- BREXIT RESISTED? THE HENSHAW/HOPE NOT HATE ITV DOCUMENTARY ON ‘BRITAIN’S NEW FAR RIGHT’ 9/11/17
LARRY O'HARA 17/12/2017
Discerning viewers will have watched this cobbled-together offering promising to ‘expose’ Britain’s ‘New Far Right’ with both wry amusement and cynical detachment, so poor was it. A view probably shared by TV schedulers, who put it out at 10.40pm on a Thursday night, hardly peak-time viewing. When most people are either heading to bed, or if out, at the pub. Still, as one of the first full-length documentary offerings scripted by the Hope Not Hate (hereafter HNH) crew since they hoped to have consigned their former colleagues at Searchlight into the dustbin of history in 2012 , the programme deserves scrutiny.
EMPTY STYLE RIVALS LIMITED SUBSTANCE
Inasmuch as anything new was on offer, it was encapsulated in the sound-bite “the new far right has an unexpected profile. Its supporters are getting younger, with women involved from the grass roots to the very top”. We were also promised answers to (good) questions: who are the far right, how big are they, how dangerous are they? Groups covered included Britain First, the National Front, Generation Identity and UKIP, specifically Anne Marie Waters failed campaign to lead UKIP and subsequent launch of her ‘For Britain’ party. As I watched the documentary, and deconstructed the content, it became clear the programme wasn’t fundamentally about these things, but two others: an attempt to undermine Brexit by associating it with fascism, and yet another plea for state controls on social media of unauthorised viewpoints.
Some staples common to this programme form were there, such as references to military-style training camps and ubiquitous sinister music accompanied by a pseudo-authoritative voice over. There was not, however, the door-stepping formerly used in genre classics, as when pipsqueak Andy Bell nervously confronted Eddie Whicker and Charlie Sargent of Combat 18 in the 1993 MI5 in Action (aka World in Action) show. For good reason: aside from the location of meetings little conspiratorial (other than the earth-shattering revelation of who designed Anne-Marie Waters’ web-site) was revealed in this programme, hence there was nobody to confront in the flesh, so to speak. As if to reflect the programme’s intellectual hollowness, selected Twitter images, You-Tube clips and Facebook pages were screened in an empty room, with little dramatic effect. Rather better was the cover story of ‘Hazel Brown’, who infiltrated both UKIP and Generation Identity: by using a 27-year-old who claimed to be a carer, she was old enough to be away from school/university, in a job others were unlikely to be able to meet her at or outside the office. Clever.
Two HNH ‘experts’ were interviewed in the same cavernous empty room perhaps intended to provide them with a blank canvas backdrop allowing charismatic expertise to shine through: it didn’t. The earnest, stuttering and intellectually flabby Nick Lowles OBE, HNH ‘Chief Executive Officer’ displayed all the gravitas of a provincial bank clerk trying to sell a dodgy payment protection policy: truly the “Mr Pooter of institutional anti-extremism” . Lowles is, simply, out of his depth: take for instance his justification for using three women to infiltrate groups, that this “is a deeply anti-feminist world” but contains “a group of strong women”. Leaving aside that contradiction, which he does not explain, merely grinning hamster-like at the camera as his voice fades, the (fatuous) league-table of ‘Britain’s most influential far right activists’ Hope Not Hate magazine published in January only lists two women in the top 12: Julie Lake at 7 and Jaya Fransen of Britain First at 10 . Anne-Marie Waters, recently failed UKIP candidate and main subject of the show, was not on the list, though he describes her as “in the top two or three anti-Muslim activists in the UK”, letting slip early on a key theme: to label anybody concerned about political Islam (HNH excepted) as ‘far right’.
If Lowles appears a hesitant unconvincing no-mark, HNH ‘Director of Research’ Matthew Collins presents as the rotund bloated thug with difficulty constructing sentences that he really is. He said nothing memorable, just as well given what I surmise to be his alcohol intake. Pathetic as these two ‘experts’ certainly are, we should not discount their motives or serious intent, covered below.
DAVID HENSHAW: A CAREER OF VARIABLE QUALITY
If HNH provide the ‘expertise’ what of David Henshaw, the figure behind the TV company—Hardcash--making the show? He first came to my attention as producer of the 1986 BBC ‘Brass Tacks’ programme which in modern vernacular was a ‘hit-piece’ on the Animal Liberation Front, alleging that they had close links with fascists, as did anarchists Class War. Both claims were untrue, which did not deter Henshaw from following them up in a 1989 book called ‘Animal Warfare’. He alleged, completely without evidence because it was not true, that prominent ALF figure Dave Nicholls was previously Essex organiser for the neo-Nazi British Movement . Of Class War, Henshaw stated that while “so far as most observers could see there was no racist content to the Class War invective, but apart from that the collective’s theory and behaviour seemed to owe more to the far right than the left” . These nasty attempts to lump together the far left/the ALF/fascists were no accident, but part of the mid to late 1980’s Zeitgeist, and ultimately sourced back to the political police Special Branch . Fancy that!
In case anybody believes Henshaw reached his evidence-free conclusions after research, not before, ponder this contemporary letter written by Henshaw to Tony Robson of Searchlight magazine (themselves enthusiastic propagators of such specious links) dated 22/1/86, never before published:
“..just to outline the area we are currently interested in. Basically, anything that links extreme right groups with the ALF and the Animal Rights Militia. And—in addition—anything that would link these two groups with Class War”
So, there you have it: Henshaw started with baseless conclusions then gathered evidence to fit. Nice.
However, to be fair, among his output (much worthy but dull) three previous programmes stand out as important, even if the second is highly ironic in the light of this current offering.
The first programme of note was in the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ series, broadcast 16/11/09, when veteran journalist Peter Oborne talked critically about the pro-Israeli lobby’s influence in Britain. This perfectly legitimate programme  unleashed the hounds of media hell on Henshaw , although he was exonerated by Ofcom . An interesting aspect of this documentary was highlighting the malevolent and munificent role played in British politics by Finnish citizen Poju Zabludowicz. He still bank-rolls British politicians, including Hope Not Hate Trustee Ruth Smeeth MP, as first disclosed in NFB issue 11 .
The second Henshaw programme worth mentioning was ‘Undercover Mosque’ first broadcast 15/1/07. It generated furious controversy because it showed British imams making racist, anti-Semitic and misogynistic statements. This led the Crown Prosecution Service and West Midlands police to complain, resulting in a victorious libel action by Hardcash against them. Vindicated as Hardcash were, a comment by CPS lawyer Bethan David after considering the whole 56 hours of media footage of which only a small part was used in the programme is insightful, in light of this current show. She stated “splicing together of extracts from longer speeches appears to have completely distorted what the speakers were saying” . Aside from this methodological trait, the ironic aspect to this programme was it uncovered widespread instances of Islamist ideology propagated within mosques, and was hardly approving of such. Fall-out from the documentary included a highly entertaining filmed exchange between Henshaw and George Galloway in which, to be fair, Henshaw acquitted himself well . More serious is the allegation, which Henshaw hasn’t effectively refuted, that a key person involved in the programme, New Statesman contributing editor and Shia Muslim Mehdi Hasan, sought to deliberately skew the production to criticise Sunni Muslims alone, not Shiites .
Finally, a lesser-known Henshaw programme even more salient: on 18/2/15 in the ‘Exposure’ strand, a documentary featured three charities: the Muslim Global Aid Trust (GAT), the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK and the Steadfast Trust, this latter associated with Robin Tilbrook of the English Democrats. In all three cases reporters filmed undercover. The then GAT CEO Riznan Husain was captured making anti-Semitic speeches and resigned before broadcast. HSS knuckles were rapped for not controlling a guest-speaker making anti-Muslim statements . The Steadfast Trust came off worst: footage showed supporters making Nazi salutes, chanting White Power and articulating the neo-Nazi 14 Words slogan . Not surprisingly, Steadfast Trust was removed from the Charities register even before the programme was shown . Maybe this programme was made to show how weak the Charity Commission’s regulatory powers were, thus paving the way for the ‘Protection of Charities’ bill, which finally became law in March 2016. Which would make Henshaw the hack for hire his company name indicates.
DESPERATE FOR HARD CASH?
Henshaw’s company title being ‘Hardcash’ is faintly amusing, though not for targets. Accounts for the last three years reveal a deficit of income in relation to expenditure in 2015 of £4,192 was followed by a 2016 surplus of £10,120 and most recently a 2017 deficit of £3,368. No need for loyal viewers to worry (or begin a crowd funding project) just yet: while annual director remuneration via dividends was a mere £52,000 in 2015, in 2016 and 2017 it has been a more manageable £78,000 . There are only two directors: Henshaw and his wife Lesley Bonner. Though the accounts do not mention tax being paid on those dividends we can rest assured it was, can’t we??
If Hardcash Productions is as skint as these accounts imply, how can they undertake investigations up to a year long? The answer is astounding, and indicates Hardcash have friends in high places. A routine funding source is repeated loans from Coutts Bank: in late 2016 a loan facility was granted by Coutts to make one recent programme , and Coutts granted another loan on the same terms for the Undercover documentary in May 2017 , indeed Companies House records show currently eight undischarged instruments (unpaid loans) owing to Coutts by Hardcash . While no amounts are disclosed, the sums are clearly substantial, otherwise arranging them wouldn’t be worth the effort. And here’s the thing: Coutts (established 1692) are no ordinary bank, not just because account holders include the Royal Family, but because they normally demand of customers at least £500,000 in liquid assets or £5 million in fixed assets . There is no way based on published accounts Hardcash satisfy either criteria, and in any event, are borrowers, not normal account holders. The whole situation is extraordinary: at the very least something here does not signify genuinely independent (of the Establishment) journalism.
WHAT WAS WEAK ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
DEFICIENCY (1)--GROSSLY EXAGGERATING FAR RIGHT STRENGTH
Early on we were promised three things, the last two certainly not delivered. These were answers to the questions: who are the far right, how big are they, how dangerous are they? Instead, we were treated to footage of a few demonstrations without mentioning the far-right street political presence and membership is much reduced from even a few years ago. There are now no fascist MEPs in Britain, or elected representatives in anything other than low-level mostly uncontested constituencies.
Britain First was talked up, with reference to their demonstration in Rochdale 22/7/17: attended by a maximum 200, nowhere near even the smallest Waffen SS Division size (2,199 23rd Division if you must know) . To distract attention from this meagre turnout, infiltrator Mary reportedly “found far more supporters than I expected”, and we hear 1,500 leaflets were given out that day. Yet this does not mean Britain First (BF) has support. A cursory glance at BF’s membership figures revealed in their 2016 accounts shows that, even if you ignore the fact some members pay far more, a membership income of £45,425 at £59 a throw means 871 members at most. Even that figure is most likely exaggeration: consider the testimony of reporter William Morgan, who went undercover inside BF in November 2015. He recounts that attending their Party Conference were “what I can only describe as Islamophobes Anonymous, a gathering of about 30 people with greying hair and loose polo shirts talking about how much they hate and/or fear Islam”. More tellingly, he stated (in May 2016) that “it consists of only about 30 to 40 real members, many of whom I recognise from the conference in this week’s video of them invading a halal slaughterhouse” .
Much is made in the documentary of the huge numbers ‘liking’ Britain First’s Facebook posts after the 22/5/2017 Manchester bombing, with supposedly 1.7 million Facebook followers. However, the significance of this in the real (as opposed to virtual) world has yet to be ascertained. I have commented elsewhere on this site  that an earlier post by leader Paul Golding boasting about 1.4 million Facebook followers received a mere 9 ‘Likes’ indicating these large numbers are virtually meaningless in terms of signifying actual support. More recently, following Donald Trump retweeting three Britain First videos, the organisation has come under renewed scrutiny, and for once I agree with a Guardian journalist--“behind the 1.9m Facebook Likes, the 27,000 Twitter followers and the countless videos of speeches, stands a party with a minute membership, incoherent policies and a negligible chance of electoral success” .
