1:24 PM

Tiny Dancer

Posted by Skye |

Let us play a little game of What If...

What if a reporter obtained a copy of a membership list of a particular political party?

What if this same reporter printed the names and occupations of the members of a particular political party in a newspaper column?

What if the author and members of the public called to have the named individuals removed from the jobs?

You would think this is a joke and want to to stop kidding around - right? This doesn't happen in a democracy, where it is a basic right of citizens to choose a political party without disclosing it to the entire world.

You would be wrong.

Ian Cobain, a journalist employed by the The Guardian, a British newspaper, covertly joined the BNP and for several months worked his way through the party system, ending up with a copy of a membership list. He subsequently disclosed the names and occupations of BNP members in an 'investigative expose'. Later articles called for the dismissal of a ballerina employed by the ENB who was identified in the expose as a BNP member.

Recall that The Guardian sponsored a letter writing campaign in the runup to the 2004 presidential election targeting the independent voters of Clark County, Ohio.

The Brussels Journal reports on this story:

Cobain is a former winner of the “Amnesty International Award for investigative journalism into human rights.”

Last year, Cobain joined the BNP and was a member for seven months without disclosing his identity. The journalist, who regards the BNP as a dangerous racist and fascist organization, quickly made it to the BNP’s Central London Organizer. If Cobain is right about the Party’s nature, there is little doubt that he succeeded in this remarkable feat by posing as a hardline racist and fascist. In his position as the BNP’s London F├╝hrer Cobain managed to get hold of the Party’s membership list. On 21 December he published a piece in The Guardian in which he disclosed the names of several BNP members, while criticizing the Party for its “clandestine” and “secretive” methods and reproaching the very people from whom he had concealed his true identity by using a pseudonym, for their “use [of] pseudonyms to conceal their true identities.”

Though it belongs to the basic rights of citizens in a democracy to join any legal political party without telling the whole world, the winner of the “Amnesty International Award for investigative journalism into human rights” deliberately and knowingly violated the privacy of various people by disclosing their membership of the BNP, which is a legal political party. One of Cobain’s victims was Simone Clarke, the principal dancer of the ENB. Clarke can hardly be called a racist. The 36-year old ballerina lives with a dancer of Chinese-Cuban extraction with whom she has a child of mixed race.....

......Next week, Katharina Blum – oops, Simone Clarke – will take the lead in the ENB’s production of Giselle at the London Coliseum. If she has not been sacked by then, I would not be surprised to see Guardian readers stage demonstrations to force the ENB to oust the ballerina who was targeted by callous Cobain, the Amnesty International human rights advocate.

Think this can't happen in the United States? I've no doubt Ian Cobain, if given US citizenship, would register and vote Democrat.

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