Redwatch: Wikis

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Redwatch
Motto Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes
Type Neo-Nazi, Anti-communism
Purpose/focus Publishing photographs and personal information of alleged far left and anti-fascist activists.
Location United Kingdom
Key people Simon Sheppard, Kevin Watmough
Affiliations British People's Party, Combat 18

Redwatch is a British website associated with members of the neo-Nazi British People's Party. Created in response to magazines such as Searchlight, it publishes photographs of, and personal information about, alleged far left and anti-fascist activists. It typically targets activists in political parties, advocacy groups, trade unions and the media. There used to be a British magazine of the same name, with similar subject matter, associated with Combat 18. The website's slogan is "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes", a quote from neo-Nazi musician Ian Stuart Donaldson.

The information gathered by Redwatch is indexed by cities or regions. Many of the people listed are members of the Anti-Nazi League or other anti-racist or left-wing groups, such as the Socialist Party (UK), the Socialist Party (Ireland), Sinn Féin, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Alliance for Workers' Liberty, Workers' Power (UK) and Socialist Workers Party (Britain). Some Labour Party, Liberal Democrat and Conservative members are also listed. Trade unionists, in particular teachers and journalists, figure prominently in the listings. There are dozens of photographs of anarchists and single-issue protestors. All of these have no context, and much of the information is inaccurate.[citation needed]

Redwatch justifies its content as a reaction to leftist websites and magazines displaying similar content: "Photographs and information about the reds who attempt to harass and assault British Nationalists and their families. The red scum target us, Redwatch plays them at their own game." One of their few attempts to justify these claims has been to repeatedly cite a single email circulated in August 2001 by the Anti-Nazi League, containing the home addresses of Nick Griffin (leader of the British National Party (BNP) and his mother, who was involved in the organisation of a BNP festival.[1]

Contents

History

Redwatch was first published in paper form by the neo-Nazi[2] paramilitary group Combat 18 in March 1992, when its slogan was "oderint dum metuant": "let them hate as long as they fear".[3]

The website in its current form was hosted by Simon Sheppard, a former British National Party (BNP) member who was expelled after circulating a leaflet which the BNP leadership regarded as a prima facie breach of race-discrimination legislation.[4] On May 1, 2005, Sheppard's home in Hull was searched by police investigating "incitement to racial hatred."[5]

According to Searchlight, Kevin Watmough, a member of the British People's Party (BPP), posted on a neo-Nazi message board in June 2006 that he had been webmaster of Redwatch since 2001. Also according to Searchlight, Antony White, who was linked to various white nationalist organisations, took photographs, challenged opponents and in some cases organised highly intense street confrontations. White was jailed in 2003 for handing out National Front newspapers and leaflets, and stickering a bus, which led to confrontations at a school between youngsters who had taken literature from him.[6]

In January 2004, questions concerning the legality of the Redwatch website were raised in the House of Lords. The Home Office have stated that listing public information online is not a crime.[7]

The website has been heavily criticised by the Trades Union Congress and many of its affiliate unions. Following the TUC's annual Congress in September 2004, where an anti-Redwatch resolution was passed, the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber wrote to Home Secretary David Blunkett, requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. Further discussions and correspondence with government members ensued, and in March 2005, a meeting took place with Home Secretary Charles Clarke. The TUC have promised to provide the Home Secretary with examples of experiences that trade unionists and other left-wing campaigners have had as a result of having their details published on Redwatch, whilst the Home Secretary promised to hold discussions with the police about what could be done to stop the activities of the website.

The website went down around December 6, 2008, with all of its various URLs leading directly to error or Internet service provider pages. It returned later that month.

Relationship with the British National Party and National Front

In a BBC documentary, Mark Collett, who is the former leader of the Young BNP and head of publicity for the party, openly boasted that people's photographs would appear on Redwatch. Another documentary shown on the BBC entitled Trouble up North followed Antony White and other National Front activists, showing them engaged in a fight with activists from an anti-fascist organisation. White was shown photographing and filming the opposition, and the resulting material later appearing on Redwatch.