All this you would not expect Hope Not Hate to understand, graphically illustrated when they published on 28/11/16 a report which claimed that after Jo Cox MP was murdered in June 2016 at least 25,000 people sent more than 50,000 tweets celebrating her death or praising her murderer. In fact, as a detailed investigation by the Economist [note to Collins, this is not neo-Nazi but does use big words] found “the number that celebrated her death was at most 1,500, and probably much lower” . Speaking of the figure 1,500 this was the number of members Matthew Collins claimed BF had in 2014, both in the HNH publication ‘Army of the Right’ and in a Twitter exchange with my colleague Dr Paul Stott 25/6/14. Paul raised the number at the time because we thought it implausibly high, and lo and behold if you look at BF’s accounts for 2014 submitted to the Electoral Commission you find a total 2014 membership income of £15,072. Given the cheapest 2014 membership (online/unwaged) cost £15 , there could have been 1,000 members at most. However, factoring in the two other possible types of membership: Standard at £30, Platinum at £50, it is probable even the figure of 1,000 is a significant overestimate. No surprise then, that with this calibre of research input neither Lowles or Collins knew, or cared to inform Henshaw, that the Electoral Commission de-registered Britain First as a political party a week before the documentary, on 2/11/17. Since the documentary, Collins said of the publicity boost following Donald Trump’s retweet “there’ll be no political gain and they won’t be standing in more elections, they’ll just intimidate more people and beg for more money” . Does this idiot still not know they can’t currently stand in any elections? That aside, a rather more downbeat appraisal (if you could call it that) than in the programme. Can Hardcash ask for their (or rather Coutts’) money back? That would be fun!
None of this is to say (even if Donald Trump likes their video-stream) Britain First is a ‘nice’ organisation: the retard shown in audio promising to hang various victims on the end of a rope probably doesn’t play badminton. However, what was needed, but we didn’t get, was rigorous threat assessment of BF, or indeed much else.
Prior to publishing this article I asked Hardcash why they exaggerated the strength and influence of Britain First, and whether they knew or did not know BF was deregistered as a political party a week before the programme (see Appendix).
They did not reply.
THE NATIONAL FRONT
Another group of miniscule significance talked up by the documentary was the National Front, now a pale shadow of its former self, whose 2016 accounts show a membership income of £2,145, which means at £10 per member a maximum of 214. Agent Sarah was shown on TV attending a truly tiny NF demonstration in Grantham 19/8/17, and we were ludicrously expected to find this rump sinister. At this point, the show plumbed new depths, wheeling in Collins to tell us Julie Lake, South West NF Regional Organiser was in the “NF, who are extreme hard-line hard-core neo-Nazis”. No shit, Sherlock: or maybe Collins was being nostalgic about his leisure activities? Despite their public propaganda having few references to Nazism (unlike say the British Movement or National Action) they may well be Nazi cultists; indeed, many are individually, however the subsequent sub-text parodying the film ‘Finding Nemo’ whereby Mary is shown embarking on a long quest, replete with subtly sinister music (no Wagner sadly) to actually meet Lake is something else. When we eventually hear Lake speak, at the Heritage & Destiny meeting in Preston 6/10/17, it is tame: “as the first female to speak…come on ladies get your finger out please” and “we’ve got to get behind established parties and co-operate with each other”. Hardly Hitler at Nuremberg (or even John Tyndall at Northampton). True, she admits corresponding with jailed members of neo-Nazi group National Action, but if operationally involved would hardly do that, would she? The most damaging thing concerning Lake was after her reminiscing in a car she had been attacked by anti-fascists two other passengers said “they want shooting them fuckers” and “want guillotining the lot of them” (whether before or after shooting wasn’t clear). According to Lake herself, this discussion (including one man boasting of “lamping” a “Negress”) happened after the NF protected the undercover reporter because Unite Against Fascism had “broke [n] through the police cordon” . That, I cannot verify, but even so if such macho bravado by these (un-named) individuals is the best they can get on Lake, a woman known on the far right as Hattie Jacques, the barrel is not so much being scraped, as splintered.
Exaggerating the influence of far-right groups extends beyond the indigenous far right to an extensive plug for overseas import Generation Identity (hereafter GI), one of two groups focussed on by the eponymous ‘Hazel Brown’ of Holloway Road. There is no doubt GI are an intriguing and internationally well-organised group, with organisational flair, new media savviness and photogenic appeal. Domestically GI, who first attempted to set up shop in the UK in 2013, are currently of very little significance. This foray was not, to my knowledge, mentioned by Hope Not Hate but was (amusingly) by their former Searchlight colleagues, on three occasions in 2013. On the last occasion, in December 2013, Gerry Gable engaged in rare self-criticism stating that “in 2012 we picked up warnings about a new organisation…Generation Identity had certainly escaped our notice, it was only after we put together bits of information…that we realised it was a growing force”. Gable name-checks their key ideologist Markus Willinger (whose books unlike Martin Sellner’s have been translated into English) and concludes by stating “we intend to fight back and expose and confront them” . Yet of GI, Hope Not Hate’s ‘State of Hate’ feature in January 2014  mentions not a word, even about Willinger speaking at the 2013 IONA conference. The reasons for this are neither here nor there, but suffice to say being out-researched by an old goat like Gable is embarrassing, to put it mildly. As for GI themselves, their only tangible action was a one-off You-Tube video in late 2013, a racist Jeremiad narrated by someone who appears to have overdosed on Mogadon .
Things changed when GI launched their international ‘Defend Europe’ campaign in May 2017, crowd-funding a boat crewed by GI activists and sympathisers to travel to Libya and disrupt the refugee flow to Italy. This alerted the international media, and Hope Not Hate, who got on the case, it being a fantastic opportunity for both virtue-signalling and fund-raising. This is a paradox of the internet: the initiative would not have gained support (or captured the collective far right imagination) without international ‘crowd-funding’, but that very publicity meant arousing opponents too, and moves to block funding and scupper the whole enterprise, which eventually succeeded.
Coverage of ‘Defend Europe’, both supportive and otherwise, had a clear effect in the UK, leading to an attempt to revive GI here. You would be forgiven for thinking ‘Hazel’ scored a goal, by infiltrating a recent GI meeting, but all is not what it seems. Indeed, it can be argued her shot on goal was not a result of her own work, but an invitation (assist) to move into GI’s orbit facilitated by the garrulous Jordan Diamond, Liverpool UKIP member. That GI are a joke security-wise is shown by her ‘rigorous vetting process’ consisting of a 30-minute video call from a Norwegian bloke called Tore who seemed captivated by his own voice. Proper vetting procedure this certainly wasn’t. If this is the calibre of people ‘Defending Europe’ things are even worse than they seem.
Anyway, Hazel also attended a Traditional Britain Group conference where GI poster-boy Martin Sellner spoke, and a subsequent informal GI meeting, at which (unfortunately for the show) Sellner is recorded saying that while the Jews were a real problem in the 1920’s, now the problem is Islam. How inconvenient: he should have said that Jews are the problem today, so he could be labelled neo-Nazi, but he didn’t. He certainly came out with sentiments about Pakis and the ‘Great Replacement’ most would see as racist, but nothing neo-Nazi. I suspect this was why Hazel fled and didn’t return in the afternoon, not fear about being unmasked as the (un-named) Julia Ebner (on whom more elsewhere) had been at another GI meeting the previous day. The hurried exit, complete with sinister music, was most likely a cheap theatrical device staged to give viewers an air of danger where none existed. Even before the show was screened, Sellner himself was dismissive, arguing that “since we have a clear theory and strategy that is the same on the inside and outside we are immune to those sort of infiltrators” and that GI “clearly reject anti-Semitism racism and nationalism” .
As it happens, had the programme-makers any knowledge of the British far right, they would have recognised a parallel between GI’s ethno-cultural racism and the (failed) Race Campaign of the old political soldier National Front between 1987-89, which sought to move away from notions of racial superiority and instead emphasise (as does GI) the notion of difference. A campaign famous (or infamous?) for the NF claim about Louis Farrakhan ‘He Speaks For His People, We Speak for Ours’ . Highly unlikely in the first case, untrue in the second. Indeed, there is an intellectual case to be made (from an international not domestic perspective) for seriously analysing and deconstructing GI’s ideas. In particular, they rage against the spirit of 1968, when revolts by students and others (especially in France during the May events) led to the birth of the modern ‘New Left’ . Yet GI’s street political methods: subverting theatrical performances, decorating statues, infiltrating opposing demonstrations and appearing to echo their demands to the point of absurdity  profoundly echo the spirit of 1968, and its fringes such as Situationism, by practising what is in effect detournement . The pivotal question therefore, to open a Pandora’s Box, is why has the far left declined in intellectual and political vitality to such an extent that the enemy has been able to appropriate its armoury this way. But covering these topics would be hallmarks of a serious programme, light years away from this shallow documentary, so apologies for the digression.
Anyway, returning to GI UK, they were launched in October 2017 by a handful of supporters from these Isles plus Sellner and his partner the wonderfully-named Brittany Pettibone . To the extent GI have any significance, or UK audience, it will have been immeasurably enhanced by this film. Was that the purpose? Probably not, as neither Lowles or Collins are clever enough to dream of such a thing. In any event, for GI (as with the NF and Britain First) the programme failed to properly answer its own questions about their strength and prospects with proper evidence. Indeed, we can go further, the initial statement by Lowles that the far right is increasingly younger and involving more women was not, based on these groups, borne out: and no, filming virtually the entire microscopic UK GI membership undercover in a pub isn’t credible evidence. Lest I be misinterpreted, given the fractured nature of the far right it was perfectly appropriate to look at the National Front and Britain First as two larger fragments. I object not to that, but the misleading impression given that these groups (and Generation Identity) have more support than a handful of acolytes. The dishonesty involved here makes me think looking at the far right was not the documentary’s real purpose, but such groups were a pretext for the real motives behind the show. An impression not dispelled by the ‘military style’ camps both covered and not covered.
DEFICIENCY (2)--TALK ABOUT MILITARY-STYLE CAMPS: BUT NOT THE RELEVANT ONES!
Connoisseurs of this sensationalist programme type know the script demands talk of military camps, organising for ‘race war’ and such like. Such tropes are especially in vogue currently due to media/state reports about far-right terrorism mentioned below. First, some historical perspective. Back in the 1970s, via Special Branch informants Peter Marriner (not Germany but Whitehall calling!) and Dave Roberts, HNH’s direct predecessor Searchlight had a hand in organising them . If you can’t organise camps, a fall-back is inventing them, as Searchlight did for the Channel 4 1988 Dispatches programme on the National Front, ‘Disciples of Chaos’. That can be risky: the land-owner where the camp was supposedly held successfully sued Channel 4 for £30,000 and they were forced to admit “there was no truth whatever in the allegation” . Ouch! Another variation (expensive too) is using agent provocateurs to lure fascists into attending camps you have set up, such as when the Cook Report tried (unsuccessfully) to get Nick Griffin to a paramilitary camp in France for their 1997 documentary .
