PREVENT or: Why the United Kingdom Never Acknowledges Anti-fa
You can prove that the United Kingdom government ignores the problems created by Anti-fa by looking at the PREVENT policy.
But to fully understand the extent of the hypocrisy at play here, it helps if you take the time to understand the intricacies laid out for the PREVENT policy in the first place. By looking at how much work, time, and energy went into developing this whole convoluted thing.
As a side-note let me make it clear it says on TellMAMA’s website that they aren’t a project under the umbrella of PREVENT. But if you recall the TellMAMA report mentioned a few pages back, there was a point where an account by the name of @gasmuslims came into the organization’s cross-hairs.
We can use that as an example of the UK government’s human centipede system of policy. Where the civil society NGOs like TellMAMA submit a report (page 6), the UK government includes it in an official paper they release (page 16), and then TellMAMA holds that up as proof of their own legitimacy (page 71/72).
It’s the best way for the government to make it look like its doing something, but without accomplishing anything of significant progress at all. The paperwork equivalent of running in place. More to the point, just because the TellMAMA program isn’t a PREVENT policy, it can still be true that people within TellMAMA have worked or influenced PREVENT policy shaping in some way.
But that’s only a part of the puzzle. The reason this section is being written is because the UK authorities make it obvious they’re intentionally ignoring Anti-fa groups.
This quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn should serve to set the stage in terms of what the United Kingdom government is trying to do here.
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”
The central factor dictating the direction of the United Kingdom is their response to terrorism. The PREVENT policy at the center of it all was a reactionary measure based on the July 7th 2005 bombings. That tragedy helped establish the pattern of changes put in place in response to public incidents of that nature.
So the government wants to stop extremism. The PREVENT policy implies all forms of extremism are the same. In doing so they have a tendency to conflate one side criticizing the extremism of the other side as extremism in itself. It also implies that everyone was convicted of terrorism is violent, despite the fact the laws are broad enough to arrest people for indirectly encouraging terrorism or possessing information about it. It’s this obsession on intervening before crimes happen and how it’s necessary to do so that creates this criminalisation territory of thought. This focus on “pre-crime” is in reality an attack on non-criminal activity that gives the government powers to go after perfectly legal religious and political beliefs.
To get a sense of how the focus was at the outset as far as funding is concerned, page 104 of the very lengthy PREVENT document has a chart about it. Out of the £24 million for PREVENT policing in the 2010-2011 period:
But what you can learn from this is the different pieces parts involved. A basic foundation to work off of. It’s all done under the guise of what’s NECESSARY AND PROPORTIONATE according to the government suits pushing PREVENT.
The first iteration of PREVENT that came out between 2007 and 2011 focused on the British Muslim communities exclusively. They used the available demographic data they had for Muslim populations back then as a program funding guide. It didn’t work out too good. There were accusations tossed around about unfair targeting from Muslim communities in response.
This article from the Financial Times back in February 2010 helps us understand what things were like back then:
“Prevent has caused merry hell. Although ministers insist that it is aimed at “violent extremism in all its forms” – from anti-Semitism to militant animal rights – Prevent labours under the fact that violent extremism in one form, Islamic-inspired terrorism, threatens the UK like no other. As a result, the funding is often allocated according to how many Muslims live in an area, targeting that has alienated the very people the government is trying to reach. In the past year, Prevent has been called a spying operation, a state attempt to concoct a new “British Islam”, and a waste of money and/or a source of funds for the kind of extremist groups it should be stamping out. It has been condemned by think-tanks on the left and the right, in newspapers from The Guardian to the Mail on Sunday. “You can’t win either way,” admits Shahid Malik, the minister who runs Prevent programmes at the Department for Communities and Local Government. “You get the critics of Prevent who say it is too soft and it doesn’t really do what it says on the tin. Then you get the people who are the subjects of Prevent in many ways – Muslims – who say it criminalises and stigmatises the whole community.””
This is a good section to point out as it shows the crossroads the PREVENT program was at. A state of indecision that necessitated the changes and overhaul it would receive the following year.
The second iteration of PREVENT that arrived in June 2011 was a huge leap forward from its predecessor. Let’s tie things back to an earlier place in this essay. Remember Shahid Malik? The co-chair for TellMAMA nowadays? He was involved with the first PREVENT during his time in public office, because the DCLG played a part. That wasn’t the case anymore with the arrival of PREVENT 2.0. Control became much more centralized to the Home Office’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism.
What’s key here is their “PREVENT will go after all forms of terrorism” mantra. Now that the policy makers had been woke to identity politics, they worked that in the guidelines this time around. The result being a statement declaring they’ll still dedicate their resources and attention to al-Qaeda because they’re the biggest threat to the world right now.
“We remain absolutely committed to protecting freedom of speech in this country. But preventing terrorism will mean challenging extremist (and non-violent) ideas that are also part of a terrorist ideology. Prevent will also mean intervening to stop people moving from extremist groups or from extremism into terrorist-related activity.”
As mentioned earlier on, this demonstrates the general government mentality on the topic. It doesn’t seem restricted to just PREVENT alone.
As seen in this article from the Daily Signal, we can get a basic idea of the referral process when it comes to the school system. A teacher makes a “safeguard lead” aware of a concern, leading to a multi-agency team (made up of social services, law enforcement, health care) reviewing the case and determining the necessary services to provide the student in question. If the case is determined to involve “extremism,” that team refers the incident to the CHANNEL panel (made up of local leaders in government, mental health, policing, probation). That panel determines the person’s “susceptibility to radicalization” and intervenes if its serious enough.
This “all forms of terrorism” slogan leaves the door open to allowing a change to the threats focused on. This opened the door in government policies for the introduction and development of the far-right hysteria you see happening today.
What problem is that? Well for starters if you take a look at the UK government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy on page 10, you’ll find the definition of extremism listed there in black and white.
“Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.”
As mentioned in the introduction section, that broad definition allows for wide interpretations that are too open to personal beliefs. David Cameron expressed his worries about the definition of extremism in May 2016. Not because of personal beliefs. But because of the legality implications therein to a definition such as this. It’s this sort of thing that’s got both sides of the political discourse in today’s society thinking the other one are full of criminals.
Despite the flaws, there’s examples of PREVENT getting the intended results. Such as the case of a 14-year-old West Yorkshire boy who was deprogrammed of “far-right extremism” after he started speaking out against Muslims in school. Reportedly he got his world views from his father, as he had been separated from his mother on the day-to-day. Now, what did the boy say exactly? He alleged “Muslims were taking over the country” and had strong opinions on what Muslims should or shouldn’t wear. The lad was brought into CHANNEL and authorities offered intervention for his political views. It led to him being introduced to a Muslim imam who took him to different Yorkshire mosques to meet Muslims in the community. The youngster even started volunteer work on a multi-faith project with other “diverse” folk.
Agree or disagree with PREVENT, at the end of the day this 14-year-old is at least less bitter at the world. But this sort of thing has *no place whatsoever* being within the same system as one that causes a student to get sent to the office for making an ISIS joke in a video he made with friends (see pg 42 of this July 2017 report). That’s the detriment to the catch-all approach the UK government practices with all this. It’s dangerously irresponsible.
The PREVENT program is going as far as to in some cases having mental health trusts subjecting their patients to radicalization screenings. A 60-page analysis published by Warwick University goes into great detail on how PREVENT is working in the NHS. The definition of “working” in this sense meaning how well (or not well) the government’s policy is functioning in reality. The study gives examples like a patient being referred to PREVENT for simply watching Arabic TV. Another guy came into the hospital with burned hands, didn’t want to explain how or why it happened, and ended up getting referred to police because they thought he was making bombs. It’s an interesting look into what happens when you mandate a country’s healthcare system report signs of radicalization.
In 2015, civil society groups that PREVENT supported ran 130 projects, and reached over 25,000 people with their efforts.
A July 2015 article from the Independent on PREVENT has a quote from CAGE spokesperson Ibrahim Mohamoud, voicing the reason for opposition of this policy in the Muslim community:
“The Prevent strategy has no peer-reviewed evidentiary basis, showing a link between violence and ideology… The Prevent policy has facilitated an atmosphere in which Muslims are incriminated within a pre-crime space for nothing more than holding opinions that run contrary to those take by government. This increases the likelihood of disenfranchisement as opposed to countering it.”
It tears at the bonds of trust communities have with each other, in return for an increased dependency on the government for guidance. The parental guidance and intuition when a child’s individual curiosity strays too far, is replaced with a standardized cold-hard list of blanket indicators of extremism.
By March 2016 folks like Dr Rizwaan Sabir were saying that PREVENT becoming law was leading to a “safeguarding bubble which encompasses universities, colleges, schools and communities.” That legal duty to prevent people from being radicalized that universities had under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 was “leading to disengagement, systematic spreading of fear and the closing down of expression and debate.”
TELLMAMAUK comes into the picture because of the close relationship between third-party “civil society” organizations and UK governmental bodies.
It’s worth explaining Fiyaz Mughal’s stance on PREVENT in particular, as it seems he contradicts himself. This was laid out originally in a blog from 5pillars. The written evidence submitted by Faith Matters to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s Countering Extremism inquiry on March 8th 2016 is a base we can work from. At a glance it hits all the right politically correct notes of arguing the disproportionate focus on the Muslim community the Counter Extremism strategy has.
To be fair I have to say me and Fiyaz are in somewhat of an agreement here:
“The Home Office has a disproportionate power in defining ‘extremism’ and has done so without sufficient consultation of a wide range of actors in the Muslim community. As the implementation of the policy stands today, there is a risk that the current strategy might define key partners as potential ‘extremists’ due to their political stances.”
Interestingly enough Faith Matters even includes a section on The Counter-Extremism Strategy lacks a clear understanding of far-right extremism. Again, on that statement alone we’re in agreement. The dilemma arrives when Faith Matters takes the exact opposite angle from mine when explaining further. And since there’s absolutely zero consideration for Antifa radicals in Faith Matters presented evidence here, I’d wager my argument would trump theirs in terms of understanding the whole political picture.
Speaking of Faith Matters, they authored “Implementing Prevent: from a community-led to a Government-centred approach,” in a consultation report for London Assembly and MOPAC.
Back in February 2015, the Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan did an article pointing out the habitual entryism being practiced by Baroness Warsi as she handed out official posts to people with ties to Islamic groups. This “cross-Government working group on anti-Muslim hatred” these people were involved in had Fiyaz Mughal on board. But he told The Telegraph he jumped ship. “I was deeply concerned about the kinds of groups some of the members had connections with, and some of the groups they were recommending be brought into government,” he said. “It seemed to me to be a form of entryism, by people with no track record in delivering projects.”
5pillars explains that in doing so, Fiyaz was showing his loyalty to PREVENT’s “counter-entryism” stances at work in their counter-extremism strategy.
The 5pillars blog points out Fiyaz Mughal’s statement from a March 3rd 2016 event on Tackling Extremism held by Westminster Briefing.
“Prevent’ is becoming more problematic especially in the Muslim community – they consider it intrusive in their daily lives – particularly with the new Government duty to report. I disagree – the environment is more complex, but I do think Prevent as a brand has become damaged.”
From this we can ascribe the mindset of Fiyaz Mughal and PREVENT. To him it’s not about the values, but the perceptions. I’m going to take this idea presented by 5pillars and add an additional layer of observational evidence to take into account. TellMAMA’s staff and advisory board.
