Thursday, May 31, 2007 

Scum-watch: Shameless red-baiting.

Ignoring the sentimental trash about a butterfly coincidentally landing on Kate McCann on the front page, today's Scum goes out of its way to scaremonger about the Labour deputy leadership candidates daring to speak freely during the hustings on Newsnight and elsewhere of late.

GORDON Brown last night warned the Labour deputy PM rivals against lurching to the Left.

All six candidates favour handing more power to the unions — and some want higher taxes.

Oh god - higher taxes?! Those crazy fiends! It soon all becomes clear quite why they're setting out to smear the candidates for daring to speak their minds for a change:

Tony Blair fears Labour will swing back to the Left once he goes — and the last few weeks have seen challengers appealing to union dinosaurs.

Well, if Blair fears it then the Scum has to at least try and make it look like it's so. George Pascoe-Watson, the piss-poor political editor, has even gone
to the trouble of making a list of all those "Lefty policies".

The tragedy of the Sun's hatred of the left is that it has always been at the expense of its working class readership. Most of those on the minimum wage reading the statements from the candidates, especially about the City uber-rich paying themselves their obscene bonuses, are more than likely to find themselves in agreement. The real surprise about the list is in fact how moderate it is: where's the left-wing idiocy about setting limits on private sector provision in the NHS when there's no evidence that it either provides a cheaper or a better service? The anger about Hilary Benn's comments on socialist values should be that the last ten years have been absent of them, and that it's taken Blair's hegemony to be lifted for it even to be suggested that there might be something admirable about them. The Scum often likes to complain about political correctness that makes certain words or views taboo, yet it's had more than a hand in making the "s" word into something that it isn't and never has been.


The leader itself brings out those old bogeymen that it delighted in smearing time and again, which also insults NHS staff and attacks university lecturers for suggesting that amazingly enough, most students are radicalised about something:

GORDON Brown says the next deputy Labour leader can’t count on becoming his Deputy PM.

Thank goodness for that.

Jon Cruddas for one has said he doesn't want to be deputy prime minister. Besides, isn't this the same Scum which loathes Prescott with a vehemence it usually reserves for paedophiles? Surely anyone would be an improvement on him?

It’s been like watching All Our Yesterdays as candidates strutted their stuff this week.

All six men and women promised more power to the party and a greater say for union paymasters.

Gosh, giving the party members a say in party policy? That might be too near democracy for a newspaper that's been given more of a role in Labour's thinking than the members themselves have.

They were falling over themselves to apologise for the Blair blunders that gave them 10 years unbridled power.

Because the country obviously wants the same obstinacy that the Blair years has given us to continue, doesn't it?

So it was a relief to hear the PM-in-waiting put them right.

“There will be no retreat to the narrow politics or the failed policies of the past,” he said.

Phew! Just for a moment, we glimpsed the ghosts of Red Robbo and Arthur Scargill queueing for beer and sandwiches at Number Ten.

Quite. Give us Hazel Blears over those two any day.

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Does anything else need to be said?


I don't think so.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007 

The dead end of choice.

After 10 years of Blairism, or if you believe Simon Jenkins, who doesn't think that Blair has changed politics enough to have an "ism" named after him, the slighter kinder faced continuation of Thatcherism, the Conservatives have finally worked out how to respond from having the rug pulled from under their feet. They're going to be the new Blairites.

The Conservatives are best placed to carry on Tony Blair's public service reforms, the shadow chancellor says.

George Osborne claimed Gordon Brown, the next prime minister, had "abandoned the centre ground of public service reform to the Conservative Party".

All of which sounds familiar. That might be because this is more or less the exact same argument put forward by Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke, during the launch of 20:20 vision, their disastrous attempt to form an anti-Brown faction that they hoped would flush out a leadership candidate in their own image:

We believe in radical reform. For us reform is for a progressive purpose – to make for a fairer society. We look to policies that empower individual citizens, reward aspiration, spread opportunity, tackle intolerance and inequality, provide security, protect the environment and that are internationalist not isolationist. And we look to a style of politics that is based on dialogue, debate and devolved power.

Take out the bit about being progressive and probably tackling intolerance and inequality, and you pretty much have where the Tory party is under Cameron - few policies, but a lot of buzzwords which mean very little.

The whole sorry mess of Osbourne's speech is up on the Conservatives website, and reading it is like being spoon-fed saccharine by David Cameron himself. The gist of it is that Labour is returning to the left - look at those desperate deputy leadership candidates prostituting themselves and their wacky "socialist" ideas! - that Gordon Brown isn't condemning them for doing so, meaning he's obviously going to hoist the red flag above Downing Street as soon as he gets the chance, and that because Labour is cooling on "choice", they're the responsible, sensible heirs to Blair, and they'll continue his glorious legacy by knocking some reformed sense into our schools and hospitals.

The very reason why Labour has supposedly suddenly "cooled" on choice is because they've finally had it rammed down their throats by the patients that they don't care about it. The Healthcare Commission found through their questionnaires with 448 patients that the three questions concerning choice were among the 10 least important aspects of a hospital's service, out of the 82 it asked about. Osbourne predictably quotes research which says the opposite, from those involved in pilot schemes. This contrasts with the view of Picker institute, which ran the questionnaire study, who told the Healthcare Commission there was no point running similar questions the following year, as there was so little interest. The futility of extending choice even further is undermined by just how demoralised and fed up the NHS staff are with the constant reorganisations and new systems they're constantly having to adjust to - they want stability, not further change for the sake of it, which is exactly what the Blairites and now the Tories want to offer.

