Yeesh — I was wondering how Old Mate’s trial was going (see below).
Note that, while others have abandoned this 110% True-Blue Dinky-Di Aussie Patriot™ — including, sadly, his comrades in the ‘True Blue Crew’ — the silly old bugger Mike Holt has been one of his few public defenders. As I noted in November last year:
According to the OAP, Phil Galea, Australian patriot, was arrested and accused of being a terrorist in August 2016 after he followed and filmed ANTIFA terrorist thugs at their headquarters. The police allege that he had “bomb making materials”, but Phil denies this and says he can prove why he had the chemicals for peaceful scientific experiments.
More recently (November 16, 2017), Mike published a letter from Galea about a dead patriot called Shannon Wallace, in which Phillthy speculates that Wallace may have suffered an ‘unnatural’ death (possibly murdered by use of a ‘sonic gun’?). In early 2016 I visited Shannon Wallace in what was called The Compound by him and his father, writes Phil, before providing a garbled account of various persons and events and identifying Darren Norsworthy (PDLA and ‘Battalion 88’) and ‘Aaron’ [Dekeulenaer, presumably; a nazi dork from Ballarat associated with PDLA, ‘Battalion 88’ and RWRAU] as police informants. Phill also writes:
If I was murdered (or had an “accident”), Shannon was to use an internet café to sign into my e-mail account and send Blair Cottrell (UPF), Mike Holt (Restore Australia), and Liz Sheppard (Reclaim Australia) all of my recordings from a fake account. Then Shannon was to use the Linux computer I had given him to make dozens of copies of the discs and hand them out to all True Blue Crew Members who were on a list I had given him when he went to the Melton anti-mosque rally. Then he was to hand the discs directly to the press as well.
A man who planned to carry out terrorist attacks on three Melbourne targets intended to recruit people by handing out information on how to make explosive devices, prosecutors allege.
Phillip Galea of Braybrook, in Melbourne’s west, was charged in 2016 with planning to commit a terrorist act and collecting material in connection to a terrorist act.
On the first day of Mr Galea’s committal hearing, prosecutor David Staehli alleged there was electronic material showing Mr Galea was targeting the Melbourne Anarchist Club in Northcote, the Resistance Centre in the CBD, and Trades Hall in Carlton where Mr Galea collected intelligence and conducted reconnaissance.
Mr Staehli said Mr Galea wanted to produce what he called The Patriots Cookbook, which would show how to make smoke bombs and metal bombs by using potassium nitrate “for the advancement of extreme right wing ideology to overcome the perceived Islam-isation of Australia”.
“Mr Galea intended to source and recruit people to attack the targets identified,” Mr Staehli said.
The court heard authorities raided Mr Galea’s property in 2015 and found 361 grams of mercury, along with video clips on how to make explosives, and instructions on manufacturing mercury as a precursor to explosives.
Prosecutors also said they found footage of Mr Galea performing a reconnaissance mission at the Resistance Centre in September 2015.
‘He started to talk about chopping people up’
Witness Heidi Martin told the hearing she met Mr Galea through a right wing rally in Canberra and they met up again in Geelong in 2015 with other people when creating the Facebook group, the Greater Geelong Patriots United.
The pair met again with three other people not long after to break away from the group and create their own page, Reclaim Australia Victoria Incorporated.
She became the editor of the new page but told the court members of the group became uncomfortable with posts Mr Galea was putting up.
“He had a particular focus on church burnings. He was starting to talk about chopping people up, which is certainly not in line with anyone’s beliefs,” she said.
“It was a matter that was quite alarming and concerning and you’ve got someone talking about doing something that could harm the community.”
She said she spoke with a number of other members about her concerns.
“We were mainly talking about things that Phil had told [me] which were alarming things. Things that would send shock waves through anyone,” she said.
Ms Martin told the court a man involved in the group, Greg Burton, had been asked by Mr Galea to edit documents that were going to form The Patriots Cook Book, and he was horrified at what he read.
“There was stuff about torture techniques,” she said.
I’ve just finished reading John Safran‘s new book Depends What You Mean By Extremist: Going Rogue with Australian Deplorables (Penguin, 2017). Having been a resident in these parts for some time, I enjoyed tagging along with John as he romped through this ‘mad world of misfits’ in ‘the year the extreme became the mainstream’, and had some fun identifying (or trying to identify) the various characters in the book, frequently shielded by pseudonyms. While reactions among friends and comrades has been mixed, and I haven’t read too many reviews as yet, Simon McDonald reckons it’s an easy-reading but hard-hitting expose of political extremism in STRAYA, which I suppose is apt. So in lieu of a proper, y’know, literary review, I thought that, as an anarchist and someone who’s also paid close attention to the far right Down Under, I’d jot down a few notes.
