The article below, written by the Class War Federation, covers no fewer than ten examples of journalists at their absolute worst – lying, fantasising and distorting, either in their own interests, or those of the police and/or security services.
This analysis originally appeared in the Anarchist fortnightly Freedom on 15 July 2006. Nearly all of the journalists listed are still ‘in the field’ today. Sightings of further bullshit from these ‘professionals’ will be gratefully received………
The Land of Make Believe
For some twenty years any journalist wanting to file exaggerated, lazy or downright slanderous copy has had one staple source for stories – Class War. Sometimes the journalist concerned has been given smears to peddle by Special Branch or MI5, sometimes they are able to come up with an inaccurate article all on their own.
From the hundreds that have appeared, Class War proudly presents ten of the biggest whoppers from our mouldy mound of press cuttings.
And for any journalists reading, before you write your piece please consider whether you can match the following all time classics….
10. Swedes 2 Turnips 1
That Class War was behind the rioting in Gothenburg in 2001 at the demonstration against the EU summit (Jason Burke, Kamal Ahmed and Lars Bevanger, The Observer, 17th June 2001). Not one member of Class War, from either the UK or Europe was there. The price of a pint in Scandinavia puts us off travelling there. Some of us did watch the footage on telly though.
9. Who Do You Think You’re Kidding Mr Hitler!
Class War is a fascist organisation (David Rose in the Guardian, 30th September 1985) and Union Jack tattooed CW members provoked the 1985 Brixton riots. Handed to the Guardian by self-confessed spook Gerry Gable of Searchlight magazine, the paper was forced into a sorry retraction shortly afterwards.
‘Eastenders Stars Targeted by Class War Terrorists’ (News of the World magazine, 5th July 1987). The colour picture of Leslie Grantham in a sniper’s target was the only good thing about this piece, which claimed we planned to assassinate certain actors in the top BBC soap for betraying their class.
7. Gruesome Threesome?
That former Class War national organiser Tim Scargill was an informer for fascist group Combat 18 (Searchlight, April 1993). Gerry Gable again, this time attacking an ex-member of Class War alongside Malcolm Astells of Anti-Fascist Action and independent researcher Larry O’Hara.
This nonsense produced a storm of protest and when Searchlight produced their history of C18 (White Riot by Nick Lowles, Milo 2001) Scargill, Astells and O’Hara did not warrant a single mention between them. All of which begs the question if Searchlight were not willing to stand by their story, why did they print it in the first place?
6. Class War Vampires!
Following a ritualistic murder case in Germany, the Evening Standard magazine expressed concern that London is a hotbed of vampire activity (‘In Search of the Urban Vampire’, Nick Compton, 5th April 2002). Compton interviewed the Rt Rev Sean Manchester of Highgate who styles himself as the UK’s leading vampire hunter.
Who could doubt his credentials when he states of vampires:
“A significant number engage in satanic practices and have contact with established diabolists. Many are anarchists and some support Class War. A handful are neo-Nazis. Some are both”.
Look out for those neo-Nazi anarchist Class War vampires the next time you go to Highgate Cemetry!
5. International Conference Shame!
To the Daily Star only one thing could be worse than a Class War member – Class War members who are not even British, meeting – in London! How else to explain the distress the Star went through on 12th September 1991 when its editorial thundered “Instead of holding rallies they should be stuffed and exhibited at the Natural History Museum with the dinosaurs they resemble so closely”.
4. Marked Men?
From 1999-2000, the Sunday Times ran a series of ever more ludicrous articles by lanky streak of piss Mark Macaskill. What set Macaskill apart from his contemporaries was the range of groups he targeted with his pen, and his extremely obvious and failed attempt to infiltrate the Sunday Times tea boy into London Class War.
The highlight of his investigation came when he employed a photographer to target Middlesex University academic Jock Young, who Macaskill believed to be the leader of Class War. He is not, and indeed has never even been a member or supporter of the group!
After getting several home addresses of Anarchists (presumably from the police) Macaskill’s eventual expose of Class War (Sunday Times, 14th May 2000) left everybody who knows us scratching their heads).
Macaskill seems to have gone a bit quiet of late – could he have followed the route David Shayler took of working for the Sunday Times first and then formally joining the security services afterwards?
3. Pinocchio’s Nose
‘The Riot Puppeteers’ screamed the Daily Mail of 25th July 1992. It seemed that the riots of the long hot summer of 1992 did not occur because people do not like the police and actually rather enjoy throwing bricks at cops, but because “members of the Class War anarchist organisation are orchestrating the unrest in Burnley and Huddersfield, using CB radios and scanners to monitor police communications.” Whatever next!
2. Nazis of the Left!
So screamed Daily Mirror pen-pusher John Merritt (17th February 1987). Our crime? Booing actor Tom Watt, then better known as Lofty in Eastenders, who had opened a yuppie housing development in Hackney. What did he expect – praise?
1.Digging Up Diana!
By a distance, the best ever story about Class War was by Tim Luckett in the Daily Mirror of 27th August 2000. Class War were apparently planning to dig up the body of Princess Diana from her island grave at Althorp, Northamptonshire. Thankfully for the Spencer family we had been thwarted in this dastardly deed by an undercover TV reporter. The worms of Althorp could carry on eating.
Luckett quoted a ‘source’ close to the investigation.
“The anarchists are highly organised. They have been liaising in code via the pages of the Big Issue and group members contact each other with pagers.”
Needless to say no such plan, or investigative journalist existed, and no TV programme appeared. The ‘plot’ itself though had already been published in the form of a novel – Anarchist by Class War founder Ian Bone, some two years earlier.
There are lots of good critiques available of the media, Inventing Reality: The Politics of the Mass Media by Michael Parenti being one classic. That the media exercises power without responsibility, that they are easily co-opted by politicians and other powerful figures and that journalism tends to reflect the middle class concerns and interests of middle class journalists is perhaps obvious. The articles above however suggest something more – that many journalists are idle, prejudiced and perhaps more importantly, nowhere near as clever as they actually believe they are.
Class War Federation