Redwatch


Redwatch

Redwatch was a neo-Nazi British magazine which published photographs and personal information of alleged left-wing and anti-fascist activists. There is now a British website of the same name and with the same subject matter, which is far better known than the original magazine. In addition there have been a number of websites in other countries which appear to be inspired by the British site, most of which are defunct.

Magazine

Redwatch was originally published in paper form by the far right racialist group Combat 18 whose number 18 stands for the initials of Adolf Hitler, in March 1992, when its slogan was "oderint dum metuant": "let them hate as long as they fear". (Searchlight magazine, April 1993.) Combat 18 was itself formed in 1992 by supporters of the far right who had become disillusioned by the democratic route taken by the British National Party and National Front. They saw direct action as the only way forward.

British Website

The website in its current form was set up by Simon Sheppard, a former British National Party (BNP) member who was expelled after circulating a leaflet which the BNP leadership regarded as a "prima facie" breach of race-discrimination legislation. [ [http://www.heretical.org.uk/British/bhullbnp.html Details of the Hull BNP branch's activity] ] On May 1 2005, Sheppard's home in Hull was searched by police investigating incitement to racial hatred. [ [http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=15464826&method=full&siteid=106694&headline=nazi-hate-site-boss-is-raided-name_page.html Sunday Mirror article about Sheppard's house being raided] ] The main purpose of the website is to publish photographs and details of opponents of the BNP and other fascist fraction groups and to encourage people to attack or kill them.

According to Searchlight, Kevin Watmough - a veteran Nazi, belonging to the British People's Party - boasted on a Nazi bulletin board in June 2006 that he had been webmaster of Redwatch since 2001. Again according to Searchlight, Antony White - another veteran Nazi, linked to various Neo-Nazi organisations - has been the main threat against those he sees as the enemy, preferring to 'hit them with direct action'. It is claimed he would take photographs, challenge opponents and in some cases organise highly intense street confrontations. Antony White was jailed in 2003 for handing out National Front newspapers and leaflets, and stickering a bus which led to confrontations at a school between youngsters who had taken literature from White [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2815881.stm BBC News: Man jailed for racist leaflet drop] ] .

The information gathered by Redwatch is indexed by cities or regions. Many of the people listed are members of the Anti-Nazi League or other anti-racist/anti-fascist and left-wing groups, such as the Socialist Party (UK) and Socialist Workers Party (Britain), although some Labour Party, Liberal Democrat and Conservative members are also listed. Trade unionists, in particular teachers and journalists, figure prominently in the listings. There are also dozens of photographs of anarchists and single-issue protestors. All of these have no context and much actual information is inaccurate.

Relationship with Violence

Anyone listed on Redwatch may be at increased risk of violence from far right supporters. According to "Searchlight Magazine", a Leeds teacher who complained about a notorious far right activist from Leeds called Tony White leafleting his school took his details and listed them on Redwatch, allegedly after the jailing of Tony White other far right supporters decided to firebomb his car as a reprisal. [ [http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=23 Searchlight article about a Leeds teacher who was attacked] ] Another instance, according to "Indymedia", is of an anti-racist reportedly followed and attacked on 16 May 2006 after the recent appearance of his personal data on the Redwatch website. The assailants reportedly shouted "We'll kill you, you leftist motherfucker!". [ [http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76201 appall for solidarity and a warning - Indymedia Ireland ] ]

Merseyside TUC organiser Alec McFadden received death threats shortly after his details appeared on the site. At precisely the same time Joe Owens, an official Merseyside BNP candidate with several convictions for violent offences (see above) began sending him e-mails gloating that he had photographic details of his house, car, and family [ [http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2003/11/281479.html Indymedia article about harassment] ] . Since standing as a Respect candidate in the May 2006 elections, McFadden has been physically attacked at his own home. [ [http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=8901 Socialist Worker Newspaper Article about attack on Alec McFadden] ]

There have been many reports to the police of people suffering death threats after their details have appeared on the site. These have included Members of Parliament and their families. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/farright/story/0,11981,1125242,00.html The Guardian] ]

Rationale

Redwatch justifies its content as a tit-for-tat reaction to leftist-oriented websites and magazines displaying similar content, claiming that, "Photographs and information about the reds who attempt to harass and assault British Nationalists and their families. The red scum target us, Redwatch plays them at their own game."

