Blair Cottrell Has Lost His Appeal

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.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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.

antifa notes (november 2, 2018) : milo & mcinnes; lads, proud boys & natzis

Update (November 3, 2018) : Nationals ban 22 members for life after investigation into neo-Nazi links, Michael Koziol, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 3, 2018.


Above : On L, alleged killer Robert Bowers announcing his intention to GTKRWN; on R, Brisbane-based neo-Nazi and member of The Lads Society Beau Maverick. Neither man cares greatly for ‘optics’.

* The massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27 was reportedly the worst such event in US history. Unfortunately, given current political trends, that record may not last very long. In any case, Julie Nathan of the ECAJ has written ‘As the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre shows, fears of “White Genocide” are incitement to murder’ (ABC Religion & Ethics, October 29/31, 2018), while CEO Alex Ryvchin reckons ‘Synagogue slayings not a shot in the culture wars’ (October 31, 2018 — for a contrary view, see : Jews Against Fascism).

I may add some more thoughts at a later date, but in the meantime I think it worthwhile highlighting the fact that the rehabilitation of anti-Semitism and its increasing centrality to extreme-right perspectives in the United States is echoed Down Under as an increasingly larger segment of younger right-wing activists not only adopt a fascist outlook but place anti-Semitic conspiracy theories at the heart of their worldview. By way of example, the AltRight media platforms ‘XYZ’ and ‘The Unshackled’ (AKA ‘The Unhinged’ — which, to its credit, has been authorised by Google as a trusted media source) — have drifted over the course of the last year or two from fairly conventional arch-Toryism to an open embrace of white nationalism. Leaving aside David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’), fellow XYZ contributor Ryan Fletcher has accounted for this shift in an essay titled ‘Trading HEMP for Hitler’ (a text which comes highly recommended by editor David Hiscox). Fletcher is also a YUGE fan of James Mason’s Siege — required reading for members of local neo-Nazi grouplet Antipodean Resistance.


Above : Tim Wilms of The Unhinged wearing his Proud Boys ‘Pinochet Did Nothing Wrong’ shirt. Note that the arm reads RWDS (‘Right Wing Death Squad’). Under the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990), tens of thousands of Chileans were raped, tortured, murdered and forced into exile by his death squads. (Coincidentally, this weekend, LASNET has organised a gathering on Autonomy & Resistance at Trades Hall in Melbourne.)

See also : Pittsburgh shooting extends wave of conspiracy-minded rightwing violence, Jason Wilson, The Guardian, October 27, 2018 | George Soros: Why Are Australians Flirting With This American Conspiracy Theory?, Alex Bruce-Smith, 10 Daily, October 31, 2018 | Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe (March 9, 2012).

1) Dan Spiller/Future Now Australia Presents: Milo Yiannopoulos & Ann Coulter

Queensland businessman Dan Spiller (AKA ‘Future Now Australia’ AKA ‘AE Events’) has recently announced the cancellation of the upcoming tour by Infowars-supplements salesman and paedophile apologist Milo Yiannopoulos (accompanied by fellow wealthy blabbermouth Ann Coulter). This is the second time Spiller has tried and failed to organise a tour by ‘foreign radicals’: back in April, Spiller announced that he’d be bringing both Yiannopoulos and ‘Proud Boys’ founder Gavin McInnes to Australia. That effort collapsed in a heap within a few days, but Spiller’s latest production took several months to fall apart … which I suppose could be considered either an improvement or a degeneration (depending on your perspective). In any (non-)event, the decision to cancel the tour has been compounded by Spiller’s decision not to refund buyers but instead offer them tickets to go and see two other ‘foreign radicals’ — Gavin McInnes and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon — when they tour in December.

Fingers crossed, Mr Spiller’s seemingly chronic inability to successfully profit from foreign hate-merchants will not deter him from attempting to do so and being similarly adept in future. The silver lining on this grey cloud of failure, however, is perhaps the new book by Milo, which is apparently All About Australia:


Above : An extract from Yiannopoulos’s upcoming book on Australia. It’s unclear at this stage if Janet Albrechtsen has accepted an invitation to write the foreword.

See also : Milo Yiannopoulos Fans Are Pissed His Aussie Tour Got Cancelled, And It’s Extremely Funny, Tom Clift, Junkee, November 1, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos’ Australian Tour Has Been Cancelled And Fans Want Refunds, Josh Butler, 10 Daily, October 31, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos’ Australian tour cancelled with no refunds, SBS, October 31, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos’ Aussie Tour Has Been Cancelled, Disappointing Dozens, Ben McLeay, pedestriantv, October 31, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos tour cancelled; Gavin McInnes visa debate continues, Kieran’s Review, October 30, 2018.

