The story that three children were murdered by VIP child abusers in Westminster is based on the words of ‘Nick’, a man who says that he had witnessed the sadistic abuse.
The Metropolitan police said the stories of a cabal of wealthy and powerful perverts raping and killing children for sport were “credible and true”. Circumspection and all other barriers to guilt were done away with. The police were on the side of the angels. The conspiracy was fact.
The Met’s spokesman has now reduced the temperature:
“We acknowledge that describing the allegations as ‘credible and true’ suggested we were pre-empting the outcome of the investigation.”
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) recognises the media’s and the public’s interest in its historic child abuse investigations, and in particular, in Operation Midland. The focus of this investigation is on allegations of the homicide of three young boys. There are also allegations of sexual abuse but the MPS has made clear from the outset that this is, and remains, a murder investigation.
No bodies. No evidence. No proof. But that’s not to say no crime was committed.
The historic nature of the allegations means this is a complex case where the normal avenues of evidence-gathering from CCTV, DNA and telephone data, are not open to us. These cases take time, but the public can have confidence that allegations from witnesses will be investigated thoroughly. We can all see the legacy that has been created by police and other authorities who appeared not to take allegations seriously in the past and the impact that has had on the confidence of victims to come forward.
Appeared not to have been taken seriously by police in the past. Now the accused appear to be guilty.
There are particular challenges where details of the allegations and those facing accusations are in the public domain. This can create potential conflicts between media and criminal investigations, and have an impact on vulnerable witnesses and those accused. This has been especially true in Operation Midland, and we wish to highlight to the media and to the public the risks that our investigation may be compromised. We raised this concern when we initially appealed for more witnesses and it continues to be an issue. We also need to clarify our investigative stance in cases of this kind
When you go looking for victims – advertising for them – the investigation becomes a trawl.
Our starting point with allegations of child sexual abuse or serious sexual assault is to believe the victim until we identify reasonable cause to believe otherwise.
It is now. It was for long the police’s position to disbelieve the victim. What we want is for the alleged victim to be treated in an even-handed manner. Accepting a claim as fact is as wrong as to dismiss it as a lie.
That is why, at the point at which we launched our initial appeal on Midland, after the witness had been interviewed for several days by detectives specialising in homicide and child abuse investigations, our senior investigating officer stated that he believed our key witness and felt him to be ‘credible’. Had he not made that considered, professional judgment, we would not have investigated in the way we have.
But considered and professional judgements have not always been correct. It was a considered a professional judgement not to investigate Cyril Smith. It was a considered a professional judgement to investigate Jim Davidson, nicking the entertainer as he flew INTO Heathrow Airport. And there’s Paul Gambaccini, the BBC DJ falsely accused of sexually abusing two boys between 1978 and 1984. He was arrested and locked in a cell. That was a considered and professional judgement.
“I was accused of having sex with two males, whom I have never known in my life, in the decade before I started having sex with males,” he says. “It was completely absurd and yet I lived under the jackboot of the Metropolitan police for a year…The Metropolitan police, which we must now expand to include several British police forces, and the Crown Prosecution Service, have reduced our beloved country to the moral equivalent of Russia.”
The Met continues:
We must add that whilst we start from a position of believing the witness, our stance then is to investigate without fear or favour, in a thorough, professional and impartial fashion, and to go where the evidence takes us without prejudging the truth of the allegations. That is exactly what has happened in this case.
Rubbish. The police have an agenda. Just ask Paul Gambaccini. And why have no police been interviewed under caution?
The integrity of our investigation is paramount, and the public can have confidence that allegations of homicide are being investigated thoroughly. Our officers have the resources to test all the evidence, and we have not yet completed this task. It is then for the Crown Prosecution Service to make a decision on whether to prosecute. More significantly, only a jury can decide on the truth of allegations after hearing all the evidence.
What about if the accused is dead?
We should always reflect that in our language and we acknowledge that describing the allegations as ‘credible and true’ suggested we were pre-empting the outcome of the investigation. We were not. We always retain an open mind as we have demonstrated by conducting a thorough investigation.
What utter drivel.
In this respect, our approach in Operation Midland is the same as if we were investigating a contemporary rape allegation.
If that’s right, God help us all.
Anyone familiar with the history of child abuse and rape investigations will recall that for many years, the first instinct of investigators appeared to be to disbelieve those making the allegations, which had a negative impact on people’s confidence to report to the police or other authorities. This undoubtedly led to crimes going unreported and un-investigated, and we do not want to return to that situation.
And now it’s the total reverse. The police are still biased but in a much improved way.
The media has shown in recent years how important they are in bringing issues concerning historic abuse to public notice and has been both challenging and supportive of the way in which police and the criminal justice system have adapted our approach.
Reporting has also rightly questioned the official response to allegations. The media is also valuable in witness appeals and to show possible victims that they can have confidence their claims will be investigated.
Always good when the police tell the media what their job is. Not in the least bit chilling.
What can be overlooked, at times, is that those making allegations are very often vulnerable individuals. A useful definition of ‘vulnerable people’ is set out in the Ofcom code for broadcasters (8.22). It is important to note that the police must take account of this vulnerability at all stages, irrespective of whether the allegations can be substantiated or not. We ask the media and those asked to comment to do likewise. We also think the press should consider following Ofcom’s approach by amending its code to recognise that vulnerability in reporting of crime is not just a matter of the age of witnesses or victims.
From praising the media the police now want the media brought to heel.
Our other main concern is the risk that media investigations will affect the process of gathering and testing evidence in our criminal investigation. In recent weeks, one journalist reporting on Operation Midland has shown the purported real identity of someone making an allegation of sexual assault to a person who has disclosed that they have been questioned by police concerning those allegations. This action has a number of potential impacts.
Note to police: do you recall arresting Jim Davidson in the full glare of the TV cameras?
