An attorney for the British government has reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s decision to ban leading talk-radio host Michael Savage from entry.
WND reported last July the new Conservative-Party-led government of Prime Minister David Cameron informed the popular nationally syndicated host it would continue the ban initiated by the previous administration unless he repudiated statements made on his broadcasts that were deemed a threat to public security. The U.K., however, has never specified which statements it thought were so dangerous.
As WND reported in May 2009, then-British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that Savage was on a list of 16 people banned from entry because the government believed their views might provoke violence. Smith said it was “important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it’s a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won’t be welcome in this country.”
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In the latest communiqué from the British government, Michael Atkins, writing on behalf of the U.K.’s treasury solicitor, told Savage’s London-based attorney, “Your client has not provided any evidence to show that he did not commit the unacceptable behaviour” that prompted the “decision to exclude him, nor has your client provided any acceptable evidence to show his repudiation of those unacceptable behaviours.”
Atkins said Savage can do nothing at the moment to affect his status and must wait until December, when the decision is scheduled for review.
Responding to the lastest development, Savage pointed to Cameron and President Obama, during his current trip to the U.K., comparing themselves with President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher, “blathering about ‘democracy’ in the Arab world.”
“How about democracy in the U.K.?” asked Savage, referring to his case. “The freedom to a trial? The freedom of appeal? The freedom to set the record straight?
“Why does the Cameron government protect Muslim terrorists and Muslim hate-preachers who espouse the overthrow of the British government, democracy itself, while banning Michael Savage from entering the land of their better forefathers?” he asked.
Savage has received support from Reps. Allen West, R-Fla., and John Culberson, R-Texas, who sent letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to review Britain’s ban.
As WND reported, West’s letter pointed out Savage was put on the U.K.’s banned-entry list with “ruthless criminals,” including a Hamas terrorist and Russian skinhead.
West argued there is no basis for the action.
“For a nation who believes in freedom of speech and press,” he wrote, “I have a hard time understanding why such a high level, government department would release this statement when there has not been one incident recorded in the United States regarding Dr. Savage instigating violence, let alone serious criminal acts.”
Culberson, the assistant Republican whip, urged Clinton to use her position to press the U.K. to grant Savage a travel visa immediately.
On his website, Savage has appealed to his listeners to sign a petition urging Clinton to act.
Official U.K. government correspondence shows Savage was put on the list to provide “balance,” because it contained so many Muslim extremists.
Savage said last July that the new British government was continuing the Brown government’s “big lie,” based on extracts of radio programs over many years “edited by Soros-backed Media Matters to slander me.”
Savage said that after “over one straight year of legal hell,” he had hoped the new British government would remove his name “from their list of actual murderers and terrorists.”
The U.K.’s list includes Hamas terrorist leader Yunis Al-Astal, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen Donald Black, neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe and radical American pastor Fred Phelps, known for his virulent anti-gay protests at funerals.
Savage has documented his battle over the ban in his book “Banned in Britain,” which includes official correspondence, released under the U.K.’s freedom-of-information law, that reveals a decision was made at the highest level of government to use his name to provide “balance” to a “least wanted” list dominated by Muslim extremists.
“We will want to ensure that the names disclosed reflect the broad range of cases and are not all Islamic extremists,” reads a draft recommendation, marked “Restricted,” that was obtained as part of Savage’s libel lawsuit against the government and the home secretary. Smith resigned from post in June 2009 in the wake of scandal over personal use of taxpayer funds.
An email message dated Nov. 27, 2008, from an unnamed Home Office official, says, with regard to Savage, “I can understand that disclosure of the decision would help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases.”
Another email points to complicity by other agencies and even former Prime Minister Brown.
The Home Office “intend to include [Savage] in their quarterly stats. … Both the [foreign secretary and prime minister] are firmly behind listing and naming such people,” it reads.
The emails include a message from an unnamed civil servant whose cautions were ignored.
“I think we could be accused of duplicity in naming him,” he wrote without explaining the reason.
Smith’s successor as home secretary, Alan Johnson, called the ban a terrible blunder and told the Daily Mail of London he would scrap the policy of maintaining an enemies list. But Savage told WND two days later that, according to his attorney, Johnson’s announcement did not mean his name had been removed from the list.
Savage still demands an apology from Smith, who has admitted she was not up to being home secretary, explaining she should have been given some training for the job before being named.
In a legal complaint against Smith, Savage noted the home secretary’s office said in a press release that the “controversial daily radio host” is “considered to be engaging in unacceptable behavior by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to intercommunity violence.”
The allegations are “entirely false,” the complaint asserts.
“At no time has our client provoked or sought to provoke others to commit crimes or serious criminal acts.”
Savage hosts one of the nation’s most popular radio talk shows, with an estimated 8 million listeners a week on about 400 stations, according to his syndicator, the Talk Radio Network.