Photographs and details of hundreds of people have been posted on the website, many supplied by BNP organisers and activists as a way of intimidating and scaring off their political opponents.
Some have had threatening phone calls and abusive letters as a result. Others have been attacked.
Only this summer Alec McFadden, president of Merseyside Trades Council, was attacked on his doorstep by a man wielding a knife. Despite being slashed repeatedly across his face, McFadden managed to close his front door on his attacker, an act both he and the police acknowledge probably saved his life.
McFadden has subsequently received a letter threatening his family if the Redwatch site is closed down.
Watmough’s admission came during yet another internal dispute within Britain’s lunatic right. Worried about the growing pressure being put on the authorities to take action against Redwatch, some of Watmough’s col-leagues in the British People’s Party began distancing themselves from him and the website for fear of becoming embroiled in any prosecution.
This infuriated Watmough, who has been at the forefront of violent nazism since the early 1980s (see page 6).
“It seems that most of the people who have left the BPP so far are more concerned with the fact that ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government – the nazi claim that the government is run by Jews] may decide to come down hard on them personally if the powers-that-be decide to take action against Redwatch if it’s linked with the BPP rather than any real concern about links to National Socialist sites such as SS Regalia,” wrote Watmough.
“Everyone has known in Nationalist circles and beyond that since 1998, I have been the creator and webmaster of the C18 website and, from 2001, the Redwatch site and Aryan Unity. I was also webmaster of the WNP site. There is currently a warrant out for my arrest in Germany for articles I have written on the B&H site and Redwatch has been the subject of various debates in both houses of parliament recently. Am I bothered?”
Evidently not. And why should he be. His role behind Redwatch, and other openly nazi and racist websites, has been well known within nazi circles for many years yet he has continued to operate with impunity.
Complaints have been made to the police, the Home Office and on the floor of Parliament but absolutely nothing has been done. Two years ago the Home Office claimed that there was nothing the British authorities could do because the sites were hosted in the US and so were not only outside British jurisdiction but even allowed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution which protects freedom of speech.
Searchlight never fell for this total nonsense. Yes, the site was hosted by servers in the United States but the material and the people behind the site came from Britain. The crimes were committed here.
It is also debatable whether the US Constitution would protect such sites. Lawyers in the US confirm that there is no freedom to intimidate, harass and commit violence against individuals.
The other excuse for inaction was that these sites did not in themselves break any laws – they were after all simply lists of leftwing activists. One wonders whether the same argument would be advanced if the website listed scientists involved in animal welfare, or indeed the private addresses of MPs and senior officials.
This line was exposed as nonsense in November 2003 when Searchlight revealed details of the Mole Intelligence Bureau discussion board, hosted on Yahoo. This site, run by Watmough’s Leeds-based colleague Tony Foy, revealed the true nature and purpose of Redwatch.
A select group of nazis used this site to collect and swap information about potential targets, planned a programme of intimidation in the hope that their critics would be silenced and even discussed physical attacks. (See page 6 for more on the Mole Intelligence Bureau.)
The involvement of Watmough, Foy and the C18 thug Tony White in Redwatch could be clearly demonstrated from the various internet postings uncovered by Searchlight at the time.
As if that weren’t enough, the paperwork relating to the various Redwatch sites, available to the public on numerous websites, clearly linked Watmough to the sites together with another person who cannot be named for legal reasons. Watmough’s name was the registered contact for one site, while BM Box 5581, a private mail box run by Watmough, was linked to several others.
Even if the US hosting of Redwatch puts it beyond the reach of British law, Searchlight believes that numerous other laws are being broken. The recently passed Harassment Act seems the most obvious. The obscene racial content on several other websites run by Watmough clearly contravenes the Public Order Act and the secret email exchanges on the Mole Intelligence Bureau site should surely be grounds for a charge of conspiracy to commit violence at the very least.
That this site also contained bomb manuals and essays supporting nazi terrorism was also overlooked by the authorities.
Dereliction of duty
Why then has nothing happened? After all, most of this evidence has been supplied to the authorities over the past two years.