Neil Chakraborti is a Professor of Criminology and the head of that department over at University of Leicester. He serves as an advisory board member of TellMAMA on top of that. If you wanted to get his thoughts at a glance? “Islamophobic reactions intensify the processes of fear, hostility & othering that give rise to acts of hate,” Neil said on Twitter in a retweet of a TELLMAMA post.
It really says it all right there. But I should be fair and provide more context about Neil instead of handpicking quotes willy-nilly. Here’s an assortment of tweets from him that give you a fuller picture. He has rubbed elbows with people like Baroness Warsi, spoke on hate crime and transphobia in a House of Commons inquiry, and all-in-all the most important aspect of this Neil dude is that as a criminologist he’s one of the influencing forces on the UK police when it comes to their hate crime strategies. His research is an example of what the UK government relies on.
An inhabitant of the academia world. His position is what leads him to run into PREVENT officers like Will Baldet on a regular basis. Their part of the world has Will and Neil bouncing ideas off of each other when it comes to the issues of today.
You’re probably like “that’s anti-climatic.” Well in Neil’s case that’s the world of academia. It’s a long-haul process that doesn’t directly cause a change. But by the case of their routine habits over time some influence of thoughts and ideas is bound to rub off on either of them.
However there’s a good case that uses the exact opposite approach. Bharath Ganesh. You might remember him from the December 2016 MEND incident back on Fiyaz Mughal’s page. From his tweets we can see this is indeed, him. Again I’ll provide my notes as a courtesy. Don’t want to take this dude out of context. He makes infographics for TellMAMA. Bharath also gets mad if you steal them.
Gotta admit. It takes balls of steel to think PREVENT is worth recommending to the Department of Homeland Security. I mentioned a consultation report for London Assembly about PREVENT authored by Faith Matters. Bharath is the guy that wrote that.
Bottom line is Bharath is a PREVENT critic. At odds with what it is. Much more direct in his extremism discourse with people (look at this banter). But Bharath is more of a civil society circle type of guy and not a full-on academic sort. That means hanging around with George Soros and the Open Society types for insight. Doesn’t mind going for media appearances on behalf of TellMAMA, or jumping in and writing an article with his two cents on things like the far right.
So in the end here we have two very different people, in two different social circles, making contributions to the same government policies. The point in this exercise is two-fold. On one level it’s a display of the influence TellMAMA and Fiyaz Mughal have over PREVENT.
But on the other hand it shows the intellectual hegemony of Leftists in these fields. Do you think right-wingers get their hands as involved along these sorts of issues? Somewhat, maybe. But at the end of the day you can get an idea of where the political heirarchy for this sort of thing is rooted from.
That’s one way that PREVENT proves that the UK government isn’t dealing with Anti-fa. But there’s more.
On May 24th 2016 it was reported even the police lead of the government’s PREVENT program thought the authorities were at risk of things a step too far. Britain’s bill would have broadened the legislation against people considered “extremists” even if they didn’t advocate for terrorism. The non-violent folks. “Unless you can define what extremism is very clearly then it’s going to be really challenging to enforce,” Simon Cole said. Many senior police officers opposed the direction the government wanted to go. This counter-extremism bill allowed bans on extremist organizations, gagging individuals, and the ability for local councils to shut down areas they believed were being used to promote hatred. “We don’t want to be the thought police, we absolutely don’t want to be the thought police.” The battle was entering the territory of what people could or could not say.
By July 2016, a year after schools were given a legal duty to prevent students from being drawn into non-violent extremism, it was reported that teachers were making one-third of all referrals to PREVENT. “We have uncovered a number of instances where children have been referred to Prevent for legitimately exercising their right to freedom of expression in situations where they pose no threat to society whatsoever,” said Yasmine Ahmed of Rights Watch (UK).
The absolute best example in demonstrating the opposition to the PREVENT program came around in September 2016. More than 140 experts came together to oppose the UK’s anti-radicalization strategy in an open letter. Their key complaint was the psychological evidence the strategy’s tools deploy at their foundation weren’t properly given the chance to be scrutinized by other scientists and the public. They said it was concerning that this flawed “Extremism Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+) framework” used for assessing the “radicalization” of someone was being used by more than 500,000 workers in the public sector. This letter was the byproduct of a deep dive analysis of PREVENT done by CAGE titled “The ‘Science’ of Pre-Crime – The Secret ‘Radicalisation’ Study Underpinning Prevent.” They put forward the argument that a policy as publicly involved as PREVENT shouldn’t be based on scientific studies that are kept confidential.
Two-thirds of cases of the 7631 PREVENT referrals for the 2015-2016 period were in regards to Islamist extremism. On the other hand, only 10% was due to right-wing extremism concerns. 33% of referrals were made by schools and university staff, as spurred on by the legal duties of the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act. There was a noticeable shift in direction at this point towards “safeguarding” against ideologies in general going on.
Let’s see how PREVENT responded to an event like the Trojan Horse Affair (from page 12/13 of “What the Prevent duty means for schools and colleges in England,” July 2017):
“The so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ affair – prompted two inquiries, by the Department for Education and Birmingham City Council. The DfE’s report, written by ex-Counter-Terrorism Police chief Peter Clarke, concluded that, whilst no evidence of support for violent extremism was found, extremism (by Prevent’s own definition) was being encouraged in some of the schools. This report prompted then Education Secretary Michael Gove to instruct the educational inspectorate, Ofsted, to prioritise Prevent implementation, particularly through the promotion of ‘fundamental British values’, within their revised Common Inspection Framework and in their inspections of maintained schools and colleges.”
Rob Faure Walker (secondary teacher in London since 2005, PhD student at UCL Institute of Education) wrote an essay demonstrating the heart of the problem with PREVENT.
“Acceptance of the new meaning from the more recent 2011 Strategy, that radicalisation leads to the support of violence, cuts off the avenues by which peaceful political reform might be achieved. This presents subjects of the strategy with a choice. If they value peace over political change this may result in the suppression of discourse that is in opposition to the Government.”
