Key Posts Category
Why did Cilla Black die? The 72-year-old stalwart of British entertianment was found dead at her Spanish holiday home.
The Metro says Cillas “died of natural causes”.
Was she in good health? Last December she gave an interview:
“I am falling apart. My hand is falling apart. I can’t shake hands. I had arthritis and I had an operation for it. I had it done because I was in pain. I am not in pain at the moment. But it looks a bit deformed on the wrist. That has been fixed but it is going to take some time to heal. I fell in the park earlier this year as well and hurt my hand…
“You see on Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor they all wear ear plugs. But I could not hear myself when I wore them. So that is where the strong voice came from. Now I am totally deaf because of the Cavern days.”
The Telegraph adds drama:
Cilla Black’s son found star’s body after smashing his way into her bedroom
Cilla Black’s doting son Bobby discovered the star’s body after smashing his way into her bedroom when she failed to rise from an afternoon siesta.
We hear from a “source close to the inquiry”:
“Cilla’s son found her lying face upwards in a solarium-style sun terrace next to her bedroom. There’s no conclusive autopsy results yet but the main theory right now is that she had a dizzy turn after going from an air-conditioned room into the midday heat and losing her balance.
“The marks she’s got are consistent with a fall where she’s put up an arm as a defence mechanism.
“What’s need to be determined now is why she fell and whether it was indeed to do with the sudden change in temperature and the effect that had on her – which seems the most likely scenario at the moment – or whether something else triggered the collapse.
“Midday temperatures on Saturday in the area were in the high eighties and we know Cilla wasn’t in the best of health.
“More tests may be necessary after the autopsy to get to the bottom of whats really happened. There’s no evidence to link Cilla’s death to any criminal act but police and courts generally like to keep an open mind on things.“
That speculation from a trusty source who cannot be named becomes fact in the Standard:
Cilla Black died after fall from dizzy turn in searing Costa del Sol heat
Investigation source: “main theory right now is that she had a dizzy turn after going from an air-conditioned room into the midday heat and losing her balance.”
…sources close to the investigation said this yesterday morning medical examiners will look closely at marks on her right arm and elbow which they believe may be linked to a fall potentially caused by a sudden temperature change.
We are then told:
Cilla, born Priscilla Maria Veronica White in 1943 in Liverpool, told last year how she would like to die at 75 before she became too frail to enjoy life.
She said: “Seventy-five is a good age to go. I know it’s only four years away but I take each day as I find it.”
No exactly a suicide case, then. Indeed, Cilla said in 2014:
“I agree with Dignitas, but I couldn’t be the one to administer the poison that kills me. I know I couldn’t commit suicide. I’m too much of a coward, I couldn’t do it. I’d rather somebody make that decision for me.”
But the Daily Star still finds it fire to thunder: “CILLA’S SECRET DEATH WISH”:
All true – apart from the bits about a secret and a death wish.
For your nightmares: Marie Black, 34, from Norwich, found guilty yesterday of rape, conspiracy to rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Marie Black, aka Marie Adams, is a paedophile.
In the dock she wept. She complained that she’d been “stitched up”.
In court she denied it all.
Giving a defence opening speech, Sarah Elliott QC, representing Black, said she “wholeheartedly” refutes that any abuse took place, adding that the children’s recollections had never been challenged.
She said it was possible the victims’ accounts may have been “influenced” and “encouraged” by others.
“Their carers have accepted what they’ve been told, the social workers have accepted what they’ve been told, the police have accepted what they’ve been told,” Ms Elliott said. “Nobody has challenged them.”
She will be sentenced on September 28.
She did not act alone.
Marie Black, 34, of Norwich, stood trial with nine others, including five women, at Norwich Crown Court.
Michael Rogers, 53, from Romford, Essex, was also found guilty of 14 counts, including cruelty, rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Jason Adams, 43, from Norwich, was found guilty of 13 similar counts.
Carol Stadler, 60, from Atkinson Close, Bowthorpe, Norwich, was found guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm but cleared of nine other charges, including serious sexual assaults.
Six other defendants, Anthony Stadler, 63, Nicola Collins, 36, Andrew Collins, 52, Judith Fuller, 32, Denise Barnes, 34, and Kathleen Adams, 84, all from Norwich, were cleared of all charges.
During the three-month trial, the court was told how the ring would hold parties with other adults who would play cards to see who would get to abuse which child, while other forms of abuse included the use of toys such as Barbie dolls…
In interviews with the victims, it was disclosed that the children were forced to have sex with each other and would be abused in front of each other and other adults.
A male victim says:
“There would be parties and they would do some games where the boys were in one room with the men and the girls were in another with the women. The adults would have a card game and the winner would get to choose a boy to start touching their private parts and then hurt them afterwards.”
What about the authorities? Sheila Lock, interim executive director of children’s services at Norfolk County Council, said:
“The victims in this case have shown tremendous courage in speaking out. The needs of the children, who were central to the prosecution case, have always been at the fore of our minds and have been the main focus of all of the agencies involved.
“Our priority continues to be the children in this case who, despite the ordeal they have been through, are now doing well and are safe from harm.”
We first heard of Marie Black in 2012. Christopher Booker told her story in the Telegraph:
In France there were tears of joy when Marie Black and Joe Ollis were reunited with their baby daughter Luna, born in France in February but then seized by Norfolk social workers, to be brought back to England to live in foster care. Although this action had been sanctioned by a British court, a High Court judge ruled in May that the seizure was illegal, because Luna was born in France and was therefore outside UK jurisdiction.
Despite further prevarication by the social workers, they eventually obeyed the judge’s order that the child should be returned to France. Last week, finally, Luna was handed by a French court back to her parents. “At first,” they tell me, “she was quiet and withdrawn after her time in foster care, but now she is alert and cheerful.”
Why had the social services acted?
Last year I reported the shocking story of Marie Black and Joe Ollis who escaped to France for the birth of their first child, after learning that Norfolk social workers intended to seize it at birth on the grounds that Marie had previously been in a violent relationship with another man, who was by then out of her life…
Marie Black told all to the Mail:
At a cottage deep in the French countryside, a baby girl kicks her feet in the air and smiles at her father, Joe, as she is cuddled by her mother, Marie.