First, for those who have made allegations of sexual abuse, it is extremely distressing to discover that their identity might have been given to anyone else, particularly if that is to someone who may be involved in the case. Secondly, possible victims or witnesses reading the article may believe their identities could be revealed as well, which could deter them from coming forward. Ultimately, that could make it harder for allegations to be proved or disproved.
Yes. there are laws that cover that sort of thing.
This might not just deter those who could provide information for this investigation but also concern anyone thinking of coming forward with sexual abuse allegations. Finally, the potential disclosure by a journalist of a name may possibly hamper an investigation. Names will be disclosed by police to those involved in the case, but that will be at the appropriate time for the investigation depending on how those lines of enquiry progress.
Yes, yes. This we all know.
We do understand that there are occasions when people making allegations of crime – including sexual abuse – disclose their own identity to the media and disclose facts associated with the case. Again, we ask that the media exercise care and caution when these are the circumstances and recognise our earlier point about vulnerability.
Again the police portray themselves of guardians of right.
We would also like to make it clear that the Metropolitan Police Service does not name or confirm names of those arrested or interviewed. That is our clear policy. We will be as open as we can be about policing activity – for example confirming arrest activity – but not confirming the names of individuals. If a police employee revealed the name that would be a clear breach of policy and dealt with in the appropriate manner. Moreover, the Commissioner told the Home Affairs Select Committee in March that he supports the proposal for granting accused people anonymity until charge.
We expect the challenges for media and police alike to continue once witnesses start to give evidence to the Goddard Inquiry. We think it is important, therefore, to offer this context now so that journalists and police officers can continue to do their job, and pursue a shared interest in justice for victims and fairness to those facing allegations.
In other words: the PR exercise goes on.
The Times adds:
Operation Midland has drawn criticism since police forces leapt on unsubstantiated abuse claims against Edward Heath, and the former MP Harvey Proctor condemned as preposterous the allegations of torture and abuse put to him by officers. The home of Lord Bramall, 91, a former chief of the defence staff, has also been searched by officers working on Operation Midland. He has described the accusations put to him as “a load of rubbish”…
There are known to be big internal concerns at the Met that the £1 million Dolphin Square investigation is based on flimsy evidence, is being pursued partly because of external pressure, and is diverting homicide detectives away from frontline inquiries.
Midland is one of a number of inquiries that began after Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said in the House of Commons in 2012 that there had been “a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10”.
Well, Watson’s now the Labour Party’s deputy leader. The conspiracy theorist has a bigger chair.
“Nick” approached police last year after speaking to the Exaro News website. He said he had been abused by a group of people after being taken to Dolphin Square and had witnessed three boys being killed. One was said to have been stabbed with a penknife and another run down with a car. The witness is understood to have given some 70 hours of videotaped interviews over several days to detectives. Many of his claims have since appeared in the newspapers and the BBC has broadcast an interview with him. It is thought, however, that police have not identified any likely victims of the alleged murders nor searched for bodies. The account of another witness who initially seemed to corroborate Nick’s account has since been ruled out.
Lest we only highlight the police’s PR-driven purge on paedos, it;s worth recalling Theresa May’s response to news of a conspiracy: “There might have been a cover-up.”
In readiness for today’s Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal, the Sun fearlessly confronts the serious issues:
PUNTERS can get 11/4 on Mourinho and Wenger shaking hands.
In “Hands up Jose: I’ll offer Arsene a shake” we once more revisit the issue of pre-match handshakes, something which occupied reams of print and hours of Sky telly when Patrice Evra and Louis Suarez, then of Manchester United and Liverpool, respectively, were in disharmony. And there was the Chelsea shake, when John Terry and Wayne Bridge were due to go palm-to-palm after the Chelsea captain had been accused of rubbing his hands and god knows what else over Bridge’s lover. And there was Terry once more, this time shaking and not shaking the hands of Anton Ferdinand and his brother Rio.
We’d always suggest that most football fans would prefer there to be no handshaking at all – no teams walking down the lines shaking hands before matches; no cloying talk of the ‘football family”; and no presenting of the match ball on a tee, as if it were the Holy Grail or golf. Most fans actually enjoy the animosity, the rivalry and the passion.
But we were wrong. The media tells us that the handshake is steeped in meaning. Shaking someone’s hand is not a shallow routine dreamt up by a FIFA wonk, possibly to mask the passing of cash, rather a sign that the handshakers are soulmates, working in harmony, each in tune with the other’s needs and morals. Don’t kiss the bride, shake her hand. And keep shaking it should she fall over, lose a game of Pictionary or be substituted for a younger, fresher wife.
The encouraging thing is that Jose Mourinho can work his snark into anything, and when the Sun says he will offer Arsene Wenger “a peace handshake” we give it the side-eyes and examine the comment for it being more loaded than Boris Johnson at a Bullingdon Club house party. Minds turn to previous peace handshakes between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler, Tony Blair and Colonel Gaddafi, Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher.
Indeed the Sun adds:
He may put Wenger on the spot by offering him his hand in full view of TV cameras, instead of in the Stamford Bridge dressing room.
That the TV cameras are zooming in on the managers’ hands is in itself odd – but when you have 6 hours of pre-match and post-match airtime to fill with chatter and heated debate, you seek action in dust. For instance, if Mourinho is using his hands to shake, will he not be using them to wave in the air and point at perceived signs of unfairness; will Arsene Wenger be able to work the long zip on his coat with just one hand? Will either manager mark goals, bad fouls or injustices with a handshake?
As for Wenger, well, he says:
“Realistically, people come to watch football and all the rest is a little bit secondary. What’s important is the quality of what we will see on Saturday at 12.45pm — and you want people to focus on that.”
You do. But BT and Sky have invested heavily in camera technology, so expect lots of forensic focus on pretty much any hand that moves or doesn’t.
