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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 6

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Kate Middleton’s topless photos undermine William and Harry’s celebrity careers

We first encountered pictures of Kate Middleton’s naked breasts when the French edition of celebrity magazine Closer published the grainy images captured on a long lens in 2012. Today the Mirror leads with news that Kate is seeking £1.3m in damages. So traumatic was it to see Kate’s baps in the tabs that in a French court lawyers for Kate and Prince William say the episode evokes haunting memories of Princess Diana’s “Paparazzi nightmare”.

Among other things, the images show Kate removing her bathing suit and slapping sunscreen to her husband’s back.

Six people are accused of beaching privacy: Closer magazine editor Laurence Pieau, La Provence Publishing Director Marc Auburtin, whose paper also published the snaps, Chief Executive Ernesto Mauri, and photographers Cyril Moreau, Dominique Jacovides and Valerie Suau, according to BBC News.

The Sun, which published pictures of a naked Prince Harry, sets a sympathetic scene:

Kate and William had escaped on holiday in France in September 2012, a little more than a year into their marriage, when the images were taken.

So much, then, for “Workshy Wills“, the Sun’s nickname for the Prince, who last month was telling us all to loosen up. He was “escaping” not skiving. Wills and the other two parts of the Golden Triangle of Palace PR – Prince Harry and Kate – are not the epitome of an unaccountable elite, but in it with us.

The British Press are all on the Windsors side in this one, partly because some organs enjoy watching Britishers making the French squirm and partly because the story can illustrate their own sense of decency, righteousness and strict moral code. It’s not often the gutter press get to look down on something lower, so the likes of the Sun, Star, Mail and Mirror are not going to pass up the opportunity to posture, salute and preen.

But what;s wrong with the photos?

Kate and Wills – the couple who showoff family photos of their children, let us look around their palaces in TV documentaries designed to show their ordinariness, jet about the world adopting worthy interventionist causes, talk to showbiz magazines and cut through the pomp and ermine to get closer to the people – crave all the trappings of celebrities. With no Empire and no political role, it is through celebrity that Kate and Wills, and so too the Royals at large, can achieve a sense of authority. The topless photos are just part of the celebrification. The French see that. We don’t.

When push comes to shove, Kate and Wills have pulled up the red rope. They aren’t the UK’s Kim and Kanye or even Posh and Becks. They are not special by anything other than birth. If we see that then the fall out from their reaction to topless photos might cause more Royal pain in the long run.

 

Posted: 3rd, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


How to survive an armed robbery by Jimmy John’s manager Tuker Murray

Tuker Murray Jimmy Johns robbery Kansas

 

To Kansas, where a robbery is going down. The local police tells all:

At 9:15 p.m. April 26, 2017, officers with the KCPD were dispatched to the location at 3900 Broadway Blvd. in regard to an armed robbery. An unknown black male wearing a light blue hooded sweatshirt entered the restaurant, placed an order, then pointed a gun at the cashier demanding money from the register.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the server. Just chill….

 

 

The mellow dude behind the counter is Tuker Murray, 24-year-old assistant manager at a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches in Kansas City, MO. Here he is talking to KCTV5:

 

Posted: 1st, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Strange But True | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


When it’s ok to be anti-Semitic and wear a headscarf

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen – the final ‘d’ is silent, so I’ll leave it off – says all Austrian women should wear a headscarf. This will help Muslims feel comfortable and to battle prejudice, he reasons.

“If Islamophobia continues to spread,” he told a room full of students, “the day will come when we will have to ask all women to wear headscarves. All of them, in solidarity with those who [wear them] for religious reasons. This isn’t too far-fetched.”

Van der Bellen continued, adding that he remembered a story about some non-Jewish Danes wearing the Star of David during the German occupation of Denmark in World War II.

Alex, mate, they did that to counter the censors, bigots, meddlers and murderers not because they were forced to on pain of law. Wearing a Star of David when it could get you abused, raped and killed by the invaders’ enforcers is an act of bravery. If you force people to wear the veil and view those courageous Danes as your inspiration, you will celebrate freedom by doing exactly the opposite. And as for reducing a symbol of conservative religious beliefs to a sign of your own liberal views, well, good luck with that.

The Washington Post adds:

The Austrian president seems to have been surprised by the scandal. “We should be happy if we don’t have bigger problems than the question of the headscarf,” he told reporters during a visit to Slovakia this week. “I am not a friend of the headscarf, but there is freedom of expression in Austria.”

Not always. The JTA reports:

An Austrian woman who questioned the Holocaust was found guilty of violating an Austrian law that makes Holocaust denial illegal.

The woman, 53, was given a suspended jail sentence and fined $1,280 by a court in the western Austrian city of Feldkirch on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

She criticized a post on Facebook which showed a German soccer team commemorating the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi camp, in which she accused the team of “spreading lies,” according to the AP.

During a search of her home a sign was discovered over her toilet reading: “This Hitlerine needs a clean latrine.” It also is illegal in Austria to praise the Nazi era.

Nasty. False. But to criminalise an expression of bigotry that makes liars of the millions murdered and praises their killers suggests Austrian lawmakers do not have much faith in their own people to hold ignorance and racism up to the light. Bellen is wrong, then. Freedom of expression is not sacrosanct in Austria.

Undeterred, Bellen moved on:

In a statement posted to his Facebook page, the president’s office attempted to explain the context of his statement, noting that a student had asked about whether a ban on headscarves would shut some women out of the labor market.

The president was talking about “the stigma of headscarved women,” the statement said, and the president did agree that in some specific circumstances a headscarf might be prohibited but that other religious symbols should be prohibited, too, in those circumstances. The president was also concerned about “racism from the other side,” the statement said, pointing to the example of a Muslim cabdriver who refuses to accept Orthodox Jews as passengers.

Racism from the other side? No, it’s just racism.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 1st, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


ITV live news reporter has malfunction on camera

Have a heart for the live TV reporter padding out the known facts in the London drizzle. ITV goes live to its man in Westminster. Come in, Rohit Kachroo, who has Type 1 Diabetes (it was related to that):

 

I’ve been there. I was on the radio once and utterly lost my train of thought. He did well to maintain his cool. And it does make you wonder why he has to be live on the scene at all? Very rarely does the TV reporter’s location ever add to the story? After all, they are there long after the incident on which they’re reporting has passed.

Posted: 28th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tim Farron finds his backbone and blocks David Ward over ‘antisemitic’ comments

In today’s Sun we read that the LibDems have approved David Ward as their candidate for Bradford East. Ward lost the seat to Labour in 2015. Ward is the man who likened “the Jews” to the Nazis, the paper reminds us.

But just as we started to think there is no exit for such nastiness we learn that LibDem leader Tim Farron has sacked Ward. Farron says Ward’s comments about Jews were “deeply offensive, wrong and antisemitic”.

HURRAH! Finally one of them gets booted out. Other politicos accused of anti-Semitism get suspended. “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him,” said Farron.

 

Corbyn anti-semitism

 

But, as the Guardian points out, the sacking only occurred after Theresa May criticised Ward’s selection following a question from Eric Pickles during prime minister’s questions. Pickles asked if May “shares my disgust that a former member of this house criticised by the home affairs select committee for antisemitism has been selected for Bradford East for the Liberal Democrats?”

May said voters would be “disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats re-adopt a candidate with a questionable record on antisemitism”. The paper notes:

Ward has also said he would be willing to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel and praised the Labour MP Naz Shah after she was suspended by her party for antisemitic posts on Facebook.

Naz wasn’t kicked out. She was suspended. She was re-educated. She discovered that anti-Semitism is a form of racism. Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West – what is about that place? – delivered an apology, albeit with a sympathetic backstory.

“The language I used was anti-Semitic, it was offensive,” she said. “What I did was I hurt people and the language that was the clear anti-Semitic language, which I didn’t know at the time, was when I said, ‘The Jews are rallying.'”

She then went on a journey:

Ms Shah said she had been on a learning journey in recent months and had received “amazing compassion” from the Jewish community. “I didn’t get anti-Semitism as racism,” said Ms Shah. “I had never come across it. I think what I had was an ignorance.”