More recently he wrote a short piece about the usage of the word “radicalisation.” According to him, it’s a booming phrase. And that’s part of the problem. He saw it used as an ever-close explanation as to the Florida shooting. The marriage of “terrorism” to “radicalization” is brought full circle. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the term “radicalization” was naught found much anywhere. Yet that pivotal event in modern history is what brought us to today’s saturation point of the war on “extremism.” By using such a blanket phrase for a heavy extent of description lingo, we’re forcing ourselves into a faux conclusion based on preconceived notions of reality based on that.
“PREVENT is a strategy that reveals an aspiration to a politics of consent. By casting radical or extreme views as pathologically violent, it presumes that its own stance is unassailable,” says Walker.
Today PREVENT it really at a crossroads.
By the end of November 2017, murmurs of “CONTEST 3.0” began to surface. Security minister Ben Wallace gave a speech at the Westminister Counter-terrorism Conference laying out the reality of the modern age. “Nearly 600 investigative leads are ongoing, covering about 3,000 people and approximately another 20,000 people who we have at some stage had concern about. It is not a spike in the threat, but a shift that we are now facing, and that is something we all have to deal with.”
Patrick McGuinness (UK Deputy National Security Adviser) said all terrorists need are the “internet and a mindset” to unleash havoc on the world. Mark Rowley expounded on that thought. “Our ability to prevent dangerous people killing on the streets of the UK or anywhere else in the world will always be critically urgent, but the most important thing we can all focus on to change the picture in the long-term is the preventative agenda, to counter the ideology to stop the next generation of terrorists.”
But in the end there really is a failure to fully launch something that satisfies these communities. Critics of PREVENT ended up going off the beaten path and making their own anti-radicalization alternative. The Muslim Council of Britain teamed up with former senior Muslim police officer Dal Babu and former council head of community safety Mike Howes to get things into motion. Their alternative is called Safe and Secure. It really comes down to a difference in branding, as Safe and Secure basically does the same sort of thing PREVENT was doing. They offered the program to the Home Office but were essentially rejected by them.
Babu’s thoughts on it are very enlightening (bold emphasis added by me):
“We want to make this more about safeguarding than focus just on radicalisation. One of the biggest challenges is if you put ‘toxic brand’ into Google, the first thing that comes up is the government’s Prevent strategy. It’s about how you engage with a community in a way that is much more inclusive. They [the architects of Prevent] didn’t get any buy-in from the community.”
The school of thought behind this strategy is called “pre-crime.”
In August 2017 the police lead for PREVENT, Simon Cole, revealed that the government and police were having talks about making people’s participation in the deradicalization program mandatory. This should not be confused with the legal obligation introduced to the program back in 2015, that made *reporting* PREVENT cases where observed a requirement for public sector employees. Here, rather, the factor of someone’s participation in going through PREVENT process was the focus.
This is what Cole had to say on that.
“It is a healthy and legitimate discussion. At what point do you allow and involve compulsion? If you want to divert someone, you are better doing it with their wholehearted consent. What do you do with returners [from Syria]? Should they automatically have to go on a programme? There might be some categories of people for whom there is some compulsion, and that needs linking into risk. It is a debate that is ongoing, and I don’t think there is an easy answer to it.”
You can see the pro-government bias in how one of PREVENT’s leads writes about it in the Huffington Post. In an article from November 2017, this PREVENT guy mentions how PREVENT referrals (7631) is only a small section of safeguarding overall (621,470). Within such contexts, he’s able to reframe the issue of PREVENT referrals as only being 0.014% of children in UK schools (1.21% in regards to comparisons of total referrals for safeguarding overall). The PREVENT lead takes issue with the “Only 5% of people referred to Prevent extremism scheme get specialist help” tweet he saw a national newspaper send out. And yes, the author of the article has a decent argument to make about the programs successes. But this does not take away from the impact it has on the detriment to speaking freely within the public space without fear of consequences. This is an argument where both good and bad things exist.
“Online terrorist material is completely unacceptable. #UK works hard to ensure content is removed,” tweeted UK Against Daesh.
“Only removing online content not effective, says Gabriella Cseh of @facebook. It must be paired w/credible #counterspeech,” tweeted OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
It’s too blurry of a line between what’s considered extremist and what’s considered terrorism. It results in the two distinctly separate areas mixing together and creating an all-encompassing grey area the UK government seeks to tackle all together.
That’s what creates the ingredients for the UK police state. Within that speech from the National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing Mark Rowley, you will notice that far left radical Anti-fa extremism is not mentioned at all. I find it surprising that a man as knowledgeable on Tommy Robinson, Britain First, MEND, and the vast swath of Islamic groups is incapable of acknowledging a sophisticated radicalized entity like Anti-fa. It goes against the spirit of “tackling all kinds of extremism” as the UK government promised. Especially troublesome that such a thing is overlooked by a senior police officer like Mark Rowley.
Moreover, far left radical Anti-fa extremism is overlooked in the counter-extremism policies and guidelines set out by the United Kingdom altogether.
Let’s fix that.
One of the most problematic discoveries I have made in the past two months is the complete lack of focus UK government policy places on far-left radical Antifa extremism. It’s something that the FBI and Homeland Security made a note of in September 2017, weeks following the aftermath of the clashes at Charlottesville. The federal authorities made it clear that Antifa leftist groups reached confrontational and dangerous limits. Based on the evidence presented, a strong enough argument was made in the media about Antifa being equal to neo-Nazis. With that level of national recognition, precedent should have been set for the United Kingdom to follow.
Tommy Robinson, Lucy Brown, and George were attacked on March 10th 2018 by Antifa thugs while reporting on their conference that was going on at the time. Police were called. They decided to not take any further action because there was no means of knowing who the Antifa assailants were.
