Thursday, 16 July 2009

Here is the News. Or not as the case may be.

My fellow Independent (Socialist) Councillor in Northampton, Tony Clarke, recently posted the following blog. It is well worth repeating. If you wish to see the orginal go to:

"Counter terrorism detectives investigating plots in Yorkshire have seized the largest suspected terrorist arsenal in England since the early 1960s. The haul includes over 300 weapons, ranging from rocket launchers to firearms and pipebombs.They have been found in the last six weeks during raids of over 20 properties. Some People have been arrested. Several have been charged and reports suggest more arrests are imminent.The police investigation is linked to arrests in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. The police are examining allegations that many of the guns were manufactured or reactivated, then sold over the Internet.

Detectives have also discovered maps and plans of target buildings in the the homes of those arrested.All of the above took place in a series of raids and arrest in Yorkshire in the last 6 weeks.So why hasn't it hit the media in a big way? Surely the biggest arms cache seized in nearly 50 years, including the discovery of rocket launchers is big HEADLINE news at a time when terrorism is such a national concern and obsession? And the media have not been shy in the past at exposing Britain's "Home Grown Terrorists" and the threat they pose to our country.

But the difference here is a simple albeit inexplicable one. You see all those arrested were far right extremists, the investigation was part of a campaign against Neo Nazis, and amongst the finds less dangerous but more worrying were membership details of the BNP. In addition to the finds reports of attacks on Mosques (the focus of those discovered maps and plans) are on the increase. All this points to a concentration of far right terror activity set in Yorkshire, where the BNP won a seat in the European parliament last month. A Whitehall official said: "We are not picking them up anywhere else in the country like this and it may be related to the strong support for the BNP." And it also suggests that todays conviction of NF member Neil Lewington for the manufacture of improvised bombs and last years conviction of fellow Nazi Martin Gilliiard are just the tip of a very nasty iceburg.

So why the news clamp down? why can do the media publish Lewington's conviction and yet seem keen to hide the evidence of even worst planned atrocities in Yorkshire?

The only national politician seemingly willing to speak out seems to be my old work mate and fellow once expelled Labour Party member Ken Livingstone! Ken is now chair of Unite Against Fascism and he was clear in stating his concerns when he said "It is extraordinary that the entire national media are not galvanised by the discovery of the largest terrorist arms cache in Britain since the 1960s and clear statements by the authorities that there is a rise in violent far right terrorism." This is clearly a threat to every Black, Asian, Muslim and other minority ethnic and religious group in Britain, as shown by the firebombing of Muslim targets which could easily have led to deaths. This shows the reality behind the election of the BNP to the European parliament and the effects of the drip, drip, drip of Islamophobia in the media. "We need an all-out campaign to politically defeat the extreme right, the media to expose the threat of far right terrorism and the police to relentlessly pursue those responsible for every attack."

I agree with him wholeheartedly and perhaps some need to be asking some serious questions as to how our broadcast news is selected and transmitted. It seems not a week goes by without news reports of suspected Muslim Terrorists being led away from their homes for questioning, usually set against a framed backdrop of the local community carrying out tasks that are little more offensive than shopping or playing in the street or simply going about their daily business.

If we are going to win the war against terror, and ensure that the 'Prevent Violent Extremism' agenda is successful then we need to ensure that equal attention and focus is given to the obvious dangers coming from the white supremacists and the far right in our own back yards instead of only focusing on Muslim Communities and fueling further the Islamaphobia that exists almost unhindered in our country."

Cllr. Tony Clarke


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