Most of all, quite why after 10 years of Blair, when we're finally getting rid of the spinning, lying bastard, the Tories think that aiming to emulate his policies is a good idea seems to suggest how lost they've become by the new political landscape. Blair's apologists often like to claim that he's pulled the political centre to the left, based on the money pumped into the public services; while it's true that he has achieved a consensus on that, on other measures Blair has pushed the "centre" so far to the right, whether through his policies on criminal justice, the re-imposition of the market into the NHS, with independent treatment centres which get their money whether they perform the number of operations set out in the contract or not, PFI schemes which are bleeding the taxpayer dry and city academies which allow the private sector or so called "charitable" organisations, usually church groups, to have control over the ethos and make-up of the school for a bung towards its upkeep, that the Tories haven't much of a clue how much further they can go without totally alienating the average person who claims the centre ground is where they are. As a result, all they offer is a continuation, and the age-old smears that Brown, the architect of PFI, is going to shift us all back to the loony left he's already condemned. If Labour's a party in terminal decline, the Tories seem to be more than happy to follow them into oblivion.

Related post:
Chicken Yoghurt - The bores of perception

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The revenge of emotional pornography.

Lazarus's autobiography, the title of which is only one letter off being accurate.

For those being directed here from briansprediction.com, see the bottom of this post.

Great stories tend to come in twos. Darwinism, it seems, is back with a vengeance:

A FIRE which swept through a fourth floor flat in Weston is believed to have been caused by a candle lit by a kind-hearted elderly woman for missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann.

Jean Lester, of Westbury-on-Trym, was visiting her aunt in the neighbouring flat at the time the fire broke out. She said: "I came out of my aunt's flat and saw Mary in the corridor. She was very distressed.

"She told me that she had lit a candle for the missing girl, Madeleine, and placed a note by it in the hope it would help her safe return."


It would be easy to suggest that this is the kind of thing that the emotional pornography of the last few weeks featured in the tabloids would lead to, so that's just what I'll do. Rather than helping find a little girl missing hundreds of miles away, it's done the inevitable and came back and bitten the poor old woman in the ass.

Coincidentally, another loathsome parasite who encourages the irrational belief of providing help and support through collective hope and prayer has finally, and equally inevitably, turned up in Portugal:

A TOP psychic will travel to Portugal today to join the hunt for Madeleine McCann.

Diane Lazarus, 40, has already helped cops with high-profile cases including the murders of Jill Dando and little Sarah Payne.


Yes, her name really is Diane Lazarus, although it's her husband's surname, if you believe that. Here's her own propaganda:
From a young age Diane Lazarus (known to many as Diane Lloyd-Hughes) first experienced the power of her amazing gift by seeing, hearing and speaking to spirits and since then Diane has learned to control her gift and can switch on and off at will. Today she is rated in the top five of professional practitioners in the sphere of non-physical science, worldwide.

Non-physical science, known to everyone else as lying to the vulnerable and gullible. Or alternatively, as the dole officer clerk in
History of the World Part 1 remarks to Comicus, who gives his job as stand-up philosopher, "Oh, a *bullshit* artist!". She also couldn't have done that great a job in finding the killer of Jill Dando; many consider Barry George to be innocent.

In an exclusive interview mum-of-two Diane from Crosshands, South Wales, told The Sun online:

- Maddie was targeted after being secretly watched by her abductors, including one woman

- She is in Spain after travelling by car on main roads from Portugal and is being well looked after

Really? Could this insight possibly be related to the alleged sighting of a small blonde girl at petrol station on a motorway which leads to Spain?

Police searching for British girl Madeleine McCann believe she may have been snatched by a group of two men and a woman.

The group of three were captured on CCTV at a petrol station on a motorway that leads to Spain, according to reports in two separate Portuguese newspapers.

The group were reportedly with a young girl, who looked distressed, newspapers 24 Horas and Correio da Manha reported. Police later confirmed that they are studying the CCTV footage and that the evidence may be “key”.

Lazarus continues:

- One of the culprits has olive skin, dark hair and a drawn, skinny face

A person with olive skin in Portugal? Now she's really stretching her credibility!
“I hope going to Praia da Luz will give me the leads to where exactly she went from there. I feel she could be in Spain.

“I have also picked up that they cut Maddie’s hair and made her look like a boy.”

This is amazing! What more can Mrs Lazarus tell us?

Once in Praia da Luz, Diane will ‘tune in’ on a map of the area around the Mark Warner holiday complex and a snapshot of missing Maddie.

Diane said: “I need to start from the beginning and be where it all happened.

“Quite honestly I don’t think Madeleine has come to any harm. She will be returned to her mummy and daddy.

“I feel there are a few people, including a woman, involved in the disappearance.

“They went out of their way to get a girl of a certain age. They also knew Madeleine had a brother and sister, Sean and Amelie.

“They felt as the McCanns have two other children taking Maddie wouldn't be quite so bad.


Oh, so they're considerate kidnappers. At least the McCanns have that to hold on to. She can't resist dropping names, though:

Diane will spend four days on the Algarve after being invited by a close friend of Gerry and Kate McCann, both 38.

"Hundreds of people have contacted me to see if I could help.

“Even Bonnie Tyler, who is one of my best clients, has been in touch.

Rather than being a total eclipse of the heart, this seems to be a total eclipse of the mind. Lazarus has one last piece of advice:

“I’ll be very mindful of the McCanns too. They’ve prayed a lot for Madeleine's return which is great.

“Prayer really does work. Everyone should say a prayer for Maddie’s safe return.”

Indeed, and make sure you mind the curtains when lighting the candle.

Update: This blog has had the dubious honour of being featured on BriansPrediction.com's page devoted to Madeleine McCann. Much like Diane Lazarus, Brian is a fraud, a liar and a charlatan, preying on the distraught relatives of missing people's vulnerability and desire to believe someone who says they can help them. An example of how he makes it look as if he's predicted something before it's happened is explained here and here. He is additionally debunked here, and allegations of how he has cheated people out of money are here. Finally, he's let have it by various posters on the James Randi forums over his lies about Madeleine.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 

The undead princess.

