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Redwatch

Redwatch

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Redwatch is a British website associated with members of the far-right British People's Party. It publishes photographs of, and personal information about, alleged far left
Far left
Far left, also known as the revolutionary left, radical left and extreme left are terms which refer to the highest degree of leftist positions among left-wing politics...

 and anti-fascist
Anti-fascism
Anti-fascism is the opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals, such as that of the resistance movements during World War II. The related term antifa derives from Antifaschismus, which is German for anti-fascism; it refers to individuals and groups on the left of the political...

 activists. It typically targets activists in political parties, advocacy groups, trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and the media. There used to be a British magazine of the same name with similar subject matter, associated with Combat 18
Combat 18
Combat 18 is a violent neo-Nazi organisation associated with Blood and Honour. It originated in the United Kingdom, but has since spread to other countries. Members of Combat 18 have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members...

. The website's slogan is "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes", a quote from neo-Nazi musician Ian Stuart Donaldson
Ian Stuart Donaldson
Ian Stuart Donaldson was a British Neo-Nazi singer, musician and songwriter, most known as the frontman of Skrewdriver, a British punk rock band that later became a white power rock band...

.

The information gathered by Redwatch is indexed by cities or regions. Many of the people listed are members of the Anti-Nazi League
Anti-Nazi League
The Anti-Nazi League was an organisation set up in 1977 on the initiative of the Socialist Workers Party with sponsorship from some trade unions and the endorsement of a list of prominent people to oppose the rise of far-right groups in the United Kingdom. It was wound down in 1981...

 or other anti-racist
Anti-racism
Anti-racism includes beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism. In general, anti-racism is intended to promote an egalitarian society in which people do not face discrimination on the basis of their race, however defined...

 or left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 groups, such as the Socialist Party (UK), the Socialist Party (Ireland)
Socialist Party (Ireland)
The Socialist Party is a socialist political party active in Ireland. It is a member of the Committee for a Workers' International .Formerly known as Militant Tendency, then Militant Labour, it adopted the name The Socialist Party in 1996. From their foundation in 1972 until the 1980s, members of...

, Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

, Social Democratic and Labour Party
Social Democratic and Labour Party
The Social Democratic and Labour Party is a social-democratic, Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. Its basic party platform advocates Irish reunification, and the further devolution of powers while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom...

, Alliance for Workers' Liberty
Alliance for Workers' Liberty
The Alliance for Workers' Liberty , also known as Workers' Liberty, is a Trotskyist group in Britain. The group has a complex history but has always been identified with the theorist Sean Matgamna...

, Workers' Power (UK) and Socialist Workers Party (Britain)
Socialist Workers Party (Britain)
The Socialist Workers Party is a far left party in Britain founded by Tony Cliff. The SWP's student section has groups at a number of universities...

. Some Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

, Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 and Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 members are also listed. Trade unionists
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

, in particular teachers and journalists, figure prominently in the listings. There are dozens of photographs of anarchists
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 and single-issue protesters.

Redwatch justifies its content as a reaction to leftist websites and magazines who display similar content: "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." Justifications provided by the website include an email circulated in August 2001 by the Anti-Nazi League, containing the home addresses of Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin
Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

 (leader of the British National Party
British National Party
The British National Party is a British far-right political party formed as a splinter group from the National Front by John Tyndall in 1982...

) and his mother, who was involved in the organisation of a BNP festival.

History


Redwatch was first published in paper form by the neo-Nazi
Neo-Nazism
Neo-Nazism consists of post-World War II social or political movements seeking to revive Nazism or some variant thereof.The term neo-Nazism can also refer to the ideology of these movements....

 paramilitary group Combat 18
Combat 18
Combat 18 is a violent neo-Nazi organisation associated with Blood and Honour. It originated in the United Kingdom, but has since spread to other countries. Members of Combat 18 have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members...

 in March 1992, when its slogan was "oderint dum metuant": "let them hate as long as they fear" (a quotation from Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

).

The website in its current form was hosted by Simon Sheppard, a former British National Party
British National Party
The British National Party is a British far-right political party formed as a splinter group from the National Front by John Tyndall in 1982...

 (BNP) member who was expelled after circulating a leaflet which the BNP leadership regarded as a prima facie breach of race-discrimination legislation. On May 1, 2005, Sheppard's home in Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

 was searched by police investigating "incitement to racial hatred."

In January 2004, questions concerning the legality of the Redwatch website were raised in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. The Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 have stated that listing public information online is not a crime.

The website has been heavily criticised by the Trades Union Congress
Trades Union Congress
The Trades Union Congress is a national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in the United Kingdom, representing the majority of trade unions...

 and many of its affiliate unions. Following the TUC's annual Congress in September 2004, where an anti-Redwatch resolution was passed, the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber
Brendan Barber
Brendan Paul Barber has been the General Secretary of the United Kingdom's Trades Union Congress since June 2003.-Early life:...

 wrote to Home Secretary David Blunkett
David Blunkett
David Blunkett is a British Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, having represented Sheffield Brightside from 1987 to 2010...

, requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. Further discussions and correspondence with government members ensued, and in March 2005, a meeting took place with Home Secretary Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke
Charles Rodway Clarke is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Norwich South from 1997 until 2010, and served as Home Secretary from December 2004 until May 2006.-Early life:...

. The TUC have promised to provide the Home Secretary with examples of experiences that trade unionists and other left-wing 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.

The website went down around December 6, 2008, with all of its various URLs leading directly to error or Internet service provider pages. It returned later that month.

Association with violence


There have been many reports to the police of people receiving death threats after their details have appeared on the Redwatch website. These have included Members of Parliament and their families. According to Searchlight
Searchlight (magazine)
Searchlight is a British anti-fascist magazine, founded in 1975 by Gerry Gable, which publishes exposés about racism, antisemitism, and fascism in the UK....

, a Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

 teacher who complained about a far right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

 activist, Antony White, leafleting his school, had his details listed on Redwatch, allegedly after the jailing of White. Far right supporters then firebomb
Firebomb
Firebomb may refer to:* Firebombing* Incendiary device* Molotov cocktail* A season 2 episode of the television show Alias* "Fire Bomb", a song by Rihanna from her 2009 album Rated R...

ed the teacher's car. According to Indymedia, an anti-racist was followed and attacked on May 16, 2006 after the recent appearance of his personal data on the Redwatch website. The assailants reportedly shouted "We'll kill you, you leftist motherfucker!".

Merseyside Trades Union Congress
Trades Union Congress
The Trades Union Congress is a national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in the United Kingdom, representing the majority of trade unions...

 organiser Alec McFadden received death threats shortly after his details appeared on the website. At precisely the same time, Joe Owens, a Merseyside BNP candidate with several convictions for violent offences, began sending him emails gloating that he had photographic details of his house, car and family. Since standing as a Respect - The Unity Coalition candidate in the May 2006 elections, McFadden has been physically attacked, including being stabbed in the face at his home.

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 Polish version of the website. In March 2008, the attacker, a member of the neo-Nazi Blood and Honour
Blood and Honour
Blood & Honour is a neo-Nazi music promotion network and political group founded in 1987 with links to Combat 18 and composed of white power skinheads and other white nationalists....

, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for attempted murder.

Websites outside Britain


The British website links to Redwatch sites in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand. As of January 2007, the links provided for New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands led to a Blogspot blog with no posts, an unrelated cybersquatted site, and a dead link respectively. The Polish site was still active as of December 2007.

In 2010, three men were sentenced to short jail terms (up to one and a half years), for their role in editing the Polish Redwatch site.

External links