Posts Tagged 'Gibraltar'

The media’s twisted priorities

Buried away on the BBC News website we find a short story about how on Wednesday a Spanish Guardia Civil patrol boat manoeuvered in a provocative and dangerous manner in the vicinity of Royal Navy vessels, in Gibraltar’s territorial waters.

The incident resulted in an armed stand off between the Spanish vessel, the Rio Tormes, a Gibraltar Defence Police vessel and HMS Scimitar (below) a Royal Navy fast patrol boat of the Gibraltar Squadron, close to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker, RFA Wave Ruler.

It is now Friday and the only UK media report of the incident is a late morning BBC story (11.42am) today – a day later than the Gibraltar Chronicle ran the story and Baroness Hooper told the House of Lords about the incident.

A Google News search shows that, at the time of writing, not a single UK newspaper has picked up this extremely serious diplomatic incident, with implications for the territorial sovereignty of Gibraltar.  In a classic example of the skewed and twisted priorities of the dumbed down media, do you know what story has made the front page, one way or another, of every major UK paper today?

Britannia waives her duty in Gibraltar

From the Gibraltarian news website, Panorama:

The Gibraltar government has told the UK that ‘the time has now come for action, not simply written protests from London to Madrid’ in defence of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, following the latest incident where a Gibraltar vessel was boarded by the Guardia Civil in Gibraltar waters ‘and forcibly conveyed’ together with its occupants to Algeciras ‘at high speed and without navigational lights.’

HM Government of Gibraltar has issued a statement calling on the United Kingdom government to turn its words into actions and defend the territorial integrity of Gibraltar by all means at its disposal in a reasonable, measured but effective way.  As the Gibraltarians make clear,  the time has now come for action, not simply written protests from London to Madrid.

The statement reminds people that these illegal incursions by the Spaniards started in 2009 and have continued at regular intervals ever since. Incredibly at one point Spanish Civil Guards even entered the Port of Gibraltar and landed on Gibraltarian soil.  The Spaniards’ behaviour is far more aggressive than anything that Argentinians have done around the Falkland Islands in the same time period, yet it attracts scant attention in the British media and barely causes a ripple at the Foreign Office, which seems more preoccupied today with retweeting pictures of the Olympic torch on the London Eye.

With Spain deliberately provoking Gibraltar by encouraging its fishing fleets to plunder Gibraltar’s territorial waters under escort from Guardia Civil vessels, the Royal Gibraltar Police are scared to take action for fear of sparking an armed confrontation.  The Royal Navy, where it should be defending the territorial integrity of the waters has instead been impotent and instead issued radio messages from the shore in the hope the Spaniards comply.  In Gibraltar it seems Britannia only rules the airwaves.

Ironically this most recent incursion by the Spaniards has taken place just as eight Gibraltar Defence Police Officers are about to be deployed to the UK to helm a fast rigid-hulled inflatable boat as part of the Olympic Games policing and security operation for the sailing events at Weymouth.  Given the level of inaction to date it doesn’t seem as if they will be missed.


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