2) Gavin McInnes & Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’)

Damien Costas, publisher of Penthouse Australia, is planning on bringing Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and ex-BNP member and founder of the English Defence League Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA ‘Andrew McMaster’/’Paul Harris’/’Tommy Robinson’) to Australia in December. As usual, venues will be made public 24 hours prior to the event, but it’s not unreasonable to expect previous venues, including Festival Functions in Findon (Adelaide), Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington/La Mirage in Somerton, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and Le Montage/International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) to again provide a platform for race-hate. The dates for the tour are as follows:

• ADELAIDE : WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5
• PERTH : FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7
• MELBOURNE : TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11
• GOLD COAST : THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13
• SYDNEY : SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16

Of course, the possibility of either McInnes or Yaxley-Lennon being able to enter the country is entirely dependent upon Mr Potato Head’s feels on the subject. On Robinson, and in particular his current legal troubles (which may also see him prevented from coming), see : David Renton and Barrister Blogger.

With regards McInnes, he and his ‘Boys’ have been getting into some bother of late. Just a few weeks ago (Friday, October 12) in New York, McInnes was invited by the Metropolitan Republican Club to celebrate the anniversary of the assassination of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma on this date in 1960. Following the event, some of McInnes’s fanboys went on a bit of a rampage, and some got arrest. An awful lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of the event and its aftermath, but as ever New York City Antifa (Twitter) is an xclnt resource. See also : The Proud Boys, The GOP And ‘The Fascist Creep’, Christopher Mathias, Huffington Post, October 18, 2018 (‘Gavin McInnes spoke at a GOP club, then his followers violently attacked leftist protesters. Modern American fascism finds its foot soldiers’) | NYPD arrests 14 Jewish protesters outside Republican club where Proud Boys brawled, Rex Santus, Vice, October 31, 2018 (‘The protesters outside the Club on Tuesday were there to call on the Republican Party to denounce white nationalism after the Saturday shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 worshippers were murdered by a man who’d shared anti-Semitic and white supremacist comments online.’).

Closer to home, Melbourne lawyer Nyadol Nyuon has launched an online petition, calling on the Minister to deny McInnes a visa. For their part, both Facebook and Instagram appear to have removed a large number of (official and unofficial) Proud Boy accounts from their sites. ‘The crackdown came slightly more than two weeks after members of the group reportedly attacked and beat activists protesting at an event in Manhattan. It also follows the massacre of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue — the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent US history.’ The gab.ai webshite (AKA ‘Twitter for nazis’) is also experiencing technical difficulties at the moment …


Above : Melbourne-based neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell tweets a dank meme about killing socialists. Note that Asanuma’s teenybopper assassin, Otoya Yamaguchi, killed himself a few weeks later.

See also : Australia should be wary of the Proud Boys and their violent, alt-right views, Kaz Ross, The Conversation (ABC), October 30, 2018 | Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes: ‘We Need More Violence from the Trump People’, gritpost, October 18, 2018 | The New Nazis: How the meme-rich world of the internet is a threat in Australia, Kaz Ross, ABC, October 14, 2018.

3) Young Natzionals

The recent revelation that the Young Nationals in NSW have been targeted for infiltration by neo-Nazis and White supremacists created some mild embarrassment for the party over the course of the last few weeks. On Wednesday, it was announced that 15 members of the party — including Thomas Brasher, Michael Heaney, Clifford Jennings and Oscar Tuckfield — had resigned, while something like another 20 have had their membership status questioned, and may yet leave or be forced out of the party. See : Nationals members resign en masse amid investigation into neo-Nazi ties, Michael Koziol, The Age, October 31, 2018 | Young Nationals resign after after ABC investigation reveals alt-right push, Alex Mann, ABC, October 31, 2018.

On Monday the story — the origins of which may be traced back to some reportage in The Australian back in May, but which was given flesh by Alex Mann for the ABC — provoked the following front-page treatment in The Daily Telegraph:

Oddly enough Sharri’s father, Max Markson, has been doing his bit to promote racism and fascism in Australia by way of Penthouse and in his capacity as Milo’s Australian publicist. Sadly, the relationship between Costas and Markson has broken down in the wake of the paedophile apologist’s December 2017 tour: ‘ … Mr Markson called Mr Costas a “lying conman”. Mr Costas, the publisher of Penthouse Australia and owning a company alongside one of Australia’s biggest drug dealers, convicted ice importer Sean Dolman, retaliated by calling Mr Markson “a very naughty boy” who “had his finger in the till”‘ (Private Sydney: Markson sparks up in court in dispute with Penthouse publisher, Andrew Hornery, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2018).

See also : “I’ve had pictures of the Florida school shooter posted on my door”. UTAS’s Dr Kaz Ross says she has had death threats since exposing young Nationals alt-right supporters, On Mornings with Sarah Gillman, ABC, November 1, 2018 | NSW Nats clear key player in Nazi scandal, SBS (AAP), October 31, 2018 | White Nationalists Plan to Infiltrate Mainstream Australian Politics, Paul Gregoire, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, October 22, 2018.

4) The Lads Society

As noted a year ago, the neo-Nazi grouplet ‘The Lads Society’ has a clubhouse in the Melbourne suburb of Cheltenham. The nazis also have a training facility in Sydney, which is located at 34 Thomas Street, Ashfield. The Lads certainly have a sense of humour, with the lease on the property being signed with Colemon Property Group on Hitler’s birthday (April 20).

