We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
The video as you ride up the lifts inside the new World Trade Center affords you a timelapse view of the changing New York skyline. You even get a glimpse of the doomed north tower:
The New York Times reports:
There would have been no way around Sept. 11, 2001, said David W. Checketts, the chairman and chief executive of Legends Hospitality, the company chosen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2013 to operate the three-level observatory.
“The event is certainly a key part of history,” he said. “We did not think you could ignore it. Having it appear in the year it did and disappear in the year it did was the respectful way of addressing the fact that it was part of the landscape.” Two World Trade Center, the site of the original observatory, is also visible.
Spotter: New York Times
Belle Gibson does not have brain cancer. She never did. Belle Gibson is a “wellness blogger” who is very well indeed.
Gibson launched a global “lifestyle and wellness” business on the back of claims that her brain tumour was cured by natural therapies and vegetables. Now she says:
In an interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Ms Gibson was asked if she had, or ever had cancer. “No. None of it’s true,” she told the magazine.
So. What about the money she’s earned? Says Belle:
“I don’t want forgiveness. I just think [speaking out] was the responsible thing to do. Above anything, I would like people to say, ‘OK, she’s human.’”
After 16 years apart a brother and sister have been reunited on Tinder, the dating app. He looked at her. She looked at him. Thoughts turned to sex. Then they discovered they were siblings. But this isn’t Motherwell, so nothing sexual happened.
Via Mic reports:
De Vries, now 24, eventually moved back to the Netherlands for school, and in March, like any other young adult, joined Tinder and started swiping.
“The first time I swiped her profile I had absolutely no idea… To be honest, it hasn’t been on my mind in the past few years after Maarten, my brother, and I finished a failed search for Josephine a few years ago.”
And yet he happened to swipe right, assuming Egberts was just a nice stranger. So de Vries started talking to her like anyone else. “In our first conversation I was actually flirting with her so the conversation was very superficial,” he said.
“In our next conversation, I started to get some clues and figured she might actually be my sister. This kind of shocked me, so I decided not to contact her for a few days.”
But after the shock and physical attraction had been given time to cool off, they have met.
Here’s a cautionary tale for anyone seeking to get pregnant via the turkey baster method. Meet Robert Boardwine. He wants custody of his child. The Associated Press reports on the friends who fell out over what to name their giblet:
According to the court, Joyce Rosemary Bruce wanted to have a child she could raise on her own. Boardwine supplied the sperm in a plastic container. Bruce transferred it to a turkey baster, which she used to inseminate herself.
Bruce argued that Boardwine had no parental rights under the state’s assisted conception law. But the appeals court said Tuesday that the law applies only to pregnancies resulting from the use of medical technology, and the use of a common kitchen implement at home doesn’t qualify.
That baster is effective, but it’s no high-tech device.
Meanwhile, we wonder what Thanksgiving will be like for a with a child feuding parents and a weird empathy with the roasted bird…
Spotter: The Washington Post
Hats off to Animal New York and Josh Simenhoff for flying a pro-marijuana banner over Manhattan. The legend referenced New Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose own history of toking weed never did his career any harm, and a banner ordering the mayor to “get off the pot” and quit.
The banner was due to fly earlier but because of bad weather the launch date was put back to 4/20. But that date came and went. So. The banner flew on 4/21.
Still. It was fun, as AnimalNY reports:
And so on April 21, three months after we intended it to, our tongue-in-cheek, pro-cannabis banner finally hit the Manhattan skyline. After all of the back-and-forth, it was still worth it. “I did this in the pursuit of happiness and I’m proud to be an American,” said Simenhoff. Ditto for us. Also, legalize weed.
Because weed never did Blasio ever harm, nor any of his politico pals, like Barack Obama, David Cameron, Bill Clinton (who took weed by osmosis), Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo and George W. Bush. Unless, of course, it made them nuts..?
America is all about equlity. There’s even a gay version of tits-in-vests chain Hooters. It’s not called Cooters (blame Old Mr Anorak for that arcane suggestion), Knobs or Gonads. It’s called… Tallywackers. And if you answer this ad on Craigslist., who can be catching a chill in Dallas’ “Newest and most exciting place to be”.
Tallywackers are looking for “bartenders, servers, cooks, bus boys, and hosts”.
Maybe when you’re there you can ask who came up with that name and if they were listening to this at the time. Pass the banana a la mode, big boy:
Grandpa is dead. Larry Upright’s dying wish is that you do not vote for Hilary Clinton:
Fancy a career in journalism? Before taking the plunge, speak with the Daily Breeze’s Rob Kuznia. He won the Pulitzer Prize alongside Rebecca Kimitchand Frank Suraci stories on corruption in the Torrance, California school district. (Winnings: $10,000.) He’ll tell you that he’s now working as a publicist.
