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We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Monday, 27 June 2011

New Book Reveals Secret Meaning of Neo-Nazi Codes (Germany)

Openly Nazi symbols such as the swastika are banned in Germany, so neo-Nazis get around the law by using coded combinations of letter and numbers such as 14 and 88. A new book explains the meaning of such codes, and reveals that far-right style is becoming increasingly diverse and hard to spot.

If you were at a German soccer game and saw fans holding up the numbers 14 and 88 in cardboard numerals, you might imagine them to be, say, the shirt numbers of fans' favorite players. But you'd be wrong. In fact, the numbers hold a much more sinister meaning: They are actually neo-Nazi symbols.

It's just one example of how right-wing extremists in Germany use hidden codes to get around a legal ban on Nazi symbols such as the swastika. Very few people know the real meaning of such codes, says Michael Weiss, a German expert on right-wing extremism.

Weiss, who has been researching right-wing clothing and symbols for 10 years, is one of the authors of a new brochure titled "Das Versteckspiel" ("Hide and Seek"). The publication, which is aimed at teachers, social workers and youth group leaders, is designed to raise awareness of right-wing codes, which are often displayed at football games. "We want the soccer teams and the major fan clubs to be able to recognize the codes," Weiss told SPIEGEL.

Secret Codes 'Everywhere'
The brochure, which is published by a Berlin-based anti-racism group, Agentur für Soziale Perspektiven, lists 150 codes that are used by right-wing extremists, including certain clothing labels such as Thor Steinar and letter and number combinations. According to Weiss, the number 14 is a reference to the so-called "14 Words," a phrase coined by the American white separatist David Lane ("We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children"). The meaning behind "88" -- often found in conjunction with 14 -- is slightly more complicated. Here, the number eight stands for the eighth letter of the alphabet, forming "HH" -- an abbreviation for "Heil Hitler," a phrase which is banned in Germany. Similarly, the number 28 signifies "BH," standing for "Blood and Honour," a far-right network that was banned in Germany in 2000.

The secret code numbers can be found "everywhere," says Weiss, including on license plates, tattoos and on signs at football games. "There are fans who travel 400 kilometers (250 miles) to a game just to hold up the four numbers that form 1488," he says.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, estimated that in 2009 -- the most recent year for which figures are available -- there were 195 far-right organizations in the country with around 26,000 members. The agency can shut down Kameradschaften, gangs or brotherhoods which are deemed violent. But many other groups in the neo-Nazi scene -- such as rock bands with suggestive lyrics or clothing companies with coded symbols -- often fly under the legal radar, provided they don't openly display symbols like swastikas or explicitly support Adolf Hitler or his party.

Borrowing Symbols
The number of codes has increased since the first edition of the brochure was published in 2001. That publication only listed around 100 symbols. "The image of neo-Nazis is much more diverse today," says Weiss. Right-wing extremists used to wear bomber jackets and have skinheads, he explains, but now their style incorporates elements from pop and rock culture. "Now they have piercings," he says.

Similarly, old symbols are given new meanings, Weiss explains, giving the example of the kaffiyeh scarf, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. "That is used nowadays simply as a symbol of struggle against Israel," says Weiss, pointing out that neo-Nazis ignore the broader meaning of the garment when they co-opt it as a symbol.

The increasingly diverse image of right-wing extremists mean that neo-Nazis can often blend in at left-wing demonstrations or in a sports stadium, Weiss explains. "The problem is that many of these people no longer stand out."


Admin comment. The majority of these codes and symbols are explained at this ADL site.



A debate over surviving honorary titles to Adolf Hitler in Austrian towns shows up the far-right Freedom Party's ambivalence as it eyes the chancellor's post in 2013, analysts say. In late May, the town of Amstetten, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Vienna, voted to remove the still-existing title of honorary citizen awarded to Hitler after Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938. The Freedom Party (FPOe) deputies abstained from the vote. "The FPOe is sending signals," said political expert Anton Pelinka. "This strategy shows that the party's radical pan-German core has not weakened." Braunau, the Fuehrer's birthplace, has also launched an inquiry to determine whether he remains an honorary citizen. But FPOe leader Heinz-Christian Strache argues that the titles disappeared with Hitler's death in the last days of World War II and that the Allies removed all honorary titles in a 1946 ruling. "In the weeks following the Anschluss (annexation of Austria by Germany), many towns named Hitler as an honorary citizen, named a street after him or planted an oak tree in his honour," said Green deputy Karl Oellinger. Oellinger said the Allied ruling removing honorary titles only applied to Germany. Moreover, Austria experienced a very different occupation from its northern neighbour and has yet to come to terms with its Nazi past, he said. "The suppression (of honorary titles) after death is absurd: we have examples of towns that still lay flowers on the grave of their former Nazi mayor who has been named an honorary citizen," he told AFP.

Peter Ulram, a political scientist, said the FPOe's actions showed it wanted to consolidate the party around its leader, whose new programme centres on the idea of Austria as a community with a Germanic people, language and culture. Under the party's charismatic former leader Joerg Haider, killed in a car crash in 2008, such ideas were abandoned to make the FPOe more presentable. Having taken in many former Nazis after 1945, the party has not been able to distance itself entirely from the pan-German line, despite its official rhetoric. Strache himself has faced accusations -- backed up by photographs -- of having had ties to neo-Nazi or closely-related movements in his youth. In a sign that the honorary title debate has hit a nerve, the FPOe leader lashed out during a recent press conference in Strasbourg with France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, when an Austrian journalist asked what she thought of the FPOe deputies' abstention in the Amstetten vote. Strache accused him of sullying the image of Austria abroad. Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger later commented: "This is an Austrian debate that should be discussed in Austria and that we should not internationalised," sparking a furious reaction from the Foreign Press Association in Vienna, which insisted the press could not be muzzled. For Oellinger, Spindelegger's comments were proof that the conservative OeVP party leader was considering a coalition with the FPOe, a move he has never formally rejected.


I’m embarrassed, says toilet graffiti dauber at age of 62 (EDL news, UK)

A man has been ordered to pay compensation after graffiting racist abuse on the doors of Hebden Bridge train station.

James Allen, 62, of Wood Villas, Hebden Bridge, appeared unrepresented at Calderdale Magistrates’ Court.

He admitted causing £700 damage and possessing two bags of cannabis.

On seven different occasions between April 23 and June 7, station staff found graffiti supporting the English Defence League daubed on the back of doors in the male toilets.

An undercover officer from British Transport Police went to the station on June 7 to wait for the culprit.

He saw Allen enter the toilets at 1.41pm.

Paul Ramsey, prosecuting, said: “He sat on a bench watching all men who were going in. A minute later Allen was seen to leave his bike on the platform.

“The defendant exited two minutes later with what was believed to be a white marker pen in his right jeans pocket.”

After the officer checked the door, he followed Allen and arrested him. While searching Allen, he found two bags of cannabis.

He admitted both offences to police.

Allen told officers he was not a member of the English Defence League but he wrote grafitti in support of the group to “vent his frustration”.

When asked to explain his actions to magistrates, he said he had nothing to tell them.

“I’m just embarrased about it,” he said.

He was given a 12-month community order and told to complete 60 hours of unpaid work, pay compensation of £100 and £85 towards costs.

Halifax Courier

EDL founder denies rally assault (UK)

The founder of the English Defence League (EDL) has denied assaulting a man during a rally of the far-right group in Blackburn.

Stephen Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, was arrested and charged with the offence this month following the alleged incident at an EDL gathering in Blackburn on April 2.

He is said to have committed common assault against Alan McKee.

Around 2,000 members of the group gathered in the centre of the Lancashire town in April as they were kept about 150 yards apart from a counter-protest by up to 500 anti-fascists.

About 50 EDL supporters gathered at Blackburn Magistrates' Court to support their leader with a visible police presence outside.

Lennon, 28, of Luton, Bedfordshire, will go on trial at Preston Magistrates' Court on September 29. The hearing was listed for one day.

Lennon was granted bail on conditions of residence, that he reports to his local police station on Saturday afternoons and does not participate in public protests that are 12 miles away from his home town.

Garstand Courier