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I have it on excellent authority that Geert Wilders has landed at Heathrow. Confirmation here (I think!) in Dutch.
9:53 AM EST: Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports: "His plane is still on the tarmac of Heathrow. A journalist of the Spits message who is on board says that Mr Wilders is not being allowed off the plane."
10:09 AM EST: According to Twitter (via Tundra Tabloids): Wilders has text-messaged the AP that he will be returning to the Netherlands "within the hour after arrest."
10:44 AM EST: Here are a few updates from The Guardian:
On the plane from Amsterdam, the controversial leader of the Freedom party told Dutch journalists he had travelled to Britain in December without any fuss. "I don't see why there's a problem with me this time," he said. "I don't understand why they allowed me to come before and not now."
Asked whether he had a message for the UK government, he said: "I would say to them, `Even if you don't like me and don't like the things I say then you should let me in for freedom of speech. If you don't, you are looking like cowards.' "
The Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, said his government would press for a reversal of the travel ban on Wilders, and a UK Independence party peer, Lord Pearson, who invited Wilders to Britain, said the screening of the film would go ahead today, whether he was there or not.
Speaking outside the House of Lords, Pearson said he disagreed with some of Wilders' views but was "coming at this from the angle of free speech". Pearson described the Dutch politician as a "very brave man" and said he did not think he was a racist.
"I think this man is raising one of the most important issues of our time, which is Islamic militarism, which is a violent jihad," said Pearson. "That's the issue that this man is raising, and I think that should be discussed much more, particularly amongst the vast majority of the mild Muslim community."
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain described Wilders as "an open and relentless preacher of hate".
"We have no problem with the challenge of criticisms to our faith, but the film that will be screened by Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox is nothing less than a cheap and tacky attempt to whip up hysteria against Muslims," he said.
The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said that while it was important to defend freedom of speech, Wilders "has overstepped the line that should be defended in a civilised society".
How can the UK call itself a "civilised society" when it has just proven beyond any doubt to the entire world that it cannot and will not and does not wish to ensure freedom of speech against the threat of Islamic violence?
11:14 AM EST:
Well, that was quick...I hear from the Netherlands that Wilders' interview with UK immigration officials lasted all of 47 seconds--time enough for Wilders to say, "This is not an attack on me but on freedom of speech."
11:20 AM EST:
11:32 AM EST:
Mark Steyn has summed up the UK-Wilders' travesty this way:
Multiculti England will tolerate any intolerance, except the guy who points out the intolerance. We can't tolerate that.
1:58 PM EST:
One Christopher Hope (pictured) of the London Telegraph seems to have filed the first account of the Fitna showing at the House of Lords that went off as sponsored by Lord Pearson even in the absence of Geert Wilders and despite threats of mob action. He writes:
There was a heavy security presence in the corridor outside the Lords committee room where the screening took place, with two armed police officers and two "men in tights" from Black Rod, to stop any trouble.
Yet there were barely enough people in the room for a competitive whist round, let alone to start a riot (25 of us, including four journalists).
The most exciting moment came before the 17 minute film started came when Lord Pearson tried to throw us scribblers out of the committee room.
After a verbal altercation with the man from the BBC we were allowed to stay.
The film itself, called Fitna (Arabic for "division"), was very shocking, depicting terrorist atrocities interspersed with turning pages of the Koran.
Funny how Hope plumb forgot to mention the copious amounts of Fitna footage that depict modern-day, real-life Muslims preaching and promoting terrorist and anti-infidel messages.
Yet you cannot help but wonder if Jacqui Smith's decision to ban Wilders just stoked a media frenzy about a piece of offensive propaganda.
Tellingly the press screening, taking place two hours later at 6pm across the road from the Lords, followed by a press conference, was a sold-out affair.
Wilders is now a martyr for free speech campaigners. That is surely not what the Home Secretary intended.
Then again, the Home Secretary made it very clear that the UK government no longer cares for free speech. "Community harmony ... and public security" are the UK's goals, and the government will pay any price, including Britain's honor, to achieve it. What the UK may not have noticed, however, is that from this day forward its government can no longer claim to rule by law; it has utterly succombed to fear of the mob.