Friday, July 28, 2006

Bits and Bobs

Hebden Bridge blogger Zim has all the goss on the aggro in Halifax.

"But rumours locally are the critical guy is a Policeman. The press are keeping quiet on this. Its more what they are NOT saying...(if a policeman was shot,why the silence ?)......& Local Rumours have filled the void all day....... Some rumours say that the police arrived to break up the 2 groups & both turned on Police when they came Other rumours say 4(white) blokes in a car were set upon with hammers/baseball bats....even rumours of guns.........."

It certainly sounds as if the police turned up and were then attacked themselves.

"Frantic families first dialled 999 to report two gangs of youths fighting with knives, swords and a gun at 9.25pm on Wednesday.

Uniformed officers assessed the situation and called for back-up. But it took the response team at least 20 minutes to arrive at the scene, by which time the victims had been taken to hospital by members of the public and the fighting had stopped, witnesses claim. Mohammed Rahoof, of the British Muslim Association, was caught up in the violence. He said up to 500 onlookers were milling around when police arrived in body armour and helmets. Police dogs and a helicopter also patrolled the scene.

He said: "With the helicopter hovering over them, it attracted attention and local youths and people started to come out into the street.
"The police had other ideas and started dispersing them but they were very heavy-handed and started using CS gas. "They got people's backs up and they started kicking off," he said. "A report of a brawl got turned into a bigger disturbance by the police's actions," Mr Rahoof added."

UPDATE - I wonder if this, from April 2002, was related too ?

"A midnight high-speed car chase ended when a man was attacked with an armoury of weapons. Detectives are treating the attack in Spring Hall Lane, Pellon, Halifax, at 12.30 am today as attempted murder. A 28-year-old Asian man was undergoing leg surgery in hospital after he was assaulted by a gang who had pursued him through the streets of Halifax. Detective Supt Bob Bridgestock, of Calderdale CID, said: "This was an extremely determined attack to harm the individual if not kill him. He was very fortunate not to have lost his life."

The ambush was thought to be the culmination of a long-running dispute between two small groups of men. Details of last night's incident remain sketchy but a high-speed pursuit by at least one car ended when a Volvo and a Ford crashed at Spring Hall Lane. One of the vehicles careered into the wall of the Bairstow Brothers premises. A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the occupants of one of the cars had then attacked the occupants of the other with a variety of weapons."

UPDATE 2 - more trouble at mill. Iraqis vs Pakistanis in Dewsbury. The old Heavy Woollen district is certainly pretty heavy at present.

"POLICE are carrying out nightly patrols in parts of Dewsbury after four disturbances in as many days. The Reporter understands the incidents, three in Savile Town and one in Ravensthorpe, have been confrontations between Iraqi and Pakistani men.
It is thought resentment could have built up over Pakistani women being approached by Iraqi men. Insp Martin Lister, of Dewsbury police, said there had been a police presence in Savile Town every evening during this week to reassure all sides of the community and maintain order and safety on the streets. He said: "Behind the scenes we are working with local councillors, mediators and partners with a view to bringing long term solutions to the issues and frustrations which clearly exist.
"We appeal for calm and for the community to be tolerant of all cultures within society." Dewsbury South councillor Khizar Iqbal said he was extremely concerned and the situation was worrying. He said: "There is serious potential for this to get worse and I hope police will take control of this and try to enforce law and order."
He said he did not know the cause of the tension but people on both sides had made various allegations. "I encourage the community to remain calm and try to help the police in this very difficult situation," he said.

Eyewitnesses said there were around 20 police vans, two ambulances and crowds of people in Savile Road on Sunday at around 6pm. Following the disturbances, a 22-year-old man was taken to Dewsbury District Hospital with head injuries."

In fact if you search the Halifax and Dewsbury archives for 'disturbance' there seems to be rather a lot of gang violence in the two towns.

And as this blog has a few more readers now than it did two years ago, and poor Stephen Lawrence, or more precisely the Met officers who investigated his death, is/are back in the news, I need to post this for the benefit of any readers who might presume, quite reasonable, that the MacPherson enquiry had good reason to declare the Met 'institutionally racist'.

In fact, no credible evidence of police racism was brought before the MacPherson enquiry, which was precisely why they invented the hitherto unknown concept of "unconscious or unwitting" institutional racism.

