Broxtowe BNP councillor Sadie Graham appears to have been expelled from the party for setting up a "treasonous" blog, along with the party's Head of Administration, Kenny Smith. The blog, containing materials from anti-fascist organisations, called for the removal of Mark Collett, the party's Head of Publicity.
After a Stasi-like operation in which the BNPs 'Intelligence Department' (fronted by an ex-South African police official) recorded and spied on telephone calls of party members, stories are circulating on Nazi webforums that five BNP security entered Graham's house and ransacked it looking for further evidence. This is further bad news for the beleaguered fascist party who are already facing serious internal divisions and a revived militant anti-fascist movement.
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Initial reports on the BNP's website claimed that Graham and Smith had been expelled, but a subsequent post asserted instead that they had merely "been removed from their posts with immediate effect on the grounds of gross misconduct and now face disciplinary charges over alleged offences against the BNP Constitution and Code of Conduct." Whichever is correct, it is clear that Graham's speedy ascent through the party ranks, which had seen her occupy the positions of East Midlands Organiser, Group Development Officer and hold a seat on the party's Advisory Council, is very definitely over.
Since the BNP initially announced the expulsions, which they inexplicably chose to do on the front-page of their recently renovated website, many prominent party members have resigned in protest. Among this group are councillors, regional organisers, Advisory Council members, the leader of the Youth BNP and many others. Of particular local interest are the resignations of David and Nina Brown who, along with Sadie Graham, sit on Brinsley Parish Council (Nina was also the East Midlands Regional Secretary and Broxtowe Organiser) and Ashfield Organiser Michael Clarke.
This comes at the end of a difficult year for the BNP. Anti-fascist journal Searchlight has been claiming for sometime that the party is in crisis with growing dissent about Griffin's leadership reaching into the highest echelons. This analysis has been supported by a number of prominent "resignations" (which many suspected had been forced) including National Press Officer "Doctor Phil Edwards" (real name Stuart Russell), "cultural officer" John Bowden and West Midlands councillor Simon Smith. A leadership challenge by Chris Jackson (whose supporters Griffin dismissed as "a gaggle of Hollywood Nazis, congenital losers and thieves," or, more simply, "vermin") was unsuccessful, with Griffin receiving 91% of the vote, but only 43% of the membership bothered to express an opinion either way, indicating a widespread disinterest in both candidates. In the aftermath of the contest, Jackson's election agent Mike Easter was "disciplined" for late submission of the challenger's election expenses. A particularly hypocritical charge given the BNP's own tardiness in providing election expenses to the Electoral Commissionm.
Based on posts on the Stormfront nazi forum and fascist blogs, anti-fascists have been putting together a picture of the events that lead to Sadie's expulsion. It seems that officers in the BNP were recently issued with laptops by the party and were encouraged to use Skype to make phone calls to one another over the internet. One of the features of this system is that it can be used to record all calls and this seems to have been used by the party's security to retrospectively eavesdrop on their members. This is backed up by the fact that the BNP have been able to produce a handy transcript of the "treacherous" conversation.
It is then alleged that Martin Reynolds, the BNP’s chief security goon, and four others gained access to Graham’s home with the unknowing help of Nina Brown and subsequently ransacked the place looking for drives and disks and making off with her laptop. A similar attempt was supposedly made on Smith's home, but was thwarted. Presumably the recorded phonecalls were accessed from the stolen laptop. Certainly private emails which Press Officer Simon Darby has distributed on his blog were, in his words, "found on the BNP computer issued to the former BNP member Sadie Graham."
It would appear that the party routinely spies on its members. In the past it has been suggested that party officers using party email addresses are having their mail read by their bosses, as part of an ‘internal intelligence review’ requested by Nick Griffin. The 'BNP Intelligence Department' is run by Lance Stewart, a former high-ranking officer in the South African Police and suspected spook. They, together with the BNP's security, seem to have free reign to be able to spy on BNP members, possibly using trojan computer viruses installed on BNP laptops.
Many commentators (on both sides of have fence) have expressed particular interest in the fact the harsh treatment meted out to Graham and Smith followed attempts to discredit Mark Collet. Collet, who "starred" in the Channel 4 documentary "Young, Nazi & Proud," stood trial on race hate charges along with Nick Griffin and seems to be particularly unpopular within the party. It has been suggested that Collet has some information on Griffin which the party leader does not want released.
The fallout from this police state mentality seems to be looking pretty bad for the party. Local anti-fascist activists, are delighted. One campaigner involved in Nottinghamshire Stop the BNP told Indymedia, "It would have taken us years to do as much damage to the BNP in this region as Nick Griffin has achieved in one fell swoop." This enthusiasm is tempered by an awareness that Graham isn't going to go away. The important question for local anti-fascists now is 'What will Sadie do next?' With a body of support locally, a reputation as a reliable organiser and many prominent potential allies amongst those no longer in the BNP, whether by choice or otherwise, the possibility that this split will see the emergence of a new far-right party seems very real.