Perhaps the most coherent perspective, surprisingly enough, is provided by UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell, who outlines a rational (if rather unlikely) pathway to state power for him and his mates, and for whom the hullabaloo over halals represents merely a convenient platform from which to practice his best Hitler impersonation. Notably, Der Uber Der confesses (p.152) to viewing his followers in much the same way as he views Jews: as divided into highborn and lowborn, order-givers and order-takers. (Of course, there are no prizes for guessing to which category Blair assigns himself.) The seeming absurdities and contradictions which plague the various deplorable characters in the book are remarked upon continually throughout the text: valour thief, serial pest and implacable opponent of Islam, Communism, ‘Third World’ immigration and multi-culturalism, Ralph Cerminara (pp.23–27), apparently has an Italian father, an Aboriginal mother, and a Vietnamese partner, while Dr Jim Saleam causes other white nationalists to snigger behind his back on account of his Lebanese ancestry. John is also keen to underline the fact that religion, especially Christian evangelicalism and fundamentalism, plays a critical role in the worldview of a large segment of Deplorable Australians. Enter Danny Nalliah’s Catch The Fire Ministries/Rise Up Australia Party, that grouping which has done the most to add some, ah, colour, to the various events organised by Reclaim and the UPF. Speaking of Danny, Scott Moerland also stars as ‘Mr Normal’ (p.79). Well for a time at least, before eventually being revealed as being ‘some sort of doomsday Christian’ (p.84): a fact which helps explain why he ran as the RUAP candidate for Oxley at the 2013 federal election (Scott got 400 votes or 0.43% for his troubles).
In terms of mobilising opposition to Reclaim Australia, the UPF, et. al., the book concentrates on one project: No Room For Racism (NRFR) in Melbourne, for which Mel Gregson is deemed the ‘matriarch’ (p.92). For those of you coming in late, NRFR was established in early 2015 in order to promote opposition to the first (April 4, 2015) Reclaim rally in Melbourne. (Other anti-fascist and anti-racist groups and projects emerged in other towns and cities at the same time.) After April 4, another campaigning group was established in Melbourne called Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), but its activities play no part in John’s account. In any case, given that both NRFR and CARF are capable of making their own assessments, in the remainder of this post I’m gonna concentrate on a coupla Muslim figures portrayed in the book, before concluding with an assessment of John’s portrayal of my comrades, Les Anarchistes.
The ‘extreme’ Muslims featured in the book are Musa Cerantonio, some bloke called ‘Hamza’ and some other fella named ‘Youssef’. Also making a special guest appearance is ‘Ahmet the Turk’, and in ‘The Sufi in the garden’ (pp.40-44), John meets a Sufi; someone who might function as a ‘counterpoint’ to two other Muslims (Musa and Hamza) he talks to about Islam and politics. While the ‘Sufi’ is, like other characters in the book, unnamed, it wasn’t too difficult for me to work out to whom John might be referring. For what it’s worth, they have a very different recollection of their conversation to John’s. Later in the book (p.224), John makes reference to a ‘famous-enough Muslim’, and pays particular attention to something the Islamic semi-idol posted on their Facebook page. Again, it wasn’t too difficult for me to discover who this person is, and I thought it would be worthwhile examining the incident a little more closely, both because of what it reveals about the writing process, but also because it helps shape what eventually becomes one of the key themes of the text: anti-Semitism and its (ab)uses. John writes:
‘We, French-Muslims, are ready to assume our responsibilities.’ Dozens of celebrities and academics have written a letter to a Paris newspaper. The signatories say that local Muslim communities must work harder to stop the extremists in their midst, and to honour those killed the letter lists all the recent terrorist attacks in France.
The one at the kosher deli.
‘You are ready to assume your responsibilities’, writes a French Jewish leader in reply, ‘but you are off to a bad start. You need to understand that these anti-Semitic attacks were committed against Jews, who were targetted for being Jewish. In any case we’ll always be here to remind you.’
Those signatories aren’t the only Muslims who believe in Jewish exceptionalism. From France to my hometown …
In which context, a few things:
• The terrorist attack on the kosher deli/the Porte de Vincennes siege (January 2015) involved a man who’d pledged allegiance to Daesh/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, killing four Jewish shoppers and holding others hostage before being shot dead by French police.
• The statement by some French Muslims was published in Le Journal du Dimanche on July 31, 2016 (see : “Nous, Français et musulmans, sommes prêts à assumer nos responsabilités”). The letter makes explicit reference to five terrorist attacks: at Charlie Hebdo (January 2015); at Bataclan theatre (November 2015); at Magnanville (June 2016); at Bastille Day celebrations in Nice and at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray (July 2016). The list is not exhaustive. Thus the letter fails to reference the Toulouse and Montauban shootings of March 2012 (in which a French rabbi, among others, was shot dead), the La Défense attack (May 2013), the Tours police station stabbing (December 2014), the February 2015 stabbing of three French soldiers on patrol outside a Jewish community centre in Nice, an attack upon churches in Villejuif in April 2015, the Saint-Quentin-Fallavier attack of June 2015, the Thalys train attack of August 2015, a man who drove his car into soldiers protecting a mosque in Valence in January 2016, an attack upon a police station in Paris later that month and, finally, an attack upon a family at a holiday resort in Garda-Colombe in July 2016.
