Monday, January 07, 2008

Should we support Lionheart?

I wasn't really going to pay much attention to the latest bit of Islamophobic wingnuttery pervading a considerable part of the blogosphere but considering how many lies are being peddled in the world's largest echo chamber and rumour mill regarding this "case", I now feel obliged to step in and dot some is, cross some ts and provide a little context to this recent brouhaha. The case involves a British blogger, going by the Blogger handle Lionheart, soon to be arrested by British police in relation to his blogging activities. On the face of it one could easily, but wrongly in my view, conclude that Lionheart's case is one about freedom of speech in the blogosphere and that that should concern all of us.

The alleged offence

Right now it isn't clear what said blogger's offence actually is supposed to be because he (Lionheart (LH) - real name Paul) hasn't been arrested yet, let alone charged. This in reality leaves the very genuine possibility that Paul will be interviewed and released without charge. But arrested (scheduled for 19/02/08) he will be and this is what who is presumably the Arresting Officer had to say about it in an email to Paul (LH) (as reported by Paul's legal council, Anthony Bennett):
For the public record, here is a full copy of the e-mail sent by Ian Holden of Bedfordshire Police to ‘Llionheart’ yesterday, Thursday 3 January 2008:

QUOTE FROM IAN HOLDEN, BEDFORDSHIRE POLICE

The offence that I need to arrest you for is “Stir up Racial Hatred by displaying written material” contrary to sections 18(1) and 27(3) of the Public Order Act 1986.

You will be arrested on SUSPICION [my emphasis] of the offence. You would only be charged following a full investigation based on all the relevant facts and CPS [Crown Prosecution Service - my blurb] consent.

Paul I will see you on the 19/02/08 when I will tell you everything that you need to know. Due to being out of the office for six weeks I will not have access to my email as of tomorrow 04/01/08.

Ian

The potential charge of stirring up racial hatred seems a little strange but could pertain to Paul's repeated blog attacks on Pakistani Muslims. Alternatively, Ian Holden's email may simply be a little sloppy: it seems more likely and more logical that Paul would be charged with stirring up religious hatred under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, an Act which complements and completes the Public Order Act of 1986 (the one mentioned in the email to Paul) with offences relating to religious hatred and not just racial hatred.

Despite everything remaining much in the realm of possibilities rather than certainties this case has already inflamed part of the wingnut blogosphere and support for Lionheart has swollen to a veritable deluge in the past days.

Support for Lionheart: Straw Man arguments galore...

Tens of rightwing bloggers have taken it upon themselves to spread the word regarding this perceived injustice, yet not a single one manages to address the actual issues. Broadly speaking said supporters treat the case as an assault on freedom of speech and their arguments can be fitted more or less into three main categories:

1. Political Correctness gone mad:

It's alleged that Paul's case hinges on suppressing criticism of Islam or even criticism of Jihadists. Nothing could be further removed from the truth. In Britain, freedom of speech does have legal limits but the law goes out of its way to impose as few impediments to free discourse as possible. For example, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, under which Lionheart may be charged with offence(s), stipulates under 29 J:

Protection of freedom of expression

Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.

Paul is therefore perfectly legally entitled to criticise Islam or Islamists to his heart's content, no charges could ever flow from that. But it has to be noted that 'criticising' and 'stirring up hatred' aren't the same thing and can be distinguished from one another quite easily.

The 'political Correctness gone mad' defence is increasingly used by parties that have been found guilty (but not necessarily in the legal sense of the word) of making racial slurs, including anti-Semites, we should be careful to judge it properly.

2. Islam is not a race and therefore Paul cannot be charged with 'stirring racial hatred':

Right now it isn't clear what Paul will be charged with (IF he will be charged with anything at all). The charge(s) could pertain to Paul's written treatment of Pakistanis (mostly Muslims), in which case the law would definitely recognise a racial element. Alternatively it could pertain to Paul's attacks on British Muslims as a whole (without distinction between Radical British Islamists and law abiding British Muslim citizens or legal residents) under the 2006 Act. Either way, the 'Islam is not a race' argument simply doesn't cut mustard.

3. UK Dhimmitude at work:

This most extreme of arguments really doesn't punch much above Roswellians, or advanced Ufology and is in essence as whacky as the "9/11: t'wos Mossad wot did it" conspiracy theory. Usually used by those highly critical of 'multiculturalism', it implies that Europe in general, and in this case the UK in particular, has already fallen for the 'Muslim Hordes' and that the 'barbarians' have taken over (both are in themselves rather vicious allegations). It implies that 'Muslim colonisers' are setting the agenda, that Sharia law is replacing Civil Law and that legal prosecution of Lionheart is nothing more than making said blogger a political prisoner of Islam. A fictitious book, yet to be written, called "The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca" really does spring to mind in this context.

