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Philip Green and my part in his downfall

Judging by the reaction to Peter Hain’s outing of Philip Green as an alleged sex pest, law matters not a jot – it’s a matter of like or dislike. People who view Green as a bastard deserving of opprobrium will think it good the sitting Lord used parliamentary privilege to repeat the claim the Top Shop boss was using NDAs and big money pay-offs to quieten several members of staff at his Arcadia Group from going public with claims of sexual harassment or bullying.

If you like Green or are indifferent to him, you might be more circumspect, trusting the judges who approved requests for an injunction banning journalists from naming the tycoon or revealing details of those aforesaid allegations more prudent than Hain. You might wonder if being super-rich can be a double-edged sword: sure, you can afford the best legal teams but in the court of public opinion people delight in the worst and are entertained by downfall.

Sky News doorstepped Green in a hot and sunny Arizona. “He’s now miles from parliament,” says the reporter, offering viewers a mix of shock and snark that a billionaire would chose to spend the week at an exclusive resort rather than at a B & B in Bridlington. It’s alright for some, eh.

And what of the alleged offences? An ‘insider’ alleges in the Guardian that Sir Philip gave women lingering hugs, asked if they were “naughty girls”, wondered if they “needed their bottoms slapped”, said a woman “must be a lesbian because no man would marry her”, responded to one woman who asked Green to use her name rather than “sweetheart” by telling her to “shut the f*** up”, and asked an Asian woman if she had been “eating too many samosas”. The Times says it’s been reported that “several” claims reached a settlement of at least £1,000,000. “It is not known if these cases were among the five subject to the interim injunction that kept the billionaire’s identity secret until he was named in parliament by Lord Hain on Thursday,” says the paper. “It is thought a number of the complainants signed non-disclosure agreements.”

Facts are thin on the ground. There are lots of claims and allegations. Green says he’s done nothing wrong, issuing a statement: “I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in parliament. To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful or improper sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations… Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them.”

We can wait. And the lawyers can run a tab. Green plans to issue a formal complaint to the House of Lords. “As many people have said,” says Green, “Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgement made by three senior judges is outrageous.” The Times adds more layers of intrigue: “The Labour peer failed to mention that he had worked for Gordon Dadds, the law firm employed by The Daily Telegraph to fight the case. Adding:

The former Tory attorney-general Dominic Grieve said that he was alarmed by the link. “I would make a formal complaint if I were a member of the House of Lords,” he said, adding: “That there is now a suggestion that it might have been in the solicitors’ firm’s interest to do it [reveal the name] rather than a disinterested decision by him [Lord Hain], even if one which I think is completely wrong, makes me even more alarmed.”

Says Green:

“When Lord Hain made allegations about me in the House of Lords … he failed to disclose that he has a financial relationship with the law firm, Gordon Dadds, who represent the Telegraph.

“I have been advised that his actions are likely to have been a breach of the House of Lords Code of Conduct. As many people have said Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgment made by three senior judges is outrageous.

“If he hadn’t read the judgment, on what basis was he apparently talking about it. If he had, Gordon Dadds’ name is on the front page.

“I will be lodging formal complaints with the relevant authorities in the House of Lords.”

Lord Hain and Gordon Dadds deny any wrongdoing. Says Hain:

“I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House of Lords. I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising The Telegraph regarding this case… I stand RESOLUTELY by what I’ve said and neither retract nor apologise for standing up for human rights.”

A spokesman for Gordon Dadds adds – and best to include this because big lawyers can ruin you:

“Peter Hain is a self-employed consultant who provides occasional advice to the firm, relating principally to African affairs. Any suggestion that Gordon Dadds LLP has in any way acted improperly is entirely false.

“Peter Hain did not obtain any information from Gordon Dadds regarding this case. He has no involvement in the advice that we provide to The Telegraph newspaper, and he had no knowledge of any sensitive information regarding this case.”

From dealing with allegations of abuse of power and laws skewed against the little people, we’re all being entertained by the rich and powerful pulling each other to pieces. Meanwhile, the conversation in many households amounts to: if a rich man offered you a £1million quid to not tell anyone he’d committed an allegedly criminal act on your person, would you take the cash? Wonder if anyone’s got any dirt on the Royal Family they’re forbidden to tell us about – are they the only billionaires who never do wrong? And will women now stop spending at Top Shop?

 

 

Posted: 27th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Pipe Bombs, Donald Trump and the surge in Demophobia

The rush to blame President Trump for the nut job posting pipe bombs to leading Democrats has been notable for its haste. Do you really believe that a vote for Trump was a vote for terrorism? Blimey, the man’s a berk possessed of all the diplomatic nous of a puppy sat by a pile of poo, but to jump on the link that banging on about ‘fake news’ and locking up Hillary Clinton leads to acts of potential murder is a leap onto a convenient lily pad.

Did we all rush to blame Islamism for the attacks on Paris, London, Barcelona, Nice, New York, Berlin, Toulouse, Brussels, Manchester and Madrid? The advice after those attacks was to look to ourselves for signs of Islamophobia. It wasn’t the loons we need worry about. The real danger was non-Muslims reacting with phobic-born violence towards Muslim mates, work colleagues, family, nurses, doctors, pot heads, cab drivers, lawyers, postmen, Lords, politicians, waiters, victims of crime, victims of Islamist terrorism and any other Muslims who after mass murder would surely mutate before our lizard brains into the enemy unless we were monitored. After Manchester was attacked, we got candles and pledges to unite and remain united. But after pipe bombs in the post, the message is get Trump because the man on the trigger for millions of dangerous fools.

If you want to politicise extreme violence and terrorism, then allow all terrorism to be openly debated. There have been no renditions of ‘Love is All you Need’ in response to the pipe bombs posted to George Soros, Baraka Obama, CNN and Hillary Clinton. We’re not warned to look out for Demophobia and fight it when he see it. Why? Because it’s safe to attack what we believe we can change. Trump can be undone by linking him to acts of violence, hope his decriers ; but confronting the issues that drive a radical, murderous form of Islam, well, best light a candle, create a hashtag and hope for the best.

Let’s not bury debate and allow the berks and bigots to fill the void. Don’t do it if you want to get rid of Trump and stop empowering the likes of Tommy Robinson…

Posted: 26th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Southampton student leader regrets vow to destroy art painted by Jewish ‘white man’ Sir William Rothenstein

Do we believe in redemption? And is redemption only possible after punishment, preferably one meted out by the court of public opinion, or something more brutal, like ‘Frothing at the Mouth With Rage, of Twitter’? Emily Dawes, student union president at Southampton University, has apologised after she told her twitter followers of her plans to paint over a “mural of white men”. For those of you not paying attention, “white men” is now an insult.

emily dawes

 

The mural Dawes wants destroyed was painted by Sir William Rothenstein in 1916. It’s a memorial to British students who served in the First World War. The Echo tells us the mural “depicts an academic procession and an unknown soldier being presented with a degree”. On planet Student Union, it seems that laying down your life for democracy and positive freedom – freedom to – is a sin if the perpetrators of this heinous act were white men.

 

Ban this sick filth

 

The Times cites another of her tweets:

She posted an image of the mural with the caption: “One of the women just said, ‘It’s nearly Armistice Day so are we covering up this tapestry??’ And Holy Shit. F*** Yes. Grl Pwr.”

A quick note about that swine Rothenstein (29 January 1872 – 14 February 1945):

William Rothenstein was born into a German-Jewish family in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire where he was educated at Bradford Grammar School. His father, Moritz, emigrated from Germany in 1859 to work in Bradford’s burgeoning textile industry…

Rothenstein was principal of the Royal College of Art from 1920 to 1935, where he encouraged figures including Edward Burra, Evelyn Dunbar, U Ba Nyan and Henry Moore. Moore was later to write that Rothenstein “gave me the feeling that there was no barrier, no limit to what a young provincial student could get to be and do”.

