Erich Gliebe hasn't been getting very much attention lately...and for good reason. Not much has been happening with the National Alliance. However, a lot has been happening not just in the U.S., but around the world, with skinheads, hate rock, and the white supremacist movement. This article from the Guardian helps to put a lot of things into better perspective.
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White off the scale
They're loud, proud and everywhere from East Germany to West Virginia. Neil Mackay spends six months getting to know the white supremacist practitioners of Nazi Hate Rock
Sunday January 22, 2006
Observer Music Monthly
Henrik Ostendorf is holed up in an attic room of a dilapidated hotel in a provincial town near Leipzig in the former East Germany. Riot police surround the floodlit building and attack dogs have closed off every exit. The hotel has been taken over by more than a thousand German neo-Nazis - 'musical terrorists' as they are classified by the German police - for the staging of an illegal gig. British white power band Whitelaw will headline the show and are about to take the stage. Lurking in the dark, Ostendorf is watching the scene outside as the police arrest several of his 'comrades' and bundle them into waiting vans.
Known to his friends as Ozzie, the crop-haired and bespectacled Ostendorf is one of the leaders of the youth wing of the rising NDP, Germany's main far-right party, and a key figure in Europe's white power scene. He eyes the police outside with an expression of pity and contempt on his face. From the attic, Whitelaw are audible on stage chanting 'Death to ZOG, death to ZOG' over their primitive punk rock. ZOG stands for 'Zionist Occupied Government' - the description the far right give the governments, police forces and media of the western world. It is one of their many totems of hate and conspiracy.
Ostendorf points down from the attic window and says: 'A few years ago, we were the poor, poor Nazis, and everybody was laughing about us, ja? But now, we have the power.' He starts to get a little maniacal as he watches his fellow neo- Nazis being chucked to the ground by riot cops and cuffed. 'Never give up!' he shouts. 'Always be optimistic, and who knows, maybe in five years - 10 years - we will give the orders to these ...' he pauses, sneers and points to the assembled ranks of the police ' ...soldiers.'
Neo-Nazis such as Ostendorf are on the rise across Europe and in the United States. In Britain, the British National Party won more than 800,000 votes at the last European elections. In Germany, they have seats in state parliaments and are doing better, electorally, than at any time since the Second World War. Italy is also seeing a marked upswing in votes for the far right. Increasingly central to the political success of parties such as the German NPD - the political grandchild of Hitler's National Socialist German Workers Party - and the BNP is white power music. Bands include Whitelaw, Strike force 28 and Grinded Nig (whose album Freezer Full of Nigger Heads features songs such as 'Jackhammered Nigger Pussy'). Their records are available from most neo-Nazi record distributors online.
Key players on the far-right scene in Britain include Chris Telford, a leading light in the BNP in and around Newcastle and a member of the white power group Nemesis. Likewise Steve Cartwright, a fat Scotsman and former member of the ultra-extremist group Combat 18 and also one of the organisers of Blood and Honour, the outfit which runs white power gigs in Britain. Cartwright is also partly responsible for bringing a concept called 'Project Schoolyard' to Britain, which involves activists handing out free CDs of white power music to children outside schools. In the USA, Project Schoolyard was kick-started by the white power record label Panzerfaust - named after the anti-tank bazooka used by the Wehrmacht in the Second World War. Panzerfaust's motto is: 'We don't just entertain racist kids, we help create them.'
In the course of six months investigating the white power music scene, it might have been easy to dismiss such unpleasant people as Ostendorf and Telford as pitiable fantasists, but the BNP itself, seeking mainstream respectability, has also been pushing its message through music.
At the studios of Great White Records, the BNP's own record label, in a run-down northern town, the 15-year-old daughter of a senior BNP figure (who cannot be named for ongoing legal reasons) is recording a song for Great White's debut album Dragonfield. The lyrics steer clear of inciting racial hatred; instead, an old folk tune about a Cornish mining disaster has been rewritten by the BNP man to describe a white man falling victim to a race attack. 'For your daddy's gone, left dead on the ground,' the teenager sings, 'because he did walk through the wrong part of town.'
The BNP man, dressed smartly in a pressed white shirt and suit trousers, is about to lay down his first track. He admits that he doesn't have a strong singing voice. 'With our swords and our cutlasses, we'll fight until we die!' he essays to an old military tune, before forgetting the lyrics and shouting 'Bollocks!' Later he talks about the type of music Great White Records will be releasing: 'I personally quite like reggae but I draw the line at reggae [being released on the label], obviously. We're not having any bhangra. Unless we turn it into a heavily Anglo-Saxon version, we're not having any rap either.'
