“...the team that produces Searchlight...has an international reputation for accuracy and honesty.” Ray Hill, Searchlight, September 1992, page 13.

“[Gerry Gable is] a reputable veteran journalist formerly with LWT...[known for his] research”. Gary Murray, former M.I.5. operative in his 1993 book, Enemies of the State.

Searchlight magazine’s reputation for up-to-the-minute quality information on the extreme right is legendary. Or perhaps legend would be a better word. Since it began regular publication in 1975, Searchlight has boasted of running countless “moles” and undercover operatives inside the National Front, the British National Party and other far right organisations. In the words of “academic” Richard Thurlow, Searchlight is “the most interesting intelligence source for post-1945 British fascism...Gerry Gable’s intelligence activities...appeared to find out more about the extreme right than the fascists knew themselves.” (1)

These are proud boasts, if true. But just what are the facts about Searchlight’s “information” network? How accurate is its information on the extreme right? How up to date? How useful?

Column 88 And The Mythical Nazi Underground

In 1975, articles began appearing in the mainstream press about a group called Column 88. This was said to be the “Nazi underground”, which had been founded around 1970, although it had been in existence in one form or another for much longer. Its existence was first revealed by the Daily Telegraph in April 1975. (2) The man behind this story and virtually all the others about Column 88 was Richard David (Dave) Roberts (1949-82). Roberts, a communist, joined the National Front under the name Marshall in 1975. (3) Later, he contacted Searchlight’s managing editor Maurice Ludmer. Ludmer (1926-81) became either a fellow conspirator or more likely a dupe of Roberts. Together they fed all manner of garbage to the press about Column 88. In July 1975, Roberts and two of his “Nazi” drinking cronies were arrested, charged with and eventually convicted of conspiracy to assault the staff of an Indian restaurant. (4)

These events led to Roberts handing over to the authorities 12-3 hours of covert tape recordings, numerous documents, and making all manner of allegations about the activities of Column 88. All this was reported in great earnest in Searchlight at the time. (5) Other contemporary reports claimed that Column 88 had an underground army of three hundred men and women. (6) David Irving was said to have been a leading member; it was even hinted in some quarters that the Duke of Westminster might have bankrolled it. (7) The end result was that, after a lengthy inquiry, an ACF instructor and a member of the T.A. were dismissed. (8) This was the full extent of the conspiracy to bomb, burn and take over the country.

In 1978 and 1980, a number of letter bombs were sent to left wing sources; callers were said to have claimed responsibility on behalf of Column 88, but no one was ever charged in connection with them, and Column 88 faded from sight. In 1976, Dave Roberts was said to have been one of eleven journalists who worked part-time for Searchlight. (9) This is unquestionably a gross exaggeration. Some of the journalists who have worked for this magazine over the years appear not to have existed; John Ardent, for example, and who was Vernon Green who was listed as assistant editor from December 1980 to June 1981?

Spies And Lies

In an interview/article published in the Guardian in 1980, it was claimed that Maurice Ludmer ran Searchlight helped by several assistants and volunteers, and, further, that he had built up “a large network of spies, informants and observers” who fed back a constant stream of information to the magazine. (10) This is complete eyewash. Later in the same article a far more credible admission was made. “A lot of our best information comes from different factions inside these organisations, warring with one another. They call and tell us what’s going on.” (11) This is confirmed by, for example, the book Attempted Murder, (12) which was published 6 years later. This is a document written with bitterness and vituperation by one faction of the warring Front against the other. In it, leading National Fronter Steve Brady is accused of leaking information to Searchlight relating to the operation of National Front commercial enterprises. (13)

This speaks volumes for the integrity of “fascists”. It also explodes the conspiracy theory developed by Ludmer’s successor and spiritual heir Gerry Gable, namely that everyone on the extreme right is a Nazi and that they are all plotting together to throw Britain if not the entire Western world into a race war of unimaginable proportions. It also raises serious questions about the quality of Searchlight’s intelligence.


