December 31, 2011

Jeremy Clarkson accused of racism over India jibes on Top Gear Christmas special

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Jeremy Clarkson has found himself at the centre of an alleged racism row after appearing to mock Indian culture during the Top Gear Christmas special.

The outspoken TV presenter mouthed off about the country’s food, clothing, toilets, trains and history in a series of ‘Carry On’ style jibes. The 51-year-old host prompted a flood of complaints as he was shown stripping his trousers off and claiming he used a trouser press to heat naan bread. He then mocked the country’s sanitary conditions by driving around slums in a Jaguar fitted with a toilet, joking: “This is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots.”

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that they have already received eight complaints accusing the show of racism. She reportedly said: “If viewers or religious groups want to complain, they can complain to the BBC. We won’t be responding through the media.”

The racism row set Twitter on fire as furious viewers branded Clarkson a “Nazi” and condemned the show’s “casual racism”. One viewer posted: “Just watched top gear India Special. A new low for the bbc. Sickeningly base. Borderline racist stereotyping. And just not very good.”

Another added: “Whats wrong with the BBC that they think casual racist stereotyping is acceptable on top gear?”

The BBC has also been slammed after it aired the programme on Wednesday, just two days after the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve in Salford. Raj Dhutta, of Manchester Indian Association, reportedly said: “The Manchester community is in shock at the murder of Anuj, and this was tasteless timing. The show itself was also tasteless. These are perceptions that shouldn’t be picked up anywhere.”

The Top Gear presenters also found themselves in trouble with stunts on board Indian trains. Clarkson and co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May attached banners to the trains which read “British IT is good for your company” and “Eat English muffins”. However when the carriages split, the banners ripped to reveal rude messages.

Earlier this year Top Gear was embroiled in another racism row when Richard Hammond, 42, branded Mexicans “lazy”, “feckless” and “flatulent” when comparing the country to a Mexican sports car.


December 30, 2011

Anyone remember Charlotte Lewis?

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Does anyone remember the ghastly Charlotte Lewis, former BNP and now doyen of the even smaller British Freedom mob? As you can see, she's still as bad as ever.

Anuj Bidve shooting treated as hate crime by police

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Anuj Bidve, a student at Lancaster University,
was shot dead in Salford on Boxing Day. Photograph: GMP/PA
Indian student shot dead on Boxing Day may have been victim of a racist hate crime, say detectives

The murder of an Indian student who was shot in the head at point-blank range on Boxing Day is being treated as a suspected racist hate crime, police have revealed. Micro-electronics postgraduate Anuj Bidve, was murdered in the early hours of 26 December as he made his way with nine friends from his hotel in Salford to central Manchester to queue up early for Christmas sales.

Investigators say that although there is no specific evidence of the crime being racially motivated they are responding to those affected by the crime who believe it to be a hate crime.

Five people aged between 16 and 20 remain in police custody on suspicion of murder, including a 17-year-old who handed himself in to police on Tuesday evening, in what police have described as a fast-moving investigation. Police have found no previous link between 23-year-old Bidve and those involved in the killing, believed to be two white males, which took place at 1.35am.

The "straight-A" student from Pune, India who was studying at Lancaster University, had a "very short conversation" with the two males before a gun was drawn and aimed at Bidve's head. The gunman and his associate are thought to have fled to towards the Ordsall estate near the scene of another fatal shooting in September and which has been described by locals as rough. A Home Office pathologist has confirmed that Bidve died after suffering gun trauma to the head.

Police also said they were working with the Indian high commission and other agencies to help fly the victim's family from India to Manchester in the next few days.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, divisional commander for Salford, said: "We have not established a clear motive for the senseless murder of Anuj, and there is no definitive evidence pointing to it being racially motivated. However, we are treating this as a hate crime based on the growing perceptions within the community it was motivated by hate.

"What I want to stress is that regardless of the motive, it does not change the way detectives from our major incident team are investigating this murder and from day one we have pursued every possible line of inquiry to identify who is responsible for this despicable crime, including CCTV trawls, detailed forensic and ballistic investigations, witness statements and house-to-house inquiries.

