Guilty until proven innocent of unspecified acts

Thomas Lifson
The Conservative government of UK Prime Minister Cameron has just reaffirmed in Orwellian language the decision of its Labour predecessor to ban radio talk show host Michael Savage from the UK, as a threat to public order. World Net Daily reports:

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."

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."

It should be noted that the UK has never specified which "behaviours" or words Savage is supposedly guilty of uttering. So he hasn't proven himself  innocent of unspecified acts.  Also banned from the UK are  Hamas terrorist leader Yunis Al-Astal, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen Donald Black, and neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe.

Savage is known for his fiery style, but he is hardly an advocate of violence. Almost certainly, his frank criticism of Islam lies at the root of this ban. Britain tolerates the presence of Islamic firebrands, many of whom advocate violence. Clearly, Britain is capitulating to self-imposed dhimmitude in this act.  Even if Michael Savage is not your favorite, this decision should chill you for what it revelas abotu the fragility of western civilization.

Update: Meanwhile, David Brooks of the New York Times thinks the UK government is just nifty. 

Update - honest liberal Jonathan Turley agrees with me:

Savage was informed last July that the Cameron administration would continue the prior ban on his entry into the country unless he repudiated statements made on his broadcasts that were considered a threat to public security. The very notion of ideas being a threat to public safety is the hallmark of censorship and governmental abuse. While then-British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insisted that it is "important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here," he omitted free speech.

The most recent letter is equally disturbing. It puts the burden on Savage to show that his ideas are not a threat to public security - a ridiculous burden when the only way to do so appears to be the repudiation of his beliefs and ideas. England has moved rapidly against free speech guarantees with comparably little protest. There does not even to be much of a national debate despite the fundamental shift on individual rights. We need to support those civil libertarians in England who are fighting this lonely battle - often on behalf of unpopular individuals like Savage.


The Conservative government of UK Prime Minister Cameron has just reaffirmed in Orwellian language the decision of its Labour predecessor to ban radio talk show host Michael Savage from the UK, as a threat to public order. World Net Daily reports:

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."

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."

It should be noted that the UK has never specified which "behaviours" or words Savage is supposedly guilty of uttering. So he hasn't proven himself  innocent of unspecified acts.  Also banned from the UK are  Hamas terrorist leader Yunis Al-Astal, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen Donald Black, and neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe.

Savage is known for his fiery style, but he is hardly an advocate of violence. Almost certainly, his frank criticism of Islam lies at the root of this ban. Britain tolerates the presence of Islamic firebrands, many of whom advocate violence. Clearly, Britain is capitulating to self-imposed dhimmitude in this act.  Even if Michael Savage is not your favorite, this decision should chill you for what it revelas abotu the fragility of western civilization.

Update: Meanwhile, David Brooks of the New York Times thinks the UK government is just nifty. 

Update - honest liberal Jonathan Turley agrees with me:

Savage was informed last July that the Cameron administration would continue the prior ban on his entry into the country unless he repudiated statements made on his broadcasts that were considered a threat to public security. The very notion of ideas being a threat to public safety is the hallmark of censorship and governmental abuse. While then-British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insisted that it is "important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here," he omitted free speech.

The most recent letter is equally disturbing. It puts the burden on Savage to show that his ideas are not a threat to public security - a ridiculous burden when the only way to do so appears to be the repudiation of his beliefs and ideas. England has moved rapidly against free speech guarantees with comparably little protest. There does not even to be much of a national debate despite the fundamental shift on individual rights. We need to support those civil libertarians in England who are fighting this lonely battle - often on behalf of unpopular individuals like Savage.