It is hard to imagine that Great White Records will see much chart success, but the company's managing director, the outwardly affable David Hannam, sees potential. 'Any money raised by sales will go directly to the BNP and help them in their election funding and other projects that they have got going,' he says. 'It is solely aimed to help the BNP. Young people love anything that is seen as rebellious - so when the social workers and the teachers and the parents go " that's taboo", the hope is that young people always rebel, and in our opinion if they are going to rebel, we would like them to do it our way and to listen to our music.'
The senior BNP figure is right behind his music man Hannam. 'People will listen to a song over and over again,' he says, a can of Boddington s in his hand, 'and take all the words in, in a way that you would be very lucky to get one in 100 of them to listen to a speech. Music is a very effective way of getting our views across.'
At least 13 albums are to be released by Great White Records, together with a full merchandise range. The BNP is expecting a turnover of £100,000 in the first year.
While the BNP member goes out of his way to distance himself from the white power scene with the phrase ' we're about suits, not boots', the party's claim to have nothing to do with skinheads and hate rock is reveal ed as a sham over the course of six months. The party's deputy chairman Scott McLean is filmed giving Nazi salutes at a cross-burning ceremony where intensely racist songs are sung and jokes made about Auschwitz. Another senior member was once friends with the band Screwdriver - the godfathers of British white power music - and used to stage white power gigs at his parents' home when he was in his early twenties.
Chris Telford was at that recording session in the north of England. I later travelled with him and Nemesis to a huge white power concert in northern Italy near Verona to which they have been invited by the representative of local fascist organisations. Telford can talk for hours about 'the biological survival of the white race' and his desire to 'dismantle this dreadful multiracial, multicultural experiment that has been foisted upon us'. He is, he says, 'not afraid to hate', adding: 'The white race deserves to survive and prosper as much as any other biological entity in this world, whether it is a type of polar bear or the panda or the thousands of other endangered species. To my mind, the world's most endangered species is our people.'
One of the band's closest associates in Italy is a white power singer called Viking, a dark-haired woman in her twenties who is also known as Italy's first lady of fascist music. In a park in Milan, she sings her most popular song for me, 'Don't Go Round With the Jews': 'Don't go round with the Jews/ They use you and discard you/ And use you/ And kill you slowly.' Nearby, a wall is plastered with posters supporting Alessandra Mussolini's latest political campaign. Viking's parents, she says, consider her 'art' a 'perversion'. More than 17,000 Italians disagree with Viking's mother, judging by figures for the number of her songs downloaded in her native country.
Some white power websites list a 'Nazi Top Ten' - Viking is a regular chart-topper. Frequently appearing in the same hit parade is another racialist chanteuse called Saga - or the 'Swedish Madonna of the far right' as she's been nicknamed thanks to her stunning looks. Her philosophy, she told me simply, was: 'I just don't want people that are not like me around me.' We met in Stockholm, where she was feted in the streets by skinheads. She has deliberately concocted a 'mainstream' look - not for her the 'skin-girl' haircut and bovver boots - despite her celebrity status in the white power underground. She's immaculately coiffed and made up - and alludes to something terrible happening to her in her past, that she won't talk about explicitly, which turned her towards the politics of hate.
Saga flew secretly to the UK to play a white power concert in yet another run-down former mining town in the north of England. Most gigs are arranged surreptitiously through a series of mobile phone calls, like football hooligan rucks. Those in the know phone their mates, and then they phone their mates, and so on until everyone in the white power scene knows where and when the latest gig will be.
Saga's biggest thrill is giving the Nazi salute to her fans. I watch while a moshpit of smitten British skinheads salute her back - including a child aged about eight. 'Raising your right arm is like - we all do that, you know, to greet each other,' she says later. 'They greet me and I greet them. It is a victory salute. For me, it is a really honourable thing to do. There is a lot of honour in doing that.'
At gigs such as the one played by Saga in Britain, all profits from merchandising and ticket sales go to the BNP. 'You do something to make a difference,' she says. 'I sing because that's what I do. If I was any good at politics I would probably do that, but I am not so I am doing my bit the musical way.'