With her abhorrent views unchecked, Naz had made it all the way to be a front-bench advisor in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Until she was exposed in the media, at no point did Shah think anti-Semitism could be wrong, let alone racist. Is that because everyone around her was as ignorant as she was? Or is it because anti-Semitism is rife in Labour, which is a safe space to be an anti-Jewish bigot? We can give ink to our thoughts on polling day.

Says Farron: “I don’t select our individual candidates and nor should I. But let me be clear, I won’t tolerate antisemitism in my party. David Ward has been disciplined in the past and if he or anyone else makes antisemitic remarks in this campaign I will expect the party to act quickly and decisively, as we did when we suspended a candidate in Luton South yesterday …Ashuk Ahmed, was suspended over Facebook posts that compared Zionism to the Nazis.”

Don’t panic, lads. You can always go back to school and stand as a representative for the NUS.

The National Union of Students (NUS) is embroiled in a fresh anti-Semitism row after three candidates holding or running for positions on its executive committee were revealed to have made offensive comments.

In online posts seen by The Independent, one current member of the union’s National Executive Council shared a video mocking Jews as having big noses and being tight with money, while another publicly suggested Jewish people are tight-fisted and said he wanted to destroy Israel.

A third, who is seeking a position on the union’s executive in elections being held this week, wrote an offensive Twitter message referring to Jews and using the phrase “Heil Hitler”.

Good job the Left has no issue with Jews. We know this because Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti told us there is no anti-Semitism in Labour Party.

Vote now. And vote often.

Posted: 26th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: the Met’s 10th anniversary PR exercise ‘COULD’ be news

Madeleine McCann: 10th anniversary news round-up.

The Daily Mail (front page): “MADDIE POLICE CHASING ‘CRITICAL LEAD'”.

 

maddie mccann daily mail

 

That Madeleine McCann remains front-page news 10 years after her vanishing – and after ten years of no evidence of what happened to her emerging – is remarkable. As for the news, we learn that police are “chasing a critical leader”. How critical? Well, it “could crack the Madeleine McCann case”. So only potentially critical, then.

What of the “mysterious new clues”, then, that “could explain why the three-year-old vanished in May 2007″?

We hear from Mark Rowley, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, who tells us that the “latest lead” is “worth pursuing”. He says: “It could provide an answer, but until we’ve gone though it I won’t know whether we are going to get there or not.”

That’s three “coulds” on the front page alone. So much for the “critical lead”. Rowley says – without irony – “I’m not going to discuss…because it is very much a live investigation”.

The Mirror makes “COULD” part of its front-page lead. It could just as easily says ‘Could Not”.

daily mirror maddy mccann

 

Millions of pounds invested in the search for answers and still none are forthcoming. Ten years of looking and the Met are in full PR mode. They “don’t want to spoil it by putting titbits of information our publicly,” says Rowley as he chucks a tasty morsel to the Press. Indeed, this isn’t a hunt for alleged VIP sex criminals. There will be no televised raids and no airport arrests. So can Rowley tell us anything? “We don’ have evidence telling us if Madeleine is alive or dead.” says Rowley, “but as a team we are realistic about what we might be dealing with.”

As the Met gets realistic about theories, the Mail moves on to look at the parents. Over pages 4 and 15, we get “10 YEARS OF PAIN”.

Pages 14-15: “Maddie’s bedroom is piled high with a decade of unopened gifts. Kate’s given up work to care or their twins – while Gerry’s now a world-renowned heart doctor. As police reveal a ‘significant’ new line of inquiry… 10 YEARS OF HOPE AND HEARTBREAK”.

What a parent looking after their own children has to do with the case is moot, moreover the husband’s job. But this story always was laced with a middle-class thread. The blonde child. The medical professional parents. The upmarket holiday camp destination. It all overshadows the fact that police only might have a significant new line of enquiry. We don’t know. They don’t know. All we know is that Kate McCann is a “fitness fanatic” who “finds finds comfort in daily work-outs at he gym”; Gerry McCann “was recently praised for saving the life of former footballer Alan Birchenall after he suffered a heart attack and ‘died’  for seven minutes”; and “they have coped in different ways with the tragedy”.

 

daily express maddy mccann

 

Daily Express (front page): “VITAL NEWS CLUES IN MADDY HUNT.”

No. They could be critical clues. They might not be of any value at all. The Express notes that Operation Grange, the police investigation, has cost £11m.

Page 5: “Yard reveals ‘critical lines of inquiry’ in Maddy case.” It did. And it didn’t. The Met mentioned the leads and then said they were secret.

The paper does have some news, though. We learn that in 2013, “officers identified four people as possible suspects but they have now been ruled out.”

The Telegraph prefers to lead with a question: “Madeleine McCann: Are the police any closer to knowing the truth?” As Betteridge’s law of headlines states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

This is Mark Rowley’s statement in full – delivered to deadline. The Met calls it “AC Mark Rowley reflects on the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.” It reads like mixture of school report and therapeutic journey:

As an investigation team we are only too aware of the significance of dates and anniversaries. Whatever the inquiry, we want to get answers for everyone involved.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is no different in that respect but of course the circumstances and the huge public interest, make this a unique case for us as police officers to deal with. In a missing child inquiry every day is agony and an anniversary brings this into sharp focus. Our thoughts are with Madeleine’s family at this time – as it is with any family in a missing person’s inquiry – and that drives our commitment to do everything we can for her.

On 3rd May 2017, it will be 10 years since Madeleine vanished from her apartment in Praia Da Luz, a small town on the Algarve. In the immediate hours following her disappearance, an extensive search commenced involving the local police, community and tourists. This led to an investigation that has involved police services across Europe and beyond, experts in many fields, the world’s media and the public, which continues to this day. The image of Madeleine remains instantly recognisable in many countries across the world.

The Met’s dedicated team of four detectives, continues to work closely on the outstanding enquiries along with colleagues of the Portuguese Policia Judiciária. Our relationship with the Policia Judiciária is good. We continue to work together and this is helping us to move forward the investigation.

We don’t have evidence telling us if Madeleine is alive or dead. It is a missing person’s inquiry but as a team we are realistic about what we might be dealing with – especially as months turn to years.

Now is a time we can reflect on an investigation which captured an unprecedented amount of media coverage and interest. The enormity of scale and the complexity of such a case brings along its own challenges, not least learning to work with colleagues who operate under a very different legal system. The inquiry has been, and continues to be helped and supported by many organisations and individuals. We acknowledge the difference these contributions have made to the investigation and would like it known that we appreciate all the support we have and continue to receive.

Since the Met was instructed by the Home Office to review the case in 2011, we have reviewed all the material gathered from multiple sources since 2007. This amounted to over 40,000 documents out of which thousands of enquiries were generated. We continue to receive information on a daily basis, all of which is assessed and actioned for enquiries to be conducted.

We have appealed on four BBC Crimewatch programmes since April 2012. This included an age progression image which resulted in hundreds of calls about alleged sightings of Madeleine; an appeal for the identity of possibly relevant individuals through description or Efit; and information sought relating to suspicious behaviour or offences of burglary. These programmes collectively produced a fantastic response from the public. The thousands of calls and information enabled detectives to progress a number of enquiries. This was in addition to over 3,000 holiday photographs from the public in response to an earlier appeal.

The team has looked at in excess of 600 individuals who were identified as being potentially significant to the disappearance. In 2013 the team identified four individuals they declared to be suspects in the case. This led to interviews at a police station in Faro facilitated by the local Policia Judiciária and the search of a large area of wasteland which is close to Madeleine’s apartment in Praia Da Luz. The enquiries did not find any evidence to further implicate the individuals in the disappearance and so they are no longer subject of further investigation.

We will not comment on other parts of our investigation – it does not help the teams investigating to give a commentary on those aspects. I am pleased to say that our relationship with the Portuguese investigators is better than ever and this is paying dividends in the progress all of us are making.

We are often asked about funding and you can see that we are now a much smaller team. We know we have the funding to look at the focused enquiry we are pursuing.

Of course we always want information and we can’t rule out making new appeals if that is required. However, right now, new appeals or prompts to the public are not in the interest of what we are trying to achieve.

He says publicly.