The BNP leadership published a statement in April 2004 restating their official position that members are prohibited from providing material to the site.[8] After the three-year-old BNP membership list was leaked to the Internet in November 2008, BNP Chairman Nick Griffin was interviewed on BBC News, saying:

The site Redwatch has nothing to do with us. We've repeatedly condemned it - it's a disciplinary offence for our members to use it. It's run by a group of neo-Nazi lunatics, who at various times have threatened to stab me on sight; for being a moderate and a sell-out and in the pay of the Jews. These people are mad - that site is nothing to do with us.[9]

Association with violence

There have been many reports to the police of people receiving death threats after their details have appeared on the Redwatch website. These have included Members of Parliament and their families.[10] According to Searchlight, a Leeds teacher who complained about a far right activist, Antony White, leafleting his school, had his details listed on Redwatch, allegedly after the jailing of White. Far right supporters then firebombed the teacher's car.[11] According to Indymedia, an anti-racist was followed and attacked on May 16, 2006 after the recent appearance of his personal data on the Redwatch website. The assailants reportedly shouted "We'll kill you, you leftist motherfucker!".[12]

Merseyside Trades Union Congress organiser Alec McFadden received death threats shortly after his details appeared on the website. At precisely the same time, Joe Owens, a Merseyside BNP candidate with several convictions for violent offences, began sending him emails gloating that he had photographic details of his house, car and family.[13] Since standing as a Respect - The Unity Coalition candidate in the May 2006 elections, McFadden has been physically attacked, including being stabbed in the face at his home. [14]

In May 2006, a Polish political activist was attacked and stabbed, requiring surgery. He stated that he believed the attack was linked to his recent listing on the Polish version of the website.[15] In March 2008, the attacker, a member of the neo-Nazi Blood and Honour, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for attempted murder.

Websites outside Britain

The British website links to Redwatch sites in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand. As of January 2007, the links provided for New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands led to a Blogspot blog with no posts, an unrelated cybersquatted site, and a dead link respectively. The Polish site was still active as of December 2007.[16]

References

  1. ^ "Article based on the ANL press release". Indymedia.org.uk. http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2001/08/9161.html. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  2. ^ Gale 2006, p. 241
  3. ^ Searchlight magazine, April 1993
  4. ^ "Details of the Hull BNP branch's activity". Heretical.org.uk. http://www.heretical.org.uk/British/bhullbnp.html. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  5. ^ Vellacott, James. "Sunday Mirror article about Sheppard's house being raided". Sundaymirror.co.uk. http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=15464826&method=full&siteid=106694&headline=nazi-hate-site-boss-is-raided-name_page.html. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  6. ^ "Man jailed for racist leaflet drop". BBC News. 2003-03-03. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2815881.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  7. ^ Matthew Taylor, Web of hate, The Guardian, 4 October 2006. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  8. ^ Details of BNP policy
  9. ^ 20 maart 2009. "Footage of Nick Griffin BBC interview". Youtube.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmKsSi4HHUQ. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  10. ^ "The Guardian". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/farright/story/0,11981,1125242,00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  11. ^ "Searchlight article about a Leeds teacher who was attacked". Searchlightmagazine.com. http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=23. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  12. ^ "appall for solidarity and a warning - Indymedia Ireland". Indymedia.ie. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76201. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  13. ^ "Indymedia article about harassment". Indymedia.org.uk. 2003-11-21. http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2003/11/281479.html. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  14. ^ "Socialist Worker Newspaper Article about attack on Alec McFadden". Socialistworker.co.uk. 2006-05-27. http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=8901. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  15. ^ http://a-manila.org/newswire/display/342
  16. ^ "::: Redwatch - Polska :::". Redwatch.info. http://www.redwatch.info/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 

External links


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