Coming bang up to date, what did we learn about ‘military-style camps’ in the UK from the show? Nothing! This could hardly be otherwise, as the only group referred to having them was GI, which formally got off the ground in October 2017, a month before the screening. We were shown (a couple of times) footage from GI’s own web-site of group calisthenics, a mass running race, mass press-ups and individuals energetically practising kick-boxing in a gym. The narrator intoned “as their footage shows Generation Identity organise what looks like military style training for members”. Not in the UK, but France. One intrepid British drinker was recorded saying “we would train for two hours in the morning. At the end of the week we had like a mock demonstration, really realistic because they had like pepper-spray and everything”. Certainly not magnifique, nor even la petit guerre! As ‘military-style’ training laughable: no weapons, no night drills, and barely any physical activity. Let’s also get a sense of perspective here: kick-boxing training, with far more bite, goes on the length and breadth of the country in hundreds of classes every night!
Happily, (if that’s the word) advances in modern technology including microscopic hidden cameras and recording equipment mean those infiltrating such camps now have a far greater prospect of proving their existence: and there is also the fact those organising such and recruiting for them often post online. Which again (as with GI’s ‘Defend Europe’ initiative) means opponents can pick up on such too. For those who care to look, there have indeed been several low-level but undoubtedly serious ‘military-style’ camps organised by the British far right in recent years, not in France but the UK.
THE SIGGURD LEGION
The first Siggurd Legion camp took place in the Brecon Beacons (Wales) August 2014, organised by Craig Fraser, keep-fit fanatic and author of ‘The Centurion Method’, a mix of esoteric far right philosophy and strenuous exercises, including structured violence. This book (no longer available in hard copy to my knowledge) co-written by Fraser and his wife Lucy is no mere keep-fit manual. It argues “we should be training like desperate soldiers gripped in an eternal war with an enemy that neither knows us or hates us, but wants to control, demoralise and eventually exterminate us nevertheless” —so no slacking at the back then, methinks. In 2013, speaking to fitness site ‘Health Gauge’ about his Centurion Method Fraser described one aspect as being “the English Gangster Method which is very simply the Silent Killing System devised by WE Fairbairn and used by the British armed forces in World War 2” . That system was indeed about killing, in various ungentlemanly ways .
Just before the first camp Fraser posted on-line the abbreviated version of his credo, including the inimitable phrase “fuck your plan for growth we want knives and guns” . Also in 2014 he gave a talk in Oxford, later put on-line , explaining his philosophy, indicating he comes from far-right field. Fraser denounced ‘race-mixing’ and said the role of Siggurd (named after a mythical Norse warrior also the inspiration for Wagner’s Siegfried in the Ring Cycle) was to “give British man his identity back”. Usefully, Fraser described four stages in the mythic process Siggurd was to replicate: an individual discovering his ancient heritage, and proceeding to find vengeance and seek out justice, but losing his first battle and becoming an outcast. Second, while in the woods/wilderness facing himself and undergoing a religious (non-Christian) conversion. Third, returning to his original community as a hero, striking fear into the enemy. Finally, leading a band of brothers to destroy that enemy. Fraser mentions he had come across members of the neo-Nazi National Action (not banned at that point), still at stage one, having been victimised and outcast.
Some may think this philosophical stuff absurd. I don’t, as it addresses the search for meaning in modern life, and indicates the camps purpose cannot be reduced to the physical, or military. As with the jihadist model, effective camps have three aspects: the physical/military, the spiritual and political indoctrination. Indeed, looking at the ‘Health Gauge’ interview cited earlier, such camps may appeal to some with no prior political affiliation. The itinerary of this camp has been published on-line, and it included street fighting, grappling, archery and “knife fighting defence and attack” . He was assisted by Russian Dennis Nikitin of the White Rex group, and Matt Tait formerly of the BNP.
Given the philosophy behind this camp, you might expect media interest, and it ensued. First up a Daily Star story complete with group photo (showing 27 attendees with masks). They reported both that “National Action has sent all of its members to the camps” (how do they know?) and that “anti-terror police are monitoring the Sigurd Legion mob amid fears they are using the camps to prepare for a wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic attacks” . Less than two weeks later, one journalist involved, Colin Cortbus, co-wrote another article using footage from the August 2014 camp, and photos of Craig Fraser brandishing a machete and his wife Lucy a rifle. This clearly spooked (pun intended) Fraser who claimed to have disbanded the group “after a crisis of conscience”, declaring “I’m not a racist anymore. I’ve joined the Army…I can’t have all this stuff come out now because it might ruin things for me”, and, hilariously: “Yes, I’ve got a machete, but I’m not a violent person” . By his own yardstick, Fraser was now stuck at stage one of his mythic process. Whether that really happened, or he was engaging in ‘heavenly deception’, is another matter.
Whatever Fraser’s own individual journey (or retreat in the military sense), you’d think the documentary would mention these camps? Not so, even though in late December 2014 Nick Lowles was clearly aware of the Siggurd Legion as he commented in the just-mentioned newspaper article, but it took until their review of the year in January 2016 before any mention of the camps in passing .
WHAT’S IN A NAME? FROM SIGGURD TO LEGION
Since then, Siggurd Legion camps have rebranded as Legion camps, using the web-site legionmac.org, ultimate ownership untraceable, masked by a registration service in Phoenix Arizona. Though it is reasonable to surmise those involved include Matt Tait (aka Max Legion) and Larry Nunn (aka Max Musson). At the 2015 American Renaissance Conference, Matt Tait confirmed his involvement along with two others in running the show --the third might conceivably still be Craig Fraser but is possibly Jimmy Hay, who owns a gym in Lancashire. Legion held two camps in both 2015 and 2016, though only one in March 2017, all the same format as previously.
This last camp, despite only 15 attending, triggered a major media response from ITV News ‘Security Editor’ Rohit Kachroo, along with his producer Becky Kelly. Yet again, somebody infiltrated the camp and filmed undercover , focussing on remarks by former National Action (NA) member, Garron Helm, and alleged sympathiser, ‘James Mac’. Helm, who has already served time for sending 2,500 anti-Semitic tweets in three days to MP Luciana Berger in 2014 stated about the murder of Jo Cox MP, “it’s not our fault she was killed, she did have it coming…if you’re committing an act of treason against, you know, your own ethnic group then by right you should be put to death”. James Mac was shown at an NA demonstration in Newcastle 21/3/15, and the programme claimed “four of the 15 people who attended the three-day camp have links with National Action”. Mac himself subsequently denied ever having been an NA member, and claimed he attended that demonstration to help the organisers out . To paraphrase the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies he would say that, wouldn’t he? The other two were not named.
The questions posed by this camp are: first, what does the phrase ‘linked with’ actually mean? Not really answered. Second, did attendance by (for the sake of argument) even four former NA members at this camp mean NA as such was/is still going, after it was formally banned in December 2016? ITV argued it did, by implication, Matthew Collins of HNH quoted as saying NA have not ceased to exist and “are still incredibly active”, appearing (as you might expect) to contradict himself when stating “whether they use the name National Action or not, we believe their activities could encourage others to engage in terrorist acts”. The contradiction is you can encourage others to do things even if the parent organisation is no more: a famous instance being Savitri Devi (and indeed John Gaster) wandering around post-1945 Germany distributing pro-Nazi leaflets.
HNH were more forthcoming than ITN about their own role in the programme. Infiltrator ‘Vlad’ was described as a “disaffected former far right activist who had agreed to pass information to HNH”, indeed the “object of the operation was to catch NA and its secret backers together in defiance of the government’s proscription” . If so, and considering the fact this annual [not actually LOH] “event is where NA had previously made dramatic, show-stopping entrances” , they did not do so in 2017. So HNH/ITV had to fall back on the general association between Legion camp and the NA instead.
I am not saying NA haven’t re-grouped, merely that this footage and these camps do not prove this, or show NA and Legion/Siggurd are identical. In that respect, Larry Nunn’s response to the ITV report ‘Legion MAC Events—A Rebuttal’ is strictly correct . He is disingenuous in a broader sense though: many NA members/former NA members will have been attracted to these camps precisely because of the militaristic confrontational activity integral to them. While it may be true that “several leading members of National Action intensely disliked Western Spring” (Nunn’s web-site/outfit) patently not all did. There is also the claim that until 2016 Larry Nunn financed NA to some extent . That there is an overlapping ideological pool has also been shown by Scottish NA, who in November 2016 held a camp featuring the Siggurd Legion logo . Given nobody running the camps/organising them such as Fraser, Nunn or Tait has been charged raises an interesting conundrum: HNH have alleged in print that NA has “held a series of ‘camps’ where ideology is discussed and violence/self-defence is taught” , where and when were these camps held, and who organised them? If not Ian Anderson, maybe Hans Christian Andersen? I hope they don’t mean the June 2016 Britain First camp in Wales, when ‘self-defence’ classes were conducted with the tiny numbers present using wooden rulers as weapons .
On the broader question of NA re-groupment under false ‘flags of convenience’ a joint Scottish Daily Record/The Ferret web-site investigation in June 2017 tantalisingly indicated that may be so. Scottish Dawn member Ruaidhri McKim told an undercover reporter “NA were a good organisation and the stuff we (Scottish Dawn) do is very similar. Basically, there are some members of the group who were in National Action. It’s kind of hard to talk about it because they’re a proscribed terrorist organisation” . I’ll say it’s hard: a 10-year sentence for membership hard! Clearly the Home Office thinks Scottish Dawn the NA under another name: to quote from the current list of proscribed organisations updated 28/9/17 “the Government laid an Order in September 2017 which provides that ‘Scottish Dawn’ and ‘NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action)’ should be treated as alternative names for the organisation which is already proscribed as National Action”. So now you know, and without pre-judging pending court cases, Helm is one of seven people currently awaiting trial charged with NA membership. Two NA members, de facto leader Christopher Lythgoe plus one other (not Helm) are facing trial on a charge of plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper .
The programme omitting the Siggurd/Legion camps was not simply due to sub judice laws: to my knowledge nobody organising camps has been charged with anything, including NA membership. NA themselves were not absent from the screen: footage of them marching was shown twice, and both Richard Walton (ex-Scotland Yard Counter-terrorism Command) and Matthew Collins opined about NA, even aside from the speech by Peter Rushton at the Heritage & Destiny meeting (see below). The bottom line is this: irrelevant French camps were shown, relevant British ones (which have even featured on national ITV News) were not.
Prior to publishing this article I asked Hardcash why they made a big thing of Generation Identity camps, but made no mention of Siggurd/Legion camps (see Appendix).
They did not reply.
DEFICIENCY (3)--DERAILING BREXIT: BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
Having disposed of the notion this was a serious programme about the organised far right, the question arises, what was it about? One answer was Brexit, or more strictly opposing it. That would explain both concentration on UKIP and the prominence given to claims Brexit fits a racist agenda. A substantial assertion, but once you see where Hope Not Hate are coming from, this makes perfect sense. While the programme-makers patently wouldn't see this as a deficiency, more of an 'angle', I certainly would. After all, the airwaves are awash with anti-Brexit propaganda: there clearly was (and is) space for the occasional programme examining the Far Right: but this was not it, and by masquerading as such deprived viewers of the chance to see such a programme.
HOPE NOT HATE AND BREXIT: THE FACTS
Elsewhere on this site, ‘The EU Referendum and After: Hope Not Hate’s More in Common Campaign’ article outlines overt and covert HNH support for the Remain side in the 2016 Referendum. Check it out to be apprised of Lowles’ track-record as a pro-EU propagandist, the heavily-biased ‘Face the Facts’ initiative, and the involvement of three other HNH Trustees in pro-EU propaganda outfit ‘Best For Our Future Limited . That article is also worth checking out, I suggest, because it outlines how irrelevant organised fascists were in the anti-EU campaign.
