Making a Mockery of Tragedy

I wasn’t going to comment on a recent piece in an anti-independence newspaper which once again chooses to inflate a stushie into a stramash, ably deconstructed here. But I do have to comment on this:

“That march showed that elements of the Yes movement are no better than the White Supremacists who ascended upon Charlottesville or the yobs within the Scottish Defence League.”

At the same time as this, we had the former chief of Project Fear and the billionaire author & professional litigator both promoting an identical “Brexiters are copying the Yes Campaign” agenda to newspapers you normally wouldn’t associate with left-wing, socialist sympathies. This would be tasteless any time, let alone the anniversary of the 2014 independence referendum which still hurts every independence supporter to the bone. But to do it when the Spanish Government – the same Spanish Government who they so eagerly acclaimed as another reasonable voice against “separation,” & who then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron actively collaborated with to thwart Scottish Independence – is actively suppressing the Catalonian’s right of self-determination in a manner more reminiscent of mid-20th Century Spain?

Aye, it’s terrible when friends fall out.

Spanish Foreign Minister Says Catalans Using ‘Nazi’ Tactics

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said Catalan separatists are using “Nazi” tactics to intimidate their opponents before an illegal referendum on independence.

“Referendums are a weapon of choice of dictators,” Dastis said in a television interview in New York, observing that General Francisco Franco conducted two referendums in Spain before the country returned to democracy after his death in 1975.

“These people actually are taking some Nazi attitudes because they are putting up posters with the faces of mayors who are resisting their call to participate in this charade,” Dastis said.

Alfonso Dastis, 19th September 2017

NS: Salmond has successfully redefined the SNP as [representing] a civic nationalism . . .

Darling: Which it isn’t . . .

NS: But that’s what he says it is. Why do you say it isn’t? What is it? Blood and soil nationalism?

Darling: At heart . . . [inaudible mumble] If you ask any nationalist, ‘Are there any circumstances in which you would not vote to be independent?’ they would say the answer has got to be no.

Alistair Darling, 4th June 2014

It’s easy to dismiss this as self-evidently preposterous hyperbole: after all, in the hundred or so years of the modern Scottish Independence Movement, not a single person has lost their life arguing for or against it. Anyone with any sense could see what a stupid comparison it is. But we can’t afford to, because too many people believe it – and because the threat of those same white supremacists and fascists is growing every day.

So I thought I’d list some events that, I think, are far more comparable to Charlottesville or the SDL – indeed, to the brutality we’re seeing from the Guardia Civil – than to a peaceful, inclusive, democratic movement.

 

(Anthony) Lecomber was convicted for criminal damage in 1982, offences under the Explosives Act in 1985, and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in 1991 for an attack on a Jewish teacher.

On 31 October 1986, he was injured by a nailbomb that he was carrying to the offices of the Workers Revolutionary Party in Clapham. Police found 10 grenades, seven petrol bombs and two detonators at his home. For this offence, he received a three-year prison sentence at his trial on 28 November that year.
31st October 1986

1999: Dozens injured in Soho nail bomb

Two people have been killed and at least 30 injured in the third nail-bomb attack in London in two weeks.

The bomb went off in the Admiral Duncan pub, in Soho, just after 1830. The bar was packed with drinkers at the start of the bank holiday weekend.

The pub is in Old Compton Street, at the heart of London’s gay community. Police are linking this bomb with last Saturday’s explosion in Brick Lane and the previous week’s attack in Brixton, which injured 39 people.

Eyewitnesses spoke of a “huge bang” as the bomb went off, hurling glass and debris into the street. Jason Everton had just left his job in nearby Frith Street to buy a sandwich, when he saw the front of the pub “coming straight off”.

“There were people running out, all covered in dust and bruises and cuts. It was quite horrific,” he said.

‘War scene’

Jean Pierre Trevor, who was working in an editing suite in offices just behind the pub, was blown three feet by the force of the blast. He went to offer his help, and found the street outside “like a war scene”.

“There were people lying everywhere,” he said. “Those who were around were putting thermal blankets over them. A lot of them had severe burns, so we were putting water and ice cubes on their skin.”

Nearby Soho Square, usually packed with office workers, became a makeshift treatment centre for the injured.

The police cleared nearby streets amid fears that there might be a second device.

‘Despicable’

At a press conference at Scotland Yard shortly after the attack, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon condemned the attack as “despicable” and “cowardly”, and appealed for help in catching those responsible.