• The French Jewish leader is Robert J. Ejnes, Executive Director at the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF)/Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions. He posted a comment in response to the statement on his Facebook account on July 31, 2016 [https://www.facebook.com/robert.ejnes/posts/10155122557237942]; the CRIF later posted a modified version of this comment on August 1, 2016. See : Jewish Leader Slams French Muslims for Omitting anti-Semitic Violence From Anti-jihad Petition, Haaretz, August 1, 2016.
• Given that my French-language skills are as advanced as my admiration for Carlton FC, it’s a little difficult to follow the story of the statement, but it’s worth noting that, in response to the criticisms leveled at it of ‘Jewish exceptionalism’, on August 1, 2016, one of the signatories, Socialist Party politician Bariza Khia, published a statement on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/bariza.khiari/posts/10154298138245900] — later added to the statement published in Le Journal du Dimanche and endorsed by all signatories — in which the signatories claim that the omissions were not deliberate, that they wished to avoid unnecessary controversy, and that ‘Jewish students in Toulouse or clients of the Hyper-Kosher murdered because they were Jews, a Catholic priest martyred in his church, a soldier or a Muslim policeman slaughtered in service … the list of victims is terribly long and so diverse, our nation in all its components, that we must face adversity together’ [machinetranslation]. I suppose it would also be worth adding that it was a Muslim immigrant from Mali who saved the lives of other Jewish shoppers at the supermarket, an action which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised (even if Robert Ejnes did not). See : Malian Muslim hailed for saving lives at Paris market, France24, January 12, 2015.
To return to Almost Famous, John writes that:
… I see today that he’s busy on Facebook, tormenting a family of Israeli immigrants (so, to be clear, Australians) who run the cafe around the corner from my flat. A Muslim friend of his wandered in for a snack a few hours ago and spotted an item on the menu: ‘Israeli breakfast’. Finding out that the family running the cafe are Israeli, she lashed out at them, freaking out everyone in the cafe, and now the famous-enough Muslim is lashing out too, ‘exposing’ this family for being Israeli …
… His Facebook fans pile on: Jews are stingy, so no doubt this Israeli breakfast is the stingiest breakfast ever. That sort of thing.
Again, for what it’s worth:
• While John implies that the discussion takes place sometime in late 2016, in reality the Facebook post is over three years old (May 2013).
• The friend is not described as being ‘Muslim’ but rather ‘Palestinian’.
• According to the account relayed by Famous-Enough Funny-Man: the Palestinian woman cancelled her order because she found out it was an Israeli business; when the owner demanded to know why, she said ‘Because Israel occupies my land’. Allegedly, the owner then followed the Palestinian woman down the street, abused her, and told her to never come near his café again.
• While the post has some caustic commentary, nobody accuses Jews of being ‘stingy’. [EDIT (May 21, 2017) : Somebody did comment to that effect but at some point b/w now + then it was deleted.]
• While I’ve got no idea what happened, and either account could be true, in John’s retelling the Palestinian has become a Muslim, and even if one believes that it’s wrongful for a Palestinian to boycott an Israeli business on account of Israel’s colonial status, a national conflict has become a religiously-motivated one. (Surely there are better examples of anti-Semitic actions on the part of local Muslims than the above?)
Anyways, back to John (p.229):
But hey, maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I should drop in on Mrs Sneer and Mr Snort at the Melbourne Anarchist Club and they can explain to me how spreading avocado over soft-toasted challah is in fact structural violence.
Which would seem as good a time as any to examine how ratbag anarchists are portrayed in the book.
Mrs Sneer & Mr Snort
As part of his journalisms, John joins the UPF as they party after their second rally in Bendigo in October 2015. (A detour finds him at the wrogn pub, one at which members of ‘Nationalist Alternative’ — ‘They’re like the UPF except they don’t sugarcoat their views on Jews’ — are drinking. Not mentioned in the book is the fact that Blair Cottrell, along with Neil Erikson, is a former member of the tiny groupuscule.) Partying with the UPF includes being filmed doing shots of tequila with them. This is later shared by the UPF on their Facebook page, where they jokingly claim that John is now an official member of the gang. John notes that the reception by some on the left to this example of fraternising with teh enimy is frosty. According to John (p.92), ‘The Melbourne Anarchist Club — those guys who turn up to the rallies with their faces wrapped in bandannas — seem particularly miffed’. This is incorrect, and in this instance John seems to have mixed-up the MAC with ‘Melbourne Antifascist Info’, who did indeed ‘hope there’s a good explanation for why John Safran went out for drinks with the United Patriots Front last night’.
After recounting the UPF’s trip to the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC) and radio station 3CR (the expedition consisted of Blair Cottrell, Chris Shortis, Neil Erikson, Andrew Wallis and Linden Watson), John attends the Open Day the MAC organised in response: ‘There are more hot anarchists than I expected here. Don’t get me wrong, there are also flabby radicals who wouldn’t be able to throw a Molotov cocktail without breaking into a wheeze, but still’ (p.157). LOL. It’s at this point that Mrs Sneer and Mr Snort enter the story.
