pseudonym of Peter Brighton, which makes the article suspect - but not necessarily untrue in every detail. Another local fascist, Arthur Bentley, an ex-Third Way member, is put forward by Searchlight as having possibly had a hand in the Northern Front. Unlikely, but not impossible: although such a scam seems rather too complicated for him.

HELPING POLICE WITH THEIR ENQUIRIES?

Having dismissed claims Bradford anti-fascists were involved in the theft of information from their own centre, or fire-bombing/subsequent communique, there is one final matter. Collaboration with local Special Branch/Inspector Keith Fixter. Rumours are flying around about this, at present only rumours. A reliable source has suggested that during the 1997 May Festival in Bradford there was some sort of low level police surveillance operation, to prevent the 1 in 12 Club being attacked by local fascists, with co-operation from those involved, at least to the extent of passing the police selected CCTV footage. Relaible as my source is in terms of integrity, their information is not based on direct personal experience, so cannot be taken as hard fact. That similar allegations have been repeated in the Northern Front bulletin means virtually nothing. It is in the fascist interest to divert attention from their own attacks on anarchists/anti-fascists.

I am not saying there was anti-fascist/Special Branch collaboration, merely seeking to ask questions publicly because attempts to get to the bottom of this matter have made little progress. Three different Festival-goers have told me they saw no hint of any working relationship with the police. Therefore, if the above was all there was to go on, it would probably not be worth putting in print, even as speculation. Although it must be remembered the gist of it has already been put in print by Searchlight, even if to deny it (see below). But a couple of other things make it worth exploring the matter. First is the undeniable fact that throughout the 1990s, as Red Action have pointed out, Searchlight have been very influential in Yorkshire, thoroughly compromising the independence and integrity of Leeds AFA. The AFA statement dissolving Leeds and Huddersfield branches branches divulged their representatives had"failed to carry out their responsibilities in the Northern Network and have refused to participate in the national AFA structures or abide by agreed decisions". [26]. Searchlight accounts of anti-fascist activity in Yorkshire they approve of (the only sort they report) contain constantr references to joint actions with police. In April 1994 they spoke of a "large scale plain clothes police operation" (p.3). This would inevitably involve Special Branch. Perhaps due to criticism of local supporters, recent references to Yorkshire, and particularly Bradford, are more coy. Their July 1997 issue had this to say of the thefts. "While some anti-fascist activists are taking very seriously indeed the nazis capture of personal details and their reproduction in local hate sheets, and have been trying to prevent a repeat, others have gone off at a tangent and started accusing a long-time anti-fascist in the area of being an agent of the state. One can only wonder who put that idea into their hands". (p.10) There are two relevant things here. First, the admission some Bradford anti-fascists fear collusion with local politcial police. Stalinist in method as well as orientation, Searchlight will only have mentioned this because anti-fascist discontent locally is substantial - otherwise they'd blame it on fascist malcontents posing as anti-fascists. Secondly, a favourable talk of those "trying to prevent a repeat" in the same sentence as, and therefore connected in some way, to the accusation of 'being an agent of the state'. Matters are not spelt out fully, but given Searchlight is an organ of disinformation rather than information, this isn't surprising.

One thing is certain - Appleyard is facing various charges over violent attacks on local anti-fascists, including an assault with a hammer and an alleged stabbing threat. He seems to be on so many charges, so often, that it is diffcult to keep tack of them. One, still pending, is for writing/distributing an issue of the Northern Front: the same issue naming Inspector Fixter as the contact for two local anti-fascists. The charge in this case is one of witness intimidation, both by the Northern Front and directly. The search warrant for Appleyard's premises in August 1997 was signed by Fixter. This isn't in itself proof of collusion between Fixter and those named in the bulletin. It does show Fixter takes an operational interest in politically motivated crimes in the West Yorkshire area, and local anti-fascists have used the courts. Which raises an issue that will have occurred pages ago to liberal readers - what does it matter if the courts are used? Some readers will not see it as untoward if local anti-fascists have co-operated with the police. I do.

BACK TO BASICS

This is not a merely academic matter. It isn't for me, and I have no doubt anti-fascists in Bradford, like Leeds before them, have been subjected to a vicious unprovoked and totally unjustifiable campaign of violence, threats and intimidation from fascist thugs, over a long period. It is not even a temptation for liberals like the Anti-Nazi League to run to the police for politcal protection, they do it naturally. Inasmuch as some of those involved in the Bradford affair were AFA members, a higher set of rules applies.

To recall historical precedent first - in the two years before the Nazis took power in Germany, they were banned in various parts of Germany 30 times: yet this had no harmful effect on their seizure of power. If there is a ground swell of support for a fascist group, then a high percentage of their supporters have traditionally come from within the state apparatus. On the rare occasions fascists projected themselves as being 'outside and gainst the state' as with Codreanou's Iron Guard in Rumania, they got crushed. This point hasn't been lost on most UK fascists, who while spouting extravagent anti-state rhetoric from time to time, have usually, when the chips are down, made their peace with the state, from Mosley on. Nobody seriously doubts John Tyndall has frequent meetings with Special Branch, and I understand Special Branch in Yorkshire make regular (even if not always scheduled) trips to see local BNP Organisers. This doesn't mean the BNP either nationally or locally is 'run by' Special Branch, merely that there is a working relationship between them: whether it has helped or hindered the BNP isn't quite the point. That such visits to 'key players' on the far right happen is confirmed by a recent article in the BNP's Spearhead. It chronicled the arrival of two local SB officers at the home of a key National Democratic Party member (Steve Edwards) about to defect to the BNP. That they attempted to pressure him isn't surprising - I find it more significant that he actually let them into his home to discuss politcs. [27].

The political police are thus very interested in establishing working relationships with both fascists and anti-fascists in any given area, Yorkshire included. What they need is a pretext, a lever to enable them to make inroads: and politcal violence is one of those ways in. The first AFA Organiser's Handbook had these words to say on such matters, as wise now as they were then (1986). "On no account allow yourself to be drawn into any sort of 'consultative' relationship directly with the local police. Any apparent short-term gains from too close a relationship with the police will ALWAYS backfire... The police will always abuse any apparently friendly relationship you develop by using it top gain information on Left activists" (p.3) The Handbook went on to say "When appro-priate where information is available about, say a serious firebombing, then there is nothing wrong in passing it to the police. Be very careful not to be drawn into acting as police grasses when doing this. The chances are that local fascists are also passing information about you to the Special Branch. In most cases a campaign by AFA with the local community is nearly always the best way of dealing with racist attacks rather than expecting the police to act" (p.4)

Special Branch/police are not neutral forces, there to help in the event of violence. Help will be available - but at a price. Any information passed to the local Special Branch it must be assumed is in principle available to MI5. Both Special Branch and MI5 have their own agendas in any given situation, which might well dictate the escalation of politcal violence.

This is where Searchlight are of great use to SB/MI5 and the other agencies they pimp for, acting as a conduit/interface between anti-fascists and the political police. They make no secret of their dedication in principle to collboration with the police. Not only was editor Gable formerly employed giving lectures to police cadets at Hendon before they found him to be too much of a joke, their 'Community Handbook' has a whole section on the subject. It states the Searchlight gang's strong belief in "multi-agency projects...one positive sign has been the amount of Searchlight's material that is found in the training materials sent out by the Home Office for police recruits" (Section 9:6) for example. This subject I have dealt with elsewhere, suffice to say any anti-fascist groups who work withSearchlight are collaborating with the state - exactly why AFA nationally proscribed them, as a direct result of their malign influence in Yorkshire.

Inasmuch as the Bradford Centre receives council funds, any attacks on the premises have to be reported to the police, for legal/insurance reasons. It will also have made sense to install security cameras, the existance of which is confirmed by Searchlight. {28} Would police be interested in footage/personal details of all visitors to the Centre? Certainly. Whether they have got information on anti-fascists, in the guise of looking for fascists is the big question. An answer may well come out in the various trials, especially of Appleyard, that are due to take place. Those trials may provide information about Appleyard at least as interesting as that on others. Hopefully, readers in Yorkshire will consider this matter worthwhile enough to attend the cases and report the outcome.

MORE RECENT EVENTS IN BRADFORD

As an illustration of how complex the situation in Bradford is, consider one final development. This is the short-lived intervention by the English Nationalist Movement (ENM) in the area, alluded to in a widely distributed (anonymous) 'Urgent Message' of March 1998 issued by 'The Heaton Defence Group'. According to this message,'Heaton in the Bradford West ward is a white enclave surrounded by a heavy Asian population. This is where the action is." The authors issued a once in a life time offer to "all genuine racial nationalists who are serious about the cause to move into the Bradford District". They went on to say (in what is possibly an understatement) "There's never a dull moment here. Something is always going on!". The ENM (now renamed the National Revolutionary Fraction) was attacked, though not mentioned by name "for security reasons". (p.2) This was because they had allegedly "done a runner when things came on top with the police" indeed the Bradford project "is now under the surveillance of Special Branch" and no doubt other agencies - why have a political laboratory without using it for experiments?

I draw attention to this because aside from the attack on the ENM, who definitely had a presence in the area recently [29] it contains a curious claim that "we were prepared to work with your group alone, so please don't use the BNP as a scapegoat for your 'hit and run' antics." Yet the issue of Bradford Nationalist (local BNP publication) for the very same month, seems to indicate a remarkably similar typeface and manner of arguing. Interestingly, there is a strong call to close down (guess what) the Bradford Resource Centre. As Alice would say, curiouser and curiouser.

Bradford BNP seem to be quite active, producing a monthly bulletin capitalising on local themes, acting as a magnet for BNP activists in Yorkshire and beyond. I suspect the consequences of that upsurge for local anti-fascists and ethnic minorites will not be favourable. Of one thing we can be sure - events in Yorkshire will continue to require careful observation.

This story is updated in NFB issue 8 'Redwatch Revisited'--click on the NFB shop icon above to purchase that issue.