The MacPherson report was the high-water mark of liberal white idiocy in relation to race. Never before have so many educated English breasts been beaten for so much non-existent racism. It's not as if there's a shortage of the real thing.

I'd recommend people to take a look at the paper "Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics" by Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi, available as a pdf download from Civitas.

It's top stuff, well-written and an easy read. I'll just quote the summary.

The public inquiry set up under the chairmanship of Sir William Macpherson sometimes had the appearance of a judicial proceeding, but in many crucial respects it departed from practices which have traditionally been regarded as essential in English law. Rules of evidence were modified and witnesses were harassed, both by the members of the inquiry team and by the crowd in the public gallery. Representatives of the Metropolitan Police were asked to ‘confess’ to charges of racism, even if only in their private thoughts. They were even asked to testify to the existence of the racist thoughts of other people. It is part neither of the English judicial process nor of English public inquiries to put people on trial for their thoughts. The proceedings bore some resemblance to the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s.

However, no evidence of racism on the part of the police was ever produced. There was no attempt to show that the Metropolitan Police Service was racist in the sense of being formally structured to put members of ethnic minorities at a disadvantage. Nor was any evidence produced that individual officers dealing with the murder of Stephen Lawrence had displayed racism, unless one includes the use of words like ‘coloured’ which are currently out of favour with professional race relations lobbyists. No evidence was produced to indicate that the police would have handled the investigation differently had the victim been white.

In spite of this, the Macpherson report found the Metropolitan Police, and British society generally, guilty of ‘institutional’ or ‘unwitting’ racism. This claim was justified by referring to ‘other bodies of evidence’ to that collected at the public inquiry, including a list of publications consulted which in many cases had nothing to do with the Lawrence case, and sometimes nothing to do with the UK at all.

Some of the Macpherson report’s proofs of racism were circular and self-reinforcing. To question whether the murder of Stephen Lawrence was a purely racist crime was, in itself, adduced as evidence of racism. This was despite the fact that the suspects had been accused of violent offences against white people and were heard, in tape recordings made of their private conversations, to express violent hatred against white people. The tape recordings were quoted selectively, and this crucial fact does not appear in the Macpherson report.

The Macpherson inquiry, unable to find evidence of racism, produced a definition of racism that at first glance absolved it from producing any. It switched attention, in one direction, away from racist conduct and towards organisational failure. The ineffectiveness of the police had (purportedly) been demonstrated. That ineffectiveness concerned a racist crime. Therefore the ineffectiveness was due to police racism. It switched attention, in the other direction, away from observable conduct, words or gestures and towards the police officer’s ‘unwitting’ thoughts and conduct. But how could the Macpherson inquiry know what was in an officer’s unconscious mind—except through the failure of the police to be effective in the investigation of a racist crime? This definition puts charges of racism outside the boundaries of proof or rebuttal.

The Macpherson report has had a detrimental impact on policing and crime, particularly in London. Police morale has been undermined. Certain procedures which impact disproportionately on ethnic groups, like stop and search, have been scaled down. The crime rate has risen. Nevertheless, the Macpherson report has been received with almost uncritical approval by pundits, politicians and academics. It is still routinely described as having ‘proved’ that the police and British society are racist.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sarf London News

How I miss the place ... I remember when I used to live there and came back to the country on weekends, I'd get off the train and walk six miles to the pub, savouring the knowledge that no one would try to rob me en-route.

Youth Groups say - 'give us the money - or else'

Muggers say 'give us the money - or else'

"The 25-year-old was with a group of friends who stepped in when two thugs tried to rob their mate in Bowling Green Street, Kennington.
The robbers are said to have issued the chilling threat, "We're coming back to kill you" before driving off and returning with a gun.
They then sprayed bullets into the crowd of up to 10 friends in a courtyard outside Lohmann House.
Police said the woman was lucky to survive the shooting at 5.35pm on Friday and appealed for witnesses."

Jenny Charmoy, 36, was on her way to collect one of her two other children from Fairlawn Primary School on Friday when she was hit by a car, and thrown across the bonnet before landing in the road.
Fortunately, she clung on to 16-month-old Olivier and both suffered only minor injuries.
The car, believed to be a red Fiat Uno, stopped briefly then drove off.

