‘Head of propaganda’ for UK neo-Nazi group faces jail after conviction

A British fascist said to have inspired a generation of “bedroom terrorists” was convicted under UK terror laws on Tuesday, for acting as “head of propaganda” for a banned neo-Nazi terror group.

Ben Raymond, a 32-year-old from Swindon, co-founded the racist organisation National Action in 2013 – promoting ethnic cleansing, attacks on LGBTQ+ people and a race war.

It was banned in 2016, becoming the first British far-right group outlawed since Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, but Raymond morphed the group into National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action (NS131).

Prosecutors said Raymond did not stockpile weapons nor plot attacks himself but was the group’s propaganda chief and public figurehead, digitally spreading its hateful ideology.

“His jihad was fought with words and images,” prosecutor Barnaby Jameson QC told Bristol crown court, during the three-week trial. “He was, like Joseph Goebbels of the original cabal of Nazis, the natural head of propaganda.

“He gave media interviews, setting out the group’s virulent ethnic cleansing agenda to the media with sometimes transcendental calm. Other times his message was more direct.”

Raymond did not give evidence in his defence. He denied being a member of a banned organisation under section 11 of the 2000 Terrorism Act.

Raymond was also convicted under two more counts, one of which was for possessing documents on homemade detonators. The court heard National Action members had access to rifles, a pump-action shotgun, machete, crossbow and teargas. Sentencing follows on Friday.

“It is our sincere belief that Raymond’s actions are almost singlehandedly responsible for a new generation of ‘bedroom terrorists’,” said Matthew Collins, researcher at anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate. “A growing number of young men who have become radicalised by Ben Raymond and are now obsessed with carrying out terror attacks in the name of Raymond’s ‘white jihad’ philosophy.”

National Action ran training camps and seminars where members would watch horrific videos – such as Islamic State beheadings, shootings and stabbings – to desensitise them for the upcoming “white Jihad” race war, Hope Not Nate said.

Hope Not Hate warned in its State of Hate report earlier this year that the main purpose of far-right groups such as Raymond’s was “to encourage individuals to perpetuate acts of violence, to network them and share knowledge rather than formally plan attacks”.

Collins added: “Ben Raymond is a nazi who has consistently shown admiration for terrorism, and propagated an extremist politics that glorifies racism, antisemitism and misogyny.”

Raymond, a father of one, has a history of fascism and has penned two books on the subject.

In 2015, Raymond gave an interview for a segment on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme called Radicals: the Proud Racist. Raymond said his ideal Britain was a “white Britain” and he subscribed to the fascist idea migrants wanted to “replace, rape and murder our people”.

Raymond had links to other convicted neo-Nazis such as Jack Renshaw, currently serving a life sentence for plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper in 2017.

At a National Action demonstration in Liverpool in February 2016, Raymond gave a speech threatening to “gas traitors”, describing Liverpool as a city “where every day the enemies of this nation preach their race-mixing communism”.

Alongside National Action, Raymond created images for Midlands-based group KKK Mafia, and was a member of its Telegram chat. After MP Jo Cox was murdered in 2016 members discussed the next MP to kill – choosing Labour’s Shabana Mahmood, of Birmingham Ladywood.

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