After criticising John for his (inadvertent) appearance in the UPF’s promotional stunt, Mr Snort registers his displeasure with John’s article on the Golden Dawn and AFP rally in Brisbane in 2014. It’s at this point that the distinction between ‘structural’ and ‘non-structural’ violence is introduced: Mr Snort says far-right violence is a form of ‘structural violence’ (that is, part of State, corporate and systemic violence), and left-wing violence isn’t. And furthermore, my ‘comedic story’ contributed to this ‘structural violence’ by equating the two. For John, this distinction, and its flaws, comes to encapsulate what he considers a worrying trend, both on the left and among some Muslims (the Sufi’s view on the Charlie Hebdo attack), one which tries and fails to escape the ethical dimensions of discussions on the uses of violence and which, in the end, dismisses various examples of anti-Semitism as being trivial and unworthy of a serious response. Thus Mrs Sneer claims that [t]here’s not meaningful anti-Semitism these days … in the way there’s meaningful Islamophobia, and in practice, this distinction merely becomes a way of separating worth from unworthy victims, the Naughty from the Nice.
Mrs Sneer and Mr Snort are then unfavourably compared to the arguably more nuanced approach of ‘Ahmet the Turk’, who attended the open day to express solidarity with the MAC. Beefy and bald, he says he’s new to politics but when he saw ‘these people getting attacked for essentially defending Muslims? I thought, You know what? We’ve got to show them some solidarity. We need to tell them, “You are not alone.” Just like how they’ve told us that we’re not alone.’ Ahmet and the Seven Turks then rock up to the Reclaim/UPF/True Blue Crew rally in Melton (pp.169–180), where inter alia they’re photographed with Senator Lee Rhiannon (or at least, that’s what Ralph Cerminara reckoned LOL) but otherwise try and keep the peace. (As an aside, John writes that the reason the rally was held in Melton was in order to protest the fact that the local council had approved the building of a mosque. This is incorrect. Rather, protesters were angry and upset because they claimed, falsely, that Melton Specialist School had planned to re-locate from Coburns Road to the former site of Victoria University’s Melton campus in Rees Road, Melton South, but was forced to abandon the site to make way for the Al Iman College. See : Anti-Muslim rally reveals a racism both shocking and commonplace, Crikey, November 23, 2015.)
The other anarchist featured in the book is referred to as ‘The CEO’ (p.186): ‘At the rallies he points his finger here and there, muttering into ears, and the little ninjas scuttle off on the mission’. Again, The CEO was not difficult to identify and again, their recollection of their conversations differs from John’s. In any case, insofar as The CEO’s role is understood to be reflective of actual anti-fascist action, organisation and planning, it immediately reminded me of a white nationalist’s account of the TBC rally in Coburg in 2016, in which at one point in the day’s proceedings ‘advance ANTIFA scouts relayed some order via their weird coded street language of whistles and the mob took off at a dead run’. In other words, there are few if any secrets revealed about ‘ANTIFA’ in John’s book.
Finally, the concluding chapters of the book examine Trump’s victory in the US, Pauline Hanson’s return to the Australian Parliament, and the failure of the UPF (as the stillborn ‘Fortitude’ party), the Australian Liberty Alliance and Rise Up Australia Party to make a dent at the 2016 federal election. In the meantime, Musa Cerantonio has been arrested and charged with terrorisms, as has Phill Galea, while Avi Yemini’s attempt to introduce Pauline Hanson and Malcolm ‘Jew World Order’ Roberts to the Jews of Melbourne not unexpectedly fell in a heap. Cory Bernardi has split from the Coalition to form the Conservatives, swallowing Family First and recruiting former ALA candidate Kirralie Smith. Most recently, Bernardi’s neo-reactionary comrade-at-arms George Christensen, having undergone radical weight-loss surgery in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and having previously been a guest speaker at a Reclaim Australia rally and starred on a local neo-Nazi podcast, has now demanded that their New York comrade Mike Peinovich (‘Mike Enoch’) be prevented from entering the country — in order to attend a conference organised by the same crew of nipsters. Neil Erikson has denounced ‘Nazism’ while Shermon Burgess has embraced it. Having been kicked off Facebook, the UPF circus rolls into court again next week (May 23) while the boys in the True Blue Crew have taken some time out from assaulting their partners in order to wave some flags in the CBD on June 25.
* ‘The Skull’ appears as a foil for the UPF in Sydney, which is credited with kicking him off the bus the boys organised to take a small crew of patriotik volk to Melbourne for the joint July 18 Reclaim Australia/UPF rally. At the time, ‘The Skull’ had been adopted as the elderly mascot of a short-lived neo-Nazi groupuscule called ‘Squadron 88’. While the incident is claimed as being proof that the UPF didn’t tolerate the participation of neo-Nazis in its activities, leaving aside the fact that its leadership is (or was) neo-Nazi, in reality ‘The Skull’ was not the only neo-Nazi on the bus, as John Lyons and Martin McKenzie-Murray reported at the time.
A bus trip from Sydney to Melbourne highlighted the way neo-Nazi elements are trying to infiltrate the Reclaim Australia movement. Just after 9pm on Friday, July 17, a mixed group of activists — including four neo-Nazis — turned up at Sydney’s Central station to board a bus organised by UPF. But police were waiting for them. They sought out [John] Oliver, the man who had tried to reveal the identity of Fleming, who was carrying a gun. Oliver tells Inquirer he had notified the police firearms registry that he was transporting the gun to Melbourne but, nonetheless, police did not want the gun on that bus.