For those of you who scoff at Tommy Robinson and think he was “asking for it” or something, don’t worry there’s plenty more examples of Antifa violence. “AntiFa attacks wheelchair bound veteran,” “ANTIFA Mob Attacks Yaron Brook & Sargon of Akkad,” “Antifa Attack German Women For Protesting Rape,” “ANTIFA Fascists attack police at Georgia Tech riots,” “Antifa attacks right-winger at London protests,” and “Antifa Group Attack Police and Businesses In Hamilton, Ontario,” to name a few.
With the above examples at hand, a pattern of Anti-fa’s militant style of behavior is exhibited. These aren’t one-off isolated situations. Violence is an overall preferred method of action by the Anti-fa group. Also, members actively avoid talking to the police and abhor being photographed.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager the same tactics will be used by Anti-fa at the May 6th Day for Freedom event.
This is a problem prevalent throughout the four corners of Britain. Here’s a list of Antifa groups within the United Kingdom: Anti Fascist Network (Facebook, Twitter), North London Antifascists (Twitter), London Antifascists (Facebook, Twitter), South London Antifascists (Facebook, Twitter), Brighton Antifascists (Facebook, Twitter), Portsmouth Antifascists (Facebook, Twitter), South Wales Anti Fascists (Facebook, Twitter), Essex Antifascists (Facebook, Twitter), North East Antifascists, Leeds Anti-fascist Network (Facebook, Twitter), Liverpool Antifascists, Sheffield AFN (Facebook, Twitter), Berkshire Antifascists (Facebook, Twitter), 3 Counties Antifascist Alliance, Southampton Antifascists (Facebook), StopMFE.
I would call that adequate enough proof that Antifa within the country are an organized force. (Not many of the WordPress sites are kept up to date, but many of their social media accounts are).
It begs the question of where this Anti-fa organization came from in the first place. There’s a few ways of interpreting this question. But in the case of the United Kingdom? If you wanted a series of events to point to, the answer would have to be the rise of Tommy Robinson and the EDL caused it. In the same sense that the EDL was a reactionary organization in response to Islamist extremism, the establishment of Anti-fa could be attributed as a response to the EDL.
At least when it comes to the United Against Fascism Twitter account, that’s what it was. It popped up in November 2012 and in the next couple of years it was regularly coordinating counter-protests against EDL folks. A response to a response. It just so happens that the response included a strong backing from the Amnesty International UK NGO. Not just back then, either. Kristyan checked back in to see how things were doing more recently, in 2017.
Yup. Sure is a coincidence that the Crisis & Tactical Campaigns Manager for Amnesty International UK is also an Antifa fan.
It’s due to NGO connections like Amnesty that we can begin to understand Antifa’s interests in Generation Identity. The way UK groups like Hope not Hate phrase their description of the 2017 Mediterranean Defend Europe mission is deceptive.
They say (with bold emphasis mine to point out the bullshit):
“In the summer of 2017 leading Identitarians from across Europe came together to launch Defend Europe, a mission to hamper the work of NGOs saving the lives of refugees crossing the Mediterranean.”
No. Generation Identity did not set out to sea in hopes of getting in the way of NGOs “saving lives” in the Mediterranean. Unlike Hope not Hate who self-reference their own spew on this, I’ll actually link you to a tweet showing the Open Arms “rescue boat” one mile off the coast of Libyan waters. As I’m sure Hope not Hate remembers but just conveniently forgot for the sake of their article, Generation Identity made it clear they were concerned about the human trafficking of refugees that was happening on a routine schedule. Like a taxi service.
If you don’t believe me, hear it from the Defend Europe folks themselves. They were transparent as glass when it comes to their intentions.
But nah. Hope not Hate just calling Generation Identity a bunch of refugee killers is so much better. Not.
Let’s continue exploring the distorted reality of Hope not Hate’s description of events (bold emphasis added by me):
“Due to the work of HOPE not hate and others, the mission was dogged by setbacks and mishaps and ultimately failed in terms of its original stated objectives. However, it did serve to raise the profile of Generation Identity which it has subsequently used to expand further across Europe.”
Again, that’s one hell of a stretch when it comes to what happened (the migrant departure numbers between 2016 and 2017 beg to differ). However, yes it’s true that the mission suffered setbacks by Hope not Hate. The case just happened to be they were absolutely terrible at the art of sabotage. They tried blockading the ship from entering Catania. That failed miserably as you can see here in this video from Brittany Pettibone. Then there was the attempt to have authorities arrest/intimidate the crew. That didn’t fly so good (but it didn’t stop Hope not Hate’s Nick Lowles from e-jerking himself off in celebration). The “lobbying” by Hope not Hate to take money away from Lauren Southern wasn’t successful long-term. She just switched to a different site and continued on her merry way, unhindered.
Feels like I’m missing something else though. Hmmm. Oh. Yes. Hope not Hate helped get the C-STAR barred from docking anywhere in the European Union, leaving it adrift on the Mediterranean Ocean. Nick Lowles and Joe Mulhall were aiming for the Defend Europe crew to die out in the middle of the sea. As in actually kill people. Not just in the hysterical sense they themselves were insinuating Defend Europe of in the case of refugees.
Thankfully by some miracle, someone was able to contact the Maltese patriots sympathetic to Generation Identity’s cause and arrange a rescue. That was a good day. The only good that did was open my eyes to the people who were truly the evil ones. You can hear all about it in the analysis video I did with Brittany Pettibone on the subject. I have to thank Hope not Hate for convincing me to sign myself up to the right side of this political fight going on in the world. Its been fun.
That backstory helps give some context of recent goings-on in the UK. I recommend reading what Hope not Hate says in that section, though. As some excessive stalking of Sellner on their part happened when he came to give a speech.
