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True Blue Crew

True Blue Crew
TrueBlueCrewLogo.jpg
AbbreviationTBC
FounderKane Miller
Founded atMelton, Victoria, Australia
TypeFar-right
PurposeAnti-immigration
Anti-Islam
Anti-multiculturalism
Far-right politics
Neo-Nazism
Fascism
LeaderKane Miller
AffiliationsUnited Patriots Front (UPF), Reclaim Australia
WebsiteNA
RemarksNation Wide Aussie Pride
Formerly called
Reclaim Australia
Split from Reclaim Australia

The True Blue Crew (TBC) is an Australian far-right extremist group.[1][2] Members and supporters have been linked to right-wing terrorism and vigilantism, and members have been arrested with weapons and on terrorism-related charges. Experts who have studied the group say it appears to be "committed to violence".[3]

The group rose to prominence as an anti-Islam group in 2015, and shifted more towards anti-immigration in response to public sentiment and police crackdowns.[3]

History

2014: Bendigo mosque protests

Beginning in 2014, members of what would become the True Blue Crew were involved in the "Voices of Bendigo" and "Stop the Mosques" Bendigo protests. A number of far-right groups, including the Q Society, Reclaim Australia, the Australian Defence League and the United Patriots Front opposed the construction of a mosque and Islamic community centre in Bendigo, Victoria.[4][5]

The True Blue Crew was formed in 2015 as a splinter group from the anti-Islamic Reclaim Australia group, along with a number of small far-right nationalist groups such as the United Patriots Front.[6]

2016: Melton mosque protests

In May 2016, the group attended an anti-mosque protest in Melton along with members of the United Patriots Front and the Love Australia or Leave Party.[7] About 150 people attended, opposing a housing development which they falsely claimed was being built for Muslims only.[7] As the crowd dispersed following a similar protest in August the same year, fighting broke out between members of the True Blue Crew and anti-Muslim vigilante group the Sons of Odin.[8]

2018: Vigilantism

In January 2018, United Patriots Front and True Blue Crew were reported by Channel 7 news to be attempting to arrange vigilante patrols to monitor young African Australian men. The report led to accusations that Channel 7 were giving neo-Nazis a speech platform.[9][10]

Links to terrorism and violence

On 25 June 2016, police seized weapons including a knife and knuckle duster during an "Australian Pride" rally.[8][11]

In August 2016, a member of True Blue Crew, Phillip Galea, was charged with terrorism-related offences, including collecting or making documents to prepare for terrorist acts and carrying out acts in preparation for a terrorist act. Police investigators said that Galea was linked to several far-right groups including Reclaim Australia, United Patriots Front, True Blue Crew and the openly neo-Nazi group Combat 18. Galea was accused of ordering ingredients for explosives and video footage seized in raids showed Galea carrying out reconnaissance of a target, the documents allege. His intended target was a small anarchist bookshop on a busy main road in Northcote, Victoria, opposite Northcote High School. Police stated that “Galea outlined his intentions were to cause as much devastation to these locations as possible in a team coordinated attack, using smoke bombs and improvised explosive devices”. Galea was accused of researching homemade bombs, ballistic armour and guns, preparing a terrorist document entitled “Patriot’s Cookbook”. Galea is incarcerated at the Thomas Embling Hospital, a high-security mental health facility.[12][13][14][15]

Links to Christchurch terrorist

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, it emerged that the alleged perpetrator, Brenton Tarrant, had three years earlier given fulsome praise to Blair Cottrell as a leader of the far-right movements on social media. He made more than 30 comments on the now deleted UPF and TBC Facebook pages, singling out Cottrell for praise and disparaging Neil Erikson and Shermon Burgess as "useful idiots".[16] The group was banned from Facebook after posting Islamophobic messages in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.[17]

Political links

Members of TBC have been linked to One Nation candidate Nikhil Reddy, with members of both groups volunteering for one another.[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ Richards, Imogen (31 January 2018). "Australian Measures to Counter Violent Extremism Online: A Comparative Perspective on Far-Right and Violent Islamist Content". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Campion, Kristy (2019). ""A 'Lunatic Fringe'? The Persistence of Right Wing Extremism in Australia". Perspectives on Terrorism. 13 (2): 2–20. JSTOR 26626862.
  3. ^ a b Liam Mannix; Nino Bucci. "Dutton Turnbull Legitimising Anti Immigrant Vigilantes Say Experts". The Age. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Sociel Cohesion In Bendigo" (PDF). Victorian Multicultural Commission. Victorian Government. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Far-right group spreading anti-mosque message in Bendigo". theage.com. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  6. ^ Judith Bessant; Rys Farthing; Rob Watts (2017). The Precarious Generation: A Political Economy of Young People. Taylor & Francis. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-317-28917-3.
  7. ^ a b Choahan, Neelima. "Anti-Islam protest: Far-right groups rally in Melton against 'Muslim' housing estate". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b Allaoui, Therese. "Anti-Muslim protesters even turn on each other in Melbourne's west". Herald Sun. News Corp. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  9. ^ Brook, Benedict (15 January 2018). "Channel 7 accused of going soft on racism by airing interview with far-right leader". news.com.au. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  10. ^ Davey, Melissa (15 January 2018). "Channel Seven under fire over interview with far-right activist". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  11. ^ Hill, Jessica. "Weapons Found At 'Australian Pride' And Anti-Racism Protests In Melbourne". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Victorian extremist Phillip Galea planned to bomb leftwing premises, police say". The Guardian. 31 Oct 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  13. ^ McKenzie-Murray, Martin. "How Reclaim Australia hid a 'terrorist'". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  14. ^ Crothers, Joanna. "Far-right group holds anti-Islam rally at Melton in Melbourne's outer west". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Man linked to 'patriot movement' charged after counter-terrorism raids in Victoria". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  16. ^ Mann, Alex; Nguyen, Kevin; Gregory, Katharine (23 March 2019). "Christchurch shooting accused Brenton Tarrant supports Australian far-right figure Blair Cottrell". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  17. ^ a b c Begley, Patrick. "One Nation candidate attended extremist event, used volunteer member". The Age. Nine. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Romper Stomper reboot is a compelling investigation into Australia's extremist politics". ABC News. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018.