 

Jews Mourning in a Synagogue 1906 Sir William Rothenstein 1872-1945 Presented by Jacob Moser J.P. through the Trustees and Committee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in commemoration of the 1906 Jewish Exhibition 1907

Jews Mourning in a Synagogue 1906 Sir William Rothenstein 1872-1945 Presented by Jacob Moser J.P. through the Trustees and Committee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in commemoration of the 1906 Jewish Exhibition 1907

 

An utter swine, then. His works must be defaced and destroyed. And there’s more. The Tate tells us about the panting above – Jews Mourning in a Synagogue:

This is one of eight paintings of Jewish ritual which Rothenstein made over a two year period, following a visit to the Spitalfields Synagogue in Brick Lane, in London’s East End. The artist describes in Men and Memories (II, pp.35-6) how he chanced to visit the Machzike Hadaas Synagogue…

Rothenstein was excited by the unusual scene: ‘Here were subjects Rembrandt would have painted – had indeed, painted – the like of which I never thought to have seen in London … It was the time of the Russian Pogroms and my heart went out to these men of a despised race, from which I too had sprung… Not permitted to draw in the synagogue, which would have been a violation of the Law, and ‘determined not to waste a subject so precious’, he took a room nearby in Spital Square and persuaded some of the men to sit for him. They were initially reluctant, as they feared he might sell the pictures to churches. The first of the paintings Rothenstein made was The Talmud School, 1904. In Jews Mourning in a Synagogue, Rothenstein has perhaps misunderstood the ritual, as Jews would not have been mourning in a synagogue, and the scene is posed in a studio, in any case.

What a nasty sod, eh. My mother’s Sephardi ancestors fled the pogroms in Russia and settled in the East End. Thanks to Rothenstein’s work, I can be transported to that time. Art has power. Great art has presence. Anyone who destroys it is a fool.

Emily Dawes can be forgiven for thinking that in the binary world of identity-driven student politics, where pioneering figures are trashed and their deeds poured down the memory hole, she’d get an agreeable audience when she tweeted: “Mark my words – we’re taking down the mural of white men in the uni senate room, even if I have to paint over it myself.”

After a lot of blowback, Dawes deleted the Tweet and apologised for her words.

“Firstly, and most importantly, I would like to apologise for the offence and upset I have caused with what I have said. I never meant the disrespect to anyone past, present and future. I had no intention of the tweet being taken literally, and upon reflection have realised how inappropriate it was. My intention was to promote strong, female leadership and not the eradication of history. I do not believe that to make progress in the future, we should look to erase the past. Once again, I would like to apologise for the offence and upset I have caused.”

Students, eh, they do go to the school to learn. Ignorance isn’t always bliss…

 

Posted: 25th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


US Marine Corps draws huge Sky Penis

Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range

 

Did a pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps trade the outline of massive penis in the sky? It’s hard to tell because you can’t see the huge bellend. But give a man a joy stick, loads of thrust under his pants and watch his mind wander. USA Today has more on going on by the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range:

Maj. Josef Patterson, spokesman for 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, told the Marine Corps Times that the aircraft in question belongs to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101. Patterson could not say whether the pilot was an instructor or in training.

The teach you to draw knobs in the sky?

“Obscene or inappropriate actions, flight or not, do not reflect the core values we hold as Marines,” Patterson told NBC 7 San Diego.

Dreaming of huge knobs being more akin to side issues. The Marine Times is appreciative:

As Claude Monet applied soft, surgically meticulous brush strokes to his iconic paintings, so did the pilot of the T-34C deftly weave the aircraft through the sky, cutting like a knife through hot butter to reveal their atmospheric tour de force.

Radar readings first picked up the masterpiece — a sky penis, appearing to nestle over the ancient salt deposits of the Salton Sea, in the bosom of the Chocolate Mountains.

A press release is released by the MAW:

“A T-34C aircraft assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, flew an irregular flight pattern over the Salton Sea that resembled a phallic image. An investigation to uncover the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing. The aircrew’s chain of command are committed to maintaining an environment of professionalism, dignity and respect. The Marines and Sailors of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will perform at the highest levels expected of professional war fighters, and uphold our core values of honor, courage and commitment.”

Knobs away!

Posted: 25th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vows to find Jamal Khashoggi killers

crown prince saudi arabia

 

Good news for police investigating what on earth happened to Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist killed on a visit to the country’s consulate in Turkey. His King’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is on the case. At the so-called “Davos in the Desert” – what is with the rich and extreme climates – getting them used to Hell? – the Crown Prince vowed to get to the bottom of things, possibly by drilling through the spinal column and using a bone saw to reach the insides of the matter before burying the mess in an unmarked grave in, say, a Turkish woodland.

What say the guests at the big do in the sand as the Prince accepted a standing ovation before the great washed?

Some who did attend said they were there just to do business and dismissed the Khashoggi situation.

“It’s just noise to me,” said Michael Slater, who runs the Middle East and Africa investment business for Northern Trust and is based in Riyadh. “The people I need to see are here, and that’s what I care about.”

Meanwhile, in Yemen…

Spotter: Seattle Times via Boing Boing

 

Posted: 24th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The British #MeToo and other #iBelieve witch-hunts

me too NDA

 

The Daily Telegraph has been legally gagged from publishing allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse made against a top businessman. Is that fair? We usually get to know the name of the accused in such case but not the name of the accuser. the BBC once hired a helicopter to get to the accused first. The paper’s story is billed, rather unappealing, as the “British #MeToo scandal”, what many see as a divisive movement, one rooted in sexual misconduct allegations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. It was ‘Time’s Up’ for sexual aggressors – time to divide leering men who use power to abuse, belittle and intimidate women from, well, the rest of us.

The writer Lionel Shriver said #MeToo was “important to begin with to expose some of these real malefactors”, but then as she told an audience at the Cheltenham Literary Festival:

“Then it took a turn and suddenly we were talking about bad dates and bad taste or making crass remarks and it trivialised itself and I thought that was really regrettable. I don’t like the feeling that now everyone has to have their story of some kind of terrible sexual abuse in order to be able to have an opinion about any of this stuff. I don’t want younger women to locate their sense of power in their weakness, in their fragility. I think the movement has run its course and we can pretty much call time on it now.”

Whereas feminism was once about women seeking equality and opportunity through their resilience, strength, modern feminism is about seeking victimhood and demanding special zones and rights. Shriver says MeToo encourages women to “locate their sense of power in their weakness, in their fragility”.  She also said: “I am concerned that we are increasingly wont to confuse genuine abuse of power in the workplace with often distant memories of men who have made failed – ‘unwanted’ – passes.”

The Telegraph would love to tell readers the accused man’s name. But maybe not knowing is better than knowing because it allows the Telegraph to make a cause from could otherwise be a good bit of gossip. “The public have a right to know when the powerful seek to gag the vulnerable,” says the paper’s leader. We learn that the accused man spent “close to £500,000 in legal fees”. Who knew that saying nothing could cost so much?

The paper lines up the guns:

A businessman has used NDAs [Non Disclosure Agreements] in at least five instances to pay employees substantial sums to stop them accusing him of sexual harassment and racial abuse. He has used considerable resources to fight disclosure, achieving an interim injunction preventing publication.

Interesting to know what pressure was applied on the alleged victims to take the money? A QC tells the paper: “A lot of claimants are forced to enter NDAs because of the sheer cost and unpredictability of litigation.” To nothing of the huge stress of going to court. But the rich can afford it. So is it one rule for them and another for us?

And what of gender? Christina Hoff Sommers, host of The Factual Feminist noted:

Powerful men are falling left and right – but not because women are second-class citizens. Just the opposite. Girl Power is real. Instead of carrying on about how frightened and degraded we are, maybe it’s time to acknowledge the truth: in 2017, we can destroy almost any man by a single accusation.

To believe the women without thinking and circumspection is surely no good. To call out illegal behaviour by pathetic men is good.

Back to the scoop, then, and there’s an inkling that however much the Tele wants to tell us the alleged cretin’s name, not telling us puts it on the side of the angels:

A High Court judge had refused to grant an injunction. But the Court of Appeal has overturned that ruling and imposed an injunction which remains in place pending a full hearing in the New Year. We have, in other words, been gagged, contrary to the age-old principle against prior restraint of the press. If the businessman had used defamation laws to block publication, he would not have been granted an injunction since this newspaper would have declared its readiness to prove the truth of the allegations.

The paper ekes four more stories from the gagging order: “Schillings: The ‘attack dog’ firm that acted for Giggs, Terry and Ronaldo”; “The day press freedoms received a devastating blow”, “How gagging orders became the MeToo war’s weapon of choice” and “This decision will discourage exposure of oppressive workplace cultures”. A huge deal. Papers need a campaign and the Telegraph has one.