In a moving eulogy to murdered son Fabian, 18, Yvonne Ricketts challenged mourners to come forward with information on his death.
But her plea, reported in last Friday's South London Press,has so far fallen on deaf ears.
Police have yet to hear from any new witnesses since the service at St Stephen's Church in Balham.
And they revealed that up to 100 people are likely to have seen the shooting of Streatham shopworker Fabian on Easter Monday outside Battersea Bar in York Road, Battersea.

There are lighter moments though.

A senior town hall official may have been in the grip of sudden attacks caused by changes to his diabetes medication when he sexually assaulted teenage girls, a court has been told.

Sounds like his defence solicitor might be Rob Ross. Talking of whom, you can hear him defending his 'likeable idiot' client on the BBC Drive show here (Realplayer needed). 1 hr 50 mins in.

More Trouble At Mill

Halifax ... one of those little incidents that even makes the BBC.

BRICKS, bottles and missiles were hurled at police in a night of violence in Halifax that left one man fighting for his life.
Dozens of people were involved in the three-hour confrontation in Hopwood Lane that began at 9.30pm.
It is believed the violence was sparked after a crowd armed with knives and bats attacked four men.
Police said they were pelted with bottles and bricks as they tried to control the situation and rescue the injured men.
A 27-year-old man was today critically ill in Leeds Infirmary intensive care unit. A 39-year-old is also being treated in Leeds but his injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
A 44-year-old is in Calderdale Royal Hospital and a fourth was treated and released. Several other people were injured.
Chief Inspector Steve Cotter, of Calderdale police, said: "High-visibility patrols were deployed in the area last night to provide reassurance to residents and neighbourhood policing team officers are in the area again today to continue that work.
"We are also meeting residents and community leaders again today to reassure them this was an isolated incident.
"Incidents such as this are, thankfully, very, very rare in Calderdale."
Community leaders today called for calm.
Councillor Mohammed Najib (Lab, Park) said: "What happened was so, so bad. I feel sorry for the people that suffered. I would ask for calm and peace in the community."
Hopwood Lane remained closed today as forensic teams examined the scene.
A 25-year-old witness said: "A group of young men were ambushed by another group, believed to be all the same family.
"They were attacked in the street with knives, baseball bats and what looked like a car wrench, leaving two unconscious.
"The public rushed those who were badly injured to hospital before the emergency services arrived.
"They were like animals and they annihilated them. There was blood everywhere. We thought they were going to kill one guy who was unconscious.
"They carried on hitting him with a baseball bat while he was lying there."
Ali Hussain, 23, of King Cross, was among the group of shocked bystanders at the scene today.
He said: "It's not safe to be around this area now.
"What is going to happen to families living here, especially those with kids? We just want to keep out of it."
Arfan Mohammed, 22, of Warley Road, said people were worried because there were guns in the community. Four local men, aged 23, 24, 36, and 38, have been arrested in connection with the assaults and are currently in custody.
Two other men were arrested for public order offences and have been dealt with and released.
Council leaders called a crisis meeting today.
A spokesman said: "The council is working with the community, police and other partners to see how we can help relieve any issues in the area."
Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information is asked to contact police on 01422 337085.

The BBC reckons it's a family feud. Any relation to this ? The guy who got 15 years two weeks ago comes from the same area.

