The people at Mail Online may allow themselves a brief sigh of relief: the mission by the group calling themselves “Defend Europe”, using a chartered ship called the C-Star, and enthusiastically supported by pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, has finally come to an end, abandoned in the face of hostility from the authorities in Egypt, Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia, and even Libya. It was a complete and utter failure.
Viewers may still want to look away now
That mission - to cruise the Mediterranean Sea and find migrants they could send back somewhere - has faced arrest at Port Suez, exposure in the Republic of Northern Cyprus when caught people smuggling, bans from several ports in Tunisia and Malta, and the ultimate humiliation of being chased away from the North African coast by the Libyan coastguard. Yet Ms Hopkins backed it, and by implication so did Mail Online.
Even before Defend Europe’s mission got started, its questionable connections had been exposed: “On 17 July a HOPE not hate investigation exposed that the owner of the C Star, a Mr Sven Tomas Egerstrom, was a convicted fraudster who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail” reported HnH. And it got worse.
Those Mail Online and Ms Hopkins found themselves in bed with included David Duke, white supremacist and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Richard Spencer, arch anti-Semite, white supremacist and giver of Nazi salutes, Jared Taylor, white nationalist, segregationist and another white supremacist, Nazi website the Daily Stormer, and the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart.
Ms Hopkins also palled up to Peter Sweden, who has since been revealed to be Peter Imanuelsen, a purveyor of hate speech and a Holocaust denier. Still Mail Online continued to honour Ms Hopkins’ contract. Fundraising website Patreon removed several accounts related to Defend Europe “including leaders Martin Sellner and Patrick Lenart, and vocal supporter and activist Lauren Southern”. Anyone at Mail Online listening?
They certainly won't make Europe home. Or anywhere else
Defend Europe claimed to have “made friends” with the Libyan coastguard, until the HuffPost produced a recording which showed the Libyans had in fact ordered the C-Star out of the area. They held a press conference in France at the weekend to announce that their “successful mission” was being temporarily suspended.
But, as the HuffPost pointed out, this was “an event slightly marred by the absence of their ship’s crew who were (and still are) stranded off the coast of Malta”. The mission, such as it was, served no purpose other than to allow deluded right-wing extremists, and some who were only moderately intolerant, to spray lots of money up the wall to no purpose.
It also served to show anyone and everyone in UK media exactly what kind of people Hatey Katie is prepared to pal up with: white supremacists, anti-Semites and Nazis. Mail Online has been silent about Ms Hopkins’ encouragement of Defend Europe and has pulled her dispatches from the Sicilian port of Catania.
Isn’t it about time they admitted defeat and cut her adrift for good, without waiting for that contract to run out? And before the next legal action hits them? Just a thought.