Alleged co-founder of neo-Nazi movement was ‘Goebbels’ of the group, court hears

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Alleged co-founder of neo-Nazi movement was ‘Goebbels’ of the group, court hears

Ben Raymond is accused of setting up National Action, and reportedly holds an ideology of 'terror celebrated by adherents of Hitler and the architects of the Holocaust'

Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)
Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)

The alleged co-founder of a neo-Nazi terror group dedicated to starting a race war in Britain has been likened to the Third Reich’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, a court has heard.

Ben Raymond, 32, is accused of setting up the “unapologetically racist” National Action group to wage a “white jihad” and race war in Britain.

Bristol Crown Court heard the group was established in 2013 and was banned under terror legislation in 2016 – joining the likes of the IRA, Isis and al Qaida – becoming the first far-right group proscribed since the British Union of Fascists in 1940.

Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, said: “Terrorists have many faces. Some are obvious. Some are not. Some are harmless-looking, educated and articulate.

“Some you could pass in the street without ever suspecting they were the founder of an organisation so extreme it was banned under the terrorism legislation.

“Some you would never suspect they were steeped in extremist and fanatical ideology. Some you would never suspect they were pre-occupied with thoughts of extreme terrorist violence.

“Some you would never suspect they were continuously scheming to advance a violent terrorist agenda.

“Some of you would never suspect Ben Raymond, the defendant in this case.

“It was the defendant who coined the description ‘white jihad’. The word ‘jihad’ is borrowed from Islamic terrorism.

“The word ‘white’ denotes the stripe of this brand of terror – neo-Nazism – ‘white terror’ with a direct throwback to Nazi Germany.

“The terror celebrated by adherents of Hitler and the architects of the Holocaust. The terror of violent ethnic cleansing.

“For the defendant and his cohorts, the work of Adolf Hitler was, and remains, unfinished. The Final Solution to the Jewish question – to use Hitler’s words – remains to be answered by complete eradication.

“The ultimate aim of this secretive group of white jihadists was all-out race war or ‘Rassenkrieg’. Members of National Action were heavily armed and aggressive. The group was small, secretive and paranoid.”

The court heard National Action was equipped with more than just “knives and attitude” and had access to rifles, a pump action shotgun, a machete, a crossbow and CS gas.

Mr Jameson told the jury Raymond was the “public face” of National Action and was careful not to stockpile weapons or carry out attacks himself.

“His jihad was fought with words and images. He was, like Joseph Goebbels of the original cabal of Nazis, the natural head of propaganda,” he said.

“He gave media interviews, setting out the group’s virulent ethnic cleansing agenda to the media with sometimes transcendental calm. Other times his message was more direct.

“The defendant had a role – pre-ban and post – in the leadership and direction of the group, in its ideology, its activism, its recruitment and its operations security also known as ‘OpSec’.

“While others dealt with the day-to-day running of the group, the defendant became its propagandist and roving ambassador, acting as a point of contact with other neo-Nazi groups in Eastern Europe, Norway and the US.”

Mr Jameson alleged that after it was outlawed in December 2016, it morphed into a new group called NS131 – National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action – which Raymond was involved with.

He was also accused of creating images for a Midlands-based group called KKK Mafia.

Mr Jameson explained to the jury of seven men and five women the ideology of National Action was rooted in Hitler and based upon the Sturmabteilung, a Nazi paramilitary group active in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

He said National Action was against Jews, Muslims, people of colour, Asians, anyone gay, as well as liberals.

Mr Jameson said Raymond had links to other people convicted of being members of National Action, such as soldier Mikko Vehvilainen, Alice Cutter and Mark Jones.

He said he was also linked to Jack Renshaw – who plotted the murder of MP Rosie Cooper – and Zack Davies, who attacked an Asian dentist in a supermarket with a machete.

Raymond, of Beechcroft Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, is accused of seven offences – one of membership of a proscribed organisation contrary to Section 11 of the Terrorism Act and six of possessing a document or record of use to a terrorist contrary to Section 58 of the Act.

According to the charges, the material includes documents entitled “Ethnic Cleaning Operations”, “2083 – European Declaration of Independence by Andrew Berwick”, “Homemade Detonators by Ragnar Benson”, “TM 31-210 Improvised Munitions Handbook”, “Homemade Molotov Cocktail” and “Cluster Bomb”.

The trial continues.

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