Helen Mirren has been talking with Bella Blissett for the Daily Mail. When not selling Rubber Gloves, Dame Helen works for anyone company. Can you guess which one it is – and, no, the Mail didn’t see fit to label it’s article an ‘advertorial’:
The 70-year-old actress has four Emmy awards, five Baftas and two Golden Globes to her name, and received a damehood in 2003. In sum, she’s the epitome of a ‘national treasure’…
In sum, she’s the epitome of a ‘national treasure’…
Ok, we get it. Move on…
“I’m pretty laissez faire about my beauty routine… Yesterday, I whacked on L’Oréal Paris Excellence Age Perfect Hair Colour in Light Beige Blonde [shade 9.31] for 25 minutes, then washed it off – job done.’
Who is her ‘beauty hero”?
“I love cleansers and body creams that make me feel clean and fresh, but my absolute favourite is L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Classic Night Cream.
Blissett reveals the answer to our question:
Helen is a spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris Excellence Age Perfect Hair Colour, available nationwide
You know how it goes. You want to be with the cool kids but you’re a naif berk. You’ve heard that marijuana is great for looking grown up. You tell the big boys you can get some. You might even buy some from them. Problem is that it’s not weed – it’s tea / oregano/ your mum’s Bizzy Lizzy. And in the US of A that means trouble:
The student, the 11-year-old son of two school teachers, had to enroll in the district’s alternative education program and be homeschooled. He was evaluated by a psychiatrist for substance abuse problems, and charged with marijuana possession in juvenile court. In the months since September, he’s become withdrawn, depressed, and he suffers from panic attacks. He is worried his life is over, according to his mother, and that he will never get into college.
The only problem? The “leaf” found in the student’s backpack wasn’t what authorities thought it was — it tested negative for marijuana three separate times.
Sky One has returned gameshow darts to the TV schedules. One Hundred and Eighty features darts “legends” taking on contestants and challenges for prizes. Before this there was Bullseye, the show fronted by super-smashing-great Jim Bowen, a man for whom no superlative was overlooked. Losers took home a ‘Bendy Bully’, a rubbery smiling bull toy dressed in darts nylons. Winners scored “kiddies” toys, state-of-the-art VHS video recorders and “Bully’s Star Prize”, which on at least one occasion was a white fur coat.
One highlight of many was the spelling round, in which the non-dartist half of one of three two-persons contesting teams would attempt to spell a tricky word. It was only round 1. The darts players threw one dart at a board in which each sector represented a different category of question (such as Pot Luck, Faces, Places, Sport, Showbiz, Affairs, History, Books, Words, Britain, Spelling). In the white heat of a Birmingham TV studio, extempore spelling was a devilish test of nerve.
Let’s take a look a few of the words and spellers:
David Thorne wasn’t getting along with Simon, his co-worker. A row escalated after David took Simon’s Pen which had “Simon’s Pen” written on the side.
My very first run in with Simon was when he blamed me for stealing pens from his desk, which I vehemently denied. He then proceeded to point out the tiny engraved words ‘Simon’s Pen’ he had done on all eight of the pens currently on my desk. It was so small he had to point them out to me with the aid of a loupe. Each two-millimetre high letter was meticulous. When I asked how he had managed to get the letters so perfect, he told me that he had a headset at home with a light and magnifying glass on it. When I asked why he had a headset with light and magnifying glass on it he replied, “For painting collector figurines.”
There have actually been twelve formal complaints by Simon against me but two of those were complaining that nothing had been done about the previous formal complaints so I didn’t bother scanning those in.
I come from the underground. I am never comfortable in the middle of the stream, flowing in the same direction as everyone else. I think people assume that’s where I want to be, famous for being famous, because as part of what I do there is a high level of showing off. But my instinct is always to resist the pull of the obvious. It’s not easy.
Trends come along and people say, ‘Follow that trend’. There’s a lot of that around at the moment: ‘Be like Sasha Fierce. Be like Miley Cyrus. Be like Rihanna. Be like Lady Gaga. Be like Rita Ora and Sia. Be like Madonna.’ I cannot be like them – except to the extent that they are already being like me.
I have been so copied by those people who have made fortunes that people assume I am that rich. But I did things for the excitement, the dare, the fact that it was new, not for the money, and too many times I was the first, not the beneficiary.
Rihanna… she does the body-painting thing I did with Keith Haring, but where he painted directly on my body, she wears a painted bodysuit. That’s the difference. Mine is on skin; she puts a barrier between the paint and her skin. I don’t even know if she knows that what she’s doing comes from me, but I bet you the people styling her know. They know the history.
I remember when one of the singers on the list of those who came after me first said that she wanted to work with me. Everyone around me is going: ‘You have to do it, it will be so good for you, it will introduce you to a whole new audience, you will make a lot of money’. No! It will be good for her; she will draw from everything I have built and add it to her brand, and I will get nothing back except for a little temporary attention. No one could believe that I said no, but I am okay on my own. I am okay not worrying about a new audience. If the fuck don’t feel right, don’t fuck it.
With this one, who I will call Doris, I thought she was trying on other people’s outfits: she’s a baby in a closet full of other people’s clothes, a little girl playing dress-up, putting on shoes that don’t fit. I could see what she wanted to be when I watched her doing something when she started out that was starker and purer. Deep down, she doesn’t want to do all the dressing-up nonsense; she loses herself inside all the play-acting.
Singer and actress Grace Jones arrives for the screening of the new film “The Missing”at the 54th annual Berlin International Film Festival on February 7, 2004 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Kurt Vinion/Getty Images)
The problem with the Dorises and the Nicki Minajes and Mileys is that they reach their goal very quickly. There is no long-term vision, and they forget that once you get into that whirlpool then you have to fight the system that solidifies around you in order to keep being the outsider you claim you represent. There will always be a replacement coming along very soon – a newer version, a crazier version, a louder version. So if you haven’t got a long-term plan, then you are merely a passing phase, the latest trend, yesterday’s event.