A MAN has been jailed for a total of 15 years for trying to pervert the course of justice with acts that included hiring a gunman, who was himself later murdered, to scare off witnesses.
It can be revealed for the first time following the lifting of reporting restrictions at Bradford Crown Court yesterday that Richard Clarke, who was shot dead in Leeds in 2004, had two weeks earlier fired a handgun at a car containing three men in Halifax after being recruited by Chaudry Fiaz Hussain.
One of the men in the car was the brother of a witness due to give evidence at a trial in which Hussain was accused of an earlier shooting of amateur rugby player Liam Walsh, in Halifax.
While on remand in Armley Prison awaiting his trial Hussain had got to know Clarke and recruited him to send a message to some of the potential witnesses warning them not to give evidence.
Clarke was shot dead while sleeping at his home in Moorland Avenue, Hyde Park, Leeds, in July 2004.
He had a reputation as a hard man with a knowledge of firearms, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones QC, was told at an earlier hearing at Leeds Crown Court. After his release from jail Clarke was the passenger in a stolen Subaru Impreza car which pulled up alongside a VW Bora outside the Beehive and Cross Keys Public House in King Cross Street, Halifax, and fired one shot at the three occupants.
The bullet made a hole near the driver's door and windscreen but it did not stop witnesses giving evidence at Hussain's trial the following month.
He was cleared of attempting to murder Mr Walsh but found guilty of assaulting Mr Walsh's stepfather and a friend earlier that day when he sprayed a CS-type substance at them. He was jailed for two years.
After that trial police began investigating allegations that Hussain had persuaded relatives and others to give false alibi evidence that he was at home when Mr Walsh was shot.
Those inquiries led to further charges, but reporting restrictions were then imposed on the whole proceedings.
Hussain, 28, of Thrum Hall Drive, Pellon, Halifax, was jailed for eight years by Judge Jones in February for conspiring to pervert the course of justice relating to the Beehive shooting.
Yesterday he was jailed for a further seven years consecutively by Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC on similar charges involving the false alibi evidence. He had been convicted on that matter by a jury in May.
His brother Chaudry Sajad Hussain, 30, is already serving 15 years in jail after he was extradited from Holland and pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Mr Walsh and his stepfather.
He admitted last year he was the gunman who shot Mr Walsh and his stepfather in a revenge attack.
Yesterday other members of their family were also jailed for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice over the false alibi evidence. Their sister Shameen Hussain, 22 of Thrum Hall Drive, and sister-in-law Rukhsana Hussain, 32 of Harrow Street, Halifax each received three years in prison.
Two businessmen, Mahmood Khan, 45 of Savil Park, Halifax, and Matloob Hussain, 32, of Queens Road, King Cross, Halifax, also convicted of the alibi conspiracy, were each jailed for four years.
All had said Chaudry Fiaz Hussain was at home when Mr Walsh was shot.
Judge Durham Hall said he had no doubt Hussain shamelessly orchestrated the "tissue of lies" told by members of his family and his acquaintances over his false alibi.
Robbie Gottshalk, 40, of Dewsbury Road, Beeston, Leeds, who was driving the Impreza when Clarke opened fire, was jailed for six-and-a-half years by Judge Jones after admitting conspiracy
to pervert the course of justice.
Nayyer Hafiz, 28, from Halifax, was sentenced to eight years and Arif Alam, 21, of Cross Kelso Road, Leeds, to four years for their part in that plot.
Gottshalk also received further consecutive sentences for wounding a former girlfriend and drug offences.
Det Supt Steve Fear said: "These are people who went to extreme measures to avoid justice but, as a result of our investigation, their tissue of lies was unravelled.
"This was a criminal family intent on carrying on their business regardless and they used devious and violent methods to do that.
"They appeared to have no fear of the criminal justice system and were convinced they could get away with telling lies to avoid the consequences of their actions.
"They first tried to intimidate witnesses but when those people stood their ground and refused to back down they turned to violence involving firearms and ultimately false evidence."
Police have so far failed to trace Richard Clarke's killer.

Comment Is Easy

The trouble with the Guardian's "Comment Is Free" pages is that pretty much everything on them you've read before.

"The Problems of (insert trouble-spot here) Are Due To British/European/Western Colonialism"

"It's All Our Fault"

"All Whites Are Racist"

"Don't Lock Up Criminals - You'll Only Make Them Worse"

"How The Plucky Little VietCong/Hezbollah/Hamas/Sandinistas/Al Quaeda Defied The Might Of America"

"Why Are There No Women In Senior Positions In Hezbollah ?"

You find that you've nearly always got a two year old blog post on the subject, a chunk of which one can immediately cut'n'paste into a comment, along with a link to the rest of the post.

It's making me awfully lazy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Hezbollah in London, 1994.

"A Likeable Idiot"

I've often thought there was room for

a) a blog wholly specialising in 'early release' crime stories - like this latest one.

b) a blog specialising in the crap spun by defence solicitors - the sort of thing you'll see in your local paper each week.

"Fred Bloggs, defending, said that since his release from an eight-year sentence for manslaughter, his client had made a determined effort to go straight, with only two convictions over a five-year period. Tragically the death of his grandmother, ongoing relationship difficulties, and his struggles with addiction had left him vulnerable to irrational outbursts of violence, for which no help had been made available by social workers or the local health authorities.