Princess Diana is dead, just in case you'd forgotten. She's been dead for close to ten years. In life, she was chased by newspapers trying to sell their sordid wares. In death, she's chased by newspapers trying to sell their sordid wares. Oddly, the very same newspapers which day after day filled their pages with paparazzi photographs of the woman, apart from suffering a few pangs of guilt in the immediate aftermath of the accident in the Paris tunnel, with the Daily Mail famously announcing that it would never again buy snatched shots, only to break its own declaration within a matter of weeks, have since then felt the need to act as her personal shield; she can't defend herself, so they will instead. Again, this was a surprising role reversal, considering that the Glenda Slaggs' had loved to rip Diana to shreds over whatever they saw fit, leading after her end to the biggest reverse ferret in newspaper history. No longer was she a silly bulimic girl who had betrayed the royal family, now she was the greatest Briton who had ever lived, whose beauty, principles and dignity were second to none.

It's therefore unsurprising that the middle-market tabloids are united in anger over Channel 4's decision to screen a documentary which allegedly features images of Diana laying in the car being treated before she died. We had the very same faux-outrage last year, when an Italian magazine published the far from shocking images, at the same time as some genuinely shocking photographs from Lebanon and Israel were being comprehensively ignored.


Even so, it's difficult to deal with the sheer level of chutzpah, especially of the Daily Express, accusing Channel 4 of being "ghouls cashing in on her memory". This is the same newspaper which has spent the last few years propagating the bullshit theories of Mohammad Al-Fayed, the man most responsible for the death of Diana in the first place, dedicating its front page time and again to false "new leads" and lies about what happened that night. If it wasn't for the Express's Diana obsession, it would probably be even further in the mire created by its asset-striping pornographer owner, Richard Desmond. The only surprise is that Desmond hasn't tried to combine the two by giving away Diana sex dolls with each turgid copy.


As for the Daily Mail, variously accusing Channel 4 of "trampling on her grave", and today printing the words of Rosa Monckton, urging Diana to be given the privacy in death she didn't get during her life (from the very same Daily Mail), could this possibly be the same Daily Mail which back in February was giving away a free Diana figurine from Royal Doulton "worth over £100", as well as Diana DVD entitled ten years on? That isn't trampling on her grave, that's just taking advantage of her, and as we all know, there's a great difference between the two.

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Injustice multiplied part two.

The injustice of having money deducted from the payments to victims of miscarriages of justice continues:

A 37-year-old man jailed for a crime he did not commit is being charged almost £7,000 for his time in prison.

Warren Blackwell from Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, has been told the sum will be deducted from compensation to cover savings on rent and food.

He spent three years in jail convicted of sexually assaulting a woman with a history of false claims against men.

The same thing previously befell the Hickeys, who spent close to two decades in prison for the murder of Carl Bridgewater, a crime they did not commit. That decision was upheld, astoundingly, by four law lords in a majority decision which means that without the government legislating, and with no apparent case to take to the ECHR, that such despicable penny-pinching from those who have had years of their lives taken away from them is likely to continue.

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Peter Hitchens gives Grauniad readers a giggle.

Continuing with the theme of pointing and laughing/crying, Peter Hitchens provides a valuable insight into how the anti-statist, moralist right has to make innumerable incoherent leaps of logic to somehow fit both Blairism and Thatcherism into the same left-wing mould. Tygerland has more.

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We're doomed.


The world's first creationist museum, which tells visitors the Earth is only about 6,000 years old, has opened its doors in the American midwest.

The Creation Museum claims dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex lived alongside ancient civilisations but were strictly vegetarian before the Fall of Man and that the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood.


Quite so. Why else would the T-rex have had those huge teeth other than to carefully chew only the most succulent foliage available?

Mark Looy, a co-founder of the privately funded centre, said: "The guests were very happy with the museum experience.

"Of course, we had some naysayers come through and engage us in conversation, and that's fine - we want them."

It would perhaps be unkind to suggest that Mark's second name is only an n away from accurately describing his beliefs, but his mindset pales into insignificance compared with the man responsible for some of the museum's hi-tech exhibits:

When Mr Marsh was asked to explain the existence of fossilised remains of man's ancestors, he replied: "There are no such things.

"Humans are basically as you see them today. Those skeletons they've found, what's the word? They could have been deformed, diseased or something.

"I've seen people like that running round the streets of New York."


That's that then. Our evolutionary ancestors are still with us, except they're now dressed up in suits, racing around Wall Street and performing their daily task of being masters of the universe. It all makes sense. How could we have possibly have not noticed?

Over on the Answers in Genesis site, the organisation which has helped fund the "museum", John Upchurch informs of us of how he came to believe:

Many years ago, I first heard about creationism from the mocking pages of an anthropology book and the ridicule of an astronomy professor. I laughed, too—once. But as I was wandering through the corridors of the Creation Museum, watching the videos and reading the exhibits, I kept thinking back to the letter that Ken Ham’s mother sent AiG just before the opening festivities. Her prayer was that the museum would “stand up to the world as a beacon of God’s love, power, and grace.” And that is my prayer, too—that those who are tempted to scorn this museum will, as I did many years ago, find out that creation
and science attest to the reality of what God tells us in Genesis.

That reality would involve a spirit being creating the world in seven days, making man and woman in his image, then letting a rogue angel infiltrate the garden of eden disguised as a talking serpent, urging Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit that God had so helpfully installed as a test to whether his subjects would obey him, which she and Adam then do, with God casting them out as a result.

And we think the Scientologists are crazy.

Related post:
Pharyngula - The Creation Museum

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Monday, May 28, 2007 

Derogating from the human race.

