The British far-right activist Tommy Robinson is receiving financial, political and moral support from a broad array of non-British groups and individuals, including US thinktanks, rightwing Australians and Russian trolls, a Guardian investigation has discovered.
Robinson, an anti-Islam campaigner who is leading a “Brexit betrayal” march in London on Sunday, has received funding from a US tech billionaire and a thinktank based in Philadelphia.
Two other US thinktanks, part-funded by some of the biggest names in rightwing funding, have published a succession of articles in support of Robinson, who has become a cause célèbre among the American far right since he was jailed in May for two months.
His imprisonment on contempt of court charges prompted a vigorous international Twitter campaign, with 2.2m tweets being posted using the hashtag #freetommy between May and October...
...The Guardian looked into Robinson’s global support after he was jailed for filming outside a rape trial involving defendants of mainly Pakistani heritage at Leeds crown court. He was released on 1 August after the court of appeal ordered that he should be retried. The attorney general is deciding whether to proceed with a retrial.
The investigation has established that:
- A Philadelphia-based thinktank, the Middle East Forum (MEF), acknowledges it has spent about $60,000 (£47,000) on Robinson’s legal fees and demonstrations staged in London earlier this year. A senior MEF executive has been closely involved in preparations for this weekend’s march, though the thinktank said she was there in a personal capacity.
- A US tech billionaire, Robert Shillman, financed a fellowship that helped pay for Robinson to be employed in 2017 by a rightwing Canadian media website, the Rebel Media, on a salary of about £5,000 a month.
- A small Australian rightwing group, Australian Liberty Alliance, says it has helped fund Robinson, but did not disclose how much.
- A New York City-based thinktank, the Gatestone Institute, has published a succession of articles supporting Robinson’s cause. ( Run by John Bolton until recently).
- The David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), a California-based thinktank that describes itself as a “school for political warfare”, has published a series of pieces defending Robinson, and has lobbied for him to address US politicians.
Horowitz, the co-founder of the DHFC, told the Guardian in an email: “Tommy Robinson is a courageous Englishman who has risked his life to expose the rape epidemic of young girls conducted by Muslim gangs and covered up by your shameful government.”'
Read more: Revealed: the hidden global network and ultra-Zionists behind Tommy Robinson