FOOTNOTES

{1} pages 42-46.
{2} Volume 3 issue 1, pages 5/9/10 http://www.redaction.org/anti-fascism/secrets.html The AFA proscription of Searchlight is on-line at http://www.hughdenman.com/oldsites/ bogeypage/anarchy7
{3} Attitude Spring 1994 p.2
{4} Yorkshire on Sunday 29/5/94
{5}Here & Now 1996 issue 16/17 p.31
{6} June-July 1998 p.9
{7} see chronology in Yorkshire Evening Post 20/9/94
{8} no date: but December 1994
{9} April 1994 issue p.3
{10} Green Anarchist 38 Spring 1995 p.12
{11} letter postmarked 28/7/95
{12} Attitude Summer 1995 p.10
{13} Red Action June/July 1998 p.5
{14} see Green Anarchist issue 40 February 1996 p.25 'A Bosnia of Consequence' for a detailed refutation of 'A Bosnia of Trivia'. See also Here & Now issue 16/17 1996 & the response by me and others in Here & Now issue 18 1997 p.42-44. That Here & Now granted right of reply is a big point in their favour--only spoiled by their refusal to defend themselves or justify earlier lies.
{15} 'Special Bulletin' July 1997 p.2
{16} I say laughable because it was a failed attempt to entrap Griffin into illegal activity, which degenerated into a shock-horror expose revealing astounding facts like NF members are racist, and boosted Griffin's image as a serious contender for power within the far right. It even clearly allowed him to articulate his racist message, unchallenged, at the end of the show. I'll return to this another time.
{17} see 'Orders to Kill' Carroll & Graf/New York 1995 p.343-44,375,430
{18} see Daily Telegraph 17/2/97 & The Guardian 6/4/98 respectively. Other coverage of the matter is contained in The Observer 24/9/95 (Andrew Billen), Daily Telegraph 24/4/98 (David Sapsted) and The Guardian 25/4/98 (Jonathan Steele). All three journalists deserve credit for covering this story.
{19} see Robin Ramsay 'Prawn Cocktail Party: The Hidden Power Behind New Labour' Vision/London 1998
{20} Ward Churchill, Jim Vander Wall 'The Cointelpro Papers' South End Press 1990
{21} Searchlight August 1997 p.3
{22} see details in my 'Searchlight For Beginners' (1996)
{23} his birth certificate was in the name of that rather more well known practitioner of celluloid fiction Gerald Clarke Gable.
{24} Not as a victim some will be sad to hear
{25} Watmough wasn't even in the area at the time
{26} Fighting Talk issue 19 April 1998 p.6: http://www.hughdenman.com/oldsites/bogeypage/anarchy7
{27}Spearhead 351 May 1998 p.5. The relationship between C18 and the state I will look at next NFB
{28} Searchlight July 1997 p.10
{29} As illustrated by the 'How Much Further' leaflet sourced back to PO Box 248 Bradford in 1995

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 2" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

 

KKK UK--THE COMING OF THE PSEUDO-KLANS?

INTRODUCTION

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 [1]. 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 [2]. 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" [3]. 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 [4]. 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 [5]. 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 [6], 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 [7].

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" [8].

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" [9]. 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 [10]. 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 [11]. 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" [12]. 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.

UPDATE (26/10/06)

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 [13] 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 [14]. 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.

FOOTNOTES

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.

CONCLUSION

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?

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 1" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

 

ACADEMICS & THE BNP: NIGEL COPSEY & ALAN SYKES REVIEWED

This article first appeared in Lobster magazine issue 49 Summer 2005 p.30-32

Review of 'Contemporary British Fascism The British National Party and the quest for legitimacy' Nigel Copsey Palgrave/Macmillan 2004, £47.50, hardback and 'The Radical Right in Britain' Alan Sykes Palgrave/Macmillan, 2005, £16.99, paperback by Larry O'Hara

Modern British fascism has been poorly served by academic research, especially when it comes to coverage of the last two decades. These books attempt to address this deficiency, Sykes the more successfully.

Copsey's book has a narrow recent focus, the history, ideology and prospects of the BNP from 1982 to the present. While at times chaotic, and describing events more than analysing them, Copsey's book is useful as much BNP history has never before been scrutinised in this detail; and thus, while partial, this book can serve as a timeline check for future researchers. He makes copious use of primary sources, both those in the Warwick University Modern Records Centre and others possessed by Searchlight and its satellites. Copsey rightly focuses on individual areas where the BNP has broken through at different times: the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (1993) Oldham (2001) and Burnley (2002 onwards). He helpfully draws attention to parallels between the French Front National's organisation and strategy and similar initiatives in the BNP. This may be obvious but it has hitherto eluded most commentators.

Thus far, the book, as described, has considerable strengths. However, the text has major flaws which derive from Copsey's use of propagandistic sources as though they are respectable academic ones; and a related, if surprising, weakness, when it comes to considering BNP ideology and its provenance. The propaganda source referred to is Searchlight magazine, incessantly cited by Copsey as authoritative on fascist activity, strategy or simply factual developments. I have shown repeatedly elsewhere [1] why this is not acceptable [2]. Over and above multiple factual errors, Searchlight's approach is fundamentally schizophrenic: on the one hand telling us what a threat the BNP are, while simultaneously implying they are in terminal crisis and months if not weeks away from meltdown. Furthermore, to boost itself and its assets, history is constantly skewed by Searchlight to present its own personnel in a good light, exaggerating their contribution to everything except (of course) illegal activity. Copsey falls for this, absurdly doing what he accuses John Tyndall of: distorting history to give Searchlight operative Ray Hill a leading role in both founding the BNP (pp.23-4) and persuading Tyndall to ignore the 1983 overtures from the NF's Joe Pearce (p.29). Not only did the 'overtures' come from Tyndall, not Pearce, by Hill's own account he was winding down his (peripheral) involvement with the BNP by this time anyway [3]. The fact that Hill has already been shown (by myself in Lobster 24 and elsewhere) to have fabricated his main claim to fame, the 1981 Notting Hill 'bomb plot', means that, at the very least. Hill's version of anything should not be accepted at face value. By 'rewriting history' like this to elevate a minor racist thug, Copsey seriously undermines his book's claim to academic credibility. Copsey also reports, without proper qualification, other allegations by Searchlight and its proxies, such as the contention that Nick Griffin once had a 'gay affair' with former NF 'Activities Organiser' Martin Webster (p.111). Crucially, Copsey does not counterbalance allegations from such quarters by reference to other views, even when readily available. For example he recounts (p.67) the highly questionable Searchlight/World in Action view of the C18-MI5 relationship as though it was the only one. Importing into academic discourse the propaganda output of Searchlight magazine gravely hampers what at first sight seems the book's strong suit: taking ideology seriously. This fault is amplified because, unlike Martin Walker's classic text on the NF, the prose and presentation is dull and, to use a favourite Copsey word, 'ostensibly' academic.

In Searchlight's world-view, the BNP and NF before them, as well as every other fascist group are Nazis. This desire to impose a preordained ideological template onto reality is shared to a large extent by Copsey. Take, for example, the ideology of John Tyndall, subjected to some interesting scrutiny. As Copsey shows (not that he puts it so circumspectly), there are definitely resonances between BNP policy documents and the Nazi era and ideology (pp.10-12 and 85-6). However, if, as Copsey claims, Tyndall is a Nazi, why exactly did the British Movement or, even better, the archetypal Nazis. Combat 18, differ from him so? Copsey's treatment of the BNP-C18 struggle describes conflict but does not ideologically explain it and ends weakly by advancing a version of the Searchlight conspiracy theory (pp.65-68), that C18's Charlie Sargent was a Special Branch asset [4].

Tyndall, however, is yesterday's man, and the ideology of the BNP under Nick Griffin deserves most current attention. Copsey's understanding is hindered by his use of the flawed model/definition advanced by Roger Griffin of fascism being a palingenetic revolutionary form of ultra-nationalism. Despite bitchy remarks about Roger Griffin 'overselling' his product (p. 80) and the word palingenesis having certainly 'gone the rounds within the academic circles of fascist studies' (p.81), Copsey tamely concludes that 'we will hold fast with Griffin, that he currently offers the most heuristically useful theory is beyond doubt' (p.82). You do not need the genius of Kierkegaard to realise that nothing intellectual is ever beyond doubt. Indeed, refinement of academic theories does not necessarily mean improvement - as instanced by the way Stanley Payne's views in this field have been by-passed to a large extent. In 1980 Payne revolutionised 'fascism studies' by developing a tripartite definition of fascism in which its features are classed under three headings: negations (what they were against); ideology and goals (programmatic matters); and style/organisation (such as symbolism and presentation). Under furious attack, from Roger Eatwell and Roger Griffin in particular, Payne drastically simplified his definition to a one sentence offering acceptable to them: that fascism is a 'form of revolutionary nationalism for national rebirth based on a primarily vitalist philosophy, is structured on extreme elitism, mass mobilisation and the Fuhrerprinzip, positively values violence as an end as well as means and tends to normalise war and/or the military virtues' [5]. Payne simplifying his earlier nuanced definition wasn't a sign of academic progress but of debate being dumbed-down. What this subject needs is a recognition of complexity, not the imposition of banality [6]. The importance of the recognition of complexity, and rejection of simplicity in the matter of definitions can be shown by reference to the work of Roger Griffin himself. As I showed, Roger Griffin's definition is hardly based (as he claims) on scrupulous examination of empirical fascist reality; indeed is replete with basic and repeated factual errors concerning British fascism in particular of such a grave nature as to call into question his general definition [7]. Griffin's definition of fascism is, therefore, much less serviceable than his criteria for assessing fascist strategy and leadership, which Copsey would have done far better adopting.

Political soldiers

Which brings us to the near fatal weakness of Copsey's book: his total lack of understanding of the 1980s National Front history and ideological experimentation from whence came Nick Griffin. Speaking of the 1986-90 'political soldier' NF he states, 'other than recruiting an elite corps of hard-core political activists, the strategy of these "political soldiers" lacked clarity' (p.36). I disagree. While Copsey half-heartedly describes some 1980s initiatives such as throwing out biological separatism, forging links with Black separatists and ideological sympathy for Libya (p.44), he misses out far more of relevance to today: discussions of technology, Green politics, economic policy, the role of front groups, state repression and, indeed, strategy in the grand sense. It is Griffin's impressive ability to learn from that era, including mistakes made, that marks him out as such a dangerous (and non-Nazi) figure. Copsey sees none of this because - to re-coin one of his own phrases - the half-trained lazy eye is unwilling to look. Instead, Copsey departs from academic analysis by using fatuous words like 'incredulously' to describe what they believed, or 'Loony Front' as a label. Such ideological and historical amnesia means Copsey is far too willing to see ideological/tactical shifts as always mimicking French developments (e.g. representing racism in cultural not biological terms p.114) when the roots are closer to home. It was the 1986-90 NF that pioneered 'cultural racism', for example. Equally, Copsey does not seem to grasp how Griffin's early 1990s sojourn in the Internationa! Third Position (ITP) helped further shape his ideology, in particular the importance of making the BNP and its subsections economically viable [8].

