Sunday, 13 October 2019

Breaking the law and non-violent extremism

On Wednesday 9th October in Glasgow, a group of primary schoolchildren could be seen being paraded around an empty, wet George`s Square by their teacher chanting about climate change.

As one observer asked: "Should teachers be using young children like this for their own political agendas? " 

The spectacle was more dramatic in London over the weekend.

"Well speaking of destabilisation, of course, Extinction Rebellion have begun their protest in London today. Well, it led over the weekend with this." 

Referring to the recent demonstrations in London, Mike Robinson on UK Column News 7 October 2019 remarks: "Here`s a tweet from Damien Gayle: `Police use a battering ram to break into Extinction Rebellion warehouse `... Well they`re having a hard job getting in there it seems, the heavy door. If you read the rest of Damien Gayle`s tweets he`s been quite pro-Extinction Rebellion ... In fact the police was acting on behalf of the landlords who were wanting to get these people out and perhaps they were taking advantage of that to get some PR in; but no evidence today that the police are actually doing anything to get the Extinction Rebellion protesters off the streets."

"Or under control," adds Brian Gerrish.

"But we don`t need to worry because there`s a ... new Countering Extremism policy coming through because this is Sarah Khan who leads the commission on Countering Extremism and she`s carried out the first ever national conversation on extremism - I`m sure you know all about that."

Brian Gerrish says sarcastically: "Well I do now, yes. But I don`t think the average person does."

Mike Robinson: "Yes, so was there a national conversation then? I`m not aware there was. And she has apparently received the government`s current approach . So they have today decided to publish their findings and recommendations in their report which is called Challenging Hateful Extremism. And they have categorised a new kind of extremist behaviour outside terrorism and violent extremism which has been called `hateful extremism,` so that`s what we`re looking at now."

"So it says: `Hateful extremism is behaviour that can incite and amplify hate, or engage in persistent hatred, or equivocate about and make the moral case for violence; hateful extremism can also draw on hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group who are perceived as a threat to the wellbeing, survival or success of an in-group; that cause, or are likely to cause, harm to individuals, communities or wider society`."

"So the examples she gives are the spreading of hate filled views: LBGTQ+ people during the row over relationship teaching in Birmingham. Were you aware that there was hate filled rhetoric about LGBTQ over that?"

"Well of course there absolutely hasn`t been Mike. You wouldn`t believe that if you read the BBC report but if you follow through where the parents have protested in Birmingham, they are simply protesting that children`s innocence has been taken away too early with the RSE education and they are not directly focusing on anything to do with the LGBTQ community at all. It`s to do with the age of the children and the material that they`ve been given. So this seems like a back door effort to help clamp down on those parents, I would say."

"Amongst other things. So she also said, another example is: three quarters of those countering extremism on the ground have personally received abuse, intimidation and harassment because of their work; is what she`s claimed.. And she said that `unlike the government`s response to terrorism the current response to hateful extremism is inadequate and unfocused` so she`s calling for `a new focus and a robust victim centred and rights based approach to ensuring that we respond appropriately to the threat. And therefore she`s recommending a rebooted government strategy and a new taskforce led by the Home Secretary.` So they would `work with the Home Secretary, with government bodies and civil society to assess any ongoing or emerging situations and put a response in place`."

Brian Gerrish: "So this is `participatory democracy` - so called participatory democracy - because you`re not going to involve voters and the general public; you`re going to bring in the NGOs and the think tanks in order to get your desired policy across."

Mike Robinson: "Well indeed which is why this national conversation took place and nobody knows anything about it because, of course, the only people who took part in it were the NGOs and civil society organisations...."

"And charities."

"Yes, that she wants to encourage.... Well this was the Commission`s website when I took the screenshot of it this morning. Within ten minutes of me taking that they had put up the latest news story which is that the independent commission for countering extremism has published four new peer reviewed academic papers on Islamism and Sikh extremism. So they`re not talking about Extinction Rebellion, they`re not talking about anything other than Islamic extremism, and now Sikh extremism."

Four Academic Papers

`Mainstreaming Islamism: Islamist Institutions and Civil Society Organisations`
`Mainstream Islamism in Britain: Educating for the `Islamic Revival`
`What is to be Done about al-Mughajiroun? Containing the Emigrants in a Democratic Society`
`The changing nature of activism amongst Sikhs in the UK today` 

"And I thought that title was interesting because what they`re now doing is conflating activism with extremism. So if you`re an activist, you`re an extremist. But if you`re an activist for Extinction Rebellion, that`s not extremism."

Brian Gerrish: "Absolutely not."

Mike Robinson: "We`ll come on to that. So they`re saying that second generation street activism is getting too close to the far right, so really we`ve got to be concerned about that now."

"Right. So that`s fascinating. Actually if you have a look at Ms Khan on the internet, you`ll find a lot of people deeply concerned with her inability to do the job that she`s been given. But we`ll let you do your own research on that. But come to Extinction Rebellion because of course Extinction Rebellion has rapidly become the darling of the BBC. We`ve all seen the almost unlimited, free publicity, thanks to TV licence payers. So here`s one of the headlines: "

"`Who are Extinction Rebellion and what do they want? And they`ve gone from law breaking organisation to - we`ll show you why we`re saying that - to peaceful darling of the BBC. So these are the sorts of reports and what the BBC are saying. In London, it aims to `peacefully occupy the centres of power and shut them down.`We`ve got: What is Extinction Rebellion? And here it describes itself as an international `non-violent civil disobedience activist movement`." 

"This is another one that came out shortly before it became live. `Extinction Rebellion UK arrests as global demonstrations begin. They want governments to declare a `climate and ecological emergency` and take immediate action to address climate change`. Although interestingly Extinction Rebellion doesn`t say how, apart from a citizens committee. It describes itself as an `international non-violent civil disobedience activist movement`."

"So what can we say? Well this was an earlier report from the BBC and we highlighted it a couple of weeks ago... if you read this they had a journalist working for them..."

`2019 has marked a change in public attitudes to climate change driven in part by a huge new global protest movement.`

`In this timely and powerful documentary, reporter Ben Zand gains access to the most important of the protest groups, Extinction Rebellion. He is with them for four months, as they build towards `the rebellion` ll days of protest in April during which they take over and occupy four iconic locations in London.`

`The film follows three young people who have been inspired to join and lead the protests. Many are not only protesting for the first time in their lives but are also putting their liberty on the line to demand radical action from the government. We are there as they organise street protests and direct action - risking arrest for their commitment to the cause.`

`16-year-old Dan from south London has never been on a protest before. Since joining Extinction Rebellion in 2018, she has co-organised nationwide school strikes. Sam is 22 and a recent graduate, but now works full-time for Extinction Rebellion and is willing to get arrested again and again until something changes. Jack joined the movement recently at age 18. He is inspired by the tactics and research laid out by Extinction Rebellion and has an eye on organising controversial splinter actions for the movement`.

`Ben also spends time with the leader of the movement, Roger Hallam, who has spent years academically researching tactics for social change. He says you need 2000 people to get arrested and 400 people to go to prison if you want the government to meet your demands. Ben challenges him on his methods and asks whether it is justifiable to encourage young people to break the law.`

`This film is the first to get inside the new climate movements. It reveals how they have mobilised a generation to take radical action to help save the planet from climate change.`

"And he`s actually talking about young people under the age of sixteen. So the BBC knew the reality, knew Extinction Rebellion was grooming young people to break the law. All that`s now gone Mike. It`s now a wonderful peaceful organisation. And let`s have a look at this carefully manipulated BBC clip here. Here`s Roger Hallam himself: And if we have a look at the video and listen to what`s being said, fascinating stuff."

"Absolutely fascinating piece of BBC propaganda there. One of the clues as to what is going on here is the fact that the clip is two minutes and nineteen seconds long* . This means that it can be tweeted out. The limit is two minutes 20 seconds for a video clip. So what we`re seeing is the BBC taking an organisation which it has said has been calling for people to break the law - criminal activity, extremist activity- and it gives them a soundbite where now - oh no no no, the blame is not on Extinction Rebellion, the blame is going to be on the authorities as a result of peaceful Ghandi type action. This is disgraceful propaganda by the BBC in order to support Extinction Rebellion, and that clip absolutely crafted, for people essentially to copy and tweet out support for Extinction Rebellion."

