Saturday, September 13, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
I wrote this when Pope John Paul II died.
Now Ian Paisley has died too.
Wonder what they will have to say to each other.
Please note the prophetic accuracy of the last line.
Lines on the Death of John Paul II
"No Popery!" Ian Paisley cried,
and now that John Paul II has died,
there is no Pope,
so can we hope
for Orangemen with peace inside?
They just can't cope
without a Pope.
The Papists want a Papacy
and Paisley needs an enemy.
Without a Pope
they'd all just . . . mope.
It really makes you think:
what if it pushed them off the brink ?
what if it made them turn to drink
or even . . . turn to dope?
Might be a blessing in disguise.
Imagine, if the smokes that rise
above the Convocation
(while they all grope
for a new pope)
should symbolise a wider scope
What if the newly chosen Pope,
red-eyed, and reading Rattigan,
around the Vatican
flashing the peace sign,
Wow. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Fine.
But that could be a slippery slope
No-one would want a hippy Pope.
We should not hope
for a doped pope;
But could we hope for one
that has a decent sense of fun?
(Maybe when Ratzinger’s gone?)
(c) Richard Lawson
Thursday, September 11, 2014
ISIS are Sunni, were allied to Al-Qaeda for a time but AQ found them too violent. They are fighting Assad of Syria. Sited in Syria and Iraq.
Al-Qaeda are Wahabi Sunni jihadists. Wahabis are Sunni Salafists although Salafists do not like being called Wahabi, though non Wahabi Sunnis tend to call them that. They are like our 17th century Puritans. Wahabis hate holy sites and tombs because they are like idols. They form about 40% of the populations of the Emirates & Saudi Arabia. Non-Wahabis are Apostate and may therefore be killed.
Hezbollah are Shia based in Lebanon allied with Iran and Syria.
Hamas are Sunni, evolved out of Muslim Brotherhood and are based in Palestine and Qatar.
Muslim Brotherhood are Pan-Islamic (try to unite Sunni and Shia) but are hated by Bahrain, Egypt military, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia and UAE.
Iran is Shia.
Boko Haram are an AQ affiliate, Sunni/Salafist/Wahabi based in Nigeria. They do not believe the earth is round. They number only a few hundred, but the Nigerian Government is too corrupt to do anything about them.
Al-Shabaab in Somalia is also affiliated with AQ. They actually did quieten own the mindless militarism in Mogadishu when they arrived as the Islamic Courts Union, but the ICU was suppressed by Western influence.
They kill elephant for ivory.
I cannot guarantee that this is all 100% correct.
I had this via email. I don't think Peter will mind my posting it here.
In my view Peter is a diamond. I worked with him on the Global Index of Human Rights document. What I admire (apart from his enormous courage and dedication) is his flexibility, his ability to pick up on any human rights issue, irrespective of what may or may not be considered fashionable or right-on.
Full text of Peter Tatchell’s acceptance speech, on receiving a Honorary Fellowship of Goldsmiths College, University of London, presented to him by the Chair of Council, Baroness Estelle Morris, in a ceremony at the college on 10 September 2014. Accepting the award, Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said:
Chair of Council, Warden, honorary guests, members of faculty, family and friends, and fellow graduands, I am deeply moved to receive this Honorary Fellowship.
My gratitude to Professor Alan Downie for his most generous oration, and to Goldsmiths College for conferring on me this prestigious award. I was hesitant about accepting such an honour. After all, my fellowship has not been earned by academic study, and I often have doubts about the significance of my contribution to human rights. Many others are much more deserving than me.
Nevertheless, after so many years of demonisation by the tabloid press, right-wingers,
homophobes and even by some people on the left and in the LGBTI community, this
recogniton is much appreciated.
I dedicate my acceptance of this Honorary Fellowship to the people of Palestine, dispossessed from their own land, denied statehood and subjected to decades of Israeli occupation, annexation, bombardment, siege and imprisonment. In all my 40-plus years of supporting peace with justice for the people of Palestine, I have witnessed repeated land grabs by Israel. These are still happening. This is a human rights issue. I urge you to boycott Israeli products and to lobby your MP and the UK government to halt all military aid to Israel until it withdraws fully from the occupied territories and ends the siege of Gaza.