However, Redwatch have been unable to provide details of any such websites or magazines. One of their few attempts to justify these claims has been to repeatedly cite a single press release published in August 2001 by the Anti-Nazi League, a British anti-fascist organisation, containing the home addresses of both Nick Griffin (leader of the BNP) and his mother who was involved in the organisation of a BNP festival. Despite its rationale many of the photographs published are of anonymous crowds of people on demonstrations with little context, often unrelated to anti-facism or left-wing activism. Much of the published information is inaccurate due to poor research. [ [http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2001/08/9161.html Article based on the ANL press release] ]

ites Outside of Britain

In 2005, Australians active on the far right announced that they would be setting up an online version of Redwatch listing their opponents in Australia and New Zealand, to be known as 'Leftywatch'. This seems to have been largely in response to an ongoing campaign against them by the group Fight Dem Back. The site did eventually go up, on an individual's Blogger blog, however it has been something of an anti-climax, with some active racists distancing themselves from it (seemingly for fear of legal reprisals), and with Fight Dem Back managing to pose as sympathisers and give false information which went up on the site. The site continued, mainly with general commentary on politics rather than individual's information, and as of December 2007 is no longer active.

The British site links to Redwatch sites in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand. However as of January 2007 the links provided for New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands lead to a Blogspot blog with no posts, an unrelated 'cybersquatted' site, and a 'dead link' respectively.

The [http://www.redwatch.info/index.htm Polish site] is, however, active as of December 2007. In May 2006 a Polish political activist was attacked and stabbed, requiring surgery. He stated that he believed the attack was linked to his recent listing on the site. [http://a-manila.org/newswire/display/342] In March 2008, the attacker, a member of the neo-Nazi Blood and Honour, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for attempted murder.

logan

The site's slogan is "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes", a quote from neo-Nazi musician Ian Stuart.

Trade Union Opposition

In January, 2004, questions concerning the legality of the Redwatch site were raised in the House of Lords. Legal recourse against the website is limited because the site is hosted in the United States, where the site would be protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The site has been heavily criticised by the Trades Union Congress and many of its affiliate unions, which have introduced policies calling for Redwatch to be closed down. Following the TUC's annual Congress in September 2004, where an anti-Redwatch resolution was passed, the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber wrote to the then Home Secretary David Blunkett requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. Further discussions and correspondence with government members ensued, and in March 2005 a meeting took place with the then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke. The TUC have promised to provide the Home Secretary with examples of experiences which trade unionists and anti-racist campaigners have had as a result of having their details published on Redwatch, whilst the Home Secretary promised to hold discussions with the police about what could be done to stop the activities of the website.

Alleged Relationship with the British National Party

Allegations have also been made linking Redwatch with the BNP, prompted by prominent member and youth leader of the BNP Tony Wentworth taking photographs of anti-fascist protesters which later appeared on the site. In a BBC documentary, Mark Collett, who is the former leader of the Young BNP and head of publicity for the party, openly boasted that people's photographs would appear there. Another documentary shown on the BBC entitled "Trouble up North" followed Antony White and other National Front activists around on their activities and showed them engaged in a fight with activists from an anti-fascist organisation. Antony White was filmed on this programme photographing and videoing the opposition, the resulting material later appearing on Redwatch.

The BNP leadership published a statement in April 2004 restating their official position that members are prohibited from providing material to the site. [ [http://www.redwatch.co.uk/bn1.jpgDetails of BNP policy] ]

However, BNP members continue to be seen photographing people at events such as Unite Against Fascism leafletting campaigns, and even boasting whilst doing so. Recently during the trials of Nick Griffin and Mark Collett Antony White was seen taking photographs of people opposing the BNP and One BNP member in York took photos at the local branch of UAF's AGM, claiming that they were going to be placed on a BNP website, but photos of these individuals have appeared on RedwatchFact|date=February 2007.

References

External links

* [http://www.redwatch.org.uk Redwatch]
* [http://www.redwatch.info/ Redwatch - Poland]
* [http://www.uaf.org.uk Unite Against Fascism]
* [http://www.s-light.demon.co.uk Searchlight Educational Trust]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/farright/story/0,,1887102,00.html Guardian Article About Redwatch]
* [http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/09/351982.html Faces Behind RedWatch]


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