Stop Press – this is important: “it is now illegal to reveal the businessman’s identity or to identify the companies, as well as what he is accused of doing or how much he paid his alleged victims”. How this pans out on twitter and areas outside the judiciary’s control remain to be seen. In 2011, the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming “used parliamentary privilege to name Ryan Giggs as the footballer identified on Twitter as having brought an injunction to prevent publication of allegations he had an affair with a former reality TV star.” They might do it there. But don’t do it here.

The Telegraph says there is “a clear public interest in publishing the claims, not least to alert those who might be applying to work for him.” But innocence is presumed, of course. And if what we read is true, well-fed lawyers working for him were not mired by the accusations. And to repeat this to make it no less true: believe what you like, but innocent must be presumed.

 

Posted: 24th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Bob Marley features on League of Ireland side Bohemians’ new kit

bohemians-bob-marley-kit

 

The new away kit of the League of Ireland side Bohemians features a big photo of Bob Marley along with Rasta-styled trim. It looks a bit naff, a T-shirt version of those coffee bars in Amsterdam that play Bob Marley songs on loop in the hope that priapic Stag dos and goofed teens ignore the freezing winds and think they’re fighting for freedom in Jamaica. But the Bohs want to explain why they chose Marley and not Che Guevara or some other cultural totem turned by marketing ninnies into a hackneyed teen icon. Bob Marley played a gig at their Dalymount ground on 6 July 1980. The stadium has “special place in the hearts of football and music fans”. So Marley is on the shirt.

Denis Buckley was at that show. “Inside the dilapidated ground the facilities were woeful,” he recalled in an article for The Journal:

The national press pondered pompously on whether he should be allowed to bring his weed into the country. It was tempered by the prevailing belief that despite the epidemic of alcohol abuse throughout the county allowing this “Rastafarian” to bring marijuana into Ireland would be the gates opening on something far more damaging than the public brawling and domestic violence visible on every street.

The music itself was perfect for political messaging. The rhythm section was serious and adult. Dancing Queen it was not. Marley put a speech by Haile Selassie over a dub: “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and totally abandoned, everywhere is war.” Right time, right place.

The Boomtown Rats also played at Dalymount in the 1970s, but for some reason the club didn’t feel a large graphic of Bob Geldof would have the same impact.

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Music, Sports | Comment


Julian Cole Truth Campaign: Family want to know who broke his neck?

No criminal charges have been brought in the case of Julian Cole. His family launched the ‘Cole Family Truth Campaign‘ to achieve seven things. All we do know is that Julian Cole’s neck was broken during a night out in Bedford back in 2013. Mr Cole suffered a serious spine injury. He was unresponsive. He went into cardiac arrest. Julian Cole is paralysed. He has brain damage. He lives in a care home because he needs 24 hour nursing care.

 

julian cole

 

The Cole Family Truth Campaign adds: “Julian had suffered a spinal injury called a ‘hangman’s fracture’. This kind of injury, as the name suggests, is associated with the sudden and violent pulling backwards of the head, usually when there is a counter force against the body.” We know he was twice taken to the ground, once by bouncers at a night-club held been asked to leave and was trying to get back into, and once by police officers. Three officers involved in that incident have been sacked after being found guilty by a misconduct panel.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) referred its findings of an earlier investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service, which weight up the facts, such as they were, and decided that no criminal conduct had occurred. IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green told media: “It will never be known exactly how his neck was broken, or if swifter care could have prevented the awful consequences of the break.” Can we guess?

Bedfordshire Police have a report on their website.

Julian Cole suffered catastrophic neck injuries in an incident outside Elements nightclub on 6 May 2013. None of the officers were accused of causing the injuries following lengthy investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC now Independent Office for Police Conduct – IOPC) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

But “lessons have been learned”. Why is that good news or news at all? The rules were in place before the incident.  Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire does on the record:

“At the centre of our thoughts today are of course Julian Cole, his family and friends. This case is an absolute tragedy, which has had a devastating effect on a young man and his loved ones, and we should not forget that.

“That said, there are a number of things to highlight about this case. Firstly, it is entirely right that proper independent investigations were carried out, to collect and review all of the evidence impartially and decide whether there was any criminal conduct, professional misconduct, or any actions which could have prevented this awful situation and, crucially, whether any lessons could be learned to prevent such an occurrence happening in the future.”

An “awful situation”. An unfortunate event.

“This hearing in essence reviewed a seven minute encounter which took place more than five years ago, and I agree with the panel that the length of time the IOPC and CPS enquiries have taken to get to this stage is simply unacceptable to Mr Cole, his family, the officers concerned and the force. On far too many occasions investigations such as these take years to come to a resolution and this cannot be right.”

So lessons were not leaned from the handling of past investigations. Why will this one prove to be any different. Mr Cole is the one person who cannot tell us what happened.

“It is clear that no evidence was found that any of the officers involved were in any way to blame for the catastrophic injuries suffered by Mr Cole. This misconduct hearing focused on the actions of our officers in the care given to Mr Cole and their honesty and integrity in the events following his injury. I apologise that their conduct following the incident fell well short of what we expect at Bedfordshire Police.

“Honesty and integrity is vital in policing. The public should be able trust that officers will always be truthful and open and act professionally at all times. Police officers must display the highest standards of integrity and truthfulness and three of our officers have faced the consequences of being found not to have done that today.”

The CPS put it in 2017:

“CPS lawyers considered charges of misconduct in public office, perverting the course of justice and breaches of health and safety law. They have now concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any of the officers and no further action will be taken.”

Cole’s mother Claudia responded:

“Today, I learned the CPS have decided that there is not sufficient evidence to bring any criminal charges against any officer. Their decision makes no sense to me or Julian’s family.  The CPS letter says that the case cannot go ahead because of conflicting medical evidence. But it seems clear to me that, even if it is not possible to say who in the group of people injured Julian, their complete lack of care for his welfare when he was so obviously injured was a criminal offence. I have instructed my solicitors to seek a review of this decision.”

Here are the seven question the Cole family are seeking answers to:

To find out what happened to Julian on 6th May 2013 after he was seized by officers of the Bedfordshire Police Constabulary.

To find out who in particular was responsible for using the force on Julian that caused him to suffer a broken neck.

To see the individual responsible for breaking Julian’s neck held to account in the criminal court.

To see the officers who failed to take basic first aid measures to immobilise Julian’s neck at the scene, or call for an ambulance held to account in the criminal court.

To see the officers who dragged Julian and bundled him unconscious/paralysed handcuffed with his neck unsupported into the back of a police van held to account in the criminal courts.

To see the officer who diverted an ambulance at the scene away rather than calling on the paramedics inside for assistance to be held to account in the criminal court.

To see the officers who attempted to cover up what had happened by falsely alleging that Julian was ‘chatty’ in the police van, and that he had consumed a lot of alcohol, held to account in the criminal court.

The test is simple: would you expect a criminal charge if you tackled a man and his neck was broken? on he Just for Julian website, we’re told that on the night of the incident: “Family informed two bouncers have been arrested on suspicion of assault.” No-one else was. Or how about this: if Prince Harry was taken down twice n night out and wound up in a persistent vegetative state, do you suppose a criminal trial would follow?

It took over five years for part of the truth to emerge. If anything else does happen, once thing is certain: it won’t be quick…

You can help the campaign here.

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Saudi Arabia ‘dressed Jamal Khashoggi look-alike in dead man’s Western clothes’

Did Saudi Arabia use a body double to pose as Jamal Khashoggi, the US-based Saudi journalist last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey around three weeks ago and now dead, presumed murdered? Is this footage of a body double wearing the newly dead man’s clothes?

 

 

And vitally, what does it mean for the moralising West, which can turn a blind eye to mass killing, murderous homophobia, a virulent and open anti-Semitism to which the Labour Party can only aspire, misogyny and slavery, but is aghast at the death of one man ?

For their part – and let’s be fair – the Saudis say Khashoggi was not tortured – did not have had his fingers cut off before being dismembered by a team of Saudi agents armed with a bone saw. He left the place fully intact and in good health, they said. Then they said he perished in a “fist fight”. Khashoggi was at the consulate to finalise his divorce. Those things can be tough, and when the other party’s lawyers look like trained killers, it might be time to let her keep the house and car.