The crux of the book is Copsey's (correct) assertion the BNP are still fascist, though he doesn't establish this as clearly for the Griffin BNP as for theTyndall regime (up to 1999). Instead, Copsey repeats Griffin's claims at various times that he still believes in the BNP's revolutionary ideology [9]. In place of rigorous and detailed examination of current (Griffin) BNP ideology, Copsey tells us 'the trained eye does not have to look too far to find evidence that Griffin's "new" BNP is not that different to the BNP of "old" ' (p.170). He draws attention to two 'ideal types' on the far right: 'revolutionary nationalist' and 'reformist authoritarian nationalist' (p. 78). He says Griffin's BNP is a 'classic case' of the former constructing a 'false front' to appear as the latter (p. 79). Elsewhere, he admits the BNP has 'worryingly' sought to use 'populist themes' (p.177). Despite asserting that the Griffin BNP remains 'revolutionary nationalist', Copsey is all at sea when it comes to apprehending the precise form this has taken. He states that 'Griffin does occasionally depart from Tyndall's ideological beliefs but his revisions merely take us back to NF radicalism in the 1980s' (p.170) - not realising that this admission holes his argument of Tyndall/Griffm BNP continuity beneath the waterline [10]

For the 1986-90 NF, and Griffin now, the term 'revolutionary nationalist' was in any case developed in opposition to neo-Nazism, this latter seen as an atavistic creed for losers. Copsey's position is this: Tyndall was a Nazi; Griffin hasn't changed the BNP 'ideological core'; therefore Griffin must be Nazi, too, even though most BNP members aren't. Unsurprisingly, when Copsey has to acknowledge Griffin's attacks on Nazism, he is a trifle irritated, referring to one such Griffin offering as having 'smacked of sheer hypocrisy' from a 'former Strasserite Nazi' (p.110). In fact, Griffin was a Third Positionist, not Strasserite; therefore on this score, at least, not hypocritical. The BNP is too serious a subject to be .approached in a blinkered manner ignoring all available evidence: yet while in his PhD Copsey referenced my detailed research on the 1980s published in Lobster, in this book it has disappeared from view. Hence, in part, his failure to grasp the significance of that period and how it relates to today's BNP.

Far easier than actually studying current BNP ideology is to merely state (falsely) of the Griffin regime that 'ideology is rareiy talked about in any real detail' (p.175). On the contrary, while ideology is rarely debated in detail, it is elaborated virtually every month in some nuance or other by Griffin, especially in Identity magazine [11]. When examining the complex and dangerous phenomenon that is the BNP, Copsey's ideological and historical blind spots are profoundly debilitating; no more so than in this Panglossian conclusion: 'In the final analysis....either the BNP will genuinely turn itself into a reformist "national populist" party (and thereby cease to be fascist) or it will surely return to the murky political backwaters from whence it came' (p.177). The choice is not that stark; and, as I have argued elsewhere [12], the Griffin BNP is a novel but still fascist hybrid that is seeking to transcend these simplistic polarities. In this respect, the 2005 BNP General Election manifesto, where the party describes itself as 'national populist' (p.54) indeed deserves the sort of detailed textual scrutiny Copsey has avoided for the Griffin regime, asserting that 'none of Griffin's "modernisation programme" envisaged modification to the party's ideological core' (p.175). Not only do I disagree, so do many Griffin critics inside and outside the BNP.

Copsey often repeats his supposed theoretical insight into the reasons for modern fascist success (or otherwise), the gaining of 'legitimacy' (p.147), while wondering why others do not accord this term the deference he thinks it deserves. But this concept is at best one essential part of an overall understanding, not a substitute for it. On its own it is merely a truism: parties gain support if their ideas are seen as 'acceptable'

A joy to read

If Copsey's book is highly uneven, and at times deeply frustrating, Sykes' book is a joy to read. As befits a historian (he has earlier written on Tariff Reform and the history of the Liberal Party), Sykes takes his task seriously: the 'focus is on the ideas' (p.1). Which makes it all the more impressive that he covers the entire 20th Century, including some of the smallest groups, right up to the present day. While at times I found Sykes' definition of 'Radical Right' confusing (pp.2-3) especially the inclusion of Joseph Chamberlain (pp.17-18), there is a delightful vignette on the pre-Great War figure of Willoughby de Broke (pp. 24-28) - new to me - a man whose stated views make John Tyndall seem like a flower-power enthusiast. Sykes has the ability to sum up salient ideological and strategic issues in few words, as in the careful examination of the dilemmas facing 'fringe patriots' in World War One and thereafter; relations with the Tories; and the twin tensions between social reform and nationalism and the interests of capital and labour. The chapter on Oswald Mosley is a fine distillation of what remains pertinent in his political trajectory, surpassed only by the exemplary consideration of Social Credit and Distributist ideology (pp.73-92). While Sykes perhaps overstates the ideological linkage between Distributism and 1980s NF 'Back to the Land' policies [13], this is an impressive contribution in itself.

As Sykes gets closer to the present day the quality of analysis does not flag [14]. The sensitive analysis of why the NF failed to break though in the 1970s, while not original, is certainly apposite; although the argument that late 1970s NF factionalism led to the Tories occupying their political space (p.114) perhaps confuses cause with effect. Sykes scores particularly well in that, unlike Copsey, he does not write off the 1980s, seeing NF attempts at constructing a post-imperial ideology as of great importance (p.116). He follows the consensus in labelling Fiore et al as Strasserites; whereas I still see the 1983-6 NF regime as a fragile coalition between genuine Strasserites and Evolians (like Derek Holland and Roberto Fiore), for whom Strasserism was a tactical feint [15]. Sykes clearly grasps the fact that 1986-90 (and indeed 1983-6) NF ideology and strategy was innovative (pp.125-7) and worth taking seriously; additionally tracing the evolution of some into the English Nationalist Movement, International Third Position, National Revolutionary Faction and finally National Anarchy. Sykes also draws readers attention to the small but important strand of BNP critics represented by the White Nationalist Party. All this when covering a vastly greater-period in significantly fewer pages than Copsey.

Again, unlike Copsey, Sykes is aware of important ideological differences between the Nazi CI8 and Tyndall's BNP, and covers the differing analyses of the phenomenon by the Searchlight coterie and myself in an exemplary fashion (pp.132-35) [16]. While necessarily constrained in terms of space, Sykes' coverage of the modem BNP is thought-provoking, all the more so because he does not exclude evidence for partisan reasons. His careful conclusion is a welcome contrast to Copsey:

"By retaining at least strong elements of Distributism and building up from below through community politics, the BNP has added another dimension to working within the system while seeking its radical alteration....The outlook of the Radical Right remains, as it was throughout the twentieth century, ideologically innovative" (p.151).

In conclusion, both books have something to offer, but whereas Sykes' can be taken neat, to properly put Copsey's effort in context requires a degree of intellectual and political alertness, as well as background knowledge most readers will not have. In some ways this is a pity: to repeat, Copsey has accessed some excellent written sources, even if he lacks the critical faculties to use them with discernment and discrimination. Almost despite himself, Copsey's text is littered with useful nuggets of information and statistics that competent researchers will be able to make use of. There is no real academic debate in this important subject and there should be. In that sense the quality of Sykes' research and Copsey's research materials will hopefully kick-start an improvement in standards. And about time too!

FOOTNOTES

1) For example in Lobster issues 23 24 & 25.
2) Copsey of all people should know this, as his book 'Anti-fascism in Britain' (Palgrave/Macmillan 2000) showed he is aware of the far more reliable Fighting Talk, the former Anti-Fascist Action publication.
3) Ray Hill with Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror (London; Grafton 1988, p.180)
4) The refined version, that CI8 was created by the secret state in the first place, Copsey spares readers. Yet, if true, it raises more interesting academic questions than he could begin to comprehend.
5) 'Fascism 1914-45', (UCL Press, 1995) p.14
6) My PhD proposed a modification but not rejection of Payne's original tripartite version. Larry O'Hara, 'Creating Political Soldiers? The National Front 1986-90', London University, 2001, pp.11-12 [accessible free by clicking the link on this page to the British Library thesis collection]
7) O'Hara (see note 6), pp.28-9 and 58-61
8) Certainly, Griffin was declared bankrupt in 1994, as Copsey points out (p.111), but the same never happened to Roberto Fiore, the ultimate strategic trailblazer in this field.
9) Most notably the Spring 1999 declaration in Patriot magazine before he became leader and membership bulletins just afterwards (p.123).
10) For given that his argument is that Tyndall's BNP were Nazi and Griffin hasn't changed the 'ideological core', by admitting Griffin is in fact making important changes to BNP ideology by importing his own 1980s ideas/beliefs, the 'purity', if you will, of the BNP's core ideology is being undermined.
11) See also example, the lengthy ideological article by Griffin on the BNP web-site December 2004 entitled "The Deadly Twins'.
12) For example in Notes From the Borderland 6, p.33.
13) I would suggest Darre and Evolianism as equally important.
14) Though he mistakenly has NF guru Richard Lawson being an NF Constitutional Movement member (p.115).
15) Speaking of Holland, Sykes accepting his claim to be 'against terrorism' (p.123) is as wide of the mark as Copsey's facile reportage of Roger Eatwell characterising the 1986-90 NF as 'proto-terrorist' (Copsey p.36). On the contrary, the 'political soldier' ideology had many effects on the NF, one of which was the development by Holland of what might be called (after Thomas Sheehan) the 'metaphysics of terror'; terrorism was not ruled out in principle, at some future date. Equally, because Copsey does not look at the ITP, he perhaps does not know that the 'Political Soldier' series by Holland ended up as a trilogy, the last even more religious than the second.
16) On CI8 and MI5 see my piece in Lobster 30 pp.28-9. [reproduced in this very section of the current web-site]

UK FASCIST BOMB PLOTS?

INTRODUCTION

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

THE RUMOURS

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 [1], or been fooled by Christopher Andrews' 'Authorised History of MI5' and other fables...

THE LECOMBER PLOT

Little covered outside NFB [2], 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).

ROBERT COTTAGE

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 [3].

MARTYN GILLEARD

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" [4]. That recruitment was intended can be gleaned from a sympathiser referring to Gilleard showing "nail-bombs on webcam" [5].

Consuming child porn (39,000 indecent images on his computer) might explain his entrapment [6]. 'Operation Koala', a worldwide swoop targeting users of an Italian based paedophile web-site had just moved into the arrest phase [7]. 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 [8].