They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo, but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts, singing to those fractured, spastic, melting beats – that is the status quo. You are not off the beaten track, pushing through the thorny undergrowth, finding treasure no one has come across before. You are in the middle of the road. You are really in Vegas wearing the sparkly full-length gown singing to people who are paying to see you but are not really paying attention. If that is what you want, fine, but it’s a road to nowhere.
I look at Doris and I think: Does she look happy? She looks lost, like she is desperately trying to find the person she was when she started. She looks like really she knows she is in Vegas, now that Vegas is the whole entertainment world filtered through the internet, through impatient social media. I don’t mind her dressing up, but when she started to dance like Madonna, almost immediately, copying someone else, it was like she had forgotten what it was about her that could be unique. Ultimately, it is all about prettiness and comfort, however much they pretend they are being provocative.
Grace Jones onstage at the MTV Europe Music Awards, held at the Echo Arena on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
Kate Moss often says to me that I am the only performer around at the moment who deserves to be called a diva.That gets us arguing, seemingly a little too serious if anyone hears us. I hate that word diva. It’s been so abused! Every singer given a makeover or a few weeks on a talent show seems to be called a diva these days! Christ almighty. Where’s the exclusivity? It’s so commercial now. For me, a diva is like the great opera singer, the great film star – out of reach, in their own world, with a real gift for invention, attention-demanding performance artists with a flamboyant, compelling sense of their own importance, so special and inimitable it verges on the alien. And of course the word is usually used to describe an apparently erratic female whose temperamental qualities, survival instincts, and dedication to perfection are seen as weaknesses, as self-indulgent, not a strength. So, Kate, I am not a diva. I am a Jones!
This is what I would say to my pupil: you have become only your fame, and left behind most of who you were. How are you going to deal with that? Will you lose that person forever? Have you become someone else, without really knowing it? Do you always have to stay in character for people to like you? Do you know that you are in character?
Doris, I would say fame is all well and good if you want to take it to another level. If you have some greater purpose. Me, I am just a singer, on one sort of stage or another, who likes to have an audience, but not all the time. Listen to my advice; I have some experience. In a way, it is me being a teacher, which is what I wanted to be. I still feel I could go into teaching. What is teaching but passing on your knowledge to those who are at the beginning? Some people are born with that gift. With me, the teaching side morphed into the performing side. It’s in there. And these are my pupils – Gaga, Madonna, Annie Lennox, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Miley, Kanye West, FKA Twigs and… Doris.
Grace Jones: if you ever get the chance, do see her live. She’s a force of nature.
The Metropolitan Police say hate crime is up. Crimes against Muslims have risen in London by 70% on last year (816 Islamophobic compared with 478 for the previous year). Anti-Semitic crime saw the biggest year-on-year increase, rising 93 percent over the same period (499 incidents compared with 258).
How do you report the grim statistics?
According to the Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) study of data from the 2011 census, there are 1,012,800 Muslims living in London. Sixty percent of the UK’s 263,000 Jews live in London – 157,800. If we crunch the numbers, Jews have move than double the chance of being attacked for their race than a Muslim does for their belief.
So how is this reported in the mainstream news?
Mention of Jews: nil.
Number of times Jews are mentioned: nil.
Neither the Guardian nor the Indy finds space to mention the rise in anti-Semitic attacks at all.
The BBC is perhaps the most shocking. A search for ‘hate crime’ reveals this result:
Number of time Jewish attacks are mentioned in any of the BBC’s three most recent stories on hate crimes: nil. Once might be an oversight – three times looks like an agenda.
It’s left to the local free press presents the full story.
When England footballer John Terry rowed with Anton Ferdinand, the matter came to court. In 2012, Chelsea captain Terry was acquitted of the racially aggravated public-order offence of calling QPR’s Ferdinand a “fucking black cunt“. In court the phrase became the acronym ‘FBC’. But his summing up at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, chief Magistrate Howard Riddle used the words many, many times.
The defendant does not deny that he used the words, “fuck off, fuck off”, “fucking black cunt” or “fucking knobhead”. His case is that his words were not uttered by way of abuse or insult nor were they intended to be abusive or insulting…
He says they were used after a perceived false accusation made by Mr Ferdinand, the accusation being to the effect that the defendant had used the term “black cunt” during their exchanges with each other…
The issue between the defendant and the Crown is whether Mr Terry uttered the words “fucking black cunt” by way of insult…
There is also no dispute that John Terry directed the words “black cunt” in the direction of Anton Ferdinand…
It starts off funny. And then it gets a tad wearing:
It is equally clear, and equally not in dispute, that he also directed the words “fucking knobhead” at Anton Ferdinand…
It is obvious, and again not in dispute, that at the time that John Terry said “black cunt” and “fucking knobhead” he was angry…
Ms Whitewood is of the opinion that the words spoken by John Terry are “Yeah and I [obstruction] you/ya fucking black cunt (pause) fucking knobhead”…
In cross-examination he accepted that he appears to use the word “and” and as a result the only difference between the prosecution and the defence is that the Crown alleged he says “you/ya fucking black cunt” whereas the defence case is that he said “a fucking black cunt?”…
And then it gets to being funny again:
There is then the evidence of Anton Ferdinand that he at no stage accused John Terry of calling him a black cunt…
In cross-examination Mr Ferdinand at first appeared to deny that Mr Terry said, in the dressing room, “do you think I called you are fucking black cunt?”…
There is no doubt the words “Fucking black cunt” were directed at Mr Ferdinand…
Another possibility, and this is a possibility suggested to me by the defence, is that he did indeed accuse John Terry of calling him a black cunt, knows perfectly well that the words observed on the TV footage were in response to that comment, and is lying about it…
Another doubt about the facts is what was said by Anton Ferdinand at the time of his obscene gesture to John Terry, shortly before the words “black cunt” were spoken…
And now tiring:
A related point is the way that Mr Terry’s facial expression changed at the moment he uttered the words “black cunt”…
On the other hand the footage of Mr Terry as he says “black cunt” adds credence to the defence account that something of a different order had just been said to him, something altogether more insulting…
The prosecution point out that in the FA interview Mr Terry was asked “can you remember exactly what you said back to him?” and replied “I think it was something along the lines of, “You black cunt, you’re a fucking knobhead”…
There was a word that looked like Bridges or black. There was another word that looked like cunt…
And finally you can’t stop laughing. You’re sat in the court giggling and snorting like an adolescent. You are riding the “black cunt” rollercoaster.