A call to the BBC two hours after the attack attributed the bomb to the “White Wolves”. Four different right-wing extremist groups have admitted planting the Brixton bomb, but police say they have no specific corroboration that any particular group are behind the attack.

In Context

The death toll in the Soho pub bombing later rose to three. Andrea Dykes, 27, who was four months pregnant, was killed instantly; her husband was among those seriously injured. Their friend, Nik Moore, 31, was also killed, and the best man at their wedding, John Light, 32, died later in hospital.

David Copeland, a 23-year-old engineer from Hampshire, was arrested at the beginning of May, and charged with murder and causing three explosions.

During his trial, the court heard he told police he was a Nazi, and believed in a master race. The jury found him guilty, and he received six life sentences.

Sentencing him, the judge said “The public must be protected from you, and assured that if you are ever released it will not be for a very long time.”

30th April 1999

A former British National party candidate who stockpiled explosive chemicals and ball bearings in anticipation of a future civil war was today jailed for two and a half years.

As he has already spent nearly a year in custody, however, he is likely to be released within six months.

Robert Cottage, aged 49, from Colne, Lancashire, had pleaded guilty to possession of the chemicals. He was acquitted after two trials on charges of conspiracy to cause explosions.

Sentencing Cottage at Manchester’s crown square court, Mrs Justice Swift said he continued to hold views “that veer towards the apocalyptic”. She added that his actions had been “criminal and potentially dangerous” but said there was a low risk of his committing further offences.

“It is important to understand that Cottage’s intention was that if he ever had to use the thunder flashes, it was only for the purpose of deterrence,” Mrs Justice Swift said.

Cottage had believed that, as he saw it, “the evils of uncontrolled immigration” would lead to civil war, which would be imminent and inevitable, she said.

“The pre-sentence report says Cottage continues to hold views that veer towards the apocalyptic. The risk of further offending of the same type is low but it cannot be ruled out.”

The judge said she accepted that Cottage’s intention had been to hold on to the chemicals, which included ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid, until the outbreak of civil disturbance.

But she warned: “In letting off any such thunder flash, mistakenly believing you were under threat, you may have caused injury to some innocent person.”

Alistair Webster QC, Cottage’s counsel, told the court his client accepted that he had bought the potassium nitrate and sulphur with the intention of manufacturing gunpowder, but said this would have been used only to create thunder flash-style bangers to scare off intruders.;

Cottage, who stood three times unsuccessfully for the BNP in local council elections, was arrested last September after police found the stockpile of chemicals at his home in Talbot Street, Colne.

The police took action after Cottage’s wife told a social worker of her concerns about the items he was storing and, and about her husband’s stated belief that immigration was out of control.

Police also found ball bearings and a document about bomb-making from the do-it-yourself explosives-making manual The Anarchist Cookbook on his computer. He also had air pistols, crossbows and a stockpile of food.

“I believe it is everyone’s God-given right to defend themselves and their families if they are attacked,” Cottage told the court during his trial. “The breakdown of the financial system will inevitably put an unbearable strain on the social structures of this country.”

Cottage claimed in court that, with the armed forces in the Middle East and the police insufficiently trained, the authorities would be unable to offer people protection.

He added that immigration was a luxury that Britain could not afford, but that he drove a bus for children with disabilities and had a good relationship with the Asian children among them.

A second man, David Jackson, 62, a dentist, was also charged with conspiracy to cause explosions but was cleared after the jury twice failed to reach verdicts.

A BNP spokesman said after sentencing that the prosecution had been brought for political reasons. “We’re not condoning it, but it’s a quid pro quo to appease the Muslims,” said Dr Phil Edwards, of the BNP.

“To keep them quiet, we’ll snatch someone from white society. We certainly don’t support the bloke. We condemn all forms of violence … but I wouldn’t have thought you could do any harm with what he had.”

Dr Edwards said Cottage would not be standing as a candidate for the BNP again. “We never have anyone in the party with criminal convictions,” he said, because “lefties and people on your newspaper” would publicise the fact.

31st July 2007

Nazi sympathiser sentenced for terrorism offences

Nazi fanatic Martyn Gilleard was sentenced today for terrorism offences after police found weapons, including home-made bombs, and extreme right-wing propaganda and terrorist literature at his home while searching for indecent images of children.

