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Soldiers Linked To Neo-Nazis (07/09/2017)

Four soldiers have been arrested for links to a neo-Nazi group that was banned last year

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National Action supporters (source: Twitter)

Four serving members of the British Army have been arrested over alleged terror offences in connection to a banned neo-Nazi group, the Government has confirmed.

Law enforcement officials have detained a 22-year-old from Birmingham, a 32-year-old from Powys, a 24-year old from Ipswich and a 24-year-old from Northampton on suspicion “of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000,” said a spokesperson of the West Midlands Police. A fifth civilian has also been arrested.

“The arrests were preplanned and intelligence-led,” the station said in a statement, adding that there had been no threat to the public.

Key to the individuals arrest is their association with National Action, which is a “racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organization which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology”, according to Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

“It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone”, the Home Secretary added in a speech to Parliament in 2016.

“We can confirm that a number of serving members of the Army have been arrested under the Terrorism Act for being associated with a proscribed far-right group”, said a Defence Ministry official, who added that the matter was now a part of civilian police investigation.

National Action, which was formed in 2013 and uses a Nazi symbol for its logo, was banned by the Government after it endorsed the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016. Being a member of such an organization can lead to ten years imprisonment.

In The Telegraph, Mathew Collins of the anti-extremism charity Hope Not Hate said that it was not a surprise to hear that National Action is still operating after being proscribed.

“The police have failed to understand what the group is about in terms of ideology and beliefs. They have treated it like a version of the BNP that they can put a bit of pressure on, but over the last 18 months they have become a lot more sophisticated and far more determined”, added Collins.

Co-leader of The Green Party Jonathan Bartley told The Independent that the armed services are more vulnerable to radicalization than the Government is prepared for: “In the UK we have already seen far-right groups target members of the armed forces on social media, and the Government cannot bury its head in the sand and hope it will go away.”

Police have reported that 22 members or associates of National Action have been arrested since the group was banned.


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