It's difficult to think of a darker weekend for civil liberties than the one this country has just experienced. It began with Reid informing us that he might well derogate from the ECHR to put a halt to his and future home secretaries' embarrassment, went further downhill with the news that the Home Office wants even those caught dropping litter to be placed on the DNA database, and fell into a trough with Blair's appalling article in the Sunday Times alongside the irredeemable plan to bring back the "sus" laws.

Blair's article itself is breathtaking, both in his apparent complete ignorance of civil liberties, which can only be described as willful, as we know full well that he is not an idiot, and in its delusional qualities. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is either Blair or his government's fault. He calls for consensus at the same time as he decries the opposition for daring to vote against his plans for 90 days, even though he offered a week-by-week court hearing throughout that time! How could they not agree with such a safeguard?

This and a closing comment though have to be the best/worst parts:

We have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect, even if a foreign national, first. I happen to believe this is misguided and wrong.

Blair appears to be suggesting that we ought to be especially suspicious of foreign nationals, as they seemingly don't deserve the same presumption of innocence until proven guilty as the rest of us. If Blair had used a similar method of reasoning when he first met George Bush then he might not now be quite possibly the most hated man in Britain, but that perhaps sums up the whole way he's gone about things. The other glaring point here is that anyone can be a suspect, and indeed, if the government has its way, then we probably all will be suspects rather than citizens. For the prime minister of this country to suggest that it's "misguided and wrong" to put the civil liberties of a suspect, not someone who's been convicted of any crime before anything else is frightening. While he talks of sending signals, something which Not Saussure expands upon, is he not putting a far more dangerous message across, one which suggests that we're moving beyond that old fashioned idea of everyone having the same rights as everyone else? It's the talk of someone who has no respect for the values which he and others in his party want to inculcate in the public, of fairness, of equality.

It's perhaps this though which explains exactly where Blair has reached in his retreat from reality:

I was stopped by someone the other week who said it was not surprising there was so much terrorism in the world when we invaded their countries (meaning Afghanistan and Iraq). No wonder Muslims felt angry.

When he had finished, I said to him: tell me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a United Nations-supervised democratic process and the Muslims in both countries get the chance to vote, which incidentally they take in very large numbers. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims.


The myopia of which is pretty astonishing, although it's the usual argument from Blair of it all being the fault of terrorists. He'd rather not discuss the myriad of failures, the decision to disband the Iraqi army, the de-Ba'athification order, the looting, the brutality of Abu Ghraib, the horrifying sieges of Fallujah, the endemic corruption of the reconstruction contracts, the bloody disaster of being unable to impose security, the ignorance which meant that the possibility of sectarian conflict was dismissed, and most of all, the obeisance to American power without having any influence in how that power was actually wielded. All of that pales into insignificance in Blair's mind when compared to how the terrorists are the only ones who've stopped Iraq and Afghanistan from turning into democratic paradises envied the Middle East over.

It's really come to something when the Sun, of all papers, is urging caution over the proposed "stop and question" powers thought up in a blaze of brainstorming, either by Peter Hain, who suggested the powers currently in effect in Northern Ireland be extended or Tony McNulty, another exasperating Home Office minister, depending on who you believe. We're told that no one was apparently consulted about this at all, in typical leak to a Sunday newspaper fashion, but at least we can depend on Hazel Blears to instantly think it's a wonderful idea. How the sus laws could possibly be any use against terrorists isn't explained, in an age when "intelligence" is the all important factor, but it's the kind of thinking of a government that doesn't think that having a CCTV camera on every corner is intrusive, that having the largest number of DNA profiles on a database isn't something to be ashamed of but instead worth boasting about, and where civil liberties should come second to the rights of suspects. It's the image of a society where fear is winning over hope, where the government is just as guilty of perpetuating it as any tabloid or terrorist group.

Related post:
Nether-World - Ihre Papieren, Bitte!

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Trial by Fleet Street part deux.

Isn't it strange how the Portuguese police, who up till now have been loath to reveal almost any details about the case at all, have apparently leaked that Robert Murat, the only "suspect" in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, had child pornography on his computer? It's also odd, at least in a coincidental sense, that his ex-wife when questioned yesterday by the Sunday Moron about whether he'd indulged in the use of online pornography said that she'd never caught him looking at it.

Don't read too much into that though, because the Scum has some other source material for you to consider in the hunt for a witch. According to Murat's ex-boss, he was "a huge porn fan, addicted to women." Not only that, but he apparently terrified a fellow female employee by stalking her, and all the women hated him. Oh, and he suspected he had an "unhealthy" interest in children. No doubt he had al-Qaida sympathies as well. Last but not least, the Scum reveals that his website viewing included sites containing bestiality. Whether he's additionally into scat, hentai or page3.com is sadly not forthcoming.

But wait! Does your child look anything at all like Madeleine? Then you too can probably get into the tabloid of your choice! One family contacted the Scum after their daughter was nearly snatched:

Portuguese Lina Santos said: “When I saw Maddie’s photo I shivered. She is so similar to my daughter Carolina. They are like doubles.”

Except err, her daughter has very dark blonde hair, and doesn't looking anything like Madeleine at all. Apart from that, they are indeed like identical twins! Coming back to Murat's ex-wife, the Sunday Moron also seems a remarkable resemblance:

THE startling likeness between Madeleine McCann and Robert Murat's daughter hits you at once.

As little Sofia Murat stares into the camera wearing a yellow "Madeleine ribbon", she bears a haunting resemblance to the missing four-year-old.


As the photograph clearly demonstrates:

I bet no one's ever seen them in the same room, right?

Meanwhile, the News of the World is embarking on an advertising campaign across Europe, which also happens to mention Madeleine, or rather Maddie, as only the newspapers have ever referred to her.

