How American legal fiction inspired aggressive action by British anti-waxers

Ttwo weeks ago, an anti-waxer group led by Michael Chaves, a 55-year-old paramedic from Kent, visited the home of BBC Radio 2 host Jeremy Vine and protested against his reporting on Covid-19.

The group gave him a statement of responsibility for what they called “crimes against humanity” for his stance on vaccines, weeks after doing the same at the home of television’s Dr. Hilary Jones.

A few days ago, the same anti-wax mob came down at a hospital in Colchester, where they were trying to service frontline health workers the same message before threatening them with a regular Nuremberg lawsuit.

The events of this month were not unique; so-called sovereign citizens have been using common law to intimidate and threaten those in power for some time, and their behavior is escalating rapidly, a survey conducted by public service journalist nonprofit The citizenshave found.

The common law system operates on the basis that Article 61 of the Magna Carta is still legally relevant. Originally written in 1215, Article 61 states that a group of 25 men would be chosen to preserve “peace and liberties. […] given by this charter “and states that they may” claim immediate compensation “if any of the articles are broken.

Anti-waxers ‘serve’ Colchester hospital

The article was removed from the Magna Carta a year after it was written – a fact that does not mean much to the anti-wax groups that now use it to intimidate public figures by interpreting it as they see fit.

In September, such a group entered a courtroom before the royal courts and turned to the bench. After trying to notify the judge of his Covid-related “crimes”, the group of officials told them they were responsible for the genocide and would “go to the gallows”.

Supporters of the responsible groups often respond with death threats and calls for violence on Telegram.

The sovereign bourgeois ideology that is spreading among anti-waxer societies in Britain is not new and has existed for some time in the United States – originating back in the 1970s.

Rachel Goldwasser, a research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center, has studied American groups for seven years. She explained that many turn to both sovereign and QAnon rhetoric as a final attempt to gain a sense of control over their lives.

Jeremy Vine posted on Twitter threats against him of anti-vaxxers on Telegram

(Jeremy Vine / Twitter)

She said the United States had seen escalating violence as a result of sovereign citizens, warning that the situation in Britain would only get worse if left unchecked, adding: “It is only a matter of time before someone snaps”.

She said “most often there is a level of desperation” which leads people to the ideology as a last resort. “Back in the eighties and nineties in America, it was economic desperation. There was a lot of economic fear around foreclosure. [and] at a glance a sovereign citizen, like a guru or group leader. “

She said they would tell potential members that “there is a kind of magic cure for everything”, convincing people that they were victims, and “there is a way to get back to the people who have wronged them”.

Goldwasser said the ideology is now being fed to families who have had children removed by social services. “A sovereign will confirm that they are not the reason they lost their child to the state – that they are the victim,” she said. “Some also offer legal services to help [families] get their children back … for a fee. “This is not without risk, and in one case, a self-proclaimed” sovereign lawyer “in Florida was shot and killed after his pseudo-legal lawsuit failed to return a woman’s children.

She said there are now a large number of Trump voters “underlined” that he is no longer president, a situation that, combined with QAnon conspiracies, has made many of them sovereign citizens. The appeal of QAnon and sovereignty, Goldwasser said, is the fact that members “feel they know the real truth that others do not know.”

Because of this, members are building trust – something that has led to more US sovereign citizens “pulling arms against law enforcement”. She said that although most members of the UK have seemed relatively calm, she has “zero doubt that the situation will get worse – it’s only a matter of time before someone snaps”.

For many in the UK, the primary sources of information are the Common Law Court firm and UK column – a niche western newspaper.

Common Law Court is run through a website to which members can pay a subscription of £ 50 per. month to “recover [their] rights ”. By subscribing, members receive an “identity card” declaring their sovereign status and the ability to access a wealth of fake legal documents. The company is also setting up its own cryptocurrency.