The prosecution has presented a strong case. There is no doubt that John Terry uttered the words “fucking black cunt” at Anton Ferdinand. When he did so he was angry. Mr Ferdinand says that he did not precipitate this comment by himself accusing Mr Terry of calling him a black cunt….
Weighing all the evidence together, I think it is highly unlikely that Mr Ferdinand accused Mr Terry on the pitch of calling him a black cunt…
And now to the video of the woman saying vagina in court.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted of murdering Meredith Kercher in Perugia. The case began on 2 November 2007, when the body of Kercher, 21, was found in the Italian flat she and Knox shared.
Italy’s supreme court said yesterday the verdict was down to police failures. The judges wrote:
“The trial had oscillations which were the result of stunning flaws, or amnesia, in the investigation and omissions in the investigative activity…The international spotlight on the case in fact resulted in the investigation undergoing a sudden acceleration, that, in the frantic search for one or more guilty parties to consign to international public opinion, certainly didn’t help the search for substantial truth….
“The kitchen knife, found in Sollecito’s house and the supposed crime weapon, was kept in an ordinary cardboard box, like the kind that Christmas gadgets are packaged in…
“The computers of Amanda Knox and Kercher, which perhaps could have furnished information useful to the investigation, were, incredibly, burned by imprudent maneouvers by the investigators.”
The gap is between the facts and the belief. And it does not end. The media spin continues. Knox, the American nicknamed ‘Foxy Knoxy’, was portrayed as either as the innocent abroad or the conniving “sex-crazed killer.”
‘What’s she thinking?’ The Times
The British Press continue to take a line:
Police failures led to Knox’s acquittal (Times)
Amanda Knox acquitted because of ‘stunning flaws’ in investigation (Guardian)
The headlines imply Knox got off because of police failures. But NBC news looks at the same ruling and says she should never have been a suspect:
The latest decision, from the Court of Cassation, Italy’s equivalent of the Supreme Court, slammed police and prosecutors for “stunning weakness” and “investigative bouts of amnesia.” Because no biological evidence from Knox or Sollecito was found at the house in Perugia where Kercher was murdered, the 52-page opinion said, their “participation” in the killing should have been “excluded.”
“There was no shortage of glaring errors in the underlying fabric of the sentence in question,” the court wrote.
“This has been a long struggle for me, my family, my friends, and my supporters. While I am glad it is now over, I will remain forever grateful to the many individuals who gave their time and talents to help me. Today would not have been possible without your unwavering support. I will now begin the rest of my life with one of my goals being to help others who have been wrongfully accused.”
It’s a widely held belief that IS – or “so-called Islamic State”, if you’re a BBC viewer – are murderous Islam supremacists who spend their days raping, pillaging and dreaming up news ways to brutalise humanity. Against them, we have Barack Obama’s rhetoric, President Assad of Syria’s murderous regime and the Kurds. Now thanks to the British justice system we can see one of these kurds at the Old Bailey, where Shilan Ozcelik is on trial for allegedly attempting to join the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
IS would surely have raped and murdered her my now, but we can assume they are broadly in favour of the British courts’ criminalising someone trying to fight for the West.
Shilan Ozcelik, 18, has been charged with “engaging in conduct in preparation to for giving an effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism” under section 5 (10) (a) of the Terrorism Act 2006. Arrested in January, Shilan has been held on remand in Holloway prison since early March.
Her arrest and charge was met with outrage by the Kurdish community in the UK and supporters of the Kurdish struggle, who condemned it as a blatant example of selective and political criminalisation of the Kurdish community, which has continued since the PKK was listed as a ‘terrorist organisation’ in 2000.
We reject this labelling of the PKK, which we believe confuses the Kurdish people’s legitimate struggle for self-determination with terrorism and has the effect of criminalising anyone in the Kurdish community who is part of peaceful political activity. We know that Shilan has never committed any act of violence and poses no threat to the people of this country. As such, we reiterate our call for the charges against her to be dropped.
A woman keen to fight our enemy has been arrested for, er, trying to fight our enemy.
But this is also about the Turks. In July the Turkish government saw its chance to bomb the Kurds as it bombed IS:
[President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] said the peace process, launched in 2012 in order to put an end to the bloody conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK that has killed over 40,000 since it began in 1984, had become impossible to maintain. The PKK has said the air strikes, launched virtually in parallel with Turkish strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria, rendered the peace process meaningless. But it has stopped short of formally pulling out.
The Turkish air strikes on Kurdish rebels were launched in tandem with Turkey’s first ever military operations against Islamic State in Syria after a suicide bomb killed 32 in the small border town of Suruç last Monday, an attack that Ankara blames on Isis. Critics have accused Turkey of using the Isis threat as a pretext to weaken the Kurdish opposition. Turkey’s Nato allies have expressed unease about the operations aimed at the PKK, since the Kurds have been a crucial ally in the fight against Isis both in Syria and in Iraq.
So instead of trying to fight for her people, Shilan Ozcelik is in jail.
Below the photo of the young Syrian would-be refugee and the story of escaping death, The People leads with the news that we have 72 hours to “save” Jimmy Greaves. The first thought is ‘for the nation’?