The whole point of every aspect of the search for Madeleine escapes me. She's now been missing for over three weeks, and any sightings have completely and predictably dried up. Rather than helping to find her, it has to be considered if the high profile campaign has in fact made certain that whomever's taken her will never let her out of wherever it is she's being held, if she isn't already dead. If you were plastered over every billboard in the country with wanted signs, and being talked about in newspapers and media across an entire continent, the obvious thing would be to lay low for a while. Still though the torrent of coverage pours forth, with a DVD being played at the Championship play-off match for reasons known only to the organisers, and some sad lonely individual setting up a meeting point for other sad lonely individuals on Second Life to pretend to pray about a girl in the real world who's disappeared.

To begin with, the coverage was the equivalent of emotional pornography, voyeurism dressed up as empathy or concern that this could happen to any one of us. Now it's simply coverage for coverage sake, still designed primarily to benefit the sales of newspapers and viewing figures, but without the pretense of offering any kind of support, like a relationship in which the romance and lust have been replaced by familiarity and the slow gnawing feeling of tedium. All that's left is to speculate, draw conclusions and slowly but surely forget.

Update: Seeing as this page is being linked to again by BriansPredictions.com, here's an repost of a post I've already made on his amazing "psychic ability":

This blog has had the dubious honour of being featured on BriansPrediction.com's page devoted to Madeleine McCann. Much like Diane Lazarus, Brian is a fraud, a liar and a charlatan, preying on the distraught relatives of missing people's vulnerability and desire to believe someone who says they can help them. An example of how he makes it look as if he's predicted something before it's happened is explained here and here. He is additionally debunked here, and allegations of how he has cheated people out of money are here. Finally, he's let have it by various posters on the James Randi forums over his lies about Madeleine.

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Fascists or Islamists rise against British oppression?

There's much comment and confusion over just which organisation is behind a protest being planned for outside Downing Street on the 15th of June against "British Oppression". The site is written in the familiar radical Islamist screed, leading Pickled Politics to originally allege that it was the work of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, only for that to be dismissed when they personally denied being behind it. Faisal Haque, writing on the Telegraph blog, believes it to be the work of the successor organisation to Al-Muhajiroun, which currently appears to be Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, which may well be right. There are however some discrepancies.

The whois for britishoppression.com lists the owner as:

Faruk Miah (faruk.miah2000@yahoo.co.uk) +44.07745 388 220 Fax: +. 24 Little Green Terrace, White Road, Manchester, Manchester M90 9JH GB

24 Little Green Terrace doesn't exist. Nor does White Road, or the postcode, M90 9JH. Nothing particularly strange in the whois information being false, considering the one for this very website is also an obvious fabrication, and it may be potentially clutching at straws, but what does Little Green remind you of? A certain far-right US blog, perhaps?

The potential demonstration has certainly riled up the fascist filth, that's for sure. As Postman Patel notes, Stormfront currently has a 22-page thread discussing the finer points of either staging a counter-demonstration, or signing a petition urging the authorities to ban it. The remnants of Combat 18 have also noticed, as has the BNP itself, which has sent a letter to an unnamed police officer complaining about the posters advertising the demo being pasted up in certain areas of Birmingham, although it has personally cautioned against any "official" counter-demonstration. (They also raise a legitimate point: has whomever's behind the protest already gained permission from the Met for such a demonstration within the "restricted zone"?) The National Front has no such qualms, to judge by this posting. A self-proclaimed "radical Muslim" who blogged about the demonstration found himself descended upon by various fascists and one or two Harry's Placers, although perhaps more interesting or predictable is that he claims to blog for human rights but is virulently homophobic, something he has in common with the very fascists he loathes.

Is it possible that this is a ploy by some far-righters to draw in radical Muslims, and then either start a riot or simply try and get a repeat of the infamous demonstration which took place outside the Danish embassy? Or are some of us simply reading too much into it? After all, the Islamist, the magazine apparently published by the remnants of Al-Muhajiroun, links to the "British Oppression" website.

One thing is for certain. The very last thing that we need right now, with both Blair and Reid proposing even tougher anti-terrorism laws is for a similar demonstration for the Motoons one to take place, or even worse, for there to be possible confrontation in Whitehall between fascists and Islamists. As the BNP's own propaganda states:
Let them protest against Blair and Co. in London and everywhere else for that matter and get ready to count the number of new BNP votes we will gain for each second of television broadcasting, every column inch of newspaper reporting and every photograph taken of some cleric calling for death to the West!

It could of course turn out that no one bothers to turn up; the Danish embassy protest at most was 500 strong, and both groups tend to be all mouth and no trousers. Nevertheless, the only ones to profit will be those who want the Muslim community to be even more isolated, attacked and loathed, and that additionally fits the agenda of both.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007 

Just two piles of bodies, one Israeli, one Palestinian.

A Palestinian boy stands in front of a burning truck, during the recent in-fighting in the Gaza strip.

The weariness concerning the continuing conflict in Gaza between militants firing their rudimentary Qassam rockets and Israel responding with the overwhelming force of its hellfire missiles is hard to get past. Always beneath the surface of the on-off confrontation between the resistance groups and that of the IDF is a grim calculus of death; 40 Palestinians have now died in air strikes since Hamas and others stepped-up the firing of rockets into the towns of Sderot and Ashkelon, while a single Israeli woman was killed when a Qassam landed on top of a car. 11 other Israelis have been wounded in the last two weeks, while since the Qassams were first launched in 2001 12 Israelis have lost their lives to them.

The figures surely tell their own story. However much pain can be inflicted by Hamas and others on Israel, they only get it returned to them with far more vengeance than they could ever manage. Since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, over 1,000 Israelis have been killed, while over 4,400 Palestinians have died. A similar tale occurred during last year's Israel-Lebanon-Hizbullah war, when over 1,000 Lebanese civilians died while only 43 Israelis did, a battle in which Hizbullah was almost universally seen as the victor, despite the casualties.

