Revealed: the hidden global network behind Tommy Robinson

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Guardian investigation shows how cash, legal support and millions of tweets underpin anti-Islam activist – but Facebook removes his ‘donate’ button

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.

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.

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.

Related: Tommy Robinson: from local loud mouth to international far right poster boy

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