As detectives, we will always be extremely disappointed when we are unable to provide an explanation of what happened. However the work carried out by Portuguese and Met officers in reviewing material and reopening the investigation has been successful in taking a number of lines of interest to their conclusion. That work has provided important answers.

Answers? But there was only ever one question: what happened to Madeleine McCann?

Right now we are committed to taking the current inquiry as far as we possibly can and we are confident that will happen. Ultimately this, and the previous work, gives all of us the very best chance of getting the answers – although we must, of course, remember that no investigation can guarantee to provide a definitive conclusion.

However the Met, jointly with colleagues from the Policia Judiciária continue the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann with focus and determination.

No progress, then. The Met is looking back – just as it always has done.

Posted: 26th, April 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: blaming gypsies is the cheapest solution

Madeleine McCann: as we approach the tenth anniversary of her vanishing the news is coming thick and fast in the British Press.

The Mirror (front page): “MADDIE ‘WAS SNATCHED BY RICH FAMILY’.”

Maddie Mccann MI5

 

Not poor gypsies, then? Not a paedophile – well, not a poor one. And she didn’t wander off. Madeleine McCann was stolen. The Mirror has more:

Missing Madeleine McCann ‘was snatched AFTER leaving apartment to look for parents’

She walked out the door and someone passing buy stole her. Maybe. Because what looks like fact to the Google news bots and headline readers is one man’s opinion. This is the “shocking new abduction theory”.

The man with the theory is Danny Collins.

The three-year-old could not have been taken from the Portuguese flat as the window shutters could only be opened from the inside, journalist Danny Collins has claimed.

The writer, who covered the case at the time, is convinced she left apartment 5a in Praia da Luz looking for her parents before being kidnapped and possibly sold to gypsies.

The gypsies did it?! If you’re going to guess who stole a child walking about a busy holiday complex searching for their parents dining in the area it’s always easy to Press f9 and blame the gypsies. No-one has yet claimed the Jews took her and used her blood to make Matzos and a ritual drink, but give it time.

With no evidence linking gypsies to the child’s vanishing, the story seems happy to point the finger at a group with long history of persecution. That’s revolting.

Says Collins, who has written a book on the case:

 “I came across no clear indication that a planned abduction took place that night. Madeleine awoke and took the opportunity offered by the open patio doors to leave the apartment.”

He’s done lots of research and spoken with lots of people. He’s not found the child. But:

From his findings Collins believes “the most logical conclusion” was that she was snatched by a passing “itinerant” looking for some quick cash.

But Madeleine’s parents still insist the tot would not have wandered out, saying she would have had to open a patio door and two gates, one with a child safety lock, and close them afterwards.

The Mirror’s front-page screamer is sourced in the Sun. Over there we read:

But nearly ten years on, veteran investigative journalist Danny Collins believes he may have uncovered the truth behind the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann.

May. The Mirror’s front-page fact is looking sketchy. But gypsies continue to take a battering. Below a picture of the child in an Everton FC shirt, the Sun writers: “The shocking new theory claims Madeleine McCann could have been stolen by gypsies.”

Disgusting stuff.

Collins is quoted:

The McCanns overlooked the simplest of truths that would later be seized on by the Portuguese investigators and see them considered prime suspects.

“The metal shutters were impossible to lever upwards more than 1-2cm. Nor did the shutters or the sills on which they rested in the closed position show any marks of an attempt at forced entry.”

But what of the gypsies getting treated as suspects?

During his investigations, Collins was told by Iberian travellers that if Madeleine had been found on the street it was likely she would have been taken and a plan hatched to extract a ransom or reward.

But then, given the immediate high-profile nature of the case, they might have sold her to Romany gypsies.

Collins thinks this is the “most logical conclusion”.

As we grab the torches and mach on those Romany gypsies, other news sources have more on ‘Our Maddie’. What about the money?

The Independent: “Madeleine McCann may have been kidnapped by slave traders and sold, claims ex-Scotland Yard detective.”

May. There it is again, that word that can also mean ‘may not’. And who buys and sells children?

Gangs who operate in Mauritania, West Africa, reportedly sell children to rich Middle Eastern families

White slavers!

Leicester Mercury: “Madeleine McCann: New information in the hunt for missing Rothley youngster.”

Information or speculation?

An employee of the holiday resort where Madeleine McCann went missing 10 years ago could hold the key to solving the mystery of the missing toddler, it has been claimed.

Yep. It’s speculation.

In a ‘world exclusive’ Australian documentary aired today, former Scotland Yard police officer Colin Sutton told reporter Rahni Sadler: “There is an employee, somebody who worked within the Ocean Villa complex who has some information or some knowledge that may be of assistance.”

One man’s opinion is a world exclusive. So is this. So is that last breath you took, and the next one. It’s all unique and exclusive. And it’s all utterly useless in finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Meanwhile, Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, told the makers of the programme, called Sunday Night, that they would not rest until they had found their daughter.

Kate said: “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and it’s touched everybody, I think.”

She added: “I don’t believe we would ever reach a point where we think, ‘Oh, we’ve done everything now’. Whilst the situation remains as it is, Madeleine is out there and she needs us to find her.”

Stay tuned:

While there is no evidence that Madeleine is not alive, the programme looked at theories about why, if she had been killed, her body had not been found.

Is there evidence of gypsies? Can an entire race sue?

Mr Sutton told Sunday Night that despite Portuguese authorities conducting their largest ever police search, it was possible Madeleine’s remains could still be hidden in the Praia da Luz area.

He said it was “just large enough and difficult enough terrain to search” that police officers could “search for years and still not be satisfied you’d actually done it properly”.

Thanks. Very helpful.

Publisher of The Portugal News Paul Luckman said he believed there are up to 600 wells scattered throughout Praia da Luz, and that Madeleine’s remains could be in one of them.

He believes there are 600 wells that could contain a body of a child who could be alive. Got it?

He said: “[In] five, 10 years time, somebody suddenly decides to clear the well and they will bring it back into operation… they would clean it out and bones would be found.”

And on and on and on it goes.

Maddie Mccann MI5

 

Daily Star (front page): “MADDIE: MI5 HID HER BODY.”

In a bombshell documentary aired today on Australian TV, Goncalo Amaral suggested MI5 helped to hide Maddie’s body.

It’s duelling ex-cops on the telly.

The detective made the shocking claims on Aussie show Sunday Night which had said it would be revealing a major new lead in the disappearance case.

Amaral said MI5 “for sure had an involvement” in what happened to Maddie.

Proof? Evidence?

“I’m saying for sure [MI5] have an involvement in the situation”

Proof? Evidence?

On the same TV show, in response dad Gerry McCann said: “The less said about Goncalo Amaral the better.”

This might be the least edifying episode yet.

SMG: “Madeleine McCann’s parents deny killing or being negligent of their daughter on Sunday Night.”

Gerry McCann spoke to the show. He is quoted:

“The ludicrous thing is that Madeleine died in the apartment by an accident and we hid her body,” Mr McCann told Sunday Night. “Well, when did she have the accident and die? ‘Cause the only time she was left unattended was when we were at dinner, so if she died then, how could we have disposed of or hidden her body? You know, when there was an immediate search?

“It’s just nonsense! And if she died when we were in the apartment, or fell, why would we cover that up?”

Do not try to answer those questions. Libel is pricey.

When asked by Sunday Night reporter Rahni Sadler “Did you kill your daughter?”, Mr McCann replied: “No. No. Never.

“And you know, there’s nothing with any logic that could, you know… You would have to start with why? How? When? Who? And there’s just simply, you know, no answer to any of these things – there’s nothing to suggest anything. So no – that’s an emphatic ‘no’.”

He asks the questions. But, again, do not try to answer them here. It’d be speculation. Stick to blaming gypsies, who haven’t sued anyone for defamation (yet).

The Sun: “‘THEY ANNIHILATED ME’ Madeleine McCann crime expert who told doc her parents Gerry and Kate may have hidden body plans to sue show for twisting her comments.”

You see.

A CRIME expert who told an explosive Madeline McCann documentary her parents could have hidden their daughter’s body plans to SUE the Aussie TV channel which ran the show.

