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News | Anorak - Part 7

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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.

Tabloid tropes: in 2014 Daily Express readers were living longer

Tabloid tropes: we’ve seen that 2014 was a big year for Madeleine McCann news (surely no news – ed), Alzheimer’s cures, Big Brother and miracles in diabetes. 2014 is also the year when the Daily Express realised that the best way to stop its readership falling is to keep its readership alive for longer.

 

 Daily_Express_2_1_2014  Daily_Express_Weekend_11_1_2014

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Posted: 15th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Sydney siege: what we know, don’t know and bumping into the gunman’s hard centre

gunman sydney

 

To Sydney, where a bearded gunman is holding around 12 people hostage at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place. The hostages are holding aloft an Islamic flag.

The Sun translates:

“There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God.”

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Posted: 15th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Privacy balls: Jennifer Lawrence is naked and naughty but Sony is fair game

The Sony email hack has attracted no headlines decrying an invasion of privacy. Nick Gillespie wonder why this double standard exists?

It was just a few months ago that everybody and his grandmother was truly livid—or at least feigned anger before firing up our search engines—when hackers released naked pictures of celebrities ranging from Jennifer Lawrence to Kate Upton to Dave Franco. Curiously, such outrage is almost completely missing in the media’s response to the massive hack attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, which may be linked to the North Korean government and has dumped private emails, contracts, files of unreleased movies, and more all across the Internet.

This time around, there is unapologetic prurience at the chance to get a real behind-the-scenes look at an industry long notorious for its wicked, backbiting, and hypocritical ways. Big-shot producer Scott Rudin tells Sony co-chair Amy Pascal he thinks Angelina Jolie is “a minimally talented spoiled brat”? A-List director David Fincher is as difficult as Hitler was anti-Semitic? Tell us more!

Whatever the differences in public responses, the episodes underscore two basic points that are worth learning fast: First, nobody cares about other people’s privacy, especially if the divulged material is juicy enough. Second, privacy is itself a highly fluid concept that will have probably changed yet again by the time you finish reading this article. Once upon a time, for instance, the Supreme Court ruled that federal agents didn’t need warrants to tap phones. Privacy is invented more than it is discovered.

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Posted: 14th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Anti-gay protester ‘marries a horse’

Are all anti-gay pastors nutjobs? To Mississippi, where a pastor has dressed a horse in a wedding dress to protest gay marriage.

Neigh, neigh and thrice neigh!

Pray silence for Edward James of the Betha Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson:

 

Screen shot 2014-12-14 at 19.46.51

 

You should see the mother-in-law:

As Charlotte grazed, James told the Clarion-Ledger that he hoped his protest would make Judge Reeves reconsider his ruling “and that Mississippi will stay a state that will only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.”

…One passing driver yelled, “Your horse is pretty!”

“The next unnatural law… Do you take this horse to be your unnatural wedded spouse to have and to hold?” one sign read.

“Marriage is one man and one woman… anything else is a perversion,” another sign read.

Reeves struck down Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage Nov. 25, but same-sex couples cannot legally wed until the federal court of appeals hears the case Jan. 9.

James said he arrived to the courthouse at noon and will continue protesting until 2 p.m.

Meanwhile…equal right for centaurs!

Spotter: Christian Nightmares

Posted: 14th, December 2014 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


78-year-old prosecuted for having sex with his Alzheimer’s afflicted wife

henry rayhonsBest hurry with that Alzheimer’s cure:

An Iowa state lawmaker says he loved visiting his wife at a nursing home before her death at age 79. But prosecutors have filed felony charges against him, saying that her Alzheimer’s made her unable to consent to his sexual desires… Henry Rayhons, 78, now out on a $10,000 bond, has declined to run for a 10th straight term in the state House, saying his reputation is ruined.. “My wife just died and you’re charged with something like this because you prayed by her bed,” he says, sobbing. “It hurts. It really hurts.”..

The daughters had Donna placed in the home, where Rayhons visited often and wanted sex once or twice daily, one of the daughters said. “Henry likes this a lot,” Donna reportedly said while pointing between her legs, and staffers were said to be “sickened.” Rayhons was given a physician-approved document saying that Donna couldn’t consent to sex, but he allegedly continued and may have admitted as much to a state investigator. “It was not a regular thing,” Rayhons told him, saying he “never touched her when she didn’t want it and I only tried to fulfill her need when she asked for it.” Iowa state law doesn’t help him, stating that sex with a permanently mentally ill lover is illegal unless that person “is both a spouse and cohabiting,” the Post notes. Charged with third-degree sexual abuse, Rayhons is scheduled to begin his trial on Jan. 28 in Garner.