The LA Observed notes:
We should note that Kuznia left the Breeze and journalism last year and is currently a publicist in the communications department of USC Shoah Foundation. I spoke with him this afternoon and he admitted to a twinge of regret at no longer being a journalist, but he said it was too difficult to make ends meet at the newspaper while renting in the LA area.
So. About that career in journalism…
Westminster paedos: a look at the reporting on allegations VIPs abused children and got away with it in the 1960s-1980s. All eyes are on Greville Janner, the Labour peer who denies any wrongdoing.
The Daily Express (page 11): “‘Doubt’ over the dementia of peer let off child sex charges”
How far gone is Lord Greville Janner? How ill is too ill?
OUTRAGE over the failure to prosecute alleged paedophile peer Greville Janner grew yesterday after it emerged he wrote to the House of Lords a fortnight ago, despite claims he is suffering from dementia.
Those claims of dementia have been substantiated by at least four medical experts. They say the 86-year-old peer is too old to understand any trial of the facts. But this is interesting:
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders also faced accusations of double standards and a “cover up” because several defendants with dementia have been jailed for sex crimes in recent years.
Lord Janner, 86, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009 and took a formal leave of absence last October.
On April 9 this year he replied to a House of Lords query about his retirement with a personally signed letter asking to continue his break.
The fact the Labour peer was able to sign the statement cast doubts on the DPP’s decision not to charge him with 22 child sex offences due to the “severity” of his dementia.
Dealaing with those points in turn: if other dentaia sufferers have been put on the stand for their alleged crimes, then why not the good Lord? And is the ability to sign a letter proof that you could follow complex legal arguments? Surely not. Dementia is often characterised by anosognosia –the lack of awareness of one’s disease.
Accusations that the peer is being protected by the Establishment grew after it emerged at least 19 men with dementia have been convicted of child sex offences since 2010, including 10 in the past year.
We don’t know the details of those cases (we’ll look later). Comparing one patient to another is fraught with difficulty. And we’re not told how many dementia partients were deemed unfit to take the stand. But a quick look reveals a few cases:
In 2013, Hans Lipschis, 94, was not tried for his life as an alleged former SS guard at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.
In 2011 a judge said John Hammond who killed his wife was unfit to stand trial.
In 2014, a farmer accused of murder was deemed to be unfit for trial.
Are sex crimes worse than murder?
The Express hears from Peter Saunders of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood:
“This letter is a clear blow to the lie that this man is suffering. If he understands something as important as taking leave from the British legislature then surely he is fit to stand trial. It stinks of an Establishment cover-up. There is unease that someone as influential and high profile as Lord Janner will not face trial when Joe Bloggs has.”
No. The ability to sign a letter is not proof of sound mental health. But what the officials said is lamentable. Hold you nose:
… the CPS judges that mistakes were made in the decision making at the time by both the Leicestershire police in 2002 and the CPS in 1991 and 2007. Lord Janner should have been prosecuted in relation to those complaints.
It is a matter of deep regret that the decisions in relation to the previous investigations were as they were. Had the previous decisions been to prosecute, as they should have been, Lord Janner would have had the opportunity to challenge the evidence and defend himself through the trial process, with a jury ultimately deciding on his guilt or innocence some years ago. Victims of the alleged offences have been denied the opportunity of criminal proceedings in relation to the offences of which they have complained.
It is of obvious and particular concern that such proceedings did not take place as a result of what the CPS now consider to be wrong decisions. In order to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice and to seek to learn appropriate lessons, the CPS has asked retired High Court Judge, Sir Richard Henriques, to conduct a thorough and independent review into the CPS decision making and handling of all past matters relating to this case; and to make whatever recommendations he considers appropriate. He has agreed to undertake this task.
As the past gets reviewed, the Express focuses on the now:
Page 12: “Janner case gets murkier”
“If he is too ill to stand trial he should have resigned from the Lords”
That seems a fair point. The Lord’s is no care home. It is a legislative body.
At present we are just taking the DPP’s word that he mentally unfit to stand trial despite evidence to the contrary
Is the Express suggesting some kind of public test, whereby Lord Janner could do a Q & A or undergo a series of cognitive tests, perhaps on Jeremy Kyle’s TV show? A letter is the Express‘ “evidence to the contrary”. But evidence to the fact comes from four medical experts. And what of those who know him? Are they all wrong?
Daily Mirror (Page 6): “Lord Janner: New child abuse ‘victims’ emerge”
Victims is in inverted commas. Nothing has been proven. The judiciary won’t allow it.
Leicestershire Police had already traced 25 potential victims during a two-year probe codenamed Operation Enamel. A force spokesman said: “A number of alleged victims have come forward to the Operation Enamel team following the announcement last week.”
Tom Pettifor turns to the Janner’s health:
Records show he claimed £2,500 for 15 House of Lords appearances in the month before a search of his home. In total, he attended on 138 days in 2013, but has not returned since December 18, 2013, a day after police completed a two-day search of his home.
