- One of the great attractions of patriotism — it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what’s more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous. — Aldous Huxley
Christine Hawkins and Chris Gemmell-Smith, organisers of ‘The Great Australian Bikini March’, have updated their site with the following announcement, dated December 5:
Breaking News — Bikini March Becomes Bikini Atoll
Organisers of The Great Australian Bikini March have been forced to cancel the event due to irresponsible journalism.
During the month of the campaign, most media were respectful, reported the facts, focused on the issue[,] and agreed that publishing personal details about organisers was unnecessary.
However, during the last few days there [has] been a… smear campaign in an attempt to sensationalise or discredit us. Despite… all [our] efforts to refer misinformed journalists and ‘independent’ media to the facts via our website they continued to knowingly misrepresent the intention and details of the March. Some stated they wanted us to stop the March.
Apparently some in the media are intent that [‘The Great Australian Bikini March’] should not be allowed to proceed.
Some people are very powerful. It would appear that free speech in a ‘tolerant’ society is not tolerated.
The level of hostility against us even included [reached the level of?] verbal abuse and threats to publish our personal details. This culminated in one media outlet doing so and [thereby] placing a family at risk.
[‘The Great Australian Bikini March’] organisers reiterate that the response from the general public was overwhelmingly supportive. Aussies from all backgrounds[,] including many migrants from many different countries[,] expressed support for the views expressed [on] our website. [Some] migrants stated that they had left countries because of extremism and did not want to see it get a foothold in Australia. They feared to express… their views alone and welcomed the chance to unite to do so.
Even the one Muslim that disagreed with the March… stated that he was against [Hilali’s] statements. He did so politely and respectfully and was answered in a like fashion [by] the organisers. We only wish the media had acted [similarly].
Immediately after one ‘shock jock’ misrepresented and defamed us, his news desk followed with a statement that we were marching against the hijab. Some Muslim people were confused… and distressed by this misinformation and we received about 4 phone calls [as a result]. One of these [callers] was very emotionally volatile. We had to then inform them that this [was] not our intent[,] but the damage had already been done.
What was to have been a peaceful, moderate, legal, non-violent, council- and police-approved protest has now been gagged by threats and extreme intimidatory tactics.
A big thank you to the members of the Victoria Police and Council staff who were respectful and professional and responded well to our offers to fully co-operate… with them.
[‘The Great Australian Bikini March’] organisers have been informed that we have now [been] credited in the media with a supposed march at Lakemba this weekend [December 9/10, 2006]. In spite of numerous conversations with Sydney print media last week [stating] that we had nothing to do with any event in Sydney, it appears that they went ahead and published it anyway.
What do our supporters do now?
We are as disappointed as you are at having to make the decision to cancel the March but when [family’s] lives are placed at risk, there is no alternative.
We would encourage you to keep your protests legal, non-violent and avail yourself of all democratic avenues.
* Make this an election issue.
* Contact your local Members of Parliament. Contact Telstra for State Liberal or Labor Party Headquarters’ phone number. Ask them for your local representative in Federal Parliament.
* Hold rogue media accountable for their actions through letters to the newspapers.
* Keep caring about what happens to your country.
Ben Weerheym’s Bikini Line
I first became aware of ‘The Great Australian Bikini March’ via the blog of Perth-based convicted neo-Nazi criminal Ben Weerheym, and my first blog entry on the subject is dated November 14. (Ben Weerheym’s promotion of the event had commenced on the previous day, November 13.) His blog entry on the subject, titled ‘Bikini Babes, No Hijabs – Saturday Dec 9, 2006′, named Hawkins and Smith as the organisers, and included their mobile telephone numbers as contacts for the March. At the time, quoting the organisers (from the first of two websites dedicated to promoting the event — the first created on November 7, then closed on November 21; the second created on November 22), Weerheym wrote:
Following recent comments by the top Muslim cleric in Australia, mufti Sheik al-Hilali and Melbourne’s Sheik Omran, outraged Australian women and their male supporters will reassert Australian values by taking to the streets in a bikini march on their [m]osques on Saturday [December] 9, 2006.
Colourful beach wear is the suggested clothing [for] the day, in keeping with [our] message. Bikinis are encouraged[,] but any swimwear, summer skirts, tops [and] shorts or sarongs are also appropriate. The use of any clothing or banners bearing the Australian flag is highly recommended.
This event is proudly sponsored by True Blue Productions — a 100% Aussie-owned venture.
Subsequent investigation revealed that True Blue was owned by the “100% Aussie”, Chris Gemmell-Smith.
A subsequent blog entry by Weerheym, dated November 20, included a disclaimer, distancing himself from the organisers… and the organisers from him (at their apparent insistence). It also revealed further details of the March, including a time, an assembly point — Clifton Park — and a destination — the Islamic Information and Support Centre (the site of this Saturday’s community BBQ ‘against racism and sexual assault’).
