Freshman Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., who is already earning a reputation on Capitol Hill as a straight talker, has written a letter on behalf of Michael Savage urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to review Britain’s ban of the popular talk-radio host.
Pointing out Savage was put on the U.K.’s banned-entry list with “ruthless criminals,” including a Hamas terrorist and Russian skinhead, West argued there is no basis for the action initiated by the government of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and affirmed by current Prime Minister David Cameron’s administration.
“For a nation who believes in freedom of speech and press, “West wrote, “I have a hard time understanding why such a high level, government department would release this statement when there has not been one incident recorded in the United States regarding Dr. Savage instigating violence, let alone serious criminal acts.”
Official U.K. government correspondence shows Savage was put on the list to provide “balance,” because it contained so many Muslim extremists.
WND reported last July the new Conservative-Party-led government of Prime Minister David Cameron informed Savage it would continue the ban unless he repudiated statements made on his broadcasts that were deemed a threat to public security. The U.K., however, has never specified which statements it thought were so dangerous.
As WND reported in May 2009, then–British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that Savage was on a list of 16 people banned from entry because the government believed their views might provoke violence. Smith said 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.”
West, a tea party favorite, won a nationally watched House race in November over Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Klein in South Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.
West became known to WND readers in 2003 when the Army prosecuted him for bold interrogation tactics he used to protect his soldiers in Iraq. Amid his controversial ordeal, he drew support from congressmen and many Americans who regarded him as a hero.
Savage said last July that the new British government was continuing the Gordon Brown government’s “big lie,” based on extracts of radio programs over many years “edited by Soros-backed Media Matters to slander me.”
Savage said that after “over one straight year of legal hell,” he had hoped the new British government would remove his name “from their list of actual murderers and terrorists.”
The U.K.’s list includes Hamas terrorist 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.
Savage has documented his battle over the ban in his book “Banned in Britain,” which includes official correspondence, released under the U.K.’s freedom-of-information law, that reveals a decision was made at the highest level of government to use his name to provide “balance” to a “least wanted” list dominated by Muslim extremists.
“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 the home secretary. Smith resigned from post in June 2009 in the wake of scandal over personal use of taxpayer funds.
An e-mail message dated Nov. 27, 2008, from an unnamed Home Office official, says, with regard to Savage, “I can understand that disclosure of the decision would help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases.”
Another e-mail points to complicity by other agencies and even former Prime Minister Brown.
The Home Office “intend to include [Savage] in their quarterly stats. … Both the [foreign secretary and prime minister] are firmly behind listing and naming such people,” it reads.
The e-mails 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.
Smith’s successor as home secretary, Alan Johnson, called the ban a terrible blunder and told the Daily Mail of London he would scrap the policy of maintaining an enemies list. 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.
Last November, Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, the assistant Republican whip, urged Clinton to use her position to press the U.K. to grant Savage a travel visa immediately.
Savage still demands an apology from Smith, who has admitted she was not up to being home secretary, explaining she should have been given some training for the job before being named.
In a legal complaint against Smith, Savage noted 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 intercommunity 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 one of the nation’s most popular radio talk shows, with an estimated 8 million listeners a week on about 400 stations, according to his syndicator, the Talk Radio Network.
In a 2008 interview with WND, during his previous run for Congress, West said his 2003 ordeal with the Army should tell voters what kind of a lawmaker he would be, particularly when it comes to issues of defense.
“If you’re a bad guy, and you try to get between me and the safety and lives of American citizens, you’re going to lose,” West said.