Sad news, my fellow Aussie patriots: Blair Cottrell has lost his appeal against his September 2017 conviction for serious religious vilification. To be precise: a charge of knowingly engage in conduct with the intention of inciting serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, another person or class of persons on the ground of religious belief or activity, contrary to section 25(2) of the Racial & Religious Tolerance Act.
See : Cottrell v Ross (PDF) | ‘Not surprised’: Right-wing activist’s appeal fails for beheading dummy, Caroline Schelle, The Age, December 19, 2019 | Blair Cottrell fails to overturn effigy beheading conviction, Tessa Akerman, The Australian, December 19, 2019 | Far-right extremist Blair Cottrell loses appeal against conviction for inciting contempt of Muslims, Michael McGowan and AAP, The Guardian, December 19, 2019 | The County Court’s decision sends a powerful message about religious intolerance, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, December 20, 2019.
Cottrell’s previous criminal record is detailed in a report by Geir O’Rourke and Angus Thompson in the Herald Sun (June 11, 2016). Of his offending, they write: ‘Cottrell, 26, was sentenced to four months in prison in May 2012 after being convicted of 13 charges, including seven counts of intentionally damaging property. County Court Judge Michael Tinney convicted the then-22-year-old of throwing a missile, stalking, failing to comply with a community-based order, and two counts of recklessly causing serious injury. In December 2013 he was fined $1000 and sentenced to seven days in jail by a County Court judge for aggravated burglary, property damage, arson, trafficking testosterone, possessing a controlled weapon and breaching court orders.’ Cottrell, as ‘Bruce’, appeared in a documentary about youth in the maximum-security Youth Unit at Port Phillip Prison in Truganina, in which he describes how he abused steroids, stalked his former partner and her boyfriend, tried to kill him, set fire to their house, and eventually got arrested, convicted, and sent to prison.
In this latest judgement, Judge Paul Kidd states (§ 334, 347, 351) that:
I reject, as lacking in all credibility, the appellant’s claim that this video was about the mere absurd, or intended to be humorous. It is a patently disingenuous characterisation, and is self-contradictory. I do not believe him.
I reject completely the many explanations advanced by the appellant that this was not directed to engendering extreme feelings about Muslims in general. His explanations smack of a manufactured post facto rationalisation and are lacking in credibility. I do not believe the appellant.
If this video were directed to the world at large I would have found the charge proved. That said, I find the nature of the target audience further reinforces the inference of intention. The appellant was aware that the material would be accessed by those who viewed the UPF Facebook page. His knowledge of who the target audience would be strengthens the inference that his intention was to incite a response from them. Those accessing the Facebook page may have been members of UPF, members of the UPF Facebook page or people who otherwise shared the opinions of the UPF or were interested in their ideas or the issues they discussed. Given the likelihood of shared views or interests, these people would be more likely to be stirred up by the content.
That Cottrell should have been found to have been disingenuous, self-contradictory, engaged in the manufacture of a post-facto rationalisation and lacking in credibility is unlikely to have generated much surprise in anybody who’s been following Cottrell’s political career since National Alternative helped him launch one back in April 2015 (or, for that matter, Aryan Nations in November 2015). His attitude to women and the media was most remarkably captured in the rape tweet — Cottrell: ‘I keed! I keed!’ — he sent to Sky News’ Laura Jayes although, alongside his criminal record, a previous declaration that manipulating women ‘using violence and terror’ is kosher may have been a warning sign. So too, his eagerness to execute traitorous (((media))) workers — should his rather unlikely phantasy of becoming Chancellor of Australia ever come to pass.
Still, Cottrell does have his supporters, from former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Adam Giles to Republican congressman Steve King to ex-British National Party and neo-Nazi activist Mark Collett, and is regularly featured on ‘The Unhinged’, by Claudia Benitez (on Facebook and YouTube), and was the dubious beneficiary of representation by barrister John Bolton (below, L to R : Bolton, Cottrell, ‘Mark McDonald’ (Squadron 88/The Lads Society), Oscar Tuckfield (NSW Young Nationals/The Lads Society).
Bolton himself has previously been active with Reclaim Australia, used his Freeze Peach to decry the presence of refugees in Eltham, and inter alia organised a farcical ‘International Freedom of Speech Day’ in Sydney in October last year, a YUGE event which attracted the participation of his neo-Nazi client, Nick Folkes (ex-Party for Freedom), ‘Mark McDonald’, NSW True Blue Crew lvl boss ‘Mitch van Dam’, and various members of both grouplets (Dwayne Bullen, Max Towns), other former Reclaimers, and Peanuts — even Rino ‘Bluebeard’ Grgurovic put in an appearance(!).
Among those attending court in support of Cottrell were Benitez (‘Dia Beltran’) and Timmeh! Wilms (above) of ‘The Unhinged’ website and ‘The Cuckables’ podcast. Cottrell’s previous court appearance in November attracted (among others) Benitez, Wilms, Melinda Cassidy, Neil Erikson, Lea Galligah, Kimberley Neave, Kaylene O’Brien, Luke Phipps, Ian Sayer and Tom Sewell. Sewell, like Cottrell, was a leading member of the United Patriots Front. While alleged Christchurch killer Brenton Tarrant described Cottrell as his ’emperor’ a few years before allegedly proceeding to massacre 51 Muslims in March, Sewell tried to recruit this same brave ANZAC to his neo-Nazi grouplet ‘The Lads Society’, the group emerging following the collapse of Facebook’s support for the UPF. Happily enough, The Lads, after losing their bunker in Cheltenham, have recently re-opened an organising and training centre elsewhere in Melbourne. As for Erikson, he returns to court on February 18 next year to contest charges of disrupting Christian and Muslim religious services.
Finally, one of Cottrell’s elderly fanboys, Julian de Ross, has died. You may remember de Ross (AKA Hugh Pearson/Great Aussie Patriarch/John Sobieski/Koala732) from such campaigns as ‘Refugees Out Of Eltham’, ‘Melton Against The Muslims’, ‘Melbourne Loves Milo’, ‘Africans Out Of Cheltenham’ and numerous other daft right-wing stunts.
PS. Bellingcat, in collaboration with the Autonomous Disinformation Research Network, has just published a lengthy article on the Iron March leaks: Transnational White Terror: Exposing Atomwaffen And The Iron March Networks. Note that former UPF goon Shermon Burgess was briefly active on the site, along with the founders and various members of Antipodean Resistance (many of whom have now entered The Lads Society).
In this essay, we use content analysis of archival documents available online, spatial analysis of leaked data, and an hour-long interview of a former Atomwaffen member to expose the origins of Iron March, its founder, and its strategic cultivation of young recruits into a ruthless transnational movement infiltrating the military to generate a fascist revolution by carrying out a brutal campaign against civic infrastructure.