Saturday, July 17, 2010

French Rioting Season Commences

"Youths" were (relatively) quiet in France last summer, although seasonal traditions such as the New Year car-burnings are still well-supported.

Every summer, like King Arthur's men at the feast of Pentecost, the youths await a sign - some strange portent or happening after the schools break up which means that the car-burning season may commence. That sign has now been given :

Karim Boudouda, 27, was one of two men believed to have held up a casino, escaping with more than 20,000 euros (£17,000). He was killed in a shoot-out with police following the robbery. Violence flared after his memorial service. Mr Boudouda, 27, had three previous convictions for armed robbery. The other suspect escaped and is still on the run.

And the season commences :

The incident begun in the early hours of Saturday morning when rampaging youths stoned a tramway and attacked it with baseball bats and iron bars. The gangs then set cars on fire and opened fire against officers. The officers returned fire.

Shooting at the police is fast becoming as integral a part of the season as a flambéed Renault :

Four young men found guilty of shooting at the police during riots on the outskirts of Paris in 2007 were jailed for between three and 15 years early Sunday. Defence lawyers denounced the sentences as “extremely harsh” and claimed that political considerations had influenced the cases.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great White Defendant ?

In Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, the (white) state prosecutors, watching the stream of poor black and Hispanic defendants being processed by the courts, long for the appearance of The Great White Defendant, someone whose prosecution will publicly prove that the law makes no distinction of colour or class, and privately assuage the nagging guilt of the prosecutors.

"Every assistant D.A. in the Bronx ... shared Captain Ahab's mania for the Great White Defendant . For a start, it was not pleasant to go through life telling yourself "What I do for a living is, I pack blacks and Latins off to jail" .. it made the boys uneasy, this eternal prosecution of the blacks and Latins."
As the forces of the law closed around the late Thomas Moat last Friday, the Magistrate pondered from the peaceful seclusion of West London whether the seemingly inexplicable recent tendency to violence of the North Countryman was just coincidence :

Murderous rampages are mercifully rare, but perhaps it is no more than chance that the two recent killing sprees took place a long way from my patch.

While I don't attempt to minimise the vileness of Moat's crimes, one death doth not a killing spree make. By strange chance, as the Magistrate was writing, only a couple of miles up the road, police were arresting someone in relation to the murders of two people, and the shooting of a third, in the previous few days - after Moat's attacks.

The post mortem of the man killed by mystery gunmen in rush hour traffic outside his Cricklewood home yesterday is set to happen this afternoon. Neighbours said the victim was an Eastern European builder, aged in his 50s, who lived in Garth Road, next to the A41 Hendon Way. He was shot “multiple times”through the window of his black van as he pulled out of the road onto the busy 6-lane artery and pronounced dead at the scene.

The third alleged victim of a man arrested over the shooting in Cricklewood on Thursday has been named. The man, 58, was found dead on Friday and named as Osman Grbic. He was found in a flat in Milton Avenue, East Ham with gunshot wounds. The suspect is also wanted over the shooting of two other men: Nezir Golaj, 45, of Garth Road, Cricklewood, who died of multiple gunshot wounds last Thursday, and the non fatal shooting of a 43-year-old man in Haringey.

Hmm. Two in two days and a third injured.

A Kosovan man is set to appear in court today charged with three shootings in north and East London, including the murder of a Cricklewood builder. Hajdar Kasumaj, 50, of Firs Lane, Winchmore Hill will attend Westminster Magistrates Court today charged with murdering Nezir Golaj, 45, near his home in Garth Way on Thursday. He is also accused of murdering Osman Grbic, 58, in East Ham on Friday evening and the attempted murder of a 43-year-old in Wightman Road, Hornsey, the same day. Mr Kasumai is also charged with three counts of possessing a firearm, possessing a prohibited weapon, a silencer and ammunition without a license.

I'm just reading Misha Glenny's McMafia, on the vast corruption and gangsterism of the post-Soviet world and how globalisation has facilitated ever-expanding criminal networks.

Behar Dika, from Cheyne Walk, Hendon, was last month found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering. Kingston Crown Court heard during the trial that Dika was the leader of a network that was supplying cocaine from three addresses, including in Second Avenue, Hendon, and laundering the cash through a bureaux de change in west London. False companies were established by two co-defendants and over a period of time they were able to take nearly £10million in cash to a legitimate bureau de change and trade the sterling for Euros in 500 denomination notes A statement from Scotland Yard said the bulk of this laundered money has never been traced, despite “extensive enquires”.

Following earlier information, police raided the home of Besnik Alla, 31, of Princes Parade, Golders Green Road, Golders Green, and uncovered more cocaine and cash. Albanian national Dika, 35, and his brother Elton Dika, 27, of no fixed address, were found to be directly linked to the drugs factories controlled by the network and to the money laundering operation. The older brother was found guilty last month of supplying cocaine and money laundering. He was jailed yesterday for a total of 18 years. Alla pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on January 11 to conspiracy to supply a controlled class A drug and was sentenced to six years.

Elton Dika pleaded guilty on April 21 to conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a conspiracy to supply class A drugs and received five years imprisonment.

The other gang members sentenced yesterday are as follows: Xhovan Gripshi, 31, from Wembley, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on April 22 to allowing a premises to be used for the supply of class A drugs. Sentenced to two years nine months imprisonment. Fabiol Beqiri, 23, from Wembley, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on April 22 to conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Sentenced to two years imprisonment. Abu Tarab Raja, 27, from Hounslow, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on January 29 to conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Sentenced to six years imprisonment. Kanwaldeep Deol, 40, from Hayes, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on November 20, 2009, to conspiracy to supply a controlled class A drug. Sentenced to six years imprisonment. Jaspreet Singh Gill, 27, Hayes, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on the same date to conspiracy to supply controlled class A drugs and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Sentenced to a total of nine years. Emiljan Shega, 19, from Wembley, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court, on the same date to conspiracy to supply a controlled class A drug. Sentenced to ten years imprisonment

North London seems as bad as Sarf these days. I'll leave you to read all about the dismembered love-triangle pensioner and the drug dealer's girlfriend.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Five Years On

Listening to the BBC on Wednesday, July 7th, 5th anniversary of the 7/7 attacks, was an odd experience.

'Nikki' Campbell's morning programme treated the events as you would a flood or other natural disaster - tales of coping and survival. People were interviewed about how they escaped, how they treated the wounded, how they first heard the news. Not a mention of the perpetrators, still less the M- or I- words. Hitler got a mention, the IRA - none of 'them' could break the spirit of Londoners and neither would 'this'. You'd think the attacks were just a thing that happened.

In the PM and World Tonight programmes the perpetrators were still only mentioned obliquely - in one interview after another, a kind of conversational tapestry was woven all around them without ever actually alighting on them, so that their image was marked by a hole, an absence. What we did get in the heavyweight programmes was warning after warning that anti-terrorist activity and legislation not be 'counter-productive' - that it not upset the (still un-named) 'community' and create more terrorists. Our ruling class are 'frit', as Mrs Thatcher would put it.

And with perfect timing for the anniversary, we were treated to Jeremy Hardy on 'How To Confront The Vexed Issue Of British Identity Without Getting In The Most Fearful Bate About The Whole Thing', a 30-minute lecture on how 'they' are in fact just like 'us', that there is absolutely nothing to worry about and the sooner we realise that fact the happier we'll all be.

The anniversary 'refocused attention on Islamist terrorism' according to the Guardian. Not on the BBC it didn't.