And that letter:
It has been reported he wrote to Lords clerks earlier this month indicating he did not wish to step down as a serving peer.
John Mann, the Labour candidate contesting Bassetlaw, Notts said: “I don’t see how you can sign a document relating to membership of the House of Lords if you have dementia.”
The Mirror then adds:
He was diagnosed with dementia in 2009, and his condition is thought to have deteriorated since he became a suspect.
Or to put it a less laoded way: hid dementia has worsened with time. Is the Mirror just wafting the stink?
Daily Mail (Page 24): “”Dementia peer who’s too ill for sex abuse trial’ signed letter to Lords 12 days ago”
We hear once more from Pete Saunders: “…if he isn’t compos mentis, there’s no way he should be anywhere near our legislature.”
The Mail Online has examples of people with dementia who were tried for alleged sex crimes. But are their cases like the allegations made against Lord Janner?
Last summer Stephen Turner, who has bipolar disorder and fronto-temporal dementia, which leads to changes in personality, was found unfit to stand trial but found to have carried out a number of child sex offences.
He had performed a sex act on himself in front of children in a theme park three months after police found a cache of child porn on his computer, and was sentenced to a hospital order.
The Stoke Sentinnel has the facts.
Prosecutor John Butterfield QC said Turner was a patient at Florence House, a mental health hospital in Porthill, when on March 18 last year staff took him his to his old address in Hilton Road, Stoke, so he could collect some personal belongings. But a social worker spotted he was packing pornographic material. When they returned to Florence House Turner’s case was locked in an office. It was found to contain adult and child pornography in magazines and photo albums.
Police searched the defendant’s room and found more illegal images. In total they recovered 163 images at level one; 83 at level two; 32 at level three and 118 at level four. Turner made no comment to all questions put to him in his police interview.
He remained a resident at Florence House and on June 27 he was treated to a day out at Trentham Gardens. At 11am he went to the toilet at the same time as a group of 13-year-old boys on a school trip.
Mr Butterfield QC said: “Two boys saw the defendant moving from urinal to urinal. He then turned and performed a sex act on himself. One boy noted he was walking towards them as he did that.”
He was bang to rights. He was a clear and present danger to the public. The DPP says Lord Janner offers no threat.
Last March a former director of the Ulster Museum in Belfast, John Nolan, was convicted of abusing a little girl but given a suspended sentence. His defence QC told the judge that sending his client to prison ‘would be a death sentence and Judge Piers Grant agreed that although his offending deserved a prison sentence he would ‘exercise considerable mercy’.
The Belfast Telegraph:
Judge Grant told the court he was satisfied, given the historical nature of the offences and Nolan’s clear record, that he was not a “sexual predator”. He said that given those factors, his age and ill-health, Nolan did not pose a significant risk of harm to the public by reoffending.
As well as the suspended jail term, the judge ordered Nolan to sign the police sex offenders’ register for 10 years and imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
In February 2014 David Massingham was deemed unfit to stand trial back in February because of his memory loss and confused state. But a jury at Teesside Crown Court still heard his case and convicted him of ten indecent assaults and an offence of a serious sexual assault committed more than 30 years ago. He was also detained in a hospital.
David Massingham, 77, who has dementia, was detained under the Mental Health Act as a judge said he was still a risk to children
In 2012 Gerald Longman, now 81, was spared jail despite sexually and physically abusing his daughters, who waived their anonymity to say they wished he was dead. Longman was given an absolute discharge at Taunton Crown Court as he had been deemed unfit to stand trial due to dementia – but a jury listened to the facts and ruled he had committed the crimes.
This case seems more relevant:
Even though Longman was declared ‘unfit to stand trial’ due to his dementia, a jury listened to the facts and ruled he had committed the crimes.
They deemed him guilty of four indecent assaults, two rapes and inciting a girl under 14 to carry out an indecent act.
Judge Graham Hume Jones said his hands were tied and that he was unable to impose a tougher sentence The judge said: “It’s most unfortunate there’s nothing I can do in the circumstances. I have no doubt that all those who are listening to this case will keep a very close eye on the defendant in the future.”
Based on their knowledge of their father’s health, they are sceptical of claims by Longman, who committed his crimes when the family lived in Wellington, Somerset, that he was so affected by dementia that he was unfit to stand trial and therefore may avoid prison.
Let’s look once more at the official decision not to presecute Janner:
The medical evidence establishes both that there is no current risk of re-offending identified and that there is no likelihood of the defendant recovering from his medical condition (and thus that there is no future risk of reoffending either). Balancing these factors with those in favour of prosecution, the balance is that there is not a public interest in commencing criminal proceedings in this case.