Little Luna is home at last — reunited with her parents at the end of an historic legal battle against British social workers which began when Marie became pregnant and moved to France from her home in Norfolk.
Marie Black was a fighter who loved kids.
Marie said this week at their home near Cahors in south-west France: ‘We were so excited. Luna went to sleep that first night back with us as though she had never been away.
‘I lost the chance of breastfeeding her, and we missed her first smile. We blame the English social workers’
But she added: ‘I had lost the chance of breastfeeding her, and we missed her first smile. We blame the English social workers.’
Marie had married young and had five children by her abusive husband before fleeing his violence. At one stage, she lived with her children in a hostel for abused women.
But when this proved difficult, she asked social services for help. They took the children into temporary care, and have refused to return them…
And not forgetting:
The couple’s solicitor, Brendan Fleming, added: ‘I find it amazing that social workers flew to a country outside their jurisdiction and brought this baby to Britain at a cost of thousands of pounds of public money.’
Social workers are under immense pressure not to make a mistake following the Baby P case in London in 2007. He died after suffering many injuries despite being seen by Haringey social services and NHS doctors.
The Wisbech Standard:
Allegations were first reported to police in 2010 but it was in December 2012, when further evidence was disclosed, that police decided they had sufficient evidence to progress the criminal investigation and eventually make the initial arrests in 2013.
Queen Elizabeth 2 was just seven years of age when her Nazi-loving anti-Semitic uncle, the future King George VI, encouraged her to give the stiff-armed salute at Balmoral.
The Queen,’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, is equally blameless as she too salutes the Nazis.
But what of heir mother Queen Elizabeth?
The Telegraph, says “sources close to the Queen” described the photos as “misleading and dishonest”:
The Royal Household was particularly angry at the newspaper’s decision to print the 82-year-old images, which have never been seen before, just three weeks after the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in Germany.
It takes a special kind of fool to believe the Queen in some way approves of the murder of 6 million Jews. Her Majesty has been a friend to Jews throughout her reign. Jews sings the national anthem with gusto at synagogue services. The Queen is just about the best thing ever to happen to the Royal Family. Three cheers for her!
Others, what we call ‘the sane, might wonder at the world in which Elizabeth was raised. In 1933, her mother would have been 32 or 33 years of age. In 1933, Germany had already begin to ostracise and criminalise Jews.
What was the dear old Queen Mum thinking?
The Buckingham Palace spokesman has reacted:
“It is disappointing that a film, shot eight decades ago and apparently from HM’s personal family archive, has been obtained and exploited in this manner.”
Why? We’re not disappointed. It is a terrific story. The only pity is that it took so long to surface.
The Telegraph makes a suggestion:
In a leading article, the Sun accepts that Hitler, newly installed as Germany’s Chancellor, was “a faintly comic character” at the time, but argues that the involvement of the future Edward VIII, a known Nazi sympathiser, makes the film historically significant.
It does. Even without him it would be newsworthy. Edward’s presences makes it sinister.
Edward, who feared a communist revolution following the murder of Russia’s royal family, courted Hitler when he met him three years after the film was shot.
Not only him. The Sun says the aristocracy feared the communists. Well, some of them did. People involved in the Anglo-German Fellowship, which in 1939 welcomed Gertrud Scholtz-Klink – Hitler’s “perfect Nazi woman” – to teach them the ways of Nazism did.
The Anglo-German Fellowship, of which Prunella Stack’s husband Lord David Douglas-Hamilton and brother-in-law Douglas Douglas-Hamiton MP were both members, was an upper-class and it would be fair to say a predominately right-wing organisation. In fact many of the fellowship were almost unashamedly pro-Nazi and anti-semite.
In 1931 Miss Pamela Bowes-Lyon – cousin of the Duchess of York and future Queen Consort to King George VI and Queen Mother – married Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton in Beaulieu, Hampshire.
You can read all about how close Britain came to being ruled of fascists on Flashbak.
A royal source is quoted:
“Most people will see these pictures in their proper context and time. This is a family playing and momentarily referencing a gesture many would have seen from contemporary news reels. If you watch the film it is people laughing and joking around and playing, and it was one of the things of the day. No one at that time had any sense how it would evolve. To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest. The Queen is around six years of age at the time and entirely innocent of attaching any meaning to these gestures.”
It wasn’t one of things of the day for the Jews of London’s East End, who fought the upper-class led Black Shirts.
It was unclear on Friday night how The Sun had obtained the footage, which it argued was part of a “hidden” archive of material relating to the Royal family which it said should now be released.
Over in the Sun, we learn more:
…the pictures must be seen in the context of 1933.
Elizabeth and Margaret are kids. Families of all kinds larked around apeing the stiff-armed antics of the faintly comic character with the Charlie Chaplin moustache who won power in Germany.
No one knew then what Adolf Hitler was capable of. Or that, deep in Bavaria, he was already opening his first concentration camp at Dachau.
What gives The Sun’s extraordinary images such historical significance, and the reason we believe the public has a right finally to see them, is the involvement of the Queen’s uncle Edward.
The man who briefly became our King was already a fan of Hitler — and remained so as late as 1970, long after the Holocaust’s horrors were laid bare…
Edward and a clique of anti-Semitic aristocrats were terrified of a communist revolution stripping them of power and privilege with deadly force, as it had in Russia. Fascism seemed like an answer.
But even the Sun has its limits:
His desire to appease Germany stands now in stark contrast to the courage and patriotism of the Queen Mum once Luftwaffe bombs fell. She was so inspiring to Londoners in the Blitz even the Fuhrer considered her a thorn in his side.
The Sun produces a feature entitled “Queen of the Blitz Silly salute, but a rock in country’s bleak year”.
If there was one woman determined not to let Hitler win it was the Queen Mother.
There were far more people than one woman who wanted to smash the German war machine.
It was Elizabeth who persuaded her husband King George VI that they should remain in Buckingham Palace as the Luftwaffe bombed the capital night after night in 1940.