US criminal profiler Pat Brown featured on Channel 7’s Sunday Night show claiming Gerry and Kate McCann could have put Maddie’s body in a bag, hid at the beach and moved it weeks later.

But the expert – who told the show there was a possibility Madeleine had been killed as the result of an accident, neglect or abuse – now plans to sue the network for defamation.

Pat claims in her original hour-long Skype interview with journalist Rahni Sadler that she made it clear this was only a theory based on her view of the evidence available.

Some theories are cheap. Other theories can be expensive. Says Pat:

“I never stated the McCanns were guilty of anything other than neglecting their children, and I will stand by that. I never said the McCanns are guilty of covering up the death of their child or moving their child’s body. The show purposefully set out to destroy my reputation. The only reason I was featured was to annihilate me by making me look foolish.”

To recap: aliens took her. Probably. But not the ones with expensive lawyers. The other ones.

Such are the facts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 24th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Labour’s party political broadcast showing indoctrinized Corbyn Kids backfires

Labour’s latest electoral move is to take a teacher and show her instructing her students that education is safe in Labour’s hands. She’s shown indoctrinating her seven to eight year old students after they ask her some questions about politics. The internet rose to the challenge: what happens when they ask some difficult questions?

 

 

corbyn labour teacher

 

labour ppb teaching IRA

labour ppb teaching IRA

corbyn labour teacher party political broadcast

Spotter: Robbie Travers

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


UKIP candidate delivers manifesto in the style of a Beat poem

UKIP candidate Gisela Allen has delivered her manifesto. Answering the question ‘Why do you want to be a councillor?” in Glasgow’s Garscadden/Scotstounhill ward, Gisela just lets it all pour out.

As Liam Kirkaldy‏ tweets: “There’s really a lot going on in this UKIP candidate’s election pitch. It’s like a stream of consciousness beat poem.”

 

gisela allen UKIP

 

Is it a spoof?

Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, thinks it’s real. “Ms Allen with these outlandish statements has become a manifestation of all that makes her party so very unrepresentative of the constituents in Garscadden/Scotstounhill, or for that matter in Glasgow and Scotland,” he opines.

Labour candidate Eva Murray adds: “I’ve seen Ms. Allen’s comments and I, along with the many people in the communities I have spoken to strongly disagree with many if not most of them. We must aim to be an inclusive and caring society, which is exactly why I’m proud to be a Labour candidate in this election standing on the values of equality and fairness. I am sure the people of Garscadden/Scotstounhill will reject these shameful comments from the UKIP candidate.”

We looked and its turns out that Gisela Allen does exist and she is a UKIP candidate!

gisela allen UKIP

 

Spotter: Liam KirkaldyClydebank Post

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Caption writers protect the Easter Bunny from would-be Trump assassins and Elma Fudd

The President of the United States is on the LEFT.

 

trump bunny left caption

 

“Excellent use of parentheses. Bravo caption writers.” tweets @Zoeparamour.

“Sometimes Breaking News comes at exactly the perfect moment” adds @Melissajpeltier.

 

donald trump rabbit

 

Spotter: Twitter/@MelissaJPeltier & Twitter/@ZoeParamour

Posted: 22nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Donald Trump gets to work on his Nobel Peace Prize

trump bomb

 

Russian and US relations are are at all time low. Well, so say the papers. Two big players in the Balkanisation of the Middle East are at loggerheads. How did this happen?

Ever since Donald Trump became President stories of his ties with the Russian regime have ridden high on the news cycle. Talking and doing business with Russia were portrayed as wrong. We were even told that Trump was Vladimir Putin’s puppet. A video of Trump being urinated on by prostitutes in a Moscow bedroom was being used to blackmail the leader of the free world. Well, so they said. We never did see the tape. And big deal that a reality TV star should feature in such a sodden sex video. The footage might even explain why Kim Kardashian’s husband, Kanye Went, feels comfortable hanging out with The Donald.

What’s odd is that from being in Putin’s pocket, Trump is now striking a blow for freedom and the American way.

He achieved this by bombing a Syrian airbase. Dinners and sex are bad. Bombs are good. So goes the narrative. So much for Trump’s isolationism and withdrawal from the Middle East. To be Presidential you need to bomb the hell out of another country.

Interventionism is the American way. Trump is the commander in chief who can order the U.S. military into action whenever it suits his judgment. And if the enemy is horrific enough, it’s all good.

Trump was pricked into action by news that Syria’s President Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. The use of such weapons was President Obama’s red line. Assad is, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer, worse than Hitler – words that demean the Holocaust and echo the Left’s pre-bombing view that Trump is Hitler incarnate.

Interfering in someone else’s war means taking sides. In the hierarchy of killing machines, chemical weapons are worse than Syrian ‘rebels’ pulling up alongside busloads of evacuees and blowing up 126 of them – including 68 children. Pick your poison. We’re going with the rebels. They seem nice.

And so just a few months into office and Trump is morphing into his predecessors: positioning America as the word’s great therapeutic power and well-armed moral policeman. Vote Tump. Get Hillary Clinton. No need to explain your domestic policy and do the hard bits. Just look for something nasty on the world’s woodshed and blow it up.

And Trump’s got a taste for the Establishment’s way. No sooner had he fired missiles into Syria, then he dropped a massive bomb on Afghanistan. He’s rattling his sabre at North Korea. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the era of “strategic patience” is over. Pyongyang should prepare.

This is how you win the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama scored his in 2009. His administration oversaw the “expansion of the CIA’s targeted killing program, which the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates has killed between 2,528 and 3,648 individuals in Pakistan since 2004… Among those civilians, according to Amnesty International, was a Pakistani grandmother killed alongside 18 civilian laborers in a 2012 strike. The grandmother’s family came to Washington, D.C., last month to testify before Congress and urge an end to drone warfare.”

Trump’s no disruptor. He’s more of the same old. When it’s hard at home the President defines America by his adventures overseas. And the media always cheers.

 

Posted: 17th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Videos of children being terrified by the Easter Bunny

Did the Easter Bunny bring you the egg you wanted?

 

easter egg pooh winnie alien

 

Not everyone loves the Easter Bunny.  On YouTube there are lots of videos of well-meaning / unhinged parents scaring the crap out of their children by dressing up in bunny suits.

 

Posted: 16th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Huffington Post writer says white men should be denied the right to vote

intolerance Huffington Post white vote only GarlandIf you’re looking for something really dumb, reactionary, horrible and bigoted don’t bother with Kelvin Mackenzie. Look instead to the Huffington Post, where Shelley Garland puts her case for denying the vote to all white men.

Just when you thought we’d reached the nadir of self-righteous first world loathing someone digs their nails further into their flesh and pulls out a new nugget soaked in the puss of identity politics. She tells us – irony of ironies – that denying the vote to millions of people based on the colour of their skin and genitals would strike a blow FOR progress. Garland says you white men are the Untermensch. You are not an individual. You are an ambulatory cipher. You exist to represent. And you are a mistake in need of correcting.

And in case any enlightened women, blacks, Jews, Muslims and others want to support white male suffrage by voting one of these sub-humans into office, Garland says no white man will be allowed to hold any position of authority. They will also have their assets seized and “redistributed”.

She begins:

Some of the biggest blows to the progressive cause in the past year have often been due to the votes of white men. If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa’s biggest cities.

Upset that the democratic one adult one vote rule has produced the ‘wrong’ results, Garland would like to maintain the establishment by denying anyone white and male the legal means to bring about change. Garland wants a new caste system where she is at the top and her kind know best.

You can read more of her revolting opinion or just file Garland’s regressive, illiberal, anti-human nastiness with the thousands of other HuffPost and Guardian anti-egalitarian articles on how white people are stupid and that we should all be on our guard against – get this – Nazis.

 

Posted: 15th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Facebook and Google stuff the fake news turkey

Thanks to the Facebook system you can know what is and is not fake news. In “How to spot fake news” Facebook offers its millions of slack-jawed readers 10 tips for spotting fake news. One signal points to bad spelling. Apparently, all true news sources have impeccable spelling. The Guardian is doomed, as is anything seen through the prism of Google translate.

Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s newsfeed, explains the purge on fake news: “False news is harmful to our community, it makes the world less informed, and it erodes trust.” Doesn’t it make the world more informed, albeit with more questionable news and facts? Mosseri says Facebook’s missive is “an educational tool to help people spot false news”.

No longer a handy tool for bragging about your kids, reaching out to mates and simple, glorious entertainment, Facebook is now a text book from which we can all look and learn. It is devoid of bias. It just present the facts. Really.

And where one follows the fake news trend, another follows the follower. Google has created “Fact Check”. Click on it and Google will show you which stories have been checked and given the Google seal of approval. “We think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree,” says Google. “As we make fact checks more visible in search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions.”

Who checks the checkers? And why should consensus be more trustworthy than contrarianism?

 Adding:

The Californian tech giant announced on Friday that it is rolling out globally a feature in its search and news results that will assess the authenticity of information shown.

Google isn’t doing this fact-checking itself: Instead, it’s relying on respected independent fact-checking organisations like PolitiFact and Snopes to provide the info.

Any hint of bias there?

 

fake news

 

Investors should go long on shoe leather. All those internet hacks pounding the news beat to reach the root of the story will be a joy to watch. These New Cops will find the secret insider who demanded secrecy and hold them to the light. Good luck! (Tip 1: carry cash. Lots of it.)

Shannon Love adds:

Secrecy is so integral to the production of news stories that several recent scandals have occurred because even the editors and publishers do not always know who all of journalist sources are.

This system only works if the consumers trust the media to honestly and accurately transmit the information from the secret sources. Once an iota of doubt about the reporting arises both the story and the organization’s brand is in danger.

The internet era works against old fashion media secrecy. Many more people can ask many more questions about every story. Any potential inaccuracies are brought to light nearly instantly. The old media institutions are then required to justify their stories or risk losing the critical assumption of trust. But they often can’t justify their stories without burning their sources. Bloggers have no economic interest in secrecy. They can tell stories in a perfectly transparent fashion. This gives blogs a tremendous trust advantage.

The era of secrecy and unnamed sources will soon come to an end and with it the economic advantage that old media currently holds over the blogsphere. The days of major media will soon be over. The questions is what will replace it?

Facebook?

Unless fact checking is simply about using one (good) database to combat another (bad) database? Is news just part of the Internet of Things? Should we leave it to the robots and teccies to pump out a smart-phone ready story?

The late late Michael Crichton noted:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

There is great journalism out there. It’s rare. It’s often risky. And it’s expensive to produce. The internet came along and pulled Big Media’s curtain aside to see and show what was going on. That newspaper story wasn’t the cut-to-column conclusion to a huge work of investigation, experience and nous. It was the entire job. Unlike proper journalists in ties and brogues, bloggers just rolled out of bed and wrote. Aside from their mates, no-one trusted these pyjama-clad amateurs. But it worked because they used hyperlinks, photos, graphs and videos to show the story. Your no-authority blogger was just laying it out there like a huge plastic turkey on a plate. With social media, news and views are bigger and cheaper than ever to broadcast. Why buy a newspaper for the news when you can get that stuff anywhere? Buy it for the opinion – it’s why columnists get the big bucks. Of just take the free copy with your groceries, watch the best bits of TV news on Facebook and always be sure to look at the ads.

This could help us to understand why Big Media thinks fake news newsworthy. Fake news is nothing new. Why in the post-Brexit Age of Trump is fake news a hot topic? At a guess, I’d say it was in part about discrediting the popular vote – fake news equals fake votes – and because at a time of division, Big Media wants to straddle everything and corral everyone into its customer base. Trust us. Don’t trust them.

Posted: 14th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Pierre Omidyar’s new journalism is no truth serum for fake news

Combatting the rise of so-called fake news is billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who will pay $100 million to fund investigative journalism. Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, his philanthropic investment company, aims to give $1 billion to good causes.

The company could, of course, pay more taxes and let democratically elected Governments invest the money. In 2016, eBay paid £1.1 million tax on £1 billion of UK sales. But that’s another argument. Corporations pay tax on profits not revenues. And being tax efficient might be a badge of honour. This one is about fake news.

Omidyar aims to alter the “root causes of the global trust deficit”. Omidyar Network partner Stephen King adds: “A free and independent media is key to providing trusted information and critical checks and balances on those in positions of power.”

Good news, then. Free speech has a new champion. And he’s got very deep pockets and long arms.

But the Washington Post says the money is to “boost journalism and fight hate speech”. But hate speech is free speech. How can you talk truth to power it you can’t offend the powerful for fear of being called a hater? How can you encourage government accountability and transparency if you can’t say things they would rather no-one knew?

As for fake news, the incessant talk of its unbridled power to corrupt society speaks less of a mistrust in journalism (you can and should read more than one news source) than it does of the elite’s panic rooted in the popular vote for Donald Trump and Brexit. Unable to grasp the truth that the majority employed reason when they voted against the status quo, the condescending losers call them thick. No need to work out why the working classes grabbed their chance to revolt and say ‘enough’ when you can reduce them to pliable, unthinking goons. But the knowing are not without sympathy for the fools who got it wrong. “You deplorables didn’t understand you were voting badly because you were tricked by a Russian news bot and demented demagogues. We should take your right to vote away but let’s see if you can first be re-educated.”

The knowing should take care not to use any text book featuring dodgy dossiers about Weapons of Mass Destruction, Jews drinking gentile blood, Benjamin Franklin’s tales of platoons of “scalping” Indians working in league with King George III to slaughter patriots and the myriad other fake news stories the powerful have employed down the ages to prop up the establishment.

Nowadays anyone can pump out a bogus news story. The power has shifted.

So will a big investment in investigative journalism help us see the truth of things and reveal stories the powerful, famous, protected and criminal don’t want revealed? It can’t hurt. It’ll also be interesting to see which stories keep appearing at the top of Omidyar’s objective news cycle.

And amplifying alternative voices is a lot more attractive than any paternalistic regime acting as journalism’s gate-keeper, ‘checking the facts’ and telling us what is and is not true. There is always more than way to view a story. But if look hard enough, truth can be discovered. More news is good news.

 

Posted: 5th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit voters blamed for Croydon attack on Reker Ahmed

reker ahmed croydon brexit

Reker Ahmed

 

Having couched the brutal attack on three Kuridish-Iranian asylum seekers as a ‘hate crime‘ fuelled by racism and prejudice rather than individual malice, a violent assault triggered by Brexit, facts are emerging from the Croydon crime scene. It’s believed the mayhem began after the attackers learned the trio were asylum-seekers. But we don’t know what happened. Not yet.

Police have made 13 arrests. The youngest suspect in the attack that left Reker Ahmed with a blood clot on the brain and a fractured spine is a 15-year-old boy. We don’t know his politics.

The latest batch of alleged attackers charged with violent disorder are: James Neves, 22; Liam Neylen and Ellie Leite, both 19; Kyran Evans, 23; and a 17-year-old girl and the aforesaid 15-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Ben Harman, 20, and a 17-year-old boy, who also cannot be named, are accused of violent disorder and racially aggravated GBH. Mr Harman is also charged with dangerous driving. Add them to the list appearing before the Beak at Croydon Magistrates’ Court.

 

reker ahmed croydon brexit

Graffiti close to crimescene

 

We don’t know the suspects’ political beliefs or attitudes to immigration, the EU and multiculturalism. But the brutal crime has been used by Remain-supporting politicians to condemn all of the 17.4m aspirational, radical voters who sought self-determination, change, progress and a more accountable political class by voting for Brexit. As shadow home secretary Diane Abbott opined: “Sadly [this] is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes… With right-wing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate. We must make clear that there is no place for anti-foreigner myths, racism and hate in our society.”

But before you nutters who voted for Brexit beat yourself with sticks and wonder how exercising your democratic vote turned you into such a violent bigot worthy of contempt, a word on what hate crime is. According to the CPS: “A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.” If you think it’s a hate crime, it is one. It’s an imaginary and politicised crime, an instrument to be wielded by the knowing against naysayers, free speech and free thought. There are many offences covered by acts of bigotry and violence. But a hate crime frames everything in social attitudes.