The chief organiser of ‘The Lads’ in Sydney is a Kiwi called ‘Mark McDonald’. Previously, Mark was the lvl boss of another short-lived neo-Nazi grouplet called ‘Squadron 88’. It attracted some media attention by way of stuffing letterboxes in Jewish areas of Sydney with anti-Semitic tracts. McDonald is also widely-believed to be responsible for the distribution of some racist posters in Sydney in mid-2017. Most recently, McDonald and several other Lads attended Adelaide barrister John Bolton’s batshit rally in Wiley Park:


Above : Partially-obscured, joining Cottrell on the right is Adelaide barrister John Bolton; standing between Cottrell and Tuckfield is Mark McDonald, founder of defunct neo-Nazi grouplet Squadron 88 and current lvl boss of The Lads Society in Sydney.

Finally, ladsleaks has published an interesting discussion drawn from The Lads’ private Facebook page. The list of participants in the discussion reads like a Who’s Who of neo-Nazism Down Under, including both founders Blair Cottrell and Tom Sewell, Mark McDonald (‘Tyler Winchester’) and Stuart Von Moger, David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’), Jim Perren (Australia First Party/’Whitelaw Towers’/United Patriots Front), Welf Herfurth and more. Much of the discussion revolves around The Lads’ shared hatred for Jewish neo-Nazi Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes. Based in Sydney, Sykes was until a few years ago a prolific contributor to the world’s leading neo-Nazi webshite ‘The Daily Stormer’. A member of the Australia First Party, Sykes uses his blog ‘United Nationalists of Australia’ to take aim at the party’s rivals on the right — including, of course, The Lads.

The post which triggered Tom can be read here — I’ll post other commentary from ladsleaks here laters.

5) … of note

Guns, fascism, infighting and couch-surfing: Researcher Serena Tarr recounts a year studying the alt-right, Emma McClatchey, Little Village, October 8, 2018;
Here Is a List of Far-Right Attackers Trump Inspired. Cesar Sayoc Wasn’t the First — and Won’t Be the Last., Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept, October 28, 2018;
We Must Pressure Mainstream Forces to Stop Downplaying the Far Right, Spencer Sunshine, truthout, October 29, 2018;
Three Months Inside Alt-Right New York, Jay Firestone, Commune, Fall 2018 (‘An undercover antifascist descends through all nine circles of the alt-right inferno.’);
Twilight of the Racist Uncles: How Facebook is melting the minds of our elders, Ed Burmila, The Baffler, October 30, 2018;
After Last Week, There’s No Hope That the Media Will Ever Abandon False Equivalencies With the Far Right, Natasha Lennard, The Intercept, October 31, 2018;
Engedaw Berhanu Remembers His Nephew—Brought to Portland, Then Forever Lost, Jason Wilson, Willamette Week, October 31, 2018;
Punching On With Patriots: How To Tackle Gavin McInnes And His Proud Boys’ Promise of Violence In Australia, Tom Tanuki, New Matilda, October 31, 2018.

Neo-Nazi infiltration of the Young Nationals in NSW

Update (October 13, 2018) : The NSW Nationals have issued a ‘Statement Regarding ‘Alt-Right’ Allegations’ | See also : NSW Young Nationals investigate alt-right ‘infiltration’, suspend new memberships, Jennine Khalik, ABC, October 14, 2018 | NSW Young Nationals expel and suspend members over far-right links, Michael McGowan, The Guardian, October 14, 2018 (‘NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro says party may have been ‘easy target’ for far-right figures’).

Briefly:

1) For ABC Radio National’s ‘Background Briefing’, Alex Mann has investigated ‘how Australia’s alt-right movement is covertly influencing mainstream politics’. See : Haircuts and hate: Inside the rise of Australia’s alt-right (October 14, 2018).

2) ‘The White Rose Society’ has d0xxed a number of the neo-Nazis responsible for infiltrating the Young Nationals in NSW. Future publications will provide further details of those involved, as well as their connections to other neo-Nazi associations, such as Antipodean Resistance and The Lads Society. See : NSW Young Nationals stacked by Clifford Jennings and Neo-Nazis (October 11, 2018).

3) Those neo-Nazis so far named as being responsible for the infiltration of the Young Nationals in NSW are:


Top (L to R) : Clifford Jennings; Nicholas Walker (AKA ‘Niklaus Velker’); Oscar Tuckfield (AKA ‘Oscar Tuckers’ & ‘Oscar Tucker’); Stuart Churchill (AKA ‘Stuart Durand’); Thomas Brasher (AKA ‘Thomas Hopper’).
Bottom : Justin Beulah; Lisa Sandford.

4) Kieren Bennett provides some further context in Radio National investigation reveals neo-Nazi infiltration of the Young Nationals (October 11, 2018).

5) The Australian Jewish Democratic Society has published a statement demanding ‘No more Nazis in the Young Nationals’ (October 11, 2018).