Monday 21 August 2017

Football Lads Alliance -update and questions that need answering

As has been rightly noted by anti fascists, the Football Lads Alliance is not a fascist organisation.

 An earlier response, to the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), is here, http://uaf.org.uk/2017/06/edl-seen-off-in-london-by-anti-fascists-but-no-room-for-complacency/

The FLA has attracted support from fans at a number of clubs. It’s figureheads claim that racists and violent hooliganism are not welcome in the FLA. The leading figure of the FLA, John Meighan, admits he has “encountered members with extreme views, which has its challenges, because to be a success we need unity”.
     The FLA also say the “far right are not welcome” at their next demonstration in October, in London. This is welcome, however, UAF has uncovered FLA followers, some close to the FLA leadership who have dubious connections. This raise serious questions for a group which says it’s raison d’etre is anti extremism.
     
For instance, Mo Fayaz Adams, who has links with the fascist, ex EDL leader, Tommy Robinson is working with the FLA. Adams is also an associate of the far right Anne Marie Waters. Adams had floated an idea for the FLA to lead a ‘wreath laying’ in Finsbury Park, in early September, but this has now been cancelled. Finsbury Park in North London was the scene of an anti Muslim attack in June, in which one Muslim died and others were injured.
(Waters is standing as a candidate to be the racist UKIP’s leader. Even other UKIP members consider her to be too extreme! She supports the Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders and the French leader of the fascist National Front, Marine Le Pen. Ex Nazi BNP member, Jack Buckby, is said to be an aide.)
    
         If the FLA are against all extremes, then those who march alongside anti Muslim figures such as Waters and Robinson surely should be rejected by the FLA? Though the FLA have distanced themselves from Robinson, that such a figure as Adams is with  the FLA raises real concerns.
 
Moreover, the infamous fascist Frank Portinari, featured below, remains an FLA member. He is known as a former Spurs (Tottenham Hotspur) hooligan. Given at least one FLA core organiser, Meighan,  is a Spurs fan, with knowledge of hooliganism,  it’s somewhat surprising, that a fascist like Portinari is allowed to be an FLA member.
To be consistent, the FLA need to remove such people as members. Failure to do so would be a huge error, to say the least and leave the field for such as Portinari to recruit other fascists, on the back of the FLA. One reason perhaps that the idea for Finsbury Park has been shelved is that fascists attracted to the FLA would have attended.
                                                   Sectarian figure
       One such figure is Portinari, who in the late 1990s led the ‘British Ulster Alliance (BUA)’ on marches on Finsbury Park mosque. Many believed the BUA, made up of far right elements and football hooligans, was a front for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The UDA was a Loyalist, paramilitary group, eventually banned on the mainland in 1992, over a series of sectarian attacks. The thought of such as Portinari and fascist friends being on an FLA event in Finsbury Park, may have concentrated minds in the FLA.
 
Below are two screenshots which were approved on the heavily administrated, FLA social media. One clearly shows several London based, FLA supporters seig heiling. The FLA will perhaps claim that they can’t be held responsible for the acts of all their supporters. However, it’s clear from the picture the nature of those captured making the Hitler salute.
 
It’s a bad mistake to have let this through and should be taken down immediately. Any identified must be told that they are not welcome in the FLA. Failure will do so will place the FLA’s anti extremism in question.

       The other picture, of which there are many, is one from an FLA supporter posting a symbol, carrying the Red Hand of Ulster. This is an image seen on many Loyalist flags and banners, particularly during the summer marching season.
 
Loyalism is a political ideology located mainly among Protestants in Northern Ireland who want to remain part of the UK. Since the late 1960s, Loyalism has attracted many on the far right and fascist groups such as the Nazi terror group, Combat 18. Various Loyalists over time have shown disdain for fascists and fascists have on occasion been publicly rejected by Loyalists.
However, as in the past, when the Nazi National Front (NF) marched with Loyalist paramilitaries, fascist splinter groups look to recruit and work alongside those in Loyallst paramilitary groups. Recently, the fascist split from the BNP, Britain First, has sought to recruit in Belfast among Loyalists. This latter effort has largely fallen on deaf ears.
                                               Far right figurehead
     A third picture shows another notorious, FLA supporter, the aforementioned Portinari, alongside a vicious fascist thug, Eddy Stampton. Portinari was also a good friend of the NF’s Eddie Whicker, a known NF thug, known to be around fascist circles, again.  Portinari is still to be found on FLA social media.
 
Portinari was also sentenced to five years imprisonment in 1994 for handling guns and ammunition for the UDA in Northern Ireland. Portinari hid guns in his North London office. He was also linked to one of the warring factions in Combat 18. Surely, he should be removed from membership of any group that is ‘anti extremist’, as the FLA claim? Stampton has organised anti Semitic demonstrations in London recently, all opposed by UAF and others.  He has been a fascist for many years, in many different guises.
     With friends such as Stampton, the likes of Portinari would be shunned by any ‘anti extremist’ group, one would think? Toni Bugle, of the ex BNP splinter group, the English Democrats is still an FLA member, and still friends with several FLA administrators on social media. The English Democrats are an Islamophobic outfit; why then is Bugle still an FLA member and still ‘friends’ with FLA admins? (She of course, spoke at the FLA London march, recently.
 
   
      Those attracted initially to the FLA’s anti extremism may want to pursue such matters with the FLA. UAF is aware of several people , who initially curious about the FLA, no longer want to be part of the group, for reasons related here. How can people linked to known Islamophobes such as Waters and violent thugs like Robinson, be allowed to work with the FLA?
 
How can fascists and convicted gunrunners like Portinari, with his links to the far right, be allowed to be an FLA member? Such questions surely demand answers and soon.
 FLA supporters seig heiling
Image may contain: 1 person
Mo Adams Fayaz, above, marching with ex EDL leader, Tommy Robinson and Anne Marie Waters
Above, Frank Portinari and Eddy Stampton
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