Michael Savage (San Francisco Chronicle)
Talk radio host Michael Savage is considering legal action against Britain’s top homeland security official after she released today a list grouping him with terrorists and neo-Nazi murderers banned from entry because the government believes their views might provoke violence.
In a telephone interview with WND, Savage said he is still waiting to hear back from attorneys, but he noted Britain has very strict anti-defamation laws.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she decided to publicize the list of 16 people banned since October to show the type of behavior Britain will not tolerate, according to U.K. news reports.
Savage’s immediate reaction upon hearing the news was typically wry.
“Darn! And I was just planning a trip to England for their superior dental work and cuisine,” he recalled thinking.
“Then it sank in,” he told WND, “and I said, ‘She said this is the kind of behavior we won’t tolerate? She’s linking me with mass murderers who are in prison for killing Jewish children on buses? For my speech? The country where the Magna Carta was created?'”
Smith explained to Britain’s GMTV that she believed 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.”
“Coming to this country is a privilege,” she said. “If you can’t live by the rules that we live by, the standards and the values that we live by, we should exclude you from this country and, what’s more, now we will make public those people that we have excluded.”
Savage said he wants top First Amendment attorneys to represent him “in a major international case.”
“I want to sue the British home secretary for defamation,” he said, “for linking me up with murderers because of my opinions, my writings, my speaking – none of which have advocated any violence, ever.”
Savage said the last time he was in Britain was about 20 years ago, and he had no immediate plans to return.
In an interview with the BBC, Smith said Savage, the No. 3-rated radio host in the U.S., is “someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country.”
Savage said his message for Smith and the people of the U.K. is, “Shame on you. Shame that you’ve fallen to such a low level.”
“It’s interesting to me that here I am a talk show host, who does not advocate violence, who advocates patriotic traditional values – borders, language, culture – who is now on a list banned in England,” Savage said. “What does that say about the government of England? It says more about them than it says about me.”
The U.K. list also includes Hamas 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. Phelps’ daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper also is on the list.
Smith said the British government believes the people on the list have views or attitudes that could provoke violence.
“If people have so clearly overstepped the mark in terms of the way not just that they are talking but the sort of attitudes that they are expressing to the extent that we think that this is likely to cause or have the potential to cause violence or inter-community tension in this country, then actually I think the right thing is not to let them into the country in the first place. Not to open the stable door then try to close it later,” she said.
“It’s a privilege to come to this country. There are certain behaviors that mean you forfeit that privilege.”
The others on the list are Jewish nationalist Mike Guzovsky; imprisoned Russian skinhead leaders Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky; and Islamic leaders Wadgy Abd El Hamied Mohamed Ghoneim, Abdullah Qadri Al Ahdal, Safwat Hijazi , Amir Siddique, Abdul Ali Musa, Samir Al Quntar and Nasr Javed.
Said Savage, “How can a nation put me on a list and leave hate preachers in England who say that we’re going to kill all of you? We’re going to convert all of you to Islam. How is it possible that those hate preachers can’t be deported from Britain, but I can be banned from Britain? People who advocate actual murder cannot be deported from Britain.
“How is it that liberalism has gotten so distorted and cowardly?”
Note: Concerned individuals may contact Britain’s Home Office Secretary Jacqui Smith by e-mail, call 011 44 20 7035 4848 or fax 011 44 20 7035 4745.