In April 1986, Searchlight ran a story about a sensational plot to kidnap and murder Gerry Gable. (14) It has been suggested that Gable believed this nonsense, which was also reported in the national press. For a while, Gable was given special protection by the police. But aren’t all police officers fascists? Don’t they guard “Nazi criminals” ? (15)

Whoever fed Gable this garbage about the plot to murder everybody’s favourite Jewish "anti-fascist" may well have fed him other garbage over the years. In his two recent publications A Lie Too Far and At War With The Truth, Larry O’Hara has argued convincingly that Gable and his error-prone magazine are tools of the Secret State. In the current writer’s opinion, O’Hara (16) overstates the case, but maybe not by much. It is a certainty that any real information and scoops Searchlight runs are spoon-fed to the magazine by its friends/employers in low places.

O’Hara made this point recently in a conference on the security services. (17) In its June 1993 issue, Searchlight ran a feature called The missing honour of Ahmed Rami. Rami is an Islamic pseudo-historian and anti-Semite. Searchlight published what it purported to be “The secret transcript of Rami’s interview by the security police when he first entered Sweden in 1973.” The discerning reader is entitled to ask how is it that Searchlight editor Gable, who doesn’t know how to use a library and who cannot even remember when his own magazine was founded - see next section - how can such a person obtain official documents of a foreign police force, which, in the article it is clearly stated are “still stamped secret” ? The obvious answer, indeed, the only plausible one, is that this document was passed on to Gable by one of his buddies in the Secret State.

Obviously, this doesn’t require any remarkable journalistic skills, nor flair for investigative work, it simply requires being able to parrot and paraphrase other people’s research. And lies. Other useful information - useful to whom? - comes, as previously stated, from “fascists” themselves, or is gleaned from other left wing magazines and groups, which means that much of what passes for intelligence is a mish-mash of rumour, speculation and outright lies.

Sloppy Research

On the most cursory inspection, Searchlight’s “research” is exposed as so incredibly sloppy that it is a wonder anyone ever pays any attention to it. The Searchlight team do not even know how to use a library. To take just two examples, in the June 1992 issue, (no 204, page 8), it is said that “Professor Anthony Flew” is a geographer. One has only to consult Who’s Who to see that Professor Antony Flew - note the spelling - is in fact a distinguished philosopher. Even worse, they appear to be just as ignorant about themselves.

In the same issue, page 12, a flyer advertising a conference refers to Gable as editor of Searchlight, published continuously since 1974. Need we point out that Searchlight, in its current incarnation, was first published in February 1975, the second issue appearing in April, and, after that, with one or two exceptions, the magazine appeared monthly?

The same flyer claims that Gerry Gable recruited Ray Hill in the early 1980s. Actually, it was Hill who approached Searchlight, after having betrayed his friends and comrades to Organised Jewry in South Africa. And, of course, they saved perhaps hundreds of lives at Notting Hill. We will not discuss the non-existent 1981 Carnival bomb plot here, (18) but we do think the European Parliament will have second thoughts about ever again employing Gable or Searchlight as a Special Researcher on its “Commission of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia” after they read our previous exposé.

And More Lies

In its October 1993 issue, no 220, page 12, the bald claim is made that Valerie Tyndall, estranged wife of BNP Führer JT, told Searchlight that she had married her husband because she thought he was “a good national socialist like herself”. We find it difficult to believe this is a genuine quote. Obviously, this is yet another attempt to brand Tyndall a Nazi. In view of his dictatorial style of leadership and his admiration for Hitler, among other things, isn’t such overkill more than a little academic? But this is hardly the first time Searchlight has put words in someone else’s mouth. In the November 1992 issue, no 209, pages 4-5, Ray Hill reveals that “I was chatting to Mark Taha, a man whose interests range from the hard fringe of sadomasochism [sic] to libertarian and national socialist politics.” Whether or not Hill actually writes this column, he was certainly not chatting to Mark Taha anywhere or any time. The truth is that Taha had met Larry O’Hara at a Libertarian Alliance conference! on the environment, and Searchlight had almost certainly had a “mole” at this conference, or perhaps someone who was there innocently mentioned O’Hara’s being seen talking to Taha. This claim that Hill had been talking to Taha was put out as disinformation, possibly with the idea of sewing discord between the two parties. Needless to say, if that was Searchlight’s aim, it failed miserably.