"Now we`re just going to remind you that we got a hold of this document. which is Extinction Rebellion planning for people to break the law. We know that includes essentially children, those under the age of sixteen. `We need people prepared to be arrested and go to prison`. And we also confirmed... this document with Extinction Rebellion themselves. They said yes it`s their document, albeit one that is out of date. "

"We`ve also shown you that this excellent report by Richard Walton, the former SO15 counter extremism officer with the MET says that not only is this a dangerous law breaking organisation but actually it`s going for overthrow of the civil order and liberal democracy in UK. So that`s what a senior policeman says, but basically what does the BBC do? They promote them. Now in the background Extinction Rebellion is using Department for Education school facilities to recruit. This is the Grove school in Totness in Devon where they`ve been holding recruiting meetings. It`s freely available in the public domain. And this is the school itself."

"Now we have tried to ask the Department for Education for their policy on Extinction Rebellion and its use of schools to recruit, and the result has been secrecy, arrogance and a dismissive fob off. Now if this was Tommy Robinson and his crowd up to something Mike, or it was an organisation which had got the slightest hint of being right wing, we can imagine that these people would have been rounded up yesterday, but not Extinction Rebellion."

"And this is where it gets very interesting; because if you look at the government`s own website here`s Educate Against Hate and that is sponsored by the government, the Department for Education and the Home Office. It`s got a number on there. It says `If you`re concerned, call us,` which is what U|K Column did and this is the sort of response we got, that staff on the other end of the line wouldn`t give their names. They said: `We`re anonymous and we don`t give out names.` So we`ve got a secret organisation working within the Department for Education.  They obfuscated, they blurred the discussion; they were dismissive of the information we passed, most of which was in the public domain, that Extinction Rebellion is breaking the law and they clearly had little if any interest in any of the concerns. So we were eventually told to take our request for `What is the policy on Extinction Rebellion?` to the Department for Education press team. And at one stage there was a not very subtle attempt to say that the conversation was aggressive because we didn`t back down and give in to the fob off. They ended up by saying, email us information. So we are going to do that and we`ll see what the response is."

"But to come back to your lead Mike,  this is the Independent here reporting the Commission`s report and of course what is the focus? It`s on Islamic and right wing extremism. They`re not interested at all in anything to do with Extinction Rebellion."


"Now just to end the segment here, we did a little bit of homework on Countering Extremism. The document that`s the Policy 2015, this goes back to David Cameron and Teresa |May. So who`s in charge at the moment? Well we`ve got Priti Patel as Home Secretary, she`s responsible for Countering Extremism. We`ve got the Minister of State for Countering Extremism. That`s a Baroness William... She recently got a degree in nutrition. That`s going to get her a long way I think. And we`ve got this lady, Victoria Mary Atkins, barrister, now British Conservative party member Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, and that includes countering extremism. We`ve got a lady inside the Department for Education who`s responsible for due diligence and countering extremism. She`s Sophie Taylor. I can`t find a picture of her but at least we`ve pinned down one of the key people and then we bring in Sarah Khan and her commission."

"But the reality is these people don`t want to deal with Extinction Rebellion even though it`s boasting it wants people to break the law and it`s recruiting people under the age of 16 using school facilities. So why would that be Mike? A guess from myself would be that actually Extinction Rebellion is partly being promoted by the government because of its climate change agenda."

"It represents a policy that the government is supportive of ..."

"And the rest can go under the carpet. We don`t mind what you do because the government wants this false climate agenda to come in. So we will keep asking the questions; we will be sending the Countering Extremism department more information and we`ll keep viewers and listeners up to date with what responses we get."

The Green Party and 5G

"Well let`s just remind people that at the end of last week the Green Party conference in Newport Wales was going on. But something that the Green Party didn`t want to get involved with was protesters warning about the dangers of 5G. So we`ve got a remarkable situation that the Green Party of course is everything about protecting the environment, except when people say: `Well ok what are you going to do about 5G?` and they don`t want to know. And a motion to talk about the dangers of 5G was prevented from getting into the conference debate. But people were outside protesting, so this caused some embarrassment to the Greens. This was a bit more of the protest outside the building itself, but lots of questions to be asked as to why the Green Party supposedly protecting the environment, protecting people, protecting nature, but when it comes to the big business of 5G they simply don`t want to know. So we`ll continue to ask questions on that front as well. "

* The copy of Hard Talk on the blog is from youtube and is over 20 minutes long in contrast to the version produced on UK Column

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