"My client is deeply ashamed of the offences for which he appears before you today", he told the judge. "In asking for a non-custodial sentence I must ask you to bear in mind the following :"

"His new partner is expecting their child in only three months - he is determined to play his full role as a father in bringing up his child. To deprive the child of a father's influence and love will help neither the child nor my client. In fact I am convinced that his inability, through a combination of previous incarceration and what he would argue to be his unjust inclusion on the Sex Offenders Register, to be a father to any of his other four children, is a contributory factor in his appearance before you today"

"My client has the firm promise of a job with a reputable local employer, Big Dave's Security Services. Regular employment of this nature will take him away from his old associates and habits"

"My client has been offered places on no less than three local rehabilitation schemes - "Bitch My Smack Up", the pioneering scheme run by the University of Taunton Dene (formerly the Devon Cyder Company) which treats addiction with the revolutionary new 'dominatrix therapy', "Better Parenting" run by the National Childbirth Trust, and the CALM anger management course. If he is imprisoned, he will be unable to benefit from this treatment."

"In concluding", said Bloggs "my client wishes to express his regret and remorse towards the victims and their families, and to make plain that he was totally unaware, not only that the girls were so young, but that he was HIV positive".

I think we've found the archetype in Swindon solicitor Rob Ross.

Manderson has nearly 200 previous convictions, mainly for motoring matters.

About eight years ago he ran over a 12-year-old cyclist as he drove a robbery getaway car.

Outside court his lawyer Rob Ross said: "Jamie is a likeable idiot, really. Jamie suffers from a very serious addiction to cars. He just can't leave them alone.

"During the 1980s he used to steal cars to order and he made a lot of money.

"Then, a few years ago, he got addicted to heroin, but it's the cars he's really hooked on. He just doesn't understand the words 'don't drive'."

See him in action defending Mad Jackie.

She had sought help from Kingshill House for her drug and alcohol problems, got herself onto a programme and got herself permanent accommodation.

"I have to say the difference in her is almost unbelievable," said Mr Ross.

How to turn racially aggravated common assault into 'a bit of drunken horseplay'.

The poor chap who 'slipped back into heroin use'.

Defending the legendary Swindon 'Crying Boy', a chap who specialises in approaching kindly-looking souls with a tearful tale of being beaten up and needing a tenner for the train fare home.

"Defending Rose, Rob Ross denied that the perfume had been taken to fund a drug habit saying it was intended as a present for Rose's girlfriend."

More smackheads. Mr Ross thinks heroin should be legalised.

Defending, Rob Ross, said that Jonas was now receiving medication to help him tackle his drug addiction.

Magistrates ordered him to do a community order with an 18-month supervision order and to attend the Think First programme.

Had £26,000 nicked ?

Rob Ross, defending, said: "It is every parent's worst nightmare to find out something like this has happened.

Not the parent of the victim, of course. The parent of the perpetrator.

Mr Ross added: "He does things to bring the law down on him because he feels worthless. He resorts to criminality to almost punish himself."

Well, yes. Perhaps the guy who was burgled was a victim too. And what do you mean, 'feels' worthless ?

Prosecuting, Colin Meeke, said Fitchett was seen in the Marsland Road home when the occupant was away.

Police called in to find Fitchett hiding in the loft and saw the premises had been searched.

Mr Meeke said: "When interviewed Mr Fitchett said he had argued with his girlfriend, taken some tablets and woken up in a police cell."

Mr Meeke added Fitchett was grabbed by police again when the Fiat he was travelling in crashed in Marlborough High Street packed with electrical goods from a burgled home in Back Lane. The court heard Fitchett also gave police a false name when they investigated him for driving while disqualified without insurance. Defending, Rob Ross described Fitchett as someone who had an intermittent drug problem, who had stopped drug taking of his own volition but had lapsed when he formed a new relationship.

Mr Ross described how his client had clearly been under the influence of drugs when he targeted the Swindon home because when Fitchett was taken into police custody he decided to take all his clothes off.

I'll stop there. Mr Ross is just one of many.

Anthony Browne

At Open Democracy. (you may have to pass the 'donate here' page on first visit).