The Saudis reviewed the matter and decided Khashoggi was offed by “rogue” Saudi agents – a hard bunch to find in an absolute monarchy. But thanks to Turkey’s vigilance and Saudi Arabia’s burning desire for justice, 18 men had been arrested in connection with the incident and two senior officials dismissed.  “The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News. “There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has got a few servants to wash his hands and embarked on an urgent review of Saudi intelligence. He’ll have the report into his actions ready for his own desk to review very soon.

Fingers stuck back on and crossed it can be proven that the Crown Prince is an okay kinda guy. “I would love if [he] wasn’t responsible,” said Donald Trump, showing that he possesses the power to duck the big decisions.

As we await the result of the whitewash, sorry, investigation, into a man’s vanishing, the world’s super-rich are shunning the meeting, the so-called Davos in the Desert which they signed up to when Saudi Arabia was merely killing Yemenis, executing people for such crimes as “incitement to protest”, “chanting slogans hostile to the regime”, “attempting to inflame public opinion” and “filming protests and publishing on social media”, and having lifted the ban on women drivers, arresting the campaigners (aka “traitors”) who campaigned for that very change.

So which side are we supporting: the women and men who want democracy – or the Divine Right of Kings to murder at will in it role as go-ahead partner against Arab nationalism and Iranian power?

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Reasons to love Emery: Arsenal got rid of Wilshere

Reasons for Arsenal fans to love Unai Emery mass by the day. After last night’s Wenger-esque victory over Leicester City, a performance illuminated by three synchronised team goals of rare beauty, what one writer compared to “watching a tribute band play better than the act they are paying homage to”, comes news that were it not for Emery Jack Wilshere would still be at the club.

Well, so says Wilshere, who tells the Islington Gazette:

“If Arsene had stayed I would have stayed, because of the influence he had in my career and the trust he had in me. He gave me the armband and respected me a lot. So, I had pretty much agreed to stay. And then he left and that changed things. Arsene had said to me previously ‘stay and fight your way back into the team’. Because I knew Arsene and knew he had trust in me, I knew I could do that and fight my way into the team.”

Wilshere was a hugely promising talent who rarely delivered. Arenal fans will wish him well at West Ham, but would he really get into the current side, who play such a high-tempo game? No. And if he did, when the ball reached Wilshere, the move would slow.

Emery is now working his magic on Aaron Ramsey, who having seen his demands for £250,000 a week in wages and a four-year deal rebuffed is seeking pastures new when his contract expires in the summer. As Ramsey’s agent whines on twitter about there being “no other option” for their low-scoringinjury prone midfielder of a client to leave because he can’t get £1m a month wages (plus loyalty bonuses?), Emery’s stock rises.

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Julian Cole: after five years of waiting police sacked for lying over paralysed man

julian cole

 

Julian Cole was on night out at Elements nightclub in Bedford on May 5 2013. He was 19. Things went badly wrong. Having been asked to leave the club, which he did, Julian Cole asked for a refund. He was refused. He tried to get back into the club. A bouncer ‘took him to the ground’. Police were called. He was then “taken to the ground” – that’s a police term –  by PCs Nicholas Oates, Sanjeev Kalyan and Hannah Ross. Julian Cole was handcuffed with “his face down on the ground”. The three coppers pulled him off the ground and dragged him to the police van.

At the station, Mr Cole was not breathing. Paramedics were called. Julian Cole had a broken vertebra. He is now brain damaged and paralysed.

 

 

Today an independent panel found all three officers guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed them:

The panel found that PC Ross “made up her account” of Mr Cole moving his legs in an “attempt to demonstrate she had taken Mr Cole’s report of neck pain seriously when she had not”. The hearing was also told that PC Kalyan tried to “shift responsibility” over what happened to the student.

He was found to have lied in his statement when he stated that he had heard PC Ross ask Mr Cole if he could move his legs, and that he moved them in response.

PC Oates had also said that Mr Cole had walked to the police van during his arrest, which the panel said he knew was not true.

PCs Ross, Kalyan and Oates “did not ask any basic questions concerning his welfare”. However, the panel added this was “most unlikely to have changed the outcome for [Mr Cole]”…

The panel also said that Sgt Andrew Withey failed to make “any enquiry” when PC Ross asked whether Mr Cole should go directly to hospital or custody, and failed to “react” to hearing Mr Cole say his neck hurt.

A crime? No:

None of the police officers were accused of causing Mr Cole’s injuries and The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no criminal conduct following lengthy investigations…

“Julian Cole was a young athletic man whose life was changed forever. It will never be known exactly how his neck was broken, or if swifter care could have prevented the awful consequences of the break,” Independent Office for Police Conduct Regional Director Sarah Green said.

“The panel today have concluded however that the officers failed in their duty to provide adequate welfare checks, and worse, that three of them were dishonest in how they presented their version of events.

“This dishonesty has only added to the anguish of Mr Cole’s family.”

No crime?

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Chelsea’s Ross Barkley gets rid of his tattoos

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley says he got his tattoos removed because he “got them at a young age and sometimes when you are young you do stupid things and not think about it. But I went into it too quick and over the years I felt I wanted to get them removed, so I went through the process in the last couple of years.”

 

Barkley got his first cry for help and sign of low-self esteem, sorry, tattoo, when he was 14. He just kept filling in the gaps with crosses, words, faces, stars and swirls until his armed looked as confusing and unnecessary as a Where’s Wally cartoon, only without the purpose.

But not of that lasering and scabbing off means Ross is off tatts forever. “I would never rule out getting another,” he says, “maybe when I have kids I might have something done to go with that. I don’t know.”

Whereas once we had the high-street portrait photographer to serve up awkward family photos, we now have the inkologists who can draw the face of your beloved nipper on your arms, back, chest or, well, face, leading to the full meta line, “He looks just like his dad.”

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Women fight over the wonderful Ant McPartlin

Update time on the lives and loves of Ant McPartlin (dontchajustlovehim!) and his now ex-wife Lisa Armstrong (boo! hiss! move on, luv!).

 

Ant McPartlin anne -MArie Corbett

Good ol’ Ant letting the women fight as he makes a dignified retreat.

 

Ant admitted adultery. And the Star leads with the news that Lisa, who was monstered in the Press, is “gagged” from liking tweets calling Ant’s new true love and rock, one Anne-Marie Corbett, a “backstabber”. Rumours are that Anne-Marie’s lawyers “reportedly demanded” Lisa stops liking messages calling Anne-Marie things like a “husband-stealer” and “cretin”. Yeah, that’s what we thought: when did Twitter become so civilised and measured? Although the Sun does says Lisa liked a tweet calling Ant a “lying addict”.

But the really irritating thing is that the Star says Lisa is in line for loadsa cash “from Ant’s £62m fortune”. His fortune? Surely their fortune?

This soft-soaping of poor Ant continues via Simon Cowell, who harps on about Ant being “grumpy” and “depressed. “We’re living in a time now when people do get  depressed or crack up,” says Cowell, who not only has huge grasp on human history but also a vested interested in the world siding with good-old Ant, “and it was harder for him because it was in public.” His alleged affair wasn’t in public. His drug taking wasn’t in public. His crashing into car carrying a family whilst he was well over the drink-drive limit was in public.

The Press has been very much on the side of Ant McPartlin, as he was “getting over an addiction to painkillers following knee surgery”; his condition connived into a campaign we all can take heart from; turning McPartlin from a man who deserves a private life into a role model; his plight told in his own words; a “source” assuring Sun readers that divorce would be “the right thing for his health”. This is “freakishly clean” Ant who in 2013 admitted to having taken drugs.

Cowell the historian might note than whilst come thing change others remains constant: famous man leaves long-suffering wife for blonde is a story as old as the hills.

 

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


This explains Donald Trump’s tweets

It’s fairly obvious that Donald Trump has lost the journalistic classes. Something that shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise, given that the journalistic class hating such things as Donald Trump and his supporter base is why he won the damn election. However, you might think that these people who make their livings with words would at least understand what he was actually saying rather than just mocking it. But that’s to misunderstand quite how badly the 90% Democrat and only 10% Republican profession is out of step with the America they write about and for.

