Political commentator Dr John Coulter uses his experiences as a journalist reporting on fascists that his locking horns with the Far Right to expose their racism was not the wisest of things in his career thus far.

In spite of the Covid 19 pandemic, lockdown and restrictions, much has been penned this year about how Ireland’s Far Right is once more on the march, especially in Southern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, as a young Sunday school participant in the Sixties, we regularly sang a Gospel chorus: “Red and yellow, back and white, all are precious in His sight; Jesus loves all the children of the world.”

This chorus, along with the many overseas missionaries who would be regular visitors to the Presbyterian Manse, really emphasised the common sense view that there is no room for racism in the Christian faith. Salvation is God’s gift to all races.

As a journalist, it led me down the dangerous path of exploring why people hated others because of the colour of their skin.

However, it would not be until 1985 - seven years into my career as a reporter - that I would experience the wrath of what it is like to get on the wrong side of the Far Right.

It was to be a two-part series which I had published in the Belfast News Letter in August 1985 which sparked the trouble. Many months prior to publication, I had received an unusual tip-off that the Ku Klux Klan was recruiting in Northern Ireland, but that it was trying to woo Catholics into the ranks.

This I found unbelievable as historically, the KKK included Catholics among the many sections of society which it traditionally hated. But my sources persisted in telling me their information was accurate.

Eventually, after much research and persuasion and setting up a communication chain which spanned the Atlantic, I managed to get a mole inside the so-called Mountain Church of Jesus Christ the Saviour - part of the Klan organisation based in Cohoctah, in Michigan state in North America.

Over the next 18 months, information and documentation flowed to me which established there was a link between the Provisional IRA and the KKK. When the research was complete, I had enough information to run the two-part series on Monday 5th August and Tuesday 6th August 1985. The series was entitled ‘Republicanism and the Right’.

The Monday article was an interview with the Rev Martin Smyth, the Presbyterian minister who had succeeded the murdered South Belfast Westminster MP Rev Robert Bradford as UUP MP for the constituency.

Rev Smyth was also Grand Master of the Orange Order and had been a frequent visitor to Clough Presbyterian Manse during my dad’s ministry there.

My interview with Rev Smyth was based on his academic paper entitled: ‘Fascism, Fenianism, Freedom’. The thrust of Rev Smyth’s interview was that the mantle of fascism in Ulster belonged more to Provisional Sinn Fein than to loyalists.

But it was the second part the following day which prompted the political lid to come off. It was headlined: ‘The IRA finds allies in the Klan’, and carried a quote from a key Klan activist who said: “Anyone who opposes a united Ireland is the enemy of white racial nationalism.”

The articles caused quite a stir, but then the phone calls started coming to the News Letter. It seemed the Mountain Church had sympathisers in Northern Ireland - but these were loyalists and they were not amused at me linking the KKK to the IRA.

The phone threats got so bad at the News Letter that my line manager said that any calls for me had to be vetted before they were put through. The Mountain Church may only have had a handful of supporters in Northern Ireland, but their fanaticism was unquestionable.

For the first time in my journalistic career, I feared that I had pushed the contentious boat of investigative work out too far. Oh yes, I’d reported on the activities of loyalist paramilitaries - especially the Third Force and the UVF super grass system - for the BBC, but no threats had ever been received.

I decided there was only one avenue - take my annual summer leave and get out of Northern Ireland!

By sheer chance, some church chums were planning a camping holiday to Jersey, but one of their number had dropped out, so off I set to a campsite in Jersey where I hid out for a couple of weeks. Mind you, I nearly did the KKK’s work for the racists one morning when I lit the gas stove the wrong way and nearly blew myself up!

By the time I returned to Northern Ireland, the fallout from my ‘Republicanism and the Right’ series had blown over. But a new storm was brewing later that year when Thatcher and FitzGerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Loyalism and Unionism mobilised against the Hillsborough Accord and the Far Right in the form of the National Front wanted to cash in on pro-Union anger. In the early Seventies, the NF had tried unsuccessfully to gain a foothold in Ulster.

