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Major factual innacuracies in BBC Report of Anti-Nuke action

Jim | 09.10.2007 04:04 | Faslane | Anti-militarism | Other Press | Social Struggles | World

The BBC, probably acting on deliberately inaccurate information provided by the Ministry of Defence, recently claimed that an Anti-Nuclear activist had to be pulled from the water around Coulport, the Royal Navy base where warheads for Trident nuclear missiles are stored. According to the activist converned, the story was quite different.

Early in the morning on Thursday October 4th, four Swedish anti-nuclear activists tried to breach the perimeter around RNAD Coulport, the storage facility which houses nuclear warhead deployed in the Trident nuclear weapons system. Three of these activists were picked up by the MoD police.

According to the BBC the fourth activist was "[pulled] from the water around Coulport naval base just before 0230 BST after a protester raised the alarm". The BBC claims that an RAF search and rescue operation was undertaken and that the activist was "removed from the water and taken to hospital for treatment for possible post-immersion shock".

But the activist concerned describes the situation rather differently. Andreas Hedfors claims that he "swam around inside the Coulport perimeter, near the Explosives handling jetty, for some two hours, without being caught". When he realised that a helicopter was in the air, Hedfors "started trying to alert them to my presence, so as to avoid unnecessary cost", he said. After ten minutes of shouting and waving his arms, he eventually alerted a sea rescue boat, which he climbed into.

Hedfors was taken to hospital for a check-up because of police regulations.

The BBC, The Scotsman and the other mainstream media sources which have carried this story have completely failed to even attempt to verify this story, and have instead acted solely on information provided by the Ministry of Defence. As well as printing the MoD's story regarding their "rescue" of Hedfors, the BBC et al have failed to challenge the MoD's claim that the perimeter of Coulport was not breached by the activists.

Complaints made to the BBC and other news sources regarding this matter would likely be upheld, and so are worth making. In any event, the Press Association is now claiming that Hedfors will appear in court over this matter, and will therefore be given an opportunity to present his side of the story - whether this version reaches the mainstream media is, however, another matter.

References: - the BBC story - the Scotsman story; scroll down to comment #16 for Hedfors' account.



Hide the following 3 comments

police regulations?

09.10.2007 08:23

What 'police regulations' can oblige someone to attend hospital for a checkup?
Unless they were detaining him under the Mental Health Act then he has no obligation to accept any medical attention.
Perhaps he felt that a visit to the hospital was preferable to the police station?


Re: police regulations

09.10.2007 22:16

I'm not entirely sure. Perhaps there is a regulation in place if someone is "rescued" that means they have to be checked out by medical staff. Or perhaps the police had this stich-up in mind, and told the activist that he had to go to hospital to be checked out? This is all speculation though; I'm sure if you contacted someone through they would be able to give you more information.


I today submitted an official complaint

10.04.2008 22:09

Inspired by the above article I today, April 11, 2008, submitted an official complaint on the BBC website.

I kindly demanded they immediately remove or correct the news story. I will write here again when they answer.

Andreas Hedfors


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