Equally, of course, there should be a boycott of Arab tyrannies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria - and human rights abuses by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority must stop. I pay particular tribute to the heroic, inspirational Palestinian activists in villages like Bil’in who are resisting Israeli abuses non-violently and who are committed to a state where Jews and Arabs can live together in peace and equality. I deplore the violent methods used by Israel to suppress their peaceful protests and just demands. I salute the human rights defenders of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and B’Tselem, who challenge human rights abuses by both sides - Israel and Palestine. I walk in their shadow, humbled by their exemplary, impartial witness and defence of human rights. In terms of my own humanitarian work: I’m not special or unique. I do my bit for social justice, but so do many others. Together, through our collective efforts - despite the setbacks we have recently witnessed in Gaza, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq - we are slowly, but surely, helping make a better world – a world more just and free. My key political inspirations are Mohandas Gandhi, Sylvia Pankhurst, Martin Luther King and, to some extent, Malcolm X and Rosa Luxemburg. I’ve adapted many of their ideas and methods to the contemporary struggle for human rights – and invented a few of my own. I began campaigning in my home town of Melbourne, Australia, in 1967, aged 15. My first human rights campaign was against the death penalty, followed by campaigns in support of Aboriginal rights and in opposition to conscription and the Australian and US war against the people of Vietnam. In 1969, on realising that I was gay, the struggle for queer freedom became an increasing focus of my activism. After moving to London in 1971, I became an activist in the Gay Liberation Front; organising sit-ins at pubs that refused to serve queers, and organising protests against police harassment and the medical classification of homosexuality as an illness. I was roughed up and forcibly ejected when I challenged the world famous psychologist, Professor Hans Eysenck, during a lecture in 1972, where he advocated electric shock aversion therapy to supposedly ‘cure’ homosexuality. The following year, in East Berlin, I was arrested and interrogated by the secret police - the Stasi - after staging the first gay rights protest in a communist country. I have continued in the same vein for four decades, with many controversial protests: such as taking over the pulpit and condemning Dr George Carey, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, on Easer Sunday 1998, over his support for legal discrimination against LGBTI people. Plus two attempted citizen’s arrests of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, confronting Mike Tyson face-to-face over his homophobia, and outing 10 Church of England Bishops in 1994. The bishops were outed, not because they were gay but because they were hypocrites. They colluded with the church’s anti-gay stance in public but were gay in private. They were outed because of their homophobia and hypocrisy, not because of their homosexuality. I was widely criticised at the time. Critics said I had no real evidence that the bishops were gay. Not true. I had the evidence. I was gratified some years later when a doctor approached me to confirm that he knew one of the bishops was definitely gay. He told me that the unnamed bishop was a patient and once came to his surgery with a rectal problem. The doctor asked the bishop to show him where the problem was. Dropping his trousers and pointing to his bottom the bishop said: “It’s here, just by the entrance.” To which the doctor replied: “Excuse me bishop, most us call it the exit.” Looking back on my 47 years of human rights campaigning, my advice, for what it’s worth, is this: Be sceptical, question authority, be a rebel. Don't conform and never be ordinary. Shun the mob, think for yourself. Be your own special creation. Remember, all human progress is the result of far-sighted people challenging orthodoxy and tradition. Thanks to innovators and reformers – often people who have taken on rich, powerful, established interests - most of us have better lives and more opportunities than our forebears. For the sake of yourself and future generations: Be daring, show imagination, take risks. Be a radical for peace, social justice, freedom and equality. Fight against the greatest human rights violation of all: free market capitalism, which has created a world divided into rich and poor, where the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 50 per cent of the global population. In Britain, the richest 1,000 people have a combined personal wealth of £450 billion. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of impoverished people in developing countries are malnourished, homeless and without clean drinking water – and tens of millions die from hunger and preventable diseases. My motto is: Don’t accept the world as it is. Dream of what the world could be – and then help make it happen. Whoever you are and whatever your field of endeavour, be a change-maker for the upliftment of humanity. To quote my fellow sodomite and socialist Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ENDS Read more about Peter Tatchell’s four decades of human rights campaigning here: http://petertatchell.net/biography.htm And about his current campaigns here: www.petertatchellfoundation.org *Further information*: Peter Tatchell Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation 0207 403 1790 Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
How come the South Yorkshire Police Service failed to prevent the sexual abuse of 1,400 young girls over the 16 years to 2013?
It is simply not enough to point the finger at political correctness. It was a factor, but it cannot be the sole cause.
The police could easily have said, "Look, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 sets the age of consent at 16 years. We don't care who the perps are, white, black, brown, we are going to arrest them".
But they didn't. Why not?
It could be that the police were under resourced. The news today is that police are essentially ignoring certain crimes such as theft from cars and garages, asking victims to investigate the crime themselves, simply because they cannot cope because of austerity-shrunken budgets.
However, all police forces are cash-strapped, and not all forces perform as badly as Rotherham. There must be other contributing factors.
There are technical difficulties with getting convictions for sex crimes. Rapes are rarely conducted in public, so there are no direct witnesses to the crime. It is the word of the (child) victim against the (adult) accused. For a lawyer, children, especially abused children are not "good witnesses". As a result of the circumstances of their upbringing and their abuse they often have low self-esteem, low self confidence, are often not good communicators and are poorly socialised.