Lastly, the Daily Telegraph looks at Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, who “spent almost £7,000 of taxpayers’ money on business class flights around the world while the Crown Prosecution Service headed towards crisis over Greville Janner and doomed trials of journalists.
Ms Saunders, who is paid £200,000 a year, flew business class to New York, Washington, Dubai and the Caribbean, and also jetted to Madrid, Rome and The Hague for publicly-funded trips while the CPS spent a year contemplating whether to prosecute Lord Janner…
We’re told that one taxi ride seh took was billed at £102.
A spokesman for the CPS said the DPP was allowed to charge business class fares for long haul flights when she was required to work immediately after landing. The CPS said staff were allowed to take taxis in certain circumstances, such as when heavy luggage or large quantities of papers had to be transported. The spokesman added: “Crime is international and so is the work of the DPP in combatting it. The DPP’s travel overseas helps the CPS to join forces with other countries so we can reduce serious crime both in the UK and around the world.”
Lord Janner maintains his innocence.
Such are the facts…
Anorak’s Other Parent of the year is Rachel Lynn Lehnardt, the 35-year-old Georgia mother who hosted an unforgettable party for her 16-year-old daughter, the oldest of her five children, ages 4, 6, 8, 10, and 16.
Party games included: smoking weed, boozing, naked Twister, sex with an 18-year-old guest and more sex with her daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend. Lehnardt says Teen Number 2 worke her in the middle of the night. “She stated at first she thought it was the 18-year-old from earlier,” the police report stated, “but then realized it was the 16-year-old who was in fact her daughter’s boyfriend.”
Lord Greville Janner: a look at reporting on the Labour peer accused of child abuse. His family maintain his innocence.
The Daily Mirror has nothing say on Janner. The paper has been hot on the story of Westminster VIP paedos. But not a word today. And there’s not a not a word on Janner in the Daily Star and Daily Express.
The Sun (page 11): “Did Janner get his senile trick off Saunders?”
That question is asked by columnist Kelvin Mackenzie. Is he saying that Janner, a member of the magic circle, has curable dementia, like Ernest Saunders?
MacKenzie recalls Ernest Saunders:
You may just remember he was the Guinness chief executive jailed for five years for manipulating his company’s share price ahead of a takeover. The reason Mr Saunders became famous in the late 80s was not due to his “crime” but because he was freed by the Appeal Court after serving only ten months of his sentence as he was diagnosed with pre-senile dementia associated with Alzheimer’s…
Miracle upon miracle, the symptoms soon disappeared and in no time at all he was in good enough shape to take up his business career again.
Saunders’ recovery was, indeed, remarkable. But what of Janner, who has Alzheimer’s disease?
[he] won’t ever face a court because that idiot Alison Saunders, who runs (for now) the Crown Prosecution Service, believes that his dementia is too advanced for him to have a fair trial.
I don’t believe a word of it.
Having set themselves up, the Times was reeled in.
The article made it into the paper. Lil Ugly Mane was born:
The article continued:
As for whether he still craved cigarettes, “the only thing that’s really missing is feeling like your entire mouth is coated in dirt,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of people who don’t smoke pick them up because it looks cool. But for every person I’ve met like that, I’ve met another using it like it’s a medicine against cigarettes.”
So much for subbing at The New York Times.
The New York Times has since issued a correction and removed the section about “Joe Stevonson” from the online article.
Annabel Beam story is told in Miracles From Heaven. Annabel Beam is the 12-year-old schoolgirl who met Jesus Christ. No, not in a different life; in this one back in 2012.
Three years ago Annabel was playing with friends by her Texas home. She fell 30 feet inside a hollowed-out cottonwood tree. She survived. She said that while in the tree she had sat on Jesus’s lap.
“I remember it was really bright and I saw my Mimi (grandmother) who had died a couple of years back, and that’s how I knew that I was in heaven… And I asked Jesus if I could stay and He said: ‘No Annabel, I have plans for you on Earth that you cannot fulfill in heaven.’ Then he said whenever the firefighters get you out there will be nothing wrong with you.”
The hunt for Westminster VIP paedophiles has focused in recent days on Lord Grenville Janner, who says he’s innocent of allegations that he abused boys dating back to the 1960s. Janner, a Labour peer, and his accusers won’t get their days in court because the good Lord has dementia and Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, says he won’t be able to understand what’s being put to him.
The Sunday Times says this has resulted in a row:
ALISON SAUNDERS, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), last night faced demands for a judge-led review of the decision making that has spared Lord Janner child abuse charges and resulted in a string of failed prosecutions against journalists.
One or two words can make or break a news report. So. To the story of the man spotted at a bus top by London’s Grove Park station. A woman has seen the man, described as white, late middle-aged and balding. The woman says:
“When he saw me, and I saw him, I started running and he started making the most awful grunting sounds and became quite aggressive with his willy. Even though he never chased me, who’s to say he won’t chase the next young woman and do something more aggressive.”