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 [9]. 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" [10]. 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.

NATHAN WORRELL

Another BPP member, Nathan Worrell (34), was arrested on 24/1/08 at Grimsby (Lincolnshire) 52 miles from Goole [11]. 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 [12], 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" [13]. 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 [14].

NEIL LEWINGTON

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 [15].

MORE RECENTLY

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" [16]. 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 [17], 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 [18].

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" [19]. 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 [20].

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" [21].

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' [22]. 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 [23]. Would you?

FOOTNOTES

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
21) see 'Update on Philip Luty' 5/7/09 (Ken Holder) on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . and 'Refuse to bow, and they will make you' (Chip Saunders) 1/6/09 on www.freedomsphoenix.com (accessed 10/10/09)
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

A REVIEW FROM SPECTREZINE......

This review first appeared on Leftist site Spectrezine, and is definitely fair comment (aside from the characterisation of our production values!). The source is here http://www.spectrezine.org/reviews/precious9.htm

Review: Notes from the Borderland (edited and published by Larry O'Hara)
February 14, 2008 10:21 | Reviewed by Brian Precious

Is Notes from the Borderland (NFB) a magazine or a series of pamphlets? One could be forgiven for thinking the latter, since the first issue of this very substantial magazine came out in the Winter of 1997, and the latest issue, issue 8 , only came out last year. This has been the story all along for NFB readers, who have to wait approximately a year between issues, produced by Larry O'Hara (a regular contributor to Rob Ramsay's similar, now veteran, magazine Lobster) and the rest of the 'NFB Collective'. To what extent NFB is an offshoot of 'Lobster' this reviewer does not know. But NFB shares concerns with it's elder magazine in it's attempt to scrutinize the activities of the 'security services', their assets, and how they seek to maintain and project the power and privilege of the ruling class and the establishment,by various methods of subversion, infiltration, and manipulation of the agendas of progressive causes and movements.

From the outset, it has been clear that NFB has had no interest whatsoever in pandering to any mainstream aesthetic. NFB looks like it was produced on a shoestring by a bunch of anarchists, which is not a million miles from the truth.The front of NFB can either be a cartoon use of classic art - such as the first issue's use of Delacroix's 'Madame Liberté' - or more recently we have seen covers sporting a much more radical (not impossible!) version of the satirical covers used by Private Eye. Given that Larry O'Hara seems to view Private Eye as a source of semi-radicalism and security service disinformation, perhaps this is more than coincidence.

So is the annual release of the latest NFB worth the wait? Read on. The first issue of NFB is as good an introduction as any. It concentrates on news and investigations of various far-right and racist organisations, such as the International Third Position and those trying to export the Ku Klux Klan to the UK. It should be said from the beginning that NFB maintains that there is much more than meets the eye on the racist far-right,which NFB regards as a hot-bed of not only fascist but security service activity. Indeed, subsequently NFB has made a case that this is no surprise, given the usefulness of fascists to the secret state. (More on this below, when we come to the fascinating tale of -he whom NFB call- 'multi-party animal' Aidan Rankin, and the state-destabilisation of the UK Independence Party.)

Many on the left have had long experience, and longer suspicions of, the activities of state infiltrators and agents-provocateurs from demonstrations to picket lines to ordinary meetings of the local TU branch or CND. People who have become involved, for the first time, in such organisations have often had a rude and extremely disturbing awakening as to the kind of beast the British state and broader establishment really is, and the interests it really -and exclusively- serves. From the Gandalf trial to the experience of middle-England when involved in trying to stop live animal exports, the examples are numerous.

Enter Searchlight magazine. Suspicion of this magazine did not begin with NFB. But it should be pointed out that one of the very first articles to dissect Searchlight appeared more than 15 years ago in 'Lobster', written by one Larry O'Hara. NFB regard Searchlight as a 'honey trap' ie used to both attract and then spy on the left. Evidence for this began in Lobster a good few years ago, when it published the 'Gable Memorandum',in which Searchlight editor/founder confesses to years of spying on the left.

Issue 2 breaks the story of the NFB position on what it calls 'MI5 shyster' David Shayler, whose position, they say, does not add up - re his unwillingness to comment on ongoing state acts against dissidents and does he still say nothing on MI6?

Issue 3 investigates the strange aspects of soho nail-bomber David Copeland ie that the security services knew more than they let on and effectively did nothing while Copeland gave them the excuse to inflate their budgets.

Issue 4, from 2001-02, is the pièce de résistance for readers of Spectrezine.

In this issue, NFB gives us another lengthy and extremely well-researched article detailing many of the forces ranged against the left and other opponents of the pet-project of the British and European ruling classes: The European Union.

This superb article details not only the general way in which the state used it's assets on the far right to smear and discredit the UK Independence Party (UKIP), leading its founder, LSE academic Alan Sked, to withdraw, disillusioned, from politics, but also gives us a sidelight on how state assets work in the form of an analysis of a one Dr Aidan Rankin.

NFB declare that Rankin's career is so bizarre it would seem out of place in a Le Carre novel. Rankin has been a member of at least six political parties, from left to right: Labour,Tory,Albion Party, Third Way, Conservative Democratic Party and UKIP. Readers may recall an article in the New Statesman a couple of years ago, in which Rankin strongly protested the 'racism' of UKIP in order to politically discredit UKIP as much as possible. Well, here's what: Recall Third Way, of which Rankin is a former member. Third Way is a post-National Front grouping led by Patrick Harrington (is this the same Harrington who caused a scandal as a student for his fascist views?).What do you know, while a member of this far-right organisation, Rankin tried to move it's position from anti-EU to pro-EU, an attempt he has made in many if not all of the organisations of which he has been a member.

So precisely why is Rankin complaining about the alleged racism at UKIP when he himself was previously a member of a far-right organisation? More fundamentally, why has Rankin been all round the political houses, and why does he try to do the same thing in each house? Why does someone whose views on the EU fit with those of New Europe , then go and join UKIP?

Issue 5 continues with these themes and much more - including unearthing a secret Searchlight strategy document, written by leading Searchlight contributor Nick Lowles, on how to spread propaganda against the anti-EU movement, to 'influence and educate public opinion' by the 'drip flow of information'.

The full document is available for a couple of stamps, from the NFB address.

Issues 6,7 and 8 of NFB give us more of the same excellent in-depth coverage, all so exhaustively researched that NFB's opponents seem to know they are onto a loser if they try to take NFB on.Issue 8, the latest, features ex-MI5 head Eliza Manningham-Buller saying to her successor Jonathan Evans 'I'm sure you'll do as well as I did' , to which Evans replies 'That's what I'm afraid of'.

Give this unusual, committed magazine a try. It doesn't come out often, but it's worth the wait. All that research must surely take time!

Notes from the Borderland was reviewed by Brian Precious

A FASCIST VIEWPOINT - THESE NEO-NAZIS DON'T LIKE US?

You can't please everybody--nor would we want to. This review from 'Nationalist Week', e-bulletin of the British People's Party (whose membership features more than once in the issue 9 article about 'fascist plots', reproduced on this site), indicates the real animosity felt towards us by some creeps. Are we bothered? Not really....

NATIONALIST WEEK
No.180 - 31st August 2008

"If, by the instrument of governmental power, a people is being led toward its destruction,

then rebellion is not only the right of every member of such a people it is his duty."
Adolf Hitler

'Anti-Fascist researcher' Larry O'Hara, Class War and Antifa

The following article serves as a warning to make Nationalists aware of the unquestionable relationship between Larry O'Hara and the protagonists of 'Militant Anti-Fascism' (To you and me, that is the people that seek to kick our heads in) - The Anarchist Federation, Class War and it's front group Antifa.

Some people on the periphery of Nationalism, due to their naivety seek to sanitise Larry O'Hara and his role in attacking Nationalism. It will soon become clear that O'Hara not only supports these Organisations but also very probably shares intelligence with them.

If one takes a look at the Class War website, it will be seen that under the section for links there is a link to the Notes From The Borderland website that promotes the irregularly published conspiracy theorist red rag of the same name produced by O'Hara. Of course the link is reciprocated by O'Hara and he also supplies a link to the mainly Jewish run Lancaster Unity site. Here's what O'Hara has to say about Class War: 'Class War's website is hard-hitting and militant, just what we like. They are supportive of the NFB project and we are of them. Join their mailing list.' So, in other words, O'Hara freely admits he supports those that would use extreme violence and terror against Nationalism. Indeed one of the slogans used by Class War is 'By every means necessary'.

A quick perusal of the Class war Newspaper, 'Class War', issue number 94 of summer 2008, shows them gloating over an attack made on the BPP RV point at the London Victoria meeting held on Aril 19th just gone (Page 11 under the heading: 'In the area'). There is also an article on page two entitled 'Any Time, Any Place, Any Where', which gives a report on efforts made by Class War members using the Antifa front to attack BNP members in Oxford when both David Irving & Nick Griffin debated at Oxford University. On page fifteen of the same issue, there are a number of booklets for sale written by anti-fascists that reminisce about violence used in the past on Nationalists. Also to be had are issues 7 & 8 of 'Notes from The borderland'. On the same page various Antifa fund raising merchandise is advertised for sale from the same London Class War PO Box number - everything from stickers to t-shirts with such slogans as 'Antifa Hooligans'.

A link on the London Class War Site for Antifa reveals them to be at the hub of violent 'anti-fascist' terror and under Antifa's founding Statement can be read: 'We will not work with, accept information from nor pass information to the so-called anti-fascist magazine/organisation Searchlight...' Well, they don't really need Gable's info do they when they have a member with his very own Magazine who is in touch with various misguided Nationalists who for a whole host of reasons supply him with information on other Nationalists and Nationalist Organisations. Some of these reasons are that they are anti-Nick Griffin & Tony Lecomber, others are that they have a genuine wish to root the 'Rats & snitches' out of Nationalism.

Make no mistake, O'Hara is an enemy of the Nationalist Movement and his magazine serves the dual purposes of initiating psych-ops accusing some Nationalists of being plants and for intelligence gathering purposes. While we are all pointing the finger of accusation at each other the real plants carry on unnoticed. When one sups with the Devil one will need a very long spoon. You have been warned.