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Posted: 14th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


British soldiers told not to shout at jihadis

Forget the terror and torture:

British soldiers have “lost their capability” to interrogate terrorist insurgents because of strict new rules on questioning that even ban shouting in captives’ ears, military chiefs have warned. The rules — detailed in court papers obtained by The Telegraph — also prevent military intelligence officers from banging their fists on tables or walls, or using “insulting words” when interrogating a suspect.

The regulations replaced a previous policy that had to be withdrawn after a series of legal challenges and the death in custody of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi detainee in Basra.

But there is growing disquiet within the ranks that the latest guidelines, officially called Challenge Direct, are so stringent that it makes interrogation pointless….

Col Tim Collins, who made a celebrated eve-of-battle speech during the Iraq war and now runs a private security company with expertise in intelligence gathering, said: “Since I was serving, the rules on interrogations have been tightened up because of the lawyers. We [the military] are no longer able to carry out tactical questioning. The effect of the ambulance-chasing lawyers and the play-it-safe judges is that we have got to the point where we have lost our operational capability to do tactical questioning. That in itself brings risks to the lives of the people we deploy. These insurgents are not nice people. These are criminals. They behead people; they keep sex slaves. They are not normal people.”

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Posted: 14th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


This is your brain on alcohol and marijuana – 2 compare and contrast videos

AsapSCIENCE have produced a video on what happens to your brain on alcohol. This delicious “feelings of release and freedom” allow you to “think very little, but with great clarity.”

 

 

And now for the banned substance: marijuana:

Posted: 13th, December 2014 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Starbucks v corn flakes: Cereal Killer hipsters complain about Channel 4 treatment

The hipsters at East London’s Cereal Killer breakfast bar are unhappy with how Channel 4 portrayed them. Gary Keery, one of the twins who run the prelude to the runs, writes:

Screen shot 2014-12-13 at 15.05.28

In tomorrow’s Channel 4 exclusive: TV executive passes council estate on way to sushi power lunch.

Posted: 13th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Westminster paedophiles: Arthur Hutchinson, Geoffrey Dickens, hunting gays and Elm Guest House Tales

paedos

 

Westminster paedophiles: a look at the story of child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s.

Midhurst and Petworth Observer: “No plans to re-open Vishal murder case at Rogate”

SUSSEX police say there are no current plans to reopen the investigation into the murder of the eight-year-old boy whose remains were found in Rogate in 1982. Last week his father Vashambar claimed his son may have died at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring and said he feared Scotland Yard helped ‘cover up’ the crime.

A spokesman for Sussex police told the Observer: “This Sussex investigation has been reviewed as a matter of standard policy for such unresolved serious crimes. There are no current developments, but of course we would look into any new information that could lead to a new line of enquiry. Vishal Mehrotra disappeared from Putney in London on the day of the royal wedding, 
July 29 in 1981, and was found dead in woods at Rogate in 1982. This was therefore initially a Met missing person case and then a Sussex murder enquiry.”

Pigeon shooters had found the skull and ribs of Vishal in remote marshland at Durford Abbey Farm.

At the inquest into his death, West Sussex coroner Mark Calvert Lee recorded an open verdict, but he said ‘foul play’ was likely.

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Posted: 13th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


UVA rape: time to name the victims and challenge the lawyers

A few postings on the door of Peabody Hall related to the Phi Kappa Psi gang rape allegations at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The university has suspended activities at all campus fraternal organizations amid an investigation into a published report in which a student described being sexually assaulted by seven men in 2012 at the Phi Kappa Psi house. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A few postings on the door of Peabody Hall related to the Phi Kappa Psi gang rape allegations at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The university has suspended activities at all campus fraternal organizations amid an investigation into a published report in which a student described being sexually assaulted by seven men in 2012 at the Phi Kappa Psi house. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

 

The Rolling Stone’s pisspoor story on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia continues to unravel:

The Post’s T. Rees Shapiro, whose previous reporting prompted Rolling Stone to issue an editor’s note Friday acknowledging some discrepancies, has now interviewed three students mentioned in the story as friends of Jackie, the alleged victim.