 

reker ahmed croydon brexit

 

As for the victim, the BBC says Mr Ahmed is on the mend. Good news. We hope he makes a full recovery and helps to nail the bastards who attacked him. Police have still not had any luck contacting his family who they believe live in Iran. Meanwhile, a fundraising page set up to help him has raised more than £22,000.

As for the investigation, the Standard says “as many as a dozen or more suspects are through [sic] to be still at large”. Readers hear from Patson Ngoma, the landlord of The Goat, a pub close to where the crime began.“On the day all of us were having a nice time,” he says. “It was just a normal day like any other day. We didn’t hear anything, we didn’t know anything.”

There was no far-Right march on the day of the attack. The pub close to the scene of the attack is not a haven for racists. But it is lively. In 2016, the Croydon Guardian reported: “Councillors met on Monday to decide the fate of The Goat in Broom Road, which had been visited a number of times by police because of criminal and anti-social behaviour. One occasion, a firework was thrown at officers dealing with ‘hostile’ customers at the pub.”

Maybe it wasn’t a hate crime. Maybe Reka Ahmed was unlucky to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time? We’ll know more soon enough.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The righteous fight to give David Moyes a slap

Sunderland manager David Moyes is sorry for telling a BBC Sport reporter she “might get a slap” with her line of questioning. Following Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley, journalist Vicki Sparks asked the former Everton and Manchester United coach if the knowing club owner Ellis Short was looking on from the stands made him feel uncomfortable.

“No, none at all,” said Moyes. With the BBC cameras no longer filming, he continued: “Just getting a wee bit naughty at the end there so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman.”

But someone was filming on a camera phone.

 

 

Sparks made no complaints. But others were upset. The Sunderland spokesman tells us: “David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably.”

Vivki Sparks, a woman in a man’s world, where undemanding, bland, blokey banter is the rule, is robust. Let’s hope Moyes’ questionable humour doesn’t stymie her journalism and she keeps asking challenging questions. She’s not there to do David Moyes’ PR – there’s already a silo of clubby ex-pros sat on the BBC’s cosy Match Of The Day chairs to deliver anodyne match summaries and big up their mates. She’s also not there to be the BBC’s token ‘bird’ who needs looking after and watching lest a footballer say something inappropriate to her delicate ears. She’s a journalist after a story. That someone else chose to make her the story is odd.

And it isn’t over. The Football Association has invited David Moyes in for a light interrogation. They want to know if Moyes is a sexist. What they might be better off asking is why football is now so corporate that an off-the-record chat can blow up into a scandal. A pundit on Sky News this morning said Moyes “deserved to be reputationally damaged”, making this not a story of being civil to one another and gender equality – “even thought you’re a woman” is a crass comment –  but about branding.

Fans of rival clubs might laugh. One popular chant aimed at Sunderland fans chimes, “You all beat up your women, you’re all the fu**ing same.” So much for cheeky irreverence. Football is the nation’s role model. Mind your language. Football’s not a fun leisure pursuit and a chance to let off steam. It’s very serious stuff.

Posted: 4th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Turning Reker Ahmed’s attack into a moralising Hate Crime

The asylum seeker fighting for life after being beaten up in Croydon, South London, is 17-year-old Reker Ahmed. Initial reports stated that an 8-strong gang of youths kicked the Iranian unconscious after first asking him where he was from. The narrative was that the victim was targeted because he and the two friends with whom he was waiting for a bus just before midnight were asylum seekers. Politicians were quick to wrap the nasty incident into a story about Brexit. Leading Labour politicians blamed the Government and Brexit voters for creating an environment where this sort of thing is allowed to happen. It wasn’t violent thugs looking for a soft target. It was right-wing racists looking for migrants. It was not spontaneous. It was pre-meditated.

And then the facts started to emerge. Sort of.

Reker Ahmed suffered a fractured skull and blood clot on his brain. He’s in hospital.

The Metro said it wasn’t 8 people who chased and kicked Reker Ahmed Asylum in the head. Reker was “beaten by [a] mob of 20 people”. The Telegraph was quick to trump that with: “Mob of up to 30 joined ‘appalling’ attack on Croydon asylum seeker.” Why ‘appalling’ should be in inverted commas is unclear. Is the country now so dangerous that Telegraph readers need steerage when it comes to understanding ultra violence?

Police have been knocking on doors. Five people have been charged with violent disorder. The accused named so far are: brother and sister Danyelle, 24 and Daryl Davis, 20 (violent disorder); brothers Jack Walder (violent disorder) and his brother George Walker, who is charged with violent disorder and racially aggravated grievous bodily harm; and Barry Potts (violent disorder). All are local to the Croydon area.

Police have also charged a 23 year old man, a 17 year old girl and a 19-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder and violent disorder.

In all 11 arrests have been made. Others are being sought to help with police enquiries.

 

suspects croydon

Three people the Met police wish to identify and question.

 

Jacqui Hughes, prosecuting at Croydon Magistrates’ Court, sets the scene:

“Some people, including the defendants, come out of the Goat pub and approached the three victims and asked where they were from. George Walder then began punching the victim to the face. People from a white Vauxhall Corsa car pulled up and started chasing the victims.

“George Walder chased them across a roundabout to a bus stop where Mr Ahmed was punched and kicked. Mustafa and Mohammed ran off toward Bridal Road. Barry Potts was amongst those chasing across the roundabout and a fight broke out again. More people came out of the pub including the defendants and others. A large fight continued and Mr (Recker) Ahmed was punched and kicked. It dies down and people return to the pub and Jack Walder is seen putting on chains around his neck that he wasn’t wearing before. CCTV shows the group punch and kick him. Mr (Recker) Ahmed was missing two gold chains and a gold coloured watch.

“A large group continued to chase the victims down Shrublands Avenue. Mr (Recker) Ahmed is caught and thrown to the ground. People started punching and kicking him. Mustafa and Mohammed go into a nearby garden and throw stones at the group. This appeared to be an unprovoked and motiveless attack based solely on his ethnicity.”

Not a violent mugging, then? Not gang-bangers out for kicks, literally?

Det Supt Jane Corrigan says: “The gang actually asked where he was from before launching their attack, which is why we are treating this as racially motivated.” But maybe it wasn’t. Corrigan adds: “We are working with the local pub to try and establish where they all came from and what led to this horrible incident.”

She adds: “I genuinely don’t think people have gone out that night with the intention to commit this horrific attack. You’ve got a really difficult mix of youth, the time of night, alcohol, and it only takes one person to say something that could spark off something massive – which is what I think has happened on this evening. This is a random attack and the suspect and victims aren’t known to each other that we are aware of.”

In other words, the “institutionally racist” police service doesn’t know why Reker Ahmed was attacked and savagely beaten.

But here comes London Mayor Sadiq Khan to add his view. “Hate crime has no place in London, Britain or anywhere else,” he says, to say nothing of kicking a young innocent man in the head – which he doesn’t.  “Our communities will not be divided by those who seek to sow hate. And we will always take a zero tolerance approach to hate crimes of any type. Anyone who witnesses a hate crime should report it to the police immediately.”

A hate crime is a wonderfully nebulous thing. If you “think” it’s a hate crime, then it is one. Why is a new crime is needed when “violent disorder” and “attempted murder” seem to be do just fine? The suspicion is that hate crime means just what those in power want it to mean. Officials can use hate crime to tell the rest of how to behave. It’s a moral code dressed up as law to corral us into ‘acceptable’ forms of behaviour, speech and thought. The headline crime is not that an innocent man was badly beaten, but that when striking up conversation with their victim, the alleged criminals asked him where he was from. There is no word of what else they said, if they yelled “Get the asylum seeker” or some such phrase as they gave chase.

A friend was mugged in London not too long ago, The attacker asked him for the time. As he looked down at his watch, he was punched in the face. The attacker, now joined by two others, demanded the watch. Is it stretching things too far to suppose Reker Ahmed’s alleged attackers rather liked the look of his bling and the question “Where are you from?” was part of their modus operandi to getting it?

We don’t know. But call it a hate crime and a nasty incident is politicised and becomes a warning to us all.