The Independent’s article on the anti-fa counter-protest of the #120dB (here’s some actual background info for those who’d like to see it) and Generation Identity conference couldn’t even get as far as the title right. It mislabels Generation Identity as “white supremacists,” which conflicts directly with the whole Identitarian aspect of their group. Supremacy would mean Generation Identity advocated for the dominance of the white race. They do not. Identitarianism advocates for maintaining the integrity and distinction of one’s own European heritage. But this article spins that Generation Identity is a “new breed” of white supremacy that knows how to best utilize the internet and social media to recruit young people. Furthermore the article is also inaccurate in saying the 2017 Defend Europe mission was abandoned after Patreon cancelled Martin Sellner’s and Lauren Southern’s accounts. The mission went on as intended in spite of that setback.
Martin Sellner of Generation Identity Austria, and Bódi Ábel of Generation Identity Hungary, got refused entry into the UK for the weekend conference. They did it on the grounds both of them were members of the “extremist far-right group Generation Identity.”
In the interview with the border force authorities, Bódi Ábel outright says to them the location of the conference was kept secret to prevent Antifa problems.
But let’s zero in on something said in Martin’s case.
“You also had in your possession a number of items which indicate your affiliation to extreme far right wing activity.”
Sellner shares exactly what those items were: The Strange Death of Europe by Douglass Murray, Martin’s speech, a Book about Heidegger, a Phalanx Europa Shirt (a clothing brand that Martin himself owns and runs), and a Weekend Offender shirt. Despite sending Bódi back home immediately, Sellner was detained for two days. From the 13th to the 15th. He was under the impression it wasn’t permanent the first time he got detained with Brittany Pettibone. That confusion was certainly cleared up the second time around.
The irony of it all being Martin’s speech was on the topic of “Is The UK A Totalitarian State?”
On the day I intend to launch this damn essay, even, the UK is detaining people because of their affiliation to Generation Identity. As far as I know, Tore Rasmussen made this one speech and is the guy who makes shirts.
Do replies like “why don’t you go back to where you came from? we don’t want your kind here,” seem tolerant to you?
“GENERATION IDENTITY IS RACIST AND EXTREME,” Hope not Hate says.
Oh? Let’s look Hope not Hate’s own side of the aisle, Anti-fa.
Also the Anti-Fascist Network group that the Independent was propping up as the supposed good guys here were playing “spot-the-fascist bingo” all the meanwhile. Using real people as their targets and inviting the public to dox them. Well. Anti-Fascist Network certainly sound like a group of real saints. Not. I’ll make it clear for the slow people who hold UK government jobs that might be reading this. The Anti-Fascist Network is encouraging acts of violence.
To that effect we’ll go over how the events of the day played out. We’ll get started telling Lucy Brown’s recollection of events from that weekend shortly.
It’ll be right below this picture of an anti-fa thug ripping Lucy’s hair out.
The title of Lucy’s post is “I Don’t Want To Fight You.”
She starts off by telling us an Antifa member attacked her in the car park of M&S in Sevenoaks. this isn’t the first Antifa have attacked her in a car park, either. Lucy says she pities her attacker. They’re someone who made an active effort to harass her online. Something that Brown was able to easily brush off and ignore. But when they do come across one of this Antifa person’s posts, she says it seems reflective of a damaged woman dealing with a “horrible and dark” anger. An extremist who has her unstable tendencies fed by being within this Antifa group and getting a sense of belonging out of it. Before the encounter, Lucy was attempting to separate two girls from opposing sides who were fighting each other. Then, Brown found herself on the receiving side of physical pain after this Antifa member grabbed her hair, pulled her to the ground, and eventually ripping out two sizable chunks of Lucy’s hair. This is very distressing on Lucy. She tells us that she patrolled around the general area afterwards. Screaming at a mom who brought her kid to the event, and then shouting back at children and middle class girls who called Lucy a “traitor to women.”
This physical violence was allowed to happen because Hope not Hate broadcasted the location of the Generation Identity conference. Generation Identity kept it a secret because they are nonviolent and wanted to avoid confrontation.
Here’s video of the event getting attacked by Antifa. In particular, here’s a picture of a guy bleeding because someone attacked him with a glass bottle. Police were called and someone was arrested. Hope not Hate made that happen. If you want another video perspective of the event, just to be sure, here you go.
And that was just Saturday. There was the #120dB event at Speaker’s Corner the next day, too. Lucy says she maintained her optimism on opening a dialogue with Antifa, offering to do so on multiple occasions across the police line that was set up. Antifa responded by shouting mocking Lucy’s looks and obscenities at her. The police had to protect Freya has she gave her speech, as the Antifa presence created a volatile environment.
Lucy was accused of being a white supremacist, with the proof being “on her website.” Problem with that is Lucy’s website is just her photography. When she mentioned to Antifa about one of their people ripped some of her hair out, they applauded that. There were some good moments though. A few people who didn’t have their faces covered in masks approached Lucy and genuinely asked her questions. A redhead girl from the opposition gave Lucy her speech and other reading material, inviting her to write a rebuttal back at some point. A man mentioned Antifa passing around Lucy’s image on Facebook and making her a target, willing to admit that it was unfair for them to do that on the presumption being entirely based on the fact she’s hanging around Tommy Robinson.
Lucy’s post closes as follows:
“Of course, it goes without saying that no ‘feminist’ outlet or journalist has been in touch with me. Why would they? I’m not a woman, I’m a racist. What good would it be to humanise me? I’m the enemy. I deserve everything I get, because I put myself here. I film the wrong content, I listen to the wrong podcasts, I read the wrong articles and agree with the wrong ideas. I handed over my right to physical safety when I picked up my camera and filmed the LD50 protest. Any attempt on my part to make light of the situation has been met with frenzied vitriol and justification for horrible things to happen to me. I was, and still am, in a lot of pain, so I suppose in this instance Antifa won. Feel free to congratulate yourselves. I wish I had something funny or edgy to end on but I don’t. I just wish this wasn’t the way things are.”
