Combat 18 Revisited: Searchlight Change Their Tune

A few days after I confronted Robson, the April 1995 issue of Searchlight went to print, and its contents included a dizzying somersault. It was now announced that MI5 had in fact set up C18 as a 'honey trap' in order to "know the extent of... joint operations" between fascists and Ulster Loyalist paramilitaries. This claim has been repeated subsequently, and is still Searchlight's position. [50] In the context of Searchlight's history, and the line they propagated enthusiastically up to this point, their C18 coverage is plainly a disinformation project on behalf of MI5. Disinformation is not to be confused with complete fiction, and many of the published names, photographs and even addresses of C18 are genuine. All this does not negate the fact that when it mattered, Searchlight were begging for MI5 to 'investigate' the very group they would now have us believe was set up in the first place by... MI5! Searchlight have never even referred to this inconsistency, much less explained it. Both their line pre-April [Page 23] 1995, and the change subsequently, are eminently understandable when viewed as a task undertaken, indeed the two diametrically opposed positions don't make much sense any other way. Unless you accept the hypothesis that all Searchlight's analysis of both fascists and the state is largely fiction. My research published in Lobster and elsewhere of what fascists actually get up to would certainly point to that being likely. However it is not all fiction, and it is the area of overlap between Searchlight's coverage, reality and the state that concerns us most here. The current Searchlight justification for MI5 setting up C18 puts in perspective Gable's 1993 comments cited above that their links with Loyalist paramilitaries necessitated MI5 investigation; clearly taken from the same page of the script. In July 1996 Searchlight claimed that "since the embarrassment C18 nazis caused in Dublin at the Ireland v. England football match in February last year, the word is that the state has been looking hard for a good reason to dump them" (p. 5). Using Searchlight's logic (not mine) a reason for their change of tune on MI5 and C18 in the April 1995 issue is thereby suggested. Given the Dublin riot (for which C18 were given unjustified credit both by themselves and others occurred on the night of February 15th 1995, and Searchlight were inundated by over 200 media enquiries concerning the matter, it would have been too late for them to make significant alteration to the March issue, then just going to print. Therefore, the earliest possible issue in which Searchlight could have reflected faithfully any change in secret state policy over the C18 was the very issue which did see such a change: April 1995! Using their own reasoning and public domain evidence therefore, would it not be consistent to see this abrupt change of line by Searchlight as yet another indication of them conforming with alacrity to MI5's agenda?

If you believe, as I do, that MI5 didn't set up C18, then what strategic purposes did the Searchlight change of line serve over and above obeying orders? One aim would have been to preserve Searchlight's 'leftist' credentials: my continually calling them to account for MI5-friendly activities was increasingly worrying for them, as hinted at above. [51] To superficially (and uniquely) criticise MI5 helped Searchlight to regain some lost ground. If more Left/Greens become as fully aware of Searchlight's real purposes as open-minded readers of my research do, then their ability to spy on, lie to and manipulate the Left/Greens will be severely diminished. In this circumstance, the secret state would certainly look elsewhere to other conduits, a prospect that fills Gable and his cohorts with great fear. The second strategic purpose served by Searchlight announcing MI5 set up C18 is to facilitate the very take-over of C18 by Mark II state assets that I have long surmised has been their intention. An apparent throwaway remark in a recent Searchlight gave the game away, conjecturing about a scenario whereby "a new leadership, not under or influences of the state security services, emerges in the NSA, as appears to be happening" (NSA stands for 'National Socialist Alliance' another name for C18). [52] If key figures in the Mark I C18 leadership go to prison for various offences: as is a distinct possibility given certain trials pending, the way will then be clear for Mark II personnel to take over. Should [Page 24] the accused avoid jail, the idea is to imply this will have been due to them being state agents from the start, and hasten their being pushed aside anyway. [53] Either way the secret state is supposed to win: and for anti-fascists that means being on the receiving end of more state-sponsored violence of a potentially fatal nature. The third strategic purpose behind Searchlight alleging MI5 set up C18 is to cover the whole MI5 operation concerning neo-nazis in a thick fog of disinformation, the better to enable state operatives to escape unscathed and operations to remain undetected.