I myself writing from the point of view of having been a part of that industry and really rather shocked at quite how vociferously all those in flyover country are derided.

Here’s the tweet Trump made:

And here’s the reaction from HuffPo:

His bizarre brag did not go unnoticed by fellow Twitter users, however:

Then follows a list of people making fun of the President. Fair game of course. AOL runs the same piece:

Trump’s bizarre grammar boast has Twitter users scratching their heads

But it’s not bizarre grammar in the slightest. We might call it a joke – not a very good one to be sure – or a claim to an excessive patriotism but it’s a good little piece of politics.

So, what’s the difference between country and Country? Well, we capitalise proper nouns in this language. So, if we capitalise then we’re making the claim that this is a proper noun. As with the difference between polish and Polish. Here the difference is between a country. Something that anyone can claim to come from as all of us do come from one or another. The other claim being Country, the country, not a, that is, *THE* country, the very apotheosis of what a country is and is supposed to be. And there are an awful lot of Americans out there in flyover country, those derided boonies, who think exactly that way about their place.

You know, it’s only the coastal elites that the journalistic class is drawn from who actually hate their own America.

Trump’s claim, with that capitalisation, is that the US is what every other place should aspire to be. Something that will indeed be understood – they still have grammar classes in that country – and which will play well out there where Republican isn’t a swearword.

Now it’s perfectly possible to disagree with this, entirely fair to deride it – look, it’s still a free country, you can think whatever you like – but to fail to understand it? Well, guess that’s why newspaper circulation is going down and no one does trust the fake news being sent their way, eh?

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United sale to Saudi Arabia is on-ish

The sale of Manchester United is on! Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a man riding high on the news cycle for exercising an attitude to journalists that even Sir Alex Ferguson would consider a bit much, is “hoping” to meet Manchester United owners the Glazer family and buy the club for £4bn (Mirror) or £3bn (Sun). The Mirror confirms the story punched out by the trusty Daily Star last week. That scoop was based on“web football forums and Twitter”. So it’s a dead cert to be true.

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Now the no less trusty Mirror takes up the news cudgel. If it’s facts you want, the paper says Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is worth £850bn. Sorry, fact. That’s the only one, and even it’s a guess. The Mirror says the Prince is “hoping” to meet United owners Joel and Avram Glazer in the ­Middle East in the next couple of weeks. Progress, eh. A few years ago, Saudi Arabia banned Jews from entering the country. Now they let them in. If they they let then out again in one piece, we’ll see.

Indeed, as the Mirror notes: “United’s co-owners know that they will have to tread carefully as the Crown Prince is embroiled in a tense diplomatic row over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” The Saudis say Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the Saudi government – was killed in a fight at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It’s unlikely the row was about United’s decision to offer Luke Shaw a new contract, but nothing is being ruled out.

But will the Saudis really buy United? On the back of this rumour, which the Mirror can’t substantiate with a single quote or fact, shares in the club traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose by over 5% to $27.65. Such is the power of the red-tops that when they spread a baseless rumour, City traders go ballistic.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, local journalists deliver the scores from last weekend’s matches: Chelsea 0, Manchester United 27.

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


The Peoples’ March was futile: 700,000 demand the impossible

There’s really only one explanation for the Peoples’ March today in London – an advertising of personal virtue. For absolutely nothing else will be achieved at all, that time and money has been completely wasted.

 

people's march

Big media pretty much ignores the futile march

 

But out they came, to march through the streets of London:

No one knows where negotiations over the U.K.’s exit from the European Union will end up. (Things are not looking great.) But it’s now obvious that no one heading to the polls in 2016 could possibly have grasped the full implications of this misguided decision — and that the British people deserve another say.

That’s not an entirely ridiculous claim. I say this as a committed Leaver too – rethinks are indeed part of responsible governance and democracy. There are two good arguments against another vote though:

Organisers say more than 600,000 people rallied in central London on Saturday to call for a referendum on the final Brexit deal
People’s Vote march: ‘more than half a million’ rally for new Brexit referendum

That’s part of the battle over numbers. Don’t trust that count for a moment:

Protesters seeking a referendum on the final Brexit deal have attended a rally which organisers say was the “biggest” demonstration of its kind.

Young voters led the People’s Vote march to London’s Parliament Square, which supporters say attracted more than 600,000 people.

MPs from the main parties backed the event calling for a fresh referendum.

This is something which has already been ruled out by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The People’s Vote campaign said stewards on the route estimated 670,000 were taking part.

Scotland Yard said it was not able to estimate the size of the crowd.

No, really, do not believe that number.

Still, why shouldn’t we?

The first reason is that we’re British dammit. It’s the Europeans, the continentals, who keep having referenda about the European Union until the proles vote the right way. As was done in Ireland, France, Denmark. Admittedly, that’s an argument unlikely to find favour with those who like the EU.

So, the killer one. We’re out the door on 29 March next year. The deal, whatever it is going to be, is not finished yet. Reasonable people – that is others than me – think it might actually get sealed on March 28 at 11.59 pm. But even if it were sealed today then what?

British law insists that there be a 6 month run in to a referendum. Which is, of course, what a peoples’ vote is.

Our own laws say that we cannot have a Peoples’ Vote therefore. So why were half a million people pissing away their Saturday?

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Police escape and race riots averted as Huddersfield rapists jailed

At Leeds Crown Court 20 men have been found guilty of raping and abusing 15 girls as young as 11 in and around Huddersfield between 2004 and 2011. One of their victims had the mental age of a seven-year-old. Who are the criminals? We’ll get to that, just as soon as the BBC has told us their nicknames, like “Dracula”, “Bully”, “Beastie” and “Nurse”. The ringleader was Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, a married father of two. He’s starting a life sentence. He’ll be in prison for a minimum of 18 years. The other child rapists “are all British Asians mainly of Pakistani heritage”, says the BBC.

 

 Amere Singh Dhaliwal

Amere Singh Dhaliwal

 

Deeper into the BBC story we get to the police. One victim told police: “Every time I went out something bad happened. I risked my life every time. I was a mess.” Another escaped only by moving home, saying: “It was the best thing I ever did, and that’s bad saying that burning your house down is the best thing you ever did.” How did police view the victims – as fair game? As someone once said of teenage girls: “If you think they’re doing it, they’re doing it.”

So after the stories of rapes and abuse by men mainly of Pakistani heritage in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale, Derby, Banbury, Telford, Peterborough, Aylesbury, Bristol, Halifax, Keighley, Newcastle we get to Huddersfield. Is that the end of it?

 

Top row left to right: Amere Singh Dhaliwal (Pretos), Irfan Ahmed (Finny), Zahid Hassan (Little Manny), Mohammed Kammer (Kammy), Raj Singh Barsran (Raj). Bottom row left to right: Mohammed Rizwan Aslam (Big Riz), Abdul Rehman (Beastie), Nahman Mohammed (Dracula), Mansoor Akhtar, (Boy) and Mohammed Irfraz, (Faj). Photograph: West Yorkshire police/PA

Top row left to right: Amere Singh Dhaliwal (Pretos), Irfan Ahmed (Finny), Zahid Hassan (Little Manny), Mohammed Kammer (Kammy), Raj Singh Barsran (Raj). Bottom row left to right: Mohammed Rizwan Aslam (Big Riz), Abdul Rehman (Beastie), Nahman Mohammed (Dracula), Mansoor Akhtar, (Boy) and Mohammed Irfraz, (Faj).

 

And one question pervades all others: why didn’t the police and authorities act sooner? The BBC’s Home Editor Mark Easton has a theory:

The grooming gangs of provincial England tend to operate where the disinfectant of public scrutiny struggles to reach – poorer neighbourhoods on the edge of town, around the mini-cab ranks and fast food joints, the twilight zones of urban life.

Public scrutiny wasn’t needed. Local media might have got wind of something ill, but local newspapers are dying. The BBC has reach and resources but it missed the scandal as it failed to notice its in-house paedophile Jimmy Savile, preferring to focus on innocent men with higher profiles. So what then of the local child minders, councils, schools and police? Huddersfield is not hundreds of miles from civilisation. Oxford is no cultural wasteland. Easton adds:

Child abuse thrives in such dark corners, where people look the other way, not asking questions or following concerns because the subject matter is uncomfortable and scrutiny is potentially damaging. But when we look, we find.