The stories are hymned. The tales of the bad Royals bits less so.
Like this in the Mail:
…there is the tragic saga of the Queen Mother’s nieces, Nerissa and Katherine Bowes Lyon, both born mentally deficient and unable to speak.
They were confined in the Royal Earlswood Mental Hospital at Redhill, Surrey, in 1941, where they remained for the rest of their lives.
Although the Queen Mother knew the statement in Burke’s Peerage that both women were dead (published after false information had been supplied by their mother) was untrue, she never visited either of them, and apparently saw no contradiction in her patronage of Mencap, which campaigns against families placing their mentally challenged relations in state care.
And this in the Telegraph:
…not long before the announcement of the engagement of the Duke of York to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at the beginning of 1923 the papers had carried reports that she was, in fact, to marry his brother, the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII). Hence the suggestion, half a century later, by Diana Mosley [née Mitford] that Elizabeth’s enduring antipathy to Wallis was fuelled by jealousy. In a letter to her sister, the Duchess of Devonshire, written soon after the death of the Duke of Windsor in 1972, Diana (Wallis’s friend and future biographer) observed: ‘the theory of their contemporaries that Cake [the Mitford sisters’ nickname for Elizabeth, derived from her sweet tooth and healthy appetite] was rather in love with him (as a girl) & took second best, may account for much.’
Good stuff, eh. Got any more?
Well, yes. There’s this:
Released by Buckingham Palace ahead of the publication this week of the first official biography of the Queen Mother, the letter is her personal account of the events of 13 September 1940 to her “darling” mother-in-law, Queen Mary.
In it she records how she was “battling” to remove an errant eyelash from the King’s eye, when they heard the “unmistakable whirr-whirr of a German plane” and then the “scream of a bomb”.
“It all happened so quickly that we had only time to look foolishly at each other when the scream hurtled past us and exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle,” she wrote.
While her “knees trembled a little bit”, she was “so pleased with the behaviour of our servants”, some of whom were injured as one bomb crashed through a glass roof and another pulverised the palace chapel.
Hours later, after lunching in their air-raid shelter, she and the King were visiting West Ham in London’s East End. She wrote: “I felt as if I was walking in a dead city… all the houses evacuated, and yet through the broken windows one saw all the poor little possessions, photographs, beds, just as they were left.”
Oh, you want the juicy bits, the stuff about the Royal racists, philanderers and scumbags. Well, the Royal want those bits kept secret:
The rest of the Royal archive from that period, of similarly immense interest to historians and the public, is still hidden.
It should be released.
Do you see faces in inanimate objects (a condition known as pareidolia)? If you do, chances are you’re neurotic.
Brain Decoder, who works at Tokyo’s NNT Communication Science Laboratory tested 166 undergraduates to ascertain their ‘big five‘ personality traits and mood. The students were presented with pictures of random dots and invited to say what they saw.
The psychological tests found a link: students who scored higher for neuroticism were more likely to see faces in the dots.
Of course, that’s not to say Jesus really isn’t manifest in that tortilla, tree stump or stain.
Spotter: Brain Decoder
Photo: The “Face on Mars” was one of the most striking and remarkable images taken during the Viking missions to the red planet. Unmistakeably resembling a human face, the image caused many to hypothesize that it was the work of an extraterrestrial civilization. Later images revealed that it was a mundane feature rendered face-like by the angle of the Sun.
Shopping list of the week was penned by Britney Spears. Someone dived into her bins and resurfaced with shopping lists.
Spears, we learn, likes Oreos, pasta, Sprite, gritz, Dr Pepper, flowers, Red Bull, pizzas, cheese, ham, “Boobs” and a “Nose (talk to nose guy)”.
Aside from being an adult human who shops like Yogi Bear, Spears’ shopping for body parts is a curiosity. Does she collects tits and nostrils, aiming to create the ultimate Hollywood museum of add-ons, exhibits to include Jennifer Aniston’s nose tip, Cher’s laughter lines and an introductory talk from the ‘living exhibit’ who bought Michael Jackson’s fire damaged hair.
Or are the words codes for a kind of Hollywood sustenance?
Dive, dive, dive!
Anyone still too shy to buy a dildo should know that Amazon offers shoppers a free vibrator with pairs of children’s sandals. You just have to select the right brand, which is not all that subtly called PRIMIGI.
Sophie Grantham, 36, didn’t know of the special offer until she took delivery of a pair of said sandals and spotted the five-inch purple Durex vibrator in the box.
Sophie, of Whiteley, Hampshire, explains:
“The parcel was vibrating so the postman made a comment about it maybe being a toothbrush. I was absolutely horrified to find there was this purple vibrator, loose and buzzing about in the shoebox. I don’t know what happened, but it’s not on.”
News on the hunt for Madeleine McCann has been thin. But today the Sun has a story:
Ripper’s vile Maddie slur – EXCLUSIVE: Serial killer casts doubt on McCanns in Broadmoor letter
The Sun has news of Peter Sutcliffe, the so-called Yorkshire Ripper.
YORKSHIRE Ripper Peter Sutcliffe sickeningly casts doubt on the innocence of Madeleine McCann’s parents in a sensational letter revealed today by The Sun.
Mass murderer and woman hates thinks… It’s not the most auspicious start to a scoop, is it? Why should we care what the killer thinks?
In the note — one of a series he sent from Broadmoor — he tells a pen pal “there’s something not quite right” about three-year-old Madeleine’s disappearance during a 2007 family holiday in Portugal.
Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision Of Paradise is the story of the great music man’s life. German filmmaker Volker Schaner tells Mojo about his film of the great Upsetter:
“There is something so mysterious and sparkling in Lee Perry’s music. I always wanted to understand this man and his cosmos, and to make a film with and about him.”
Perry’s music is a mix of the mystical, spectral and the touchable.
These are our top 10 Lee Scratch Perry songs:
Roast Fish And Cornbread:
Junior Murvin Police & Thieves
KAREN Danczuk spent more than seven hours with her personal trainer as he stayed the night at her house. Athletic Ben Bate sneaked into the 31-year-old’s marital home late on Thursday — just five days after she split with husband Simon, a Labour MP.