While the European scene is threatening and a cause for concern thanks to its growing influence, if you want to experience modern-day Nazism in all its unbridled glory, then you have to swing by West Virginia, USA, and the armed compound of the National Alliance - the world's leading exponent of white power music. The organisation is linked to the BNP and the Ku Klux Klan .
This is the commercial hub of white power music. They sell thousands of CDs, including discs by more than 30 British bands. If you want to buy a mouse mat with a picture of Hitler bearing the legend 'I was right', or a poster of a member of the Hitler Youth holding up a can of Zyklon B poison gas under the banner 'Got Jews?', or a pair of boots which leave a swastika footprint, then the National Alliance is the place to call. The organisation's founding father, Dr William Pierce, wrote the infamous book The Turner Diaries, which many see as a blueprint for white revolution.
Erich and Erika Gliebe of the National Alliance also run Resistance Records, the world's leading white power music label. Its warehouse is filled with stock worth around £1 m. Erich is a former boxer who fought under the name 'the Aryan Barbarian'. Erika, his wife and the T-shirt designer for Resistance Records, is a former 'High Priestess of the First United Church of Adolf Hitler' and also a one-time Playboy playmate.
'We want to use any medium that will help carry our message,' Erich tells me. 'The money that comes in from the sale of white power CDs will definitely be used for political projects.' Resistance Records' bestselling album is Klassic Klan Kompositions by Johnny Rebel. One song goes like this: 'Move them Niggers north/ Move them niggers north/ If they don't like our southern ways/ Then move them niggers north.' Erich says he finds it 'humorous' and that they want to exploit the country music genre more.
Resistance Records also sells the computer game Ethnic Cleansing. I watched a National Alliance member newly returned from a tour of duty in Iraq play the game, gunning down Jews, Mexicans and African-Americans.
'Damn those Jew motherfuckers fight better than the spics!' he yells when he is killed. He later takes me to his cabin in the woods to show off his machine guns, rifles and pistols. Erich and Erika say they thought of themselves as the 'perfect Aryan role model couple'. After lunch in a one-horse town where Erich worries about the black waitress spitting in his food, his wife tells me: 'I chose someone to mate with on their race - it's as simple as that - it is not really complicated.' They recently had a baby.
Resistance Records gets dozens of unsolicited demo tapes a day. One that I listened to by a band called Fatherland featured a recorded anti-gay hate call and then a sound like Slayer being shaken to death in a tin can. Eric is the world's leading A&R man for white power music. 'I can usually tell within a few minutes whether it's something I want to get involved with,' he says. 'Our main thing is to grab the listener's attention with the good music as well as a good message, lyrically.'
It might seem darkly comic, but there is a real concern about the influence this music has on the young and impressionable. Watchdog organisations cite the case of Benjamin Smith, a self-styled white supremacist who killed two people on a two-state killing spree - his own version of 'racial holy war' - before being caught and shooting himself.
Weapons, ammo, money and a big cache of white power CDs were found in his car. Shawn Sugg, the lead singer of Detroit-based band Max Resist, whose records are distributed through Resistance, is one of the leading American white power singers. Sugg got tear-gassed and arrested in Stockholm once for 'flipping the old S ieg Heil' - giving the Nazi salute - at a white power concert. He happily describes himself as a 'Nazi skinhead' and laughingly refers to his offence as 'hand crime'.
I first meet him in Italy with Chris Telford and Steve Cartwright - and he's sporting a big black eye courtesy of a brawl with 'some reds'. 'My lifestyle is an outlaw lifestyle,' he says, 'because it is not accepted by society or the mainstream. I like to drink and fight and stay out late. Maybe that is one of the reasons I am attracted to racial politics - because it is so extreme. I want to be extreme.'
Chatting with Telford and Cartwright, Sugg defends his predilection for 'hand crime', saying: 'Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat! Now that is pretty crazy, right? Did he go to jail for that? No, but I tell you, if he saluted ... actually, Ozzy could probably get away with that.'
Some months later, driving down the famous Eight Mile Road in Detroit with Sugg, he explains how the so-called 14 words lie at the heart of his politics. The 14 words, written by David Lane, a US white supremacist currently serving 190 years in jail, read: 'We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children. ' Every white power player I spoke to held those words like an article of faith.
As he waxes philosophical, Sugg tells me: 'You know, I used to think about genocide. You know, we live on this crowded planet - our natural resources are being over taxed - and I just thought, "Wouldn't it be great if we got rid of some of the undesirables?"' Sugg later adds: 'I'm open-minded, I just have extremist views.'
One man who pays a lot of attention to guys such as Shawn Sugg is Devon Burghart of Turn It Down, an anti-white power music lobby group in the US. 'Hate rock is a growing problem,' he says. 'It is the single number one recruiting tool drawing young bigots into the white supremacist movement. It is also the single largest money generator for the movement as well.' Burghart's greatest fear is a white power band breaking into the mainstream and appearing on MTV or getting into the UK music charts.
In the UK and Europe, where race hate laws are more stringent, white power music bands have to be more circumspect than their brethren in the USA. Whitelaw have to practise in secret in friendly pubs and clubs in their home town of Heanor, near Nottingham. Lead singer Benny lays out his take on white power music: 'It's very diverse. Everybody just thinks, "Oh, a load of skinheads in a bar, jumping around, blah, blah, blah." And it is not at all. You have got all types of different bands, progressive rock bands, thrash metal bands, skinhead bands.
'I think a lot of writers in the bands on our music scene - they have adapted themselves to become very clever writers because they have had to make things with a double meaning where people can read something into it.
'We would never go mainstream because we are not working with the people who run that scene. And we are not mixing with those people who are in that scene, either. We don't mix with drug addicts, we don't play for drug addicts, and we don't play for homosexuals either.'
Whitelaw's bassist Steve has a guitar which features stickers with slogans such as 'My boss is an Austrian painter' and references to 'race-mixing sluts'.
For two years, Whitelaw tried to get into Germany to play - each time, they were banned. This time they have made it to the gig near Leipzig, along with thousands of young Nazis arriving in full white power regalia. Some wear sweat-tops with the words 'Fucking Racist' splattered across the back, others sport T-shirts celebrating the KKK. Inside, the moshpit looks like a scene from an Ultimate Fighting video with bear- like Nazi fans stomping around in a sea of beer and sweat and slamming each other to the ground.
One of the German singers that night is playing his farewell gig before heading to jail the next day to serve a three-year sentence for spreading race hate. Just before the gig begins, when I ask Ostendorf the NDP official about crimes linked to neo-Nazis, he tells me that 'we are the light - we are the sun. And after the dark, the cold night - the warm sun has to come again. Hail the new dawn!'
Later, just before Whitelaw start, the deputy leader of the regional NDP Klaus Jürgen Menzel arrives to negotiate with the police and ask them to leave the young skinheads alone. An elderly man who grew up during the war, he tells me that it is his role to help 'educate' the teenage neo-Nazis at the gig to be good, patriotic Germans. Presumably he approves of Whitelaw's set - which includes songs such as 'Fetch the Noose', directed at paedophiles - because he hugs them when they come off stage.
Back in Britain Steve, Whitelaw's bassist, takes me to his home near Cambridge. After shaving his head and polishing his ox blood DMs, he says: 'For things to get better, they have to get worse, and to me that means I'd let every asylum seeker into this country who wants to come in. I would. I'd let them all in 'cause that would cause enough unrest to give me my way.'
Neo-nazism the fresh face
The best-known act on the far-right label Resistance Records is Prussian Blue: 13- year-old twins Lamb and Lynx Gaede from Bakersfield, California. Looking like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, they have been performing songs about Rudolf Hess et al to appreciative crowds of white neo-Nazis since they were nine.
'We're proud of being white,' Lynx has said. 'We want our people to stay white ... we don't want to just be, you know, a big muddle.'
Having been nursed in racist doctrine from the teat, can the burden of blame lie fully with them? Their mother, April, taught them the alphabet this way: 'A is for Aryan, B is blood ...' and so on. Grandfather Gaede brands his cattle with swastikas.
Documentary-maker Louis Theroux met Prussian Blue for a TV series and again when writing his recent book, The Call of the Weird (Macmillan). The scary news? Lamb and Lynx now have a sister - called Dresden in honour of the city firebombed by the Allies in the Second World War. 'Dresden's a name,' April insists to Theroux. 'What about Paris? Paris Hilton?' Plans for the girls to form a vocal trio have yet to be announced.
· Neil Mackay is the producer of 'Nazi Hate Rock: A MacIntyre Investigation', to be screened on Five on Wednesday 8 February, and the award-winning investigations editor of the Sunday Herald newspaper in Scotland