“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,” the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement after the arrests, which were announced by central England’s West Midlands Counterterrorism Unit on Tuesday morning.
That “proscribed far-right group” is National Action, a secretive neo-Nazi network that first surfaced publicly in 2014 on British college campuses. The physically combative, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant white supremacist group openly celebrates Adolf Hitler and the original Nazi party because they represent “a successful nationalist movement,” according to a movement leader.
In 2014, National Action gained notoriety for protesting a statue of Nelson Mandela in London, at one point sticking a banana in the African civil rights leader’s hand.
National Action has gained notoriety in recent years for its violent rallies, intimidating attempts to create “white zones” in major English cities, and calls to fight “the disease of international Jewry.” But the last straw for the British government came last year, when the neo-Nazis gave open support to a right-wing activist who murdered a Labour member of Parliament, Jo Cox, in broad daylight.
Authorities disclosed no further details on the soldiers arrested in the latest operation, telling the AP only that they’d been picked up in a “pre-planned and intelligence-led” raid of National Action-connected properties, with “no threat to the public’s safety.”
The U.K. and other European countries have seen an uptick in far-right extremism in recent years, and the arrests may strike a nerve across the pond as the U.S. military community contends with service-connected radicals after the deadly racist protests in Charlottesville.
There’s “no place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller tweeted after Charlottesville. “Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.” That’s true, as many vets have pointed out. But the fact that even a few organized hatemongers are military-connected — and that leaders like Neller have to draw a public line in the sand, in 2017 — suggests the U.S. and its allies have a longer struggle ahead of them to keep race extremists from preying on recruits in the ranks.
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.
QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.