Photos of the man are captioned:
Karen works out in the park with personal trainer Ben
Ben outside Karen’s house on Wednesday evening
He walks into the house
Looking out of the window shortly before midnight
Personal trainer leaves in the early hours
Thrilling stuff that any private dick should appreciate.
The pick of the photos, however, is the one labelled:
Wearing T-shirt for Ben’s gym
Watch CNN report on ISIS flag at London Gay Pride (fails to notice it’s made out of butt plugs and dildos)
The London Gay Pride march featured an ISIS flag. CNN is shocked and appalled.
Lucy Pawle has noticed a man dressed in black. He’s holding an ISIS flag, says Lucy.
It’s made of dildos and butt plugs.
But Lucy never noticed:
The horror in Tunisia is getting blanket media coverage. Fifteen British citizens are known to have been murdered. In all, 38 people were killed and 36 wounded by the Islamist at the Sousse beach resort.
The Times: “Tunisia relatives’ desperate wait for news”
Not knowing must be terrible.
Ross Naylor has launched a social media appeal for news of his father Scott Chalkley, 42, and his partner Sue Davey, both of whom were staying at the Imperial hotel which was caught up in the attack in the popualr resourt of Sousse. He said he has not heard any news on their whereabouts despite several calls to their mobile phones, the hotel, the Foreign Office and a local hospital.
The Times quotes Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood:
“This is the most significant terrorist attack on British people since 7/7 and highlights the ongoing threat of Isil [Isis].”
It looks like relying on the Kurds to keep the barbarians at bay is not going to work.
Daily Mail: “Kalashnikov in hand, chilling images show ISIS murderer walking on beach in front of stunned onlookers before unleashing carnage”
It’s Seder Night, when Jews recall Passover and the plagues sent down on the house of Egypt to help along their emancipation from slavery. As dad reads out the story, the cool kids can play along by wearing one of 10 masks, each one representing a plague. “Bagsy, Death to the ‘First Born’,” says Junior, the rascal. Others can enjoy ‘Blood’, ‘Boils’, ‘Lice’ and ‘Darkness’.
The whole set is yours for a mere $14.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond.
But be warned: these mask are only suitable for over 3s lest there be a new plague of ‘Choking’.
Another summer brings with it another Madeleine McCann front-page news story. The innocent child who became the media’s benchmark for all missing children is evoked on the Daily Star and Daily Mirror’s front pages. There is talk of child kidnappers in Protaras, Cyprus.
The Star announces:
NEW MADDIE SNATCH HORROR AT BRIT HOLS RESORT
The Mirror goes with:
MY GIRL WAS SNATCHED ON HOLS LIKE MADDIE
Only, she wasn’t snatched. No, not Madeleine. This other child. In fact, no other child has been kidnapped.
The Star’s Jerry Lawton says “hero dad” James Down performed a “citizen’s arrest” on “one of the suspects who had been videoing children on his mobile phone”. Holidaymakers say are “up to 10 child traffickers posing as hotel waiters”.
The Leicester Mercury sees an exodus:
A British father on holiday in Cyprus has spoken about fearing a Madeleine McCann style snatch after his two-year-old daughter was taken by a gang of would-be kidnappers. The incident happened at the Anastasia Beach Complex in Protaras on Tuesday, resulting in tour operator Thomas Cook moving more than one hundred holidaymakers.
The Times has more from the aforesaid heroic Mr Down:
James Down, 30, said that he apprehended the man and claimed that he had found footage of children on his phone. “He’d been on the beach talking to some children and then he was by the pool. I then saw him kneeling behind a wall talking to some little kids,” Mr Down, a wind turbine engineer, said. “I got him by the scruff of the neck and took him to the hotel reception.”
Mr Down, a former soldier from Newcastle, said he took the man’s phone and found images and videos of children taken in the area. He said that he and his friends had later seen a woman who they thought was linked to the man, chased her and grabbed her. “I saw a pick-up truck which had its engine running and a saloon car. Some of our group tried to run after the vehicles, but they drove off. I think they were traffickers,” he said.
Think they were traffickers? Can anyone ask the man Mr Down’s arrested and frog-marched into the hotel if he is interested in selling children?
The Daily Record’s James Moncur writes:
THREE youngsters were being lured into cars at the Anastasia Beach Complex, near Protaras, when the child-snatcher were caught [sic].
Got him! Brilliant. No make him talk.
A holidaymaker at the Cyprus resort with a wedding party from Dundee said: “We had seen these people around the hotel all week. They’d been in the pool and interacting with some of the children. Some of them were wearing staff outfits so they could blend in more easily. It was really scary.”
Scots dad Greg Letford, 28, told how the gang – who staff claimed were Romanians – targeted kids on Tuesday night.
He said: “This Romanian couple were leading the two young children towards a waiting car, another person had a third child up against a wall ready to go, too. Someone spotted what they were up to and stopped them. If he hadn’t been there those kids would have gone. One of the men got away and we heard the getaway car crashed a short distance away too. When the police turned up, they took the man and woman into an office in the hotel and a crowd built up in the foyer – there must have been about 60 or 70 really angry people. It was chaos. The police got them into a van through a window for their protection. One of the hotel staff later told us they were Romanian and that one of them used to work at the hotel.”
And the arrested man and the Romanian “holiday hell gang”? Well, the ‘arrested’ man is from Bulgaria. As the Times notes:
Police said they had arrested the Bulgarian man, 19, accused of filming children, but there had been no reports of an abduction and searches of his mobile phone, home and person led nowhere. Other reports suggested the man had been assaulted by a group at the hotel. Nikoletta Tyrimou, a police spokeswoman, said that police made one, not two, arrests and that there was no get-away car or people in disguise stalking children. She said: “Upon arriving at the scene, police officers arrested a 19-year-old man from Bulgaria whom holidaymakers said had been filming their children and was trying to abduct them.
“We questioned the suspect, went through his phone and also searched his home. Nothing we found suggests that he is part of a child-abducting gang or that he was stalking children. The man has since been released.”