The NF already had an established Belfast branch, but things got really serious when in 1986 it appointed a full-time official - John Field from the party’s ruling National Directorate - to oversee the party’s revamped election machinery.

Through sources, I made contact with Field, who, much to my surprise in spite of the previous year’s KKK/IRA links expose, agreed to an interview.

In terms of interview techniques, one of my gurus has always been Louis Theroux and his mild-mannered approach, no matter what interviewee he has to confront.

I’m certainly not a ‘badgering’ type of journalist. Perhaps it was my Presbyterian upbringing in the Manse with an emphasis from my parents on politeness and good manners, but I’ve never adopted a confrontational style of journalistic interviewing. This was the approach I took with Field.

Contentiously too, I invited him into my office at the Belfast News Letter for the interview. It raised more than a few eyebrows among my colleagues.

The ethical pitfall in taking a ‘softly, softy’ interview approach was that the final draft of the article would actually read like a ‘puff piece’ for the NF, but I felt - especially with the headline ‘Front poses sinister new threat’ - that I had got my warning message across that the NF was simply jumping on the anti-Accord anger in the pro-Union community for its own ends.

Later in July 1986, I reported in the News Letter’s sister paper, the Sunday News, how NF activists had been trying to use the traditional Twelfth parade to Edenderry to convince Orangemen that independence was the best way forward for Northern Ireland.

In the article, headlined: ‘Front Woos Crowds’, I wrote:

The Front also stressed that loyalists could not trust the ‘old political leadership to achieve a satisfactory political solution. “We need a hardline political organisation to articulate the feelings of ordinary loyalists,” said the NF.

Unknown to me, the NF was really annoyed by this report. Field didn’t complain. Indeed, he arranged a face to face interview with then NF chairman Nick Griffin - who later became the leader and an MEP for the Far Right British National Party.

We met in a Belfast city centre restaurant - Griffin on one side of the table, me on the other. During the course of the interview, Griffin handed me what he said was one of NF’s latest publications, entitled: ‘Attempted Murder: The State/Reactionary Plot Against The National Front.’

Munching on my burger, I flicked through the publication’s pages as I listened to Griffin’s plans to develop the NF in Ulster. Suddenly, I got the awful urge to vomit! On Page 28 of the ‘Attempted Murder’ publication was a half page devoted to me!

It included a photo of my article, along with the comment: 

Such lurid publicity was designed to frighten the NF away from involvement in Ulster (which it failed to do) and to saccade the reactionaries into trying to ditch the new militancy. 

At this point, I’ve no idea what Griffin was saying in the interview as my mind was focused on the dilemma - did Griffin not realise the John Coulter who was interviewing him was the John Coulter in the bylined article in ‘Attempted Murder’?

Maybe he did know, but was just wanted to freak me out by handing me a copy of ‘Attempted Murder’. In this he succeeded!

But it was to be my follow-up expose in the News Letter in 1987 which made the ‘Attempted Murder’ escapade pale into insignificance.

Given that the NF would make its recruitment ‘push’ around the Twelfth, I timed my expose for then. My expose was headlined: ‘Movement dedicated to an independent Ulster’ and carried photos of four key NF activists. The blurb summarised the ethos of the in-depth article: “Right-wing extremists are planning a major recruiting drive across Ulster over the Twelfth period. JOHN COULTER investigates the move by Northern Ireland’s neo-fascist movement.”

Needless to day, the NF was not impressed with the investigation and its retaliation was swift.

If I thought all that would happen was a couple of skinheads yelling a few insults at me when they recognised me covering the Belfast Twelfth demonstration at Edenderry, I was very sadly mistaken.

In August 1987, I was living in my parents’ home in Clough when I awoke to find a copy of the NF’s fortnightly newspaper, ‘National Front News’ shoved through the letterbox.