It is vital to emphasise that mass immigration and the remarkably intolerant ideology of multiculturalism are exclusively western phenomena. Indeed, the striking thing about the global immigration debate in the west is its determined parochialism. If people in India, China, or Africa were asked whether they have a right to oppose mass immigration on such a scale that it would transform their culture, the answer would be clear. Yet uniquely among the 6 billion people on the planet, westerners – the approximately 800 million in western Europe, North America and Australasia – are expected by the proponents of mass immigration and multiculturalism to abandon any right to define or shape their own society.

This liberal hypocrisy was perfectly illustrated in 2002, when the British government gave full UK passports to 200,000 people living in British overseas territories, such as St. Helena, Montserrat and the Turks & Caicos islands. The inhabitants were allowed to live in Britain, but there was no reciprocal right for British people to live there.

The justification for this one-sidedness was given in the House of Lords by the foreign office minister Valerie Amos:

“The right of abode is non-reciprocal. The territories which fall within the scope of the Bill are for the most part small islands. In consultations on the content of the Bill the governments of the territories concerned made clear that granting British and European citizens the right of abode in their territories would risk fundamentally altering the social, cultural and economic fabric of the territories.”

Britain too is a small island, yet other British government ministers tell the British people that they must embrace mass immigration, and that it is simply racist for British people to oppose the altering of their country’s social, cultural and economic fabric. What makes the Caribbean and South Atlantic islanders noble in defending their culture, and the British racist in defending theirs? It is largely about being a minority, and being outnumbered. But western people are a global minority. There are more citizens of either India and China than all the people of Europe, North America and Australasia put together. There are as many people in Bangladesh and Pakistan together as in the US.

In the developing world, there are simply no significant equivalents of Europe and the US, where around 10% of people are foreign born, or Canada and Australia where the proportion is around 25%. The foreign born in the developing world rarely exceed 1% of the population.

Indeed, developing countries have been the most draconian in clamping down on immigration. In 2002, Malaysia started forcibly returning some of the thousands of illegal immigrants from Indonesia, while India put soldiers on its borders with Bangladesh to force illegal Bangladeshi immigrants back home. Western countries do not cane illegal immigrants or point a gun at them, but provide them with free immigration lawyers, free shelter, free food, free schooling and free healthcare – then express disappointment when they are reluctant to leave.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE - and Jeff Randall in the Telegraph. No wonder he left the BBC.

By encouraging the greatest wave of unchecked arrivals that these islands have ever experienced, the Blair regime has eroded our traditions of tolerance and understanding, while forcing fundamental social change on millions who never voted for it.

Tough On Crime ... Part 124

"Teenage muggers who rob with "minimal force" will be spared jail under new sentencing guidelines issued today.

Juvenile muggers can also cite peer pressure as a mitigating factor under the guidelines from the Sentencing Guidelines Council ... an idea proposed by Home Affairs Select Committee, which suggested that judges should treat young robbers differently if a crime was committed in a group."

I see. Mug someone solo - go directly to jail. Unless you've used 'minimal force', of course. Mug in a gang ? "They made me do it, guv ! All of us made each other do it !"

"Fair do's - community service for you all !"

The council is chaired by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers.

Ah yes. Educated at Bryanston and Cambridge, lives in Hampstead. Perhaps he should live in Stockwell for a few years before coming out with any more pieces of idiocy.

UPDATE - different in NY.

Left-wing academics deny that law-abiding inner-city residents desire an orderly environment as fiercely as the wealthy. Enforcing loitering ordinances or open-container rules in minority neighborhoods, they charge, is simply a racist attack on the oppressed. Many such academics have obviously spoken to very few poor people, so as not to disrupt their fantasy of a revolutionary vanguard ready to attack bourgeois conventions. Andrew Karmen of John Jay College of Criminal Justice sees crime “as a distorted form of social protest.” Inner-city residents beg to differ. Asked what activities bother her constituents most, Nadine Whitted of the Bushwick Community Board bluntly replies: “Drugs still being sold, youth crime, people hanging out, loud music.”

Tsk tsk. Fancy demonising the poor kids, imposing middle-class values etc etc

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New Kid On The Blog

He's webmaster of the Godzilla UK site. Now one of the youngest, if not the youngest UK political blogger.

You can't say he lacks ambition, though were I he (grammar) I wouldn't diss Texas. Or Texans. Dirty and inbred ? That's a girl from the Forest, isn't it ?

If Sam Tarran Was In Charge ...

One Man's Terrorist ...