Inside we learn:
Jimmy Greaves is struggling to raise £30k he needs to walk again – and there’s just 72 hours to get the money
Jimmy Greaves is one of the best footballers ever to have pulled on an England shirt. Famous for scoring 44 goals for England in just 57 appearances, missing the 1966 World Cup final – his place taken by hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst – and fronting the excellent footy telly show Saint & Greavsie, the former Tottenham Hotspur’s star is ill. And the paper knows who to blame for his predicament:
Soccer should hang its head in shame today as the Sunday People urges the moneybags sport: Be a Saint for Greavsie
Should football teams club together to help the former player? Should they help him any more than any other outfit that’s employed Sir James, like ITV (as well as S&G he captained a team on the broadcaster’s Sporting Triangles) or the Sun, the Mirror’s great tabloid rival, which employed Jimmy as a columnist? Or maybe – get this – the Sunday People should dig deep and help out because Jimmy wrote a column for it, too. The People is published by the Trinity Mirror Group, which when it’s not hacking phones made a profit of £12.1m during the first six months of 2015.
No word of any of that in Matt Sprake’s article, which thunders:
A record £870million has just been spent by clubs on player transfers – but Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s greatest ever players, is struggling to raise £30,000 he needs to walk again.
But the paper wants to use Greavsie’s illness to bash football not beat itself up. After all, it helped one other well refreshed former England and Spurs legend – Paul Gascoigne – with a tidy £188,250, albeit a ‘donation‘ enforced by law because Mirror Group journalists hacked his phone.
England international footballer Jimmy Greaves featured on a news poster for ‘The People’ newspaper advertising an exclusive story about his short and unhappy time with AC Milan in 1961.
Greavsie, 75, has just three days left to get the money – less than many Premier League stars earn in a week – to pay for intensive physio following a devastating stroke in May. A fund is due to close in 72 hours and last night was well short of the target reports the Sunday People.
But the fact such a legendary figure should be in such a position at all has sparked anger.
Why doesn’t the NHS step in to help an England sporting great? It turns out that the physio is wanted in addition to NHS care.
George Cohen, one of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side and Jimmy’s close friend, urged football to act: “Someone in football could easily give Jimmy the full £30,000 in one go. I’d do it immediately if I had the money.”
George Cohen is well. But should he fall ill, would any club help him?
Greavsie missed out on big money soccer. He played for Chelsea, Tottenham and AC Milan… he was on just £8 a week when he signed for Chelsea in 1957.
Greaves did earn healthy signing-on fees. But compared to today’s massive wages, his pay packet was feathery light.
In 1961, Greaves opined:
“I’ve got to look to the future. I’d be a fool if I didn’t want to make as good money as I can while I can. Football’s all I’m good at. What I want is security for when I retire.”
He told the Observer:
“There are these reports that Bologna would pay £70,000 to Chelsea for me if the foreign player ban ever came off,” says Jimmy, who is earning £20 a week for his scintillating performances. “One report said that would mean I’d collect a £20,000 signing-on fee. It’s all right playing for Chelsea. But I’d like much better playing for a world-class club that paid real money.
“One thing, I never get butterflies before a match,” Jimmy goes on. “And after, if I’ve done well or badly, I always remember there’s a next time. Smoking helps me relax. About 10 a day, but they don’t affect my fitness. I like the odd drink, too.”
In 1961, Greaves joined AC Milan for £80,000. Later that same year he joined Spurs for £99,999. In 1961, the average house price was £2,770 and a litre of four-star petrol cost 5p. The average price of a home today is £200,280. There was big money. But back then then clubs and not the players got the bulk of it. Today Greaves would earn a fortune.
But would he look after it? The booze caught Greaves, who retired age 30.
“I lost the 70s completely,” he says. “They passed me by. I was drunk from 1972 to 1977. I woke up one morning and realised that it was a different world. I’d been living in it, but I hadn’t been aware of it.”
“Let’s make no bones about it. I wish I was playing today. Some of the players get half a dozen goals a year and earn a fortune. I look back at my Chelsea days when you had to fight to get £8 a week in the winter and £7 a week in the summer, and now there are players who haven’t even played in the first team on 40 grand a week.”
Greaves missed the Premier League. But is football really ignoring one of its greats? At the bottom of the People’s article, we learn:
Tottenham Tribute Trust [TTT], a football charity set up to aid ex-players, has been helping Jimmy adapt his home. They have also helped fund some of the early treatment he required.
TTT “was set up in 2002 to help people connected with Spurs who have fallen on difficult times.” On its website, we learn:
TTT is bound by confidentiality and so never comments on the support we have provided (nor who we have provided it to) without the consent of our beneficiaries, for whom our help is often a deeply private matter.
The Mirror adds:
The Professional Footballers Association has also vowed to assist. Football Association chiefs have been in contact with JustGiving, who run Greavsie’s fundraising page, to seek further ways of boosting funds. Chairman Greg Dyke has made a donation, understood to be in four-figures. But the rest of the football world seems to have forgotten Jimmy.
It’s clear that the ‘football world’ has not forgotten Jimmy Greaves. And neither has the tabloid media. Maybe together they can dig deep and help him out…?
PS: On Greaves’ website, we learn:
Jimmy needs at least a year of physio and because his income has all but disappeared because of the stroke, we have set up a just giving page to try and raise £30,000 towards the cost. We have already raised around £15k with the people and Freda & my company A1 Sporting Speakers helping out , but this £30k extra could help Jimmy to make more of a recovery. He has a long hard road ahead but we would love to see him back somewhere near his old self. Here’s a link to the donations page. Every little helps. Thanks to everyone who donates a little bit. Every pledge is received with gratefullness and love. https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/JimmyGreaves
And over there we learn that the 30k has nearly been raised. He’s not “struggled” to raise it at all.
The Mirror’s story of 72 hours to save Greaves unless £30k is raised is total balls. He needs under £3k. People have been generous. Football has not ignored his plight.
The pictures of dead children infantalise any debate, reducing it to a posing contest between people outraged at the sight of dead kids on a European beach and those who are not (which is to say nobody sane).