The three students — identified by Rolling Stone and the Post as “Randall,” “Andy,” and “Cindy” –- gave an account to the Post for Wednesday’s story that differed significantly from the one described by contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely in her explosive 9,000-word article about Jackie’s ordeal published online Nov. 19.

Did they abandon their friend, cowed by the patriarchy?

The three students recall Jackie, in tears, telling them on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, that she had been forced to perform oral sex on five men. In the Rolling Stone article, Jackie recalled seven men brutally raping her on top of broken glass at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house that night. The students told the Post they urged Jackie to call the police. In the Rolling Stone story, they are depicted as advising her not to report the crime.

All three students told the Post that Erdely never contacted them for her Rolling Stone article. Erdely wrote in the article that “Randall” declined an interview about the rape because of “loyalty to his own frat.”

Rolling Stone acknowledged Friday that Erdely did not try contacting the alleged attackers for comment because of an agreement with Jackie, who had expressed fears of reprisal.

Is a libel action looming? Send for the lawyers – if you can find them:

For eight years, Ms. [Dana] Rosen seems to have gotten along swimmingly, citing the defeat of Britney Spears in the pop star’s defamation claim against US Weekly as a particularly satisfying win and sending around a funny memo about the need for employees to maintain their cool amid the excitement of filming of the MTV reality show I’m From Rolling Stone.

And then something curious happened. After the UVA story was published on November 19 but before things started to unravel in early December, Ms. Rosen, who had once professed to having “had nothing but good experiences with [Jann],” suddenly left the company. She took a job as general counsel at ALM, the respected publisher of legal trade properties including Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and The New York Law Journal. A fine collection of titles, to be sure, but one would imagine there’s far less chance that Bob Dylan saunters through the offices of The American Lawyer.

In a brief conversation with the Observer, Ms. Rosen could not recall exactly when she tendered her resignation.

“Really, the dates are irrelevant. My resignation had nothing to do with that story. I just had a great opportunity that came up at ALM, and I chose to take it. But it really unequivocally had nothing to do with that story.”

Asked if she participated with the reviewing of the UVA story, Ms. Rosen, replied, “I’m not going to comment on the process. That’s really all I want to say. Again, it really—unequivocally—had nothing to do with that story. Without a doubt.”

According to Ms. Rosen’s close friend, documentary filmmaker Pamela French, Ms. Rosen started at ALM this past Monday, December 8, and “had given her month’s notice right before the story hit.” That would put her date of resignation somewhere around Friday, November 7. The UVA story was certainly already going through legal channels by that point, but it’s unclear what degree of fact-checking and legal review had been completed.

Can we fact check Jackie?

Genever Overholser explains:

No surprise then, that for so many years, newspaper editors have agreed to “protect” rape victims by refusing to name them. So why hasn’t this helped correct the underreporting and reduce the retaliation? Maybe because the anonymity, rather than being part of an effective solution to an unacceptable reality, contributes to its prolongation. In other words, it does more harm than good.

You don’t have to believe that there are many women bringing false charges of rape (I don’t) to understand that a fundamental unfairness lies waiting to be exploited when one person is named and another is not, particularly in a crime as inevitably private as rape.

And exploited, it regularly is, as we see again and again — vividly in the case of those bringing allegations against Cosby, and in the appalling New York Times magazine story on sexual assault in the military  People react angrily to the woman who “takes down” a beloved old comedian, a talented airman, a great football player – or just a cool frat guy.

If anonymity’s silencing keeps the crime’s dimensions hidden, and its unfairness feeds the fires of those disinclined to hear victims’ truths, anonymity has yet another worrisome trait: It  prevents the public from fully engaging with the problem. As journalists well know (but choose distressingly often to ignore) nothing affects public opinion like real stories with real faces and names attached. Attribution brings accountability,  a climate within which both empathy and credibility flourish…

Journalists are avidly tearing apart the Rolling Stone for its appalling dereliction of duty, and rightfully so. But all who have shared in this idea of anonymity as a protection of rape victims have played a role in bringing us to this moment. We have been participants in the notion that rape and silence go hand in hand. It’s a notion outmoded at last, and those who pursue it become more and more irrelevant.

