You are viewing blog items for November 2009.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 27 November 2009, 08:23
It seems that former Combat 18 leader Will Browning continues to have a charmed life. Yesterday he walked free from Southwark Crown Court after a hung jury failed to reach a verdict in his trial for incitement to racial hatred.
Browning, who led the nazi terror group in the late 1990s and was behind at least two attempted bombing campaigns, was on trial with schoolboy friend Jon Denny-Mallen, a tattooist from Jersey. Denny-Mallen was cleared by the jury.
Browning told the court that he had left C18 after Chris Castle was murdered by former C18 leader Charlie Sargent. Although he did eventually drop out of the group, he has performed with his nazi band No Remorse on the continent.
He will now have to wait until 7 December to hear whether he will be retried or the case will be dropped.
If anyone has any information on Will Browning or the old Combat 18 network please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 27 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 26 November 2009, 08:40
As the people of Cumbria struggled under some of the worst flooding for decades, local MEP was gallivanting around Europe. Over the past week Griffin launched his General Election campaign in Barking (though his walkabout was actually in the neighbouring constituency of Dagenham & Rainham), joined fascists for a rally in Spain and argued against climate change in the European Parliament.
I guess the people of the North West, for where Griffin is supposed to represent, should be thankful that he managed to find time to write a letter on their behalf. But then again, after reading the letter, it is clear that Griffin is more interested in making cheap political points about EU expansion than seriously helping his constituents.
Posted: 26 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 23 November 2009, 16:02
After a two week trip to Rwanda and the Congo and then a week off suffering from an unwelcome parasite I picked up while on my travels I am now back in circulation.
Much of my focus, as I guess it will be over the next six months, is on Barking & Dagenham, where the BNP pose a real threat both in the local council elections and in the General Election. Griffin's decision to stand in the Barking seat is a game changer. It will vastly increase BNP activity and exposure in the media and his hope will be that his presence will generate the media frenzy which propelled them to 12 council seats in 2006.
With control of the council and even a parliamentary seat at stake, I think I will be getting acquainted with the borough quite intimately over the next few months.
Posted: 23 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Sonia Gable | on: Friday, 20 November 2009, 14:09
Emma Colgate, who has stepped into the breach in Thurrock after Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, decided to switch to Barking, east London, for the general election, is one of the BNP’s most hard-working councillors.
Elected to Thurrock council in May 2008 she has a 100% attendance record at meetings of the full council and the general services committee. She is the sole BNP councillor there but holds significant power because the council is split between Labour and the Conservatives. After the former Conservative council leader, Terry Hipsey, crossed the floor to join Labour, she used her vote to keep what Hipsey described as a “dysfunctional Tory group” in power.
Only last week, Griffin appealed for donations to launch the party’s “run-up campaign to the general election”, saying: “In this next General Election I will be standing in Thurrock where the split vote between the old parties means we could win a Parliamentary seat with just 27% of the vote” – a highly improbable scenario. He had been putting his face around in Thurrock but on 15 November at the BNP’s annual conference announced that he would be standing in Barking because it was the BNP’s best chance of winning a parliamentary seat.
He is probably wrong about that. For a start he would need considerably more than 27% to oust Labour in one of its safe seats. And the increasing number of minority ethnic residents will make his task that much harder, especially after his recent attack on London as no longer British.
Griffin also claimed that Richard Barnbrook, who had very publicly declared that he was going to be Barking’s next MP, had stood aside willingly and had now set his sights on becoming leader of Barking and Dagenham council.
Colgate is currently the BNP’s national administration officer, an appointment announced at the BNP’s European election victory rally in Blackpool in June. Before that she was Barnbrook’s researcher, employed by the Greater London Authority at London taxpayers’ expense. She remains on the public payroll, however, as she is one of several BNP senior officers on the EU gravy train as staff for the two MEPs.Despite Griffin’s optimism about the party’s prospects in Thurrock, she will have a hard job to win the seat. In the 2005 general election, the BNP candidate Nick Geri came fourth with 5.8% of the vote. Colgate herself stood in Basildon in 2005, where she came fourth with 4.8%.
Posted: 20 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 9 November 2009, 15:47
On one April morning, in 1994, the militia attacked. Grenades were thrown through windows. For the almost 12,000 people huddled into the Church of Saint Jean, praying at a special mass, there was no escape. The Hutu militia, known as the Interahamwe, backed up by police and army units, had surrounded the church and were determined to ensure no one survived. Those who dared leave the church were shot on sight. Eventually the Interahamwe entered the church and, picking through the bodies of those who had already died, butchered those who remained.
Over 11,400 people were killed on this one day. It was by no means the worst atrocity of the Rwandan genocide, yet the memorial that marks the onslaught is very different from most of those that literally litter the scarred country. There are no bodies, no skulls or even bullet holes – like at so many others. The church has been cleaned, repaired and is now in use again.