UK column began in Plymouth in 2006 as The Devonport Pillar, a self-published newspaper with a readership of about 500 people. Convinced that the council was involved in a comprehensive plan to lie to the people, editor Brian Gerrish – a retired naval lieutenant – made it his mission to print the truth as he saw it.

A devout Christian and author of several books on theology, Gerrish is hyper-focused on the corruption of the legal system and the Bilderberg group. The gathering of global powers, which began at the Hotel de Bilderberg in 1954 and has taken place every year since, was originally intended to prevent another world war. According to Gerrish – and a number of different conspiracy theorists – the group’s lack of transparency points in the direction of creating a new world order and a global elite.

Gerrish has been involved in a series of protests against this alleged elite, and in 2011 he joined the British Constitutional Group as it tried to carry out a citizen’s arrest of a judge presiding over the trial of a man who had failed to pay his municipal tax.

After spending years on the sidelines, including a failed run as an independent candidate in local elections, Gerrish and UK column their current popularity owes their willingness to hop on the anti-wax train. In response to the rollout of the vaccine for 12- to 17-year-olds, the newspaper’s website posted a live debate suggesting that children may be at “significant risk from both vaccines and vaccinated adults”. There is no scientific evidence for this, but it fits into their previous agenda on presumed child restraint.

Elements of both QAnon and common law are combined in various anti-wax groups, which have convinced themselves that the government is using the Covid vaccine to harm children and that it is their job to prevent it. A group, “Magna Carta 61” led by glassy cosmetologist Janie Walsh, has sent messages to police accusing them of genocide and has recently “seized” Edinburgh Castle. The goal was to return the castle to its “rightful owner” – an unemployed security guard who they believe is King Arthur.

The majority of Magna Carta 61 group members indicate that they are self-employed or in low-paid positions – the demographic hardest hit by lockdowns.

Peter Knight, a professor of American studies at Manchester University who has researched conspiracy theories, said they are difficult to tackle because they are often “tied to a person’s sense of identity”.

To combat them, Professor Knight said governments “must put in place regulatory measures to force platforms to maintain the kind of standards we expect from traditional media and other public forums.”

The comorbidity between sovereign citizens and QAnon ideologies peaks in social media posts from Darral Pinch, co-chair of the Common Law Court. Pinch and his wife Laraine regularly post a series of conspiracies on Facebook, from 9/11 being falsified by CGI to suggestions that random sentences are clues to the queen being replaced by a satanic solitaire.

In April 2020, Pinch celebrated the coronation of “King John III”, an Australian man who claimed to be the rightful heir to the British throne. Six months later, the family of Joseph Gregory Hallett (as he is actually known) was interviewed on YouTube, proving that he was neither a descendant of royalty nor heir to the throne.

The Common Law Court quickly withdrew, suggesting they had been deceived, but a video posted on Facebook this year showed other members of the organization and the Magna Carta 61 group attending the swearing-in ceremony for the man they claim to be King Arthur.

Our investigation has revealed that this man is Gareth Barrett, a 41-year-old self-proclaimed near-protection specialist from Taunton. Barrett has previously claimed to be a member of SAS and currently owns a company called Kingsman Secret Service.

Barrett has previously been pictured with Hallett, and a photograph of his inauguration ceremony as “King Arthur” shows a man who appears to be a staff writer for UK column.

Since September, Barrett has issued a series of proclamations via the Magna Carta Telegram group advising supporters to stop paying bills and municipal taxes – which many have now done – because he claims that Donald Trump has invalidated British law. The reason behind this is that Trump (allegedly) owns the Commonwealth along with the so-called King John III.

When contacted for comment, the Interior Ministry said the freedom to protest within the law is a “fundamental part of democracy”.

But, a spokesman added: “Police must act quickly with the selfish minority of protesters whose actions endanger the public or stop people in their lives.”

Gareth Barrett, Brian Gerrish and UK column was contacted for comments but did not respond.

This story was published in collaboration with media nonprofit ‘The citizens

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