Oliver says he was taking the gun to Melbourne so over that weekend he could combine sports shooting and the rally. “Maybe I made an error of judgment to think that I could do the two things on the one weekend,” he concedes.
But he insists that those in Reclaim Australia are mainstream Australians opposing extremism. He says he was concerned there were four neo-Nazis on the bus. “The first thing I saw when I sat down was the guy in front of me draw a swastika on the mist on the window,” he says. “Two of the neo-Nazis were kicked off in Yass and two made it to Melbourne.”
One of those forced off the bus was Ross “The Skull” May, who has become the figurehead of Squadron 88, Australia’s newest neo-Nazi group …
For the few men who comprise the anti-immigration Australia First Party and the neo-Nazi Squadron 88, the numerals referring to “HH” or “Heil Hitler”, it was an opportunity to augment the United Patriots Front’s rally in Melbourne, itself a supplement to the Reclaim Australia rally organised for the foot of the Victorian parliament. A road trip was planned, a bus rented. The journey would be a merry drive from Sydney to Melbourne, a city they deemed a leftist “stronghold”. They packed a gun but Sydney police – aware of the groups – searched them before they departed and it was confiscated …
So the Sydney group were happy to help storm the fortress of Melbourne. They’d take a coach bus into battle. Nine hours of ribald camaraderie before they smashed some commies. It’d be fun. A real weekend.
Except news got out that one of the boys on the bus was Ross “The Skull” May, one of Australia’s more notorious neo-Nazis, and his presence was suddenly considered detrimental.
It is hard to satirise May. As accords his nickname, he looks like a desiccated corpse re-animated by the dark voodoo of Nazism. In reality he’s a semi-coherent octogenarian with few teeth and a sunken face, who in earlier years wore Nazi uniforms and intimidated political opponents.
According to sources, May was told a short way into the road trip to abandon the crusade and he disembarked just outside Canberra. The departure of one man wasn’t insignificant, given there were only about 30 aboard – about 10 to 20 per cent of the eventual anti-Islam congregation in Melbourne.
Finally, and for what it’s worth, on the evening that the bus departed Sydney I took note of the fact that ‘The Skull’, along with members of S88 and AFP, were on board, as did media. I think that this, rather than the UPF’s putative opposition to ‘Nazism’, is what really explains why poor old Ross was told to get off.
That said, having been arrested and charged with terrorism offences in August 2015, there wasn’t much news, apart perhaps from the fact that police allege that Galea was planning on blowing up the Resistance Centre (Socialist Alliance) in the CBD and the Melbourne Anarchist Club in Northcote (!).
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg heard Mr Galea tried to get a contact — now a prosecution witness — to buy fertiliser, and that he had adopted the Anarchists Cookbook to become a “patriots cookbook”, which he planned to distribute.
“There’s a bit of irony, isn’t it, in that he’s against anarchists,” Mr Rozencwajg said.
According to Kieran Bennett, who also attended the hearing, the bulk of the police case appears to rely on telephone intercepts, however the case also involves the testimony of witnesses; Galea’s next court dates are in April and May.
Galea has been linked to a range of ‘patriot’ groups. He was an admin on the Reclaim Australia Melbourne page, supported and attended Reclaim rallies as well as established the RA Media website and Facebook page. (The site’s “International Allies” are Breitbart, Britain First, Knights Templar International, PEGIDA and UKIP.) He was also closely associated with the United Patriots Front, True Blue Crew and Patriots Defence League of Australia and has even been linked to neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Combat 18’.
Of course, Galea reserved his biggest props for the TBC, and was terribly excited by their activities, especially when they organised an anti-leftist rally in Coburg in May. A handful of TBC gronks were arrested and charged with various minor offences as a result of their brave, racist expedition and this week one, Nicholas Edward Abbott, got a slap on the wrist for being naughty; another TBC-aligned meathead, Mathew Wingrave, has also been reprimanded by The Law.
Since their last anti-Muslim rally in Melton in August (where the TBC methgoblins got into a shouting match with the ‘Soldiers Of Odin’) and a previous flagwit rally in Melbourne in June (one of Galea’s last public appearances), the wheels seem to have fallen off the TBC hate bus, with at least three of its members, including its leader, Kane Miller, being either convicted or accused of domestic violence and, in Miller’s case, ‘financial impropriety’ (ie, running off with his supporter’s money). But whether or not the boys resurrect themselves as the ‘True Blue Crew’, capitulate to Blair Cottrell’s Führerprinzip, or create some other motley assortment of thugs, it’s highly likely that they’ll continue fighting the menace of the Islamic State from the safety of their keyboards.
In which context, two things: 1) NEVER READ THE COMMENTS; 2) I understand that police will be releasing images of the man captured on CCTV.