The Met Police spokesman adds:
“We were called around 12.36am on April 16 to reports of a naked man outside Grove Park station playing with himself. When officers arrived the man had made off, the area was searched but officers were unable to locate the man.”
It’s the part about being “quite agressive” with his penis.
Of course, there is a perfectly innocent explanation for his antics. There always is. The official advice is that if you want to hail a bus and attract the attention of the bus driver racing to the depot, first raise your hand, then two hands and only then your knob, at first politely and only then when ignored use aggresion…
“It was an error of judgement,” says Dean Walton of the Epping Ongar Railway, Essex, a vintage railway on which riders can “experience the romance of travel in bygone times”.
“Earlier this year we took a decision to allow an adult film, subject to certain conditions, to be filmed on the railway. We are sorry that our decision may have caused offence. We can confirm that we have put in place a policy to refuse any further approaches for this kind of production.
“Late last year we were contacted by the producers wanting to make this film. Having been assured that the company complies with UK legislation relevant to the porn industry and that it would not be possible to identify Epping Ongar Railway as part of the film we decided to let filming go ahead.”
It tuns out that railway buffs can indentify the Epping Ongar service if they freeze frame the Brazzers porn film at just the right moment – what train enthusiasts call ‘the good bits.’ Looking past the young woman dressed as a schoolgirl having sex with a number of train passengers on the vintage seats, fans can see the steam and hear the ancient cry “all aboard!”
In the 28-minute film, a woman in “schoolgirl” costume reportedly boards one of the attraction’s vintage trains before having sex with a man on the seats.
The trains are often used by members of the public and for special family events.
The Epping Ongar Railway has issued an apology following criticism of the move.
Shona Banda has a problem of location. Her Chrohn’s disease can be legally treated with cannabis in Colorado, where she’d lived for some time. Shona uses cannabis oil. She says it helps. But in the State of Kansas, her current home, using cannabis for the same condition makes her a criminal.
Trouble began when Shona’s 11-year-old was at his Kansas school’s drug education class. She tells Ben Swann that the lad told the drugs expert: “Mom calls it cannabis and not marijuana.” Says Shona: “He let them know how educated he was on the facts.”
Is there any chance that the Pope can be atad less, you know, Catholic?
In an unprecedented move, more than 100 Catholic leaders in San Francisco have called on Pope Francis to remove the city’s archbishop over his “intolerant” views on abortion and gay marriage.
Several heads of Catholic schools, church volunteers and former board members of Catholic charities have sent an open letter to the local paper addressed to the Holy See, asking that it replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone with someone who shares their progressive ideas.
The open letter stated that the Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened by Cordileone’s “single-issue agenda and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow under his supervision” and that San Francisco deserves a leader focused on service and diversity.
If only there were other religions tmore tolerant on abortion…
Daily Mail Death Watch: a week of Daily Mail stories about getting ill and dying…
Page 11: “Phone-obsessed under 30s left battling back pain – British Chiropractic Association says lots of younger people are getting back pain from technology.”
This is the same British Chiropractic Association who told the Mail in 2014:
“Back pain? Don’t use your laptop or tablet in bed: Chiropractors say people who use devices forget posture causing problems and poorer sleep quality”
“Sitting hunched over a computer screen for hours at a time means three-quarters of us now suffer from back pain, according to the British Chiropractic Association.”
“Four in ten teens have suffered back or neck pain from spending too much time slouched in front of the TV or a computer screen, according to the British Chiropractic Association.”
And in 2013:
“Video games, tablets and smartphones are ‘a back injury time bomb’ for children who are increasingly sedentary, study warns”
Westminster paedophiles: a regular look at reporting on allegations of VIP child abuse in the mainstream media.
The story of Labour peer Lord Greville Janner of Braunstone, QC, features prominerly on the cover of the Times and Independent. Police have investigated complaints made by 20 alleged victims who claim Janner sexually abused them in care homes for boys. The Times leads with news that senior lawyers wanted Janner charged with 16 offences against nine alleges victims. The claims date back to the 1960s. He won’t be in court because Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, announced that prosecuting the peer was not in the public interest because Janner’s dementia means he would unable to follow proceedings.
No trial. But still Janner is the subject of a Indy’s frontpage that is a little suggestive. The puppies can wait – do you want to see my mouse?
The Indy says that Justice has been denied the victims. The alleged victims have been badly treated.
The Indy then labels Janner a hypocrite:
Greville Janner has criticised the Old Bailey jury system for allowing an 86-year-old man to escape being questioned in 1997 over Nazi atrocities that had taken place in 1941 and 1942.
Szymon Serafinowicz, a retired carpenter from Surrey, was arrested in 1995 as the first British person under the War Crimes Act in connection with murders of three Jewish people during the Second World War.