It did? They did? Mr Daniel Mann tells the Mirror that kidnappers tried to steal his daughter Lillie last year.
It also emerged that a two-year-old girl from Durham had disappeared for 40 minutes at the same resort last year. She was finally spotted being carried away from the hotel by a woman who claimed to have found the toddler wandering alone.
Says Mr Mann:
“It was awful. My daughter was about 10 yards from me at the pool and in the time it took me to turn around and say, ‘It is time to go I will go and get the bairn,’ she had gone.We were frantically searching for about 40 minutes. I could feel my stomach churning the longer it went on. There were people joining to help all the time. One or two mentioned Madeleine McCann, you can imagine how that made me feel. We found her in the arms of an Eastern European woman who was walking towards a car park. My partner saw her, she thought she was carrying a bag of potatoes, then she realised it was our child. She ran after her, screaming.”
Thomas Cook have made this statement:
The safety and welfare of our customers is always our first priority and upon hearing about the alleged incident, we immediately deployed our experienced resort team to the property to provide those customers in residence with individual support. On request, we assisted 16 customer bookings who wished to move to an alternative hotel and two families who travelled back to the UK early. Although there are conflicting reports as to what exactly occurred at the property, we would like to reassure all customers that we take all allegations incredibly seriously and we are continuing to work closely with our customers in resort and the local authorities.
So. Not 100 holidaymakers, then. And Mr Mann’s partner, Lillie’s mother Kay Baldasara, adds that the woman ‘abducting’ her daughter is on the loose:
“By the time I checked over Lillie, she had gone.”
The pair reported the kidnap attempt to Durham Police when they returned home after the holiday last August. The case was referred to Operation Grange, the unit leading the search for Madeleine. It was also shared with detectives in Cyprus. There have been no arrests.
Daniel told how the latest kidnap bids at the hotel brought their own horror flooding back.
We’ll end this round-up with the Cyprus Mail’s take on events. Constantinos Psillides writes:
The British media reporting on the alleged attempted kidnapping of three youngsters at a Protaras hotel, “has been completely blown out of proportion and it’s all wrong,” an eyewitness has said.
The tourist, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Cyprus Mail that while he wasn’t part of the wedding party that was taking place at the Anastasia hotel at the time, he witnessed what happened firsthand.
“At some point we heard a large commotion and screams. Somebody attacked a young man yelling “paedophile, paedophile” and then suddenly a group of around 50 people were chasing him.
The 19-year-old Bulgarian was attacked?
We joined them and chased two people to the front desk, a man and a woman.
Police came and took the young man in custody – a 19-year-old Bulgarian — but let the woman go because it turned out that she had nothing to do with the incident and that she just happened to be there. That’s what really happened, nothing more,” said the holidaymaker, adding that he was appalled after reading news reports on the story.
“They said that child snatchers were posing as hotel staff. That’s completely ridiculous, I have no idea where they got that from,” the holidaymaker said.
“I also noticed that some have been connecting this incident to the Madeleine case. That is both wrong and disrespectful,” stressed the holidaymaker, referring to the famous case of then three-year old Madeleine McCann who disappeared from her room while holidaying with her family in a holiday resort in Portugal in 2007.
Meanwhile, a source close to the investigation told the Cyprus Mail that the parents of the 19-year old Bulgarian that was arrested are employed by the company that owns Anastasia Beach hotel, Tsokkos Hotels.
He was with his mum and dad. Their son has been abused?
The 19-year old apparently spent a lot of time in the hotel, frequenting the pool area. The source said that on the 19-year-old’s phone, police found four pictures, none of which depicted children.
“They were pictures of a hotel show. We went through the suspect’s phone, we searched his house thoroughly and found absolutely nothing to suggest that he was a paedophile, a kidnapper or that he was part of a gang.”
But he might have been, right?
Trigger Warning: free speech is being attacked and downgraded in Anglo-American culture, says Mick Hume
Anorak asked journalist Mick Hume about his new book, which looks at the highly topical issue of free speech…
Your new book is entitled ‘Trigger Warning’. For those not familiar with the phrase, could you explain its origin and its relevance?
A ‘trigger warning’ is a statement stuck at the beginning of a piece of writing, video or whatever to alert you to the fact that it contains material you may find upsetting or offensive. For example, ‘TW: Islamophobic language’, or ‘TW: references to sexual violence’.
Trigger Warnings took off in US colleges (where student activists want classic works to carry them, suggesting for example that The Great Gatsby should have one along the lines of ‘TW: suicide, domestic abuse and graphic violence’). They have since spread across the Atlantic and the internet. If you are not familiar with ‘TWs’, they are coming soon to a website near you.
For me the mission creep of trigger warnings symbolises the stultifying atmosphere surrounding freedom of expression and debate today. They are like those ‘Here be dragons’ signs on uncharted areas of old maps, warning students and others not to take a risk, not to step off the edge of their comfort zone, not to expose themselves to ‘uncomfortable’ ideas, images or opinions.
What is the book about?
The sub-title of the book rather gives the game away: ‘Is the fear of being offensive killing free speech?’ To which its unsurprising answer is yes, unless we do something about it.
Trigger Warning is about all the various ways in which free speech is being attacked and downgraded in Anglo-American culture today. It describes ‘the silent war on free speech’. It’s a silent war because nobody in politics or public life admits that they are against freedom of expression; all of them will make ritualistic displays of support for it ‘in principle’, as they did after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. In practice, however, they are all seeking ways to restrict freedom of expression, whilst insisting that ‘this is not a free speech issue’, it is merely an attempt to protect the ‘vulnerable’ against offensive and hateful words.
To that end, the book examines the complementary trends towards official censorship, unofficial censorship and self-censorship in the West today, covering everything from online ‘trolls’ to football and comedy as well as more conventional political issues.
Of these three, the most insidious is the informal, unofficial censorship promoted by Twitter mobs and assorted boycott-and-ban-happy zealots. They are a relatively small minority, but they exercise disproportionate influence by preying on the loss of faith in free speech at the top of our societies.