The higher than usual firing of Qassam rockets came at a time when Gaza had again became an open battlefield between Hamas and Fatah gunmen, continuing their power struggle which has simmered ever since Hamas won the elections in January of last year, triggering the economic boycott which has left the Palestinians ever more cut-off and reliant on help from such well-intentioned fair-weather friends as the Iranians. The tactic seems to have worked in stopping the in-fighting, only to heighten the carnage caused by the predictable response from Israel. Both sides have a contempt for human life that helps them justify their respective responses; each attack is a response, every missile an act of self-defense. The absolute stupidity which keeps Hamas and others firing their pathetic rockets is almost impossible to countenance, bringing only death and destruction in their wake, while doing nothing to help bring an end to the occupation and the creation of a Palestine state any closer. It's easy to blame the Israelis for the way their missiles kill the innocent while also targeting militants, but the Qassams, however technologically backward, and psychologically rather than physically damaging, could not be tolerated by any state. The response to them may be disproportionate, but few would deny them the right to attack those launching the homemade missiles into Israel. It might be considered collective punishment, which is illegal, but no one's really prepared to raise their voices that loudly about it.

This bloody, tedious stalemate has become one of the defining features of the Israel-Palestine conflict. However often both sides reach out with apparent olive branches, Hamas doing so early this year, when one of its militant leaders admitted that Israel was a reality, in complete contradiction with its anti-semitic charter which calls for its destruction, and Olmert recently, when he gave a cautious welcome to the Arab Peace Initiative, while still refusing to discuss the matter of the right of return for refugees, the bloodshed seems to inexorably continue with no end in sight. Welcome developments, like that of Palestinian women who bravely confronted Israeli soldiers last year in peaceful, unarmed direct action protests, which if taken further could have taken the gun out of Palestinian resistance, seem to have come to a halt.

As ever, there seems very little to be optimistic about. Hamas continues to hold the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who before long will have been in captivity for a year, while Israel continues its own raids on Palestinian politicians and others; many of those held during last summer's incursions into Gaza are still in custody, while Nasser al-Shaer, regarded as one of the most moderate members of Hamas, was again arrested, having been detained for a time last year. The Israeli government itself is still mired in the aftermath of the heavy criticism handed down in the Winograd inquest into the Lebanon war, Olmert and Peretz both on their way out, Kadima likely to be replaced by Likud and Netanyahu at an eventual election.

Where the battle being fought between Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army fits into all this is anyone's guess. A radical Islamist group which apparently shares the same Salafist ideology as al-Qaida, it seems to have sprouted almost out of thin air, leading many to wonder just who's backing it and why. The usual claims that it's all Syria's doing, despite the Syrians being diametrically opposed to takfirists, even if it might let some of them cross into Iraq over its vast border, don't seem to stand up, while Seymour Hersh has alleged that Saudi Arabia, much more sympathetic towards Sunni radicals as long as they don't attempt to overthrow their own corrupt monarchy, was funding the group as a bulwark against any eventual attempts by Hizbullah to gain further power in Lebanon. In any case, the fears that the Nahr al-Bared camp would be turned into a bloodbath through indiscriminate fighting between al-Islam and the army appear to have been thankfully proved unfounded: most of the refugees in the camp have now fled, while a tense truce is holding, although this may only be a lull while the army restocks. While sympathy for al-Islam was always low, the tactics of the Lebanese army, using the same shelling methods which the Israelis have in the past subjected Gaza to, could have raised tensions in other refugee camps in Lebanon.

The solution to all of this also remains the same as ever. The Palestinian groups, or at the very least, Hamas and Fatah, should announce unilateral ceasefires. Hamas needs to recognise Israel's right to exist; it doesn't have to renounce violence yet, which would likely be too far a step all at once. In response, Israel should stop all building works on settlements within the West Bank, and begin negotiations on the question of prisoners, either to be swapped or released or otherwise, which could then be built on into negotiations on a state in itself. The populations of both Israel and Palestine always agree on one thing: both desperately want peace. It's just some of their politicians at the moment which don't.

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Find Felicity Jane Lowde.

Despite Felicity Jane Lowde (one of her many paranoid blogs can be awed over here) being found guilty of harassing Rachel North, she is now apparently living rough in London and continuing her stalking campaign using internet cafes. There is a warrant out for her arrest. The photograph in question is 10 years old; she has apparently aged considerably since it was taken, and has put on weight. If you see her, it's advised you don't approach her, but instead phone the police immediately. Hopefully we can get her the treatment she needs before she ends up causing further misery to others she thinks have slighted her.

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Which kind of God hater are you?

Via D-Notice:

Scientific Atheist


100%

Spiritual Atheist


67%

Militant Atheist


50%

Angry Atheist


42%

Apathetic Atheist


33%

Agnostic


33%

Theist


0%

What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Turns out I'm a nerd rather than a hippy, then.

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Friday, May 25, 2007 

Leaving no stone unturned?

Retired Rambler asks some pertinent questions over just who's looking after the Find Madeleine fund. According to the Times the fund has been denied charity status, on the grounds that it isn't for the public good, meaning that tax will have to be paid.

Despite there being little to no transparency, the fund according to the website now stands at over £300,000. Would it be a low blow to suggest that it might be worth keeping a watchful eye on just how the money is eventually accounted for?

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Scum-watch: Lie after lie after lie.

Even by the Scum's standards, today's attack on the Human Rights Act, written by Tim Spanton, is a lie infested spectacular which could only have been put together by someone ordered to write a hatchet job.

Justice failed by act of folly

By TIM SPANTON

THE Human Rights Act has made a a laughing stock of British justice in some high-profile cases.