It should come as no surprise that Lionheart, in slightly different words, actually subscribes to the 'Muslims have taken over' theory.

Most of Lionheart's supporters can be found here.

Lionheart: a profile

Let me firstly emphasise that my characterisation of Paul does not imply illegality: no matter how much I disagree with much of what he writes, he's perfectly entitled to believe what he wants to believe. This is merely an attempt to figure out where his thinking comes from and how it's come to the point where he might be charged with 'stirring racial/religious hatred'.

Paul runs three blogs (see his profile to find the other two) and comes across as an extremely Manichean writer, full of extreme hyperbole, rhetorical exaggeration and pulling things out of context. He's a Far Right English Nationalist, rarely referring to the United Kingdom, but almost invariably to England ('Christian land'). He has a bit of a knack for self-aggrandisement, seeing himself clearly as some sort of a 'knight for England', defender of the Realm. A racist? Possibly not, as on his blog he supports Oona King as mayoral candidate for London (against the 'racist Ken Livingstone' [Paul's words]).

He appears also to have a rather poor grasp of legal matters in general, at one point appealing to our non-executive Head of State,
Betty II, to stop the construction of a Mega Mosque.

He's a fairly poor (but very variable) writer, yet has an uncanny ability to choose terms and catchphrases that resonate well with the like-minded: one of his posts is titled "Heroin: Golden Sword of Islam", another "Jihad (Holy War) against our children", another "Osama Bin Laden - The third Anti-Christ".

Much of Paul's discourse focuses on Luton and Dunstable's problems with drug dealers, which in his book are invariably Pakistani Muslims. It would appear that his past experiences in that area have very much coloured his current day view of British Muslims.

It seems likely to me that Paul's intense dislike of Muslims (and Pakistani Muslims in particular) started well before 9/11 (and 7/7): in the mid eighties, Paki-bashing (including its more violent expressions) among rightwing whites in Britain was very much du jour. The typical racial stereotypes of those days, including "they send all their money to Pakistan", "they take our jobs", "they rape our women" and many more besides that, have now found vindication with that group of white rightwingers by means of that small band of bad apples, often connected via Pakistan, that make up British born Islamic radicals and terrorists.

Lionheart: what's in a nickname?

Knights_TemplarSuperficially one might be advised not to read too much into any blogger's chosen Blogger handle but in Paul's case it's legitimate to make an exception. Apart from the name Lionheart, the address of his main blog (lionheartuk.blogspot.com), Paul also incorporates the Lionheart theme in his avatar, posing with a figure clad in military regalia, designed to conjure up images of Richard the Lionheart, or Cœur de Lion, Richard I, King of England (1157 - 1199) and Christian Commander during the Third Crusade. There's little doubt in my mind that Paul strongly identifies with Saladin's greatest foe. Certainly several of Paul's supporters have gotten the message: the image to the right of this paragraph has been used by quite a few of them: clearly the icon of a Christian Crusader against Islam very much appeals to them...

BNP support?

Whether the BNP actively supports Paul's crusadette remains to be seen: at the time of writing the BNP website made no mention of Paul's plight.

But at least one of Lionheart's supporters, Home of the Green Arrow is an active supporter of the British National Party (from the site's motto: "The purpose of the site is to support the British National Party and [...]"). From one of its recent posts:
I do not know Lionheart personally but know him to be a very sincere religious man with deep convictions. We have not always agreed on everything but have been united in our fight to make our fellow True Brits aware of the dangers of Islam.

Lionheart replies in kind in the post's comment section; "Thanks Green Arrow, please dont put yourself on the line its not worth it".

Clearly the two aren't complete strangers to one another. Again, no illegality is implied here.

Update:

It would appear that whether or not the BNP supports Paul's plight, Paul himself is nonetheless a BNP supporter. Who'd have thunk it (note irony)?