Peter McDonagh, of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Martyn Gilleard has been found guilty of serious terrorism offences. He was actively planning to commit terrorist acts against people and communities that he hated with a bigot’s zeal – black and Asian people, European immigrants, Jews, Muslims and anyone he regarded as a political opponent.

“This is a man who is comfortable with the idea of a race war and was preparing for one – going so far as to manufacture bombs and collect weapons.

“This case demonstrates that the Crown Prosecution Service will actively prosecute anyone who pursues terrorism as a way of achieving their ends, whatever their background or motivation may be.”

The court was told that Gilleard’s activities were uncovered when police raided his home on suspicion of child pornography offences. They found an armoury of knives, guns, machetes, swords, axes, bullets, and four nail bombs; internet material on how to make poison and bombs; racist literature including photographs showing his admiration for Hitler and the Nazi cause.

  1. Martyn Gilleard was found guilty of:
    • one count under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006: Preparing terrorist acts with intent to carry them out, and
    • one count under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000: possession of material which would be of practical use to someone preparing an act of terrorism,
    • he pleaded guilty at the start of this trial to 10 counts of possession of indecent images of children, and
    • pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to possessing 34 cartridges of ammunition without holding a firearms certificate.

25th July 2008

A neo-Nazi who hoarded bombmaking materials and waged a racist campaign against a mixed-race couple was jailed for more than seven years yesterday.

A jury at Grimsby crown court took three-and-a-half hours to find Nathan Worrell, 35, guilty of possession of material for terrorist purposes and racially aggravated harassment.

He was described by anti-terror police yesterday as a “dangerous individual”.

The court heard books and manuals containing “recipes” to make bombs and detonators using household items such as weedkiller were found by police at Worrell’s flat in Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

Officers also discovered two tubs of sodium chlorate weedkiller and three bottles of lighter fluid, as well as fireworks.

The jury was shown a video by far-right group Combat 18 – showing how to make a bomb from household items – which was found in Worrell’s flat.

Police also discovered a significant amount of far-right propaganda, as well as membership cards for groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the November Ninth Society and the British People’s Party.

Worrell admitted to police that he was a white nationalist. He signed his texts off as “88” – a code for Hitler.

The trial heard Worrell left racist stickers at the home of Susan Crofts and Mohammed Chowdhery and on a lamppost.

One sticker read: “Only inferior white women date outside their race. Be proud of your heritage. Don’t be a race-mixing slut”, while another from the Combat 18 group said: “It’s our country. Let’s win it back. Repatriation now.”

Worrell was found guilty of possessing items for terrorism and a charge of racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress.

Judge John Reddihough sentenced him to six years in prison for the terror offence and 15 months for the harassment.

After the hearing, acting detective chief superintendent David Buxton, of the Leeds-based counterterrorism unit, said: “Worrell is a dangerous individual who harbours extreme antisemitic views. We are thankful for his early arrest that has stopped Worrell from taking his interest further.”

13th December 2008

Victims of the Oklahoma bombing.

A neo-Nazi who planned a racist terror campaign in Britain was today given an indefinite prison sentence at the Old Bailey.

Neil Lewington wanted to emulate the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, and the Soho nail bomber, David Copeland, and kept videos detailing their attacks at his home.

The 44-year-old unemployed electrician, of Tilehurst, Reading, was found out after being arrested at Lowestoft railway station, in Suffolk, for drunkenly abusing a female conductor.

When he was stopped and searched in October last year, police found he was carrying components for two “viable improvised incendiary devices”. Police then discovered a bomb factory in his bedroom.

Anti-terror officers found evidence that he planned to make shrapnel bombs in tennis balls and use them to target Asian families.

Their discoveries included nearly 9lb (4kg) of weedkiller, pyrotechnic powders, fuses and igniters.

They also found a notebook entitled Waffen SS UK Members’ Handbook, with a logbook of drawings of electronics and chemical devices.

The link between Lewington’s extremist views and his interest in explosives was illustrated by a note which said: “Compressed thermite grenade vs Paki front door.”

He also wrote a “mission statement” in which he boasted of two-man hit squads attacking “non-British people” at random. He told one woman that “the only good Paki was a dead Paki”, the court heard.

Lewington was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection and told he must serve at least six years after being convicted of having explosives with intent to endanger life and preparing for terrorism.
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He was also found guilty of two charges of possessing articles for terrorism including weedkiller, firelighters and three tennis balls, two counts of having documents for terrorism, and one allegation of having explosives.

“This man, who had strong if not fanatical rightwing leanings and opinions, was on the cusp of embarking on a campaign of terrorism against those he considered non-British,” Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said.

“In addition to his extreme views on race and ethnicity, the defendant had an unhealthy interest in bombers as well as bombings.

“He admired, and might soon have emulated, the bombers about whom he possessed two compilation videotapes had he not been captured, albeit quite fortuitously.”

Judge Peter Thornton said Lewington was “a dangerous man, somebody who exhibits emotional coldness and detachment You would not have been troubled by the prospect of endangering somebody’s life.”

Thornton said the devices Lewington was found with at Lowestoft were made “to a very high standard”, and the igniters and timers only needed wiring up for them to be set off.

“These were dangerous firebombs, meticulously constructed, all set to go,” he added.

Thornton said that while Lewington had selected no specific target to attack, he “clearly had in mind” Asian and black people.

“You were in the process of embarking upon terrorist activity,” he said. “You were going to use or threaten action involving either serious violence to people or serious damage to property.

“This action was designed to intimidate non-white people and it was for the purpose of pursuing the ideological cause of white supremacy and neofascism, albeit in a rather unsophisticated way.”

8th September 2009

Mohammed Saleem Chaudhry was murdered by a white supremacist.

Man jailed for mosque explosions and murder of elderly Muslim man

25/10/2013

Pavlo Lapshyn was today jailed with a minimum sentence of 40 years at the Old Bailey. He pleaded guilty on 21 October 2013 to one count of murder, one count of causing an explosion contrary to section 2 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883 and one count of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

Louise Gray, a lawyer for the CPS’ Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Pavlo Lapshyn is a dangerous man with a dangerous agenda. Just a day after his arrival in Britain from the Ukraine, he was researching right wing supremacist websites, including those linked to convicted racist murderers in Russia.

“His self-confessed racist views led to a campaign of terror, which started with the brutal murder of 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem Chaudhry as he was walking home from Mosque after evening prayers. In the days that followed, he went on to detonate three explosive devices near mosques around the region, with the bomb at Tipton deliberately timed to coincide with the start of prayers.

“This case is a clear reminder of the link between extremist material and the very real threat to life posed by those who access it. It is also a reminder that the threat of terrorism comes from a very wide spectrum of hateful views.

“I am pleased that, because of the strength of our case, Pavlo Lapshyn pleaded guilty, sparing Mr Chaudhry’s family from having to sit through a trial. I extend my sincere condolences to them and hope that today’s sentencing will provide some small comfort.”

April 2013

Man sentenced for stirring up racial hatred

08/01/2014

Christopher Philips has today (8 January 2014) been sentenced to 12 months in prison and imposed with an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) for distributing videos of himself at an extremist right-wing event on a social media site. Mr Philips pleaded guilty to one count of stirring up racial hatred contrary to section 21 of the Public Order Act 1986 at a hearing on 31 October 2013 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Specialist lawyer Bethan David from the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division said: “The three videos of Mr Philips posted on Facebook showed him dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit hanging a life size ‘golliwog’ doll. This was an act with very clear racist connotations, and Mr Philips’ dissemination of the videos on open social media channels showed a clear intent to stir up racial hatred.

“Though freedom of speech is the right of any individual in our democracy, so too does everyone have the right to be protected by the law and that is why we regard racist crimes, along with all hate crimes, as particularly serious; because they undermine people’s right to feel safe.

“While people are entitled to hold extreme opinions which others may find unpleasant and obnoxious, they are not entitled to distribute those opinions in a threatening manner intending to stir up hatred. Behaviour that incites bigotry and hatred undermines the freedom of law-abiding individuals and it will not be tolerated in our society.”

8th January 2014

Thomas Mair convicted of the murder of Jo Cox MP

23/11/2016

Thomas Mair has today (23 November) been convicted of the terrorist murder of Jo Cox MP at the Old Bailey. He was also found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon. He was sentenced to a ‘whole life’ term today.

Sue Hemming, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service said: “On 16 June, Thomas Mair carried out the brutal murder of Jo Cox – a defenceless mother of two young children who served her constituents with passion, exuberance and vitality and was proud to represent a diverse community. Several people courageously intervened to try and save Ms Cox, including 77 year old Bernard Kenny who was stabbed by Mair and sustained serious injuries as a result.

