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Michael Savage (San Francisco Chronicle)
Official correspondence, released under the United Kingdom’s Freedom of Information law, reveals that U.S. radio talk-show host Michael Savage’s name was placed on a list of people banned from Britain in order to provide “balance” to a “least wanted” list dominated by Muslim extremists, and the decision was made “at the highest level of government,” the London Daily Mail reported today.
“We will want to ensure that the names disclosed reflect the broad range of cases and are not all Islamic extremists,” reads a draft recommendation, marked “Restricted,” that was obtained as part of Savage’s libel lawsuit against the government and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Referring to Savage by his birth name, one of the newly released e-mail messages, dated Nov. 27, 2008, from an unnamed Home Office official, says, “with Weiner, I can understand that disclosure of the decision would help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases.”
Savage had earlier accused Smith of having plucked his name out of a hat because he was “controversial and white.” These latest revelations add weight to Savage’s charge.
Savage told WND today the Home Office chose him to balance the list of Muslim extremists because he is Jewish.
“The name Dreyfus comes to mind. They have attempted to destroy my reputation to avoid offending those Muslims who want to destroy them! The Warsaw ghetto comes to mind, where some Jews threw other Jews into gestapo hands to live another day,” he said.
Make no mistake about this – they ‘chose’ me because I am the only talker in the top five who is Jewish! The old anti-Semitic strain has resurfaced in England, not among the right wing, but on the socialist left. This should galvanize every member of the U.S. media, but will it?”
Another e-mail, released under FOI, points to complicity by other agencies and even Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
“HO [Home Office] intend to include Weiner in their quarterly stats … Both the FS [foreign secretary] and PM [prime minister] are firmly behind listing and naming such people,” it reads.
The internal e-mail communications include a message from an unnamed civil servant whose cautions were ignored.
“I think we could be accused of duplicity in naming him,” he wrote without explaining the reason. But, noting a possible mitigating factor that could quell any controversy, he added, “The fact that he is homophobic does help.”
The release of the new information follows an earlier erroneous report that Savage’s name was to be removed from the list.
Savage told WND July 18 he was “stunned” by a report in London’s Daily Mail saying incoming Home Secretary Alan Johnson scrapped his predecessor’s list of people banned from Britain – a list that grouped Savage with Islamic hate preachers and terrorists.
Savage had sued outgoing Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for libel for listing him, along with 15 others, as “least wanted” visitors in the country. Meanwhile, Smith’s successor, Johnson, called the move a terrible blunder and told the Daily Mail he would scrap the policy of maintaining such enemies lists.
But Savage told WND two days later that according to his attorney, Johnson’s announcement did not mean his name had been removed from the list.
“It ain’t over till it’s over,” Savage said on his broadcast that day.
Savage still demands an apology from Smith, who recently admitted she was not up to being home secretary, saying she should have been given some training for the job before being named.
“When I became home secretary I’d never run a major organization,” she told Total Politics magazine. “I hope I did a good job but if I did it was more by luck than by any kind of development of skills. I think we should have been better trained. I think there should have been more induction.”
Last month, Smith resigned her position in the wake of scandal over personal use of taxpayer funds and her controversial ban of Savage.
Savage took the offensive against her by appearing on a BBC radio program and filing his lawsuit.
Smith contended upon announcing the ban of Savage May 5 that the talk host was “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 also has sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking that she call on the British government to withdraw the ban.
The complaint against Smith notes the home secretary’s office said in a press release that the “controversial daily radio host” is “considered to be engaging in unacceptable behavior by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.”
The allegations are “entirely false,” the complaint asserts.
“At no time has our client provoked or sought to provoke others to commit crimes or serious criminal acts.”
Savage hosts the nation’s third most popular radio talk show, with an estimated 8 million listeners a week on about 400 stations, according to his syndicator, the Talk Radio Network.
Savage told WND after the ban was announced last month that his message for Smith and the people of the U.K. was, “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.
On his website, Savage appealed to his listeners to contribute to his legal fund, which he has used for various efforts, including a lawsuit last year against the Council on American-Islamic Relations for waging a boycott using excerpts of his copyrighted remarks. In the case of Savage’s U.K. ban, however, CAIR has sided with Savage, arguing “freedom of speech is a two-way street.”