On February 26, a hugely politically significant court case took place at Horsham Magistrates’ Court.
It was the case of the BBC vs Tony Rooke, a documentary film maker who refused to pay his TV licence on moral grounds.
Specifically, he considered the BBC’s reporting and subsequent coverage of certain aspects of 9/11 to be knowingly inaccurate (and therefore assisting the perpetrators) and concluded that paying the licence fee in such circumstances would amount to financially aiding and abetting supporters of a terrorist group under Section 15, Article 3 of the Terrorism Bill of 2000.
Mr Rooke had brought many hours of evidence and expert witnesses to the hearing in an attempt to stamp his reasons for non-payment on the official record.
Much of this evidence and all of the witness statements were seen by District Judge Stephen Nicholls but were not revealed in open court due to his decision that Mr Rooke would not be allowed to present any of it.
The three hour hearing - surely an unprecedented length of time for a cut and dried non-payment of TV licence case where the defendant has admitted the offence - resulted in Tony Rooke receiving a six month Conditional Discharge (but no fine) and being ordered to pay the minimum £200 costs. This is the second most lenient sentence that can be given after an Absolute Discharge.
The length of proceedings and resulting sentence is not insignificant. Many of the 100-plus members of the public present noted that this strongly suggests the judge sympathised with Mr Rooke’s reasons for non-payment but felt unable to publicly condone his actions by simply throwing the case out.
So what were those reasons?
Mr Rooke’s issues with the BBC stem primarily from two documentaries they produced which set out to investigate various ‘conspiracy theories’ surrounding the events of 9/11.
Essentially, the dispute boils down to the BBC’s insistence - in line with the official version of events - that the collapse of World Trade Centre 7 (the third building to collapse on 9/11, one that was not hit by a plane) happened as a result of fire damage on various floors.
Mr Rooke’s assertion is that any honest, expert analysis of the video footage of the collapse of WTC 7 reveals that the entire structure failed simultaneously and went into free-fall, quickly collapsing into its own footprint. This, say Rooke’s expert witnesses and supporters, is completely impossible without the aid of carefully placed and timed explosives as seen in a controlled demolition. Therefore, they say, the official version of 9/11 that the BBC has sought to endorse can clearly be shown to be inaccurate and this fact clearly warrants not just a criminal investigation into the BBC but also a new, fully independent criminal investigation into 9/11 itself.
But here’s the punchline: this is not the paranoid delusion of a band of tin-foil hat wearing ‘conspiracy theorists’ - this is irrefutable science.
The assertions Rooke and his team are making are absolutely correct. They were even confirmed by an official 2008 investigation into the collapse of WTC 7 that acknowledged the building went into free-fall ( http://www.nist.gov/customcf/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=861610
). Despite ongoing official assertions to the contrary, it is a demonstrable scientific fact that this is something that simply cannot happen as a result of fire alone and can only happen with the help of controlled demolition style explosives.
The BBC refuses point blank to acknowledge this. Rooke was not offering any alternative theories as to how or why this controlled demolition happened or why the BBC and the official version of events have so far failed to acknowledge it (along with the relevant immutable laws of Newtonian physics!). They are simply pointing out a demonstrable truth: that the BBC have used licence fee money to present known fiction as fact.
No amount of Ad Hominem arguments or personal attacks on the character of Mr Rooke and his supporters could ever alter this reality.
Yet the mainstream local and national press have, so far, singularly failed to pick up on the wider story here, while the general public, if comments on the Horsham facebook page and the Daily Mail’s typically obtuse coverage are anything to go by, seem unable to get past the all too easy dismissal of the case as one of ‘conspiracy theorists’ looking for attention.
It is clearly in the public interests that the BBC, and indeed anyone seeking to pass off fiction as fact in relation to the crime of the century, be held to account.
But will they be? At this rate - yes. One day. Perhaps - and if they are, it will, in part, be thanks to Tony Rooke and his valiant attempt to get the all important WTC 7 evidence finally heard in a court of law.
Crawley Road, Horsham