ES

THE BATTLE FOR BARKING (MORE 4 30/11/2010) REVIEWED

INTRODUCTION

This site, and the magazine we represent, have long been critical both of the British National Party (BNP) and the poor state of TV documentaries. Natural therefore, that we should have an opinion on a TV documentary covering the BNP in one of the 2010 UK General Election's most bitter fights--the struggle between the BNP & New Labour in Barking & Dagenham (East London). Elsewhere on this site we have outlined a strategy to counter the BNP, both generally and in Barking & Dagenham specifically (two separate articles, Anti-Fascism section). As time permits we will update the article on Barking/Dagenham which was written before the election--and in Notes From the Borderland issue 10 (forthcoming) will cover recent/current events in the BNP, just as issue 9 covered their 2009 European Parliament election campaign (and success). Visit the shop (accessible from the home page) for details of how to get these two publications. For now, look at this immediate reaction to the More 4 documentary. Quick, but hopefully considered--read it. 1/12/10

THE BATTLE FOR BARKING (MORE 4 30/11/2010)--A NEW DEPARTURE IN TV DOCUMENTARIES & IF SO, FOR THE BETTER? by Larry O'Hara

Elsewhere on this site, and in Notes From the Borderland magazine (especially issue 6), we have been highly critical of the generally dire standard of TV documentaries, especially those covering fascism, a true nadir of which was the Searchlight/BBC documentary 'Secret Agent' screened in 2004, that inestimably boosted the BNP, along the way hyping various agents provocateur like Andy Sykes & Jason Gwynne. It is refreshing on balance (criticisms later) to see something on the serious & emotive subject of the BNP vs New Labour 'battle for Barking' in the recent General Election that does not belong to this already-tainted stable. Produced & directed by Laura Fairrie, with assistance from veteran Executive Producer Christopher Hird, the method was both simple and potentially tricky, given mutual antagonism--gain access to both Labour & BNP campaigns, over a one year period leading up to the May 2010 vote, and then show the mood in both camps in chronological order. Fairrie went further than that though, in exploring (uncensored) some motivations behind both BNP activists and voters. While some voters were undoubtedly committed party supporters, not all were--in one striking scene, having witnessed one positive & one negative response to canvassers, Fairrie went back to each household and encouraged the occupants to expand their sentiments. Having heard on the grapevine that the Searchlight organisation are not too pleased with Ms Fairrie, we decided to wait & see what came out.

Evaluation of this documentary has to operate on two levels--the actual content, and also the specific form it took, that of the non-participant but overt observer. Content can be divided into three areas: how the BNP and its activists were portrayed, how Labour was depicted, and how ordinary voters/residents came across, whether anti-BNP or not. While other parties stood in the election, it was generally polarised into a Griffin vs Hodge contest (the Liberal Democrat George Carman's candidature was decidedly anti-Griffin), thus (despite the Tories coming second) the film's focus was valid. In vain did I urge members in my own party (the Greens) outside the area to take an interest--even the 'Green Left' lined up behind Hodge, presenting no positive alternative. So, a viable perspective from Ms Fairrie here.

HOW THE BNP WAS PORTRAYED

Fairrie gained the confidence of leading BNP members, with fruitful results. Griffin was shown for what he is--both racially prejudiced and articulate. Some of what he says would make sense to disaffected working class whites--soldiers being 'conscripts of poverty', arguing against the war in Afghanistan & so forth. Hodge accurately described a BNP Election Broadcast she had just seen as "repulsive but clever". Nowhere was Griffin's articulacy & prejudice shown more than his response to the question about the positive effects of immigration that the only one he could think of was a "wider range of takeaway food", though this was not something to "give up your country for". Cleverly accepting an undeniable fact (about food) and then adding a racist footnote (about freedom). That the BNP's core politics are race and not mere 'cultural difference' was illustrated by his earlier comment that "statistics and observation show the native people on these islands are going to be a minority within the life time of children born now". As too his rejoinder to Labour activists at the count that "you mobilised the black vote very well indeed". Unlike some, I have never doubted Griffin's humanity, so the fact he is shown being visibly shaken after one physical confrontation is no surprise, although the tears trickling down his face after adoption as candidate while highly probably those of a crocodile (or onion-induced) are not demonstrably shown to be so--that would have required more context, which this film is weak on. Just to show that given the chance Griffin can be as cynical as anybody, the BNP meeting where he seemed to put public pressure on Andy Kinggett, the father of rifleman Martin Kinggett, just killed in Afghanistan, to allow the BNP to make political capital out of the affair sticks in the craw. This applies whether the situation was created in advance for the camera, or genuinely shown as it happened--either illustrates how cynical Griffin really is. But we knew that already, didn't we? While opinions may differ, overall Griffin didn't come across that badly--in part because some confrontations took place elsewhere/later (eg Peter Tatchell memorably ambushing a flummoxed Griffin at Millbank TV studios 22/7/10), but also because Griffin is more agile intellectually than most opponents give him credit for. Another factor was that Fairrie never put him under any pressure to explain the political skeletons in his cupboard, so Griffin didn't raise them. Also, as challenger, rather than incumbent, he had no governmental policies to defend, unlike Hodge, While the mere fact of expressing racist views would be anathema to many, such people are not those Griffin appeals to, or wants to court. Condemnation from Guardianistas is neither here nor there for Griffin, and it is on the basis of how Griffin might have appeared to potential supporters, rather than die-hard opponents, that I judge his performance.

Some other members shown were equally intriguing. Lawrence Rustem really is a careful but angry young man. His considered answers to Fairrie's questions were thoughtful, especially the claim to have been radicalised by being mugged. Initially wary of Fairrie, chiding her for filming an activist without permission--as time goes by, he loosens up his attitude towards her, and as such his deeply-held general anger bubbles to the surface. The bumbling cartoon-Italian figure of Guiseppe Di Santis flits into view, sticking like a limpet (just like you would expect an infiltrator/asset like he surely is to do) to Bob Bailey, on whom see below. Richard Barnbrook, Greater London Assembly member, guests as a slightly theatrical figure, the vapidity of his political vision only too evident--"turning the clock back thirty years, bringing back family values, a sense of belonging". Thirty years ago (and I remember!) Britain was ravaged by political & industrial conflict, economic disintegration and so forth--a golden age it was (not).

The piece de resistance as regards the BNP members was London organiser Councillor Bob Bailey, a cockney wide-boy not afraid to mix it. His patently unreconstructed racist views (one aside talks of 'Ali Baba' country) make him a camera natural. In a memorable scene, Griffin describes Barnbrook as an 'artist' (which the uncharitable would prefix with the word piss) and as for Bailey, Griffin struggled initially, eventually describing him as a 'details man' who gets things done. In a crucial passage that evinces Fairrie's integrity as a film-maker, she shows two related scenes that quickly followed each other:somebody less scrupulous might have omitted the former. In the first scene, local youths are shown verbally abusing Griffin and his team, one stating "fuck off you piece of shit, I'm going to kill you". At this point, the BNP retreat, however a short while later the group catches them up. Having been pursued, Bailey is spat at by one youth--at that point, he loses it, and vigorously attacks the perpetrator, up to and including kicking his head while on the floor. An instance of BNP thuggery--but by showing the lead up to it, Fairrie conveys the way (in this case at least) Bailey was provoked. As such, although reprehensible, his behaviour is understandable--in a way the snippet of this incident viewed by upwards of half a million people on You-Tube does not convey. That charges were brought against Bailey (and his antagonists) but later dropped, is not mentioned.

The image whereby some members see the BNP as a 'family' is seemingly bought into by Fairrie, Rustem shown talking of BNP "camraderie". This allows Griffin the unexpectedly easy propaganda point of opining he has "a huge responsibility to be in the position where people look up to you...a person they love, who mustn't let you down". Given the frequent and increasing numbers of members Griffin has over the years expelled from this ' family' that rings especially hollow...Returning to the BNP as a whole, the film might unintentionally give viewers an impression they had a huge presence--lots of billboards & advertising truck shots, as too some well-produced leaflets and quite a few street stalls. Only on reflection do you realise the BNP are shown addressing no meetings other than their own, unlike Hodge, seen addressing both a local church and mosque. Opposition on the streets from locals was a constant feature, leavened by some individual BNP supporters. There was the odd bit of humour--provided by the implausibly-attired black BNP member Pastor James Gilou, whose strange demeanour was only trumped by the even more bizarre 'Reverend' Robert West: Judging by the bemused expression on Griffin's face when encountering Gilou especially, he might well have shared Wellington's sentiments before Waterloo regarding British soldiers "I don't know what you do to the enemy, but by God you frighten me".

THE DEPICTION OF HODGE/NEW LABOUR

Fairrie did not set out, on the basis of this film, to do a pro New Labour hatchet-job, or if she did, that isn't what ensues. Hodge's humanity is shown well in evident grief at the loss of her husband during the campaign, and the tears regarding that (unlike Griffin's on his adoption) were palpably genuine. That said, Hodge's hypocritical and evasive politics comes across clearly, disturbingly so. One instance was particularly choice, where she sought to harangue a mixed race couple into voting Labour, telling the (white) husband he should do so for his wife, concluding with "hold your nose and vote Labour, this once". How politically bankrupt, that after 13 years of New Labour, this was the best she could come up with. Then there was the photo-opportunity visit to a site where 17 council houses were being built--she had to remove her (Jimmy Choo--of course) shoes before entering the muddy plot complaining "nobody told me I couldn't wear these shoes", topped by her riposte to a builder when leaving who had suggested more houses and that it's a "shame you can't be more radical"--"I agree". What barefaced cheek from this New Labour apparatchik, who voted for every reactionary & war-mongering policy on offer, never hinting at a vestige of radicalism in office. This type quite rightly gives politicians of all stripes a bad name. Her aloofness from elector's real concerns further illustrated by Hodge's statement that "if they talk about housing its code for immigration"--sometimes it certainly is, but on other occasions it is, quite legitimately, a concern about housing itself, plain and simple. Housing that New Labour, both nationally & locally, have/had no intention of providing in the recent past or foreseeable future. Speaking at a local Christian fundamentalist church with a congregation of substantially Afro-Caribbean descent, Hodge is shown orating that the BNP want "everyone who is sitting in this room to be expelled from this country, dropped from an aeroplane, dtopped from a helicopter, left in the sea" (presumably without parachutes). Bizarre and absurd in equal measure--BNP racism is palpable enough without such ludicrous allegations. At no point is Hodge ever shown as somebody interested in addressing the issues, rather than primarily engaging in negative campigning against the BNP. Unless you count her comments on housing--and the admission "I'm never going to beat him on immigration", while true, isn't exactly addressing an issue. Hodge's most telling evasiveness came in an exchange with a BNP supporter as she was getting into a 4x4 vehicle. He upbraided her for being a millionairess, one of those "thieving MPs" and having ignored paedophiles (an obvious reference to her tenure at Islington Council where she disgracefully swept allegations of child abuse in council-run children's homes under the carpet). Her response was to ignore these points, but to say "and you dislike me because I'm Jewish". As a BNP activist, he may well have been anti-semitic, so she might have a point--however (unlike him as far as I could see) Hodge deliberately racialised the encounter (as with the mixed-race couple earlier) to avoid addressing the arguments.