Finally, and briefly, Blair Cottrell (United Patriots Front), Neil Erikson (‘Australian Settlers Rebellion’) and Chris Shortis (Australia First Party) are due in court in March next year to face charges of racial and religious vilification (inter alia) as a result of their media stunt in Bendigo in October last year. In connection with the case, for some reason — the charges were laid several months ago — Cottrell appeared on Ten News last week (December 15):
The lying neo-Nazi’s appearance resulted in more likes for the UPF Facebook page and presumably further donations towards the fuehrer’s legal defence. In the meantime, Shortis — who recently had his gun licence revoked — is appealing for funds via the Australia First Party while Erikson has declared that, presumably in an attempt to provide some comic relief, he’ll be representing himself in court. Sadly, Shermon Burgess, the other half of ASR, has received a letter from Sutherland Shire Council claiming $170,287.58 in costs incurred following the legal battle over the Cronulla Riot Re-enactment of last year.
Chris Shortis was one of five UPF members who invaded the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC) and 3CR last weekend (November 1). The MAC released a statement and held an ‘Open Day’ on November 8. 3CR has also issued a statement, and a report on the invasion is carried by Crikey. I republish them below:
On Sunday 1st November, five members of the fascist group United Patriots Front (UPF) gained entry to the premises of 3CR Community Radio and filmed throughout the building without permission. In an effort to intimidate the station and its programmers, they then posted the video on their Facebook page.
3CR reasserts its commitment to progressive politics and our core mission of providing a voice to people denied one elsewhere in the media and in society. We stand by our commitment to providing a voice for Muslims, newly arrived migrants, Indigenous people, unions, women, queers, the working class, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with a disability.
3CR was established in 1976 and the station currently has about 400 programmers broadcasting over 120 programs a week in 19 different languages. There are a diverse range of organisations affiliated to the station ranging from trade unions to housing groups to music appreciation clubs.
The behaviour of this far-right group is therefore utterly ridiculous.
However the UPF is of concern because of its racist, Islamophobic and anti-semitic beliefs, its hostility to the left and its capacity for violence.
On the same day the UPF came to 3CR, they also made an unwelcome visit to the Melbourne Anarchist Club.
We totally reject these tactics of intimidation and express our solidarity with other groups subjected to their harassment and vilification.
We call on the people of Melbourne to join us in rejecting this amateur schoolyard bullying and the politics of fear that make it possible. The routine Islamophobia present in mainstream politics and the media must stop and the indefinite detention of refugees must stop. We call on our political leaders to take some responsibility.
3CR urges all people concerned with upholding basic principles of human dignity, diversity and fairness to attend the protest against racism and fascism on Sunday 22 November, 11AM on the steps of Parliament House. Gather around the 3CR banner.
We also encourage people to attend the Melbourne Anarchist Club Open Day on Sunday 8 November from 12PM.
For more information contact Marian McKeown or James McKenzie on 9419 8377 or email [email protected]
4) 3CR /// UPF /// Crikey
Nationalist group invades 3CR Community Radio office, uploads dramatically scored video
Myriam Robin Crikey
November 9, 2015
Melbourne community radio station 3CR has accused the United Patriot’s Front of “amateur, schoolyard bullying” and “threatening” behaviour, after the far-right nationalist organisation gained entry to the radio station’s premises and filmed it without permission, then uploaded the video to its Facebook page.
The incident took place last Sunday. The UPF’s video shows several burly men approaching the front door of 3CR to find it shut (as it always is on weekends). A man describes the radio station as a “government-funded radio production company of some sort” (3CR is overwhelmingly funded through memberships and donations). But, he says, “so-called anarchists like to speak on radio here and are given a platform here, which confuses me … So we came here to ask some questions to clear up the confusion.” Once a month, Andy Fleming, a progressive campaigner and anarchist, is involved with a radio program on 3CR, and has been for some years. Fleming, using his online pseudonym of Slack Bastard, is one of the key irritants to the UPF, tracking and reporting their movements and arguing that they are best understood as “fascists”.
After an introduction, the video reveals the men inside the 3CR offices talking to a man, understood to be one of 3CR’s programmers. Meanwhile the UFP member holding a camera walks through the building, filming walls of photos, including close-ups of the faces of those involved in the station, as well as the studios. Tense music plays throughout the video. In the Facebook comments, many applaud the UPF’s initiative and suggest other places the group could “visit”, including Moreland City Council, which has an anti-racism banner along its front.
Crikey understands one of the 3CR’s programmers opened the door to the UPF members, who had rung the buzzer. “He didn’t really know who they were, but became pretty suspicious,” station manager Marian McKeown told Crikey. The UPF members told him they were there to do some filming, she says. “He’s on crutches. He’s not physically mobile. So he leans across to open [the] door without looking in [the] peephole. Then there’s five big guys in the building — he doesn’t really feel like in a position to create conflict.”
While this isn’t recorded in their video, 3CR says its own CCTV footage shows the men pocketing one of the photos off a photo board.
Given the UPF’s hostility to 3CR and its activities, which include explicit support for progressive politics and of providing a voice to minority groups who aren’t given a voice elsewhere, McKeown says it’s hard to view the incursion as anything but a “very threatening” and “antagonistic” act.