He had denied the allegations but could not answer questions and put forth his case during a trial due to having dementia.
Mr Serafinowicz was a former police chief in Nazi-occupied Belarus during World War II. The 86-year-old was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. After the judge’s ruling, he died seven months later.
The JC reported in 2012:
When Sobibor guard John Demjanjuk was found guilty of war crimes at the age of 91, Lord Janner expressed the view that “no concessions to age or the time that has passed can be made when it comes to justice for crimes of this magnitude”…
In July, Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatáry was charged in Hungary over alleged involvement in the deportation of 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz. He is 97. “I don’t care what bloody age they are,” says Lord Janner. “These criminals should have been dealt with years ago.”
True enough. But ‘justice denied’ can also be justice denied for the accused.
In 2007, comedian Peter Serafinowicz spoke out:
“These horrific allegations were made in a book written by a former friend of my grandfather’s. My grandfather completely refuted the allegations. Unfortunately, due to a degenerative illness, he was denied the opportunity to demonstrate that there was no truth in the allegations by presenting his case.”
Lord Janner is 86-years-old. He has been suspended by the Labour Party. The Indy lists his would-have-been charge sheet:
He would have been charged with 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988; two indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988; four counts of buggery of a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987; and two counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988.
Are we to assume guilt?
The alleged facts are being aired.
In the Mirror, Michael Allan, who has accused the peer of sexually assaulting him as a child, says he feels “violated all over again” that the case is being dropped. His claims should be tested in court as they are being broadcast in the media. The media offers neither closure nor justice. It offers only noise and exposure.
The Guardian writes:
Janner, who is 86 and widowed with three children, has strenuously denied the allegations. He did so in the 1990s in the House of Commons after he had been identified during the trial of Frank Beck, a care home warden suspected of abusing around 200 children between 1973 and 1986.
The new police investigation has gone where the first in 1991 was not allowed to. In 1991, according to Mick Creedon, now chief constable of Derbyshire, who was then a detective sergeant on the Beck case in Leicestershire, senior officers ordered him neither to arrest Janner nor search his London flat.
This time Janner’s London home and office in the House of Lords was searched after police obtained warrants from a court. But Janner was never interviewed because of his ill health – which angered officers working on Operation Enamel.
Detectives are even more angry with the decision from Saunders not to prosecute and have said their investigation will continue.
The Telegraph says “Keith Vaz, currently the Labour candidate for Leicester East, said in 1991 that his friend had been ‘the victim of a cowardly and wicked attack by people who simply did not care what damage they did to him’…. Today Ms Saunders admitted there had been sufficient evidence to charge Janner in 1991, and that it had been a ‘mistake’ not to put him on trial.”
Janner should have been tried without sufficent evidence to secure a prosecution? Is the justice system simply about the police and CPS looking righteous and not part of the problem? Is reporting on allegedly heinous crimes about scoring party political points?
Note: you can read Vaz’s words in the the context of Janner’s address to the Commons in 1991 debate on Contempt of Court here.
Anyone involved in a trial can make any allegations they wish about anyone else—provided that the judge cannot disallow them as irrelevant—however harmful, horrendous and vile the lies may be. Those whose representations are attacked are forbidden even to deny the allegations. To do so would be a criminal offence—contempt of court.
As the House knows, Frank Beck of Leicester was convicted of a series of filthy and most serious crimes and received what must be a near record sentence—five life terms and a total of 24 years’ imprisonment. He called ***** ****** as a witness. Long ago, when ******* was a deprived youngster living in a Leicestershire children’s home, my family and I tried, unsuccessfully, to help him. Soon after, he was placed in a home run by Beck. After 15 years of Beck’s influence—including a period when ****** lodged in Beck’s private home—and after I had refused to provide Beck with references and shortly before Beck’s trial was due to begin, they combined to make disgraceful, contemptible and totally untrue allegations of criminal conduct against me.
Their motive was made blazingly clear by a letter that I received only yesterday from a former cellmate of Beck’s. I do not know the man, but he took it on himself to communicate with me. He writes that Beck told him that he—Beck —was going to frame me. According to Beck, that would take the light off him. To that end, Beck had enlisted the help of ******. The former cellmate also wrote that the police knew that he was willing to give evidence to that effect if the Crown thought it necessary to call him. In the event, it did not, but the allegations against me were precisely as the prosecution alleged in Beck’s trial —an attempted diversion from the reality of Beck’s guilt. Both verdict and sentence showed—happily—that the attempt failed totally.
226 However, is it not horrendous that Beck and ****** were able to make such terrible and lying accusations against me in court and that the media could, and with honourable exceptions did, report these falsehoods, all under the cloak of absolute privilege? I had effectively no legal rights in the matter, and I was not allowed even to nail the lies. No wonder many people were mystified by my uncharacteristic silence —it was imposed by the cruel operation of the rules on contempt.