If you don’t think Lucy Brown’s post on her experiences with Antifa don’t demonstrate the radicalization and extremism, you’re blind.
The wonderful advantage to Lucy Brown being a photographer is she provides ample proof she was there.
The political issue at hand in of itself is interpretations of feminism and women’s empowerment. Freya of Generation Identity spoke out against the mass migration flows pouring into Europe, and how they caused an increase of sexual violence against the women native populations of countries. The Anti-Fascist Network actively protested this stance and targeted the group online and offline. “Generation Identity = bunch of rabid anti-feminist white supremacists pretending to give a shit about womens rights,” they said.
Now one of the places that stood out to me when looking into Antifa’s social media posts from that weekend in April, was a place called the Cowley Club. At a glance, you’d think nothing of this place. They’ve got events like vegan roasts, fundraisers to support the vegan food banks, vegan cooking classes, and even music nights. This seems like the place to enjoy vegan pork pies and vegan beer.
So then I took a second glance everything. There’s a history to this Cowley Club place. Taking that into consideration, my closer look helped some of the more politicized elements stand out to me. These folks were openly celebrating the history of the Antifa movement. I spotted screening nights for an Anarchist educational series called Trouble. Promos for some kind of Antifascist festival. Even their music nights had a political flair to it, as the proceeds went to to other radical activist organizations. Reading groups surrounding Why Work? as a topic. Advertisements for migrant and asylum seeker “solidarity events.” On it’s own, there’s nothing wrong with the above, per say. People are free to talk about Rojava, Kurdistan, and “Safe conditions, no evictions!” all they want. The line gets crossed when they invade Generation Identity’s events to cause harm.
That’s a problem when it comes to this Cowley Club “radical social centre” in Brighton. That issue is compounded on the fact that money is involved. If you take a look at this page you can see the funding scheme at work in this Antifa headquarters:
“So, why not invest in this grass roots project, rather than keep your money in the bank where it is invested in any number of environmentally damaging and ethically unsound projects? Over the last eleven years we have repaid over 45,000 pounds to our original loanstock lenders and have acquired just over 70,000 pounds of equity.”
Chris Tomlinson published an article recently that talks about how far-left Antifa militants in Syria vowed revenge against the French State after anarchist groups were evicted. The threat came from “Antifascist Forces in Afrin,” a group that released and then quickly removed a video statement on their Facebook page. The only reason we know about this Antifa threat in the first place is because Nicolas Henin posted screenshots of it to Twitter.
One of the evictions happened at Tolbiac University in Paris, with the result being small fights with police. But the kicker is the report from French newspaper Le Parisien which says the squatters did more than a million euros in damages.
“We fought al-Qaeda and al-Nusra. We fought the Islamic State and the Turkish State. We will fight the French State with the same determination. We will no longer allow them to interfere in every aspect of our lives. The enemy started this war, not us. But we will be the ones who put an end to it,” they wrote.
Tomlinson adds that Antifa groups in Germany claimed responsibility for one of the firebombing attacks that happened at a Turkish mosque in recent weeks. The arsonists said they attacked the building because members of a group with ties to the far-right nationalist Great Unity Party of Turkey had used it.
Chris is pointing towards a significant connection that these Antifa groups have. One to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. They’ve been at war with the Turkish state since 1984. Their goal in the Iraq and Turkey region was to achieve an independent Kurdish state, but at some point they changed that to a fight for equal rights among the Kurdish people.
Both the United States and United Kingdom have listed the PKK as a terrorist organization. That’s what makes this whole connection between them and Antifa worth mentioning. A 2016 report details the use of child soldiers by PKK in combat situations. Children involved with these groups told Human Rights Watch that they’ve also done time staffing checkpoints, or cleaning and preparing weaponry.
But UK Antifa groups like the one in York won’t mention that. They’re all about glorifying their contribution to the fight against ISIS. That child soldier stuff gets shuffled under the rug.
Take the two things in the above as our dots. Let’s connect them.
- March 7th 2018. Anti-Fascist Network Twitter account announces that their upcoming AFN conference will take place at the Kurdish Community Centre 11 Portland Gardens, Harringay, London N4 1HU. The agenda of this training camp includes things like “the Kurdish struggle” among their usual “fascism today in Britain” rhetoric.
- That Kurdish center in Haringey used by Antifa in 2018 is the same one raided by police under the Prevention of Terrorism Act back in December 1997. The raid there and at a Kurdish center in Stoke Newington happened because of connections to an “ongoing investigation into alleged money-laundering.” Many British Kurds were PKK sympathizers back then, and expressed worries of official criminalization happening in the UK after the US classified them as a “foreign terrorist organization.” Further confirmation that the Antifa location is the same one that was around in the 1990s is available here.
- Besides the general interest stuff, like Northern London Antifa following several Kurdish accounts on Twitter, or the Antifa Cowley Club making it clear that the Kurdish fight is “worth supporting,” there’s more direct evidence of Antifa’s devotion to the Kurdish causes. An entire account called @AntifaTabur is dedicated to this matter. Looks like it was set up to report on the situation from the ground as this fight was going on. It shows Antifa soldiers in military gear, and they identify themselves as the “YPG International Battalion.”
- This POLITICO report from September 2017 makes it clear what’s going on. “Some of the antifa activists have gone overseas to train and fight with fellow anarchist organizations, including two Turkey-based groups fighting the Islamic State, according to interviews and internet postings.”