“I think it is about Slack Bastard, but also what 3CR represents,” she said. “It’s about the kind of voices we give airtime to. They clearly have an agenda that is about intimidating those sections of our community. Refugees, Muslims, any kind of leftist who is going to call out their threatening behaviour.”
The same day, the UPF visited the Melbourne Anarchist Club, where a man immediately told them to leave. Their encounter was also filmed and put on the group’s Facebook page.
The UPF has not targeted many media organisations in the past, with the exception of a June protest outside the ABC in Melbourne during the Zaky Mallah saga that involved the group roasting a pig on a spit.
“What was interesting about [their incursion into 3CR is that it] was an escalation of their activities, and of a willingness to confront those they consider their political enemies on their own soil,” Fleming told Crikey. He notes the group’s main base appears to be in Melbourne, though it has made moves in recent months to expand, including through a picket in Bendigo (or “Bendgio”, as they have it) and a planned trip to Perth later this month.
3CR says it is not telling its programmers to change their behaviour, but is warning them to have a heightened sense of awareness. Police were called about the incident, but McKeown sounds pessimistic about their approach to the situation.
“At the time we contacted police. They told us the United Patriot’s Front hadn’t committed an offence. We’re still getting legal advice — we think it’s debatable. And they stole the photograph.”
Crikey contacted the UPF through their Facebook page. We did not hear back by deadline.
On November 7, Richardson uploaded a propaganda video to the UPF Facebook page about nationalism: he did so while wearing a CFMEU top. On May 31, Richardson also appears to have attended the UPF rally in Richmond, also sporting CFMEU gear.
A man has been charged after making death and rape threats to Yarra Councillor Stephen Jolly and his family.
It comes days after United Patriots Front administrator Neil Erikson’s name was attached to threats on social media to kill the Socialist Party councillor.
In what appears to be a separate incident, a 38-year-old Moe man is alleged to have left messages on the Socialist councillor’s mobile and office phones.
“Hey Stephen Jolly, I’m going to f—ing rape your face,” the man allegedly said in a message left at 4.15am on July 29.
He then used further expletives before hanging up.
Richardson also attended the Reclaim Australia (RA) and UPF rallies in Melbourne and Bendigo and a protest against the ABC in June.
3CR is of course home to hundreds of union and community groups and projects, including the CFMEU show ‘The Concrete Gang’:
Since 1976, The Concrete Gang has been the most cutting and funny source of construction industry news and views.
Raw community radio at its best, The Concrete Gang is most (in)famous for “Scallywag of the Week” where names are named and the gloves come off.
It’s CFMEU radio for construction workers in the tradition of the late and great John Cummins who was a long-term host of the show.
Listen live at 9:30am Sunday mornings on 3CR Community Radio 855AM or get the podcast at 3cr.org.au/concretegang (or search The Concrete Gang on your podcast provider).
I doubt ‘Cummo’ would’ve been impressed to see fascist thugs attacking the station he broadcast on — or to witness one of their comrades making fascist propaganda in construction union clothing.
Finally, note that the UPF has declared itself to be in political solidarity with a range of neo-Nazi and fascist groups and movements in Europe, including the Greek neo-Nazi organisation ‘Golden Dawn’. In May 2014, the CFMEU participated in an anti-fascist rally in Brisbane, called in order to denounce both Golden Dawn and the Australia First Party.
6) Reclaim Australia /// November 22
The UPF has declared that they will be heading to Perth on November 22, the date of the third round of RA rallies. In Melbourne, RA has recently declared that they’ll be protesting in Melton against the construction of a Muslim skool rather than at Parliament House. Counter-protests have been organised at the following locations:
7) Australia First Party ~versus~ Party for Freedom
There’s a ding-dong battle going on in Sydney between Dr Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party (AFP) and Nick Folkes’ Party for Freedom (PFF). The last week has seen the PFF stage a banner drop denouncing Saleam and also, curiously, publish a video which documents Saleam’s attendance at a meeting of neo-Nazis to pay tribute to dead Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi:
Also in attendance at the commemorative meeting was Alex Norwick, a former National Action member, candidate for the AFP (Wyong 2015, Chifley 2013, Deakin 2010) and editor of the party’s newsletter Audacity; it also seems to have attracted notorious neo-Nazi Ross ‘The Skull’ May.
The PFF’s attacks upon the AFP follow similar attacks launched by Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’), who has denounced not only Saleam and the AFP as ‘nazis’ but so too Melbourne-based neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Nationalist Alternative’. Odd behaviour given that Burgess was more than happy — proud, even — to work alongside neo-Nazis like Cottrell and Erikson throughout 2015, and even helped to promote Squadron 88’s anti-Muslim agitation in Penrith.
For his part, Saleam denies any and all association with neo-Nazis and blames the campaign upon local Liberals, engaged in a conspiracy with the PFF and neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Squadron 88’ in order to damage the reputation of the AFP.
Otherwise, while Burgess has left the UPF in the capable hands of Cottrell in Melbourne, in Sydney he’s continued to maintain his years-long commitment to Ralph Cerminara, valour thief and sometime leader of the ‘Australian Defence League’. Burgess and Cerminara both now appear to be aligning themselves with Folkes and the PFF against the AFP — Burgess and Folkes are also talking up the PFF’s historical re-enactment of the December 2005 Cronulla pogrom.