 

Top row left to right: Nasarat Hussain (Nurse), Sajid Hussain (Fish), Faisal Nadeem (Chiller), Mohammed Azeem (Mosabella), Wiqas Mahmud (Vic). Bottom row left to right: Manzoor Hassan (Big Manny), Niaz Ahmed (Shaq), Mohammed Imran Ibrar (Bully), Asif Bashir (Junior) and Mohammed Akram (Kid).

Top row left to right: Nasarat Hussain (Nurse), Sajid Hussain (Fish), Faisal Nadeem (Chiller), Mohammed Azeem (Mosabella), Wiqas Mahmud (Vic). Bottom row left to right: Manzoor Hassan (Big Manny), Niaz Ahmed (Shaq), Mohammed Imran Ibrar (Bully), Asif Bashir (Junior) and Mohammed Akram (Kid).

 

This was child rape on a huge scale. It wasn’t behind closed doors, within the family, where child abuse can go undetected. This was on the street. People knew. Did the wives of these men suspect? If every time we look we find, as Easton says, why don’t “we” look more often? Or is it that the “we” – police, social workers and other State employees – are scared of what “we” might find? Are they less bothered about the rule of law and teenage girls being abused than they are scared of the white working class, a group the State views as a race riot-in-waiting? So crime is allowed to fester. One rape become countless rapes. One rapist tells his friends the fun he’s having, and a gang is formed. So who suspected and knew, and why was nothing done earlier?

During the trials, the court heard girls would be driven up to remote moorland late at night and abandoned if they refused the men’s sexual demands. A sheep farmer told the BBC how he found distressed girls on the doorstep of his isolated home on a number of occasions…

At house parties, girls would be plied with alcohol and drugs before being sexually abused “one by one” by the men, sometimes without contraception.

The court heard they were abused in cars, car parks, houses, a snooker centre and a takeaway, often with other defendants and fellow victims watching on.

And now the hammer blow:

Victims and their families said they repeatedly told West Yorkshire Police what was happening but no arrests were made until years later.

Who police’s the police? Drive over the speed limit, smoke a joint or fail to pay your TV licence and the law is all over you. Rape a vulnerable child and, as is alleged, the police ignore it. Why?

Detective Chief Inspecor Ian Mottershaw tells one and all:

“The investigation into this case has been extremely complex and the investigative team have worked tirelessly for the past five years to ensure that no stone has been left unturned. We welcome the convictions and sentences which have been passed down throughout the year to these depraved individuals, who subjected vulnerable young children to unthinkable sexual and physical abuse.”

But the victims’ families say the police knew. Now the police tell us how hard they worked. But did they listen?

Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield, nails it: “Let’s be honest: no-one, local authority leadership, police, many of the people that should have been taking this more seriously earlier did not. But also, what happened in Rotherham and the publicity of Rotherham galvanised the action.”

So this is huge news, right? Wrong. Only the Guardian leads with the story. It mentions the men’s ethnic heritage only once, in paragraph 18. The paper quotes Judge Geoffrey Marson QC we’re told:

“Amongst the aggravating factors are that these girls were young when the abuse started, they were targeted because of their extreme vulnerability. They were threatened and intimidated and plied with drink and drugs often to insensibility and often in order to facilitate sexual abuse. These were planned offences by a large group of Asian men.”

But as with the BBC’s report, there is space to mention the criminal actions of Tommy Robinson, former leader of the anti-Islam English Defence League. The BBC injects its report on depraved criminality to tell readers:

In May, the former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson was arrested for reporting on the case live on Facebook during the second of the trials.

He was jailed for contempt of court but his conviction was quashed because of a number of procedural errors. He faces a fresh hearing in relation to the alleged breach.

Anyone doing what Robinson did would have been arrested. As Luke Gittos notes:

The men he targeted are entitled to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. Robinson was not arrested because of what he said. He was arrested because of when and how he chose to say it…

Free speech is too important for us to allow it to be consistently warped and slandered by both left and right. Free speech is about allowing a free and unhindered exchange of ideas. But, at the same time, we must recognise that the reason Robinson has a career is that we have become overly sensitive as a society to the kind of arguments he makes. He is a product not of too much free speech, but of too little. His arrest is not symbolic of a state conspiracy to shut him up. But it is at least connected to our continuing discomfort with discussing certain ideas.

Which brings us to how so many vulnerable children came to be raped by so many men over such a long period? Were certain lines of investigation taboo? Was there a cover up? In the absence of transparency and honesty, censorship grows, legitimate concerns are sidelined and damned; conspiracy theories fester, seeping to the surface.

There are no race riots. Huddersfield is not an outpost of the Fourth Reich. Trust us with the truth. We can handle it.

The Criminals:

Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, of Holly Road, Huddersfield, guilty of 54 counts, including 22 counts of rape, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years

Irfan Ahmed, 34, of Yews Hill Road, Huddersfield, guilty of one count of sexual assault and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to eight years

Zahid Hassan, 29, of Bland Street Huddersfield, guilty of six counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual assault, one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, two counts of child abduction, two counts of supplying class A drugs sentenced to 18 years

Mohammed Kammer, 34, of West View, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 16 years

Mohammed Rizwan Aslam, 31, of Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 15 years

Abdul Rehman, 31, of Darnely Drive, Sheffield, guilty of supplying a class C drug, one count of rape, one count of assault and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to 16 years

Raj Singh Barsran, 34, of Caldercliffe Road, Huddersfield, guilty of rape and two counts of sexual assault, sentenced to 17 years

Nahman Mohammed, 32, of West View, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to 15 years

Mansoor Akhtar, 27, of Blackmoorfoot Road, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to eight years

Wiqas Mahmud, 38, of Banks Crescent, Huddersfield, guilty of three counts of rape, sentenced to 15 years

Nasarat Hussain, 30, of Upper Mount Street, Huddersfield, guilty of three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, sentenced to 17 years

Sajid Hussain, of 33, of Grasmere Road, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 17 years

Mohammed Irfraz, 30, of North Road, Huddersfield, guilty of child abduction and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to six years

Faisal Nadeem, 32, of Carr Green, Huddersfield, guilty of rape and supplying class A drugs, sentenced to 12 years

Mohammed Azeem, 33, of Wrose Road, Bradford, guilty of five counts of rape, sentenced to 18 years

Manzoor Hassan, 38, of Bland Street, Huddersfield, guilty of administering a noxious substance, inciting child prostitution and supplying a class A drug, sentenced to five years

Mohammed Akram, 33, of Springdale Street, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and awaiting sentencing

Niaz Ahmed, 54, of Woodthorpe Terrace, Huddersfield, guilty of sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and awaiting sentencing

Asif Bashir, 33, of Thornton Lodge Road, Huddersfield, guilty of, rape and attempted rape and awaiting sentencing

Mohammed Imran Ibrar, 34, of Manchester Road, Huddersfield, guilty of trafficking for sexual exploitation and assault and awaiting sentencing

Posted: 20th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Brexit 1 Nick Clegg 0: Facebook seduces Mr EU to Leave for California

See ya, Nick Clegg. The man who wants a second EU referendum in the hope the great unwashed will vote for the status quo has opted to leave for the US, where he’ll work for Facebook. The former Deputy Prime Minister is now Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications.

On Facebook, natch., Clegg told us: “Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl [Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg] over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large.”

A journey…to Luxembourg to pay less taxes? Clegg continues his travels into X Factor speak:

“I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey. Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus and Instagram are at the heart of so many people’s everyday lives – but also at the heart of some of the most complex and difficult questions we face as a society: the privacy of the individual, the integrity of our democratic process, the tensions between local cultures and the global internet, the balance between free speech and prohibited content, the power and concerns around artificial intelligence, and the wellbeing of our children.”

Maybe. Or you could just, you know, disable the app? Life will go on. But Clegg’s already at work, it seems, assuring us that Facebook is life itself. It’s not a company geared to make money from a leisure activity; it’s part of who we are.

 

nick clegg facebook

 

He adds: “I believe that Facebook must continue to play a role in finding answers to those questions – not by acting alone in Silicon Valley, but by working with people, organisations, governments and regulators around the world to ensure that technology is a force for good.”