Posted: 3rd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: Spain’s gypsy child kidnappers

The absence of anything beyond theorising has turned Madeleine McCann into a commodity. And like all goods and services, the media’s speculative assault on Madeleine McCann means ‘Our Maddie’ can be exported to become any nation’s very own Maddie. BrazilIsraelAmericaSpain, New Zealand, Panama, Greece and Holland have all had their versions of the media’s benchmark for missing children.

 

madeleine mccann daily star gypsies

 

On March 31, the Daily Star led with news of a “Spanish Maddie ‘kidnap'”. That the word “kidnap” was served to readers wrapped in inverted commas promised a story light on facts. Line one told us: “A Madeleine McCann lookalike has been grabbed by a ‘scar-faced’ gypsy” in Estepona.

The “British girl’s mum said the abductor grabbed her daughter’s hand and tried to take her away after promising sweets”. The man known locally as “Paco” was already with a young child, “whom he used to strike up a conversation with the girl”. Paedo gypsy child kidnappers? (Always the gypsies.) “When the girl’s mum began to scream the man with a scar on his head ran off.”

So not all that much like the vanishing of Madeleine McCann, then. Unless you, like the Star, considers it relevant that the “girl bears a resemblance to Madeleine McCann”.

 

maddleine mccann suspect

Is this Paco?

 

maddleine mccann suspect daily star

Paco’s dead?

 

In other ‘Their Maddie’ news, the Sun says the remains of “America’s Maddie McCann” have been found. This ‘Maddie’ was called Isabel Celis. Her parents last saw her alive at their home in Tuscon, Arizona, in April 2012. “The mysterious case sent shockwaves around the world,” says the Sun, “and bore a haunting resemblance to the disappearance of Maddie McCann”.

 

Isabel Celis

Isabel Celis

 

But kgun9, Tuscon’s local news station, makes no mention of Madeleine McCann at all as it delivers the grim news of a dead child. Isabel Celis was 6-years old at the time of her disappearance.

But the Daily Mirror does. “Harrowing 911 calls from devastated parents of ‘America’s Maddie McCann’ on morning she vanished after police find remains,” comes the headline. The paper invites its readers to listen in. Come on, readers, pull up an armchair and watch the parents.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fail: Labour MP and Brexit heroine Gisela Stuart is forgotten in Essex

gisela stuart Brexit funny

 

Top work in the Essex Chronicle, which captions the above picture: “Douglas Carswell with Boris Johnson and someone else on the Vote Leave tour bus.”

It’s factually correct. But that “someone else” happens to be Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP who spoke so eloquently in favour of the UK leaving the European Union.

It was Gisela Stuart who undermined the myth that a vote for Brexit was a vote for racism and only bigots wanted out.

Stuart understood that a vote for Brexit meant a vote for a more outward looking country, enabling the UK to trade with the EU and seek opportunities in Canada, Australia, India and elsewhere.

Stuart connected with working-class voters in a way that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his North London coterie of preaching patricians do not.

Stuart helped voters understand that a vote to make politicians more accountable was what a resilient, ambitious and aspirational demos deserved.

 

Spotter: @JoeTwyman

Posted: 30th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Mail’s Legs-It cover triggers a race to the bottom

When Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon had a chat in Glasgow, the Daily Mail noticed that both women had legs. It wasn’t just a meeting between two leaders of British political parties; it was a beauty contest. It was also an eye-catching front-page headline and photo. If newspapers set out to be relevant and capture their readers’ attentions, the Mail did a fine job of it.

But many leading voices – most of whom don’t much like the Mail and don’t buy it – were quick to accuse the paper of “sexism”.

 

legs sturgeon may daily record scotland

 

Reaction to the Mail’s cover has been loud. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn looked beyond mere policy and leadership to decry the picture’s “sexism”. “This sexism must be consigned to history,” Corbyn tweeted. Labour MP Harriet Harman found the Mail’s headline “Moronic!” She checked her calendar and added with not a muon of wit, “And we are in 2017!”

Conservative MP and former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan accused the paper of “appalling sexism”.

 

womack daily mail

 

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the The Green Party of England and Wales, ruled that the cover was “treating women with contempt”. She went further than most and complained to IPSO,  the Independent Press Standards Organisation. To her mind the over was “breaking the Editors’ Code”.

The Editors’ Code of Practice covers:

Accuracy
Privacy
Harassment
Intrusion into grief or shock
Reporting Suicide
Children in sex cases
Hospitals
Reporting of Crime
Clandestine devices and subterfuge
Victims of sexual assault
Discrimination
Financial journalism
Confidential sources
Witness payments in criminal trials
Payments to criminals
The Public Interest

Which of those topics deals with a picture of two clothed women and a silly comment on their legs? You can try and guess but you’d be hard pressed to nail it. Helpfully, Womack says the Mail broke clause 12 of the code which says editors must “avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”.

Of course, drawing attention to the leaders’ legs story gives Womack a chance to draw attention to herself. Like all other ‘Outraged of Westminster’ moaners, Womack uses the Mail to showcase her own clean lines. The paper must love it. At a time of falling circulations, the Mail is one newspaper still able to rile and matter. People really do care what it says.

The Mail online even features a report on its own front page:

 

mail legs

 

And what of Theresa May, the poor woman being objectified by the nasty Mail? She called the cover “a bit of fun”. Which it is.

In next week’s Mail: “Put ’em away Jeremy!”

Posted: 29th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea ‘nark’ sets the police on rude Manchester United supporters

Looking for offence in dust is a full-time job. Today brings news that one sensitive Chelsea fan has given full throat to his upset that Manchester United fans referred to the Blues as “Chelsea rent boys” during the teams’ recent FA Cup match.

Rent boys is an old-fashioned term, for sure, but it is entirely in keeping with the way football fans model chants to the tunes of 1960s songs. The correct and up-to-date term is “male sex worker”. And it’s not even a term of abuse. It’s a career choice and should be legalised and taxed.

manchester united

 

The Sun says a police officer told the complainant that the chant “Chelsea rent boys” is “unacceptable” – but not for the reasons mentioned above. It’s because calling Chelsea fans “Chelsea rent boys” is offensive and intended to cause upset.

Writing in the Sun, Mick Hume wonders: “What next? Chelsea fans probed for animal welfare offences for shouting ‘sheep, sheep, sheep-s******s’ at supporters of less fashionable provincial clubs?”

Winding up the opposition is part and parcel of the game. The FA says it is bent on “eradicating all discriminatory and offensive chanting from football”. Mick adds: “But equating discrimination and offence is like giving a player a red card for nutmegging an opponent.”

We’d advocate going for the full Cruyff turn. Go beyond those arcane and sanitised rent-boy chants. That one only upset one Chelsea fan. It’s time fans upped their game.

PS: Stand up for free speech and the right to be offensive by buying Boy Mick Hume’s book here.

 

Posted: 28th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Government uses Westminster terror attack to limit hard-fought freedom

The reaction to Khalid Massod’s murderous attack in London was clear: we will not let the heinous actions of one man threaten our hard won freedoms. Theresa May assured us that “Any attempt to defeat those values [liberty, democracy, freedom of speech, the spirit of freedom, the rule of law and human rights] through violence and terror is doomed to failure.”

 

whatsapp terror the sun

 

And then came news that two minutes before he attacked, Masood received an encrypted message via WhatsApp. Would knowing the contents of that message have helped the police stop Masood’s “depraved” and “sick” crime? The police weren’t watching him, so maybe not.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, like May, her eavesdropping predecessor in the Home Office who introduced the invasive Investigatory Powers Act, is no fan of privacy. Rudd says encryption represents a threat to national security. She wants apps like WattsAp to aid government investigations by letting them in to look around.

And so from not giving into terrorists by refusing to play the terrorists at their own game, the State soon begins to chip away at our liberties.

The Liberal Democrat’s home affairs spokesman, former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police and onetime London mayoral hopeful Brian Paddick says allowing the authorities to view encrypted messages would be “neither a proportionate nor an effective response” to the Westminster attack. “These terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and undermine our democratic society,” he says. “By implementing draconian laws that limit our civil liberties, we would be playing into their hands.”