Even aside from her bereavement, Hodge isn't shown entirely negatively. One relevant sub-text, which goes a long way to explaining her success, was the extent to which the Labour Party nationally stepped in to help. Immediately after Griffin's candidature was announced, she is in a taxi on her mobile asking for "big donors"--the word 50 (or perhaps 150?) is mentioned, which I don't take to be merely pounds, most likely far larger. One for the Electoral Registration Officer perhaps, alomg with Griffin's full spending from candidacy to polling day? Old & New Labour luminaries John Prescott & Ed Miliband press the flesh, and to be fair Hodge herself is shown as indefatigable in terms of trudging the streets knocking on doors, making cold calls and all in all attempting to engage with voters, however evasive she was on the issues. She had statistical justification--extensive opinion-polling on behalf of Labour in various wards showed a frightening degree of latent BNP support--over 70% in some, and also that her personal vote was higher than that of the Labour Party itself. This led to the decision to play up the candidate & play down the party. Understandable & effective--but only in the short term of course. Hodge does not come across as stupid, far from it, as her astute comments on the BNP broadcast showed. However overall the abiding impression is of a typically blustering & dishonest New Labour veteran--exactly what she is. Although portrayed at times as an underdog, perhaps the weight of representing a fading and patently unpopular New Labour regime nationally permeated her behaviour: Hodge was not to know the full extent of her victory until polling night (16,000 majority over her nearest Tory rival). Needless to say, the scale of that victory does not make Hodge more palatable close up--she appears on screen for what she is. To committed Labour supporters, she probably came across well--to the 70% latent BNP supporters in target wards, I am not convinced her performance was good enough, certainly in the medium to long term. While perhaps an unintended consequence, Hodge was a living personification of just why many ex-Labour voters have gone over to the BNP, and as such her time on screen conveyed more eloquently than the BNP themselves reasons for their support.

LOCAL VOTERS

It is not always clear whether voters shown as BNP supporters were not activists, or related, which is troubling. For example, immediately after Hodge's dismissive comments on housing being code for immigration, we are taken into the flat of local resident Michelle Hill, who spoke of being stuck in her block for 17 years while members of ethnic minorities stayed for 6 months and then got a house. Evaluating the truth of this must in part hinge on how the film-maker came across her: on the street, in a housing office--or via the BNP. I do not know which: but a pertinent question, as too in the case of one idiosyncratic old cove shown strolling round his back-garden orchard muttering that at least his neighbours were white. On polling day, after attacking the Sun's support for David Cameron, he appears to confide for the first time, seconds before entering the polling station, that he will in fact vote BNP. The strong suspicion has to be this was already known by the film crew, hence the second (and perhaps the first) encounter was contrived. This would be a shame, because there are other patently unstaged vox pop cameos where locals express why they are voting BNP. But the whole thing gets you wondering--was the woman who left the cafe while Griffin was eating after declaring her support really a member of the public, or already a BNP activist? Probably not, but this method of filming begs such questions--when in fact as even Labour's own polling showed high latent BNP support, legitimately finding BNP supporters should have been easy. If, and I emphasise if, whether in this scene ot elsewhere, Fairrie used any people provided by the BNP without stating this was so, what might have seemed an acceptable short-cut at the time will rebound against both her & the film, and distract attention from the important and salient issues illustrated as regards housing and so on. The verbal hostility & abuse Griffin encountered on the streets was marked--although Fairrie does not deal with (in this format cannot) whether her filming made confrontation more rather than less likely. Griffin was already a demonised figure--one poster from Searchlight front group 'Hope Not Hate' seemed to copy a classic Nazi one showing a shadowy Nick Griffin towering over Barking Town Hall for instance--but might not the overt presence of a camera crew have inspired some local residents to 'up the ante' and get physical? Maybe, maybe not--certainly an appropriate question. Even if the reasons for anger against the BNP are understandable (which they are) the level of verbal aggression directed at them would hardly dissuade any supporters watching that the party is not in fact a beleaguered organisation--and as such, would do nothing to undercut BNP support, locally or nationally. Which raises the question: was the film format adequate, or even amenable, to such a purpose?

REALISM AS A DOCUMENTARY FORM?

It must be said straight away there are advantages to this format. By 'embedding' herself in both camps, Fairrie unquestionably gained unparalleled access, and the results make for compelling viewing. If she had filmed the BNP alone, Fairrie would have been accused (and no doubt will be anyway from disgruntled quarters already mentioned) of giving the BNP 'air-time', and not countering arguments, or fully explaining their fascist politics. In a way, extensive input from the Hodge camp doesn't entirely negate that criticism. By embedding so thoroughly within both operations, in order to remain there and retain access, Fairrie could not afford to alienate either side by asking hard questions. For example, while Griffin certainly has answers, his past conviction for Holocaust Denial concerning an article published in Croydon BNPs The Rune (issue 8 1994 p.8-9 for the archivally inclined), or indeed his co-authorship (with Mark Deavin) of 1997 anti-Jewish tract 'Who are the Mind-Benders?' is highly relevant context for Hodge's declaration that one reason he stood against her was Jewishness. Additionally, Richard Barnbrook's contested September 2008 statements about knife crime in Barking & Dagenham were subject to ongoing disciplinary proceedings by both the Council & Greater London Assembly. Although concluded in February 2010 with a decision broadly in Barnbrook's favour, he did admit technical breaches of the elected representatives code of conduct. Even more pertinently, while some glossy BNP propaganda was shown, at no point did Fairrie interrogate the content of such, including the controversial characterisation of a supposed 'Africans For Essex' Labour policy, designed to 'flood' the area. Nor did she ask the excitable Hodge just which aspect of BNP policy involves throwing people out of aeroplanes...Even in terms of questions she did ask, Fairrlie was either not astute enough, or more likely disinclined, to follow through. For instance, the obvious response to Griffin's comment about a "broader range of takeaway food" would be to point out that if it were not for the invaluable (and low-paid) contribution of many overseas workers, the NHS the BNP professes to love would grind to a halt tomorrow (or even later tonight). Fairrie might rightly object that taking on the BNP ideologically was not her intention--and I accept that does not make her a sympathiser, she patently isn't.

Nonetheless, by giving them an uncritical platform on one level this programme hasn't harmed them fundamentally, despite Fairrie's anti-fascist views. That, however, is as much a function of this form of film as the content--the problem, at 87 minutes running time, certainly wasn't length. If Fairrie had confronted the BNP (and/or New Labour) during filming, access would have been summarily halted. In order to film over the whole year she probably had to bite her lip, frequently. Once set on that (understandable) course of action, to after filming then intersperse/end already filmed scenes with counter-arguments not articulated at the time would rightly undermine her credibility as a film-maker. As a woman largely on her own (with one camera-man only & no obvious back-up), Fairrie was potentially prey to being manipulated in the sense of having scenes contrived for her benefit, and some may have been. Furthermore, the lack of opportunity within this cinema verite style for an authoritative voice-over narrative means context was continually elided. It is highly relevant that the Hodge camp had recently purged Old Labour loyalists, so intent was/is she to make the local party obey her commands. Nothing of this is shown or hinted at--nor did Fairrie question Hodge about her own privileged background, Labour's housing record, or even the Islington Council paedophilia scandal. Definitely off the agenda--but not politically irrelevant. Likewise, the unceremonious indeed ruthless way in which North West MEP Griffin (a Welsh resident to boot) elbowed aside previous candidate Barnbrook to stand himself is not mentioned, even though the crowded post-script refers to Barnbrook plotting against Griffin. These omissions are not accidental, but fundamental to the methodology of being 'embedded' as Fairrie was.

Another format weakness is the inability--as with much TV but amplified here--to adequately explore complex ideas, such as the nature of Nazism/whether the BNP are Nazi. That too, requires context--not just individual {'my dad fought in the war') but historical & ideological. As I have remarked before, BNP use of Churchillian imagery to pre-empt the Nazi label was deft strategically--and yet though shown here (on the broadcast) was not explained, or analysed. Nor did the format easily allow it to be.

With the verite method we are not told what is missing from the finished product, or why it is missing--the flip-side of some aspects being potentially staged. The precise ground-rules set by both Hodge and Griffin for co-operation are surely crucial--yet not referred to directly. Implicitly, speaking to a hand-held camera equalises the importance of contributors in a way that might not reflect reality. The most important people may not even be shown, or others appearing (like Hodge's affable constituency secretary) might not be as important as viewers could be forgiven for thinking they are. Others whose views might be important (such as Unite Against Fascism protesters) were merely filmed on a number of occasions chanting. Maybe chants are the most serious thing UAF could have offered--but it would have been nice to allow the viewer to decide that themselves, as the UAF contingent were at least as committed as New Labour/the BNP. While not needing to be drowned in such, few situations/historical processes cannot to some extent be illuminated by outside and even retrospective analytical commentary--yet such this film did not have. It did, however, have rather jarring music, at times almost comical in its subliminal tugging at our emotions. What was all that about, cinematically?

You might think from the foregoing that on balance criticisms of the film outweigh aspects I liked. Not so--the film has to looked at in context. On the one hand, virtually all documentaries on the BNP in recent times have been atrocious shabby productions often pushing secret state sponsored agendas, showing little or no understanding of why anybody, anywhere, might ever vote BNP. Not only does Fairrie's film conform to no readily-discernible dodgy agenda, she shows to a considerable extent some reasons why the BNP resonates with sections of the alienated white working class. That, in comparison to what has gone before, is a signal breakthrough, for which Fairrie & Hird deserve praise. On the other hand, if, and it's a big if, the only kind of documentary that can be made from now on about a group like the BNP is this one kind, 'non-participatory passive observation', that would be bad news indeed. It might however, and this worries me, fit the You-Tube generation perfectly--all immediacy & no context, as well as being rather cheap to make. Taken at face value, after all, 'The Battle of Barking' consists of a few dozen sequenced You-Tube style videos, largely orchestrated/approved by the participants, with captions tagged on every now and then. In fact, the situation is rather more complex than that--but the potential danger is there of ceding control to those filmed. That said, as long as this kind of product is supplemented by traditional proper documentaries, freed from the dead hand of state agendas/provocateur tactics, and albeit drastically improved in quality, we have to welcome Fairrie's contribution. She is aware of the continuing BNP threat in the area "they are out leafletting and door-knocking and there's still that sense of unhappiness. I don't think the problems have gone away" (quoted in Guardian on-line 30/11/10). She's certainly right there--and though the film provides no direct pointers as to how to confront the BNP in a positive way that permanently undercuts their support, that is not something for a film-maker to do alone. To answer the questions posed in this article's title: does this documentary signify a new departure? Maybe. Is it a turn for the better? Depends on what else comes along, both from Dartmouth Films/Fairrie and other quarters. We shall see...