And More Mistakes

The February 1991 issue, no 188, carried a front page smear on Sun journalist Garry Bushell, implying that he was a National Front sympathiser. Or even a mole. Bushell sued, and Searchlight paid him an out-of-court settlement of £1,010. (19) What sort of magazine can Searchlight be that it libels a Sun journalist? On the subject of which, although it is not widely known, on 3rd August 1988, BRMB Radio of Birmingham paid Mr Colin Jordan £400 in an out-of-court settlement over remarks made on air on 9th February 1988 by Searchlight “mole” Ray Hill. (20) What sort of person libels one of Britain’s most notorious anti-Semites?

Tim Hepple: Asset Or Liability?

We don’t want to intrude on Larry O’Hara’s excellent (if garbled!) research so we won’t dwell on Tim Hepple, Searchlight’s latest asset. We will only point out that, from the evidence and arguments produced by O’Hara and his team, and some of the claims made by Searchlight itself, Hepple is a bizarre character indeed. Manning Johnson and Whitaker Chambers were two time-serving communists who became avowed enemies of communism, so it is possible for people’s political views to change radically, especially when they realise they have been conned or have the courage to admit they were wrong. But Hepple has been through almost the entire political spectrum in an extremely short period of time. He has been in the BNP, the grotesque, lunatic race-hate cult the Church of the Creator, he has worked with Searchlight, with other anti-Searchlight “anti-fascists” after slagging off Searchlight, with anarchists, whom he has attempted to incite to violence, and with Searchlight again. (21)

Hepple’s adventures in the extreme right were trumpeted in much the same way as were Hill’s, although it was not claimed that Hepple had prevented any massacres a là the Notting Hill nonsense. In fact, Hepple’s main claim to fame is that he is said to have heard John Tyndall boast in private that he is really a Nazi but hasn’t the courage to declare so publicly. The realisation that John Tyndall is indeed a Nazi will of course have come as a terrific shock even to Searchlight’s readers. Hepple’s other major achievement was to palm off a fake list on anarchist Tim Scargill, as O’Hara clearly demonstrates. (22) Hepple has also boasted of working for the security services, which probably indicates that he is mentally unbalanced. Undoubtedly, Searchlight’s controllers will wash their hands of him at the first convenient opportunity, and in much the same way as they did with their first mole/fantasist, Dave Roberts. (23)

A Nazi Lifts The Lid

Harold Covington is not a particularly pleasant individual to look at, overweight, bearded and with a penchant for distasteful T-shirts. (24) His politics are even more unpleasant, as you’ll realise if you come across his newsletter, Resistance. Harold Covington is a self-professed Nazi, which means that it’s probably not such a good idea to take everything he says at face value, especially about the Jews. But Harold doesn’t always tell lies. (25)

Circa August 1993, Harold Covington published an open letter to the British Left ...Searchlight’s macho munchkin GERRY GABLE is telling porkies again... (26) In this letter, Covington poured scorn on Gable’s claim in the July issue that “Searchlight investigators staking out the building saw very clearly that he was living there and his neighbours were very helpful...” (27) and gave a more prosaic explanation, that Searchlight obtained his box number address from sneak thief Tim Hepple, (28) and that Gable simply inquired at the local post office, “a matter of public record”. (29) As Covington points out, this involved no staking out, undercover or cloak and dagger work, or anything else related to Gable’s Nazi-hunting fantasies. In this letter, Covington also raises another serious issue, Gable and Searchlight, it seems, had either been trading information with (recently deceased) Jewish-born American anti-Semite Ben Klassen, or else forging documents allegedly sent by him to John Morse of the British National Party. In view of the allegations made by Larry O’Hara et al, substantiated in part in their recent publications, (30) the latter would appear more likely.


This then is the prosaic truth about Searchlight’s information network, its expert research and its respectable veteran journalists. If you really want to know what’s happening on the extreme right you’re better off subscribing to Spearhead, or to one of the small, independent left wing journals produced by anarchists and “anti-fascists” who do not work hand in glove with the Secret State. In fact, it is from publications like these that Searchlight obtains any useful information it does manage to acquire, which, naturally, by then, is months out of date. Why put money in Gerry Gable’s pocket? It might be you he smears next month.

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