Okay, so maybe an NF sympathiser had used the cover of darkness to sneak up to our Clough home and shove Issue 93 through the letter box and then skulked off into the night.

It was only when I got to the publication’s page six that I felt the same sickening feeling that I’d experience in the restaurant with Griffin.

There was a passport style and size photo of myself along with a photo of the headline on my 1987 expose. It branded my article a ‘Smear Story’.

The NF wrote:

The apparently fair reporting at the start of the article very cleverly lends credibility to these outrageous claims made later on. The reporter responsible is one John Coulter and this is not the first time he has used this trick to smear the NF.
NF News therefore thought our readers should have a chance to find out a bit more about this man, so that will understand his motives better.
John Alexander Coulter is in his late twenties. He comes from Clough, Ballymena in Co Antrim. After studying at Coleraine University from 1977-80 he became a freelance journalist. After a spell telling lies about radical loyalists with the local BBC, he went to work as Education Correspondent with the Belfast Newsletter. He is a clerk for the Century Newspapers Branch of the NUJ.
For a while at university, Coulter flirted with several Marxist groups. He still has friends in the British and Irish Communist Organisation and has been seen with literature from the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party.
But it seems that Coulter’s hatred of the NF is also the result of his family background. His father is Cllr the Rev Robert Coulter, a leading official in the Ballymena Official Unionist Party and a key member of its Molyneaux faction (the Orange section). Molyneaux is the Sovereign Grand Master of the 70,000 strong Royal Black Institution, and Coulter’s father is his second in command.
This puts the Coulter family right at the top of the Orange establishment in Ulster, which has deliberately encouraged sectarian hatred in order to cloak its long exploitation of ordinary working people from every religious background.
These people naturally see the National Front’s call for the establishment of an independent, non-sectarian Ulster state as a threat to their old political power. And of course our Third Position economic policies would break their capitalist grip on the economy.
NF News sellers this year found a greatly increased understanding of this fact, and also an awareness that this is unacceptable to the ‘Fur-Coat Brigade’ of wealthy Unionists.
This is the reason for Coulter’s subtle anti-NF propaganda, and indeed for the editorial line taken by his paper. More than the traitor Thatcher, more than the murdering cowards of the IRA, these people are the greatest enemies of the New Ulster.


The layout of the NF retaliation resembled the page layout of my article in the News Letter. Factually, the NF News article only made one mistake - my time at Coleraine University was 1978-81, not 77-80.

But this was no loud-mouthed skinhead shouting in the street. This had been deliberately put through the letter box of my home.

The Far Right now knew precisely where I lived, and the Front had mentioned dad in its article, prompting the RUC to carry out a full-scale review of security around my parents’ home as well as instructions from the police about my personal security.

Thankfully, that was the last I heard of the Far Right for several years as I deliberately decided to shelve any future investigations.

It would be 2003 when I would have my next confrontation with the Far Right. In that year, I was commissioned to complete a two-part research feature for the London-based anti-racist magazine, Searchlight International.

Part One was published in November 2003 under the headline: ‘The Orange Swastika: The rise of new millennium Loyalist Nazism.’ Part of my research involved an interview with a so-called Grand Dragon of the Invisible Empire faction of the KKK. Part Two was to be published in December 2003.

In late November one evening at my marital home, there was a knock at the door. Standing on my front door step was my KKK source from the Invisible Empire.

In the article, I had identified him as a “well-educated, middle class, white graduate from County Antrim”. He told me - which I printed - that his organisation had “permanently binned the movie-reel images of Klansmen in white sheets brandishing American Confederate flags and burning Black Baptist Churches”.

He knew that Part Two of my feature would be published in the December 2003 edition of Searchlight and he was concerned that I would name him, which ironically, would have been a total betrayal of the journalist/source confidentiality code.