The Sun uses its editorial to argue that Rudd is right. “Home Secretary Amber Rudd is right to read them [WhatsApp, Apple and Google] the riot act and tell them the terrorists should have no place to hide,” the paper thunders. “Because that’s just what WhatsApp – owned by Facebook – lets them do. By encrypting messages, it stops the police being able to track terror plots.They can’t even investigate in the ­aftermath of a terrorist atrocity.”

But “if you build a back door, it’s there for everybody to access,” says Tony Anscombe in the same paper. “And if you store that data you collect, even in encrypted form, how secure is it? All these data breaches we hear about show our privacy is regularly being breached by hackers, so the action suggested by the Home Secretary would only open us all up to further invasions of privacy.“

In 2012 the murderous Syrian government banned WhatsApp in order “to disrupt the rebel opposition’s cellular privacy”. In a dangerous place, privacy is paramount for many. It’s matter of life and death. “WhatsApp is very popular among Syrians, and particularly Syrian opposition activists,” says Tuma, a Syrian journalist. “Even Free Syrian Army soldiers are using the app.” The Syrian government wants to police communications because it fears the people. The UK government wants to police communications to protect the people. But protecting citizens from criminals soon slips into monitoring us all. A rogue State begins to look like the Free West.

May should wonder how she can champion free expression and free speech through observation and mistrust? With no private lives, no space to look at non-conformist things and express ideas, however mentally negligible and far-fetched, privacy become public spectacle. Afraid of standing out and attracting police attention, we ape each other’s movements, keeping in step with what the authorities deem acceptable and unthreatening.

You can still believe things but you dare not say them aloud. People become isolated, hidden behind a bland facade. Is that what not giving into the terrorists looks like?

Posted: 27th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Westminster terrorist can’t win if we carry on regardless

The man who killed and maimed in Westminster yesterday has not been named by the authorities yet. The British born killer’s actions were those of a coward.

Much of the talk is of not letting the terrorists win. It can sound trite and easy. But it’s spot on. But the way we go about achieving it differs.

 

westminster terror

 

All day the TV has been broadcasting pictures from Westminster. Things look wonderfully normal. Westminster Bridge is open to traffic and walkers again. Tourists with selfie sticks are snapping away. A man is stood on the crossing, not waiting for the ‘green man’ to flash, but dashing between vehicles. Lots of people are talking to one another.

There is no sense of fear in the air.

 

farage westminster terror immigration

 

Yesterday’s horror was the actions of one man armed with a car and knives. One human being caused havoc, ruining and ending lives. But the rest of us have carried on. Society has not changed.

 

arab news westminster killer

It’ll take more than that

 

London has not fallen, as the Arab News oddly declared on its front page. The beating heart of the UK was not stopped by a cowardly killer. One man will not put and end to democracy.

But some of us want to use the murders to promote our own prejudices – Muslims are inherently dangerous; immigration means death; only the State can protect us; the Jews did it; Islamophobics will race riot; white people have done worse; and more. They make misstep after misstep. The way to defeat the terrorists is to neuter them by celebrating freedom and trusting people. Don’t be like the killer by seek victimhood and fomenting fear and otherness.

You can keep calm and carry on. And as you carry on also keep having fun, keep being rigorous, energetic, saucy, curious, challenging, boisterous, vibrant, loud, welcoming, rude and defiant. The bigots hate that. Keep it up.

Posted: 23rd, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Irony Overload: Labour MP Yvette Cooper wants to save us from online anti-Semites and other virtual haters

Yvette Cooper wants to set you free from fake news, horrible words and unpleasant images online. The UK Home Affairs Select Committee, which Cooper chairs, challenged directors of big social media companies – Facebook’s Simon Milner, Google’s Peter Barron and Twitter’s Nick Pickles – to explain why their businesses engage in “commercial prostitution” by allowing ad placements alongside nasty videos made by, amongst others, neo-Nazis and white supremacist David Duke, whose video Jews admit organising white genocide Labour MP Cooper called antisemitic and shocking. “I think most people would be appalled by that video and think that it goes against all standards of common decency in the United Kingdom,” said Cooper.

The charge is that in equipping nasty videos with ads, the likes of YouTube (owned by Google) is funding hate because the publisher takes a slice of the ad revenue. But if hate’s not a crime, the problem is one of taste not law?

Overlooking the sensational news that a Labour MP is now an expert in spotting anti-semitism, and just marvel at an MP of any hue deciding and defining the limits of good taste.

Google’s Matt Brittin told the committee, “I want to start by saying sorry” for allowing tax-payer funded Government adverts to feature alongside extremist material on YouTube. Cooper seized on it. “They are right to apologise for failing to stop extremists making profits from hatred, and for making profits themselves from advertising on these videos,” she said. “They need to say whether they will be paying back any of that advertising revenue. And to answer our questions on what more they are doing to root out extremism or illegal activity on YouTube. Because they are still failing to do enough to remove illegal or hate filled content from YouTube.”

And there it was again, that casual merging of what is illegal and what is legal and nasty. Not all unpleasant things are criminal, nor should they be made so.

Bannon helped Cooper out. “There is no clear definition of hate speech in British law,” he explained at length. “We have our own guidelines around hate speech. The guideline that we follow, which is very close to the law, is that a general expression against a country, for example, wouldn’t qualify as hate speech, but if you are promoting or advocating violence against a particular group based on their race or ethnicity, that would constitute hate speech. … I am not going to defend the content of the video; I found it abhorrent and offensive. However, the important question, which relates to wider issues of freedom of expression, is whether that content is illegal and whether it breaks our guidelines. Our policy and legal experts arrived at the conclusion that it didn’t. I think everyone in this room would agree that it was deeply distasteful.”

Cooper replied: “How on earth is the phrase, ‘Jews admit organising white genocide’, as well as being clearly false, not a statement that is a malicious or hateful comment about a group of people solely based on race, religion or the other protected characteristics that your own guidelines and community standards say are unacceptable?’

Guidelines are not laws, Yvette. Google is free to set its own rules. As is the Commons. So when Labour MP Tam Dalyell, aka Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (9 August 1932 – 26 January 2017), warned in dead-tree magazine Vanity Fair of a “cabal of Jewish advisers” unduly influencing Tony Blair, he wasn’t censored and banned. When Tam told the Zayed Centre, an organisation “established in fulfilment of the vision of his highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan” – that “there were 400,000 Jews in Britain who enjoyed a very strong and stunning influence” he was not sacked.

The then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose Jewish ancestry (one grandparent too many, apparently) caused Dalyell to sense something sinister in his blood, offered the grown up response: “These remarks are too unworthy to be worth a comment.”

When old-Etonian Dalyell died, tributes were fulsome. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “The Labour movement has lost a giant… As Father of the House his wisdom was passed on to countless MPs.” Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Jew-sniffer had been a “good friend and comrade”. Other “friends” of Corbyn work at Hamas, whose mantra is the annihilation of Jews. As one Guardian writer notes, “Corbyn has associated with the worst type of antisemites: Holocaust deniers, men who think Jews made bread from Christian blood or were behind the 9/11 atrocities. No blood libel was too bloody for them. He keeps saying he’s not a racist, but he’s happy to keep racist company.”

James Bloodworth wondered: “Why is no one asking about Jeremy Corbyn’s worrying connections?” Having stated his belief that Corbyn is no anti-Semite, Bloodworth looked at context:

Corbyn wrote a letter defending Stephen Sizer, the vicar disciplined by the Church of England for linking to an article on social media entitled 9/11: Israel Did It. [He] Presented a call-in programme on Press TV, a propaganda channel of the Iranian government which was banned by Ofcom and which regularly hosts Holocaust deniers.

Is Corbyn advertising these people by being among them? Should he be blocked from doing so, lest his meeting with bigots be seen as an endorsement in the same way anyone watching an advert for Marks and Spencer’s on a jihadi recruitment drive fall into thinking M&S is enlarging its underwear range and selling thermal suicide vests in all sizes? Should Labour Party members get their money back when the context gets nasty?

Or are well robust grown ups, who enjoy freedom of expression and the right to offend, who baulk at the idea of State censors demanding we adhere to their interpretation of “common decency”, those prudes who trammel free speech and treat people as a problem to police and patrol?

Let’s trust that we are.

Posted: 21st, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0