Anthony Bennett: Lionheart's legal representative

Anthony ("Tony") Bennett, Paul's lawyer, is no stranger to controversy. A former Labour member, he's a relatively well known Euroskeptic activist and anti-metrication nut and was once associated with the National Front:
In early 2002, he was banned from standing for UKIP for two years[citation needed] and from holding office in the party in 2004 after he privately circulated a pamphlet in which he called the Prophet Muhammad a paedophile for having consummated his marriage to his child bride Aisha when she was nine years old, which Bennett stated would have been prosecuted today as a case of child sexual abuse. The pamphlet also warned of the probable rise of militant Islam in the UK, which were later claimed to be part of a "reasoned, academic exposition" aimed at explaining the reasons behind the September 11 terrorist attacks". UKIP described Bennett as "an energetic campaigner, with some extremely eccentric and individualistic views".[10]

On 15 August 2004, Bennett began work as Robert Kilroy-Silk's Researcher and became a founder member of the Veritas Party in January 2005. In February 2005 however, Bennett was involved in controversy when it was revealed that he had previously co-founded the People's Campaign to Keep the Pound with Ian Anderson, a former chairman of the far right, White Nationalist party, the National Front.[10] Bennett denied any knowledge of Anderson being chairman of the National Front at the time the two men formed the campaign, describing Anderson as an "English patriot".[10]


Presumed innocent until found guilty

While everything remains up for grabs in this case, it remains likely that Paul will either not be charged with anything or be let off with a warning and a slap on the wrist. Alternatively, if charged with and found guilty of stirring up racial and/or religious hatred Lionheart could face a lengthy prison sentence.

Having read large swathes of Paul's two main blogs there is no doubt in my mind that stirring up hatred is exactly what he's doing, although that may be somewhat inadvertently and possibly due to ignorance of the law (which in one of his rebuttals in the comment section he dismissed rather cavalierly as irrelevant) but ignorance can be no excuse for committing an offence. Paul's constant equating of Radical Islam, Jihadists, Pakistani drug dealers and British born Muslim bomb throwers with ordinary British Muslims or Muslim British residents, is difficult to construe as anything other than stirring up hatred of Muslims in general. Ironically, the comment sections of his blogposts are a testimony that this tactic is working and that many are in agreement or are influenced by Lionheart's Islamophobic musings...

And so, no, until further notice I will not be supporting Paul's cause. To be continued...

Update:

The Sadly, no! blog has an excellent post on Lionheart, with plenty of quotes from Paul's rants, illustrating how it's hard not to see much of it is stirring up religious hatred, in the aptly titled Oh England My Lyin’ Heart blogpost. Read it...

20 Comments:

At 3:57 AM, Blogger Mad Zionist said...

If he is stirring up hatred of islam, which is a terrorist organization, than he is a friend of mine. It is my opinion that moslems, and the dhimmis who support them, are stirring up hatred and inciting death or slavery to all who don't accept the Koran.

In fact, it's those leftwingnuts who are trying to force innocent people to accept living as persecuted victims who ought to be arrested and tried in a court of law.

 
At 4:46 AM, Blogger marginalizedactiondinosaur said...

Just think if they had these brilliant laws in place pre WWII they could have locked Churchill up for anti German hatred.

Whether they charge him or not is irrelevant seems every country has laws like this in the west.

In Canada we have sued Hugh Owens for Quoting the Bible.

Bill Whatcott for quoting a homosexual magazine that was advertising for sex with Children see them advertising for sex with Children isn't bad. Telling people they are doing that is. They are a group the left likes.

Mark Steyn is now charged with hatred for quoting an IMAM who made racist comments.

And JIM Pankiw a member of parliament was hounded out of office for quoting statscan who said some minorities are 10 times as likely to commit a crime. Mentioning that is hate them committing 10 times as many crimes is 100% acceptable.

These laws are nuts especially when on dispatches you have religious leaders able to threaten the UK,
all that "live like a state within a state until you take over." stuff.

When they can get away with anything to even suggest lionheart is guilty of a crime or that he might get off and it's ok to nail the next person who can't get the publicity behind them. I say the law has to go.

Lion heart has several pictures of people on his blog holding up racist slogans but they will never be charged because they are special groups to the left,

but at least Stalin would be happy. He didn't like Free Speech.

Heres hoping they feed you to the Croc last.

My guess is most of the UK will keep their eyes averted and give up a bit more of their freedom, let the schools force their kids to dress as muslims etc, etc.

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger The Green Arrow said...

I have never met Lionheart but I have been a reader of his blog for the last year and we have swapped emails over minor differences of opinion. I believe he is 100% genuine in his believes and as assisted the police in their enquiries into the drugs business in Luton.

Why should Lionheart accept a warning and a slap on a wrist? I suspect his reply would be much the same as mine and any other True Brit.

You gave your game away when you referred to a person opposed to metrication as being a nut.

