Supporters of a far right group recruiting in Scotland include neo-Nazis and former members of the British National Party and Scottish Defence League, we can reveal.
An undercover investigation has also found that supporters of Patriotic Alternative posted racist and anti-Semitic comments and disturbing images in a private group on messaging app Telegram.
Patriotic Alternative (PA) wants to remove all non-white people from the UK. It is attempting to recruit young people by offering camping trips and paint gun sessions to “build communities” and recently posted images of members hiking in Scotland.
It was set up in 2019 by Mark Collett, a Leeds-based extremist who was previously head of publicity for the British National Party.
The Ferret was passed hundreds of messages and images after a group called Antifascist Research Collective infiltrated PA Scotland’s private Telegram group. Most of PA’s members use pseudonyms online but more than a dozen have been identified.
The private group of around 60 people contains individuals who have been members of, or expressed support for, the Scottish Defence League, neo-Nazi group Blood and Honour, the British National Party, New British Union, British Union of Fascists and the Scottish Nationalist Society.
One of the most extreme members of PA uses the name “Iron Thunder”. He describes himself as a “British National Socialist” and runs another neo-Nazi telegram channel where he posts extreme content.
One example centred on headcam footage of the Christchurch terror attack, when he superimposed computer game graphics over the footage as if it were a first person shooter game. During that attack 51 people were murdered by a white supremacist.
Iron Thunder posted images of himself holding what appears to be an automatic weapon alongside swastika flags and photos of Adolf Hitler. He also added comments: “I hate niggers” and “Zyklon B was a delousing agent.” Zyklon B was the poisonous gas used to kill Jews and others in gas chambers during the Holocaust.
A member of PA’s Telegram group with the username @Rangers_828 is Paul Illingworth, who posted an image of himself . The Ferret revealed in 2017 he was a member of neo-Nazi group Blood and Honour which emerged from the British skinhead scene in the 1980s.
Blood and Honour are banned in Germany, Russia and Spain but active in at least 20 other nations including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Chile.
One frequent contributor to Patriotic Alternative Scotland’s group is a user under the name of Lt. Ted. Using social media profiles The Ferret was able to identify him as an army reserve applicant called Shaun McAlonan.
Social media images shared by McAlonan include a wooden pole with a drawing of a celtic cross – a symbol adopted by white supremacicts. “I call this the ‘Red Remover’ club”, McAlonan wrote alongside the image. Red is a term used to describe those with left-wing politics.
In a now-deleted Twitter account with the username Lt. Ted, McAlonan shared a screenshot of a message informing him he had passed an army reserve medical questionnaire and had been invited to an open night for the Tayforth University Officers’ Training Corps.
This is an army reserve unit that recruits students from St Andrews University, Dundee University, Abertay University and Stirling University.
McAlonan deleted his Facebook account after we contacted him for a comment. In a statement to The Ferret he said he no longer had links to the military.
The Ferret was passed PA chatlogs with around 2000 messages. Comments included: “White folk need to be having more kids. The enemy have done a good job of brainwashing our professionals in particular to put career over family. Those that get the snip young like that are essentially anti-whites in my book.”
In a discussion on identity one of PA’s recruiters wrote: “I’m Ayran, then Scottish personally. It’s really easy in my eyes to dismiss British identity ala our culture being banned by the English?
“Now, the Jews were behind that. They were also behind many of the historic reasons many justify Scots being Brits. The Irish famine and subsequent population transfers was a Jewish thing too.”
PA Scotland’s security officer is Ryan McCue from Paisley, Renfrewshire, who posted as “Johnny Alba” inside the group. He was involved with the Scottish Defence League.
Patriotic Alternative says on its website its aim is to “raise awareness of issues such as the demographic decline of native Britons in the United Kingdom, the environmental impact of mass immigration and the indoctrination and political bias taking place in British schools.”
Its leader, Mark Collett, was exposed in a Channel 4 documentary, which recorded him saying he admired Adolf Hitler. He also made derogatory comments about AIDs, black people, drug users and gay people.
Anti-racism group Hope not Hate describes PA as a “white nationalist group” which is “fascist” and “anitisemitic”. A recent report by the group said PA’s private social media is awash with “extreme racism, Holocaust denial and open veneration of fascism.”
Last year PA organised White Lives Matter protests.
A Hope not hate report said: “They have attracted activists previously involved in more ‘moderate’ far right movements, such as previous supporters of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson).
“In a short space of time they have managed to begin to unite elements of the notoriously splintered and fractured UK fascist scene, and even attracted a former activist of the neo-Nazi group National Action, which has since been proscribed under anti-terror legislation.
“In a nod to conspiratorial ideas of Jewish control, they state that: ‘Never should a foreign power be allowed to unduly influence the way that the British state conducts its affairs. Equally, no minority should ever be allowed to wield disproportionate power over the British people or hold disproportionate influence over or within the government.’
