Britain's Nazis help bankroll the loyalists
By David Bamber,
Home Affairs Correspondent
BRITISH neo-Nazi groups are raising money for loyalist terrorist
organisations in Northern Ireland. The far-right Combat 18 group has
forged new links with the Loyalist Volunteer Force, and Special Branch
and the MI5 have evidence of collaboration between former British Army
soldiers in Combat 18 and the LVF leadership.
Three far-Right bands from Combat 18 played at a fundraising evening in
Ulster on the eve of the Battle of the Boyne commemorations last month -
the most important day in the loyalist calendar. A contingent of 25
Combat 18 members and the rock bands attended the fundraising night at
an LVF social club.
The Combat 18 members were also present on the Brimstown estate,
Portadown, for the unveiling of a plaque to the dead LVF leader Billy
Wright, a hardline terrorist known as King Rat, who was shot dead in the
Maze prison in 1997 by the Irish National
Liberation Army. A "Blood and Honour" concert was given by skinheads
later the same week in Portadown, Northern Ireland, hosted by the LVF.
Several concerts have also been held across England, including one at
Wigan in Greater Manchester, for the LVF. Security forces in Northern
Ireland see renewed links between English extremists and the loyalist
terrorists as a worrying development.
It is believed that new weapons have already been bought by the IRA and
the fundraising concerts will mean that the LVF can also purchase new
weapons. One security expert said that the situation in Northern Ireland
was on a "knife edge" with both republicans and loyalists making
preparations for the end of the ceasefire.
The LVF's arsenal is believed to be small, but weapons are readily
available on the black market in eastern Europe, Serbia and Russia.
Despite declaring a ceasefire in 1998, the LVF is believed to be linked
to two organisations, the Red Hand Terrorists and Orange Volunteers,
opposed to the peace process.
The links between Combat 18 and the LVF have been planned by far-Right
activists in Oxford. A leading member of Combat 18 has been tracked
visiting LVF groups in Northern Ireland over the past six months and a
former soldier in the British Army, who left after his far-Right links
were exposed, is also involved. Combat 18, which takes its name from
Adolf Hitler's initials, the first and eighth letters of the alphabet,
has long been connected with illegal activity. It orchestrated hooligans
to disrupt a football match
between Ireland and England in 1995 and sent letter bombs to mixed-race
couples, such as the swimmer Sharron Davies and athlete Derek Redmond.
The group had links in Northern Ireland more than three years ago with
the Ulster Volunteer Force, but these petered out during peace
negotiations. The LVF split from the larger UVF in 1996. Earlier this
year, The Telegraph revealed that soldiers with the elite Parachute and
King's regiments, were arrested after a year-long MI5, Special Branch
and military police inquiry into organised neo-Nazi infiltration of the
That investigation found evidence of Combat 18 supplying military
know-how to the UVF during previous years. Senior members of the group
have been photographed with the leadership of the Ulster Defence
Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force.