Serial killer Dennis Nilsen was allowed to have hardcore gay porn in his cell — after he argued a ban breached his freedom of expression.


One of the most well-known myths about the HRA. From the review of the Implementation of the Human Rights Act:

The most notable example in this category is the application made by Denis Nilsen in 2001 to challenge a decision of the Prison Governor to deny him access to pornographic material. The case is now often cited as a leading example of a bad decision made as a result of the Human Rights Act. In fact it failed at the very first hurdle.


Next:

Men and women can simulate sex with rubber dolls in a street because Article Ten of the Human Rights Convention gives freedom of expression “without interference”.


Err? The first question has to be why anyone would, and secondly, if the police received complaints about such a thing happening, they'd be more than within their rights in ordering the couple to move on, and could quite easily make an arrest either for breaching the peace or for outraging public decency.


Hundreds of schools dropped detention four years ago after a girl claimed it violated her rights.

This is presumably a reference to Freya McDonald from Tomnavoulin in Morayshire, who back in December 2002 was apparently prepared to sue her local education authority over the number of times she had been held in detention over what she and her parents described as trivial offences. And that's it. I can find no further articles to suggest that the case even went ahead. Searching Google for McDonald only turns up the same articles and one which is clearly not to do with her, and to judge by the Guardian's extensive education archive, detentions seem to have remained completely unaffected.


Derbyshire Police refused to release photos of two murderers who escaped jail last year — for fear of affecting their human rights.

The exact quote from the Derbyshire police spokesperson was:

“When making a decision to release any photograph, police forces must take into account numerous factors including the public interest test, whether there is a strong local policing purpose and, of course, the Human Rights and Data Protection Acts."

Which the tabloids predictably took as an attempt to blame the Human Rights Act, which it most likely was because of Derbyshire police's own incompetence. Rather than attacking the police, they instead took it out on the law which had nothing to do with it. Derbyshire later issued a corrected statement:


'This decision was based on the fact that there was no policing purpose to be served by the release of these photographs in Derbyshire, as inquiries indicated that Croft and Nixon had fled the county and posed no risk to Derbyshire residents.

'Derbyshire Constabulary would like to strongly point out that the human rights of the individuals in question had no bearing and were not the reason the pictures were not released.

'In making this decision the rights and safety of the public will always come before those of convicted offenders.'



Fat paedophile Andrew Baldwin was allowed to use a SCHOOL gym unsupervised last year during class time — despite being convicted of sexually abusing three girls aged 12 and 13. Forest Of Dean Council were worried about breaching his human
rights.


Full article here.

The headmaster told me it was out of his hands because the solicitors say a ban would breach this paedophile's human rights.


Then it's time to get some new solicitors. There is absolutely nothing in the Human Rights Act which would stop the school from banning the man from school premises, and seeing as he's been convicted of molestation he should be banned from coming into contact with children in any case. I'm at a complete loss to even understand which article the solicitors thinking banning Baldwin would breach; Article 8, which guarantees the right to a private life, but not if Baldwin represents a threat, which he does, or Article 11, which guarantees the right to freedom of assembly but which again has the same caveats as 8. It's complete lunacy, based on ignorance of the act rather than it being the fault of the law itself.

Finally:

Prisoners in Scotland are set to receive £1,000 compo each because they could not vote in this month’s local elections.

This is the only one that has even a grain of truth in it. The ECHR ruled back in 2005 that denying prisoners the right to vote was in breach of the charter - and since then the government has done absolutely nothing to change the law. It has to be said that this is about the only case where I disagree with the ECHR: you go to prison, you lose your right to vote, simple as. Quoting the Herald article:

In a ruling that decided Scottish prisoners must no longer be denied the vote, the Court of Session said the election would be "incompatible" with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) because the UK currently operates a blanket ban on prisoners voting.

At least one law firm acting for prisoners now intends to seek an interim interdict against Scottish ministers to halt the elections. If they fail, lawyers intend to seek compensation instead. Council elections due on May 3 could also be affected.


Which obviously either didn't go ahead or failed. The £1,000 figure comes from another ruling which considered that adequate compensation for being denied the vote, but in order to even have a chance of getting it, prisoners' would have to sue again, and there's no sign that any of them either has, or if they have, they're no nearer being able to actually claim. It's another scare story that isn't worth worrying about until it happens.

The simplest amount of research on any of these supposed "acts of folly" would have shown almost all of them up to be nonsense. On any quality newspaper a sub-editor would have had to do just that, but the Sun either wants to deliberately mislead or just lets any old crap be published without it being checked, ala Rochelle Holness and Muslim yobs.

On to the Sun's actual article:

Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair confirmed the Human Rights Act was to blame for tying his officers’ hands.

He said: “We enforce the law as it is and we will now do our best to find these people. But the police service would always be interested in a better system than one that is as imperfect as this.”


Not only is it nothing to do with the police's hands being tied by the HRA, when it's the failure of the government to either allow these men to be prosecuted or to put into place the legislation necessary so the evidence against them can be used, but Blair clearly doesn't blame the HRA but actually the current laws.

Control orders were introduced as a fudge to counter human rights objections to locking up terror suspects without trial.

Human rights objections being the House of Lords ruling that indefinitely locking up foreign terror suspects without trial was, to quote Lord Hoffman, the real threat to the life of the nation

in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.

Back to the Scum:

Yesterday cops refused to name or release photos of the three other suspects on the run — to protect their HUMAN RIGHTS. Two are from London and one from Manchester.

Mr Cameron said: “It is crazy the rights of criminals are put above the safety of law-abiding citizens.”


Yet another complete lie. None of the men under control orders have ever been officially named, although we do know the identities of some of them because of the way they've tried to publicise their own cases. If the government wanted to release their identities they could, in the same way as Reid went to court in order to reveal the details of the three who've absconded. They've decided not to do so, for reasons known only to themselves.

