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18 September 2003 Edition

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The 5th Column

Bang to rights

THE 5th COLUMN is in England this week on a mission - but it wasn't to load up my Tesco trolley at the British Government's DSEi arms fair in London's Docklands with all sorts of armoured cars and tanks and guns.

Bertie Ahern's meeting with Tony Blair at Chequers last week to discuss the peace process in Ireland, decommissioning of IRA weapons, etc, etc, probably avoided the thorny issue of Tony's cronies masterminding the biggest arms fair in Europe.

The DSEi arms bazaar (bed and breakfast and tea and cucumber sandwiches courtesy of War Minister Geoff Hoon) hosted despotic regimes from all over the world in the Brits' bid to make millions of pounds by saturating poorer nations with weapons of wholesale destruction. But the British Bobbies may find themselves up against the law over their treatment of very well behaved anti-war activists.

The top cop policing the event for some 900 gun-running companies and 20,000 government gun nuts popped up on BBC London at lunchtime last Friday to reassure the Great British public about civil rights. Old Bill told the media that all the little piggies are guardians of free speech and wouldn't be using the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act to stymie opposition.

AFTER lunch, BBC TV carried footage of harmless-looking hairies and crusties having their GM-free snack boxes rifled by the porky fingers of the police, telling them that they were being stopped under THE PREVENTION OF TERRORISM ACT!

You can't even trust the police nowadays, can you?

Suitable cases for treatment

A GANG of British Army medical orderlies - ARMED and in full combat gear - have been jailed in England for going on a New Year's Eve drunken rampage in a tiny Bosnian village that almost ended in a shoot-out with the local cops.

The four sneaked out of their base and went on a pub crawl in Bos Gradiska after they were ordered to stay in barracks to provide emergency hospital cover. Still wearing their Red Cross armbands, they took rifles and pistols from the armoury and headed off for a night on the town. After trawling the village bars, the muddled MASH heads nearly took heart attacks when a New Year's reveller lit a firecracker. The 'peace keepers' cocked their fully loaded weapons and turned their guns on the party-goers. A tense stand-off occurred and a potential massacre was avoided by the arrival of the Bosnian Bobbies, who disarmed the drunks.

A court-martial in Aldershot last week heard that the Brits were so drunk that they were of absolutely no use and had to be stood down from medical duty.

The footless four admitted charges of "neglect of duty and affray". They were sentenced to three months in the glasshouse.

The missing link

THE FAR-RIGHT British National Party, celebrating some very messy council election victories in England, are now hoping that a foray in next year's election for Mayor of London will reverse their sorry fortunes in the capital.

The Nazis believe that their chances have been boosted by news that right-wing journalist and unfunny tabloid TV columnist, Gary Bushell, has withdrawn from the race under the banner of the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party.

September's anti-fascist magazine, Searchlight, writes:

"The well-known right-wing journalist has been seen as a big threat to the BNP as he would almost certainly have attracted a sizeable section of the racist vote. His decision to withdraw came after the BNP promised to reveal Bushell's links with the BNP."

Whatever can they mean?

It's not all white on the night

THE BNP's unashamedly Nazi rivals, the White Nationalist Party (WNP) - which has linked up with the UDA/UFF in the Six Countiers - is threatening to attack political opponents in a bid to win young stormtroopers from the BNP's boot-boy wings.

The WNP's führer figure, the aptly named Tony White, at a meeting in Birmingham rallied WNP supporters to a strategy of targeting anyone who opposes them. The WNP have been actively canvassing loyalist paramilitaries and are said to have attracted the active interest of dozens of UDA/UFF boneheads, an ominous development for nationalists and ethnic minority communities in the Six Counties.

The small WNP's notoriety has fuelled their fascist fantasies of world domination and conquering their Little England through the ballot box, but the Electoral Commission has blanked the WNP's application for registration as a political party. Saying "Nein" to the Nazis, the Commission said it was "minded to reject" the application on the grounds that "the proposed name [White Nationalist Party] is offensive on the grounds that it is based on colour and contrary to the principles of public policy as set out in the Race Relations Act 1976".

And to rub salt into the WNP's wounds, they won't be getting back their registration fee of £150.

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