Commenting on his blog, Hawkins complained that Weerheym was ‘hijacking’ the March. Weerheym responded by stating that he was ‘only trying to help get her message out there': ‘out there’ meaning way out there. In fact, Weerheym took the opportunity to spam neo-Nazi sites such as Stormfront and neo-Nazi organisations such as the (US-based) National Alliance to promote the March.
Notwithstanding his own criminal record in the service of neo-Nazism, given the forums in which Weerheym chose to promote the event (“in conjunction” with his imaginary friends in his non-existent ‘Alliance’), Hawkins’ reaction is not surprising. For example, in response to Weerheym’s ‘promotional activity’, one pseudonymous Stormfront user (‘Ben Hall’) wrote: “Australian women should feel able to walk the streets of our nation without the fear of being assaulted or raped by some knuckle-dragging raghead or… mudman”. Another, Carl D. Thompson (‘Wodensvolk’), describes Muslims simply as ‘scum’. Weerheym also stated, in response to Hawkins’ expressing concern over his promotion of the event, that “If multi-culturalists and red traitors think that [the March] is “racist” then that’s their problem, we call a spade a spade and don’t artfully dodge the REAL issues at hand like the [Jewish-]controlled media does”.
Weerheym’s hatred for and suspicion of the ‘Jewish-controlled media’ appears to date from his membership of the neo-Nazi White Devils gang, and his subsequent criminal conviction, along with four of his fellow gang members, for a series of racially-motivated crimes in 2004: crimes including the spraying of a swastika on the entrance to a war widows’ retirement village in suburban Perth.
While each of his neo-Nazi comrades received custodial sentences, Weerheym received a suspended sentence, and it was shortly thereafter that he began his career as a net-Nazi; an occupation which has been keeping him busy ever since, Weerheym regularly vilifying not only Muslims and Jews, but Asians, blacks (“Negroes”), gays (“faggots”), lesbians, and all the other, usual targets of the far right’s ire. Weerheym was fortunate not to be sent to jail for his part in the vandalism of Chinese restaurants, synagogues, and the like, his non-custodial sentence partly a result of his lesser role in the gang’s vandalism spree, but also attributable to the successful denial of his membership in the ANM.
An article by Paige Taylor (The Australian, August 7, 2004) provides a useful recapitulation of this history:
A student who avoided jail over Perth’s latest race-hate crimes concealed his involvement with a terrorist group and is a white supremacist who has urged violence against Asians.
The state Director of Public Prosecutions will consider appealing the suspended jail sentence given to Benjamin Weerheym, 27, on Thursday in light of information from The Weekend Australian about his involvement with the Australian Nationalists Movement.
Weerheym, an IT student and part-time disc-jockey from the southern suburb of Como, admitted he was the driver for his two co-accused in the July 16 and 17  graffiti attacks.
Before he was sentenced to a six-month suspended sentence this week, Weerheym’s lawyer, Michael Tudori, told the Perth Magistrates Court Weerheym was not interested in the ANM and had not wanted to take part in the graffiti.
However The Weekend Australian has learned that for almost two years Weerheym has been promoting the ANM and urging violent attacks against ethnic groups on a white supremacist website called Stormfront.org.
Under the pseudonym Thor Hammered, Weerheym has posted more than 800 messages, ranting against Asians, Jews and Muslims. He has urged others to blow up a Perth nightclub owned by Asians.
“The more the white youth of Australia stand up and show them their true feelings towards the invaders THE BETTER!!” he wrote in March .
Weerheym also wrote: “After a recent trip east by the key members of the ANM/ANWU [Australian Nationalist Workers Union], it has become apparent we are the most effective, organised, active and above all premier nationalist/pro-white organisation in Australia.”
When Weerheym was confronted about his pseudonym — which was tracked to his email address and his telephone number — he refused to answer any questions about it or his involvement with the ANM.
He instead issued an apology [sic] for his involvement in the graffiti attacks.
“I take seriously my political and social ideals but the methods of expression that were undertaken were most definitely not positive or a viable option,” he said.
DPP Robert Cock said Weerheym may have misled the court.
“If we establish that he had misled the court in his submission we would be very enthusiastic to get the matter back before the court to be corrected,” he said…
Weerheym was not jailed because he was deemed to have played a much lesser role as the driver.
The ANM campaign has been escalating since three restaurants were firebombed in February.
Police uncovered an ANM plot to harm West Australian attorney general Jim McGinty last month while investigating the racist graffiti attacks.
Ethnic Communities Council president Suresh Rajan said Weerheym’s sentence was woefully inadequate, especially because it appeared he acted with intent.
“I don’t think I’ve seen such hate being expressed by people in quite a long time, it is really quite frightening,” he said.
In the event, the DPP did not launch an appeal. The following year, 2006, it also declined to prosecute Weerheym for racial vilification, instead opting to unsuccessfully target an Aboriginal teenager for the same alleged crime.
With friends like Weerheym, who needs enemies?