Thanks to the Internet, people in the UK and around the world can learn of the arrest and detention of five Swansea (South Wales) citizens on Sunday. Their “crime”, it appears, was to be distributing British National Party leaflets to Swansea households. For this, they were arrested and held at Swansea police station for more than 10 hours. They were released on bail without charge at 1am and a police spokesman has said that further enquiries are being made. This statement and the bail conditions, mean that “the Five” remain under threat of further police action.
According to the BNP (and we have no other source of information, since the police have conducted this operation with maximum secrecy), The Five were never informed what they had been arrested and detained for, but they were asked many general and random questions. This suggests that the police were simply fishing for something incriminating to justify their dramatic action. Perhaps the police were hoping to provoke one of those arrested into saying something that, under new laws, could be described as racist or discriminatory. It is certain that the leaflets The Five were in the act of distributing have now been scoured by Home Office legal experts hoping to find something that could be construed as “criminal”.
It is impossible to interpret this police action as anything other than political intimidation. There was a time, before the UK became multi-racial and before the Media Class had assumed power, when the police anywhere in Britain would have avoided taking any actions that could be seen as in any way political. That time has long passed, but the Swansea police action is a decisive step towards the establishment of a police state and we should not view it in isolation. Nor should we miss its incremental nature.
The police action in Swansea could only have been taken with orders from a very high level. No duty inspector would take it upon himself to order the arrest and detention of five citizens for distributing political leaflets. The information that BNP members were active locally probably came to the police at a low level. The decision about a response would have been discussed up through a chain of command via duty inspector, Superintendent etc until reaching the Chief Constable. He might well have consulted the Home Office before orders went out to detain The Five. Normally such consultations would be painfully slowed by bureaucratic procedure, but we can be sure that for the modern politicized police force, persecuting the BNP is a fast track business.
The only alternative possibility to the above speculation is that there is already a Home Office strategy in place with all police forces that permits or instructs such actions in these circumstances. Police Chiefs meet with Home Office superiors regularly, both as individuals and in professional groups. It is likely that the BNP is a regular topic on the agenda and that every Chief now knows what is expected of him if he wishes to have a professional future.
The Swansea arrests and detention of The Five on Sunday can only have been politically motivated and taken with the intention to intimidate citizens ostensibly carrying out a legal political activity. It did have the spin-off of denying these Five the opportunity to deliver their leaflets and it denied other citizens of Swansea the opportunity to read about BNP political policy, but we cannot doubt that the main intention was to create fear. For an ordinary law-abiding person, arrest and detention in a police cell will be both a chilling experience and a new one. Detention for more than ten hours is not only frightening, but must interrupt personal plans and affect family and friends. The fear and intimidation therefore reaches beyond the individual. According to the BNP, the police refused to discuss the arrests with anyone who enquired at the police station, so family and friends of The Five must have suffered considerable anxiety. Ten hours plus is a very long time in itself but The Five could not anticipate freedom after ten hours, since release was an arbitrary power possessed by the police.
It has surely been a legal right in the UK for centuries for people to be informed at the time of arrest, what it was they were being arrested for, i.e. what was the crime that was alleged to have been committed. In the past, a solicitor would have been called and permitted to interview his client and be present during questioning. He would have advised his client on his rights and, most importantly forced the police to state the nature of the charge being pursued. It is not clear to me whether the police now have new powers setting these rights aside or if they were relying on The Five not having the financial means or knowledge to constrain police actions.
For those in employment, arbitrary arrest and detention can be embarrassing at best and catastrophic at worst, and The Five will have felt criminalized even if no charges are forthcoming. The Swansea event is a landmark on the road to a British police state and all who value political freedom and free speech should be outraged and fearful.
Similar events have been reported from other European countries, where political correctness has now enabled the enemies of free speech to become bolder. However, other countries do not have the long history of freedom that the UK has been famous for, so Swansea is a blow to freedom everywhere. There is however an ingredient here which made the Swansea event possible, more sinister and repeatable. That ingredient arises from Media complicity. In totalitarian regimes, the police have always been the main weapon of oppression and Hannah Arendt in her classic work “On Totalitarianism” described how in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia the police quickly and inevitably became the most powerful arm of the ruling class. The ingredient that paved the way for those totalitarian police states was secrecy. If the Media does not honestly report such arrests as those in Swansea, or worse, does not report them at all, then the police can act in secrecy and those arrested have no rights.
In the war against terrorism now taking place, it is clear that the police need extra powers to protect us all. The front line of the war is everywhere. However, for the powerful new Media Class that rules in the UK, USA and EU, the war against terrorism is low on the agenda. We see from the relentless Media attacks on Bush and “his” war that the Media Class is more intent on destroying its enemies nearer home. In the UK that enemy is nationalism as represented by the BNP, and the police are being turned loose on its members and organization. The Media will look the other way and Joe Public and his mates will be too busy celebrating Liverpool’s cup victory to notice that their old freedoms are being quietly discarded. Ironically, Britain’s Muslim minority would be quick to publicize and protest such police action if it was taken against Muslim activists. And the Media would be happy to orchestrate and support them with column inches of indignation.