I describe these people as ‘reverse-Voltaires’, who have taken the famous principle linked to Voltaire – ‘I may hate what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ – and twisted it into its opposite – ‘I know I will detest what you say, and I will defend to the end of free speech my right to stop you saying it’. They do not want to debate arguments they disagree with, but merely to close them down as offensive. Trigger Warning takes on their most powerful excuses in a section entitled ‘Five good reasons for restricting free speech – and why they’re all wrong’.
What is the main message of the book?
The main message of the book – and I fear it is a ‘message’ book, or ‘polemic’ as we pretentious authors say – is twofold, I suppose. That we have forgotten how important the fight for free speech has been in the creation of something approximating a civilised society, and that we are in danger of giving it up without a struggle. It is not so much that we are losing the free speech wars: we are not even fighting them!
Few of the great advances in politics, science and culture over the past 500 years would have been possible without the expansion of free speech and the willingness of heroic heretics to question everything and break taboos. None of the liberation movements of the recent past could have succeeded without putting the right to free speech at the forefront of their campaigns (which makes it all the more bitterly ironic to see restrictions on free speech being demanded today in the name of protecting the oppressed).
Free speech was never a right to be won once and then put on a shelf to be admired. It always has to be defended again, against new challenges and enemies. The big danger today is that so few are standing up for unfettered free speech against the reverse-Voltaires and their like. Where are the young Tom Paines, JS Mills, John Wilkes’ or George Orwells of our age? Instead we have characters like the US liberal professor who just wrote a (pseudonymous) article about how he is too ‘terrified’ of his ‘liberal’ students to raise a potentially offensive idea or even ask them to read Mark Twain. Time to take a stand before it’s too late.
You have been outspoken about the right to offend. But some people seem to believe they have a duty to offend, and we have seen public examples of this recently. How does your opinion differ from theirs?
I have been writing about the right to be offensive for some 25 years, since the crisis over Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. It is the cutting edge of free speech. After all, what use is it is we are only ‘free’ to say what everybody else might like? If we defend free speech for those views branded extreme and offensive, the mainstream will look after itself. This is not about offensive language, but opinions – as JS Mill pointed out long ago, the more powerful your opponent’s arguments are, the more offensive you tend to find them!
The importance of that issue was brought into sharp focus by the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo massacre of course. As the book describes, behind the apparent displays of Je Suis Charlie solidarity, the powerful message was that those cartoonists had gone ‘too far’ in offending Islam. Those gunmen might have been inspired by Islamist preachers, but they can only have been encouraged by the loss of faith in free speech at the heart of Western culture.
None of this means, as you mention, that anybody has a duty to offend. The right to be offensive is not an obligation. One problem today is that the response to the conformist culture of You-Can’t-Say-That tends to be a few comedians and others trying to cause offence for the sake of it. That’s infantile and useless. As William Hazlitt wrote, ‘An honest man speaks the truth, though it may cause offence, a vain man, in order that it may”. A good distinction, so long as we remember that the vain man gets the freedom to speak his version of the truth, too.
Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech? is published by Collins.
Mick was answering questions put to him by Ed Barrett
Lord Greville Janner: a look at news on the Labour peer embroiled in allegations that he abused children. He maintains his innocence. It’s been 58 days since the Crown Prosecution Sevice decided not to prosecute Lord Janner on gounds of his failing health.
With no actual news to report, we make do with a tenuous link between Janner and Michael Jackson. In keeping with the story of Westminster peados, like most of the people implicated, Jackson is dead. And he never read the letter Janner wrote him.
The Leicester Mercury takes up the tale:
Greville Janner wrote to superstar Michael Jackson congratulating him on being cleared of child sex charges… The Labour peer and former Leicester West MP wrote the letter shortly after the singer was cleared by an American jury of molesting a 13-year-old.
A number of national newspapers reported at the weekend that Lord Janner wrote to Jackson, who died aged 50 in 2009, on personalised House of Lords paper in 2005.
He is said to have passed the letter to former child actor Mark Lester and asked him to give it to Jackson.
What he wrote was:
“I was so very pleased at the news of your acquittal. What a terrible time you have endured. You know how much I enjoyed and appreciated meeting you at the Universal Studios and in the UK – and especially on that wonderful day in Parliament and the journey to Exeter. So I send you my very best wishes – and hope you will return to London before long and that I should have the pleasure of seeing you once again before long.”
In June 2002 Janner gave Jackson, spoon-bender Uri Geller and US magician David Blaine a tour of the Houses of Parliament. Lester is chiefly famous for having played Oliver Twist in the 1968 film.
Says Mr Lester:
“Janner knew I was friends with Michael. He gave me the letter and asked me to give it to him. I stuffed it in my pocket and never got round to it. I stumbled across it while clearing my house. What he said was inappropriate.”
If there was ever word that sums up this decade it is ‘inappropriate’. Why is it inappropriate for Janner to have to written to the then world’s biggest star? I mean, did you see Jackson’s fans back then?
There were a few naysayers:
And it was huge news.
But Lester is agog not that Jackson was given a tour of Westminster, but that Janner wrote him a letter:
“Michael Jackson was hounded for much of his life over these allegations and was then found not guilty. No one should congratulate Michael on being cleared let alone a QC and peer. It’s as if he’s saying, ‘Well done, you got away with it’.”
No. It isn’t. Jackson was found not guilty. Janner said it must have been a burden. He never once said ‘Nice one, you got away with it.’
The story of Westminster peadophiles has taken on a life of its own. The alleged abuse is said to have occured over years. This longevity suggests a culture of denial and, to some, a conspiracy of depraved men working together to maintain a secret. But facts are now so thin we get stories of a Wacko Jacko fan letter being passed off as news. In place of evidence of child rape in the shadow of power, we get news of ‘inappropriate’ words. ‘Innocent until proven innocent’, says one of the pro-Jackson banners. To which we would add a new one: ‘Guilty when dead.’
Such are the facts.
Lord Greville Janner: a look at news on the Labour peer embroiled in allegations that he abused children. He maintains his innocence. It’s been 52 days since the Crown Prosecution Sevice decided not to prosecute Lord Janner on gounds of his failing health.