A few weeks ago, the internet seethed at the picture of a dead lion named Cecil. The dead beast gave us all a chance to declare how much we hated his killer, an American dentist named… Can you remember it? Oh, come on. We all hated him. He was World Enemy Number One, real scum. He was on the national news in the UK. Mia Farrow tweeted his home address so we could all go round and throw things at him. The man was a demon.
Cecil, a big-fanged lion who it might have been acceptable to shoot dead 100 years ago, was our hero and our means to look good, go ahead and morally spot on. Tweeting your love for Cecil was as self-aggrandising and needy as wearing a T-shirt declaring your dislike of nuclear war and Pershing missiles. Cecil was PR for the PC. Not long after, wildlife killer and Royal family marketing gonk Prince Harry popped up on the news cycle to show his love for lions.
(Although most other animals think Harry’s a c***)
Now, about those children. Who can we blame to make ourselves feel good, pure of mind and sound of heart?
After all, it’s not about Cecil or Aylan Kurdi or Galip. It’s about us.
What to do about migrants? What yo do about people searching for better lives? It should not be a hard question. But it is for the adults who make the decisions. There is only one thing to do: let them in.
Immigration, a lexicon: You’re a ‘migrant’ when you’re very poor; ‘immigrant’ when you’re not so poor; and ‘expat’ when you’re rich.
Semantics matter: the images evoked by the words used to refer to a group of people will, over time, help to define what we think about that group and how we act towards it. And in the case of people migrating to Greece who have in recent years been badly mishandled by the state, the use of neutral language in reporting by international media and NGOs is vital.
Literally speaking, ‘migrants’ and ‘expats’ do indeed have the same meaning. But since practical usage can be something else entirely, feed both terms into Google Images to see how they’re illustrated. ‘Expats’ in Greece are depicted as white; ‘migrants’ as darker-skinned.
Who decides what ethnicity a person should have to be called a migrant? Who decides what socio-economic background, or legal status, qualifies someone for the ‘expat’ label?
Let’s scrap the ‘migrant’ label and call everyone living outside their native country an expat.
Jeremy Corbyn offers something different to Labour voters. He offers them socialism. The Press don’t like him. His quotes of old have been mangled into neat headlines.
HEADLINE: “Tony Blair must face trial for war crimes over ‘illegal’ Iraq invasion, says Jeremy Corbyn”
Quote in Full:
Pressed on whether Mr Blair should be charged with war crimes, he said: “If he’s committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who’s committed a war crime should be.”
HEADLINE: “Jeremy Corbyn to ‘bring back Clause IV'”
Quote In Full:
“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring the Clause Four as it was originally written or it’s a different one, but I think we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.
“I’m interested in the idea that we have a more inclusive, clearer set of objectives. I would want us to have a set of objectives which does include public ownership of some necessary things such as rail.”
HEADLINE: “Corbyn’s bid to turn Britain Into Zimbabwe”
Quote In Full:
“The ‘rebalancing’ I have talked about here today means rebalancing away from finance towards the high-growth, sustainable sectors of the future. How do we do this? One option would be for the Bank of England to be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects: Quantitative easing for people instead of banks. Richard Murphy has been one of many economists making that case.”
HEADLINE: “Watch Out! Corbyn targets every organisation in Britain as he vows to cut ludicrous salaries” (now changed)
Quote In Full:
“High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. I do think the salary levels and the bonus levels again have got to be looked at. I am looking at the gap in every organisation between highest and lowest levels of pay.”
HEADLINE: “Corbyn slammed over plan for ‘women-only’ train carriages to curb sexual harassment on public transport”
Quote In Full:
“My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop, on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and on modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.”
Who doesn’t awant a full-size David Bowie pillow doll? Proxy Shop on Etsy is offering them for $400a pop.
The Lifesize David Bowie Pillow stands 66” tall and is the ultimate gift for a David Bowie fan’s home decor.
Sit this Bowie doll onto a daybed or sofa, against a wall as a soft sculpture artwork or on the floor as a makeshift chair.
Handcrafted from high quality printed fabric that is silky soft to the touch and backed with sturdy broadcloth, this tribute to David Bowie’s famous Ziggy Stardust costume design is an utterly unique addition to any Bowie fan’s home.
These life-size decorative pillows are all handcrafted and made to order.
What do we think about Banksy’s Dismaland theme park in Western-Super-Mare’s Tropicana.? So edgy is it that before the great unwashed were allowed inside, there was a private party for stars and the rich who collect his work. Jack Black was there. Glastonbury Festival adminstrator Emily Eavis was there. Actor Nicholas Hoult was there.
You see. Edgy.
The brochure invites paying visitors (using actual coin of the realm and not Mickey Mouse money):
Are you looking for an alternative to the soulless sugar-coated banality of the average family day out?
Well keep looking, Average Family. Stay in the rain-mortared car and have a row.
Or just somewhere cheaper. Then this is the place for you—a chaotic new world where you can escape from mindless escapism. Instead of a burger stall, we have a museum. In place of a gift shop we have a library, well, we have a gift shop as well.
Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus—a bemusement park. A theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes…
They do. Banksy assures use that the big theme at Disney is globalism, free markets, capitalism, cheap travel, cheap protein and feminism- the princesses are always the stars. Disney also liked atomic bombs. How’s that for edgy? Walt sees your dystopian wasteland, Banksy, and raises you millions dead and nothingness.
This event contains adult themes, distressing imagery, extended use of strobe lighting, smoke effects and swearing. The following items are strictly prohibited: knives, spraycans, illegal drugs, and lawyers from the Walt Disney corporation.
Probably because soulless lawyers for Walt Disney’s would find this vision of Hell a welcome escape from the contents of the evil in their own heads.
It’s the authentic face of anti-consumerism as the London Dungeon is the authentic face of torture.
In addition to art you’ll also find functional a terrifying carousel, a mini golf park, a ferris wheel, and some ludicrously impossible fair games (like ‘topple the anvil with a ping pong ball’ by David Shrigley), roving occupy protests, and a Star Wars stormtrooper who sulks around the exhibition in a state of complete misery. The park is staffed by morose Dismaland employees who are uninterested in being helpful or remotely informative. Entrance to the event requires an uncomfortably awkward NSA-esque security screening, and of course you get to exit through the gift shop.Entrance to the event requires an uncomfortably awkward NSA-esque security screening, and of course you get to exit through the gift shop.
Banksy has made a deathly Disneyland to mock our crass consumer tastes and the ease with which we can be distracted from important issues (like the MIGRANT CRISIS) by a few crumbs of crap leisure. As one of the numerous ecstatic media reviewers said — favourably — Dismaland is a reminder that ‘our fellow humans are a sham’…
Banksy is wildly successful because he regurgitates in sixth-former-style cynicism the prejudices of the chattering class: their agitation with the blob; their loathing for the little people’s material desires; their hatred of the super-rich; their concern for nature and its beasts if evil mankind doesn’t halt his destructive ways. A searing critic of capitalism? Please. Banksy is modern capitalism’s loss of faith in itself made flesh.
Waldemar Januszczak finds it “entertaining“:
The first thing you see when you walk in is a battered old television set on which the Disney film is about to come to an end. Cinderella has been to the ball. She has met her prince. He has tracked her down with the glass slipper. They are about to live happily ever after.
‘Entry-level anarchism’ in action
But wait. What is that light flashing on and off in the darkness beyond? Oh no. There has been a terrible accident. Cinderella’s coach has crashed, and some life-sized police have turned up to investigate. There is a body hanging out of the door. It is Cinderella. And is it just me, or does she not suddenly look a bit like Lady Di?
Using the language and methods popularised in theme parks, Banksy has built a full-scale alternative to Disneyland in which every ride, game and exhibit sets out to question not just the purpose of theme parks but also the crumbling, grotty state of modern Britain.
Works by 58 handpicked artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer have been installed across the 2.5-acre site. Julie Burchill has rewritten Punch & Judy to give it a Jimmy Savile spin. Jimmy Cauty, once part of the KLF, is displaying his version of a fun model village complete with 3,000 riot police in the aftermath of major civil unrest.
In one tent would-be anarchists can find out how to unlock the Adshel posters seen at bus stops. For £5 people can buy the tools to break into them, replacing the official posters with any propaganda they please. Is it legal? “It’s not illegal,” said the vendor…
Across the way is a “pocket money loans” shop offering money to children at an interest rate of 5,000%. In front of its counter is a small trampet so children can bounce up to read the outrageous small print drawn up by artist Darren Cullen.
Cullen said he had met so many people taking out payday loans who were well aware of how ridiculous the payback was. “As the welfare state is retreating the market is filling the gap in a really predatory way. People are being saddled with insane amount of debt for years.”
Like other artists involved, he has never met Banksy, but he was delighted to be part of the show.
“This place is brilliant. I only knew the minimum amount before I got here,” he said, “but it is so cool. It is just amazing having this much sarcasm in one place.”
And for £3 – the price of a ride on a fairground Dodgem – for teenagers bored with everything it’s worth a visit. Mums and dads, aka ‘the idiots’, it might be a tad dull.
In 1987, Maggie Thatcher was well into her second term as British Prime Minister. With an election looming – which she won – Thatcher thought it a good idea to appear on the BBC’s Saturday morning show Saturday Superstore.
Dressed in uniform ‘hearing-aide beige’, Maggie would seduce the mums and dads to her cause and turn the kids on to politics. She tooks calls. One caller, an Alison Standfast, asked her, “Where will you be if nuclear war breaks out?” Maggie said she’d be in London, possibly stood amidst the ruins in a blackened concrete hellscape. It’d be awful but at least she could finally empathise with the miners.
Incidentally, Maggie wasn’t the most right-wing personality on show. That honour goes to presenter Mike Read, the BBC Radio DJ who released this record in praise of UKIP (remember them?). For resons unclear, Read sang his tune in a West Indian accent, like Max Bygraves.
3rd July 1973: Adoring fans reaching out to touch the hand of the English pop star, David Bowie, during the concert at the Hammersmith Odeon where Bowie announced that he was retiring his alter-ego ‘Ziggy Stardust’. (Photo by Steve Wood/Express/Getty Images)
Will Brooker, a professor at Kingston University in London, has a new experiment: he will live as David Bowie for a year. He will do some “method acting” as Ziggy Stardust, dress up in the garb of Bowie’s various other incarnations (Bowie, of course is the alter ego of the private David Jones), immerse himself in mid-1970s culture to enter Bowie’s mindset, do his best not to confuse and worry Iman, Bowie’s wife, not use her persona to attract groupies, and partake of the singer’s milk and red peppers diet, omitting the cocaine.
To Phoenix, Arizona, where Okilly Dokilly –the world’s first and only Ned Flanders tribute band – are talking to James McCann. They play ‘Nedal’ music. It being what The Simpson’s character would have wanted.
As their Facebook bio notes: “most of our songs are direct Ned quotes.”
Lead Singer Head NedOn How They Got Started
“Myself and our drummer (Bled Ned) were in line at a grocery store, entertaining ourselves by coming up with really cutesy names for really hardcore, brutal bands. The name Okilly Dokilly came up and was very funny to us. We ran with it. I contacted a few friends (Red Ned, Thread Ned and Stead Ned), and here we are. Most of us have played in other bands around our hometown. This is definitely the heaviest sounding project any of us Neds have done.”
“Not as fast as Bartcore, and a little cleaner than Krusty Punk. Not as heavy as ‘Homer J.ent’ – Nedal is a happy medium in the Simpscene.”
Are You All Left Handed?
“I am,”says Head Ned. “The other Neds aren’t so lucky. It made writing All That Is Left pretty fun,” he continues. “It’s our homage to the Leftorium, and the bridge is entirely left handed puns.”
In reality, this is all just an over-the-top attempt at getting Matt Groening’s autograph, even if it comes on a cease and desist letter.