Published On: Mon, Jun 20th, 2016

Did Corporate Media concoct the “Britain First” shout myth?

The murder of an MP on 16/6/2016 ahead of a referendum that was going to bring about that long-hoped-for devastating game-changer in British politics was just all too convenient – all too convenient for people who have far too much at stake to allow Brexit to happen. Before the murder, as is universally acknowledged, the polls were reflecting what British people knew in their guts – they were going to vote to leave the EU. Post-murder – and there is an atmosphere of unease and trepidation. Good people are, in their masses and by an Establishment-contrived association with the murderer, Thomas Mair, having their noses rubbed roughly in the mess that they are being told they have brought into the clean house. Since the murder politicians and activists for the Remain side have undeniably been making hay – abetted by their erstwhile partners in conniving and perception-shaping, the British Corporate Media. It was truly ghastly for the author to see the new spring in the steps of the StrongerIn activists as he walked through his town today. Reading the message boards on the internet, the author can also see that there is an anxiety amongst patriotic Britons that the murder of Jo Cox – or rather its exploitation by the said gang of villains – will have a negative effect at polling booths and dash a widely and long-held ambition of freedom – now, according to the Pro-Globalist Remain side, a dirty word. It is truly agonising to see known gangsters – pretty much the same people who brought you WMD in 45 minutes, or guns to Al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria – hold an entire country to emotional blackmail. This is why it is crucial that there should be a review and a repudiation of the data presented to us by the Corporate Media about the Jo Cox murder, for it is this information by which the entire Vote Leave campaign is currently being tried and convicted in the court of public opinion – with the UKIP element being persecuted quite particularly. The author has made a preliminary foray, and has found evidence enough to believe that the Media has undoubtedly become involved in creating a false narrative to explain the actions of Thomas Mair. There seems to be one definite case of invented information being introduced by a Media outlet. Furthermore, until the author sees evidence to the contrary (which does not include a protest of “the Media wouldn’t do that”), there seems to be another case where a Media outlet has not only introduced the same information, but also set up a self-referential loop of citation to cover its tracks. Thirdly, it is entirely possible, according to the author’s study of the evidence, that Media has also sought out witness testimony to reinforce the false narrative rather than reflect the reality on the ground.

At the core of this chicanery is the claim that “Britain First” had been shouted by Thomas Mair as he attacked Jo Cox. Please note, the narrative that this information facilitated enabled the media to hang a political motive on the deed immediately, so there was cause for what we must accept these days to be a Media that is very far indeed from being independent of the State. The storyline provided meat for the shock headlines that are – as the text-book for doing this sort of thing states – designed to place an unwavering certainty of the initially sown seed.  However, it looks almost certainly like there was no shout of “Britain First” – and this discovery was thanks to the interest, efforts and the large-enough web-presence of Breitbart – which, reaching in from Free USA, is big enough to smash the usual British Corporate Media grip on the consensus – something the text-book usually relies on.

To begin with, then, Breitbart followed up comments made on TV (here) by witness Hichem Ben Abdallah – the author isn’t clear as to whether this interview was with Channel 5s Andy Bell – who actually rang the alarm bells with a tweet – or whether it was with Sky News. Either way, in an extensive interview with the alternative media organisation, Mr Abdallah maintained[1] that he didn’t hear anyone shouting “Britain First”.

On the same day Breitbart was conducting investigations in Birstall – the 17th June – a message was discovered pasted in the window of the launderette –  a business supposedly close at hand to the place of the murder – and it read:

“Please note, I did not tackle the gunman. And no one shouted Britain First at any time.”

The LBC reportage continued…

LBC’s reporter in Birstall Bethan Davies spoke to Ahmed Tahir, the owner, who insisted he has not spoken to anyone who heard that phrase.

And Mr Tahir admitted he was worried for his safety after reports named him for making to original claim.

As the above quotation spells out, Mr Tahir had previously been named as witnessing the “Britain First” shout. In fact there were a number of people who the Corporate Media claimed had witnessed the phenomenon. As we shall see, all these attributions became undermined. We’ll start with Aamir Tahir – who did it for himself.

The Mail, at 6pm on the day of the murder when the author captured the page, reported the following: (link)

Aamir Tahir, of The Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting ‘Britain first’.

He said: ‘The lady I work with heard two loud bangs. I wish I was there because I would have tried to stop him.

‘Apparently the guy who did it shouted ‘Britain first’ and if I had been there I would have tackled him.’ 

Furthermore, the Independent, in a piece published on the 17th, had this:

Aamir Tahir, of the Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting “Britain first”.

As the reader can see, Tahir’s hearsay – if indeed he even ever revealed it to journalists – was turned into a firsthand witness account. If Tahir hadn’t had expressly denied the reports, and if objective journalists had not been on hand to convey his real story, this non-witness account would have entered into the record as fact in the ongoing public-kangaroo-court trial of the Vote Leave campaign. The disgracefulness of the journalism is self-evident.