Happily, I am a fairly tough character. I have been able to ride out the agony on this ordeal in good heart. But it has not been easy. As a Member of Parliament, I am now well placed to fight back. That would not have applied to any of our constituents or to any other citizens placed by law in this impossible and unjust situation.
The injustice was both apparent and real. It imposed a special burden on my wife, on my children, on my mother and my sister and on all my family. I pay my loving tribute to them for their staunch and cheerful support during our shared ordeal. I also thank the many hundreds of people who have so kindly written, spoken to or telephoned us to express their affectionate encouragement. Several of them were themselves victims of Frank Beck. I salute their courage and send them my profound sympathy. We ourselves have received nothing but kindness, confidence and concern. We are very grateful. We are deeply blessed with our friends, not least those on both sides of the House and our friends in Leicester, West.
Surely there should now be a swift review of these injustices in our law and its practice. Surely it must be wrong for people who have no part in a trial to be open to venomous, preposterous attacks, with no remedy, no recompense and, above all, no right of reply. Surely others should not be forced to suffer as we have done. If such a review does lead to a just and useful alteration in the operation of the law of contempt, we shall not have suffered in vain.
Ed Miliband Watch: Is the Labour Party leader a vote winner or a vote loser? The Daily Mirror seems to have answered that question. This week, Miliband has been noticeable by his abscence for the Labour Party-supporting newpaper.
Monday: Ed is on the front page. He is all over pages 4 and 5. He is there again on Page 7.
Tuesday: Mirror readers get two big photos of Tory leader David Cameron. Miliband is now only on Page 6 (left-hand page).
Wednesay: No Miliband. But there is a big photo of Samantha Cameron.
Thursday: Cameron on the cover and all over Page 5. Ed Miliband photos there are none.
Friday: Cameron is on the cover once again. But Ed is back. Well, his back in on Page 4 (see photo above).
That’s one front page for Ed and two for Dave in the Mirror.
PS: This week Miliband’s been on the front-page of the Tory-supporting Sun three times.
Verdict: The tabloids think Ed Miliband is a vote loser for Labour.
Sterling Watch: The Daily Raheem Sterling: a look at the Liverpool player in the tabloid Press.
Writing in the Sun, Rod Liddle says the Kop are “fed up with Sterling”, who “represents an awful lot of what is wrong with modern football”. Sterling is guilty of “mind-bending greed”. Liverpool fans are forced to endure the player who thinks he’s outgrown them kissing the badge in a “sickening display of conterfeit loyalty”.
Liddle then notes the shisha pipe smoking and nitrous oxide inhaling, before turning to Sterling’s reported inability to recall when the son he sired at 17 was born. The greed and the badge kissing are parts of the modern game. They are awful and as unwelcome as jester hats, talk of the “football family” and the PA announcer who drowns out the singing to scream “Make Some Noise!”. But is it fair to blame football for Sterling’s parenting or recretional use of legal drugs?
Will Jade Ruthven, 33, stop posting stories about her kid on Facebook? The Australian first-time mother has received an anonymous letter
The letter says:
“…we are all SO OVER your running commentary of your life and every single thing Addy does… Look we all have kids that we are besotted with – guess what – every parent thinks their child is the best. But we don’t ram it down everyone else’s neck!!! She wears a new outfit – well take a photo and send it PRIVATELY to the person who gave it to her – not to everyone!!! She crawls off the mat – we DON’T care!!!!! She’s 6 months old – BIG DEAL!!!” The letter urges Mrs Ruthven to return to work so that she will not have as much time to spend on Facebook.
“Not everyone is as interested as you are about what Addy does so give us all a break… We’re doing this to let you know what people really think.”
The irony is, of course, that now we all know about Mrs Ruthven and her child. Addy is famous. She’s a global star. She gets her greatness from her mum, so they say.
Mrs Ruthven says:
“At first I was in shock and thought this letter must be a joke. I read it and reread it about four times. I was shaking with anger and shock to think a so called friend of mine could be so heartless and gutless to not even sign their name … Being a first time mum is hard enough to get your head around but for someone who was feeling alone or who was struggling with the challenges of motherhood this could have had terrible consequences.”
I’d look not to the parents for the letter writer’s identity but to Addy, who is exceptionally bright for her age and just wants a break from the limelight…
Raheem Sterling, the Liverpool player, is the worst person on the planet. We know this because the Daily Star features him on its Page 5. Pictured smiling and giving the thumbs up, the 20-year-old Liverpool and England player is placed alongside a photograph of Jimmy Guichard, also 20.
Jimmy is seen “dying in hospital”.
It is an utterly grim image. Looking at it feels invasive. But the photograph comes with the blessing of Jimmy’s mother, Karen, whose views are summed up in the headline:
“Kops must drop Sterling, urges tragic mum”
Jimmy died in 2013. That’s when the photographs of his dire condition were released. Back then Karen “explained how Jimmy Guichard died after taking a synthetic cannabis”.