I sincerely hope that anyone who values freedom of speech and supports those who warn of the dangers of the Cult of the Dead Paedophile requiring the type of skills you provide, look elsewhere then you.

 
At 9:31 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Green Arrow:
"You gave your game away when you referred to a person opposed to metrication as being a nut.

Really? Opposing a more modern and more logical system of metrication, introduced to facilitate trade, is indeed nutty.

"I sincerely hope that anyone who values freedom of speech and supports those who warn of the dangers of the Cult of the Dead Paedophile requiring the type of skills you provide, look elsewhere then you."

... is gobbledygook. You haven't read my post really, have you? This isn't about freedom of speech. it's (potentially) about hate-mongering.

And "True Brits"? As opposed to non-BNP members, I guess? Bit of a 'Little Ingelander', aren't you?

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger USpace said...

.
Hey there!
To start with, one word: 'Mafia'.
Thanks for posting on this. Great job; you have Lionheart wrong though, he is not an anti-semite or a racist. He is a big friend of Israel and writes extensively about the Drug Trade financing Jihad Terrorism.

He does not in any way advocate or call for violence against Muslims in general.

He also writes a lot about how these same heroin and crack gangs
lure young non-Muslim girls, often as young as 13, into drugs and force them into sex-slavery and prostitution.

These are extremely nasty, deadly and vicious criminals that he writes about.

There is a lot of writing about what is going on in Europe from many many writers. The hundreds and hundreds of factual news accounts of incidents is very frightening.

Read about Ayaan Hirsi Ali among many.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayaan_Hirsi_Ali

The evil forces are after Lionheart because he helped the cops put a
violent drug dealer in prison, then the dealer's gang started sending him death threats and then the cops wouldn't help him.

Local bloggers blogging locally all over the world generally are going to face much more danger because they will always be in their foe's backyard reporting on everything they do and driving them mad for revenge.

He's not just writing about Islam encroaching on Europe and the UK. He's writing about what a very wealthy and well connected Pakistani Muslim organized crime family is up to in Luton.

The Pakistani Muslim 'Mafia', the Mob.

We can't stop, WE MUST NOT STOP fighting for Free Speech and Justice! We will fight for Lionheart!

The EU and the United Nation want to stop all criticism of their ideology.

People must be able to criticize, mock and discuss everything, even religion. Even if others vehemently disagree. That's what civilized and mature people do, they don't riot and throw tantrums and threaten to kill people when other people say they are violent or tease them.

They show them they are wrong by acting peaceful.

Like the old saying: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
ignore creeping sharia

don't believe Jihadists
want world domination


The 'Bushies' would never advocate these legal shenanigans but some of the PIAPS people and Dhimmicrats do and would.

This 'Racial & Religious Hatred Act' is a load of crap. Hopefully it will be scrapped someday when the lawyers start being pressured to use it against Islam's obvious and much more virulent hate speech.

This planned arrest is terrible news for Lionheart, Britain and the world.
Probably the Luton Pakistani Muslim Heroin and crack gang (which is also involved with forcing non-Muslim teen girls into sex-slavery) who he has helped expose pressured the dhimmi pigs to arrest him.

Too many in the dhimmidiot government in Britain are pathetic and corrupt.
The EU is showing itself to be very evil in practice as well as most misguided and extremely stupid and ignorant of reality.

This suppression of free speech will actually cause more violence and hatred of course.
This case will also serve to educate the masses even more about the evils of Sharia and the importance of standing up to Islam.

This must be made very public, we should all tell all our friends about this. Spread the word! God bless Lionheart, I believe he will prevail.
The lawyers on the Right MUST be supported to start fighting this BS more.

Both 'The Left' and 'The Right' should be ticked off about this.

We should tell all the Radio Gods about this. Maybe they'll rant about it on their shows.

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
outlaw most bloggers

license all the rest
monitor their writing

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
eliminate FREE speech

the truth may not be spoken
if criminals are exposed

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
outlaw self-defense

exposing violent crimes
shall be deemed hate speech

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe loves
corrupt politicians

offer immigrants welfare
get their votes to keep your jobs

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
be traitorous garbage

just destroy your country
screw your great-granddaughter
.

http://lionheartuk.blogspot.com/

http://haltterrorism.com/

http://absurdthoughtsaboutgod.blogspot.com/

:)
.

 
At 7:17 AM, Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I doubt if Paul or the BNP, would support you if you had a freedom of speech fight. These people have websites with hit lists of people they disagree with.