The next candidate as source of Mair’s war cry was provided by the Guardian (link), which when the author recorded the page at 6pm on 16th June, reported the following:

Graeme Howard, 38, who lives in nearby Bond Street, told the Guardian he heard the man shout “Britain first” before the shooting and during the arrest.

“I heard the shot and I ran outside and saw some ladies from the cafe running out with towels,” he said. “There was loads of screaming and shouting and the police officers showed up.

“He was shouting ‘Britain first’ when he was doing it and being arrested. He was pinned down by two police officers and she was taken away in an ambulance.”

It was very unfortunate for the Guardian that, when in the area, Breitbart went looking for Mr Howard. This is what they reported:

There is no record of the last witness named in the Guardian – Graeme Howard – living in the area, though they claim he lived on Bond Street, just minutes away from the site of the murder. Breitbart London visited Bond Street – a tiny road – last night, and could not find Mr. Howard.

As damning as that may be[2], another reason to be incredulous at the Guardian’s report at face value is how Howard gives the impression that the attack and arrest happened at the same place. Jo Cox was pronounced dead at 13:48 – apparently still in the care of paramedics according to police statements, so we can confirm that part of “Howard’s” story. However, Mair was arrested in Risedale Avenue  at 13.25pm – about a mile away. Additionally, there is footage of the arrest on the internet, and if Mair had been shouting “Britain First”, he’d become most uncooperative by the time the camera started rolling to capture it.

The whereabouts of Graeme Howard are a great mystery on the patriotic side of the internet – obviously there does not seem to be too much concern on the other as Mr Howard still fails to materialise. Deserved condemnation of the Guardian can be  found here: BiasedBBC – The Guardian in the Gutter.

The author also captured the Telegraph live feed (here) at 6pm on 16th June, and noticed when perusing it later that at 15:32 the following item flashed onto the wire:

Clarke Rothwell said that, as the man stabbed Mrs Cox, he shouted: “Britain First, Britain First, Britain First.”

He said: “Three times she was shot, the initial time which then she dropped to the floor and two more times.

“The third time he got close proximity he shot her round the head area.”

He added: “In the meantime he was stabbing her as well, he was stabbing her with his knife.”

Mr Rothwell said there was blood everywhere at the scene.

Asked if he thought Ms Cox had intervened in a dispute he said he understood the altercation was “always between the guy carrying the gun and the lady that got shot”.

Mr Rothwell added: “He was stabbing her with a footlong knife multiple times while shouting Britain First, Britain First, Britain First.”

Much later in the day came further developments on this front in the shape of a TV interview with Clarke Rothwell conducted by BBC (here). Apparently this was done during daylight hours, but according to the scrolling banner it was aired at about 10pm. In this clip, the interviewer claimed that this constituted Rothwell’s  only appearance on TV – but that wasn’t actually true, as we shall see.

At this stage of the investigation, it becomes clear why it was obviously felt by some people in the Media that Rothwell would have to revisit his story, overtly – in front of camera: the “Britain First” myth was starting to look heavily mauled and was barely hanging together. Even Rothwell had problems with his story – having appeared to have changed it by the time that the BBC had arranged his to-camera piece. This is what he said:

“The words I heard him say was Britain First, or put Britain first – I can’t say exactly.”

Obviously, this is very different to “Britain First! Britain First! Britain First!” which the Telegraph, at 15.32, had cited Rothwell as reporting. “Britain First! Britain First! Britain First!” suggests a pounding assault. “I can’t say exactly” is extraordinarily feeble in comparison, and “put Britain first” is a back-peddling – and incidentally sounds like something that the leader of Britain First, Paul Golding, had suggested during the course of the day (where, noticeably, he took the opportunity to slur Nigel Farage).[3]

As mentioned above, this rendezvous between Rothwell and the BBC had not been the first time that Rothwell had appeared on BBC. Earlier in the day he conducted a telephone interview with the Corporation – one that, apparently, went out live at around 14:51. This interview is embedded in a tweet (here)  broadcast at 15:00. In this interview there was no mention at all of Mair’s war cry. Indeed, that Rothwell, originally, had nothing at all  to say about it was reflected in other reporting – as we shall see in 3 examples.

Firstly, there was the BBC’s own website – which the author captured at 6pm on 16th June. The article included a partial transcript of the interview, and at that time, there was still no mention of a shout:

“Cafe owner Clarke Rothwell, who witnessed the attack, said he heard a “loud popping noise that sounded like a balloon burst – a loud balloon”.

“When I looked round there’s a man stood there in his 50s with a white baseball cap on and a jacket with a gun, an old fashioned looking gun in his hand,” he said.