The Daily Mail reported:
Keen sportsman Jimmy Guichard, 20, suffered a heart attack and severe brain damage within hours of taking one of the herbal substances. His mother Karen Audino said he was found unconscious next to an empty plastic bag from controversial legal high shop UK Skunkworks.
And in today’s Daily Star’s “exclusive“, the paper writes:
Keen sportsman Jimmy… suffered a heart attack and severe brain damage within hours of taking one of the herbal substances….he was found unconscious next to an empty plastic bag from controversial legal high shop UK Skunkworks.
So much for the exclusive.
It is worth noting that “according to the coroner’s report, there were no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs – including cannabis, cocaine, morphine or acid – in his system that could have caused his death.”
There was no inquest into his death.
But Karen suspects the legal high killed her son. She said:
“Jimmy experienced severe hypertension which caused his heart attack, but why that happened we don’t know. I believe whatever he took from the high street shop messed with his system and caused this. He was a fit, healthy lad and there was no reason for him to die.”
It is tragic. Your heart goes out to her.
But what has this to do with Raheem Sterling, who was filmed inhaling laughing gas in the privacy of his own home? Does he approve of drugs, suffering, pain and death? He is pictured giving the thumbs up as an innocent young man lies on his deathbed.
“The management need to take action and not pick him. They wouldn’t have him if he had been taking cocaine or heroin.”
But Sterling is not Adrian Mutu, the Chelsea player sacked for taking cocaine. He’s not Diego Maradona, whose contribution to the Peru’s GDP is legend. Any footballer who takes recreational drugs is not exactly going to enhance their performance. As Eric Cantona said of Maradona: “I prefer someone who uses cocaine on a Wednesday and plays at the weekend.”
A football club has every right to discipline a player who fails to show up for training or doesn’t perform on match days because he has over-indulged. It’s not a question of morality but of discipline. The higher levels of fitness in the modern game mean that footballers must be extremely self-disciplined about what they ingest. It’s not quite a monkish existence – roasting, bling-bling, mock Tudor mansions and Porsches are not, as far as I know, features of monastic life – but being a professional footballer does require a degree of abstinence and dedication that is not expected of most employees.
Which brings us to wonder what Raheem Sterling and Jimmy Guichard have in common? To link Sterling to the death of a young man is utterly unfair. We live in a world where the US President Barack Obama and the late Apple Corp. founder Steve Jobs have smoked cannabis. Are they now linked to all drug-related deaths?
This story is about morals, a creepy demand that adults who are good at football behave as the elite demand. They must be pure in thought and deed. It buys into the stories that footballers are State-sponsored ambassadors for healthy living (witness the haste with which politicians use sportsmen for their own ends, to advertise their own sounds morals on sexism, racism and atheticism) and that football fans – by and large the working class – are so thick and impressionable they look not to parents for guidance but to Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez, John Terry or any leading adult footballer. The narrative assures us that Sterling is a “role model”.
He’s not. The suggestion that his stupidity in smoking a shisha pipe or inhaling laughing gas endangers lives is weak and as thick-headed as the player himself the day after the night before…
The Daily Star reports that The Proclaimers, singers of such monster-monster hits as I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and Letter from America, have written a song about Jimmy Savile. This follows news that Jonathan Maitland has written the drama An Audience with Jimmy Savile. Looks like the depraved old sod is still entertaining the masses from beyond the grave.
The Proclaimers song Then Again references Top of The Pops, the BBC TV show once fronted by Savile:
“I can’t believe that I couldn’t see how many dodgy men were running TV.
“While I was growing into a man they took advantage of their fans.
“When I was a boy the were stars of prime time television.
“But circumstances change and some of them ended up in prison.
“Now maybe we were on Top of the Pops.
“Some of the hosts have got the chop.
“I’m sleeping soundly in my bed cos Jimmy Savile’s still dead.”
The Daily Record says the song “also refers to the 70s paedophile ring at Westminster and features on the band’s new album Let’s Hear It For The Dogs.”
Savile never was tried for his alleged crimes. He’s dead. What of those still breathing who enabled, did and knew what was happening?
Get used to hearing a lot more about the Kincora Boys Home in Belfast.
Slugger O’Toole writes:
Richard Kerr, a victim of abuse at Kincora told Channel 4 News that he was taken from the east Belfast home to London where he was molested by members of a VIP paedophile ring. Mr. Kerr alleges that he was abused by “very powerful people” at Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square – locations at the centre of the ongoing inquiry which has been mired in controversy.
Last month Home Secretary Theresa May ruled out extending the scope of a child sexual abuse inquiry to cover Northern Ireland and Scotland saying that child protection is “a devolved matter” despite Home recommendations by a Home Affairs Committee report: