Bernard O'Mahoney, Mick McGovern
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Only a month after his arrest for planting bombs which killed three and mutilated scores in London in 1999, Nazi nailbomber David Copeland began a passionate correspondence with a delightful young English rose called Patsy. As he awaited trial, Copeland bombarded Patsy with letters detailing his disturbed background, crackpot beliefs and most intimate feelings. Through letters alone, he fell madly in love with his tender-hearted penfriend.
But Copeland wasn't writing to the petite 20-year-old blonde of his imagination. His 'sweetheart' was in fact a burly 40-year-old nightclub bouncer called Bernard O'Mahoney, who in the past had used the same means to coax confessions from two child-killers. O'Mahoney's earlier hoaxes helped secure life sentences for these murderers and so too did his correspondence with Copeland when the letters surfaced at the nailbomber's Old Bailey trial.
But the extraordinary tale of how O'Mahoney snared Copeland is only a small part of Hateland's larger, more remarkable story. For the book is primarily the narrative of O'Mahoney's own gradual transition from Nazi thug to Nazi opponent. It marks his public renunciation of the hate-filled world he left behind and of the racist misfit he once was.
In Hateland, O'Mahoney writes with unblinking honesty about the violence he inflicted upon others, and that which he was subjected to, during his time as a foot soldier of fascism. His frank analysis of his background, motivation and actions produces a disturbing self-portrait that offers a chilling but often darkly comic insight into many of the strange individuals who constitute Britain's fascist movement.
Gradually disillusioned and ashamed - partly as a result of his unexpected bonds he formed with blacks and Asian friends - O'Mahoney's decisive break with his Nazi past comes when he infiltrates and exposes the obsessively secretive British chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. This episode contains the mixture of grim farce, twisted fantasy and psychotic violence that Hateland lays bare as the hallmark of everything associated with Britain's Nazis.
The song's last verse shook the church: I will not cease from Mental Fight, Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem, In England's green and pleasant Land. Outside the church, Adolf said to me bitterly, 'Did you see that Provo bastard?' I said, 'Which Provo bastard?' 'That so-called "priest", Father Fucking Fenian.' 'What about him?' 'He didn't sing along to "Jerusalem", the IRA scum. I watched him closely. His lips didn't move.' 'Perhaps he didn't know the
small arms we'd trained with were sub-machine guns, not the standard infantryman's Self-Loading Rifle (SLR). A week of special training to sharpen up our urban warfare skills had left our instructors almost crying with despair. But what could they expect? We were tankies, not nasty little 'grunts' (the name we used for infantrymen, who had to grunt round the countryside with huge packs on their backs while being showered with mud from the tracks of our regiment's tanks). I went for a week of
swearing and blaspheming came together in the use of such words as 'Jesus', 'God' and 'bloody'. Nor could I expect to drink alcohol in her mother's house - or even give the impression I'd ever drunk alcohol anywhere in the world at any time. Apart from all that, she thought I'd get on fine. Elizabeth had yet to meet my family, so, out of pity for what the future might have in store, I agreed to her terms. I felt deeply uncomfortable as I walked up the pathway to her parents' bungalow clutching a
find a slot somewhere. But as we'd entered the country on tourist visas, we found the search for work more challenging than expected. Everyone asked for work permits, which we didn't have. The South African authorities strictly enforced the permits, largely as a way to control the movement of blacks. Employers who chose to ignore the law could find themselves in a lot of trouble. Someone told us that foreigners could enlist in a branch of the South African Army to fight on the Namibian border.
faction's supporters had got there first and, we heard later, already abused him verbally. Our choirboy 'leader' gave us all a T-shirt bearing the words 'NF' and his party HQ's telephone number. He said, 'Get yourselves in front of the TV cameras as often as you can. We need people to see the phone number.' As soon as we put on the T-shirts, and thereby clearly identified ourselves as Harrington's supporters, members of the other NF faction glared and sneered, but they lacked the bollocks to