BBC: “Lord Janner claim investigated by police in Scotland”
Police in Scotland are understood to be investigating claims Labour peer Lord Janner abused a boy there in the 1970s. Det Ch Supt Lesley Boal said Police Scotland officers were investigating a historical complaint – but did not confirm a name.
As ever, facts are thinner than Theresa May’s smile.
BBC home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds said the allegation had first been made in 1991 by a Leicester man who told police that Greville Janner sexually abused him during the 1970s – including in Scotland.
We’re told that Leicestershire police investigated and found Janner had no case to answer. And now a mere 14 years later the allegations resueface. The accused man is now old. He and his victims are denied a court trial. And all we get is a stink.
Now Scottish police are investigating.
“Because Scotland has a separate and independent prosecutor, it would be able to make its own decision about whether to charge Lord Janner,” he added.
Is there new evidence to warrant a charge that wasn’t available to police in 1991? Did the Scottish police investigate Janner? Questions and more questions. And with no court date, there is no chance to having them answered with satisfaction.
So that’s two police forces investigating Janner, the Crown Prosecution Service reviewing the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision that m’lord would to be unable to take part in his defence due to his poor health, and Justice Lowell Goddard looking at the Labour peer as part od her independent inquiry into child sex abuse.
Yeah, that’s all.
Lord Janner is 86. He says he’s innocent.
But the Mail picks up a scent.
Daily Mail: “With a school party on a Commons visit in 1976, two Labour grandees Greville Janner and George Thomas who ‘abused children'”
Smiling broadly, two Labour grandees welcome a party of young schoolboys to the Commons. Since this photograph was taken in 1976, Greville Janner and George Thomas have been exposed as alleged paedophiles.
Exposed. Alleged. Can you be exposed as an alleged anything? What happened to those barriers to guilt?
The pair, later ennobled as Lord Janner and Viscount Tonypandy, have been accused of preying on children and yesterday campaigners said there was growing evidence a Labour paedophile ring operated at Westminster.
Is the Mail serious in labelling Labour the Paedos Party? If it is, were Liberal Sir Cyril Smith and Sir Tory Peter Hayman wannabe Labour members?
Thomas, Commons Speaker before becoming a peer, is said to have propositioned young men in his official grace and favour apartment in Parliament. He died aged 88 in 1997, but is now the subject of investigations by British Transport Police over an incident on a train in 1959, and by South Wales Police into a claim he raped a nine-year-old boy.
How can that be proven?
The alleged rape victim came forward to say he was abused at home in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the MP, who had befriended his foster parents.
A third former Labour MP, the late Leo Abse, has also been named as an alleged abuser.
Abse is dead. Smith is dead. Hayman is dead. Thomas is dead.
Yesterday campaigning Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who exposed the Cyril Smith scandal, said: ‘If George Thomas abused a nine-year-old boy, then you can be certain it was not a one-off. He would have abused others. The links between these people are coming together like a jigsaw puzzle, and one does get the impression there was a Labour network of paedophiles.’
If. Certain. We’re digging up the bodies to beat them with sticks. It’s only when the depraved grandees die that their guilt becomes a certainty. The pieces from Danczuk’s jigsaw puzzle crumble like dead skin when touched.
The close bond between Janner and Thomas is clear from the black-and-white photograph unearthed by the Mail, which was taken on June 22, 1976. Janner had arranged for 70 pupils from his Leicester West constituency to visit the Commons. There is no suggestion any of the children in the photo were abused…
The claims about Thomas, a one-time headmaster and Methodist lay preacher, surfaced last year. His victim, now aged 56 and living in Australia, said: ‘I was raped by George Thomas in Cardiff. I was about nine. He spent a lot of time at my house.’
He alleged the abuse also happened at another address in the city. A second victim says he was sexually abused on a train from Paddington to Aberystwyth when he was 22 and Thomas was 50.
Thomas, an MP from 1945 to 1983, was a secretary of state for Wales in Harold Wilson’s government and presided over the 1969 investiture of the Prince of Wales. He also read the lesson at Prince Charles’s wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
Wasn’t is Sir Jimmy Savile who took Diana’s secrets to his grave?
In 2001, Leo Abse MP spoke to the Sunday Times about helping with George Thomas MP’s young blackmailer:
“Over the years, given his exposed position, it was inevitable that he would fall victim to blackmail. On one occasion, after a distraught recounting to me of the pressure upon him, I insisted I would meet and deal with the young criminal in his constituency into whose hands he had fallen.
“My reputation in Cardiff’s criminal underworld stood me in good stead in dealing with the wretch. As a lawyer, I had often acted in the courts on behalf of the local prosecution department, and even more frequently, I had defended the city’s gangsters. As one-time chairman of the watch committee, I had the duty of supervising the local police.
“The blackmailing cur, therefore, had no doubt that, unless he desisted, I would carry out my threat to ensure he was put behind bars for 10 years; shortly after our encounter he found it was politic to quit the city.”
The Mail forgets to say that Thomas was chairman of National Children’s Home (NCH) in 1983.
Such are the facts.
The Sunday Times has a cracking story on FIFA troughing. The paper says back in October 2010 it showed FIFA a video of leading FIFA officials talking about bribery. Reporters gained access by posing as lobbyists.
The allegations are that the vote to host the 2010 World Cup was rigged in South Africa’s favour – and that Morocco was the actual winner.
* The vote by 24 the Fifa executive committee (Exco) was rigged. At the final count South Africa (14) defeated Morroco (10) and Egypt (0).
* Ismail Bhamjee, an Exco member from Botswana, says: “After talking with everybody . . . Whose votes went where? We’re all colleagues, you know. And then we found out that actually Morocco won by two votes.” He says Exco members conferred after the vote and realised Morocco had won. Although Bhamjee says some some Exco members could have lied about their votes.
* The ballots were counted behind closed doors. Were they deliberately miscounted?
* It’s alleged FIFA suppressed the Sunday Times’ tapes and failed to investigate claims of bribery.
* It’s alleged members took bribes from Morocco and South Africa.