While I am a supporter of Israel, I try not to forget the bad, while appreciating the good. No Briton should forget the cruel fate of Clifford Martin and Mervyn Paice, abducted and hanged in the then Palestine by terrorists led by Menachim Begin.

This makes the PR of the Orange Order look slick and sophisticated.

"As Israel wages war against Hezbollah “terrorists” in Lebanon, Britain has protested about the celebration by right-wing Israelis of a Jewish “act of terrorism” against British rule 60 years ago this week.

The rightwingers, including Binyamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister, are commemorating the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the headquarters of British rule, that killed 92 people and helped to drive the British from Palestine.

They have erected a plaque outside the restored building, and are holding a two-day seminar with speeches and a tour of the hotel by one of the Jewish resistance fighters involved in the attack.

Simon McDonald, the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv, and John Jenkins, the Consul-General in Jerusalem, have written to the municipality, stating: “We do not think that it is right for an act of terrorism, which led to the loss of many lives, to be commemorated.”

In particular they demanded the removal of the plaque that pays tribute to the Irgun, the Jewish resistance branch headed by Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister, which carried out the attack on July 22, 1946.

The plaque presents as fact the Irgun’s claim that people died because the British ignored warning calls. “For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated,” it states.

Mr McDonald and Dr Jenkins denied that the British had been warned, adding that even if they had “this does not absolve those who planted the bomb from responsibility for the deaths”. On Monday city officials agreed to remove the language deemed offensive from the blue sign hanging on the hotel’s gates, though that had not been done shortly before it was unveiled last night. "

Words fail me. Netanyahu ought to be ashamed of himself.

(via Pub Philosopher)

David Fraser - A Land Fit For Criminals

I've already bigged up this book, available from Amazon at a bargain £11.87, in this post.

Now the Dalrymple review.

"All in all, Fraser’s book is a searing and unanswerable (or at least so far unanswered) indictment of the British criminal-justice system, and therefore of the British state. As Fraser pointed out to me, the failure of the state to protect the lives and property of its citizens, and to take seriously its duty in this regard, creates a politically dangerous situation, for it puts the very legitimacy of the state itself at risk. The potential consequences are incalculable, for the failure might bring the rule of law itself into disrepute and give an opportunity to the brutal and the authoritarian."

The point about the legitimacy of the state is an important one. Listening to a BBC (it could have been Radios 4 or 5, the politics will be the same) piece on a UK version of Megan's Law, the studio consensus was that it would lead to attacks on, and possibly the murder of, named offenders.

No-one seemed to have grasped the enormity of what they were saying. The implications of such a statement are either

a) the disconnection between the appropriate punishment as seen by judges and as seen by the public is so great that such attacks are likely. This should perhaps have caused some soul-searching as to whether the current punishments are appropriate. After all, one of the unique selling points of a functional criminal justice system is that, by inflicting punishments which are generally felt to be appropriate, vendetta and vigilantism are avoided.
If this thesis is accepted (and it seemed to be by the studio guests), the logical thing would seem to be to increase the punishments. But we're much too sophisticated for such simplicities. No, the real villains are the tabloid press, whipping the clod-like populace into homicidal frenzies in the style of Radio Rwanda.

b) the posited vigilante attacks would be the work of a miniscule minority of sick people, with no public support. And law and order in 2006 is such that this tiny, unsupported minority will be able to successfully carry out those attacks.

Asians and Education

Way back in 1998, before Rod Liddle turned into a right wing death beast, the Today programme featured the hideous revelation that "while one third of all applications for medical school places are from Asians, they represent only one fifth of those accepted".

Given that Asians were approximately 4% of the population at the time, the real story might have been that they were applying at 8 times the rate of the natives, rather than that they were "only" being accepted at 5 times the rate.

(Rod's successor Kevin Marsh ignored later research showing that by 2001 white males, still 44% of the population, made up only 26% of new medical students).

Way over in California, 'affirmative action' (aka 'positive discrimination' aka 'discrimination against whites') was made illegal when Proposition 209 was passed. As Face Right reports, the consequences have been appalling.

"Instead of ensuring nondiscrimination, Proposition 209 has created an environment that many students of color view as discriminatory. That's because minority representation has dropped appallingly." says the Chancellor of Berkeley.

How does this appalling drop in minority representation manifest itself ?

