1 August 2009

A hot August?

In February 2001 senior British National Party officers and activists from the North West gathered in Oldham for a regional conference. The local organiser greeted them with the words “welcome to Oldham, the front line of the race war”.

The words were ominous. By May Oldham was burning after racist provocations and attacks drove a des-pairing Asian community onto the streets to defend itself. Two months later Bradford was ablaze. The scenario was the same: goad and abuse people in the streets, in their homes and shops, and sooner or later they will defend themselves.

Those arrested from the local Asian community were treated harshly and with some haste. Despite the firm evidence of involvement of the BNP and other nazis, racists and football thugs, justice was dealt out to them much later. The convictions upheld what we had been saying all along: a conspiracy involving disparate sections of the far right but led mostly by known BNP activists, who had helped plan and orchestrate the “race war”.

Despite continued pronouncements from Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, about a coming “civil war” (race war), the authorities have been looking in only one direction for terrorist threats. Until last year they failed to wake up to the ample evidence of far-right efforts to set this country ablaze this summer, unchanged by the BNP’s European success.

The BNP’s declared enemies, Muslim communities, are the target. And the BNP has had a growing influence on other far-right extremists who want a war in our streets against not only Muslims but anyone of Asian origin.

Many of those responding to the call of several different groups looking for a fight with Islam are unaware of who is jerking their strings. Unless the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) intervene directly, there is a danger of serious violence spreading across the country this month and beyond.

The accompanying diagram focuses on some of the key groups and players to whom officers of the BNP are offering political and physical assistance. The BNP will not be able to wriggle off the hook, but action after the event is not good enough; prevention is needed.

Two outbreaks of violence in Luton earlier this year wrong-footed the police. The situation was not helped by the failure of the local council to ask for Home Office intervention. As a result the police have stepped up infiltration and disruption of some of the key groups.

The far right were looking for a catalyst for action and found it on 10 March as troops from the Royal Anglian Regiment, known as “The “Poachers”, were to be welcomed home from Afghanistan with a parade through the streets of Luton.

Eight members of a Muslim extremist group, already disowned by the local Muslim community and told to stay away from the Luton mosque, put on an appalling display of hatred towards the troops, calling them child killers and butchers.

It would have been no problem for the large number of police stewarding the local people who had turned out to greet the troops to arrest these fanatics for race hate offences. Instead two people ended up being assaulted by the angry crowd. Only one was one of the Islamists – a former local leader of the fanatical al-Muhajiroun group. The other victim was the former mayor of Luton, a Sikh who was there to greet the troops.

Paul Ray, a Dunstable-based Islamophobe who blogs under the name “Lionheart”, applied for local authority permission to stage a St George’s day parade but was turned down. However he had already attracted the attention of the BNP and a series of anti-Islam groups including the United British Alliance (UBA) and March for England (MFE), both of which had been visible outside the notorious Finsbury Park mosque when Abu Hamza, the terrorist-linked extremist preacher and his followers had seized control.

After Abu Hamza was expelled from the building, he would preach hate to his followers in the street every Friday, until he was imprisoned in May 2004, and the UBA and MFE would turn up to jeer. These encounters were overwhelmingly non-violent, except when the National Front (NF) turned up and were driven away by the UBA and MFE.

The UBA and MFE appeared to draw large numbers of young men including some black people and even a couple of Jewish football supporters from Surrey. Many were former soldiers and former football hooligans. They were frighten-ingly disciplined. Hundreds marched to the Regents Park mosque in that period.

While these largely overlapping groups have kept up an internet presence, it was not until the events of 10 March in Luton that they suddenly reappeared on the streets.

Denied the opportunity to heat things up in the name of St George, Ray was attracting interest from Chris Renton, a BNP activist from Weston-super-Mare, and several other BNP activists from around the country including Marlene Guest from Rotherham, whose main claim to fame is her statement in Sky TV’s BNP Wives programme that some good had come out of the Holocaust in the form of dentistry and plastic surgery.