Tell and stick to the facts…

 

Posted: 12th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Everything the CIA knows about torture it learned in Northern Ireland

A British soldier in Belfast, Northern Ireland stands outside a new all weather shelter in October 1969. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)

A British soldier in Belfast, Northern Ireland stands outside a new all weather shelter in October 1969. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)

 

Patrick Corrigan links the CIA torture units to the British Army in Northern Ireland. The British taught the American all they know about “enhancned interview techniques”.

In August 1971 the UK authorities arrested and interned hundreds of men in Northern Ireland. Fourteen of them were selected for “special treatment” – torture in a specially-built interrogation centre at a British Army camp. The men were subjected to the soon-to-be infamous “five techniques” of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation of food and water – combined with brutal beatings & death threats.

Allegations soon emerged of abuse. Amnesty International sent its first ever research mission to the UK to investigate, interviewing the men and finding some of them to still be black and blue with bruises.

In it’s October 30 1971 report, Amnesty found a “prima facie case of brutality and torture”.

 

irish torture

 

In 1976, the European Commission on Human Rights found that the UK had tortured the men, but the UK appealed the decision claiming that the techniques used had no long-term impact.

The appeal succeeded and in 1978 the European Court of Human Rights found that the interrogation amounted to “inhuman and degrading treatment” but not torture.

The difference was subsequently seized upon by those who wanted to use similar interrogation techniques.

n 2002, Jay Bybee in the US Attorney General’s office prepared legal advice on what could and could not be done to interrogation subjects. He quoted liberally from the Ireland v UK 1978 decision in the infamous ‘torture memos

Read it all.

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Posted: 11th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


False rape: the Scottsboro Boys become the model for UVA and campus crimes against men

In this April 7, 1933 file photo, Ruby Bates sits in the witness stand in a courtroom in Decatur, Ala. Saying that Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick had urged her to tell the truth, Bates denied that the nine black teenagers, known as the Scottsboro Boys, had assaulted her and her companion Victoria Price.

In this April 7, 1933 file photo, Ruby Bates sits in the witness stand in a courtroom in Decatur, Ala. Saying that Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick had urged her to tell the truth, Bates denied that the nine black teenagers, known as the Scottsboro Boys, had assaulted her and her companion Victoria Price.

 

Remember the Scottsbroro Boys? They were the nine Afro-American men tried and jailed for the rape of two white women in 1930s Alabama. The men – all of them – were innocent.

The State made the people fit the cime.

Today, so-called lad culture is being used to portray men on the street and on university campuses as rapists-in-waiting. We live in more equal age: whites and black men are all as guilty.

Professor Dan Carter first published his book on the Scottsboro Boys trials as long ago as 1969. He wrote:

“One day in the spring of 1931 a group of hobos, black and white, were travelling on a train in north Alabama. A fight broke out and the train had to be stopped near the town of Scottsboro. Nine young black men – the youngest was 13 – were arrested.

“But then the Deputy Sheriff realised two of the white hobos were in fact women. The young women worried they might be accused of prostitution, so they accused the black boys of having raped them.

“I think anyone today who studied the evidence would conclude no rapes occurred. In any case, what happened after March 1931 took on an astonishing life of its own. What happened on the train was just a part of the story.”

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Posted: 10th, December 2014 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Shrien Dewani is innocent: but worse than that he’s ‘gay’

dewani

 

When lawyers for Shrien Dewani slapepd his bisexuality on the table in a South African court they quashed the entertainment and the case against their client. Not gay, Shrien could still fancy his murdered wife Anni Dewani.  We would not have his sexuality exposed by cros-examination and with get to know the ‘secret’ that allegedly drove him to fund a murder.

Writing in the Times Sathnam Sanghera looks at the sex:

As for coming out as gay when you’re Asian: I cannot even fathom the stress that might be involved. Indian society, even in Britain, is still struggling to get used to the notion of people marrying spouses of their own choosing, let alone same-sex partners. Indeed, not only is homophobia a fact of life in many Asian communities, but I have heard it claimed that homosexuality doesn’t even exist in Indian culture.

It doesn’t surprise me that Shrien Dewani kept his bisexuality hidden from his family — until he was facing a murder charge. By outing himself on the first day of his trial in South Africa, he pre-empted the prosecution’s case that he murdered because he felt trapped in his marriage…

Of the ten or so gay British Asians I know, all of them successful professionals, only one is fully “out”. Most have only come out to select trusted relatives or remain firmly in the closet. One of my oldest friends recently came out to his relatively liberal mother at the age of 39. She responded: “So what? It does not mean you cannot marry someone anyway, hunna?” He’ll be at a gay club on a Saturday night and on Sunday afternoon will be sitting in the living room at his parents’ home being introduced to yet another prospective bride over tea.