Click here for free access to O'Hara PhD on UK fascism

SIDE-STEPPING CUTS, SPOUTING BANALITIES: A RESPONSE TO HOPE NOT HATE

The article below was submitted to Chartist magazine after they printed an article by Hope Not Hate's David Braniff-Herbert, ostensibly presenting Hope Not Hate as in the vanguard of the anti-cuts struggle. This piece below is given added poignancy for two reasons. First, Hope Not Hate subsequently split from Searchlight, and secondly subsequent events have amply proved this 'anti-cuts' stance was a tactical feint, a mere pretence, as substantiated in Notes From the Borderland issue 10 (see especially p.67/72-73)

by Larry O'Hara

In your March/April issue, Chartist again gave space to 'Hope Not Hate' (HNH) organiser David Braniff-Herbert. As a life-long socialist/anti-fascist my response is below.

The BNP is undergoing severe internal problems, welcome news for anti-fascists. However, this does not and should not mean an endorsement of the HNH approach, for reasons both in the article and others not mentioned.

Firstly, simple organisational destruction of the BNP, without addressing directly (not merely rhetorically) the alienated white working class is no solution. Yet that is the main HNH focus, evinced by the claim "we targeted women and ethnic minorities with direct mails". Nothing wrong with that, it is essential--but HNH did not/does not attempt to address the white working class too--and it is they who (sometimes) vote for the BNP, and not (just) against it. Indeed, it is hardly a coincidence that relative BNP decline has gone hand in hand with an increase in EDL street thuggery, including attacks on the Left.

Secondly, it will fool no-one to pretend that HNH has not almost exclusively been focussed (and still is) on supporting the Labour Party, the same one that presided over the destruction of working class communities and our industrial base alike. Herbert is too coy to mention them by name, merely referring to "the guys who introduced [tuition fees] in the first place". Any anti-fascist initiative that does not address the historic betrayal of the working class by New Labour (as did the Independent Working Class Association in its way) will never move beyond a defensive mode.

Thirdly, the fight against fascism is too important to be the concern of one group, or 'franchise' in the HNH model. Yet Herbert makes no mention of the fact that, for all their weaknesses, Unite Against Fascism also took to the streets against the BNP in Barking & Dagenham. Speaking of Barking & Dagenham, the point wasn't that the BNP vote fell spectacularly--though fall it did--more that opponents mobilised. Worryingly, even at this stage, the BNP retains a bedrock of support that the HNH strategy does nothing to address.

Fourthly, Herbert refers to over 120,000 active subscribers to HNH's online campaign--omitting to mention that many were involuntarily 'subscribed' by their unions, or (for example) merely customers of clothing site 'Philosophy Football' whose boss gave their details to HNH voluntarily. Giving a new, virtual (and deracinated) definition of the word 'active'.

Fifthly, Herbert boasts of copying the Obama model--yet the main focus of that model is/was fundraising. Something HNH are very good at--although accountability that is something they don't even begin to approach. This so-called 'National Campaign' with 120,000 "active subscribers" has no democratic structures of any sort: indeed, there is no named bank account these "active subscribers" should send money too. Instead, cash is funnelled into various fronts/cover names for the Searchlight organisation. Hence (as with the Obama campaign) there is no forum whatever for public debate about HNH policy--critical contributions are censored from the HNH web-site, and Searchlight magazine the only (totally controlled) forum for relentlessly upbeat marketing spiel.

Sixth, as if the above wasn't worrying enough, how about this Blair-speak in an article ironically entitled 'Opposing cuts, defending communities'. Herbert declares "the demands of the movement are ironically not anti-cuts, they are for a manifesto of hope: that we can change our community together, that we can create our own answers and hold our Government to account". If anybody can translate that into English, I'd love to see it--hardly something to get the voter's pulses racing is it?

Seventh, speaking of "movement" the arrogant way in which HNH are seeking to insinuate their top-down anti-democratic tactics into the anti-cuts movement should be vigorously resisted at all costs. How does Herbert know what "demands" HNH acolytes have, when they have no means of expressing/discussing them democratically? He neither knows, nor wants to know--their assent is 'assumed'.

Astute readers will have noticed I have not greatly addressed the reasons for fascist support, what I think a legitimate anti-fascist strategy should look like, or indeed the 'Battle For Barking & Dagenham'. Happily, articles addressing all these things are available (free) on the website associated with the parapolitical magazine I edit (Notes From the Borderland). Visit www.borderland.co.uk. Also on that site is a detailed analysis of HNH structure/strategy/tactics which fleshes out some points briefly made here. The bottom line--anti-fascism (and the anti-cuts struggle) are too important to allow either to be hijacked by a clique of politically-suspect viral marketing scammers. The good intentions of most HNH supporters alone, deserves better...

DAVID ICKE - THE FRAUD CONTINUES...

We have long been in the vanguard of countering anti-semitism and bs masquerading as 'progressive' politics. Not everybody knows that of course. One bad penny who keeps turning up is con-artist David Icke. Below, check out the article by colleague Paul Stott. As time permits (focussed as our main energies are on the next issue of NFB plus another imminent publication), we will add a past article deconstructing Icke's anti-semitism written by Larry O'Hara. But the article is a start.. Heidi Svenson 27/10/11

Countering Nonsense In The Occupy Movement 23/10/11 (Paul Stott on 911 cultwatch blog)

From speaking to activists over the past few days, it is interesting, and slightly concerning, to note some news emerging from the Occupy movement.

Spreading from Occupy Wall Street, a series of similar occupations have occurred internationally. In the UK this has included an attempt to occupy the London Stock Exchange, and events in regional cities like Norwich and Birmingham. Opposition to the disastrous decision to bail out banks on the verge of financial collapse has now found a degree of articulation.

There are of course issues and debates around this. Speaking to Anarchists like Ian Bone at the Anarchist Bookfair yesterday, there were concerns that the importance of the Occupy movement was being greatly overstated, usually by sympathetic activists who want it to be so many things. It's particular form has also been criticised, whilst the vagueness of its anti-capitalist message has been condemned by libertarians, who draw a distinction between what they see as capitalism and corporatism/crony capitalism.

A more serious debate is now on-going about how to deal with the presence of conspiracy theorists at occupy events. The financial crisis is naturally something easily explained by the likes of David Icke, who has been vociferous in his condemnation of what he sees as Rothschild-Zionism. To Icke, no discussion of 9/11, or the financial crisis, can be made without reference to this conspiracy. Such nonsense makes all protestors easy targets for media exposes, hit-pieces on their 'racism' or their portrayal as addled thinkers. The serious questions raised about government economic policy, capitalism, our financial system and government relations with it, are in danger of being ignored in place of arguments about anti-Semitism or the sheer oddness of certain protestors.

There is only two responses to this. I discount ignoring them, because they will not go away, and numerically will form a significant number of the protestors in many cities. For such thinkers, the financial system is one of the issues - they certainly will not abandon it. Icke has been calling on the human race to get off its knees for so long, when they actually see it happening, their movement is energised

One response is to allow the Icke types to dominate. To walk away and do something else instead. The second response, which I know many are now turning to, is to try and counter them. This is difficult, not because their arguments are so strong - they are not - but because arguing with people full of Zeitgeist or Icke thought is not an easy process. They have been exposed to an absolute truth. Those who do not follow it cannot be allowed to simply disagree with them, but become part of the problem as soon as they disagree.

It is neccesary to attack Icke's anti-Semitism, his ludicrous reptilian fantasies and to ask what Icke has proved in twenty plus years of 'exposing' the system. Other than improving his bank balance - the answer is nothing. Events like the banking crisis and 9/11 are actually very simple. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for attacking New York, and the evidence for US or Israeli participation is nil. The banking crisis occurred because the banks gambled lots of money, and governments who had long dropped any pretence of regulation, bailed out their mates with our cash.

Keep it simple. Because it is simple.

NO HOPE, LOTS OF HATE: CIVIL WAR BREAKS OUT IN THE SEARCHLIGHT GANG

Below is the article that triggered internal ructions for both factions in this ongoing dispute. Following is a link to a contemporary interview of Larry O' Hara on the subject by NFB colleague Paul Stott.

NO HOPE, LOTS OF HATE: CIVIL WAR BREAKS OUT IN THE SEARCHLIGHT GANG (Larry O'Hara 4/11/11)

What delicious irony! After a concerted campaign accusing the British National Party (rightly) of financial shady practice, inside sources inform us Hope Not Hate, Searchlight's dummy front campaign (headed by Nick Lowles), is in the process of declaring organisational UDI from the overall organisation, headed by Gerry Gable (proprietor). Reports coming in are sketchy (if amusing: like the one about Fitzpatrick heard in a Victoria Park pub!) and to safeguard sources what follows is not as detailed as it could be, but the need for this may well change.

The main cause for the split seems to be money: the HNH franchise has been very successful raking in money from gullible punters under increasingly tenuous pretexts. A recent classic was the call by Lowles for people to email in protest about BNP financial chicanery. Shortly thereafter, he boasted on the HNH blog (14/10/11) how after he emailed petitioners they donated £250 "within minutes". The problem for Nick Lowles has not so much been raising cash, but getting access to it. We have already drawn attention (NFB issue 9, also on this web-site) to the totally undemocratic nature of HNH, including the fact that money is (or rather was until the split) still payable to Searchlight, sent to the Ilford PO Box directly under the control of Gerry Gable and his tax-scheming wife, the charming Sonia, who still hasn't answered my questions of 15 years ago about setting up Irish Left Republicans for assassination (never too late S, how about it?). In alliance with Blue State Digital, HNH has been bringing in large amounts of money, but as donations began an (inevitable) drop off after the General Election last year, this declined. Or maybe not: one point of contention seems to be Lowles complaint he has not had access to all financial records. The suspicion was that the Gables have been creaming it off, and at best diverting it into funding a glossy full-colour Searchlight which Lowles edited until he downed tools following a furious expletive-filled argument in September.

