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Thursday, June 10, 1999 Published at 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK


KKK plans 'infiltration' of the UK

The Ku Klux Klan could be recruiting in Maesteg

By BBC correspondent Andy Hosken

Many Asian families in the valleys of South Wales have stories of so called 'skinhead' violence and it appears the United State's notorious Ku Klux Klan is attempting to exploit that hatred.

The BBC's Andy Hosken: "The KKK has appeared in South Wales"
While not all skinheads are violent or racist, these gangs are organised, the violence is extreme and the terror is shared by everyone - both black and white.

One Asian shopkeeper described a typical experience with three local youths, who he says were skinheads.

"They just started swearing. They said: 'You black bastards, get out of here. You're making the money, we haven't got a job.' Things like that," he said.

Asian doctor beaten

"And then he tried to hit my nephew, and he was trying to come inside our shop."

In recent weeks, a local Asian doctor was hauled from his car and beaten up.

It is clear that in certain areas of South Wales there is a serious problem with racial violence. But ethnic minorities account for only 2% of the population.

[ image: Former KKK leader David Duke:
Former KKK leader David Duke: "No future"
The main cause appears to be poverty and unemployment.

There used to be five pits in the hills around the area. Now, the same hills provide ideal places for unemployed youths to strip down stolen cars or take drugs.

And there have also been eyewitness reports from locals that the hills are used for Ku Klux Klan (KKK)-related activities.

The KKK has appeared in South Wales, in the form of a 50-year-old man called Alan Boscella. He has admitted past involvement with the group.

In 1994, he was convicted and fined for a public order offence after holding a 4 July party in his back garden, where a black effigy was hung from a washing line.

Mr Boscella insists that his involvement with the Klan ceased at least four years ago.

'New World Order'

The Klans in Britain are sponsored by what is left of the so-called Invisible Empire in the US, but they deny being involved in violence.

The British representative of one "chapter" of the Klan - the "New World Order" agreed to meet in a park in south London.

"It [the KKK] does have a bad reputation," he said.

"You could certainly use that to your advantage sometime, but it's a reputation that we need to get rid of."

[ image: Support for the American Klan in waning]
Support for the American Klan in waning
He said the Klan aimed to set up groups in the UK's counties and major towns.

"The main thing, politically, is infiltration of the main parties - to help further the Klan's aims within the main political parties."

Tom Robb is the Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the most powerful Klansman in the US.

We met at the Klan's secret headquarters in Arkansas, where he showed me around.

"The Klan is a non-violent organisation," he said, branding those who are violent "losers".

"I don't know who's violent and who's non-violent. That's a claim that people make, sometimes without foundation."

'Kicked by the media'

Twenty years ago, David Duke was head of the Klan and was credited with its short-term revival in the 1970s.

He is one of US's most controversial and reviled politicians. His views remain largely unchanged, but now he is a Republican.

"It's been kicked by the media so frequently that I don't think it's got much of a future," he says of the KKK today.

"It's really more of a historical thing now."

Nonetheless, the Klan is causing concern in South Wales, even as it is treated with contempt in the southern US states where it started 130 years ago.

Martin Morton, a black saxophonist in New Orleans, explained the organisation's decline.

"They can never be as strong as they think they are. Not because of the blacks who want to stop them, but because of other whites who don't want that form of life."

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