I have been an anti-fascist campaigner for over 30 years, and thought I had seen it all. I fought against the National Front in the late Eighties, Combat 18 in the Nineties, the BNP in the noughties and then the English Defence League (EDL) in the 2010s. But as we enter a new decade, the threat from the far right has become more dangerous than ever.
As anti-extremism campaigners, we’ve been investigating the most extreme ideological group I’ve ever seen and have released our findings in our latest report. It is called the Order of Nine Angles (O9A), a British neo-Nazi satanist group that encourages extreme violence among its followers to destabilise society, and overthrow what it sees as Jewish control of global culture and economics.
As the BBC reports, we are calling for it to be banned by the Home Office, and the Home Affairs select committee chair Yvette Cooper MP has urged the Home Secretary to “immediately” refer it to the government’s proscription review group, commenting:
“The evidence they have uncovered about the far-right terror group Order of Nine Angles is deeply disturbing and the Home Secretary should immediately refer it to the Government’s Proscription Review Group. The combination of Nazi-Satanism, extreme violence and sexual abuse makes it particularly troubling and action needs to be taken to prevent them grooming and radicalising other people.”
Although we are seeing a period of decline in the traditional organised far right in this country, globally the far right is on the ascendency. Across Europe, far-right political parties have made headway, and even so far as into government.
Violent groups like C18 have had to be banned in several countries, and as the children born in the digital era hit adulthood, the world of far-right activism has splintered into many different scenes from the alt right to the misogynistic manosphere to anti-Semitic conspiracy circles.
As the battle has shifted online, explicit white supremacist ideology has been subsumed by a wider but more nebulous war – over identity and culture. As a result, the boundaries between far-right ideas and the mainstream debate have become increasingly blurred.
Yet at the same time as the digital sphere has replaced an older threat, it has created a new one: extreme far-right terror. Across the world, far-right terror has surged – from Hanau, to Halle to Christchurch – as a digital culture of peer-to-peer radicalisation has created a self-directed international “community” dedicated to the planning, preparing and promoting of white supremacist inspired murder.
O9A is the most extreme satanist group in the world, so much so that some of the material put out by the group is so disturbing it is held in a secure section at the British Library and can only be accessed under supervision. It encourages followers to engage in forbidden and illegal acts of extreme violence.
The founder of the movement, David Myatt, has been explicit in his nihilistic aims, saying that he has tried to “create some things which can disrupt our societies and which can lead to the creation of strong, really dangerous, ruthless individuals”.
In his terrorist handbook, A Practical Guide to The Strategy and Tactics of Revolution, he states clearly that “the whole fabric of this decadent materialistic society must be broken down and destroyed by whatever means are necessary and practical, and however ruthless we have to be, for such ruthlessness is now necessary to save our people and our land…”
O9A’s philosophy of ultimate transgression and depravity explicitly aims to foster such a culture among certain sections of the far right. We have found from our research that it operates by not just disseminating its propaganda but by seeking to infiltrate other extreme groups and covertly spreading its philosophy.
Encrypted digital platforms, such as the messaging service Telegram, are where O9A material is shared. Our research found several Telegram channels dedicated to O9A, on which propaganda, texts and music are shared. One of the largest channels is called “RapeWaffen”, which states its “official beliefs are O9A satanism and Esoteric Rapistism”.
Though traceable back to the Seventies, the movement’s modern incarnation is clandestine and decentralised, which means it is hard to estimate its true size and reach. Though worldwide membership estimates vary between a handful to almost 2,000, it is clear that it has had a resurgence in both the US’s and UK’s most extreme Nazi groups.
Over the last 12 months, four Nazis who were convicted of terrorist offences were linked to O9A and there are two further cases pending. Most disturbing of all is the age of the perpetrators of these crimes – almost all are teenagers and the youngest is only 16, as reported by the Independent.
Worryingly, the role of the O9A and its satanic and cultish beliefs have been overlooked by the authorities. From our in-depth investigations, I have been made aware of at least three examples of when O9A material was overlooked during anti-terrorist raids in recent times, because officers had no idea of the significance of the material they were looking at.
The Home Office recently banned the Nazi Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD) – one of the O9A-influenced groups these people belonged to – though now largely defunct following the jailing of its members.
Our anti-extremism campaign group, Hope Not Hate, believes that there are several more O9A-influenced Nazis linked to SKD, with some key individuals still at large. More worryingly, past experience has told us that O9A will now simply move on to influence and infiltrate other groups.
It’s now time that we take action to ban this group, whose attempts to create a culture of evil pose a serious and real threat to our society.
Nick Lowles is chief executive of HOPE not hate. Read HOPE not hate’s latest report into extremist groups here.
This article was updated to include other voices calling for O9A to be outlawed by the government.