* Ahongalu Fusimalohi, the former Fifa Exco member from Tonga, says Morocco had offered him a $150,000 bribe for his vote. He did not take any money. But did others?
* It’s alleged that members Jack Warner, the former Fifa vice-president, took over $1m in bungs from both sides. Bhamjee is cited as having said: “I know they gave Jack Warner personally a lot of money for the Concacaf [Warner’s north America confederation]. But please, this is confidential.”
Michel Bacchini, a former Fifa director of competitions told the undercover reporters: “But Jack, they [the Moroccans] were paying him and at the end when they were voting here in Zurich, you know, he was making a big scene, he was running out of the hotel complaining that somebody was cheating. He was the guy who cheated, he was making a big scenario out of it. I know a hundred hundred per cent that he was voting for the South Africans and pretended to vote for the Moroccans. I always said you never have to pay any money upfront.”
FIFA has responded thus:
“It cannot have escaped even The Sunday Times’s attention that these matters are being investigated by the proper authorities, ie, government agencies, not newspapers. And Fifa is fully co-operating with these investigations.
Such are the facts.
The former Liberal Democrat Party leader Charles Kennedy has died at his home in Fort William, Highland, Scotland aged 55. He brought a humanity not generally accepted or too well understood in 1983 when he entered the Westminster Parliament at 23-years-old and then the youngest MP. He continued to represent his home territory for 32 years and lost his seat to the Scottish National Party in May’s General Election.
He rose through the ranks to in 2001 lead his party to its strongest ever membership of the National Parliament.
In what many found to be a magnificent stand, Charles Kennedy fought against all-comers from other major parties over the proposed invasion and war in Iraq. There is little doubt he was right in every respect in his then dire predictions of what was to follow. When it finally struggles into print. the long-delayed Chilcot Inquiry may very well be his finest epitaph.
Kennedy’s humanity had its fragility and alcohol abuse destroyed his professional and home life.
What was totally unique about him was he could attend social gatherings in Highland Village halls and stately country homes alike and very soon be flat out and sleeping off excesses on the hall floor or in the temporary bar. The evening’s guests would step over him while the festivities went on and all would ensure someone saw he was safely delivered home at the end of the night.
His friends and neighbours accepted him for what he was and understood he suffered from the worst of all conditions – West Highland Disease – otherwise recognised as chronic alcoholism. Above all else he was loved and respected as a Highlander doing the best he could for his voters and country alike. The Nationalist fervour now endemic in Scotland swept him to one side. He was devastated by the loss of his constituency his mainstay support.
Just this once the cliche “We will never see his like again” may very well be true and we all are the poorer for the loss of his total honesty, essential decency and… yes, even those frailties which destroyed him.
Westminster paedos: a look at reporting on the story of historical sex abuse gone unpunished.
The Guardian tells us that since Sir Jimmy Savile was dug up, stripped of his knighthood and beaten with sticks, 1,400 people have been investigated for child sex abuse.
That sound a lot. It might even be too much to actuall fund. Talk of a paedophile amnesty would be on the cards were the issue not so toxic. And, then, if you investigate the suspect, do you also investigate those who turned away and failed the victims?
The Guardian sums up:
Officer leading Operation Hydrant inquiry says out of 1,433 alleged offenders 76 were politicians, 43 were from music industry and 135 were from TV, film or radio
RealDoll’s take one helluva pounding. And Slade’s job is to go in there and make the rough, broken and chaffed smoother than a rubber glove.
Slade works with Matt McMullen, creator of Abyss Creations, located in Southern California.
“The original concept I had was actually not a sex toy at all,” says McMullen… “It was intended to be a poseable mannequin, or simply a form of art.” He quickly noticed that a lot of people saw the dolls in an erotic way. The company makes about 300 RealDolls each year. A standard-issue model sells for $6,500, while a meticulously customized one can go for as much as $50,000.
Slade replaces the damaged vagina, which looks like this:
Fiero traces his interest in dolls to playing with G.I. Joes and Barbie in his youth.
“I was born in 1960 so Joe was the guy I got to hang out with for those formative years.”
“Slade has a very important place in the doll world,” says Elena Dorfman, a photographer who documented that world in her 2005 book Still Lovers. “People are sending him their beloved—or at least a sex partner that they paid a lot of money for. They’re trusting him to fix her. It’s like sending someone you love to the doctor and hoping they’ll come out all right.”
Slade has tips:
“If you care for it, if you treat it right, you can crank her knees up to her shoulders and bang away at that doll with good hard intercourse and come out shining. But clean her out… Clean her off. If you’ve got a hairy chest, you’re going to leave hairs all over her. If you’ve got a cat, she’s going to pick up cat hair. You want to take care of what you’ve got.”
The customers might be registered:
“I had one guy from Berkeley who had sex so hard with his doll that he ripped the leg off it. The doll was less than a year old, and destroyed. Her calves, from below the knee, had what looked almost like knife puncture wounds. Hundreds of them. I don’t know what this guy was doing to this doll.”
Has Slade ever been tempted to road test his repair:
“I’m not going to be fucking dolls and shipping them to other people. That’s fuckin’ rude. What kind of businessman would I be if I did that?”
The first miscreants to fall foul of the news laws on online pornography are two dominatrix. Their videos feature “heave whipping” and hard and repeated kicks to the genitals. Megara Furie and Mistress R’eal take a bow. The footage breaches the Authority for Television on Demand’s code.
Rule 14 of the Atvod handbook bans video-on-demand services from showing material that would be refused classification by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification), previously the British Board of Film Censors. You can read more about their record of censoring things here, here, here, here, here. It’s mixed.
And you can recall the words of Mervyn Griffith-Jones QC.
“Would you approve of your young sons, young daughters – because girls can read as well as boys – reading this book? Is it a book that you would have lying around in your own house? Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?”
Pump it up! Cameron comes out fighting
Has there ever been a worse speech than David Cameron’s ridiculous address to an audience of lucky businessmen in London?
Perhaps he has been experimenting with drugs.
Perhaps he is going through a mid-life crisis.