“He shot this lady once and then he shot her again, he fell to the floor, leant over shot her once more in the face area.

“Somebody tried to grab him, wrestling with him and then he wielded a knife, like a hunting knife, just started lunging at her with a knife half a dozen times. People were screaming and running from the area”.

Please note that this BBC page seems to have been updated in the intervening period. The text of Rothwell’s first interview is not changed – but the video of his second interview has been added – along with this sub headline: “One eyewitness told the BBC they heard her attacker shout “put Britain first” at least twice beforehand.”

Secondly, the Guardian also made reference to that first Rothwell telephone interview:

Clarke Rothwell, another witness, told BBC News there was a direct altercation between Cox and a man carrying a gun, who “purposefully” targeted her.

“He shot this lady and then shot her again,” he said. “He lent down. Someone was wrestling with him and he was wielding a knife and lunging at her. Three times she was shot. People were trying to help her.

“Then he ran off down a one-way street. Me and my mate drove round to try and find him.”

This article is the same one in which the Guardian attributes the “Britain First” statement to Graeme Howard, and the link is to be found above. Please note that in its present form this article still does not have Rothwell making the claim.

Third and finally is the Daily Mail, and at the time the author captured the page (see above re Tahir) it had this – and only this – with respect to Clarke Rothwell:

Witness Clarke Rothwell who runs a cafe near where the attack took place, told the BBC he believed the MP had been shot and stabbed multiple times.

He said: ‘He [the attacker] was stabbing her as well, he was stabbing her with his knife.’


An early mention of Rothwell in the Mail does not mention “Britain First” in his testimony.

Please note that the Daily Mail changes the content of its pages quite frequently – the link provided above will arrive at the page in a more recent  and much altered state where the article will apportion to Rothwell a larger share of the responsibility for hearing the shout. Unfortunately, a cached copy of the earlier version – the page as looked like when the author first saw it – doesn’t seem to be available.

Taking this information into consideration, it appears to the author that, originally, Rothwell didn’t make the claim about a shout of “Britain First”, and the testimony was only attributed to him later. Sure, the author has also found other articles like one at the Metro (here), published at 13:59 16th June, which suggests that Rothwell did indeed give the testimony long before the Telegraph reported it at 15:32. However, this Metro article conveniently explains that its source is the Telegraph – which didn’t start reporting the Rothwell/Britain-First link until 15.32. Like other Media online, the Metro updates its pages, and the publish date becomes meaningless in terms of establishing when certain content appeared during the life time of the page.

Before moving on, just to establish with another example a probable likely general time for when Rothwell started to become connected with the “Britain First” shout testimony, the Independent cited the Huddersfield Examiner as having talked to Rothwell (see link above), and this Examiner story (here) first appeared at 15.29 – which is much closer to the appearance of Rothwell’s name on the Telegraph’s timeline – namely 15.32.

To wrap up so far, then, weighing up the balance of things, the author is of the opinion that the “Britain First” shouts didn’t happen. On one hand there are witnesses who categorically said it didn’t – they even refute claims attributed to them by the Media – on the other hand there is the invented witness, Howard, and the shifting Rothwell (Cafe owner or Gas Fitter?), who appears to have embellished his story from one BBC interview to the next. Why he would do this can’t be speculated on, but we do know that Clarke Rothwell appears to have been a member of the BNP, and this could have been a sore point of leverage for some unscrupulous party who wanted him to cooperate more particularly. Furthermore, it must be pointed out that the BNP was famously infiltrated by the British intelligence agencies, and there is speculation that it, and indeed Britain First, exist specifically so that anti-Establishment political activity can be tarred with the same brush of extremism.

Having decided that the “Britain First” shout did not happen on the ground, one naturally asks the question: where did it come from? Well, we already have seen it placed in the mouth of a witness by the Guardian – but given the nature of the Corporate Media,  there doesn’t need to be a single source. The author has been on a hunt, and there is another suspect. We’ll get to the who and how shortly after we have walked through the trail that the author took.

In the Telegraph’s live feed, link above, at 14.36, the following report appeared:

Gunman shouted ‘Britain First’, witness claims

Some witnesses at the scene are claiming that the man who shot Ms Cox shouted “Britain First”.

Speaking to Sky News, he said the man walked very slowly away from the scene after the attack.

That Sky News had issued a report at this time about a shout of “Britain First” was confirmed by Breitbart in its live feed coverage. The following was published there before 14.40:

Sky News has reported an eye-witness who said the attacker shouted “Britain First” as he committed the attack.

That Sky News had issued a report at this time about a shout of “Britain First” was confirmed by Breitbart in its live feed coverage. The following was published there before 14.40:

Sky News has reported an eye-witness who said the attacker shouted “Britain First” as he committed the attack.

This Sky report has been impossible to track down – but there is something that we can assume about it: that it didn’t name the witness(es)  for any of the regurgitations to quote, and therefore the claim of anyone shouting “Britain First” is completely unsubstantiated by this thread of reporting.

Luckily, it appears that Jim Waterson, political editor at BuzzFeedUK, had been watching Sky; he tweeted this:

Sky News reporting the attacker shouted “Britain First” by citing Maria Eagle’s tweet, although Eagle is in turn citing Sky News via the MEN

— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) June 16, 2016

(And a copy can be found here).

Maria Eagle is the MP for Garston and Halewood, and noticeably has been active very recently in what has become known as Project Grief (or Project Terror) –  the latest development of the Establishment’s anti-Brexit Project Fear.

The tweet that Waterson refers to was deleted later on the 16th – as reported by Breitbart at 17:40 on their live feed (link above), but a copy of the tweet can be found at United Politics: here. This Maria Eagle tweet, published at 14:28, reads as follows:

@Jo_Cox1 attacker shouted “Britain First” says eyewitness.

The United Politics story instructs us that Eagle was indeed citing a tweet by the Manchester Evening News (MEN) – which is here (as confirmed here).

Confusingly, this MEN tweet has the headline “Labour MP Jo Cox ‘shot and stabbed’ outside West Yorkshire library – latest updates” but doesn’t appear to specifically mention the “Britain First” shout. However, after some searching the author did find something relevant produced by the Manchester Evening News via a live feed – which at 14:21 reported this:

Elderly attacker ‘shouted Britain First’

The man who gunned down Ms Cox shouted ‘Britain First’, an eyewitness claims.

Speaking to Sky News, the witness said the shooter looked to be in his 60s or 70s.

He said the man walked very slowly away from the scene after the attack.

So, we definitely have MEN citing Sky News. But actually, unless something has been missed, Maria Eagle’s tweet doesn’t reference the relevant information.  Therefore, even if Sky News cited Maria Eagle, according to the the evidence, the self-referencing loop cannot be closed. But there is another clue – a tweet by the Mirror that went out at 14.26:

Elderly attacker ‘shouted Britain First’ before MP Jo Cox shooting and stabbing 

Please note, this tweet was cited as the source of the first ever reference to “Britain First” in an incredibly swiftly created and brand new section on Jo Cox’s Wikipedia page. The author therefore assumes that it must be one of the very first pieces of data to make mention of the slogan. In this tweet we see the reference to the elderly attacker which replicates a detail in the MEN report. The content suggests that the source is Sky News – whether directly or through the MEN.

So it appears, to the author at least – and if the BuzzFeedUK editor was watching properly and can be believed – that Sky News was the source of a report – featuring an unnamed witness – that claimed that the slogan “Britain First” had been uttered at Birstall, and not only that, but additionally created a fake  credit to Maria Eagle.

Did it do this to cover its tracks as it created the Britain First myth and attributed it to a witness that still remains nameless? Did Maria Eagle delete her tweet because she figured out that she would look like the source of the lie? What we can say at the end of this lengthy piece is that the Guardian has almost certainly been caught in the act of inventing witness testimony. If the Guardian does it, why should we not suppose that Sky News does it? If they both do that, why should we not suppose that, in the absence of a real person claiming responsibility for the claim, someone in the media – or someone in another arm of government (for that is what Media is) leant on Clarke Rothwell to become the owner of the story? If the media can do all that, why should we not suppose it didn’t collaborate across so-called political divisions to invent and promulgate a narrative to sensationalise what could actually be an everyday tragedy – a random act of craziness by a mentally ill person – and do it for the expediency of its anti-British political masters? Finally, if we are shocked and disgusted by what the Media appears capable of, then we need to be disgusted by ourselves for we are the ones who give it power to abuse. If we have been naïve, then we quickly need to stop, to understand the real purpose of the Media, and subsequently starve it to death.

[1] Somehow Hicham Ben Abdallah was thought by Breitbart to have reported the “Britain First” shout to the media, but the author couldn’t find any reference to it. He appears to have been consistent.
[2] This tweeter thinks that “Eyewitness name at Jo Cox murder Graeme Howard taken from local company.” A tweet it points to has been deleted.
Tweeter could be referring to “Anthony Graham Howard” – an individual listed by this name is aged in his 60s; the Guardian’s Howard is 38.
[3] Golding: “We’re in the middle of a referendum campaign. What this person said – was he referring to an organisation? Was this person referring to a slogan? Was he just shouting out in the middle of an EU debate: ‘It’s time we put Britain first?’“I hear this every day – it’s the name of our party, yes, but I hear Ukip people, I hear Nigel Farage – that’s the kind of language that’s being utilised in the campaign.”
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