UK

National Action Still 'Active' And 'Poses Serious Terrorist Threat' Despite Ban, Report Claims

'Some of these young Nazis will be emboldened by the attention the ban has awarded them.'

14/02/2017 13:05 GMT | Updated 15/02/2017 10:36 GMT

National Action, the neo-Nazi group proscribed as terrorist group in December, is continuing to operate amid concerns members may be “emboldened by the attention the ban has awarded them,” a report has claimed.

Some activists within the organisation - banned after celebrating the actions of Thomas Mair for murdering MP Jo Cox - have split off to form “more extreme groups,” charity Hope not Hate (HNH) has warned in its annual State of Hate report. 

HNH said the National Action (NA) network “continues to be active in all but name and poses a serious terrorist threat.”

National Action
National Action, the neo-Nazi group banned as a terrorist organisation, is still active in the UK, a report claims

The report explains: “While the ban has effectively shut down the organisation, the people within it and the networks in which they operate continue. 

“Some are considering setting up under a different name. Others are content to continue to operate on their own or in smaller groups. We are concerned that some of these young nazis will be emboldened by the attention the ban has awarded them.” 

The report adds: “What is equally worrying is that even before the ban, a few of the more hard-line activists had already begun to split off and form smaller, more extreme groups. The highly secretive Omega Systems is one of these.”

Omega Systems

According to Hope not Hate, Omega Systems is a splinter group of National Action and is led by Terry Andre Miles, from south London, and John White, and is active in Battersea, Dorchester, Sweden and Norway. The report notes that  Miles spent a large amount of time in Scandinavia last year and also entertained some Swedes in the UK shortly before Christmas. The group has run training and hiking adventures in the UK, the charity says.
Prospects for 2017: 
“One to watch. Consciously seeks less attention than the outlawed NA and this has led some to suspect it has more sinister plans.”

National Action’s ban - the first such classification of a British far-right group since the Second World War - was “dismissed” by some as a PR stunt, HNH said, however, the “truth is that the authorities felt compelled to act as a result of NA’s increasingly violent rhetoric.”

The report says: “Some of its (NA’s) more senior activists, it was evident, were trying to encourage younger recruits to carry out acts of terrorism.”

The Police Chiefs’ Council said that police forces across the UK are “committed to pursuing individuals who support proscribed organisations and putting them before the courts.”

A spokesperson added that police will “continue to monitor the activities of the group and their associates” and will apply the legislation to its members as they would “any other terrorist group.”

“It is also important that we continue working with all our communities to inform them about the range of threats we face and the role the public can play in helping police keep us safe.

“Anyone with concerns about the activities of National Action - or any type of extremist activity - can contact their local force on 101 or call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline.”

Dubbed, the most “authoritative exploration of extremism in Britain and Europe in 2016”, the State of Hate report, at 76 pages long, warns Britain may this year “witness an upsurge in violence from British neo-Nazi groups.”

National Action
National Action members performed Nazi salutes at the Buchenwald Camp where nearly 50,000 people were killed

The charity’s report the previous year, released four months before Cox’s murder, eerily predicted that the UK should prepare for “greater violence” from far-right groups - and in “extreme cases, terrorism.” 

According to a profile on NA featured in the report it has less than 100 members but was the “most notorious Nazi group” operating in the UK during 2016.   

“NA was regularly in the headlines, because of its provocative demonstrations, regular stickering and its slick and confrontational videos and social media posts.”

HNH also noted that 2016 was also a year of setbacks for the group, culminating in it being outlawed. 

Lowlights for NA included having one of its members exposed as a child abuser, before ironically launching a paedophile hunting initiative, being humiliated in Liverpool for a second time during a rally, causing outrage in Germany after members performed Nazi salutes at the Buchenwald camp where nearly 50,000 people were killed, staging a ‘Miss Hitler 2016’ competition, and having its deputy leader, Alex Davies, humiliated on video by mixed-race teenager in Bath who confronted him while out leafleting. 

Peter Byrne/PA Archive
Police intervene in Liverpool to protect members of National Action as it cancelled its 'White Man March' following two earlier counter-protests by the Anti-Fascist Network and Unite Against Fascism
Peter Byrne/PA Archive
Police surround members of National Action in Liverpool 

Several members were also arrested in 2016: In May, five activists were arrested after a twenty- strong flash mob descended on York to make nazi salutes. In December member Lawrence Burns, from Cambridge, was convicted of inciting racial hatred having recorded himself wishing for a “real Holocaust.” And earlier this month, police arrested a 21-year-old member of the group for two public order offences after he allegedly used threatening, abusive and insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred. 

Hope not Hate said of particular concern last year was NA’s London unit, where Mark James, began training half a dozen young men in a park on Sunday mornings with “input from older, more seasoned Polish nazis.”

Toby Melville / Reuters
Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox,(pictured behind him) speaks during a special service at Trafalgar Square in London in June

In the north of England, HNH claim, the group takes instruction from a mixed martial arts instructor from Rochdale who “organises romps in the country with airsoft rifles.” 

And in the North West, the charity said, a couple of dozen NA members meet regularly with their Polish counterparts to discuss actions. 

“Radziu Rekke, a gun-toting Pole living in Manchester, leads late night expeditions into Manchester’s Jewish areas where he and others stalk Jewish buildings, leaving leaflets and stickers from a variety of other European far-right groups,” the charity writes. 

Concluding their report on National Action, HNH said it was “too soon to know” if the terrorist organisation “will get around its ban by reforming under a new name.”

Hope not Hate
Hope not Hate's list of Britain's 12 most influential far-right activists

However, it said, even if that does happen, “many on the group’s periphery will drift away.”

“Hope not Hate’s concern is that the group, or more likely individuals within it, might take an even more confrontational and violent path.” 

HNH also profiled several other neo-Nazi groups operating in the UK, including the Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski - the National Rebirth of Poland, who it said will “most likely be carrying out the bulk of NA’s vandalism” in the wake of the group’s terrorism ban.

It also highlighted 1990s nazi terrorist group, Combat 18, whose membership is surging. C18, as it is known, takes the first and eighth letter of the alphabet – AH – Adolf Hitler, HNH reported.