Dirty Tricks - Hunt Saboteurs Demand an Apology
Sloppy Journalism, Malicious Stories and Short Memories
As former JP, Jonathan Wilkes, is sentenced to 5 years in jail for making bombs that were "specifically designed to maim and kill", the Hunt Saboteurs Association demands an apology for being mischievously connected with the case by several newspapers, the police and the military.
The devices were left in woods in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire in August 2000. At the time Geoffrey Gibbs of The Guardian ran a story titled "Bomb linked to anti-hunt activists" which claimed that hunt saboteurs could be responsible for the devices. The report included the quote "A spokeswoman for 721 Explosives Ordnance Depot at Ashchurch said police had indicated they could not rule out hunt saboteurs."
Spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Nathan Brown, stated "We demand public apologies from the Explosives Ordnance Depot for spreading this malicious misinformation, Gloucestershire police for not withdrawing or denying the claim and The Guardian and local newspapers for running the story without even approaching us for a comment."
He explained "The Hunt Saboteurs Association has represented hunt saboteurs in this country for 40 years. We are sick of being ignored by the media and tired of being misrepresented as violent. Hunt saboteurs use non-violent tactics and intelligence to outwit huntsmen in pursuit of wildlife. We save the lives of hundreds of hunted animals every year. To suggest that we would wish to endanger life is a grave insult."
The HSA would like to know why, when Hunt Saboteurs were no more likely to have planted the devices than the Chief Constable or Coco the Clown, that we were the only specific group vilified by the media in relation to this case. Even when it emerged the main suspect in the case was an Oxfordshire magistrate, the slur cast on the HSA was not withdrawn.
- Link to the original Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/aug/22/hunting.ruralaffairs
- The Wilkes story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/jan/08/stevenmorris