"Asian Americans constitute about 48 percent of the class that entered Berkeley in August 2005. With about 9 percent of California's population, Asian Americans are overrepresented here by well over 400 percent, or by about 1,500 percent if viewed in a national context."

Call me a gullible fool, but I can't help thinking those figures might just have as much to do with culture as with than racism. See also this post.

Monday, July 24, 2006

See No Evil Part 827

From the BBC - "Man in court on abduction charge".

"A man has appeared in court charged with child abduction and sexual grooming over the internet.

Mehdi Boudjedra, 30, of Askew Crescent, Shepherds Bush, London, was arrested on Friday by officers investigating the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl. "

From Life Style Extra :

An illegal immigrant appeared in court today charged with child abduction and the sexual grooming over the internet of a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

Algerian national Mehdi Boudjedra, 30, a waiter living in Shepherd's Bush, west London, was arrested on Friday after the girl disappeared from her parents' Hertfordshire home last Wednesday.

The BBC. All the news we think you need to know.

Death Zone

Another climber gone ...

The body of one of Latin America's best known climbers, Jose Antonio Delgado, has been found on Mount Nanga Parbat in Pakistan, rescuers say.

Delgado had been missing for some time. The rescuers said they had buried him on the mountain after consulting with his family.

Delgado was the first Venezuelan to climb Mount Everest, the world's highest peak.

I forgot to blog about this court case which finished last week.

Three men will not face trial for manslaughter over the death of a City trader on Mount Everest, a judge ruled.

In 1999 Michael Matthews, 22, was the youngest Briton to reach the summit but disappeared on the descent.

A private prosecution brought by his father against three men working for the tour company alleged their negligence contributed to his death.

But Judge Jeffrey Rivlin QC dismissed the case, saying there was no evidence anyone had acted with gross negligence.

Lawyers for the three men, Jonathan Tinker, 47, from York, Henry Todd, 61, from Edinburgh, and Michael Smith, 44, who lives in Switzerland, had applied to Southwark Crown Court to have the case thrown out.

Mr Matthews' dad wasn't happy. He thought his son had been supplied with dodgy oxygen.

Henry Todd ? That name rang a bell, taking me all the way back to the mid-70s, when alternative types consumed avidly the products created by Todd, Richard Kemp and Christine Bott, who ran the world's largest LSD production line.

Mr Todd, a hairy-bottomed buccaneering type, headed for Nepal on his release from prison - he's been there off and on ever since, running expeditions. In another age he'd probably have been a terrific Political Agent on the North-West Frontier or similar - one of the kind who was 'half a Pathan himself'.

Henry Barclay Todd — Scotsman, ex-con, entrepreneur — is in the business of solving problems. Want to climb Mount Everest but don't have the Benjamins ? Henry can solve that. Need oxygen tanks on the cheap ? Henry's your man. What's the weather forecast for 27,000 feet ? Check with Henry. Need to share a tent at Camp II ? Henry !

Fifty-six-year-old Todd is the proprietor of Himalayan Guides, an Edinburgh-based expedition service that specializes in the highly affordable summit trip. If you want to climb Everest with legends like Ed Viesturs and Pete Athans, you'll pony up at least $50,000 to a guide service like Adventure Consultants (Guy Cotter's Wanaka, New Zealand–based outfit) or Alpine Ascents International (Todd Burleson's Seattle operation). But if you can haul your own carcass up the Hillary Step and are willing to subsist on rice and lentil soup, you can ride on Henry's ticket for the low, low price of $29,000. "Adventure Consultants and Alpine Ascents are like the Cadillacs of Everest," says John Leonard, a 26-year-old Mount Rainier wilderness ranger who made his first attempt on Everestwith Todd last spring. "Henry's the vintage Chevy Astrovan. You've got a whole bunch of people, and the ride's a little bumpy, but if you hold on you'll get there."

He's not everyone's cup of tea, to put it mildly. Even more friendly reporters have their doubts.

Meanwhile, Todd's business has continued apace. A few weeks after Nepal banned him, he announced an expedition to Pakistan's K2 in 2002. His minimum requirement: having summited two 8,000-meter peaks. The book closed on 12 clients in less than a week. Which is to say, there is one law that Henry Todd has always respected: the law of supply and demand. "I have two words to say about Henry Todd," an American Everest-expedition leader told me. "Caveat emptor."