Searchlight lays the blame firmly at the door of West Yorkshire Police who, despite several attempts to persuade them to take the issue seriously, have consistently refused to act against Watmough, White and Foy, who all live within West Yorkshire.
Unfortunately, a disregard of nazi violence against anti-racists appears to have been unofficial policy in the higher echelons of West Yorkshire Police for many years.
In the early 1990s Watmough, White and several other Leeds-based nazis were behind a series of violent assaults on leftwing activists and their property in Leeds.
The violence attracted the attention of Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, which secretly filmed the nazis arming themselves for an attack with iron bars, hammers and other weapons. With this evidence, reporter Callum McCrae quizzed West Yorkshire Police about their apparent inaction over these attacks. “It’s the right wing against the left wing,” commented the interviewee with seeming indifference.
However, West Yorkshire Police were concerned enough about their own failure to act that on the morning of the programme three of the Combat 18 nazis were arrested. With much glee, a police spokesperson rang up Channel 4 to remind them of the sub judice law. With only minutes to spare the programme was changed to water down condemnation of police inaction and remove the names of the three men. Shortly after the programme was broadcast the three men were released without charge.
In 1995 C18 thugs, including at least one who went on to become a BNP councillor, attacked two school teachers in a pub in Halifax. If the police had bothered to answer the emergency call they would quickly have located the assailants, who included C18’s leaders from London, as they had merely wandered down the road to the next pub. The police didn’t and no one was ever questioned about the assaults.
ITV’s World in Action was able to identify at least two of the men directly involved in the attack. One, Will Browning, was later to mastermind a C18 bombing campaign which only failed because the bombs were intercepted by the police.
Violence and political intimidation accompanied the rise of the BNP in Halifax in 2003 and on several occasions anti-fascist activists were abused and even attacked as they distributed anti-BNP material. In April 2003, Searchlight learnt of a major mobilisation of BNP thugs and Leeds football hooligans to prevent a Sunday morning leaflet distribution. Unsure of how West Yorkshire Police would respond, Searchlight informed the Metropolitan Police who in turn contacted their northern counterparts.
Despite their advance knowledge, West Yorkshire Police did nothing to stop 70 thugs scaring off 16 anti-BNP leafleters. A sole officer sat in a police car as BNP thugs told the leafleters to leave the area. It was only after this had happened that a police van arrived.
The same year saw the firebombing of a car belonging to two teachers in Leeds who were both active in the Anti Nazi League. The attack happened only hours after White was sent to prison for distributing racist material to school children. One of the teachers worked at the school but the police failed to make the connection.
Searchlight believes that West Yorkshire Police have repeatedly failed in their duty of care to protect local citizens. The inaction over Redwatch is just the latest in a line of instances of indifference to nazi violence.
Searchlight is now working with the trade union movement to ask the West Yorkshire Police Authority to investigate their force’s response.
In the meantime, the campaign against Redwatch continues. Fortunately the Redwatch investigation has now been taken out of the hands of West Yorkshire Police and transferred to the computer crime unit of the Metropolitan Police.
The new investigating officer could do worse than look at events in Poland, where several arrests have been made of people connected to the Polish version of Redwatch, the site has been officially removed twice and discussions are ongoing with the FBI to close down the site permanently.
Note: Watmough's admission to running the Redwatch site appears in a post on the Vanguard nazi forum, where he posts as BHUK. The relevant section is worth repeating just because it's so irritating:
'Everyone has known in Nationalist circles and beyond that since 1998, I have been the creator and webmaster of the C18 website and, from 2001, the Redwatch site and Aryan Unity. I was also webmaster of the WNP site. There is currently a warrant out for my arrest in Germany for articles I have written on the B&H site and Redwatch has been the subject of various debates in both houses of parliament recently. Am I bothered?'
Arrogant little shit. I'd SO love to see this idiot banged up!
If you want to read his entire post in situ, it's here (change the xx to tt) hxxp://www.vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=35615 If it's been deleted, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org - we have the page saved as an archive file and can post it up somewhere else.
Item originally appeared in Searchlight http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=173 with addition from Lancaster UAF http://188.8.131.52/lancasteruafblog/