Finally the Scum's leader:

THE Human Rights Act must go.

And we should rewrite the European Convention on Human Rights.


Seeing as the Human Rights Act and the ECHR is one and the same thing, the Sun doesn't even seem to know what it's talking about. The ECHR doesn't need rewriting, it needs respecting.

The human rights of the majority must come first. Not those of the terrorists hell-bent on mass murder.

Because the HRA doesn't protect the rights of everyone you see, just the terrorists'. The entire argument being put forward for ripping up the HRA is a false dichotomy.

Since then ministers have come up with pathetically weak Control Orders. We are all at risk as a result.

Which is patently untrue as only those on the weakest control orders have escaped. Those who carried out 7/7 and the others who have been charged with plotting other attacks have never been under what amounts to house arrest.

Tony Blair has tried to lock suspects up for 90 days without charge. He is right to be frustrated that MPs reduced it to just 28 days.

Yet there’s no getting away from it. Suspected terrorists flee the country as ministers fiddle.

Gordon Brown has the perfect opportunity to wipe the slate clean.

He takes the seals of office on June 27. We hope he takes action on June 28.

We have human rights — to life.


There we are then - 90 days detention and ripping up our own rights will save us from the evil terrorists. In order to stop what are "fascistic" acts of violence, according to John Reid, we have to move ever closer to fascism ourselves. Those who want to carry out such acts of barbarism already seem to have won the argument.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 

Blaming everyone except themselves.

Beneath the initial embarrassment for the government of 3 further "terrorism suspects" breaching their control orders and going on the run, there must almost certainly be a degree of relief and even delight. How else could those dead dogs, Reid and Blair, with their lickspittles still sniffing and even licking their fetid, decomposing backsides have otherwise managed to come out with yet another attack on judges, the opposition and the "hated" Human Rights Act?

Despite the attempts by the gruesome twosome and "Sir" Michael White to pin the blame elsewhere, the real reason control orders have both failed and been illiberal in equal measure is because they were designed to do just that. Unwilling to introduce wiretap evidence because the security services are worried it might expose their techniques, despite the fact that intercept evidence is admissible in nearly every other European country and in the United States, it's instead left some of those who were initially detained illegally in Belmarsh living a Kafkaesque nightmare in which they're heavily restricted in what they can do, yet they can't be told the reasons for why such conditions have been imposed upon them in the first place. While this is abuse of power at one end, at the other end has been the apparent refusal to prosecute those who aren't considered a direct threat to this country, but who just might have designs on going to fight in others. This is presumably for the same reasons as the former, except because there is no apparent risk of them hurting the public in this country the control order system is instead only applied much more lightly, giving those on them more than enough opportunity to go on the run and avoid the tedium of having to go through a daily ritual of having to go to a police station or phone a private monitoring company.

Lord Carlile, in his role of monitoring the affects of anti-terrorism acts, has been doing a tour of studios suggesting that the intelligence against the three men is "solid". It's apparently not so solid though that they know just what country the three were apparently intending to go and fight in; everyone has been suitably vague about that, which raises the question of whether they're not letting on for security reasons, or the possibility that the intercepted conversations, whether they took place online or over the telephone were similarly short on details. That they weren't even considered dangerous enough to be electronically tagged ought to be enough to tell you that they might not have been as deadly as we're being told.

For the government to now turn around and blame everyone other than itself for the difficulties is hypocrisy of the highest order. When control orders were first mooted, they were warned by the opposition parties, judges and Liberty that they were likely to be found incompatible with the ECHR, and lo and behold, some of them have been. The government approach since September the 11th has not been to work within the boundaries of the law, which it knows all too well about, but to breach them and hope it gets away with it. This has resulted in it losing judicial reviews time and time again, which incidentally if the government really wanted to challenge it could just ignore, as they are not binding, and then blaming the judges for simply doing the job they were appointed to do. They and the Human Rights Act make for convenient whipping boys, covering up for their own breaches of the laws they put into place and the arrogance with which they have broken them. Even when a judge suggested that one of those being restricted by a control order should be prosecuted, John Reid ignored the ruling entirely and imposed another order which was slightly less restrictive. One has to wonder if this is because they fear having the subsequent trials end in acquittal and humiliation, ala the non-existent ricin case.

The government's solution to all this then isn't to recognise that the "light touch" control orders are useless and that those on them should be prosecuted, but rather to impose ever tougher measures and potentially tear up the HRA in the process. This might involve "derogating", in other words becoming the only country in Europe to be so authoritarian and illiberal that it needs to step outside of a convention that has worked for 57 years, and continues to protect both the weak and the voiceless, or, as the BBC puts it:

But he added he would prefer to develop "an understanding" across Europe to "build on" the European Convention of Human Rights to reflect the current problems.

Except there's no chance of reaching an understanding when everyone apart from us is managing to stay within the bounds of the ECHR, and by "build on" Reid means gut. He recently argued that human rights law needs to be rewritten to protect people from terrorists, when what he really wanted to say was that human rights law needs to be rewritten so people can be locked up for 24 hours a day on his say so on the back of the same kind of intelligence which told us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and a cyanide bomb in a house in Forest Gate.

Everyone's a winner then baby, except for, oh, all of us other than the government. Three men that might just be a threat to British troops somewhere on the planet go missing, the government gets to blame everyone that's ever so much as raised a squeak against their attacks on civil liberties, Gordon Brown gets an opportunity to be "tough on terror", which should play well with the Sun, and the pesky human rights law which have so affected the fight against extremism might well get thrown out the window. Not a bad day's work for a home secretary on his way out, leaving us with a legacy just as bad as that of his master and political soul mate.

Related posts:
Blairwatch - Michael White talks rubbish
Craig Murray - More Right Wing Guardian propaganda

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