Similarly, PA evokes age-old ideas linking Jews to money, Hope not hate says. PA has warned of “threats from unscrupulous lenders or predatory providers of financial services” and stated the British people “must be free of the chains of usury”.
PA has plans beyond just social media which include politics and community-building. Despite being small at the moment, Hope not hate fears the group could provide leadership to the young, politically homeless far right, “given the acute social tensions that have arisen during Covid-19, and the far-right backlash to the surge of support for the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd”.
The group has polled people on the street about immigration and held two conferences, as well as outdoor activities.
Regarding PA’s leader Mark Collett, Hope not hate said: “Collett is a longstanding antisemite who has spoken sympathetically of Nazi Germany, described the Holocaust as the “alleged extermination of six million Jews”, and has regularly collaborated with David Duke, a former leader in the Ku Klux Klan.”
Alternative home school curriculum
It emerged earlier this month that PA was using video games such as Call of Duty to recruit young people by hosting public tournaments.
The group has also been pushing a home school curriculum online which claims all English people have white skin. Its “Alternative Curriculum” contains a section called The People of Scotland and reading lists are aimed at children aged under seven.
Counterterrorism experts warned this month that a growing number of young teenagers are being drawn towards neo-Nazi and fascist ideologies by groups targeting them online including PA. The warning came after a 13-year-old became the youngest person in the UK to be sentenced after committing a terrorism offence.
The teenager ran the British arm of a group that wanted societal collapse through terrorist violence – headed by a 13-year-old Estonian known as “the Commander”.
Dr Joe Mulhall, senior researcher with the anti-racism group Hope not Hate, told The Ferret: “In Scotland, Patriotic Alternative is a tiny group. Despite being beset by infighting and bickering, PA have grand ambitions far beyond their limited abilities, talents and personnel.
“They operate under the delusion that they can unite the many antagonistic strands of the UK far-right under their brand of extreme, antisemitic, racial nationalism, and they wildly exaggerate their size and influence. They have desperately been trying to generate attention but now they are coming under increasing scrutiny their bigotry has led them being shunned and deplatformed, instead of being admired and supported as they had hoped.”
Antifascist Research Collective (ARC) said: “Although Patriotic Alternative attempt to present a sanitised public image, our time in the organisation over the past year has shown them to be rife with diehard anti-Semites, bizarre conspiracy theorists, and hardcore neo-Nazis.
“Their ‘officers’ use similar tools of radicalisation on other members to neo-Nazi terrorist organisations like Atomwaffen Division, such as extremist reading lists filled with accelerationist manuals and manifestos of mass murders.
ARC added that PA operates training bootcamps and has targeted teenagers with gaming competitions and a racist “homeschool curriculum” which it describes as “sinister”.
It continued: “While still a toothless organisation politically, Patriotic Alternative have managed to unite some dangerous individuals behind their banner, so it is important to tear down any veil of legitimacy they may have fostered.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Patriotic Alternative is a fascist organisation that targets recruits, including youth, with racist indoctrination. With police warning that the far-right poses the fastest-growing terrorist threat to Britain, it is gravely concerning that this organisation is able to use Telegram to amplify its message.
“These messages, which include Holocaust denial, neo-Nazi imagery and antisemitic and racist tropes have only one aim of peddling hatred and must be must be met with zero-tolerance law enforcement. It never takes long for these far-right groups to pose a threat to the public, therefore we urge police to act swiftly.”
Neil Findlay MSP said The Ferret’s findings were “very disturbing indeed”.
He added: “The far right exist to create hate and division. We must not allow them to spread their message of poison – the police must investigate this group but the community must also ensure that they drive this horrific ideology from our cities and towns.”
A PA spokesperson said: “We at Patriotic Alternative would like to thank you for the free advertising you’ll be giving us in (sic) Sunday. It’s a shame however that no one reads your drivel and regarding a quote…We don’t deal with anti white scum!”
Shaun McAlonan said: “I can confirm that the information you have is no longer relevant as I’m no longer a student at the university or have any involvement with the military, and I would also like to inform you that what you are doing violates the Human Rights Act 1998, article 8 (respect for private life, family and home correspondence), article 9 (freedom of thought, belief and freedom), article 10 (freedom of expression), article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) and article 14 (protection from discrimination in respect of those rights and freedom).
“I would also like to inform you that the ‘Celtic cross’ is a symbol used on most churches in Scotland and Ireland and by saying that it’s a white nationalist symbol you are infringing on my religious freedom and liberty which is a form of discrimination.
“I do not consent to having my information published on a known media outlet which is known to lie and twist stories for their own gain or as a means to an end to try defame a valid movement or does the dirty work of the corporate establishment actively working against the rights and liberty of the free men and women on the land. If anything comes of this I will be contacting my lawyer and I will be taking this to court as I believe my freedoms are being violated.”
Ryan McCue and Paul Illingworth did not reply to our requests for a comment.
This story was updated at 08.30 on 4 March 2021 to report that McCue is involved with PA’s security.