The British National Party’s highly successful anti-war campaign has led to a complete news blackout on the Afghanistan war in the run-up to next week’s election.
Although military deaths continue unabated at the rate of approximately three per week, the controlled media and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have together conspired to keep all news out of public view until after the election.
The BNP has campaigned from the very beginning against the Afghanistan war and was the very first political party to point out the obvious lies and deception which underpinned the case for war against Iraq.
Both Tory and Labour supported the wars, and the Liberal Democrats have also now come out in favour of continuing the conflict in Afghanistan.
The BNP has made the demand for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan into a central campaign theme of this election.
Fearful of the popular appeal such a campaign has, the MoD has banned all journalists and TV crews from the Afghan front line and senior officers have been prohibited from making public speeches and talking to reporters.
An MoD memo said that websites will also be “cleansed” of any “non-factual” material including anything containing troops’ opinions of the war.
The news blackout has been condemned by Colonel Douglas Young, chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation.
He was quoted as saying that such a blackout had not happened during the 1945 election.
“There was no question of limiting reporting at that time simply because an election was happening and I don’t see why there should be any questions of that now. Are we to stop operations during this period?” he asked.
“Obviously not, and if operations are in process they should be reported upon in the normal way.”
Colonel Young’s objections were backed up by Cdr John Muxworthy, chief executive of the UK National Defence Association, who said, “It is ridiculous to expect the forces to be hiding away just because there’s a general election.
“To put a situation in place where the press is effectively going to be gagged, so it is not going to be possible for people to see the real news from the front line, is incredible.”
Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was also quoted as saying that it “was wrong to gag the media, which is what this is. This is a critical campaign and the public have a right to be told what is happening.
“It is also wrong to prevent senior officers speaking,” he added.
* The BNP is undeterred by the media’s blackout and the Government’s censorship of news from Afghanistan. The party will continue to campaign for a complete withdrawal of all British forces from that conflict for as long as it takes for the establishment to see sense on the issue.