Or as he put it in a 2017 column: “Other critics of Silicon Valley are just plain disingenuous: traditional newspaper groups vilify social media companies for scooping up the lion’s share of advertising revenue. What do they expect? Social media companies – notwithstanding their occasionally pious New Age slogans – are profit-making companies, not charities.”

Good job he’s gone for the betterment of humankind and not the money.

Spotter: Financial Times 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Technology | Comment


I Was Big Bird: Caroll Spinney retires from Sesame Street

spinney oscar sesame street big bird

 

Oscar the Grouch and big Bird are looking for a new inside man following news that Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney has retired from the roles he’s performed since the show’s 1969 premiere.

“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.”

After five decades as the heart and soul of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, it’s impossible to entirely separate the man from the characters he so vibrantly brought to life. Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979. He’s danced with the Rockettes, and with prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He’s been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress. Performing Big Bird has taken Caroll to China, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has performed on hundreds of episodes of television, starred as his big yellow avatar in the feature film Follow That Bird, and conducted symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada. Spinney even met his wife of 45 years, Debra, on the Sesame Street set in 1973.

From now on, Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson, will be warming Oscar and Big Bird. For an inkling of what they can expect, Spinney told Jessica Gross in 2015:

There used to be an urban tale that my right arm was twice the size of my left. Although that wasn’t true, I would say it was twice as strong. The bird’s head weighs four and a half pounds, which doesn’t sound heavy until you try to hold it over your head for fifteen minutes. A guy once said, “Well, four and a half pounds, that’s nothing. I could hold a hundred pounds over my head.” I said, “I don’t think so. I bet you can’t hold your empty hand over your head for five minutes, let alone if I put a four and a half pound head in your hand at the same time.” About two and a half minutes into it, he’s going, “Geez…” He never made it to the five minutes. He said, “This is stupid, I’m not doing this.” Well, he was stupid, anyway.

You can see Spinney at work in I Am Big Bird :

 

 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


Arsenal fans lament the loss of their shares to a heartless Kroenke

When Arsenal fans watching their side thrash Fulham 5-1 began to sing “We’ve got our Arsenal back”, billionaire Stan Kroenke must have smirked. It’s not the fans who have Arsenal, it’s him. And he’s got the lot.

Not too long ago, the list of Arsenal owners with clout read like a Damon Runyon play: Peter Hill-Wood, Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham, Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. But they cashed in. The old school stability that had defined Arsenal for decades vanished when David Dein, the hymned vice-chairman, sold his shares to Alisher Usmanov, an Usbek billionaire, in 2011 for £75m – each share valued at £11,750. Fiszman wasn’t keen on Usmanov, so sold his stake to Kroenke for £159.5m. The Bracewell-Smiths got £116m for theirs. The so-called Establishment Club was no longer a rich man’s chattel; it was a brand to exploit.

It’s Stan’s Arsenal now. He’ll let you know his plans for Arsenal when he thinks you need to know.

To take full ownership of the club, Kroenke was required to buy all the shares, including those owned by fans. He ordered those fans to relinquish their little bit of the club they loved and felt part of. Not everyone has signed the forms and taken the £29,000 per share. But they will.

Rory Smith spoke to a few of them:

“Owning a share made me feel as though Arsenal was actually my club: It was a closer, more emotional bond,” says Martha Silcott.” That sense of custodianship is very important to me; it is right that fans, the lifeblood of a team, own a part of that team… I don’t like the idea of it being owned by someone whose only interest in it is money, buying up the shares of people who bought them for reasons that had nothing to do with money.”

“I have been a member of the family called the Arsenal for 75 years,” says Jeffrey Freeman. “..It upsets me that one man can decide the destiny of the Arsenal, can accrue all the benefits of ownership himself, especially given that he does not regularly attend games. Does he have the interests of the Arsenal at heart?..  By taking them, Kroenke has bought the body of the club. The heart, though, will always evade him. The heart will always belong to the fans.”

Arsenal fans will get their Arsenal back one day – but for now it’s the property of Mr Walmart.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Fugitive Daley Smith lets Madeleine McCann do his PR

Daley Smith is getting to be quite famous. On the run from police, Daley Smith has now upped his game by comparing his escape to the police search for Madeleine McCann. On Facebook, Smith says he’s going to throw a party when he reaches the milestone of 100 days at large. It’s been 88 and counting. But this is about the media’s favourite missing child, and the Sun says, “Smith has sparked fury with his sick posts about Madeleine McCann”. Do we need to hear the man’s sickness?  Apparently, yes. He is “claiming: ‘It’s my personal opinion that her mum and dad covered the whole thing up’.” If the police don’t get him, doorstepping journalists, internet trolls or the McCanns’ lawyers might. (Just to state: the McCanns are not suspects.)

And now he’s added to the sickness with a poem:

“Cheshire police have got more chance of finding Madeleine Mcann [sic], I may as well be in Japan, they’ve even been harassing my nan, but everything hasn’t gone to plan. They’ve fucked with the wrong man, I feel like Peter Pan. So far I don’t know how far I’ve ran, but it’s been mad since this Journey began.”

Daley, who has been charged with possession with intent to supply class B cannabis and concerned with the supply of cocaine, according to police, seems fully aware of how using Madeleine McCann can further his own career, such as it is. Last night his account featured this ‘sick joke’:

 

daley smith mccann

Speech bubble ours

 

That message was posted after Smith found a message from someone claiming to represent ‘Kennedy News’. All the photos in the Sun’s story carry the ‘Kennedy News and Media’ watermark, which seems odd given that you can see the same images for free on Facebook.

 

daley james sun maddie mccann

 

Madeleine McCann is missing. Daley James Smith is in the papers, on tour and on Facebook.

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


The Civilian Action Trining Program protects Snowflake police from bad words and thoughts

Civilian Interaction Training Program

Objects in the mirror are more heavily armed and prone to ruin your life than they appear

 

When men and women are added to the every-growing list of “protected characteristics” that can make you the victim of a hate crime, we wondered if every group was now deemed special? Like the cosseted child of helicopter parents, our governments see us as victims-in-waiting, vulnerable and in constant need of their supervision, direction and protection. (How they fear us.)

And now you can add police to the list. The State’s enforcers are sensitive types who can be triggered by you thinking and saying mean things. Compliance is all. Officer Snowflake demands it.

To Texas, then, where the “Civilian Interaction Training Program”, a project of the Texas Commission On Law Enforcement, is teaching children how to be nice to police. As Boing Boing says, “Reviewing these training materials is mandatory for anyone hoping to receive a diploma from a Texas high school.” Compliance is all in the era of total control:

 

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Madeleine McCann stars in a sick Facebook quiz and audience growth campaign

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. The Daily Record directs our gaze towards a Facebook Post we’re pretty sure nearly everyone missed. Lots of children whose names you will be more familiar with are mentioned in a post on a page run by the “Savage Banter Casuals”. Says the Mirror:

Paige Doherty and Milly Dowler among child murder victims mocked by ‘banter’ Facebook post.

And then more savage banter:

Madeline McCann, Kriss Donald, Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and Keith Bennett are included in the so called ‘humorous’ social media quizz.

 

madeleine mccann quiz

Best to stick with the tabloidese ‘Maddie’

 

That, of course, is Madeleine McCann and a ‘quiz’. It’s always bet to spell a missing child’s name correctly. But when you’re incandescent with rage, mistakes are easy to make. Thanks to the Record reading an obscure Facebook post, we get to know of a “sick and vile” Facebook quiz “making fun of child murder victims” that “has been revealed”. That’s “revealed” as in ‘read’. And also seen: “The face of each child was photoshopped on top of the English football team, with the caption: ‘Sunday night quiz, name the full 11’.”

The Record reproduces the photo:

 

madeleine mccann quiz

The sick quiz

 

And then the paper helps quizzers with the correct answers. Spoiler alert!

Clockwise, starting from the top left, the tragic kids being mocked in the post are: Madeleine McCann , Tia Sharp, Paige Doherty (pictured twice), Steven Lawrence, Milly Dowler, Kriss Donald, Sarah Payne, Jessica Chapman, Keith Bennett and Holly Wells.

 

maddie mccann

If you don’t want to know the answers, look away now.