HNH’s public stance was “Hope Not Hate does not take a position on the forthcoming referendum on EU membership” . An untruth worthy of Jesuits. Analysing ‘Best For Our Future’ (BFF) expenditure on the Electoral Commission web-site, no less than six HNH personnel/associates received money from BFF, dates in brackets are when money was received. Erstwhile graphic artist Andy Vine got £2,000 (13/6/16), Nick Ryan £1,500 (14/6/16), Owen Jones (no, not that one!) £1,299.19 (27/6/16), Elisabeth Pop £1,257 (27/6/16), Paul Mezaros of Bradford £3,000 (28/6/16). Lowles received £5,860.56 (13/6/16), £826.55 (22/6/16) and £8,500 (12/7/16). Furthermore, he got £2,176.76 (22/6/16) and £4,009.23 (23/6/16) for advertising. Lowles was also a BFF ‘bag man’: for instance (despite not being a Trustee) receiving on their behalf an invoice from Creative Nerds Ltd (111 Charterhouse Street London EC1) totalling £118,000 dated 15/6/16. The main BFF donor also puts the lie to any claim HNH are progressive: Lord Sainsbury, until recently main funder of the hard-right Blairite Labour Party faction Progress (and which key HNH personnel support), gave £419,000.
Clear as day follows night therefore, HNH were not ‘neutral’ in the Referendum campaign. Hardly a surprise that the day after the vote Lowles issued two rather plaintive emails. The first at 7am rather implausibly argued “there is a real danger that the bitterly-fought contest could leave a lasting legacy of division in our country. We cannot allow this to happen” . By 4pm, having no doubt discussed it with others in the metropolitan bubble, his attitude hardened and the mask of neutrality slipped. Now “many of you are angry about the Referendum vote. Many are scared about what this vote says about the country we live in”. All it actually says, technically, is that 52% of people voted to leave the EU, nothing else. The racist interpretation of this result isn’t borne out by detailed polling , but that doesn’t deter HNH. That HNH were/are clearly engaged in an anti-Brexit project is borne out by these sentiments--“we need to get organised in every town and city around the country. We also need to engage with the communities that voted heavily for Brexit, because we write them off at our peril” . Quite clearly, the ‘we’ to get organised are not those who voted for Brexit, who are the ‘other’ to be engaged with. What the top-down ‘More In Common’ campaign was all about.
Extensive and intensive HNH involvement at all levels in the EU Referendum provides essential context for this programme. Apparently casual asides regarding Brexit take on a new light considering the politics of those involved. Lowles’ remark fascists have “been emboldened by Brexit” isn’t fact but propaganda, as too the narrator intoning “as levels of hate crime increase in the wake of Brexit and multiple terror attacks”. I have already disposed (in the article on this site referred to earlier ) of initial ‘fake news’ reports about hate crime following Brexit.
TARGET UKIP: THE ANNE-MARIE WATERS SHOW
Anne-Marie Waters was a UKIP leadership contender in the 2017 election precipitated by Paul Nuttall’s resignation in June. A former Labour Party member, concern about Islam earlier led her to form Shariawatch, and launch (unsuccessfully) an English version of the anti-Islamic German Pegida movement, in association with Tommy Robinson, formerly of the English Defence League.
In Waters concern about Islam, she cares little about who she associates with, and did not distance herself from people on the far right. She must have been aware, for example, of GI attendance at the October Traditional Britain Group conference. At the very least, such insouciance shows her lacking political judgement, hardly good for a potential leader. She also seems rather isolated, her circle prone to infiltration, as the programme illustrated.
Waters evokes determined opposition even within UKIP: partly due to her views on Islam, but that isn’t the whole story. Early leadership favourite Peter Whittle, for example, was himself associated with the ‘integration agenda’ focussing on Islam in the 2017 manifesto but did not face such hostility. The fact is, while no Nazi, her lack of political differentiation from fascists means Waters was/is politically susceptible to criticism such as the Nazi epithet eventual winner Henry Bolton hurled in her direction . The third reason Waters got a hostile reception was one the programme should have covered if serious about looking at the role of women in politics—animosity because she was a woman. There is a precedent: while clearly acceptable to most members, Diane James MEP resigned as Leader-elect after only three weeks in 2016 because she did not “have sufficient authority, nor the full support of MEP colleagues and party officers to implement the changes I believe are necessary and upon which I based my campaign” . It would be wrong to reduce the resignation of James to sexism within UKIP, because she won after having barely canvassed during the contest and was also shaken by being spat at and verbally abused a couple of weeks after her victory at Waterloo station . Nonetheless it’s a hypothesis worth mentioning, as in Waters’ case, but this was not a serious investigative production, so the subject was not broached.
The programme makers hope, evidently, was that Waters would become UKIP leader (she failed with 21% of the votes, coming second to Henry Bolton by 8%) at which point the documentary would have ‘exposed’ her secret agenda, they hoped, further accentuating UKIP’s current downward spiral. A spiral important not because of UKIP themselves, but the bigger issue of sabotaging Brexit, which, to anticipate myself, was one key motive for the documentary. In that sense, portrayals of Waters (and UKIP) were means to an end—hence the cursory nature of the coverage, not even hinting at sexism as an issue.
The documentary had two lines of attack, one partly successful, another a dismal failure. Partial success was showing Waters has far right connections. One was to Jack Buckby, former BNP and Liberty GB activist. There is no doubt, as shown, that Buckby was not only Campaign Manager for Waters, including designing her web-site, but chose to conceal the fact because he at least knew this would not look good politically for her, and it didn’t. In that respect, the programme had a valid point, which I freely acknowledge. However, I note Buckby’s claim to have told ‘Hazel’ he had been criticised in the BNP for being a Jewish ‘shill’ and is thus no neo-Nazi, with several non-white friends, who Hazel met, equally concerned about Islam. In his exchange of letters with Henshaw, these claims by Buckby about scenes we have to presume Hazel filmed, but the final version did not feature, were not answered by Henshaw. Leading me to believe Buckby had a point, especially when you recall what CPS lawyer Bethan David said about the unscreened ‘Undercover Mosque’ footage .
Another element of that partial success was the use of Jordan Diamond, UK co-leader of Generation Identity, UKIP member since June 2017. He is repeatedly described as an “activist who appears to be a close friend of Anne-Marie Waters”, and introduced Hazel to GI. An interesting scene in the documentary shows him asking Hazel in a pub 23/9/17 whether she would be happy if whites didn’t exist, while Waters is further up the table and not necessarily listening: though in a side-angle camera shot, thereby ‘implicated’ in his utterances. Frankly, Diamond, with a finger in every far-right pie, has all the hallmarks of an infiltrator. One background shot is shown of him attending what looks like a Justice for Marine A (Alexander Blackman) march (two were held in October 2015 and October 2016). Footage not on his own You-Tube channel, strange to say…
Diamond attended the Pegida demonstration in Rotherham back on 4/6/16 (and up-loaded Tommy Robinson’s speech to his You-Tube channel). In June 2017, according to HNH, he attended a Britain First rally (probably Birmingham 24/6/17) where he was pictured alongside co-leaders Paul Golding and Jaya Fransen. In the same month, they claim he joined UKIP . What looks like a screen shot from her deleted account shows ‘Hazel Brown’ joined UKIP in June too, on the 23rd . In her email exchange with Henshaw prior to the broadcast, Waters denied close association with Diamond, however the sheer number of political occasions Diamond attended involving Waters between July and October 2017 (seven), and him inviting Hazel to the 15/10/17 launch of Waters’ new party ‘For Britain’ makes this claim ridiculous .
Had Jordan Diamond not joined UKIP and insinuated himself into Waters’ inner circle, there would have not even been a superficial excuse to feature GI in the programme. Diamond doing this, and then involving Hazel, was the glue that held together the flimsy story-line. As Henshaw put it in his email to Waters “the programme will report that through her interactions with you, Hazel met Mr Diamond who then recruited her to join Generation Identity” . The Guardian plug for the programme was even stronger: “the documentary establishes a link between Generation Identity and Waters…a UKIP member, Jordan Diamond, who regularly attended Waters’ events, is also a member of Generation Identity” . The chronology is interesting here: the first reported instance of Diamond attending anything organised by Waters in UKIP was 1/7/17, by which time he could only have been a UKIP member for 30 days at most, indeed on the basis HNH have the month right, probably only three weeks because it was 11/6/17 that she announced her leadership candidature (in Manchester) and he allegedly joined to support her. It does not seem credible therefore to see him as a pre-existing close associate of Waters given he joined UKIP only shortly before Hazel. Maybe Diamond is just an infectiously enthusiastic follower of far-right groups: however, in this business if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s probably a mole…
Waters allowing Buckby, Diamond and for that matter Hazel to get close points to political naivety, gullibility and isolation. Isolation underlined by her being barred from standing as a UKIP candidate in the 2017 General Election. Only one UKIP MEP supported her leadership campaign--Stuart Agnew--and perhaps only because Waters offered him the Deputy Leadership should she win. Denying after the fact Hazel was “close to me” as Waters did , is foolish: Hazel driving Waters to hear the leadership election result at UKIP Conference is close in anybody’s book. Showing Waters’ far right connections was no end in itself: the deeper message is that ordinary people with concerns about Islam are thereby far right, and by extension only the far right have such concerns: this from the people who brought us ‘Undercover Mosque’! There is a parallel (and paradoxical) discourse, whereby establishment stooges like HNH can criticise aspects of Islam—but under the rubric of ‘anti-extremism’, a concept as bogus as it is officially popular .
Showing Waters has connections to people beyond the political pale as the programme did wasn’t new, but had some currency, as we have seen. However, the second Hardcash line of attack barely hit home at all, presentation of Waters ‘extreme’ views about Islam. It didn’t hit the target because Waters says little in private different from in public, other than using expletives, hardly significant. A point eloquently proven when the programme showed a public speech by Waters in Manchester 11/6/17, with Tommy Robinson alongside, where she said “Islam is a killing machine” and Muslims “want to kill us, to enslave us, they want to subjugate us”. Speaking of Robinson, the programme preposterously tried to make something of Waters saying in a car (28/9) that she was open to him joining UKIP: they could have used footage of her on BBC 2’s Newsnight 4/9/17 saying exactly the same thing!
She was also shown (in private) saying “I can’t bear the idea of girls being treated like shit, the way they are in Muslim countries”—surely a sentiment many reasonable people would agree with? After all, ‘Undercover Mosque’ revealed more shocking things being said, such as “by the age of ten, it becomes an obligation on us to force her to wear hijab, and if she doesn’t wear hijab we hit her” or that homosexuals should be thrown “off the mountain”. Not my sentiments, or those of Waters, but from the very programme Hardcash is so proud of. Not double-standards but treble!
While I don’t agree with Waters’ de facto conflation between Islam and political Islamism, there is some linkage, but that is not the same as equivalence, a vital point. However, I fear my nuanced interpretation is not widely shared. Many who viewed the programme (or didn’t) don’t really make that distinction. Some will, frankly, have been heartened by Waters saying in private what she says in public, and in that respect, it could be argued the show did Waters no real harm. For example, horror is expressed at Waters saying in private “we have to stop all Muslim immigration now”. Yet a recent Chatham House survey of 10,000 people from 10 European States (conducted before President Trump made Muslim immigration a global political issue by issuing his executive order banning citizens from some Muslim states) found that “55% agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25% neither agreed nor disagreed and 20% disagreed” . Should Hardcash want to door-step the evil racists behind this report, or HNH want to send out yet another begging email disguised as a petition to get them sacked, organising it shouldn’t be too difficult: lead author Matthew Goodwin co-wrote a 2012 HNH publication ‘From Voting to Violence’, to which Lowles contributed the foreword…
Confidence HNH understand public attitudes towards Islam is hardly increased when Lowles is shown on screen quoting from their own flawed ‘Fear & Hope’ research as though it explains anything other than the inadequacy of HNH research capabilities. Having already critiqued the methodological inadequacies of its predecessor, which their latest study does not transcend, there is no need for repetition .
While I wouldn’t agree with Tommy Robinson’s Tweet the day after transmission that “last night showed the British public what a class act @ AMD Waters is”, there is a grain of truth in Waters’ parting shot to Henshaw that “I can only finish by thanking you both for the publicity and for confirming to the public that the only ammunition you can fire at me, despite months of deception on your part, is to ‘expose’ what I continually and repeatedly state in public” . Not the whole story of course: as stated above the show revealed unsavoury associations and foolish naivety marking Waters as not cut out for leadership. The speed with which she left UKIP showed she had no stomach for an internal party struggle, and suffice to say was not missed by the leadership, interim Chairman Paul Oakden stating the day after the programme “Ms Waters is no longer a member of our party, having discovered that her extreme views have no place in UKIP” . Not strictly true, because for Waters to come second when virtually all the party hierarchy and MEPs, plus Nigel Farage, opposed her shows a significant bedrock of support, albeit within a shrinking party, even if up to 1,000 of her supporters may have joined in two weeks during June in order to vote for Waters . Though we should not overestimate that support either—had it been extensive she would surely have been inside the conference networking, not hanging about outside with a bunch of racists and infiltrators. In that respect the programme played a slightly clever trick, showing one delegate punching the air with delight when her vote percentage was announced. Though he may have been a supporter, inasmuch as results were read out in reverse order he could equally have been celebrating the fact Waters hadn’t won, because the final name to be announced was the winner.
Prior to publishing this article I asked Hardcash whether Jordan Diamond was directly (or indirectly via Hope Not Hate) in the pay of the programme. I also asked why they presented Anne Marie Waters private views as though different from public ones, when there is little or no difference (see Appendix).
They did not reply to either question.
It might seem paradoxical, that a documentary ostensibly devoted to damaging a political group may end up helping it, but there are precedents: one Lowles himself played a key part in, when working for Searchlight. This was the BBC ‘Secret Agent’ programme, transmitted 15/7/04, which showed extensive footage of then BNP Leader Nick Griffin denouncing the grooming of white children for sex by some Asian men in Keighley, Yorkshire before it was politically fashionable to do so (apart from redoubtable Labour MP Anne Cryer). This whole episode was extensively analysed in a previous Notes From the Borderland, suffice to say that after it was shown Griffin abandoned his decision to stand as a 2005 General Election candidate in Sheffield but switched to Keighley instead, so little damaged was he by the coverage. As I commented at the time “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” . True, the BNP came a poor fourth in Keighley with 9.2% of the votes—but that Griffin stood there in the first place was directly attributable to the programme, not something Lowles has ever had the honesty to admit .
A PROGRAMME TOO FAR: PETER RUSHTON OVERREACHES HIMSELF
References to Brexit by programme makers are one thing: fascist utterances were needed for them to hit home. Here the sound-bite from Peter Rushton, Assistant Editor of Heritage & Destiny at the Preston John Tyndall Memorial meeting 6/10/17 was crucial. The programme-makers liked it so much the quote was used both near the beginning and towards the end. Using the quote twice shows its importance, the second time he was bringing the programme’s core point to a crescendo. Rushton stated the current situation called to mind that “Brexit was the ultimate expression of the will of fellow Britons to enforce what was the most famous BNP slogan: Brexit was about Rights for Whites”, cue applause and Lowles immediately remarking fascists have “been emboldened by Brexit”. A propaganda point not lost on Mike Hartman, of HNH satellite Tyne & Wear Anti-Fascist Association, who tweeted immediately afterwards on the night “Brexit was about ‘Rights for Whites’: Peter Rushton, long-time Nazi”. In his response to Hardcash before the programme was screened, Rushton parroted the line HNH and other Remainers would be delighted with— “there can be little doubt that concerns over immigration were the main motivation for many (arguably most) pro-Brexit voters” . I disagree.
Here’s the rub: the programme did not even name Rushton, the most recent HNH web-site mention of him is over two and a half years old . He recently appeared in Hope Not Hate magazine, but in terms that downplayed his importance, reportedly (at a closed conference in September 2016) giving a “rambling analysis of Jewish big business interests and his own growing detachment not just from the British far right but from reality in general” . A conference not alluded to by Searchlight, indicating he may have been attending on somebody else’s behalf. The documentary even incorrectly describes him as Chair of the meeting: yet that supreme accolade fell to Steptoe impersonator Keith Axon. Not naming Rushton caught the attention of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), who commented in a passable critique of the programme next day “we heard the voice of…ex BNP organiser, Peter Rushton, talking of ‘Rights for Whites’, but sadly, no analysis of the role Rushton looks to play conjoining various, far right splinter groups” .
The reason for that missing analysis bemoaned by the UAF, and what the programme did not say, is that Rushton is a long-term Searchlight/state mole, and as the former’s star is waning, it is entirely plausible he has hooked up with HNH too. In 2002 the Nick Griffin-led BNP expelled him because of cumulative evidence: which the late John Tyndall ignored, as I commented at the time, with sagacity unrivalled since Emperor Caligula chose his horse as a Consul. Well, actually, rather less. To quote (for the first time anywhere) a contemporary (22/10/02) intelligence report by one of Rushton's handlers:
"has been at the centre of an ongoing war between various factions within and outside of the BNP. He appears to have Tyndall on side and has set up a NWBNP site to put the case of his supporters. He has also on my advice gone down the Data Protection path to ask to see what they hold on him......He has some heavy people behind him. It could run and run".
It certainly has 'run and run', but maybe has now finally run its course. My concerns, from an anti-fascist perspective, date back to 1994 (when he first tried to get me beaten up!) . Following the expulsion NFB conducted our own investigation into Rushton’s career, published in Notes From the Borderland . Luckily for Rushton, our magazine is not obligatory reading in neo-Nazi counter-intelligence circles, including new kids on the block National Action. Rather than embarrass Rushton further I merely say this: is it not time, honestly, that Captain slung his Hook?
Rushton didn’t necessarily concoct his sound-bite to misrepresent Brexit as intrinsically racist in conjunction with the programme-makers. I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, however, with both Lowles and Collins aware of his status as a long-term plant. And what a busy little bee Rushton is. One key platform is his position of Assistant Editor (to Mark Cotterill) of Heritage & Destiny magazine. With other publications such as Spearhead and Identity having long fallen by the wayside, it is unique as a meeting point and bi-monthly journal of far-right record. Nowhere else, realistically, would veteran (former NF Chairman/BNP MEP) Andrew Brons’ recent cry of anguish about the (poor) state of the far right have commanded a larger audience. Indeed, as a corrective to ridiculously talking-up fascist prospects in this programme, ponder Brons’ opening words, worth highlighting:
“British Nationalism has never previously been as fragmented. There is no credible, electable, Nationalist political party. The majority of paid-up and/or active British Nationalists have disappeared from the scene and most are not even in contact with other nationalists” .
Rushton himself writes a column every issue (Movement News) that admirably summarises fascist (and UKIP) performance in elections plus reports of marches and such like. He uses his status to travel across Europe and beyond, enthusiastically supporting Holocaust deniers like the late Ernst Zundel . On 19/8/17 Rushton addressed a thousand neo-Nazis at Spandau calling for release of documents concerning the death of Rudolf Hess , and has appeared both on (Iranian) Press TV and Russia Today. It takes no imagination at all to surmise that reports from these overseas trips, including especially encounters with Far Right opinion-formers, make their way to MI6 and the likes of the Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz (BFV=Germany Domestic Security Service).
Knowing where Rushton is coming from makes his columns fascinating. He loses no opportunity to twist the knife in Nick Griffin’s back, and dislikes Tommy Robinson (who has consistently rebuffed attempts by the state to recruit him) too, commenting in 2015 about Robinson’s claim “we have to save our culture”, that “in this context ‘our culture’ presumably means mortgage fraud and cocaine abuse: given Robinson’s record it certainly has nothing to do with racial integrity or British heritage” .
Rushton has always covered National Action sympathetically. For example, he said in 2015 regarding their deliberately confrontational approach “those who argue that they would be better off leafletting for a political party ignore one obvious fact: there is little or no mainstream nationalist electoral activity taking place, so which party are these young nationalists supposed to join?” . Following the December 2016 ban, Rushton displayed undoubted erudition in a two-page article putting the ban in historic perspective, commending their strategy (“not all that dissimilar to the so-called ‘alt-right’”) and feeding their sense of victimhood . Hinting some in NA’s periphery at least value Rushton as a respected movement ‘elder statesman’, consider this elliptical aside regarding the alleged plot to kill Rosie Cooper MP some NA activists have been charged with--“this murder plot sounds very far-fetched and H&D is aware of a very different story, which we cannot yet publish for legal reasons” . Intriguing. As is footage broadcast showing Rushton attending an NA march before the ban, and at the meeting stating “these young men in National Action are not terrorist”, to say they are “makes a mockery of the English language”.
NA, beleaguered on all sides, might be forgiven for thinking him a wise head to turn to, based like many of them in the North West. Immediately before those quotes, the narrator spoke about meetings where “support is declared for far-right terrorists by people who believe their time has come”. The thought crossed my mind, knowing where Rushton is coming from, that this clip was shown to facilitate such an outcome. Just a thought: and no need for Henshaw to know anything about it were that the case. Indeed, no need for Rushton to necessarily know either, as he anticipated the speech (like all others) would be broadcast on You-Tube anyway, where NA members could pick it up. If anyone from the NA is so stupid as to allow Rushton anywhere near their defence case, that will exponentially increase their chances of being found guilty. In which eventuality they would end up getting the maximum sentences possible. The folly of (neo-Nazi) youth eh? His response after the programme that he did not express support for ‘terrorism’ because the term is applied too broadly is fair enough . However, as I have argued, he is not commenting on 'terrorism' as a disinterested party, but an asset.
In case you think it fanciful a TV programme might be scripted to further a secret state agenda, consider this admission by Lowles in September 2017: “as Hope Not Hate goes to press, the police have announced that six alleged members of National Action have been charged with a variety of offences, including two with a plot to kill a Labour MP. The information that led to the arrests and subsequent charging of these men originated from Hope Not Hate” . Some may not be bothered by this: anybody concerned about a free media and non-state-compromised anti-fascism should be. Returned to below.
Prior to publishing this article I asked Hardcash (see Appendix) whether
--they were aware Peter Rushton is a long-term infiltrator into the far right, for Searchlight/Hope Not Hate
--Rushton was in the pay of the programme, whether directly or via Hope Not Hate
--Rushton’s comments about National Action and/or Brexit were sound-bites designed by Hope Not Hate and/or Hardcash in collusion with Rushton
--why, given Rushton’s prominent role, they did not name him.
They did not reply to any of these questions.
DEFICIENCY (4)--CRYING FOUL ABOUT THE INTERNET
As with the anti-Brexit agenda, the programme-makers might not see this as a deficiency. I demur: there is a battle going on for the soul of the internet and this show comes down very much on the censors side. Indeed, the anti-Brexit agenda and desire to curb the internet are today inextricably linked, one scary thing about the current situation is that those liberal/Left circles who historically you might expect to be wary of censorship are so annoyed by the plebs voting for Brexit most are actually cheer-leading for 'controls' on the internet and in the process exhibiting a degree of Russophobia not seen since the Cold War: from the Hard Right. Our political class (and secret state) are terrified by the way traditional information monopolies have been undermined by the world-wide web. What is sneeringly referred to as ‘populism’, whether of Left or Right, is code for opinions not sufficiently controlled from above. As such, the Brexit referendum, where a majority of the British people effectively told most of the political class to ‘do one’ was a seismic shock. The establishment have not given up but are planning to refight the EU Referendum and/or annul it (by using parliamentary/media Quislings). In terms of undermining Brexit, this is where this type of programme comes in. The methodology is simple:
- Show racists coming out with racist views (hardly difficult).
- Point out how they have used the internet to organise (even if like the National Front they barely do). Here we see the significance of focussing on GI: little actual UK support but an undoubtedly sophisticated internet presence.
- Then, having disgusted your audience sufficiently with a pre-prepared script, soften viewers up so they support more controls on the internet to ban ‘nasty’ views (rather than engage with or even refute them of course).
This propaganda offensive is far larger than this programme of course: conspiracy theories peddled by the Guardian/Observer about Brexit (Carole Cadwalladr) and by most media outlets about Russian interference in the democratic process via the internet all make up the bigger picture. Russia does fight the ‘information war’ using the internet, and seeks to influence protagonists on all parts of the spectrum by building personal and professional relationships—but so do US and UK intelligence, something the likes of Cadwalladr conveniently forget. It just goes to show how cynical, and shallow, was the pretence by the Guardian they took Edward Snowden's revelations seriously. In all this debate concentrating on Russia (and China), what Snowden uncovered about US/UK state surveillance and dirty tricks seems to have been swept aside, dumped in the memory hole. Ironically, seeking to reduce the outcome of elections/referenda to sinister manipulation by one side is crass conspiracism that previously (when things were going their way), most mainstream media outlets would have ridiculed. That an agency or interest group should seek to produce a certain outcome is not the same as proving they actually have. All this for another day however.
A parallel but ultimately converging agenda to the ‘Russkies under the Mouse Mat’ claim is the pre-existing ‘anti-extremism’ discourse that like a virus has corrupted important areas of academia (e.g. Matthew Goodwin, Paul Stocker, Matthew Feldman, Nigel Copsey and others of that ilk: most published by Routledge, interestingly enough) and energetically promoted by often competing but sinister think-tanks such as the Quilliam Foundation, Institute for Strategic Dialogue and of course Hope Not Hate.
A lot of often small bricks are needed to construct a wall (of censorship). This programme was one: in case any viewer missed the point, it was made three times at the end. First, narrator Caroline Catz described the far right (ludicrously based on what had gone before) as “a confident and ambitious movement with the potential to gather more far-reaching support than ever before”. Next up was Lowles, Professor Hamster, intoning that “politicians and the government need to have a far greater understanding of social media and the far-right interaction on social media”. Fact is, the organised far right are weaker today than at any point in the last 30 years, therefore the real concern is not the far right but the desire to control social media: which of course means the Left/Greens/anti-EU activists.
Richard Walton (former Head of Scotland Yard’s Counter-Terrorism Command) told us the murder of Jo Cox MP “was a wakeup call as to what can happen if you allow these narratives to flourish and to grow”. As it happens, her killer, Thomas Mair, appears to have bought bomb-making manuals and such like from the (US) National Alliance as far back as 1999 by mail-order. Therefore, while in the days before the murder he used the internet in his local library to research information on serial killers, the Waffen SS, Ku Klux Klan and .22 ammunition, it would be wrong to attribute his developing murderous intent to the internet as such . Police would have been better addressing, which they never have, who supplied him with the Weihrauch .22 bolt-action rifle stolen nearly a year before the murder in August 2015 from a car in Keighley. Somehow, I don’t think he bought it on Ebay. As the Economist piece quoted earlier shows, claims about far-right influence on the internet are vastly exaggerated, but the likes of Walton/HNH as you will have already gathered don’t deal in facts.
Walton is a disturbing choice to appear on this programme, but it shows HNH/Henshaw’s true colours. He took early retirement in January 2016 to avoid an Independent Police Complaints Commission Inquiry into his role concerning police spies who infiltrated the campaign for justice following the murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 . It is most concerning therefore, that Walton is shown arguing the internet has “turbo-charged far right and far left extremism”. I highlight the far-left aspect in case anybody (such as naïve crowd-funders of Hope Not Hate) missed it. Given the collapse/implosion of most far left groups today, and the way Momentum has hoovered up so many Left activists, it is obvious that he must be including Corbyn supporters in this. I must ask, what legitimate reason has a former Head of Counter-Terrorism Command got for targeting Leftists, given any association between the UK Left and activity remotely resembling ‘terrorism’ is non-existent? HNH’s concern is clear: we have previously  outlined how the bulk of their leadership clique are associated with the Labour Right, specifically the Progress faction, and as such anti-Corbyn. Henshaw’s motives? For him to explain.
Prior to publishing this article I asked Hardcash whether they were comfortable about using Richard Walton given he resigned from the police in disgrace because of his role in spying on the Stephen Lawrence campaign (see Appendix).
They did not reply.
The final comment, unfortunately for coherence (and overall narrative) came from Collins who spoke of a “small group of lunatics”—a description not applicable to GI for instance, and in any event this use of mental health terminology is inaccurate, inappropriate, and intellectually shallow—which I suppose sums Collins up.
Interesting too that what presented itself as a legitimate investigative programme should go to such lengths to delete all the infiltrators historic Twitter posts: Hazel Brown @Ldngirl_south, Mary McShane @MissBrit_Lady and Sarah @yorks_babex (also using the screen name Mary M). It is one thing to not keep an account active (because of abuse) another to delete all historic posts. Something to hide? I rather think so.
Prior to publishing this article I asked Hardcash why they deleted all the historic Twitter posts of these three agents (see Appendix).
They did not reply.
Having laid into the programme somewhat, they at least got something right. Before transmission emails were sent to all featured, outlining what was seen as the evidence against them. Far preferable to the normal tactic: door-stepping people at inopportune times. In that respect, they differ from others, though only drew critical attention to one practitioner: Tommy Robinson. As part of his Troll-watch series he confronted a Guardian journalist at home, as unacceptable to me as ITV journalist Rohit Kachroo door-stepping Garron Helm at home in March 2017. Difference is the former is criticised, the latter not.
Sadly, qualified praise for one aspect of the programme does not make it adequate, in particular it didn’t even attempt to prove the early proposition that “the new far-right has an unexpected profile. Its supporters are getting younger, with women involved from the grass roots to the very top”. Concerning this claim about women, not true for the National Front: only Julie Lake was featured, nor Britain First: Jaya Fransen was mentioned but that’s it. As for National Action, no women mentioned, not even Bryony Burton. Coming to Generation Identity, however photogenically alluring Brittany Pettibone (and for that matter Laura Southern) undoubtedly are, they are not female British activists, and none were shown. At the Traditional Britain Group Conference, approximately 20 out of 135 attendees were women, and many not exactly young.
No credible evidence was given regarding women and the British far-right, and the far-right’s strength and significance exaggerated, with heterogenous groups lumped together when they have fundamental differences. Further, no mention of a potential far right recruiting pool that dwarfs all these small groups: the Football Lads Alliance, which held a very well attended march (estimates between 10,000-30,000) against ‘extremism’ and terror attacks in London 7/10/17, at which both Tommy Robinson and Anne Marie Waters turned up, as (apparently) Frank Portinari, English UDA commander and sometime gun-runner did to an earlier march in June . It would be wrong to see this march as far right in itself, but it was certainly worth a mention.
Weaknesses in coverage of the far right indicates the programme’s purpose was not as stated but something else. That ‘something else’ had two parts: resisting Brexit and building a case for restrictions on social media. A slight paradox is much was made of undercover filming (accompanied by sinister music and quirky camera angles) at meetings where speeches were shortly after put on-line anyway, as with both the Traditional Britain Group and Heritage & Destiny. As stated earlier, I don’t disagree in principle with undercover filming, which captured some idiotic racist comments and showed certain attendees at meetings (e.g. the eternally shifty ex-BNP Youth leader and cartoon racist Mark Collett replete with ill-fitting suit) conventional open filming wouldn’t have revealed. Yet the sub-text to this documentary is these groups should be banned from putting speeches on-line: which would give such mostly irrelevant ‘under-hand’ filming a validity it doesn’t entirely have, on this showing. I say mostly irrelevant because if undercover filming, supposedly over a year, had revealed more, we would have been shown the results.
Prior to publishing this article I asked Hardcash why, given the programme was billed as being about Women and the Far Right it was so poor regarding not just the far right, but the role of women within it (see Appendix).
They did not reply.
All this raises a thought-provoking question about the relative contributions of Henshaw and producer Joanna Potts on the one hand, and Lowles/Collins on the other. Were the production company complicit in the HNH-inspired agenda, or willing dupes? Difficult question, though you might think people as experienced as Hardcash should know better. In another respect, though, standards of investigative journalism are so low probably not. I am not positing, note, a conspiracy theory as to how the programme came about. It is entirely possible that Henshaw's original intention was (as the funding proposal to Coutts stated) a programme about 'Women and the Far Right'. It is plausible too that as the bigger operation he should have turned to HNH and not Searchlight for 'research assistance'. At this point, HNH may well have said (or suggested) keep the idea of having three acknowledged female infiltrators, but why not focus on social media and the internet instead? At which point their anti-Brexit/pro-censorship agenda would then have predominated. Not that I think Hardcash would have put up much resistance to this hijack: after all, as Henshaw's programme/book smearing the ALF and Class War shows, he's certainly one for tuning in to the Zeitgeist. Whatever HNH had to say, there is also the need to please commissioning editors. Piranhas Hardcash undoubtedly are, but their hand-to-mouth finances show they are swimming in a pool of media sharks. They have to turn in shows that are 'sexy' and resonate with those handing out commissions: and Brexit plus internet censorship certainly fit the bill.
The previous paragraph is speculative, certainly. What isn't is the astonishing fact that the show did not mention actual British ‘military-style’ camps. There is one explanation, potentially hinted at by Lowles, recently speaking of the arrests of alleged NA members— “while we cannot say anything more at this time, given that we will be providing evidence to the trial, the full story will come out in due course” . Being charitable, the programme might have been so bad, and implausible, because properly covering what it should have might have compromised a forthcoming trial. As stated, given nobody organising the camps has been charged with anything, this hardly adds up. However, Henshaw and Potts might not know that, or maybe do but don’t care.
Speaking of the far right’s potential for organised violence, and (leaving aside the 1999 London bombings by David Copeland NFB has covered extensively elsewhere ) it is likely that (as did neo-fascist Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway 22/7/11) sooner or later someone else will get through and do something similar in the UK. Sad but true. However, this should not blind us to the fact that the terrorist potential of far-right groups is currently far less than that of Islamists. Looking at recent Home Office statistics for arrests, between 9/11/01 and 2017 79% of arrests have been for ‘International Terrorism’, i.e. ‘Islamist’ terrorism/plots, the other three categories being Northern Ireland, Domestic and Unclassified . In a narrower time-frame, the year ending 31/3/17, ‘International Terrorism’ accounted for 75% of arrests and ‘Domestic Terrorism’ 16% . Dry these statistics may be, they are essential background to understand what is certainly a media/state ploy to exaggerate the threat from ‘fascist terrorists’/potential ‘terrorists’ in the UK, which might go a long way to explaining why a minuscule group like National Action, who have not, as yet, murdered anybody, receive such extensive media coverage, and whose members/alleged members risk heavy sentences in forthcoming trials if found guilty. For analysis of overall spook strategy currently, look elsewhere .