Tom Holmes, the NF leader, called on his troops to turn out against Islam at the earliest opportunity, which came on Easter Monday, 13 April, when the police decided to stop the progress of an anti-Islam demonstration in Luton.

The police struggled with a large crowd and even the use of horses did not disperse them. They included familiar faces from the pro-nazi football crews from the time when the nazi terror group Combat 18 was active in the 1990s. Only when police reinforcements from London arrived were they able to disperse the demonstrators.

Separate from the MFE and UBA are the English and Welsh Defence League (EWDL) and Casuals United, run by the Welsh football hooligan Jeff Marsh. They all used to work together until recently when Ray turned against Dave Smeeton, leader of the MFE.

On 24 May the EWDL produced a bigger turnout with football hooligan support for a march that had been given the green light by Luton Council and the Bedfordshire Police. The result was a disgrace as Islamophobes, hooligans and fascists broke away from the local marchers and tried to storm the Muslim area of Luton. Shops and cars were damaged and 150 young Muslims prepared to fight to safeguard their homes and families. It was beginning ominously to look like the fascists were achieving their aim of a repeat of the Oldham and Bradford riots.

In the run-up to 24 May Luton mosque had been the target of an arson attack.

At this point these various groups decided to spread their message of hate to other parts of the country.

Now there were signs that police infiltration was succeeding. A call to march through central London evaporated after intelligence was passed to the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist command SO15. Then a mysterious figure called Dave Shaw called for EWDL supporters to gather at a Wetherspoon’s pub near Trafalgar Square on 27 June to go on to an activity outside the East London mosque in Whitechapel. Only a few turned up to be greeted by a large police presence and no sign of Shaw.

The EWDL began to realise it was a police sting operation and most of them decided to go drinking in Convent Garden instead. The police told the rest they could go to Whitechapel but only with a massive escort. Reports suggest that only eight to ten made it and were filmed, photographed, shoved around and told to behave on the tube journey.

The following weekend, on 4 July, the EWDL picketed a “Life under the Shari’ah” Islamic road show in Wood Green, north London, organised by the Islamist extremist Anjem Choudary, to find the police clamping down on both them and the Islamists.

On the same day the EWDL staged a voluble protest in Birmingham’s Bull Ring “against muslim extremists that interrupted a British soldier’s funeral”. Again prompt police action prevented any real trouble.

One of the nazis present was Mike Heaton, “Wigan Mike”, the violent leader of the small but crazy British Freedom Fighters, not deterred by being charged with racial hatred after his arrest outside the BNP victory rally in Blackpool in June.

The Islamophobes intend to return to Birmingham for a “march against sharia law” on 8 August. The date was fixed for before the start of the Midlands football season. Luton Town plays its first match on that day but the demonstration starts at 6pm, giving fans plenty of time to get there.

Interest in going to Birmingham may be growing. One Luton Town supporter noted that the EWDL had recently changed its booking from a 25-seat to a 52-seat bus. One nazi noted how it was the eighth day of the eighth month which, for nazis, translates as the eighth letter of the alphabet: “HH” or “Heil Hitler”.

Three whites from the extreme left in Birmingham have tried to recruit and incite Muslim teenagers to respond by taking to the streets with racially abusive language and slogans. Perhaps two political extremes are seeking confrontation in the city.

Now Martyn Page, the Hitler-saluting treasurer of the BNP’s Broxtowe group, is organising forces intent on setting the country ablaze, offering to bring in some heavy lads from his area. The target is Luton and the date is 30 August.



Barbara said...

Thanks for this, very interesting.

Rayatcov said...

I keep asking this question but never get an answer and never will I'm afraid.
Why is it OK to accept Sinn Fein MEPs, MPs etc, who after all have murdered people and not Mr Griffin who in my understanding has only passed an opinion.
It is quite amusing really.