- So we’ve identified that Antifa fighters are going overseas. We’ve also shown they fight under the banner of YPG. All that’s left to do is show that the YPG is a PKK offshoot. Article from November 24th 2017 says “Ankara continues to rule out any place for the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG).” So YPG —> PYD. The CIA world factbook has identified “Salih MUSLIM Muhammad leads Kurdistan Workers Party’s Syrian wing, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD),” thus proving PYD —-> PKK. However I must make note of the fact that the CIA has for some reason since removed this line from their text in that section. A comparison between the April 3rd edition of the page (when it was there), to an archive on April 12th (and any point thereafter, even today) demonstrates there was a change. The only reason I noticed this was because I tweeted about Antifa’s connections to the PKK back in March. Naturally the CIA world factbook is something I mentioned. Returning to the website later on in April is what made me notice it was gone. I will look into this matter further and update as necessary.
- In the interests of making this certain, I’ll point out a testimony given by Obama-era Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Start 35 seconds in the video is when the line of questioning starts. Secretary Carter is asked if he’s ever heard of the PYD. He responds that he has. Then he asks if he’s heard of the YPG. Again, Ash Carter says he has. When asked to confirm, Ash Carter confirms that the YPG are the military wing of the PYD. The clip goes on to explore the issue of the PYD’s connections to the PKK. When asked if that fact in itself was true (PYD connection to PKK), Ash Carter confirms it as true.
There you go. The circle is complete. We’ve gone from Antifa to PKK, all the way. So when it comes to asking if Antifa supports a group that uses child soldiers? The answer is yes.
It certainly didn’t surprise me to see Hope not Hate’s Joe Mulhall tweet his #PKK sympathies. It brings things full circle too. As in January 2015 Joe Mulhall went to the Kurdish area in Northern Iraq to film a documentary for Hope not Hate. He asked his Antifa brothers online for their thoughts and feedback on it.
The troubling thing here is the PKK is a proscribed organization in the United Kingdom. Much in the same way that National Action is. They have been since March 2001. This makes Joe Mulhall’s show of affiliation with the group in July 2015 worth further analysis.
To top the “United Kingdom doesn’t talk about Anti-fa” section off? I’ll provide you with the name of the Brighton Anti-fa leader. His name is Richard Pursell, or some variation on that last name. It’s never really made clear.
What you see in the video above is Richard Pursell’s face caught on camera during the June 2013 charity walk incident with Kevin Carroll and Tommy Robinson. Based on the radicalized history of Richard, there’s reason to believe he had violent motives. We know more about Pursell beyond that. Reportedly the owner of the Cowley Club. First seen as far back as 2009. Pops up again in 2014 and 2016. In June of that year the folks over at MEND tweeted an article about Richard being jailed for violence caused at the Dover far right vs anti-fa demonstrations.
“Richard Pursell, 44, of no fixed address, was recorded punching and kicking opponents in the race and immigration demonstrations in Effingham Street and Folkestone Road,” the article says.
To top it all off, in 2003 he saw an Israeli bulldozer kill Rachel Corrie during his activism work in the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM). If the UK government’s PREVENT policy gave any attention to left-wing radical anti-fa extremists, Richard Pursell would be a prime example of that.
So to see William Baldet, a PREVENT coordinator (a UK government initiative designed to go after all kinds of extremism), say this in response to a clear display of chaos with Anti-fa disrupting a Sargon of Akkad event?
It makes me question the authenticity of the PREVENT initiative’s entire overall effort. Let’s break down William’s ignorance in particular. From the above tweet alone, we can confirm his acknowledgement of Anti-fa as a group. He knows they exist. On my Twitter account prior to being suspended I pressed him to explain why they gloss over the Anti-fa issue. No response. This is a guy that says PREVENT tackles “all forms of extremism.” But in his “The Hate Equation” article he’s missing the crucial left-wing radical Anti-fa variable.
To further back my statement that the United Kingdom is willfully ignoring Anti-fa violence, I can show you more PREVENT Coordinators who fail to address the problem of the radical Left.
Meet Bill Knopp. His Twitter biography says he’s the “Police Prevent Coordinator for East Mids Working with public & partners to build resilience in communities & safeguard the vulnerable from terrorism.”
Bills travels around preaching the PREVENT gospel. In presentations like this one from 2015, you can see that even in the classroom setting they peddle the Islam vs. Far Right tunnel vision. 2016? Same thing, different year. Add in some “pre-crime” lingo in there, just to signal to the world how Orwellian things are. It’s painful seeing how close Bill is to putting things together in 2017. April? “PREVENT strategy has an increased focus on Far Right.” August? “We must not make this all about ‘us v them’.”
Rinse and repeat. I urge anyone to look into this matter further for yourselves.
In response to a MEND tweet asking if something qualified as extremism, from June 2015, Bill told them “Prevent will seek to reduce the risk extremism poses regardless of the type of ideology underlying it” in response.
People should hold you to that, Bill.
Meet Pinakin Patel. He says his job description is “head of Prevent (Counter Extremism/Radicalisation), Strategic Prevent Coordinator, head of London Prevent Network,Prevent Advisory Group;London Prevent Board.”
His pinned tweet goes to an article detailing about the “far right threat.” Despite being the guy in charge of PREVENT, there’s not one mention of anti-fa in that entire piece. I’m jack’s complete lack of surprise, Pinakin. I can see why your program doesn’t do so well. A peek at Pinakin’s tweets reveals exactly everything you might expect. He started in 2011 by watching Tommy Robinson’s career with interest, only to jump on the “violent anti-Muslim hate group” label for EDL in 2013 because Media Matters said so, Islamophobia this, Islamic state that.
In November 2016, Pinakin tweeted “#AltRight meets our definition of extremism as defined in the #Prevent Strategy. #PreventWorks by looking at all forms of #extremism.”
So he does keep tabs on radicalized groups. I hope someone asks him about anti-fa.
It begs the question whether or not these PREVENT Coordinators would continue to work at this job of theirs if they were told to push different political messages.