OT: See http://www.inblogs.net/ . It is a service to help banned Blogspot blogs in Iran, China etc. It has an avetar you can put on your blog.

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Ren:

Good point. People like the BNP are really in favour of protecting their own rights, everybody else's don't matter that much.

I'll look into that website, thanks!

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Eitan said...

Gert: there are things in the post which I agree with and things which I disagree with as well. For example, you seem to accuse Paul's lawyer of having made derogatory statements concerning the "prophet" Muhammad. The things he said about Muhammad having been a pedophile, etc. are all true(see the Quran and "Infidel")

One thing I addamently agree with you on: I doubt Paul is pro-Israel. Just going by what you wrote(I haven't yet taken the time to check out Paul's blog), it seems like he would just as readily hate Jews if there were a lot of them living in England and "taking jobs and sending money to Israel" as the Pakistani Muslims may (or may not) be doing today. He grossly misunderstands the theme of the Crusaders and of Richard the Lionhearted. These, as you know, were either thugs or simple peasants who'd been inundated by the Church to hate all non-Christians.

Last, I wonder if Paul is aware of the fact that while he may be willing to side with Israel for simple P.R. gain, his great Motherland, England was the first country in Europe to cleanse itself of the Jews. Good chap, that R. Lionhearted guy...or maybe not...

 
At 6:48 PM, Blogger Eitan said...

uspace: just wondering since you're a big defender of the freedom of speech: How would you react to someone who said Jesus was a punk-loser who stole secrets from the Holy of Holies (within the Second Temple) and using these created all sorts of miracles in order to pursue people to follow his idiotic platform; that he was one of the most base personalities in Jewish history and that there was really nothing special about him. How would you react to someone posting this info. (all of which many religious Jews consider to be true as do I) and trying to force it down others' throats.

Just to be clear: I would never do a thing like that because I have all the respect in the world for Christianity and its current leaders, be they the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterburry. However, if one has a set agenda and goes in search of hateful material, it will always be available, whether on Judaism, Christianity or Islam.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Wow, quite a polarized set of opinions here.

Gert, I suspect that you know the answer to your question. If the guy crossed the line between criticism and incitement/racial hatred, he should be slapped hard.

However, your post, aside of your personal opinion, which I tend to believe, even if with a slight reservation (seeing as you and your friend Eitan sometimes flame a bit too much for my taste), does not carry examples of Lionheart's being a real bad boy.

Could be useful to see some, and I just cannot make myself to go there.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oops, sorry, missed the reference at the end of the post.

 
At 4:47 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Eitan:

"For example, you seem to accuse Paul's lawyer of having made derogatory statements concerning the "prophet" Muhammad. The things he said about Muhammad having been a pedophile, etc. are all true(see the Quran and "Infidel")

One thing I addamently agree with you on: I doubt Paul is pro-Israel. Just going by what you wrote(I haven't yet taken the time to check out Paul's blog), [...]"


Note that it isn't ME that's accusing Tony Bennett of anything: this whole passage comes from Wikipedia, I'm merely quoting.

As regards Israel and Paul's "support", I've actually gone out of my way not to mention it, because it's not relevant to Paul's plight. The BNP, however, I'm pretty sure of that, certainly in the past contained strongly anti-Semitic elements.

Snoopy:

"Oops, sorry, missed the reference at the end of the post."

Guess the sting was in the tail, huh? (LOL)

 
At 6:20 PM, Blogger Eitan said...

Ok, Gert. I understand. I guess I'm picking apart the Wikipedia article in that case(lol).

 
At 5:36 PM, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oh, BTW, forgot to report on my "findings". I read the quotes, looked at the blog and what can I say: even I can detect bad English and poor blogging.

Let him rot in jail.

Nah, just joking - take away the keyboard and give him a Nintendo or some such shit.

 
At 5:28 AM, Blogger Eitan said...

Sure enough, seems the dude's been arrested. Was just wondering if you'd heard anything 'bout it...

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Gert said...

No, no, arrest is due the 19th of February ('08). Not before.

 
At 6:05 PM, Blogger Eitan said...

But he is scheduled to be arrested, right?

 
At 8:07 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Yes.

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger Eitan said...

I actually found out over @ Nanc's site as I was trying to apologize for a comment I'd made 'bout Christianity being a "pagan" religion. I came upon a pic. of a man being handcuffed. It was all about how this wonderful man is getting treated badly...

 
At 10:50 PM, Blogger Eitan said...

...Oh and I didn't feeling like commenting after what I saw.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home