I informed him that I would not be breaching the journalism code to which he calmly replied. “So here’s the deal, Coulter. You don’t blow my cover and we don’t blow up your house!” As he was standing on my front door step, I fully agreed!

A few weeks later, Part Two was published under the headline: ‘The Faith of Fascism: The roots and theology of Identity Christianity.’ I did not name my Klan source!

But if ever I needed a reminder of the dangers of racism, it was being physically ill during a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland for a feature for the Irish Sunday Sun in January 2017 to mark January’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

During my earlier years at the Irish Daily Star and Star Sunday, I wrote other exposes about the Far Right. They were intended to expose the plans of racist and fascist organisations - including the KKK, British People’s Party and Lodge 14 as well as a plan to launch an Southern Irish version of the BNP - to recruit in various parts of the island of Ireland.

I see such articles as exposing the evils of racism, but ethically I have often asked myself - many racists take the view that any publicity, even bad publicity, is good publicity, so have my articles actually helped such Far Right organisations recruit new blood into their evil ranks?

I ease my conscience with the words I wrote in the Irish Sunday Sun about my trip to Auschwitz, which I described as a pilgrimage: “In spite of the nightmarish experience, it is one pilgrimage which I recommend everyone takes at least once in their lives. It will leave you in no doubt about the evils of racism.”

People have the democratic freedom to express their opinions - good, bad or indifferent - of my articles, but ultimately God will be my judge.

And it would be remiss of me, given my experiences, not to advise any fellow journalists wanting to investigate the activities of the Far Right - be warned, they bite, so carefully work out your backlash factor for yourself and your family.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that simply because the examples I have used from my own career happened in the 1980s and early 2000s that racism and fascism have suddenly politically and ideologically evaporated.

Individuals who peddled racism and fascism, such as Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, may be long since dead, but the ideals they pushed are still alive and kicking.


 Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter

 Listen to Dr John Coulter’s religious show, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning   around 9.30 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM, or listen online   at www.thisissunshine.com

Fighting The Fascists And Dodging The Klan

Political commentator Dr John Coulter uses his experiences as a journalist reporting on fascists that his locking horns with the Far Right to expose their racism was not the wisest of things in his career thus far.

In spite of the Covid 19 pandemic, lockdown and restrictions, much has been penned this year about how Ireland’s Far Right is once more on the march, especially in Southern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, as a young Sunday school participant in the Sixties, we regularly sang a Gospel chorus: “Red and yellow, back and white, all are precious in His sight; Jesus loves all the children of the world.”

This chorus, along with the many overseas missionaries who would be regular visitors to the Presbyterian Manse, really emphasised the common sense view that there is no room for racism in the Christian faith. Salvation is God’s gift to all races.

As a journalist, it led me down the dangerous path of exploring why people hated others because of the colour of their skin.

However, it would not be until 1985 - seven years into my career as a reporter - that I would experience the wrath of what it is like to get on the wrong side of the Far Right.

It was to be a two-part series which I had published in the Belfast News Letter in August 1985 which sparked the trouble. Many months prior to publication, I had received an unusual tip-off that the Ku Klux Klan was recruiting in Northern Ireland, but that it was trying to woo Catholics into the ranks.

This I found unbelievable as historically, the KKK included Catholics among the many sections of society which it traditionally hated. But my sources persisted in telling me their information was accurate.

Eventually, after much research and persuasion and setting up a communication chain which spanned the Atlantic, I managed to get a mole inside the so-called Mountain Church of Jesus Christ the Saviour - part of the Klan organisation based in Cohoctah, in Michigan state in North America.

Over the next 18 months, information and documentation flowed to me which established there was a link between the Provisional IRA and the KKK. When the research was complete, I had enough information to run the two-part series on Monday 5th August and Tuesday 6th August 1985. The series was entitled ‘Republicanism and the Right’.

The Monday article was an interview with the Rev Martin Smyth, the Presbyterian minister who had succeeded the murdered South Belfast Westminster MP Rev Robert Bradford as UUP MP for the constituency.

Rev Smyth was also Grand Master of the Orange Order and had been a frequent visitor to Clough Presbyterian Manse during my dad’s ministry there.

My interview with Rev Smyth was based on his academic paper entitled: ‘Fascism, Fenianism, Freedom’. The thrust of Rev Smyth’s interview was that the mantle of fascism in Ulster belonged more to Provisional Sinn Fein than to loyalists.

But it was the second part the following day which prompted the political lid to come off. It was headlined: ‘The IRA finds allies in the Klan’, and carried a quote from a key Klan activist who said: “Anyone who opposes a united Ireland is the enemy of white racial nationalism.”

The articles caused quite a stir, but then the phone calls started coming to the News Letter. It seemed the Mountain Church had sympathisers in Northern Ireland - but these were loyalists and they were not amused at me linking the KKK to the IRA.

The phone threats got so bad at the News Letter that my line manager said that any calls for me had to be vetted before they were put through. The Mountain Church may only have had a handful of supporters in Northern Ireland, but their fanaticism was unquestionable.

For the first time in my journalistic career, I feared that I had pushed the contentious boat of investigative work out too far. Oh yes, I’d reported on the activities of loyalist paramilitaries - especially the Third Force and the UVF super grass system - for the BBC, but no threats had ever been received.

I decided there was only one avenue - take my annual summer leave and get out of Northern Ireland!

By sheer chance, some church chums were planning a camping holiday to Jersey, but one of their number had dropped out, so off I set to a campsite in Jersey where I hid out for a couple of weeks. Mind you, I nearly did the KKK’s work for the racists one morning when I lit the gas stove the wrong way and nearly blew myself up!

By the time I returned to Northern Ireland, the fallout from my ‘Republicanism and the Right’ series had blown over. But a new storm was brewing later that year when Thatcher and FitzGerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Loyalism and Unionism mobilised against the Hillsborough Accord and the Far Right in the form of the National Front wanted to cash in on pro-Union anger. In the early Seventies, the NF had tried unsuccessfully to gain a foothold in Ulster.

The NF already had an established Belfast branch, but things got really serious when in 1986 it appointed a full-time official - John Field from the party’s ruling National Directorate - to oversee the party’s revamped election machinery.

Through sources, I made contact with Field, who, much to my surprise in spite of the previous year’s KKK/IRA links expose, agreed to an interview.

In terms of interview techniques, one of my gurus has always been Louis Theroux and his mild-mannered approach, no matter what interviewee he has to confront.

I’m certainly not a ‘badgering’ type of journalist. Perhaps it was my Presbyterian upbringing in the Manse with an emphasis from my parents on politeness and good manners, but I’ve never adopted a confrontational style of journalistic interviewing. This was the approach I took with Field.

Contentiously too, I invited him into my office at the Belfast News Letter for the interview. It raised more than a few eyebrows among my colleagues.

The ethical pitfall in taking a ‘softly, softy’ interview approach was that the final draft of the article would actually read like a ‘puff piece’ for the NF, but I felt - especially with the headline ‘Front poses sinister new threat’ - that I had got my warning message across that the NF was simply jumping on the anti-Accord anger in the pro-Union community for its own ends.

Later in July 1986, I reported in the News Letter’s sister paper, the Sunday News, how NF activists had been trying to use the traditional Twelfth parade to Edenderry to convince Orangemen that independence was the best way forward for Northern Ireland.

In the article, headlined: ‘Front Woos Crowds’, I wrote:

The Front also stressed that loyalists could not trust the ‘old political leadership to achieve a satisfactory political solution. “We need a hardline political organisation to articulate the feelings of ordinary loyalists,” said the NF.

Unknown to me, the NF was really annoyed by this report. Field didn’t complain. Indeed, he arranged a face to face interview with then NF chairman Nick Griffin - who later became the leader and an MEP for the Far Right British National Party.

We met in a Belfast city centre restaurant - Griffin on one side of the table, me on the other. During the course of the interview, Griffin handed me what he said was one of NF’s latest publications, entitled: ‘Attempted Murder: The State/Reactionary Plot Against The National Front.’

Munching on my burger, I flicked through the publication’s pages as I listened to Griffin’s plans to develop the NF in Ulster. Suddenly, I got the awful urge to vomit! On Page 28 of the ‘Attempted Murder’ publication was a half page devoted to me!

It included a photo of my article, along with the comment: 

Such lurid publicity was designed to frighten the NF away from involvement in Ulster (which it failed to do) and to saccade the reactionaries into trying to ditch the new militancy. 

At this point, I’ve no idea what Griffin was saying in the interview as my mind was focused on the dilemma - did Griffin not realise the John Coulter who was interviewing him was the John Coulter in the bylined article in ‘Attempted Murder’?

Maybe he did know, but was just wanted to freak me out by handing me a copy of ‘Attempted Murder’. In this he succeeded!

But it was to be my follow-up expose in the News Letter in 1987 which made the ‘Attempted Murder’ escapade pale into insignificance.

Given that the NF would make its recruitment ‘push’ around the Twelfth, I timed my expose for then. My expose was headlined: ‘Movement dedicated to an independent Ulster’ and carried photos of four key NF activists. The blurb summarised the ethos of the in-depth article: “Right-wing extremists are planning a major recruiting drive across Ulster over the Twelfth period. JOHN COULTER investigates the move by Northern Ireland’s neo-fascist movement.”

Needless to day, the NF was not impressed with the investigation and its retaliation was swift.

If I thought all that would happen was a couple of skinheads yelling a few insults at me when they recognised me covering the Belfast Twelfth demonstration at Edenderry, I was very sadly mistaken.

In August 1987, I was living in my parents’ home in Clough when I awoke to find a copy of the NF’s fortnightly newspaper, ‘National Front News’ shoved through the letterbox.

Okay, so maybe an NF sympathiser had used the cover of darkness to sneak up to our Clough home and shove Issue 93 through the letter box and then skulked off into the night.

It was only when I got to the publication’s page six that I felt the same sickening feeling that I’d experience in the restaurant with Griffin.

There was a passport style and size photo of myself along with a photo of the headline on my 1987 expose. It branded my article a ‘Smear Story’.

The NF wrote:

The apparently fair reporting at the start of the article very cleverly lends credibility to these outrageous claims made later on. The reporter responsible is one John Coulter and this is not the first time he has used this trick to smear the NF.
NF News therefore thought our readers should have a chance to find out a bit more about this man, so that will understand his motives better.
John Alexander Coulter is in his late twenties. He comes from Clough, Ballymena in Co Antrim. After studying at Coleraine University from 1977-80 he became a freelance journalist. After a spell telling lies about radical loyalists with the local BBC, he went to work as Education Correspondent with the Belfast Newsletter. He is a clerk for the Century Newspapers Branch of the NUJ.
For a while at university, Coulter flirted with several Marxist groups. He still has friends in the British and Irish Communist Organisation and has been seen with literature from the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party.
But it seems that Coulter’s hatred of the NF is also the result of his family background. His father is Cllr the Rev Robert Coulter, a leading official in the Ballymena Official Unionist Party and a key member of its Molyneaux faction (the Orange section). Molyneaux is the Sovereign Grand Master of the 70,000 strong Royal Black Institution, and Coulter’s father is his second in command.
This puts the Coulter family right at the top of the Orange establishment in Ulster, which has deliberately encouraged sectarian hatred in order to cloak its long exploitation of ordinary working people from every religious background.
These people naturally see the National Front’s call for the establishment of an independent, non-sectarian Ulster state as a threat to their old political power. And of course our Third Position economic policies would break their capitalist grip on the economy.
NF News sellers this year found a greatly increased understanding of this fact, and also an awareness that this is unacceptable to the ‘Fur-Coat Brigade’ of wealthy Unionists.
This is the reason for Coulter’s subtle anti-NF propaganda, and indeed for the editorial line taken by his paper. More than the traitor Thatcher, more than the murdering cowards of the IRA, these people are the greatest enemies of the New Ulster.


The layout of the NF retaliation resembled the page layout of my article in the News Letter. Factually, the NF News article only made one mistake - my time at Coleraine University was 1978-81, not 77-80.

But this was no loud-mouthed skinhead shouting in the street. This had been deliberately put through the letter box of my home.

The Far Right now knew precisely where I lived, and the Front had mentioned dad in its article, prompting the RUC to carry out a full-scale review of security around my parents’ home as well as instructions from the police about my personal security.

Thankfully, that was the last I heard of the Far Right for several years as I deliberately decided to shelve any future investigations.

It would be 2003 when I would have my next confrontation with the Far Right. In that year, I was commissioned to complete a two-part research feature for the London-based anti-racist magazine, Searchlight International.

Part One was published in November 2003 under the headline: ‘The Orange Swastika: The rise of new millennium Loyalist Nazism.’ Part of my research involved an interview with a so-called Grand Dragon of the Invisible Empire faction of the KKK. Part Two was to be published in December 2003.

In late November one evening at my marital home, there was a knock at the door. Standing on my front door step was my KKK source from the Invisible Empire.

In the article, I had identified him as a “well-educated, middle class, white graduate from County Antrim”. He told me - which I printed - that his organisation had “permanently binned the movie-reel images of Klansmen in white sheets brandishing American Confederate flags and burning Black Baptist Churches”.

He knew that Part Two of my feature would be published in the December 2003 edition of Searchlight and he was concerned that I would name him, which ironically, would have been a total betrayal of the journalist/source confidentiality code.

I informed him that I would not be breaching the journalism code to which he calmly replied. “So here’s the deal, Coulter. You don’t blow my cover and we don’t blow up your house!” As he was standing on my front door step, I fully agreed!

A few weeks later, Part Two was published under the headline: ‘The Faith of Fascism: The roots and theology of Identity Christianity.’ I did not name my Klan source!

But if ever I needed a reminder of the dangers of racism, it was being physically ill during a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland for a feature for the Irish Sunday Sun in January 2017 to mark January’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

During my earlier years at the Irish Daily Star and Star Sunday, I wrote other exposes about the Far Right. They were intended to expose the plans of racist and fascist organisations - including the KKK, British People’s Party and Lodge 14 as well as a plan to launch an Southern Irish version of the BNP - to recruit in various parts of the island of Ireland.

I see such articles as exposing the evils of racism, but ethically I have often asked myself - many racists take the view that any publicity, even bad publicity, is good publicity, so have my articles actually helped such Far Right organisations recruit new blood into their evil ranks?

I ease my conscience with the words I wrote in the Irish Sunday Sun about my trip to Auschwitz, which I described as a pilgrimage: “In spite of the nightmarish experience, it is one pilgrimage which I recommend everyone takes at least once in their lives. It will leave you in no doubt about the evils of racism.”

People have the democratic freedom to express their opinions - good, bad or indifferent - of my articles, but ultimately God will be my judge.

And it would be remiss of me, given my experiences, not to advise any fellow journalists wanting to investigate the activities of the Far Right - be warned, they bite, so carefully work out your backlash factor for yourself and your family.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that simply because the examples I have used from my own career happened in the 1980s and early 2000s that racism and fascism have suddenly politically and ideologically evaporated.

Individuals who peddled racism and fascism, such as Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, may be long since dead, but the ideals they pushed are still alive and kicking.


 Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter

 Listen to Dr John Coulter’s religious show, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning   around 9.30 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM, or listen online   at www.thisissunshine.com

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