A neo-Nazi terror group with an offshoot in Scotland has not stopped recruiting despite being banned by the UK Government, a new report claims.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said that National Action, which re-emerged as Scottish Dawn after being proscribed under counter-terrorism legislation in 2016, is active and increasingly reliant on funding through secretive transactions.
The proscribed organisation is estimated to still have between 50 and 100 members who are “structured into regional ‘chapters’ with unit heads”, said RUSI.
National Action was banned by the UK Government in 2016 after protesting in UK cities and running a ‘whites-only’ foodbank in Glasgow.
It re-emerged a few months later in Scotland using the name Scottish Dawn but this new organisation was banned in September 2017 following an undercover investigation by The Ferret which exposed its links to National Action.
Revealed: neo-Nazi terrorists are behind Scotland’s newest far right group
RUSI said that recruitment has not stopped since the group’s proscription but “funding has become reliant on more discrete peer-to-peer transactions, such as PayPal or bank transfers”.
It added: “Experts disagree on the role foreign funding may play in the financing of National Action, but given the prevalence of related extreme right-wing groups across Europe, it is reasonable to assume some level of international connectivity.”
The report said that evidence of links between right-wing groups and international actors is increasingly emerging.
One example cited is the international nature of Generation Identity, or Génération Identitaire, a far-right identitarian youth movement that began in France in 2012 and has now spread to Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK.
The organisation is most known for its Defend Europe campaign in the summer of 2017, when it attempted to hamper the work of NGOs helping refugees in the Mediterranean.
According to the report by the Whitehall think-tank, there is evidence of financing from abroad for Generation Identity which has been active in Scotland.
RUSI cited its links to Identity Evropa, a far right group behind the ‘Unite the Right’ 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when one people died and 19 were injured during violence by neo-Nazis.
In January it emerged that Generation Identity (Scotland/Alba) had been trying to recruit at both the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University.
This challenge is exacerbated by the apparent unwillingness of the UK government to engage – at a strategic and political level – with the threats posed by right-wing extremism, leaving a leaderless vacuum in which these groups can flourish. RUSI report
RUSI’s report said that a further challenge to combating far right groups is presented by the “lack of a clear, legal definition that can be applied to right-wing extremism, frustrating the potential pursuit by law enforcement of related finances”.
“This contrasts with the strong legal and operational basis on which law enforcement actors – notably the UK’s National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit – can pursue terrorism-related finance,” the report said.
It added: “This challenge is exacerbated by the apparent unwillingness of the UK government to engage – at a strategic and political level – with the threats posed by right-wing extremism, leaving a leaderless vacuum in which these groups can flourish.
The report said that the private sector can play a useful role by “taking action to remove extremist material or close a client’s account if it does not fit within its terms of service or business model”.
Meanwhile, it emerged that the Ministry of Defence produced a leaflet to try and stop soldiers being recruited by neo-Nazi groups.
The leaflet is called “Extreme Right Wing (XRW) Indicators & Warnings” and alerts defence staff to signs of extremism including people who idealise “white only communities”.
The document also advises officers to watch out for people who “use the term Islamofascism” and make “inaccurate generalisations about the Left”.
Last week we reported that five serving personnel had been referred to the UK Government’s anti-terror programme as the army hunts infiltration by far right groups.
A MOD spokesperson said: “The values of our armed forces and the nation they serve are totally incompatible with extremist views. We have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting these views are not permitted to serve.”
Unite Against Fascism said: “It is good that the army is finally beginning to wake up to the long running problem of right wing extremism in it’s ranks. This little guide is a good start but it is just that, a start.
“The far right racists on Britain’s streets can be exposed for the Nazi loving idiots that they are, unfortunately globally there are too many wealthy individuals and extremist groups with money that remain hidden in the net.”
Security Minister Ben Wallace said: “In our actions and our words we have confronted, proscribed and prosecuted far right groups and individuals. Our national strategy does not discriminate towards one terrorist cause or another. The decision about who to prosecute and when is a matter for the police and CPS. In Scotland it is a matter for the Procurator fiscal.”
A version of this story was published by the Sunday Post on 2 June 2019.