'Master propagandist' neo-Nazi's links to Scotland's far right 7

‘Master propagandist’ neo-Nazi’s links to Scotland’s far right

A convicted British neo-Nazi – described as the “master propagandist” of a banned terror organisation – had links to far right activists in Scotland.

Ben Raymond was co-founder of racist group National Action which wanted to wage a “white jihad”. He was convicted under terror laws last week at Bristol Crown Court.

Described in court as the “head of propaganda” for National Action, The Ferret can reveal the 32-year-old fascist from Swindon had links to outlawed terror group Scottish Dawn, as well as a former far right activist from Aberdeenshire. 

National Action was a white nationalist group founded in 2013 that promoted ethnic cleansing and a race war. During the trial the court heard its members had access to rifles, a pump-action shotgun, machete, crossbow and teargas.

Prosecutor Barnaby Jameson QC told Bristol crown court that Raymond’s role with National Action was akin to “Joseph Goebbels of the original cabal of Nazis, the natural head of propaganda”.

National Action was banned in 2016 after glorifying the murder of MP Jo Cox by white supremacist terrorist, Thomas Mair – becoming the first British far-right group outlawed since Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. 

The ban on National Action, secured after calls from Campaign Against Antisemitism and others, was the first step, and convictions of its members are the second

Campaign Against Antisemitism

Its members flouted the ban, however, and morphed into new groups including National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action (NS131) and Scottish Dawn, the court was told. Both groups are now banned

Scottish Dawn was mentioned during the trial and The Ferret understands that Raymond was involved with the branding and logo of Scottish Dawn, and had contacts with the group after National Action’s proscription.

Scottish Dawn was proscribed in 2017 after an investigation by The Ferret exposed its links to National Action. An undercover Ferret reporter secretly filmed two Scottish Dawn recruiters revealing that National Action members were involved with their group.  

“Basically there are some members in the group that were in National Action,” said one of the men. He also praised National Action’s “propaganda”, which Raymond produced.

“National Action were a good organisation and the stuff we do is very similar…National Action’s propaganda was very well made,” the Scottish Dawn member said.

The group was banned in September 2017 by the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd who said: “I will not allow them to masquerade under different names.”

The Ferret can also reveal that Raymond was in contact with a Scottish far right activist on a neo-Nazi forum called Iron March, which went offline in 2017. 

Raymond used the moniker ‘Daddy Terror’ on the site, which was used by far right extremists across the world – including members of Atomwaffen Division, a US-based group linked to five murders. 

The Scots activist used the pseudonym, HaggiSS, on Iron March and ordered bundles of National Action stickers from Raymond, also known as Daddy Terror. 

HaggiSS also encouraged Iron March members to join demonstrations, including a Scottish Defence League protest in Edinburgh, and a White Man March in Newcastle in 2016.

He said in one post in 2015 that he was “trying to get Scotland up and running”, having made contact with Daddy Terror in October, 2014. 

National Action was not banned at that point and there is no suggestion the man is currently involved with extremist groups. He denied the allegations in 2020 and threatened to take legal action.

Raymond was exposed as Daddy Terror by anti-racism group, Hope not hate. He did not give evidence at his trial but denied being a member of a banned organisation under section 11 of the 2000 Terrorism Act. Raymond was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence and two-year extended period on licence.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) welcomed the verdict and said Scotland is not immune to the “racism that underpins the ideas of Ben and his fellow racists in Scottish Dawn”.

A spokesman for UAF added: “Although the far right numbers are down, the internet provides safe harbour for these Nazis to plan and organise and by committing acts they can still make a big impact.

“The chilling discussion by Ben Raymond’s collaborators of who to kill after the murder of Jo Cox MP is evidence of how they attempt to achieve this.”

UAF added: “In order for terrorists such as Ben to operate they need enablement and validation of their racist opinions.

“The current dehumanising attacks on migrants trying to seek sanctuary in the UK by crossing the channel and suggestions that we push their boats back, putting these people’s safety at huge risk, shows how mainstream politicians can enable the far right.”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAS) described Ben Raymond as National Action’s “master propagandist, doing what he could to broadcast its message of racist hate”.

A CAS spokesperson added: “The ban on National Action, secured after calls from Campaign Against Antisemitism and others, was the first step, and convictions of its members are the second.”

He was a dangerous but not a brilliant mind. Many other young men and women who initially followed him are already rotting in prison. He idolised terrorism and encouraged it in others.

Hope not hate

Hope not hate said Raymond’s legacy remains a “powerful and dangerous one”. The anti-racism group added: “He was a dangerous but not a brilliant mind. Many other young men and women who initially followed him are already rotting in prison. He idolised terrorism and encouraged it in others. He not only made terrorism possible he strove to provide the ideological and spiritual justifications for it.

“Raymond was so sure and convinced of his own overbearing self-confidence, he did not follow many of NA’s strict instructions himself. The police recovered no less than six devices full of thousands of images, videos and documents of his terror fantasies.”

Far right extremists in Scotland convicted 

Meanwhile in Scotland, another far right extremist was jailed last week. Sam Imrie – who had a photo of Hitler as his screensaver – was convicted of two charges under separate terrorism acts and six other charges, following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Imrie posted statements online suggesting he was going to livestream footage of “an incident” and posted footage pretending he had set fire to an Islamic centre. 

The 24-year-old, from Glenrothes, Fife, also posted statements on social media which glorified terrorist acts by convicted terrorists Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant.

Following the sentencing of Imrie to seven and a half years in prison, Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Houston, head of Police Scotland’s Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “What is clear from this case is that Sam Imrie was influenced online by the actions of others across the world and, by stating his own intentions, posed a significant threat to wider society.”

DCS Houston added: “His actions clearly could have encouraged other people with similar beliefs and intentions to carry out acts with potentially catastrophic consequences, not just in Scotland, but anywhere in the world.

“This sentencing further highlights that there is no place for hate crime in Scotland and that it will not be tolerated in any form by Police Scotland.”

The Ferret can also report that a man recently convicted of rape was involved with another far right group active in Scotland called Proud Boys. In October, 24-year old Keir Wotherspoon, from Airdrie, was convicted of raping two women and sentenced to five and a half years in prison at the High Court in Glasgow. 

He worked at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and was deemed “a serious risk to the public”.

According to Hope not hate, Wotherspoon was involved with the Scottish offshoot of Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group founded in the US during the 2016 presidential election when Donald Trump rose to power. It has been deemed an extremist group by the FBI.

Wotherspoon attacked one woman three times over two days in June 2019 at a Glasgow Kelvingrove hotel, where she was bound, bitten and choked, it was reported.

He attacked another woman in August 2020 nearby Strathclyde University grounds. Wotherspoon had previously been found guilty after a trial in Airdrie of four rape charges including one to the first victim’s danger of life.

He will be supervised for a further three years on his release and has been put on the sex offenders list indefinitely. According to Hope not hate, Wotherspoon was following Patriotic Alternative’s (PA) social media pages. PA has been linked to neo-Nazis, as reported by The Ferret this year.

Proud Boys was founded by Gavin McInnes, whose father grew up in the Gorbals in Glasgow before emigrating to Canada. McInnes, who left Proud Boys in 2018, had several social media accounts suspended due to promoting violence, hate and extremist groups.

McInnes and his group have rejected being labelled as far right, but he and others have made racist, white nationalist, anti-semitic, misogynist and anti-Islam comments. Deemed a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, they have incited violence at US rallies.

Former Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped organise the 2017 extremist ‘Unite The Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. During the event, counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed after white supremacist James Fields Jr drove into a crowd of protesters.

In November, a jury found white nationalist leaders liable for more than $25m in damages caused by violence that occured at the event.

Proud Boys also participated in Stop the Steal events throughout the US following Joe Biden’s 2020 election win and members were arrested following the insurrection of the US Capitol on 6 January. Stop The Steal refers to the false belief by Trump supporters that Biden stole the election.

At least 19 leaders, members or associates of the Proud Boys were charged in the US federal court with offences related to the 6 January riot, which resulted in five deaths. More than 60 members participated in an encrypted messaging channel used to plan the attack, the Guardian reported.

The Canadian government designated Proud Boys a terrorist group in February for group’s role in the insurrection.

Photo Credit: iStock/YakobchukOlena

This article was published in tandem with the Sunday National on 5 December.

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