In court, it is easy for a barrister from a privileged background, public school and university education, a professional familiarity of Court procedure and a supercilious manner to reduce these witnesses to tears and destroy their credibility.
In the case of child witnesses and rape victims, courts have now managed to understand the asymmetry of this situation, and children are now sometimes able to testify via video links and personal, one-to-one interviews with the judge, although the facility is under-used.
Here is a petition to make this facility universal.
Another aspect of the police' reluctance to get involved in this kind of problem is that the victim often has a complex, ambivalent relationship with their abuser. The aim of grooming is to make the victim believe that she is loved and cared for by the abuser. They may be made into addicts by their abusers. So they both love and hate their abuser. They may say they want to bring charges against their abuser, but the next day, they may not want to bring charges.
Even if the police decide that on balance it is worth bringing charges, the Crown Prosecution Service may take a different view.
So the kids are "bad witnesses". There is a workaround, but the facilities to enable the child to bear witness are not universally in place.
And yet, the police are there to enforce the law. The law is that sex with children under 16 is a crime. South Yorkshire police failed to enforce the law.
There may be mitigating circumstances as above, but could there be other motives for this failure?
Three other possibilities exist: culture, corruption and conspiracy.
Every institution has its own culture. Judge William Macpherson declared in his Report on Stephen Lawrence's murder that the Metropolitan Police had a culture of "institutional racism". And police, like journalists, are known to be fond of alcohol when off-duty, and are fairly tolerant of drunks, but correspondingly intolerant of cannabis consumption.
The police service is not a stranger to sexism. A black WPC was awarded damages for dirty tricks against her.
In the Jay Report we read (8.1) Certainly there is evidence that police officers on the ground in the 1990s and well beyond displayed attitudes that conveyed a lack of understanding of the problem of CSE and the nature of grooming. We have already seen that children as young as 11 were deemed to be having consensual sexual intercourse when in fact they were being raped and abused by adults.
and in 8.2, attitude of the Police at that time seemed to be that they were all ‘undesirables’ and the young women were not worthy of police protection.
So there was a culture of disregard and contempt for the girl victims.
British policing is not free of corruption. The case of Daniel Morgan demonstrates this. He was a private investigator who was close to uncovering serious drug-related police corruption, when he was murdered with an axe in SE London on 10th March 1987. Five police inquiries followed. One is still running. The case spills over to the News of the World hacking scandal and also the Stephen Lawrence case.
There is no reasonable doubt that corruption exists within the police force. Indeed, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has admitted as much.
If there had been an arrangement between the taxi drivers and some high ranking police officers, it would explain a lot.
So what about conspiracy? We know that there are many paedophiles in the general population. It is hard to be certain, but estimates are that the prevalence is about 5% of males. It is reasonable to suppose that this prevalence will be greater in those who have been exposed to sexual abuse at boarding school, which is where a large proportion of our government officers, MPs and Peers were educated. The incidence of practitioners will increase if there is a perception that they can get away with it by reason of being in a position of power, as was the case for Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith.
During the bad old days when homosexuality was illegal, gays could recognise each other ("gaydar") and support each other. They even had their own language, Polari.
There is no reason to believe that paedophiles would hold back from forming such networks within Westminster. We do know of networks and gangs of common paedophiles who have been caught.
These comments are by no means anywhere near proof that networks of corruption and paedophilia exist in our ruling classes. But the hypothesis that these networks exist is certainly a reasonable one, and it is consistent with the observation of 15 instances where police failed to investigate, pulled detectives off their cases when they were closing in on VIPs, lost evidence and other officials acted to cover up and protect child abusers in the Establishment. Even more astonishing are the three cases where witnesses - one even being a Home Office researcher - felt that police officers threatened them if they did not desist from investigating sex abuse. See "Physical threats" on this page.
One witness, Bulic Forsythe, a Lambeth social worker, was murdered days after he spoke about his suspicions that children were being assaulted by an organised gang at one home that is said to have been visited by the Labour politician. Three men were seen taking files from his house.
A policeman who shared suspicions about a Labour politician was pulled from the case, which remains unsolved.
The corruption hypothesis may or may not be accurate. It can be tested by a vigorous, determined police investigation aimed at finding the source of instructions within the police to not prosecute Asians, to set aside the 2003 Act, and to remove the evidence gathered by the Home Office researcher.
To expose and excise the corrupt officers needs investigation by courageous, committed officers of integrity who are backed by politicians of similar calibre. This is a tall order, but it can happen, if hundreds of ordinary, decent citizens take the trouble to join the campaign for justice for young people.