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Posted: 10th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Ugly Girls Club is out of your league, lads

ugly-girls club

 

Have you see the Ugly Girls’ Club? Members convene at the Royal Holloway’s feminist society.

Natasha Barrett, president of the society and a second-year English Literature student, said:

“It started very small, as a joke between society members that was a bit tongue-in cheek.” With hundreds of selfies posted on Twitter in under two weeks and 4,000 Facebook fans, the campaign is blossoming into more than they could ever have imagined.

“We’ve had a lot of support from Exeter University and their feminist society there. They showed a massive amount of enthusiasm for it and we realised we should get in touch with more feminist societies. It’s becoming the case that there aren’t very many university feminist societies left that we haven’t heard from. We’ve had support from America, Canada and Australia as well. It’s really cool – even people from Oklahoma!”

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Posted: 9th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Rape Fantasises and Rolling Stone: sticking to the narrative in place of facts and truth

saborollingstone-443x600

 

Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s story on gang rape at the University of Virginia was all about the narrative. She looked for a tale that would fit her agenda. Even when JAckie asked for it to be pulled, Rolling Stone and the writer oushed it through. Not need for facts, proof nor a right to reply from the men accasued of rape.

Glen Reynolds:

The story was quickly picked up nationally. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., cited it as a reason to pass federal legislation on campus sexual assault. People who questioned the story were accused of sexism. And University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan suspended the entire Greek system — not just the fraternity in question — in response. The U.Va. campus was rocked by protest, the fraternity house was vandalized, people were arrested, and U.Va. faculty members even staged their own protest.

The above image is by artist Sabo, who wants us to look again at Lena Dunham, UVA and Bill Clinton in fake Rolling Stone Covers:

In an email, Sabo told The Hollywood Reporter: “Remember (Dunham) accused a Republican of raping her in college, and that story is falling apart. Then you have the politics of Hollywood with her, Cosby, the Rolling Stone article that is being detracted. Last but not least, our beloved Bubba Clinton’s blast from the past and the double standard of why Rolling Stone didn’t run with his rape allegations but they ran with the UVA false story.”

Natasha Vargas-Cooper nailes it:

Here’s something that’s also sort of “unfair:” not talking to seven unconvicted, alleged criminals about their involvement in a purported horrendous crime! It is not rude, shaming, or belittling to seek quotes from alleged rapists. Actually, it is what a responsible journalist does, even when it makes said journalist’s source uneasy. And if making a source uneasy makes a journalist uneasy, it’s time for the journalist in question to find another profession.

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Posted: 9th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Trees get email in Melbourne

Can you hear the trees talking? No. Maybe you should try writing to them. It turns out that trees love to email:

SOME might think they are barking mad, but sappy Melburnians have started emailing trees.

And sometimes they reply.

In what is believed to be a world first, Melbourne City Council says all of its 70,000 trees can be contacted and wants more people to join the “correspondence program” set up to connect people with the green environment.

So far, emails seen by the Herald Sun include conversations about moving overseas, Melbourne’s weather and even the Brownlow.

One emailer told a tree: “I am stuck inside and am so jealous of you soaking up the sun. You seem to be having a ball out there.”

The Chinese elm replied: “Sorry that you are stuck inside. I am really enjoying stretching my stomata and giving my chloroplasts a good workout. I spent the weekend well hydrated and preparing for the summer ahead.”

No word from the Christmas trees yet…

 

Posted: 9th, December 2014 | In: Global Warming, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Daily Mail advertises for Portuguese builders

The Daily Mail has news:

Screen shot 2014-12-09 at 09.56.27

If you didn’t know better, you’d be excused for thinking the Mail was illustrating why immigration works.

As for builders, well…

Posted: 9th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Peta says drinking dairy is like being gangbanged by a bull

peta

 

What do People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have against women?

Peta thought it an idea to slap up a billbaord poster of a woman with a dairy bukake facial by Notts County Football Club.
bad for you billboard peta

 

The slogan told locals “some bodily fluids are bad for you – Don’t Swallow. Ditch Dairy”. Peta calls the add “cheeky”.

PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi said:

“The billboard was a cheeky way to alert passers-by to the dangers of drinking cows’ milk.”

But milking the bull can be far more hazardous…

bad for you billboard close-up

 

 

Posted: 9th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat, looking for ‘inconsistencies’ and Amaral

Madeleine McCann: A look at the missing child in the news.

BBC: “Madeleine McCann: British police to observe questioning in Portugal”

British police investigating Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in 2007 have arrived in Portugal to observe the questioning of 11 people. It is the biggest number called in for questioning since the Met’s Operation Grange began in 2011.

Who are the 11?

Among those being interviewed – although not as suspects – are Robert Murat and his wife.

He’s innocent. All 11 are innocent. The febrile reporting that would have portrayed all as “suspects” is now surely passed.

BBC correspondent Christian Fraser said they would be looking for “inconsistencies” with any answers given seven years ago.

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Posted: 9th, December 2014 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The UVA rape story is being used to beat and abuse white men

Judith Levine on the culture of using racism and bigotry to attack anyone who seeks evidence of a rape:

Just before Thanksgiving, Richard Bradley sensed something was wrong with the story inR olling Stone of a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. On his blog, Bradley, editor-in-chief of Worth magazine, suggested some possible consequential omissions in Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s reporting. Why, for instance, was there no response—or even a “no comment”—from any of the alleged offenders?…

Bradley’s questions unsettled Reason staff editor Robby Soave, who had until then taken Erdely’s narrative at face value. Soave followed up. His headline was hyperbolic: “Is the UVA Rape Story a Gigantic Hoax?” But the piece was a straightforward skeptical inquiry, which, after all, is Reason’s raison d’être.

This did not go over well in certain feminist circles.  It didn’t help that the two skeptics were men.

On Jezebel, Anna Merlan expressed her opinion with characteristic Jezebelian eloquence:“‘Is the UVA Rape Story a Gigantic Hoax?’ Asks Idiot” And typically, readers chimed in with gender-baiting:

“But never mind Erdely’s months of work. Two guys who have no idea what they’re talking about don’t believe it. Case closed.”

Newsflash: Most libertarians are misogynist/racist white men.”

“What an asshole.”

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Posted: 8th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Shrien Dewani fights to clear his name

 

Ami Denborg, left, and her brother Anish Hindocha, right, react after the court case that acquitted their sister's former husband Shrien Dwani from murdering her at the high court in Cape Town, South Africa, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. British man Shrien Dwani accused of killing his wife Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town was acquitted of murder on Monday after a South African judge concluded that the prosecution's case did not have sufficient evidence. Shrien Dewani promptly descended stairs leading out of the courtroom following the not guilty ruling by Cape Town High Court Judge Jeanette Traverso. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Ami Denborg, left, and her brother Anish Hindocha, right, react after the court case that acquitted their sister’s former husband Shrien Dwani from murdering her at the high court in Cape Town, South Africa, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. 

 

Shrien Dewani is free. He did not have a part in the killing of his wife, Anni Dewani.

In a South African court, Dewani’s lawyer said Pieter Engelbrecht, the policeman responsible, was “miles away from being an objective witness”.

The Times reports:

The lead policeman in the case, Captain Paul Hendrickse, left the court in tears.

Shrien Dewani must now fight to clear his name and reputation.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 8th, December 2014 | In: News | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Westminster paedophiles: Exaro News and the spectre of Joseph McCarthy

Westminster paedophiles: Anorak’s look at the allegations that politicians abused children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Exaro News has been tweeting:

Do not fall for smears against Exaro re CSA [child sexual abuse] survivors. We cannot discuss the arrangements that we make to ensure their safety and security.

BTW the smears are coming from paedophiles as well as spooks. But some are one and the same. But they all know that the tide has turned.

For the first time we are blocking some paedophiles and paedo-apologists who have engaged in extreme trolling to upset abuse survivors.

… Not worth naming them. We do not want to give them publicity.

 

Screen shot 2014-12-08 at 17.20.36

 

Wow. The dead are being buried in their own filth without charge, trial or conviction, and now the living are being attcked. But who are they?

Richard Barthlomew notes:

Over the past few months, Exaro News has made a name for itself with a series of inter-related stories about an alleged paedophile ring involving senior politicians that supposedly operated with the collusion of the security services in the 1970s and 1980s. But in the above, the website has shifted – in an extraordinary casual and off-hand way – from investigating historic claims to making inflammatory accusations about people operating on Twitter today.