The trick is this: to look not so much at the numbers of specific plots/attacks (the overwhelming majority Islamist) but referrals to preventative programmes such as the Home Office’s Channel. Thus, in February 2017 David Anderson QC revealed that a quarter of referrals are now ‘far right’ sympathisers. He stated “extreme Right-wing ideology can be just as murderous as its Islamist equivalent” . Now, he is certainly correct that they can be: but the real question is whether the far-right currently actually are. My view, and that of NFB colleagues, is that rumours of fascist bomb plots in general are just that. To put it all in historic perspective, read this article by my colleague Dave Hughes on this web-site written 7 years ago . To reiterate, sooner rather than later a UK fascist is going to commit mass murder: yet in very recent times some Islamist militants actually have. An unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless. One the programme itself can hardly argue with, for the opening scenes showing the aftermath of the Manchester bombing 22/5/17 were not chronicling a fascist attack, were they?
Another statistical gambit is covering arrests for domestic terrorism separately from those for ‘international terrorism’. Take, for example, this Daily Telegraph piece headlined ‘Far right and neo-Nazi terror arrests double’. Not forgetting the caveat most people arrested are released without charge (or found innocent), it is striking nonetheless that the first three sentences read:
“Terror arrests of suspected Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis more than doubled last year amid fears of a growing threat of political violence from far-Right groups, new Home Office figures show. A total of 35 people were arrested on suspicion of ‘domestic’ terrorism in 2016, which security sources said was dominated by threats from the far-Right. The arrests followed only 15 for domestic terrorism the previous year and come after a warning from the Government’s terrorism watchdog that far-Right extremists now account for one-in-four of those reported to counter-radicalisation schemes” .
While the article goes on to mention arrests for ‘International Terrorism’ these are described as “falling slightly”. Now, it is of some interest far-right referrals have increased, but that should not blind us to the bigger picture. An imbalanced impression of relative threat is conveyed not in accordance with the facts, but consonant with a media strategy aimed at much as the Muslim community as anywhere else, intended to present the state as being even-handed in such matters. Suspicion there is statistical massage going on is not dispelled by the most recently released statistics, which mention that in the year ended 30/9/17 the largest increase in arrests was for those of White ethnic appearance, up by 77% from the previous year (81 to 143) . The earlier report’s detailed breakdown of arrests by offence category is not in the report’s main body this time, despite being promised. Burrowing into the statistical annexe you find that ‘Domestic Terrorism’ arrests numbered 73 out of 400 (18.25%), still dwarfed by ‘International Terrorism’ 292 out of 400 (73%) . On that basis, while a superficial impression might be that Whites are arrested for (unspecified) Far right sympathising offences, the actual figure of 73 indicates just over half were arrested for non-domestic terrorism offences. This would include White converts to Islamism, Kurdish and others fighting Islamic State, animal liberation activists and so forth. There is also an interesting anomaly, or potential anomaly, concerning offence classification. Whereas all paramilitary related arrests to do with Northern Ireland are classed as Northern Ireland related, we cannot be sure this applies to offences elsewhere. Thus, Darren Osborne, who drove a van at worshippers outside Finsbury Park mosque in June 2017 was later charged with ‘terrorism-related murder’ . Given he has no known far right connections, how is this offence categorised? Given that it was apparently a response to ‘International Terrorism’ (Islamism) will it be put in that category, analogous to Northern Ireland precedent? Or will it be classed as ‘Domestic’, or indeed far right (because he is White?). Who knows?
Perhaps the most useful statistic putting things in perspective for the time being is that of 213 persons in custody for ‘terrorism’ offences 30/9/17, 88% held “Islamist extremist views”, 8% “far right-wing ideologies” and 5% beliefs related to other ideologies . Statistics only tell you so much, but although indicating a murderous far right potential, also tell us this should not be exaggerated.
Returning to the documentary, a precise term describes the debasement of proper research this sort of thing constitutes, which I coined after the BBC Secret Agent programme Lowles was involved in. The term is SPIJ: standing for State-compromised Pseudo-Investigative Journalism. A concept adequately defined elsewhere on this site, I suggest interested parties start there. One sentence in the summary fits this documentary like a glove: “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” .
All this matters because if journalism is reduced to serving the interests of one or other secret state faction or acting as police agents then freedom of the press becomes a hollow memory. Resulting in programmes as poor as this one.
Another reason I am concerned about the activities of HNH, and Searchlight before them, is that so many of their infiltrators: Dave Roberts, Ray Hill, Tim Hepple, Matthew Collins etc. turn out to be agents provocateurs and/or thugs delighting in attacking anti-fascists. While those involved in NA are mostly (though not all) deluded thugs, this does not mean some may not have been set up. If so, any infiltrators working for HNH will be in the parlance ‘prime suspects’. For this reason, I will watch the trials of alleged NA members, and HNH evidence, closely. Fact is, infiltrators run by HNH and Searchlight can do things on behalf of the state free from proper scrutiny and regulatory control, which is why they are so useful. Consider therefore the begging email below, sent by Lowles to HNH supporters 31/10/16:
“Research is at the heart of HOPE not hate’s work. We monitor and expose the activities of extremists at home and abroad, we provide vital intelligence and analysis to our campaign teams…Running almost 20 people inside extremist groups is now costing us £2,500 a month in expenses…Our research team is busier than ever before. We monitor thousands of extremists, photograph every demonstration and meeting and trawl through social media looking for trends and connections”
This email raises questions, as does the documentary, that need answering:
- What action do HNH take to ensure these people do not act as agents provocateurs?
- The term used here is extremist, not far right. Does that mean HNH have informants in Islamist groups like Al-Muhajiroun or Hizb ut Tahrir? And in far-left groups?
- If HNH do not have informants in Islamist groups, when they clearly publish about them, why does their Modus Operandi differ here, to that concerning the far-right?
- Do they run informants in UKIP, which is a legal political party opposed to violence?
- Did they run informants in any organisations during the EU referendum, a referendum where they claimed to be neutral?
- Peter Rushton was an informant for Searchlight. Does he now work for HNH? If so, was he working for HNH when he tried to link the Brexit vote to ‘Rights for Whites’?
I do not expect HNH to answer these questions, but they are certainly relevant. In the meantime, I invite readers, researchers and journalists to put these questions to HNH at every opportunity.
As for Hardcash, I will almost give them the last word. They tweeted just after the show “the far right seems confused that we investigate both political and religious fascism: it’s called journalism”. Well, coming from the far left not the far right, I am not confused but amused that Hardcash think this programme worthy of the term journalism.
Nonetheless, nobody is beyond redemption. Following the Mexican stand-off in their libel action against Nigel Farage, and basking in the establishment/uncritical media support and massive funding (including from George Soros) they enjoy, HNH are getting more cocky, and aggressive, by the minute. We have remarked before HNH’s preferred method of resolving political disputes is issuing legal threats  and now they have serious money behind them no doubt will try more of the same. The bullying tone of Nick Lowles after the case is an implied threat to all critics: “Hope not Hate is putting purveyors of fake news on notice: no more. There needs to be a line in the sand for those who blithely, and without fear or concern for the consequences, throw out falsity” and so on . That Lowles, neither here nor elsewhere, has had the honesty to admit HNH (or rather the mugs crowd-funding the action) had to pay their own costs is as expected. However, overweening pride and arrogance such as the ever-expanding HNH now display always comes before a fall. So, a suggestion for Henshaw/Potts, especially if (unlikely as that is) they only now realise what a load of cold dog-poop this documentary served up to viewers. Why not (as with Undercover Mosque: The Return) a follow-up programme to Charities Behaving Badly, indeed specifically one spook-connected charity behaving badly, Hope Not Hate. Call me psychic if you want, but somehow (despite ample subject material), we won’t see this on our screens anytime soon, and even if we do, Coutts won’t be financing it…
APPENDIX: EMAIL SENT TO HARDCASH
Exposure: Undercover inside Britain’s Far Right Transmitted 9/11/17
Dear Mr Henshaw
I am an independent investigative researcher specialising in the Far Right and critiques of investigative journalism, in print and on-line at www.borderland.co.uk
I am writing to inform you that I am planning to write about the above programme.
In the interests of fairness I am writing to give you the opportunity to respond to criticisms I intend to make and issues I intend to raise. These are enumerated in questions below.
I ask that you provide a written statement by 5pm 14/12/2017 so that your response can be included. I will edit any such statement to ensure that your comments are fairly and accurately reflected.
- Why did your programme exaggerate the strength and influence of Britain First?
- Did you not know Britain First were deregistered as a political party a week before the programme (2/11/17), or did you know and decide not to mention it?
- Why did you cover (and make a big thing of) Generation Identity camps, but make no mention of the Siggurd/Legion camps organised on British soil?
- Was Jordan Diamond in the pay of your programme, whether directly or indirectly via Hope Not Hate?
- Why did you try and present the private views of Anne Marie Waters as though they were different from her public ones, when on virtually all matters such as Tommy Robinson, Islam, and Muslim immigration there is little or no difference?
- Are you aware that Peter Rushton is a long-term infiltrator into the far right, using the name Captain/Captain Hook, working for Searchlight and now Hope Not Hate?
- Was Rushton in the pay of your programme, whether directly or indirectly via Hope Not Hate?
- Following on from Question 7, were his comments about National Action and/or Brexit being about ‘Rights For Whites’ sound-bites designed by Hope Not Hate and/or Hardcash in collusion with Rushton?
- Why, given the prominent role accorded to Rushton, did you not name him?
- While I understand your three female agents do not deserve abuse, why have you deleted all their historic Twitter posts? What have you to hide?
- Given Richard Walton had to resign from the police in disgrace because of his role in spying on the Steven Lawrence campaign, are you comfortable about using him on the show, especially given he referred to ‘far left extremists’?
- Given the programme was billed as being about Women and the Far Right, why was it so poor regarding not just the far right, but the role of women within it?
I look forward to hearing from you
Dr Larry O’Hara
Editor, Notes From the Borderland
 For full analysis (and documentation) concerning the split see Notes From the Borderland issue 10 2012 p.34-80, and the various extracts on this web-site for an outline. For reference, if you visit the shop on this site, all NFB back issues are available either as hard copy (most) or PDF (all).
 Notes From the Borderland magazine issue 10 p.47, see also NFB 11 p.9-10 for further detail
 Hope Not Hate magazine 30 January-February 2017 p.11. This list is ludicrous for among other things putting their own informant Jim Dowson at number 1!
 ‘Animal Warfare’ Fontana 1989 p.91
 Ibid. p.190
 For references see my ‘Searchlight for Beginners’ available from this site
 See full transcript ‘The Israeli Lobby in Britain’ Peter Oborne and James Jones opendemocracy.net 13/11/09
 For example, see the article by Martin Bright (who else!) in the Jewish Chronicle 19/11/09, Community Security Trust statement ‘Dispatches; Where is the evidence?’ 23/11/09, and Henshaw’s defence in the Guardian ‘An insidious argument for censorship’ 23/11/09
 See reproduction of Ofcom ruling on Opendemocracy.net 23/3/10
 See Notes From the Borderland issue 11 2016 ‘Hope Not Hate versus Searchlight Civil War: the Fall Out Continues’ Heidi Svenson and Dr Paul Stott p.9
 http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/pressreleases/archive/2007/153_07.html, on the programme see Wikipedia entry on ‘Undercover Mosque’—ignore the asinine commentary, but there is a good list of sources.
 ‘How Did George Galloway Squeeze the Producer of Undercover Mosque?’ Press TV 9/9/08
 ‘Mehdi Hasan—The Undercover Mole’ hurryupharry.org 17/6/14
 See Charity Commission Inquiry Report into Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (UK) 2/9/16, and the HSS Press Release that same day
 First coined by the Order’s David Lane (with an echo of Mein Kampf) ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children’
 See entry for The Steadfast Trust on Charity Commission web-site, also Susannah Birkwood ‘We took too long to remove Steadfast Trust from the register, Charity Commission admits’ thirdsector.org.uk 24/2/15
 See Accounts for Hardcash Productions Limited Company number 02695415 submitted 27/5/15, 31/5/16 and 15/3/17
 Form MR01 registered 14/11/16
 Form MR01 dated 5/5/17
 Also, instruments (MR01s) registered 18/6/14 (2), 14/1/15 (2), 30/9/15 and 11/3/16
 Daily Telegraph 4/5/08 Richard Northedge
 See Sunday Mirror (Stephen Johns) 23/7/17 on Rochdale.
 Independent on-line 5/5/16
 guardian.com 1/12/17 (Ian Cobain)
 Economist 17/12/16
 Something that can be checked via the inestimably useful wayback.org
 The Observer 3/12/17 (Mark Townsend)
 Julie Lake comment on ‘Exposing the Exposers #1’ thread on westernspring.co.uk 15/11/17
 Searchlight 457 December 2013 p.5, see also Searchlight 455 August 2013 ‘Identity: the new nationalist idea’ p.12-13, Searchlight 456 October 2013 p.6-10
 Hope Not Hate 12 January 2014 p.24-31
 Generation Identity UK ‘A Declaration of War from The Students of Britain’ You-Tube 27/12/13
 For a relatively coherent account see Chris York ‘I Met Defend Europe’ huffpost.com 6/8/17 and for a time line Joe Mulhall ‘Failed Europe Mission Comes to An End’ hopenothate.org 17/8/17, as well as Defend Europe’s own multi-lingual Twitter-feed
 ‘The ITV Exposure of Nothing’ Martin Sellner, You-Tube 8/11/17
 For a detailed analysis of which see Chapter 3 p.101-119 of my (as yet unpublished) PhD thesis ‘Creating Political Soldiers? The National Front 1986-90’ Birkbeck College London University 2001
 Indeed, the key Identitarian manifesto by Marcus Willinger ‘Generation Identity’ (Arktos 2013 in English) is sub-titled ‘A Declaration of War Against the ‘68ers’
 See for a useful descriptive summary of these actions Martin Sellner in ‘GI Presentation in London’ published by Amorpha Media on You-Tube 9/11/17
 See the original formulation by Guy Debord & Gil J Wolman ‘A Users Guide to Detournement’  accessible via bopsecrets.org, and Guy Debord ‘The Society of the Spectacle’ , various editions (mine is Black & Red Detroit 1977). Intriguingly, Willinger even copies the form (a numeric list of theses). I say this not to detract from Debord, but to make a provisional observation about GI along the lines of Samuel Johnson, that however adequate their presentational skills (Sellner is certainly adequate) their work (including stunts) is both original and interesting, though what is interesting is not original and what is original is not interesting….
 See ‘Generation Identity Launch in UK’ You-Tube 24/10/17
 For references and detail see my ‘Searchlight for Beginners’ (1996)
 See East Anglian Daily Times 6/10/88, Searchlight April 1984 p.3 and High Court Queen’s Bench Division Statement in Open Court (Edwin Nye v Channel 4) Ref 1989 N-N0 282. Chapter 7 of my PhD (cited above) p.171-215 considers the evidence for and against an NF turn towards ‘terrorism’ in theory and practice.
 See Notes From the Borderland 4 2001 p.17, Nick Griffin Press Release 11/4/97, Time Out 16/4/97
 Craig and Lucy Fraser ‘The Centurion Method’ Abalawutaz Books 2014 p.60
 ‘Centurion Method: Outdoor fitness, guerrilla style’ Craig Fraser on healthgauge.com 26/4/13
 ‘SOE Syllabus, Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare World War II’ Public Record Office 2001
 Extract from Craig Fraser ‘A Paean to Joy, Action & Truth’ Radical-traditionalism.tumbir.com 25/7/14
 See ‘Craig Fraser: 2015 Jonathan Bowden Oratory Prize Nominee’ on westernspring.co.uk 14/3/15.
 See the thread commenced 19/8/14 ‘UK Training Camps’ on the US-based Lumine Boreali (Northern Light) web-site.
 Daily Star Sunday 9/11/14 (Scott Hesketh & Colin Cortbus)
 Sunday Mirror 21/12/14 (Simon Wright & Colin Cortbus)
 Sunday Mirror 21/12/14 (Simon Wright & Colin Cortbus), Hope Not Hate 17 January-February 2015 does not mention Siggurd Legion, Hope Not Hate 23 January-February 2016 p.11-12 does.
 Matt Tait ‘Tragedy and Hope: Lessons from the Plight of British Nationalism’ You-Tube 13/5/15
 See itv.com/news/2017-03-20/exclusive-former-members-of-banned-terror-group-meet-at-far-right-training-camp
 ‘Response to Fake News Hatchet Job’ James Mac on You-Tube 22/3/17
 Hope Not Hate 31 March-April 2017 p.38, the whole article p.36-39 apparently written by Collins.
 Hope Not Hate 31 March-April 2017 p.38
 On-line 21/3/17 at westernspring.co.uk
 Daily Mail 9/9/17 (Richard Price)
 See ‘This Autumn, Neo-Nazis Held A ‘Training Camp’ in Scotland’ athousandflowers.net 20/11/16
 Hope Not Hate 29 November-December 2016 p,23 (no by-line)
 Wales on-line 15/6/16 (Philip Dewey)
 Scottish Daily Record 12/6/17 (Billy Briggs & Jamie Mann), also on Scottish Dawn see Mail on-line 2/4/17 (James Dunn)
 See Independent on-line (Lizzie Dearden) 26/10/17, Manchester Evening News (Kim Pilling) 27/10/17 and The Guardian (Jamie Grierson) 3/11/17
 Hope Not Hate 23 Jan-Feb 2016 p.23
 Nick Lowles ‘Stand Together’ hopenothate.org 24/6/17 7:07am
 Nick Lowles ‘Let’s use this anger!’ bopenothate.org 24/6/17 4:07pm
 See Evening Standard 29/9/17 (Tom Powell) also Nigel Farage in the Daily Telegraph 30/9/17
 Quoted in The Guardian 5/10/16 (Rowena Mason/Peter Walker)
 Daily Express 1/10/16 (David Maddox)
 See Henshaw letter to Buckby 26/10/17, Buckby reply and Henshaw’s further response dated 4/11/17, all on jackbuckby.co.uk ‘My Full Response to ITV Hardcash Fake News’ 9/11/17
 ‘Generation Identity’ on hopenothate.org.uk put on-line 9/11/17
 Put on Twitter 30/10/17 by Nikolashvili@ViniKako
 See Henshaw letter to Waters 26/10/17 and her response 30/10/17
 Henshaw to Waters 26/10/17
 ‘UK far-right activists attend military-style camps with anti-Islam group’ The Guardian 8/11/17 (Jamie Grierson)
 Twitter response to Huffington Post article 10/11/17
 See Notes From the Borderland 10 2012 p.58-59/64 for an exploratory critique of HNH’s ‘anti-extremism’
 Matthew Goodwin, Thomas Raines & David Cutts ‘What Do Europeans Think About Muslim Immigration?’ chathamhouse.org 7/2/17
 Notes From the Borderland 10 2012 p.52-68, but especially p.52-55
 Waters email to Henshaw 30/10/17
 ‘Update from Interim Chairman Paul Oakden’ (UKIP) 10/11/17
 ‘Large influx of new UKIP members prompts fears of far-right takeover’ The Guardian 3/7/17 (Peter Walker)
 Notes From the Borderland 6 2005 p.34: the article (p.11-39) deconstructs the whole template of TV ‘investigative journalism’ and as such is still of contemporary relevance. See also ‘The BBC Secret Agent documentary revisited’ Notes From the Borderland 7 2006 p.34-36 which retrospectively analyses (among other things) the initial ‘pitch’ for the programme which fell into our hands as these things do….
 See Nick Lowles ‘Hope: The story of the campaign that helped defeat the BNP’ Hope Not Hate 2014 p.70 when Griffin standing in Keighley is bizarrely attributed to success in Bradford! Mind you, the foreword to the book is by an unfunny comedian so what can you expect?
 ‘Why not just buy the magazine and watch the You-Tube videos?’ [no by-line but Peter Rushton] heritageanddestiny.com 8/11/17
 Hopenothate.org ‘Jew-Hating Jew Forced to Quit Nazi Rally’ Matthew Collins 29/5/15
 Matthew Collins Hope Not Hate 29 November-December 2016 p.27
 ‘far right and fascists looking to rebuild in the UK’ uaf.org.uk 10/11/17
 ‘Turning up the Heat: MI5 after the Cold War’ Phoenix 1994 p.77
 ‘The British National Party and the Secret State: Some observations’ Notes From the Borderland 5 2003 p.58-62
 Andrew Brons ‘Where Does British Nationalism Go From Here?’ Heritage & Destiny 79 July-August 2017 p.3
 See Rushton’s obituary of Zundel Heritage & Destiny 81 November-December 2017 p.14-15
 Heritage & Destiny 80 September-October 2017 p.23
 Heritage & Destiny 69 November-December 2015 p.23
 Heritage & Destiny 68 September-October 2015 p.23
 Peter Rushton ‘Establishment panic—Political repression intensified’ Heritage & Destiny 77 March-April 2017 p.4-5
 Heritage & Destiny 81 November-December 2017 p.3
 ‘Why not just buy the magazine and watch the You-Tube videos?’ [no by-line but Peter Rushton] heritageanddestiny.com 8/11/17
 Hope Not Hate 33 September-October 2017 Editorial p.3
 ‘The slow-burning hatred that led Thomas Mair to murder Jo Cox’ The Guardian 23/11/16 (Ian Cobain/Nazia Parveen/Matthew Taylor)
 Powerbase.info Richard Walton (accessed 30/11/17)
 Notes From the Borderland 10 2012 p.59-60/75
 See Independent on-line (Will Worley) and (London) Evening Standard, both 7/10/17, also ‘The Football Lad’s Alliance: Report From the March’ Tash Shifrin, Martin Smith and James dreamdeferred.org 8/10/17
 Hope Not Hate 33 September-October 2017 p.3
 See my colleague Heidi Svenson’s spirited exchange with Linda Bellos on this (Notes From the Borderland 11 2016 p.55) which contains full references, and for an introduction to our take on those bombings: http://www.borderland.co.uk/component/k2/item/19-the-copeland-scandal-summarised-updated.html
 Grahame Allen & Noel Dempsey ‘Terrorism in Great Britain: The Statistics’ Briefing Paper CBP7613 6/10/17 p.12
 ‘The Operation of Police Powers Under the Terrorism Act 2000 and Subsequent Legislation for year ending 31/3/17’ Home Office Statistical Bulletin 8.17 June 2017 p.4
 See ‘Spook Update: The Secret State We’re In’ Larry O’Hara & Dave Hughes Notes From the Borderland 11 2016 p.30-36
 Quoted in the (London) Evening Standard 15/2/17 (Martin Bentham)
 Daily Telegraph 10/3/17 (Ben Farmer)
 The Operation of Police Powers Under the Terrorism Act 2000 and Subsequent Legislation for year ending 30/9/17’ Home Office Statistical Bulletin 24.17 December 2017 p.13
 Ibid: see p.12 for the promise regarding arrests, which is not lived up to there, however Annex A.13 provides the detail on offence, Annex A.11 on ethnicity
 Independent on-line 23/6/17 (Katie Forster)
 Ibid, p.16
 Notes From the Borderland 10 2012 p.73 gives some details
 Nick Lowles ‘My charity’s libel action against Nigel Farage marks a defeat for fake news’ theguardian.com 16/11/17.