Convicted Neo-Nazi once wanted to become Jewish, a UK jury is told

Convicted Neo-Nazi once wanted to become Jewish, a UK jury is told November 14, 2018

Adam Thomas, 22, and and his partner  Claudia Patatas, 38, were found guilty at Birmingham crown court this week  of being members of the extreme right-wing organisation National Action, which was banned in 2016.

Now here’s the weird part:  Thomas, who has a baby called Adolf in “admiration” of Hitler, claimed to have lived in Israel for nearly two years in a bid to convert to Judaism.

A  photo issued by West Midlands Police that was shown to jurors at Birmingham Crown Court. It shows National Action members Adam Thomas and his partner Claudia Patatas with their new-born baby, Adolf.

During evidence in his defence, given from the witness box, Thomas – a self-confessed Holocaust denier and racist – said he moved to Israel when he was 18.

He said he was motivated to look at converting because it would have allowed him to join the Israeli military.

But Thomas, of Waltham Gardens, Banbury, Oxfordshire, who told the jury he lived in kibbutzes and at a college while in Israel, said he “just lost interest” and returned home in August 2016.

He met Patatas – who jurors heard told a chat group “bring back concentration camps” – in a pub in December that year, and had a baby with her at the end of 2017.

Thomas had told police in interview that he was a Holocaust denier, and under cross-examination before the trial jury said the issue was “complicated”.

On the first day of his evidence, barrister Paul Wakerley asked Thomas:

At some stage, aged 17, you decided you would convert to Judaism?

Thomas replied:

I finished college and, just after turning 18, I moved to Israel, and lived there just under two years. I lived with very different people, I stayed on a farm, and a kibbutz.

Asked if he mixed with Jewish people, he replied:

I did, the population is Jewish and I was interested in converting to Judaism at that stage.

The former Amazon warehouse security guard added that he had done “security” work while over there, as part of an interest in joining the military.

He said:

If you do convert to Judaism, it comes with a passport and that allows you to join the Israeli military.

Asked why his plans changed, he added:

I just lost my interest in that and couldn’t see what I was chasing. I stopped being able to see what was out there for me.

On returning to the UK, he got talking to Patatas – who was then going through a relationship break-up – through the Telegram messenger app, along with other National Action members.

The couple first met at in a pub on Boxing Day 2016, in a group meeting also attended by one of the co-founders of National Action, Ben Raymond.

Photographs taken at Thomas’s Banbury home by counter-terrorism officers, following their arrest in January 2018, revealed that Nazi and Ku Klux Klan symbols were very much part of the domestic set up.

There was a KKK flag hanging in the lounge, scatter cushions emblazoned with the Nazi party symbol, and a pastry cutter in a kitchen drawer shaped like a swastika.

A third defendant, Daniel Bogunovic, from Leicester, was also convicted of being a member of National Action. The warehouse worker was a leading figure in the organisation’s Midlands chapter.
Jurors were told Bogunovic already had a conviction from earlier this year for stirring up racial hatred after being part of a group that put up offensive stickers at Aston University in Birmingham.

Thomas, a twice-failed army applicant, was also convicted of having a terrorist manual, the Anarchist’s Cookbook, which contained instructions on making “viable” bombs.

The three defendants will be sentenced on 14 December.

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  • Cozmo the Magician

    Things really are different over there. Not the Nazis, but the laws. And I have rather mixed feelings. On one hand, I love our (US) laws giving us freedom of speech and assembly etc. On the other hand, these are out and out HATE groups. But on the gripping hand, the ONLY thing these people did was decorate with tasteless shit and get together with other like minded people. If there was evidence they actually had been planing to HURT people , I could see the need to investigate and arrest them.

    But, I can also see where things are much different over there. After all, the Nazis never bombed or invaded the US. BUT, we have been attacked by home-grown nazis and I STILL support peoples rights under the constitution UNTIL they start planing harm.