What marks this church out are the beautiful stained-glass windows, obviously put in since the massacre. They were paid for by relatives of those who perished here as a mark of respect to their loved ones. To me this church reminds us of the hatred people are capable of, but also the resilience and dignity.
Of all the memorials and genocide sites that I have visited since I have been here, this has certainly had the most profound effect on me.
My first week in Rwanda has mixed travelling with work. After a couple of days in the capital, Kigali, I headed out into rural Rwanda to areas that are certainly off the beaten track. While Kigali is undergoing massive change – with new hotels, a shopping centre and even high rise tower blocks sprouting up – life in much of the countryside appears to have changed little. In three days travelling through small villages I did not see a domestic vehicle. Power appeared at a minimum and many houses consisted of little more than a living room with a low table but nothing else and a second room that was used as a bedroom.
I even managed a quick trip into Congo but that did not go according to plan as we ended up being held in a police station for a few hours after being caught by plain clothes police taking a photo of a street sign. They claimed that I needed a special permit, though were not able to produce any evidence that such a permit was required or even existed, and suggested we could buy our freedom by oiling their palms with several hundred dollars. We stood our ground and after an amusing telephone call with a fictitious British Ambassador, whom we informed the local police chief was going to ring him personally, we were released.
Posted: 9 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 6 November 2009, 14:43
The leak of the BNP membership list last month has turned the spotlight on the party's Belfast call centre, the tensions it has caused in the party, and the links between the man who runs it and a charity that has received a six-figure sum in EU funding. Matthew Collins and Simon Cressy investigate.
Posted: 6 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 4 November 2009, 13:34
Today we start a serialisation from the current issue of Searchlight Magazine which features a special investigation into the heart of the BNP. We highlight the organisational set-up, the secret locations and the people running the fascist party. We expose how the running of the party has been outsourced to a rabid Loyalist anti-abortionist in Belfast and we reveal that this man is receiving European Union money for peace and reconciliation.
We have also been busy working with the media. Many of the revelations and exposés we have read in the newspapers over the past few weeks have originated from Searchlight.
Forty-seven years after Searchlight was first formed we are proving that we are still ahead of the game.
Posted: 4 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 1 November 2009, 05:26
What makes a person turn on their neighbour they have lived alongside for twenty, thirty or even forty years? What makes a child take up a weapon and use it on their one-time friends? How can the world seemingly stand by and watch 800,000 people, out of a population of just nine million, get slaughtered in ten-week period? How can I, as a politically aware person, know so little about a genocide that happened in my adult lifetime?
These questions and many more are occupying my thoughts as I pass over Libya, on my way to Rwanda. I am going to this small, hilly country, nestled between Kenya to the east, Uganda to the north, Congo to the west and Burundi to the south, as part of a cricket charity that I’m involved in – Cricket Without Boundaries. We teach cricket to kids, train up local coaches so they can continue to develop the game after we have left and spread an Aids Awareness message. It is a great charity – consciously run on a volunteer basis – which is just as rewarding for those who take part as it is for the young people who get involved.
I first came out here two years ago and found it a deeply moving experience. I made friends with many local people, visited the orphanages and the memorials established to remember the genocide and I marvelled at the apparent capacity of a nation to heal itself in such a short space of time. I made a 12-minute film of the trip – part of which can be seen on the CWB website – something I look back on with a mixture of emotion and pride.
But there remains a lot of unanswered questions and finding answers to these are a major reason why I am here. What really happened? How can hatred consume people? Can a nation truly overcome such horrors and can past tribal loyalties really be broken down and forgotten and in its place a new Rwandan identity emerge?
But nagging at the back of my mind is the question of how we allowed it to happen? Was a small African country so politically and economically insignificant that Britain and other Western countries thought it unnecessary to intervene? Despite it being one of the worst genocides of the 20th century, John Major, the British Prime Minister at the time, did not even make a reference it in his memoirs. His Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd made a passing comment but that was to simply admit that the issue was not on their radar.
What was worse was that what foreign intervention did occur largely focused on propping up the existing regime.
I don’t exclude myself from self-examination. In 1994 I was volunteering at Searchlight. I was young and probably naive but I was certainly politically aware. Why do I know so little about the worst genocide in my lifetime? Can I really just blame institutions like the UN when I did nothing?
I am not going to find answers to all these questions over the next few days but I hope to leave with a greater understanding of what happened and why. I also want to leave with a sense of optimism – like I did last time – in the capacity of human beings to overcome the ultimate horrors of what we can do to one another.
As we battle against the BNP back in the UK let us not forget where the politics of hate can ultimately lead.
Posted: 1 Nov 2009 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments