National Action: How Swansea neo-Nazi ran two terror groups

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National Action: How Swansea neo-Nazi ran two terror groups
Alex Davies
Image caption,
National Action was founded in 2013 by Ben Raymond and Alex Davies (pictured)

"Probably the biggest Nazi of the lot."

That is how jurors heard Alex Davies, a "terrorist hiding in plain sight", described during his latest trial.

Davies, 27, from Swansea, co-founded the neo-Nazi group National Action in 2013. He had seen it "grow from its small base in south Wales" to a national organisation, a judge said.

He was earlier convicted of membership of a proscribed organisation between December 2016 and September 2017 after a trial at Winchester Crown Court.

National Action was one of the most extreme British far-right terror groups since World War Two.

Its members openly celebrated the death of Jo Cox MP and called for a "race war".

One expert said the group was "so extreme you can't go any further".

Alex DaviesImage source, Andrew Matthews/PA
Image caption,
Alex Davies' group was "so extreme you can't go any further", an expert said

Davies, who was once pictured giving a Nazi salute in a German concentration camp, remains an ardent national socialist with extreme far-right views.

His organisation preyed on young people, grooming them to follow his racist beliefs.

He lived in Uplands, Swansea, and his parents disagreed with his racist views.

Describing himself as "polite" and "high-achieving", with others referring to him as bright and articulate, Davies said he "survived school and college but got into trouble at university".

He joined the far-right British National Party as a teenager and was identified as a potential extremist through the Prevent counter-terrorism programme when he was just 15 or 16 years old.

A few years later, he left university when his far-right beliefs were exposed.

He then focused much of his time in growing National Action from his base in Swansea, heading up the south-west "branch".

Alex Davies and another man pictured doing a Nazi saluteImage source, West Midlands Police
Image caption,
Alex Davies was pictured doing a Nazi salute at Buchenwald concentration camp

His attempts to spread his beliefs far and wide led to ambitions to stand for election in Swansea in 2017 after National Action was deemed a terrorist organisation by the UK government.

He attended National Front meetings in Bridgend in 2017, and wanted to stand as a county councillor.

Det Supt Anthony Tagg, a senior counter-terrorism officer, said he remained a danger.

He said: "He admits that he still holds that ideology, but states there's nothing wrong with him holding that ideology, that he's free to have those thoughts and ideas.

"We would say those are very dangerous thoughts and ideas. Somebody who sought, through violence, to forward that neo-Nazi ideology, we would say, remains a very dangerous individual".

He added: "Working with partners and others we will seek to continue to mitigate any risk Alex Davies poses to communities across the UK."

However, Davies was far from the only member of National Action with links to Wales.

Alex Davies and Ben Raymond
Image caption,
Alex Davies and Ben Raymond founded the group

Ben Raymond, who co-founded the group with Davies, lived in Mumbles, Swansea, and was responsible for much of its racist, offensive propaganda.

He coined the term "white jihad" and .

Mikko Vehvilainen was a serving British Army soldier based at Sennybridge barracks in Powys when he was a member of National Action.

A self-confessed racist, he built up a private arsenal and wanted to turn the village of Llansilin in Powys, where he had a house, into a white nationalist stronghold. .

Ben RaymondImage source, Facebook
Image caption,
National Action co-founder Ben Raymond was jailed for eight years

Alex Deakin, a former student in Aberystwyth, ran the West Midlands branch of National Action and spoke about modelling the group along the lines of the "IRA and Viet Cong".

He was found with two explosives manuals, including a guide to making explosives, and was convicted of membership of National Action.

In 2015, Zack Davies, a 25-year-old National Action member from Mold, Flintshire, because of his skin colour.

Zack Davies shouted "white power" during the assault and was later convicted of attempted murder.

He had earlier posed for a selfie in front of a National Action flag while holding a blade.

Several members of NA had read and accessed copies of the manifesto of mass-murderer Anders Breivik - who killed 77 people, mostly children, in bomb and gun attacks in Norway in 2011.

Members held vocal rallies up and down the country, dressed in black, reminiscent of Oswald Moseley's fascists of the 1930s, delivering Nazi-style salutes and carrying flags, some stating "Hitler was right".

Alex Davies has become the 19th person to be convicted for membership of the banned fascist group.

National Action promoting one of its "conferences"
Image caption,
National Action promoting one of its "conferences"

Alex Davies was described as "the founder, the galvaniser, the recruiter", and would welcome fellow neo-Nazis to Swansea, take them for days out in Mumbles and for ice cream.

He jokingly told jurors: "The life of a terrorist."

Prosecutors and counter terror police believe Alex Davies is unique in British history for founding two far-right terrorist organisations.

First National Action, and then the "continuity group" as it was described in court, NS131. They are organisations that now sit alongside the likes of so-called Islamic State, the IRA and Al-Qaeda.

It was put to Alex Davies in court: "You are a neo-Nazi, yes?"

He replied: "Sure."

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