  • Jemolk

    I must say, I’m more than a little wary of the idea of banned groups or that you can be convicted for simply being a member of such a group. The actions and sentiments of the group can without a doubt be actionable, but simple existence and membership? I’m not familiar with the laws the UK has on this, but they’d need to be pretty stringent on what sort of groups could be banned, such as evidence of the group organizing actual crimes, for me to be exactly comfortable with this. I really don’t like the idea of becoming too close to the monster we hope to destroy.

    Deliberately creating racial tension, like seems to be implied by the “stirring racial hatred” conviction, I can see reasonably falling outside the bounds of free expression. But I really think we should go after individuals qua individuals, and not simply as members of a group, even if that group is horribly racist. Part of my concern is that it would be easier to frame a group than an individual. If 80+% of the individuals in a group are arrested for various crimes, that should be a clear enough sign to keep a close eye on its members, shut down its advertising, and warn people away. Outright making it illegal to be a member seems too close for comfort to potentially illegitimizing organized protesters with real grievances, depending on who gains power in the future.

  • epeeist

    I must say, I’m more than a little wary of the idea of banned groups or that you can be convicted for simply being a member of such a group.

    You might consider experiences in the UK are coloured by decades of terrorism in Ireland, Islamic terrorism (I live just outside of Manchester) and the murder of MP Jo Cox.

  • Jemolk

    True enough. Being a member of certain groups is at very least reason for extra scrutiny, I’d gladly grant that. It just seems like a law that’s too easy to instantly abuse. Of course, you’d know better than I would whether it actually would be. I presume you’re less than particularly concerned that the Tories would use this to shut down leftists by labelling the more extreme in ideals (but not necessarily methods) groups as terrorists? Part of my inclination to squirm is that I know for an actual fact that here in the US, the Republicans absolutely would.

    And hey, if it works for you guys and isn’t ever abused, that’s great, and I have no qualms at all with that. I just know how it would play out here, and don’t want to see 1984 used as an instruction manual any more than it already is.

  • epeeist

    Being a member of certain groups is at very least reason for extra scrutiny, I’d gladly grant that.

    Yes, I’d go that far.

    It just seems like a law that’s too easy to instantly abuse.

    And this is where I start to get queasy. I should note that my father was a Trotskyist and our post was regularly delivered with a sticker on marked “Opened in error, resealed”.

  • Jim Jones

    Here is an actual treasonous plot which was all manufactured by a loose group of wealthy Americans, determined to destroy FDR’s laws and legacy and return the US to the gilded age. This is why the US middle class is shrinking and most unions were destroyed.

    Business Plot – Wikipedia

    The Business Plot was an alleged political conspiracy in 1933 in the United States. Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler claimed that wealthy businessmen were plotting to create a fascist veterans’ organization with Butler as its leader and use it in a coup d’état to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, Butler testified before the United States House of Representatives Special Committee on Un-American Activities (the “McCormack-Dickstein Committee”) on these claims. No one was prosecuted.

    At the time of the incidents, news media dismissed the plot, with a New York Times editorial characterizing it as a “gigantic hoax”. While historians have questioned whether or not a coup was actually close to execution, most agree that some sort of “wild scheme” was contemplated and discussed.

    Roosevelt’s election was upsetting for many conservative businessmen of the time, as his “campaign promise that the government would provide jobs for all the unemployed had the perverse effect of creating a new wave of unemployment by businessmen frightened by fears of socialism and reckless government spending.”

    Some writers have said concerns over the gold standard were also involved; Jules Archer, in The Plot to Seize the White House, wrote that with the end of the gold standard, “conservative financiers were horrified. They viewed a currency not solidly backed by gold as inflationary, undermining both private and business fortunes and leading to national bankruptcy. Roosevelt was damned as a socialist or Communist out to destroy private enterprise by sapping the gold backing of wealth in order to subsidize the poor.”

    When that failed, people like W R Hearst picked first Billy Graham, then other religious figures, to spread the word … not so much about Jesus, but about the evils of communism, unions and socialism. Their policies resulted in Reagan who finally destroyed the middle class with voodoo economics.