Speaking of matters on the far-right, over the last couple of years the so-called Identitarian movement in Europe has proven itself to be surprisingly well-resourced, with funding occasionally rivalling that of some mainstream political parties on the Continent. A recent example of one of their big-budget stunts took place on the 21st of April when over a hundred activists from the Defend Europe – Mission Alps project, a PR campaign organised by the amorphous Generation Identity grouping, staged a protest in the snow-covered French alpine pass of Col de l’Echelle near the border with Italy.
The protesters, from several different nations, erected a symbolic fence in the location with signs and banners warning off illegal migrants. Notably, the participants arrived at the site in expensive off-road vehicles, sporting uniform winter clothing, with prominent organisational branding on display. Indeed, by all accounts the ostentatious gathering looked more like a scene from a 1970s’ James Bond movie than a serious political demonstration, with a surreal, almost larping quality to it: Aryan hipsters playing at being neo-fascists but really just along for the lolz and the chance of a late night hook-up with a shiksa chick.
As a caustic article in Pin Prick reports, the group represents a collection of:
…young, far right European oddballs, whose selfie happy leadership are prone to posting blank faced ‘sexbot chic’ photographs of themselves on their various social media accounts. The time rich group are dedicated to ‘defending Europe from the Muslamics’ and clearly have very wealthy parents or very forgiving bank managers or extremely generous followers…
Equipped with a fleet of snazzy four by fours, at least two (possibly three) helicopters and a light aircraft – all customised with fancy ‘Defend Europe’ logos they zoomed about the Alps ‘patrolling the border.’ The 100 members of the group sporting a ‘Bond henchman’ style winter wardrobe busied themselves erecting fences (well a fence) and posed for Instagram shots in the snow.
Hiring choppers and planes isn’t cheap. Especially when they are emblazoned with logos. Those white 4 by 4s likewise. And the outfits. Indeed the one area where costs seem to have been cut is on the grand fence itself. This consists of some orange netting and a few dozen economy looking posts hammered a few centimetres into the snow and then held together with staples.
On a rather more serious note, Balkan Insight details the apparent East European adventures of the British ultra-nationalist Jim Dowson, someone who could be dismissed as far-right Walter Mitty type if it wasn’t for the potential dangers he poses.
When militant Christian campaigner Jim Dowson was banned from Hungary in April 2017 for posing a “danger to national security”, he was able to protest his innocence – and even appeal for funds for his legal defence – across a sprawling network of websites and social media pages which dwarfs many mainstream media outlets and political parties.
Research by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, which collaborated with the BBC for this investigation, has found that at the centre of this lucrative spider’s web of patriotic sites is the Knights Templar International (KTI) portal, which is named after the famous Medieval Christian crusaders and is closely tied to Dowson…
Its jokey memes, patriotic videos and far-right material are shared across 14 Facebook pages which have earned 2.5 million ‘likes’ from the social network’s users – including three serving British MPs, this investigation can reveal.
The KTI insists it is not a racist organisation, but the BIRN has also uncovered inflammatory language being used across its media platforms…
With Dowson now banned from Hungary, formerly a key hub in the network, he and the KTI are turning increasingly to Belgrade for their media activities, we can reveal.
This includes filming ‘news’ videos from the capital, helping to launch websites and training far-right groups and activists, some with questionable pasts and connections, in how to win an ‘online war’.
Alongside the media training, the KTI, which Dowson describes as a “militant Christian order”, is preparing for what it believes is imminent war between Islam and Christianity by building a network of groups which will become militias when fighting begins, Dowson explained in an interview…
This support has included providing tactical vests (protective body armour) and communications equipment to unnamed Serb groups in the tinderbox area of northern Kosovo.
Dowson is better known in this country as a leading participant in the unionist flags’ protests of 2012-13. That campaign, encouraged by the hard-right Democratic Unionist Party and loyalist terror gangs, saw violent demonstrations and riots across the United Kingdom’s legacy colony in the north-east of Ireland, reacting to a decision to restrict the number of days the UK national flag was flown over Belfast City Hall. Some while later, the Scottish-born fundamentalist joined the ethno-sectarian party known as the Protestant Coalition, a rather lunatic body which grew out of the street violence.