 

We then get a small story of each horrific case, and hear from Disgusted of Facebook telling us it’s “disgusting using murdered children’s faces as a joke”. Adding:

The post has now been removed and page administrators have apologised for causing offence.

So the Facebook page is not all that “savage” then. It’s actually just adolescent, sad and apologetic.

In other news, the Daily Mirror’sAudience Growth Editor” hits the web with a story: “The Cry author says Madeleine McCann case DID inspire BBC drama.” 

The scene where they react to Noah no longer being in the car prompted many viewers to compare the the show to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Madeleine McCann went missing from her bed in a real-life horror show. Noah was made up.

In 2007, four-year-old Maddie disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal sparking a huge media campaign to find her, that’s still ongoing to this day.

Not so much. It’s more of a police investigation than a media campaign. But, sure, the media did turn the single-thread story of an innocent missing child into ‘Our Maddie’, “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

 

the cry mccann

 

The Cry author told The Herald about the inspiration for her work in a story headlined “The Cry author Helen FitzGerald on how real-life heartache inspired BBC drama”:

THERE is a moment in the first episode of new Sunday night drama The Cry when Jenna Coleman’s character, a washed-out new mother weighed down with baby, buggy and bags, struggles up the steps of her tenement flat.

“I watched it thinking – my God, that was my life,” marvels Glasgow author Helen FitzGerald, upon whose novel the new series is based.

Yes, indeed – author bases work of fiction on own life’s experiences, ideas and thoughts. Who knew? But will that help “audience growth” as much as zooming in on the Maddie McCanna angle? As the Mirror works out which missing child gets the most clicks (who needs Facebook for “sick” stuff?), we learn that like The Cry, FitzGerald’s life was set in Australia, what with her having been born there.

Australian-born FitzGerald, author of a string of successful thrillers, is certain the roots of her novel – which has been adapted by screenwriter Jacqueline Perske – lie [sic] in her experience of new motherhood.

And Madeleine McCann, right? After 15 paragraphs of how her own life shaped her work, we finally reach the Mirror’s headline news:

FitzGerald, now 52, was a teenager in Australia in 1980 when Lindy Chamberlain was wrongfully convicted of murdering her nine-week-old daughter. She claimed she saw a dingo leave the tent where Azaria was sleeping, during a family camping holiday…

In 2007, four-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, sparking another high profile media campaign in which accusations were levelled at Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry.

Adding:

“I saw Lindy speaking on television to the McCanns, giving them support and I thought – what a terrible community this is, what an awful thing by which to be bound together.”

She adds: “I have always believed both of them. But thinking about their cases made me wonder – what kind of couple would get away with something like this? What would have to be going on behind the scenes in that relationship?”

And on motherhood:

“Does anyone remember Mr Chamberlain’s name?” she says, wryly. “Lindy was incredibly naïve and open and just had no clue, and she got slaughtered by the media. Her case was really the first example of trial by television.

“Women are always the target, especially when babies are involved. No matter how much we talk about parental or gender equality, that’s what happens.”

Actually, no. We can’t recall his name. Maybe that can be a quiz question? But he’s called Gerry McCann. But, then, he’s not the inspiration for the book and the TV drama as such as Lindy Chamberlain’s story was.

Spoiler: Lindy Chamberlain’s husband was Michael Chamberlain.

Fact: Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects. If you know what happened to her, call the police. Please don’t speculate here.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Princess Margaret’s absurd morning rituals were ‘such fun’

princess margaret daily routine

 

In 1955, Princess Margaret shared with the world her morning routine. The Queen’s chain-smoking sister’s regimented daily habits, with her “punishing schedule of drinking and smoking”, were revealed in Ma’am Darling by the satirist Craig Brown. “For a while,” writes Brown, Princess Margaret “glued matchboxes to tumblers so that she could strike matches while drinking, but it was a craze that never caught on.’ But worse than her fabled rudeness – an “unstoppable urge to say the first thing that came into her head, just so long as it was sufficiently unpleasant” – and vapid weltschmerz of her rank in life, were the sycophants. As Brown notes:

Receiving a prize from the young Princess Margaret in 1958, the 52-year-old John Betjeman was so overwhelmed by her curvaceous presence that tears came into his eyes, a reaction duly noted by his waspish friend, Maurice Bowra, the chairman of the judges, who lampooned it in a parodic verse:

“Green with lust and sick with shyness
Let me lick your lacquered toes.
Gosh, O gosh, your Royal Highness
Put your finger up my nose …”

Mingling with the obsequious is wonderful, but the morning’s were peak princess:

 

 

They really are not like the rest of us. As JG Ballard noted in Princess Margaret’s Facelift: “Somewhere in this paradoxical space our imaginations are free to range, and we find ourselves experimenting like impresarios with all the possibilities that these magnified figures seem to offer us.” As Mags would say through a tight mouth, her sarcastic eyes a small sign of life amongst the panto Munsters, “Such fun!”

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Books, Key Posts, Royal Family | Comment


Rick Stein is missing: the greatest obituary to a man of mystery

The News Journal’s obituary for Rick Stein is something to remember. Mr Stein was a cancer patient at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

rick stein obituary

 

When medics went to check on him, they discovered him gone. CCTV footage shows him leaving the hospital at 3:30pm – “but then the video feed mysteriously cuts off. Authorities say they believe Stein took an Uber to the Philadelphia airport where they assume he somehow gained access to the aircraft…

“Rick Stein, 71, of Wilmington was reported missing and presumed dead on September 27, 2018 when investigators say the single-engine plane he was piloting, The Northrop, suddenly lost communication with air traffic control and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.”

“The sea was angry that day,” says NTSB lead investigator Greg Fields in a press conference. “We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely.”

And then it gets spellbindingly brilliant:

His daughter, Alex Walsh of Wilmington appeared shocked by the news. “My dad couldn’t even fly a plane. He owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and knew every answer on Jeopardy. He did the New York Times crossword in pen. I talked to him that day and he told me he was going out to get some grappa. All he ever wanted was a glass of grappa.”

Stein’s brother, Jim echoed similar confusion. “Rick and I owned Stuart Kingston Galleries together. He was a jeweler and oriental rug dealer, not a pilot.” Meanwhile, Missel Leddington of Charlottesville claimed her brother was a cartoonist and freelance television critic for the New Yorker.

David Walsh, Stein’s son-in-law, said he was certain Stein was a political satirist for the Huffington Post while grandsons Drake and Sam said they believed Stein wrote an internet sports column for ESPN covering Duke basketball, FC Barcelona soccer, the Denver Broncos and the Tour de France. Stein’s granddaughter Evangeline claims he was a YouTube sensation who had just signed a seven-figure deal with Netflix.

When told of his uncle’s disappearance, Edward Stein said he was baffled since he believed Stein worked as a trail guide in Rocky Mountain National Park. “He took me on a hike up the Lily Peak Trail back in the 90s. He knew every berry, bush and tree on that trail.” Nephew James Stein of Los Angeles claimed his uncle was an A&R consultant for Bad Boy records and ran a chain of legal recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado called Casablunta. Niece Courtney Stein, a former Hollywood agent, said her uncle had worked as a contributing writer for Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and was currently consulting on a new series with Larry David.

People who knew Stein have reported his occupation as everything from gourmet chef and sommelier to botanist, electrician, mechanic and even spy novelist. Police say the volume of contradictory information will make it nearly impossible to pinpoint Stein’s exact location.

In fact, the only person who might be able to answer the question, who is the real Rick Stein is his wife and constant companion for the past 14 years, Susan Stein. Detectives say they were unable to interview Mrs. Stein, however neighbors say they witnessed her leaving the home the couple shared wearing dark sunglasses and a fedora, loading multiple suitcases into her car. FAA records show she purchased a pair of one-way tickets to Rome which was Mr. Stein’s favorite city. An anonymous source with the airline reports the name used to book the other ticket was Juan Morefore DeRoad, which, according to the FBI, was an alias Stein used for many years.

And: “That is one story”:

Another story is that Rick never left the hospital and died peacefully with his wife and his daughter holding tightly to his hands.

You can choose which version you want to believe or share your own story about Rick with us at the Greenville Country Club on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 3:00-6:00pm.

For online condolences, please visit www.chandlerfuneralhome.com.

Posted: 13th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment