The New York Times has alleged in a page one story that a far-right Ulster loyalist is behind a Trump supporting website which played a significant role in fake news and damaging stories about Hillary Clinton. The Times lead story headline ran “How a Putin Fan Overseas Helped Push pro Trump propaganda to Americans.”
The Patriot News Agency which describes itself “Built by Patriots, for Patriots” has received the backing of Ulster extremist Jim Dowson, a far-right activist in Belfast. The site has previously ran stories such as “Hillary’s Satanic Network Exposed” and claimed the Democrats “sought out underage children for “entertainment” at a hot tub party”.
According to Politicis.co.uk Dowson, has close ties to Loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland and was “arrested for organizing several illegal parades in Northern Ireland which culminated in a series of violent clashes on the streets of Belfast.”
The site hit back at the Times’s claim that it spread fake news on its Facebook page, insisting, “Shame the NY Times did not state that this site does not run with fake stories or loony tune articles from suspect sources. WE DEAL IN FACTS FROM CREDIBLE JOURNALISTS!
“Seems the New York Times does not like us!!! (Front Page?) They keep talking about one guy but not the team of worldwide people who care and who made the difference...odd.”
Dowson praised the site as bringing, "devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning."
He welcomed it as an alternative to mainstream media, “Simple truth is that after 40 years of the right having no voice because the media was owned by the enemy, we were FORCED to become incredibly good at alternative media in a way the left simply can’t grasp or handle. Bottom line is: BREXIT, TRUMP and much more to follow.”
Dawson is an outspoken supporter of Putin and does not hide his links to fellow far-right activists in Russia, or his hope that the President-elect will develop a strong relationship with the Kremlin.
Although he denied in an e-mail to the Times that he received financial support from Moscow, in light of the CIA’s insistence that Russia interfered in the election, some may treat his claim with scepticism.
Once described as the “evil genius” of British fascism, Jim Dowson has a string of criminal convictions including two breaches of the peace and criminal damage. Although raised in Airdrie, Scotland, the father of nine has lived for many years just outside of Belfast where he has been involved with numerous far-right causes.
Originally a member of the Orange Order where he was accused of glorifying the loyalist murderer Michael Stone. Dowson subsequently fell out with the Order and left amid much rancor, describing the organization as packed with “atheists and boozers."
He then went on to found the UK Life League which controversially published the names and contact details of sexual health workers, a practice he defended to the Belfast Telegraph as no different to a newspaper reporting the name and address of someone appearing in court. When a family planning clinic opened its doors in Belfast in 2012, it was Dowson who organized the protest, telling activists it was, "good to see an issue that united Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland".
But it was in his activism for various far-right British organizations that Dowson really made his mark; he joined the openly racist British National Party and threw himself into raising money for it from an industrial warehouse in Belfast. Despite his success - he claimed to have raised $5 million for the party that since has gone bankrupt - he abruptly quit the BNP in 2010. Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper reported he was thrown out over an allegation that he groped a blonde female activist.He denied the charge and called his accuser "a daft wee lassie."
From there he helped found Britain First - a splinter group of the BNP - where he provided most of its funding and intellect, leading to him being dubbed the group’s “ideological guru” by journalists covering the party. He would later resign from the party, citing its invasion of mosques as “counterproductive and unchristian”.
Within Northern Ireland he is mostly known for his prominent role in the 2012 Belfast flag protests; described as “keen to pour fuel on the Belfast fires” and “attempting to stir up trouble” he helped lead protests for weeks against the council’s decision to stop flying the Union Jack daily from city hall, choking up the city center as a result.
Only in his 50’s and reputedly a millionaire, this could only be the first ripple he makes in U.S. politics.
Patriot News were asked for comment for this article but failed to respond.