8) Australia & the Fascist Idea of Greater Britain
Evan Smith of the Hatful of History blog has written an interesting account of the British Union of Fascists’ approach to Empire and Australia:
Part of this view of Australia as an integral part of Greater Britain’s trading relations was the country’s perceived promise as a destination for British migrants to take opportunity of the vast space offered and its potential for agricultural and industrial development. This was a widely held view since the early days of the Australian colonies and the BUF reinforced the idea of the British colonial settler as imperial pioneer.
Read the rest at the Imperial & Global Forum here.
On Sunday, five members of the fascist groupuscule the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF) — Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson, Chris Shortis, Linden Watson and one other man — paid a visit to the MelbourneAnarchistClub (MAC) in Northcote and then to community radio station 3CR in Collingwood. Both incidents were filmed by UPF member (and convicted anti-Semite) Erikson, uploaded to the UPF’s Facebook page, and presented as being evidence of the UPF’s ability and willingness to take the fight up to its political opponents; a long list which includes Muslims, anti-racists, and all those who don’t share their paranoias or rejection of multiculturalism.
This bizarre and disturbing behaviour by the UPF confirms their basic fascist character and suggests that, following two relatively large rallies in Bendigo, they’re feeling quite confident and, seemingly, intent on provoking some kind of physical confrontation with ‘the left’ in Melbourne. Certainly, they are very angry and upset that 3CR has the temerity to allow me to occasionally broadcast anti-fascist news and views … but I suspect that, in picking on the community broadcaster, they’ve simply succeeded in antagonising a much broader range of groups and projects.
While 3CR has yet to formally respond to the UPF’s brief occupation, the MAC has called on friends, comrades and supporters to attend an Open Day at the MAC this Sunday, November 8, from midday ’til close. Hopefully, a good number of local anarchists and other anti-fascists will attend.
Having recently junked the UPF (again), Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’) has been attempting to rehabilitate his public image somewhat by angrily denouncing ‘nazis’, which now extends from Blair Cottrell’s mates in Nationalist Alternative to Dr Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party. Joining him in this denunciation is Nick Folkes of the Party for Freedom: the dynamic duo is busy promoting a happy 10th birthday party for The Cronulla Riots. Oddly, while Burgess has suddenly come to the conclusion that Saleam is an horrible nazi, it was only a few months ago (June 28) that his mate Erikson published a video interview with Saleam regarding his analysis of anti-racist and anti-fascist activists (“Dr. Jim Saleam (AFP) Exposes Left Wing Terrorists.”) on the UPF Facebook page.
Which at the time produced not a whimper from ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’.
The ASIO Annual Report for FY2014-15 contains the following relevant extract (pp.9-10):
Communal violence and violent protest
Lawful advocacy, protest and dissent are an inherent part of Australia’s political and social culture. Most protests are peaceful, and there is little public support for the use of violent or destructive protest tactics. During 2014–15 protests in Australia were mostly peaceful. When violence occurred, it was typically not premeditated and it took place between groups with opposing views on emotive issues. Violence was also used against police attempting to maintain order.
There was increased participation in the activities of Australia-based anti-Islam groups; mostly this was online activity but ‘real world’ events attracted increased numbers. The conflict in Syria and Iraq, and widespread mainstream and social media coverage of the conflict—in particular, graphic reports of egregious acts—provided a ready stream of material used by anti-Islam activists as evidence that Islam is not compatible with Australian values or the Australian way of life. Anti-Islam groups whose activities were previously mostly limited to online posts and occasional inflammatory publicity stunts began to attract increased numbers to real-world events, such as the Reclaim Australia rallies and the Stop the Mosque protests. The reporting period saw a number of well-attended, coordinated Australia-wide protests with an overt anti-Islam and anti-immigration message; these protests attracted large numbers of supporters and counter-protesters.
Small-scale violence occurred between opposing protesters at the Reclaim Australia rallies in Melbourne in April 2015. Reclaim Australia rallies will continue to be held throughout the next financial year and, due to their potential for violence, will remain of concern. While anti-Islam numbers increased, there was a concurrent increase in counter-protests on platforms of social inclusion, anti-racism and anti-fascism.
In January 2015, members of Sydney’s Muslim community and their supporters gathered in a peaceful ‘We will not abandon our Prophet’ rally organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, at Sydney’s Lakemba train station. The event was held in response to perceptions of anti-Islam sentiment following the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. While the event was vocal, it passed without major incident.
Environmental issues, refugee and Indigenous advocacy, animal rights and anti-government policy protests attracted the most significant numbers to protests in 2014–15. While some capital city protests on these issues attracted large, vociferous crowds, most concluded without incident and complied with protest preconditions and directions of police.
Reclaim Australia (RA) will be holding a further series of rallies across the country on Sunday, November 22. The UPF has declared that it too will be attending, and acting as the fascist vanguard of RA in Perth.
The rallies will be the subject of counter-protests.