Another sub-text is differential attitudes towards Islamist militancy: more on this later. We should be clear about one thing--neither side give a fig about the supporters, or lack of democratic participation in HNH. Both are fully in bed with the political police: Gable with his 'Lone Wolf' project, and Lowles with his increasingly shrill calls for police to ban ever-more demonstrations.

Following the row, it seems, recognising where the (fresh) money is, most of the vaunted Searchlight 'team' have jumped ship with Lowles: Graeme Atkinson & Matthew Collins to name but two. After all Gable has done, safeguarding Collins and refuting nasty rumours about his connections to Loyalist paramilitaries in London (although not those about MI6), for Matty to betray Gable so brings tears to the eyes. Tears of laughter that is... The people I feel sorry for (genuinely!) are those who see Searchlight as the anti-fascist movement's journal of record. Rather less sorry, but still slightly, for those subscribers who in September 2011 received a magazine titling itself 'International magazine of the Hope Not Hate Campaign', complete with 4 pages of HNH news and the invitation (p.35) that to "learn about the HNH campaign around the country you should subscribe to Searchlight...the essential magazine for Hope Not Hate organisers". By October's issue, in true Stalinist fashion, with a few exceptions reference to HNH had vanished, the logo certainly had. It is as if, like that erased photo of Trotsky next to Lenin on the podium, HNH had never existed. Two references to HNH were in the editorial though. First was Gable's admission Lowles "creator of the very successful Hope Not Hate campaign, decided to stand down as editor". A hint, if very slight, money was involved, came when Gable stated "the editor of Searchlight has never been a paid position but one held on a voluntary basis" (p.4). The second reference followed the announcement Searchlight was no longer going to be produced in full colour, and was very plaintive. "When the call goes out from Hope Not Hate to take part in campaigns against the BNP, EDL or other far-right threats, do respond, but please also talk to your friends colleagues and families about raising regular support to keep Searchlight in print" (p.5).

Still, Gable has maintained Searchlight's reputation for accuracy: in an astonishing feat of post-mortem magic that Himmler would have revelled in, "John Tyndall, who died in July 1975, founded the British National Party and led it until Nick Griffin became chairman until 1999" (p.6).

Aside from the problems posed for Searchlight's continuation, there is a dilemma for HNH. If the BNP is currently in the doldrums (which it is, though this may not be permanent: see my article in forthcoming NFB issue 10), then the EDL is the main 'far right' threat. However, Lowles and company are very clear that it is the state who should ban the EDL, thus there is little actual activity for HNH supporters to engage in other than tedious 'e-petitions' and clicking the 'donate' button. All very exciting, not. In any acrimonious split, the first question is who has control of the assets. In the case of Searchlight these are

1) Subscriber lists: Gable has them, but so does Lowles, precipitating Gable to switch postal distributors for the October edition. The far bigger number of HNH contact email addresses Lowles has, Gable hasn't. So, in tennis parlance 30-15 Lowles

2) Assets inside groups/internal documents spanning decades: Gable has access to these, indeed it is noteworthy HNH had no report from inside the BNP's AGM 29/10/11. Regarding internal documents, my source commented "everybody knows the area round Gants Hill tube station". 30-all

3) Control of the Hope Not Hate web domain, and PO Box 67476 London NW3 9RF through which HNH are now soliciting direct donations, resides with Gerry Gable. Despite HNH having a cable London telephone number under their control, (02076818660 if you want to commiserate) , they are further hampered, by Hope Not Hate being "the campaigning name of Searchlight Information Services Ltd". Would be an interesting court case..True, HNH now have a direct Pay-pal account, but regarding infrastructure the initiative lies with Gable: 30-40 in Gable's favour.

4) Media links: Gable has hitherto sought to keep these very much under his thumb, but quite frankly in public he comes across as an increasingly sad shambolic meandering figure. Lowles has contacts of his own at the BBC and on the Daily Mirror. So, a difficult one to call: we'll replay that point. Still 30-40.

5) International contacts: previously, a Gable trump card, but Lowles & Atkinson have just returned from a successful visit to Sweden, where they sought to build a future collaboration (not involving Searchlight) with EXPO, the magazine set up by police ally & sometime fiction writer Stieg Larsson. Cheekily, patently directed at Gable, Lowles on his blog (4/11/11) praises EXPO as "clearly the most professional anti-fascist magazine in Europe". Given there have been two periods when it hasn't even published, it only comes out four times a year (to Searchlight's 12) and it is any case heavily state-subsidised, that's a bit rich, but still...Until this move, I'd have said Searchlight held the balance, by a whisker, but this evens thing up: 40-40, deuce. All still to play for.

In the current situation, might I be forgiven a little schadenfreude, as both factions are reprehensible, especially from my personal point of view. Gable has printed lies about me being involved in Loyalist/Nazi drug-dealing etc, but so has Atkinson (see Searchlight Fiction Pulped on this web-site). Lowles was the coward who took my photo for later publication in Searchlight. Putting personal issues to one side, if a genuinely democratic anti-fascist campaign comes out of all this (which HNH patently isn't) like a revived Anti-Fascist Action/Antifa, that would be good. Equally, if Searchlight's death-grip monopoly on anti-fascism was broken, that would be too.

There will be further regroupment, and already Searchlight are scraping the barrel. Gable is pursing his cow's lip and even thinking of giving Tony Robson unheard of responsibilities, for example. It is difficult not to reflect that after nearly 50 years in this business, Gable has been rewarded with all the loyalty his behaviour deserves. Atkinson, for example, first became involved with Searchlight in the mid-70's, at the precise time Gable was wheedling his way into radical journalist circles (the Aubrey/Berry/Campbell defence campaign) pretending to support them against state persecution yet in reality spying on them for MI5 (as revealed in the infamous Gable Memorandum). In the years since, Gable and Searchlight have lied constantly about anti-fascists of every stripe. Llittle surprise then, that he has gathered around him such a bunch of shysters, turncoats and weasels devoid of no principle but self-aggrandisement. It may, or may not, take a little time for festering internal conflict to break out into open war, but if and when it does, NFB will be, as always, on the case.

Lowles, contacted by NFB, was non-committal. Considering the even distribution of assets, it is in the objective interest of both factions (especially HNH) to keep a lid on things as long as possible and establish a modus vivendi lucrative for both sides. Outraged feelings, especially on Gable's part, might hinder that. We shall see. The expected response from Searchlight to our revealing their problems will be denial, and hurling abuse/evading the arguments. Yet some things cannot be gainsaid: Lowles no longer edits Searchlight, in October Searchlight dropped presenting themselves as the magazine of HNH, Lowles has taunted Gable by elevating EXPO to leading status magazine-wise, and HNH now have their own conduit for processing donations. All this, apologists hope you haven't noticed. Yet the facts are clear to see. As for our sources, well done, keep the information coming!!

PS (dated 7/12/11) The above piece mistakenly implies it was the idea of Gable, not Lowles, to print all Searchlight in full colour (not just a few pages). We happily correct this (albeit minor) error. A full colour Searchlight on glossy paper was never feasible financially. Hence dropping this policy was inevitable as soon as Lowles retired hurt. We await with interest the HNH publication planned for the New Year. It will be fascinating to see whether it is glossy and in full colour throughout, not just front & back....

 

OCCUPY MOVEMENT - WHERE NEXT?

Like many people, I have been both excited and inspired by the fledgeling Occupy movement, of which there are 2000 (and rising) worldwide.  Particularly impressive is the declared non-hierarchical & decentralist nature of the movement, making it difficult for external forces to pigeonhole and control.

However, as could have been predicted, the mailed fist has responded, and as I write Occupy Wall Street is (literally) under attack, and eviction notices have been served on London Occupy at St Paul's.  One hopes this inevitable repression does not make the movement ephemeral.  Even if some ground is lost, we should not give up: the goal is too important.

In considering where we go from here, there are a number of options/strategic paths, and I offer suggestions, not as tablets from above, but as a comradely contribution from somebody who has 'been around the block' (and then some).

1) Where we have won liberated spaces, we should where possible hold them, for symbolic and strategic reasons: visible spaces of counter-power in the heartland of the capitalist beast are always useful.

2) We need to build links with other groups who may lack our visibility and mobility, such as those in the 'Hardest Hit' campaign.  The Condemn government are currently targeting society's most vulnerable: for instance there is an unseemly rush to declare many blind people sighted before April 2012, so as to avoid paying them disability Living Allowance.  This does not arise from improvement in medical techniques, but a cold determination to victimise the defenceless.   It is commendable that Occupy London have recently attempted outreach to vulnerable groups.

3) Broadening the struggle beyond natural allies (such as trade unions) to encompass those who previously radical forces have ignored (and vice versa).  In particular, I refer to those struggling against the EU, which conflict is now entering a critical phase.  In recent times both Greece and Italy have seen the effective abandonment of even the pretence of democratic government, replacing it by a new besuited Bonapartism.  In Greece, PM Papandreou was done for the minute he had the temerity to speculate the Greek people might be asked their views on austerity measures in a referendum.  Europhiles like referenda, but only if they can either guarantee the result or re-run it if the wrong result for them occurs.  The Greek people were denied that possibility, and now have a government run by a European Central Wanker (or should that be banker?) responsible for the crisis in the first place.  As for Italy: yes, we know full well Berlusconi was a corrupt philandering buffoon, but that is no excuse for abandoning any attempt at democratic government.  Not one of the current Italian government are elected, and 'Super Mario' was only declared a Senator to make things look good: analagous (even if not exactly the same) to Hitler's Nazis getting a frightened Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act in 1933.  Yet not only have we had no dissent at all to the junking of democratic forms, this 'Super Mario' is given a good press!  Life, unfortunately, is no cartoon, and the last laugh will be had by international capitalists, crowing at how easily they have swept aside the democratic facade.

It is the same international bankers Occupy holds to account who are dictating terms to various EU governments, and they should be resisted on both the domestic and EU fronts.  The Campaign Against Euro-Federalism, whatever its weaknesses, has consistently drawn attention to the links between attacks on working (and non-working) people here and EU policy.  Now we are zeroing in on international capital too, these links should be made explicit.  We fully support those struggling in the EU, and against the EU, not from a nationalist but internationalist perspective.  It is quite clearly international capitalist forces who are trying to shake down the German government to provide more funds for them to snaffle, not any German-led plan.  Certainly, there are forces within Germany and elsewhere who want a ful