“Mair has offered no explanation for his actions but the prosecution was able to demonstrate that, motivated by hate, his pre-meditated crimes were nothing less than acts of terrorism designed to advance his twisted ideology.

“The CPS worked closely with police from the outset of their thorough investigation to build a strong case. This included the evidence of a number of brave eye witnesses who are to be commended. A jury has now unanimously agreed on Mair’s guilt of all offences committed during this disturbing attack.

“Our thoughts are with Jo Cox’s family who attended the court hearing and have behaved with real strength and dignity throughout.

“The CPS will continue to work with criminal justice partners to combat those who seek to sow hatred and division by advancing extremist ideologies.”

16th June 2016

Teenager sentenced for making a pipe bomb

13/02/2017

A 17-year-old right-wing extremist who made a pipe bomb and praised the killer of Jo Cox MP was sentenced to Youth Rehabilitation Order at Leeds Crown Court (13th February).

Police were alerted to the teenager’s activities when he posted an image of the bomb on the social media network Snapchat.

Officers found the device in a desk drawer in his bedroom in Bradford. The room was decorated with neo-Nazi paraphernalia. Leeds Crown Court was told that the pipe-bomb was not high-powered, but could have caused injury and shock.

The jury heard that shortly after the murder of Jo Cox, the defendant posted material on Facebook, praising her killer and describing him as a “Hero”. He was also an active member of an extreme right-wing youth group called National Action, which has since been proscribed as a terrorist organisation.

Sue Hemming from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The evidence presented by prosecutors showed this youth had made an explosive device that was capable of causing physical injury. Where there is sufficient evidence, and it is in the public interest, the CPS will always seek to prosecute and the jury agreed that there was no lawful reason to have produced the bomb.”

13th February 2017

Man charged with terrorism-related murder following Finsbury Park incident

23/06/2017

A CPS spokesperson said: “Today, the CPS authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge Darren Osborne with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder following the incident in Finsbury Park in the early hours of Monday 19 June.

“He will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 23 June in relation to these charges.

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Osborne are live and that he has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice ongoing proceedings.”

June 2017

Three men, including two British soldiers, have been charged under terror laws for being part of a proscribed neo-Nazi group.

32-year-old Mikko Vehvilainen from Finland and 24-year-old Mark Barrett, both of whom serve in the British Army, as well as 22-year-old Alex Deakin, have been charged with being members of far-right group National Action.

The party was the first of its kind to be proscribed in the UK last year after an assessment revealed it is “concerned with terrorism.”

The men are among a group of five arrested on September 5. Two men have been released without charge.

The trio are due to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.Vehvilainen, who is also a fitness instructor now based at Sennybridge Camp, Powys, has been charged with being part of National Action, possessing terrorist documents, publishing racist material online and possession of pepper spray.

Barrett, from Northampton, faces a sole count of being part of National Action.

Deakin, from Coventry, has been charged with being part of the proscribed party, possessing and distributing terrorist material and inciting racial hatred after stickers from National Action appeared in various places around Aston University Camp.

The West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit, the Wales Extremism Counter-Terrorism Unit and the East Midlands Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Unit cooperated in making the arrests last week.

West Midlands Police said the arrests had been “pre-planned and intelligence-led” with no threat to public safety.

The force said two 24-year-old men, one from man from Northampton and one from Ipswich, were released without charge on Saturday following inquiries.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd decided to proscribe National Action in December last year as she said it is a “racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology”.

The outlawing of the party makes it a crime to be a member or supporter, punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison.

Just three months after the ban, however, anti-extremist campaign group Hope not Hate reported National Action was carrying on its activity “in all but name and poses a serious terrorist threat”.

12th September 2017

It’s one thing to disagree with independence supporters. It’s quite another to suggest that independence supporters and the criminals above are remotely comparable: it’s disrespectful to us, & more importantly, it’s disrespectful to those who have suffered & lost.

By all means, you can be against Scottish Independence. By all means, you can campaign for Scotland to stay part of the United Kingdom. But you cannot dissociate yourself from your allies against Scottish Independence by pretending they’re really more similar to indy supporters, any more than we would have the right to somehow blame you for Jim Dowson or Scottish Dawn – a supposedly pro-independence group that seems perfectly happy to team up with the vehemently anti-independence Scottish Defense League, which suggests their support for independence is secondary to their demands for white supremacy.

The world’s a scary place, & we’d all do better to remember who the real enemies of freedom, truth, and democracy are.

 

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