Exaro‘s most sensational claim appeared last month: that a survivor, named as “Nick”, had witnessed a then-serving Conservative Party MP “strangle a boy to death during a sexual assault” at an “abuse party”. Nick also claims  that a second boy was murdered by two unknown men in front of “a former Conservative cabinet minister” at a different event, and that a third boy had been “deliberately [run] over and killed” by a member of the gang. The timeline, for some reason, is slightly confused: the first murder took place “around 1980″, and the second one “between a year and 18 months” later; but the third – which Nick “took to be a warning” – is curiously dated to “the summer of 1979″.

Since November’s publication, I’ve seen several people on Twitter express scepticism about the story or raise misgivings about how Exaro and Nick are interacting with the police. I also note that one critic (involved with the contrarian “Spiked” group) is on record as having described Stuart Hall’s crimes as being “low-level”, and I can see how this might provoke a hostile “paedo-apologist” accusation. Further, there is one (anonymous) Twitter user who is approaching the issue in a way that is unpleasant and goading. But where’s the evidence of paedophiles “smearing” Exaro News on Twitter (or elsewhere)? And where’s the evidence of the remarkable claim that they are also “spooks”?

The published allegations about a “Conservative cabinet minister” are vague, but specific enough to allow anyone so inclined to make a short list of suspects. Similarly, these Tweets are vague enough to avoid proper scrutiny, but just specific enough to cast a shadow over anyone with reasonable and good-faith reservations about aspects of Exaro‘s approach.

That’s the effect. But as someone who supports “new media” and “citizen journalist” investigations into matters of public interest, I really hope it wasn’t the intention.

(Amended)

UPDATE: By way of a footnote, I would also like to note a couple of other recentExaro Tweets that have caught my eye and set off alarm-bells: (1) an RT of a Tweet by another person responding to news that the site has been short-listed for a journalism award:

I should think the only people that won’t vote for you are paedophiles & the ‘cover uppers’!

Perhaps this was meant as a joke rather than as a serious proposition, but even if so it remains very ill-advised for Exaro to appear to endorse the sentiment.

And (2), an attack on Chris French for writing in the Guardian about false claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse:

…He is, in total ignorance, casting doubt on Nick-type victims. SRA is a red herring icw Midland

TheGuardianitself came under fire for publishing the piece after asking to speak to “Nick”.

I should perhaps make clear that this doesn’t mean that I think Exaro News should be dismissed out of hand – the case of Cyril Smith shows that a politician was able to get away with paedophilic abuse (although not, so far as we know, murder) in plain sight, and that the security services may have protected him (as others have suggested, perhaps in order to blackmail him).

Exaro also has testimony from ex-law enforcement officers that they were aware of “a significant paedophile group in Parliament” who were allegedly “untouchable”; these two (unnamed) officers apparently also claim to have been “aware that boys were being killed”, although no details are given as to what is meant by “aware” (saw bodies? heard rumours?). Obviously, that needs looking into.

One thing we’ve learnt over the past 12 years, following the first media revelations about historic sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in 2002, is that institutions have again and again facilitated the abuse of children, in some cases because of child protection failures and in others due to collusion. There is naturally widespread goodwill towards those who are investigating the issue, and anger against the thought of all those who escaped justice because they enjoyed positions of authority and trust.

But the spectre of Joseph McCarthy should remind us that it not good for any campaigning group or individual to be above criticism.

Sceptisism is healthy…

Posted: 8th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Rolling Stone’s UVA debacle has traces of Satanic Panic

Margaret Talbot has a view on the Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story. She agrees with us: it’s the Satanic Panic all over again:

More than a decade ago, I wrote about the McMartin preschool case, and other satanic ritual child abuse accusations that turned out to be false. Back then, the slogan many supporters of the accusations brandished was, “Believe the Children.” It was an antidote to skepticism about real claims of child abuse, just as today, “Believe the Victims” is a reaction to a long history of callous oversight of rape accusations. “Believe the Victims” makes sense as a starting presumption, but a presumption of belief should never preclude questions. It’s not wrong or disrespectful for reporters to ask for corroboration, or for editors to insist on it. Truth-seeking won’t undermine efforts to prevent campus sexual assault and protect its victims; it should make them stronger and more effective.

Sceptism is healthy…

Posted: 8th, December 2014 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0