On occasions, this type has cropped up in the history of the Australian nationalist movement, not as part of it, but as a group to the side and which comes into conflict with us.
As our country stresses under the pressures of immigration and economic rationalism, these people appear in increasing numbers. They will in numbers appear across the political and other spectrums of society. My task here is to tell you how they impact on us.
I am going to tell you several brief stories as a warning. As readers know, I have written about the Palmer group of neo-nazis, but this is a very different (and rather) sociological and psychological sort of phenomenon. On some occasions, I will omit names etc. If what you read makes you wary and angry at 'nothings' who invade your political territory, stay angry and always vigilant.
White Power (White Powder) (Adelaide)
White Power (called 'White Powder' by Adelaide nationalists) was formed in Elizabeth in late 1995 and ran through til late 1996, when its leader went to jail for several years on drugs charges. The leader had noted that white youths in Elizabeth had tensions with Vietnamese and he set up a 'defence club'. He rented a 'club house'. Anyone could join White Power by donating a third of his dole cheque - in beer for the leader's consumption. He would organise robberies etc. with all getting a share. The girlfriend was Chinese.
White Power observed the activities of the former 'National Action' and considered the group as political (sic) competition. Not only that, the stated policy on executing drug traffickers looked like a personal threat (!!!), so White Power targetted National Action. Cars were smashed and the chairman of the group was stalked. On one occasion, he was stalked to an otherwise empty, isolated house, by several White Powder members. They attempted forced entry into the solid stone premises. One report (unverified) said the nationalist leader was armed with a rifle and a couple of rounds, but a timely intervention by other National Action members may have prevented an incredible incident: literally a fight for survival. It was also reported independent nationalists were obliged to 'raid' White Powder's club house to persuade them to leave patriots alone.
The politics of White Power was simply 'racist'. It produced no publications. The membership was young and obviously - naive. The leader was a criminal. The group had a limited lifespan, but fine qualities for troublemaking.
Australian National Socialist Movement (ANSM) (Brisbane)
The ANSM was formed in Brisbane in 1994 and faded out in 1996. The leader was Gary Robson, a physically fit man who controlled a group containing a few Skinheads and some other youth. In the end, he rejected Skinheads as "big mouths", "pisspots" and "anarchists". The group specialised in booze parties until it became clear this got in he way of military training (bush walks and target practise). Members daubed a synagogue, but were caught. People attending a 'revisionist' historical meeting were intimidated and a local nationalist group was threatened because they wouldn't accept control by ANSM. The group issued public bulletins that threatened violence to persons who left the group. Some evidence exists that members regularly committed petty crimes from car stealing to break and enter. Robson considered himself the 'leader' of a new "pro-White" movement and if groups wouldn't yield to him peacefully, he'd do it by force. He issued assorted smears of groups that would not accept his control. In the end, he tired of it all - and went overseas. This 'leader' was just a man on a mission who, on Brisbane's south side, assembled a volatile group of 16 - 21 year olds around himself. Some people influenced by Robson passed on into other equally hopeless grouplets, like Aryan Knights. A linked group of Satanists faded out around the same time.
Aryan Guard (Melbourne)
This group existed around a criminal Melbourne family in the years 1994-96, with no more than a dozen persons involved. It used a 'Nazi' style. Most of the members went to jail at different points and for long terms. One of the prisoners was notorious as a homosexual rapist! The Aryan Guard adopted a pseudo Skinhead image, although they were not popular within that milieu. The group engaged in various bashings of migrants (which impacted upon political groups like Australians Against Further Immigration) and assorted robberies and fund-raising crimes.Two members, Darren Patching and Damien Gadsden were imprisoned in December 1996 for the bashing of a Maori. The main problem (sic) with Aryan Guard was a high rate of alcohol consumption in the ranks, something which gauranteed trouble. The disappearance of Aryan Guard was no loss. Murderer Dane Sweetman became acquainted with some 'members' whilst in prison.
The Middap group (Melbourne)
Greg Middap was a drug criminal pure and simple. He had spent a long period in prison over a manslaughter matter and was named by the sentencing judge concerning an elaborate drug smuggling opeation. In late 1994, he intended to broaden his drug distribution operation beween South Australia and Victoria. He even used a 'half-way house' in Melbourne as a cover. In that year, he approached Michael Brander of National Action, offering legal and other services. The relationship ended in early 1996, but not before Middap tried to take over the group, occasioning what rumours assert was a violent reaction on the part of the National Action. Middap continued to target certain persons in Melbourne and a "Turkish" member of his group claimed members of the MIddap group firebombed the car of a nationalist.
The odour of drugs was introduced into the public reputation of the broader patriotic community courtesy of Middap. What was his purpose? Middap obviously was looking for a cover to move drugs and to protect his shipments and distribution. If he could corrupt members of a political group, he had the perfect stooges.
The 'men in black' security group (Melbourne)
The 'men in black' emerged in late 1997 / early 1998 around two Melbourne identities, Dean Clarke and Ross Diggins. Clarke and Diggins are understood to have meandered about the patriotic scene before surfacing as regular contacts of the National Action group in late 1997 / early 1998. They then began to recruit for a 'security service' which they said would help out Pauline Hanson. Dressed in smart black gear, about 15 males were recruited. In the years, 1997 - 2001, possibly 20 persons passed through the group. After falling out with the National Action, they targetted ex Australians Against Further Immigration leader, Robyn Spencer, then of One Nation. They infiltrated the League of Rights and did violence to a nationalist they falsely accused by being "homosexual". The group collected intelligence on the named organizations and was disruptive at every turn. The possibility exists it was a gang with an intelligence component, given family connections with police. However, there were reports of drugs.
Clarke and Diggins are still around Melbourne causing residual trouble for the League Of Rights. One of their closest friends turned up in 2003 as a loyal supporter of a Trotskyite front, a man also personally known to Robyn Spencer and who had infiltrated various patrotic groups.
The 'men in black' was an attempt to muscle in on existant groups under the guise of offering protection. In that way too, target groups could be penetrated. It seems there was an element of the ego-driven search for 'power' in the group and further judgement is reserved.
The White Devils (Perth)
This group was formed in Perth by Daniel Klavins in 2004. It has now achieved real notoriety because of the part it played in the imprisonment without bail of Jack van Tongeren. We know that White Devils had a 'club house' behind a suburban home where alcohol was staple fare. The White Devils was formed inside the new ANM group launched by van Tongeren after his release from prison in 2002. Possibly there were a dozen recruits.
The group was - of course - 'tougher' than van Tongeren. These hard men would get on with the job and do the violence which their leader was (after his earlier experiences) reticent about. Drugs were involved and members of the group had histories both as pushers and consumers. Before too long, the White Devils were doing racist violence and had come under notice. Once apprehended, the hard-men rolled over on van Tongeren, making false allegations against him. The need for a new racism terror trial to support the new repressive legislative regime in Western Australia was there and the state had no problem in turning these lumpen against van Tongeren..
Klavins was a nobody who thought he was engaged in a race war. He had no strategy. He would simply do property damage. There was no psychological impediment to his later recruiitment as a state liar against van Tongeren. In his world, things were 'personal' and he would do whatever his disposition told him; his struggle was a personal protest, hence his survival from prosecution would also be a personal thing.
The Snowtown Murderers (Adelaide)
The most notorious group of serial killers in Australia's criminal history also had a political (sic) dimension. In late 1994, two of them found their way to the shop operated in the centre of Adelaide by National Action. One of the two (Joe Wagner) had a close association with the group, living what was in effect - a double life. From what was in his shattered mind a political base and through his other political contacts and with other points of inspiration, Wagner and his friends could incite the murder-group to kill people considered homosexual or in some manner defective and profit in various ways from their deaths.
The Snowtown killers represented the dark side of South Australia. They could never have emerged had not the economic downturn not ravaged South Australia, producing an alienated group of marginal people; nor would Wagner's path gone the way it did if he had not associated in his mind National Action with gang activity and anti-social crime.
Some former members of National Action say that the Snowtowners arrests and prosecution had a severe impact upon their group, causing some people to withdraw and in whatever way it can be understood, encouraging leader Michael Brander to abandon Australian nationalism for a less contentious, Catholic, off-beat brand of patriotism, articulated chiefly by reference to a certain European tradition. Others say the endless confrontation between National Action and the undermen, the lumpen, of Adelaide, also demoralised the their group generally, causing its fight to survive to also fatally mirror gang organization. Possibly so. It is all too understandable.
Conclusions: Or Brigadier General Kitson's Theory Of 'Counter-Gang'
Making conclusions of these short narrative tales is difficult without a framework. The groups have real similarities and some differences too.
Consider the general rules: Leaders of mediocre ability. Drug and alcohol abuse. Marginal people of limited intelligence. Sociopathy and some pathological traits in the members and leaders. Confused politics, scarcely articulated even in the few written publications. Fascination with pseudo-military or paramilitary activity. Egoistic demands that political organizations concede them some function. Stupid, unplanned, violence which laid members open to arrest. Confrontations with nationalist and patriotic groups, including violence and threats of violence. Some interaction with the Skinhead and biker milieus, but generally alienated from them. Criminal histories for assault, stealing, robbery and related offences. Club houses from whence the violent or criminal forays would be organised. Bad relations with similar formations, obviously reflecting turf wars.
These groups are therefore hardly political formations, despite any rhetoric used. They are essentially criminal structures. Now, these groups were just too bizarre and volatile to have been state organized vehicles to disrupt nationalist and patriotic politics, but this is what they did. Was that ever taken into account?
I mentioned Brigadier General Kitson. Kitson was in the 1950's and 1960's the British Army's number one expert on guerrilla warfare. He argued that to counter an insurgency the state could either develop its own counter-gang formations, or in other cases promote indirectly groups that could perform the counter-gang function. As the reader suspects, he used the term 'gang' in a certain way. He meant a radical group outside of the normal discourse of politics and challenging the state usually with violence. I believe the idea can be applied even wider.
A counter-gang would mirror the insurgent group, copy its style and slogans. It would perform actions in accordance with the insurgency to win some support. It would denounce the real insurgents as either corrupt, or imposters, or extremists, or agents etc, turning the truth upside down. Ultimately, it would target the insurgents, setting up a bloody side-show war to drain away the resources of the insurgents. They would approach genuine people, telling them there was something 'wrong' in the insurgents not dealing with them as brothers in arms.
Is the point obvious? Okay, we are not in this military situation, but in a civil-political environment. But, but, but ..... Have you not heard these sorts of counter-gang remarks from obvious nutters or unsavoury people and have you suspected 'something' just isn't right? Now we know. These 'politically-styled' counter-gangs are a reality of of life whether the Australian state organises them or not. But as always, the state intelligence organs listen and are ready to allow the lumpen an opportunity to wreck havoc upon the Australian nationalists.