"Thanks to the work of staff across the whole of Greater Manchester police, we have made five arrests and all five remain in custody. I cannot comment for obvious reasons about the progress of the investigation but I would like to again take this opportunity to thank people in our community who have come forward and given us information. "

Police said they were duty bound to investigate crimes as hate crimes if they are reported as such. A police source added that the classification also allowed officers to pursue other avenues and leads which would not otherwise be open to them later on in the investigation.

Mulligan confirmed that no murder weapon has been recovered. "We really need that support to continue and I want to urge anyone who knows something to call us. As yet, we have not recovered the murder weapon and I want to implore people to be brave and come forward if they know the whereabouts of that weapon."

Dr Bharati Kar, the general secretary of the Greater Manchester Bengali and Hindu cultural association, said racism was far less of a problem now that it was two decades ago and that her own children had not reported any racist incidents to her recently. Kar said that she was very pleased that Greater Manchester police were taking the reports that the crime was racially motivated seriously.

"I'll be glad if the actual cause is discovered [along with] the killer," she said.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, local resident Susan Wilson, 57, said: "This lovely young man has come here to further his education and people whose lives revolve around violence have killed him. For this to happen in our neighbourhood is devastating and we're all very upset about it. It's like the whole country is looking at Ordsall now because of this. The area doesn't have a great reputation but we want people to know what's happened doesn't represent this area or the people living here."


Thanks to the many readers who have sent this in

Mark Steel: Wife-beating? That's fine – unless you're a Muslim

3 Comment (s)
The Sun newspaper has come over a bit modest. Following a Channel 4 documentary about media reporting of Muslims, the paper accepts some of its stories were "distorted". But they're not doing themselves justice. They weren't distorted – they were entirely made up. For example, a story about a Muslim bus driver who ordered his passengers off the bus so he could pray was pure fabrication.

But if reporters are allowed to make up what they like, that one should be disciplined for displaying a shocking lack of imagination. He could have continued, "The driver has now won a case at the Court of Human Rights that his bus route should be altered so it only goes east. This means the 37A from Sutton Coldfield will no longer stop at Selly Oak library, but go the wrong way up a one-way street and carry on to Mecca. Local depot manager Stan Tubworth said, 'I suggested he only take it as far as Athens but he threatened a Jihad, and a holy war is just the sort of thing that could put a service like the Selly Oak Clipper out of business'."

Then there was a story about "Muslim thugs" in Windsor who attacked a house used by soldiers, except it was another invention. But with this tale the reporter still claims it's true, despite a complete absence of evidence, because, "The police are too politically correct to admit it." This must be the solution to all unsolved crimes. With Jack the Ripper it's obvious – he was facing the East End of London, his victims were infidels and he'd have access to a burqua which would give him vital camouflage in the smog. But do the pro-Muslim police even bother to investigate? Of course not, because it's just "Allah Allah Allah" down at the stations these days.

Maybe Muslim newspapers should retaliate by publishing their own made-up stories. So it will be reported that "Barmy PC teachers in Leicester have banned children from playing Noughts and Crosses, claiming the cross reminds Church of England kiddies of the suffering undertaken by Lord Jesus. A spokesman for the Board of Education said, 'We have to be sensitive. Which is why we've replaced the game with 'Noughts and Hexagons'. We did look into calling it 'Noughts and Crowns of Thorns' but decided Hexagons was more appropriate."

Or, "Doctors have been told that patients are no longer to be referred to as 'stable', as this is offensive to followers of Jesus, who was said to have been born in one. So medical staff have been informed they must use an alternative word, or if they can't think of one just let the patient die."

The most common justification for ridiculing Islam is that the religion is "backward", particularly towards women, as a fundamental part of its beliefs. The Sun's old political editor suggests this as a defence of his newspaper's stance, saying that under Islam, "women are treated as chattels". And it's true that religious scriptures can command this, such as the insistence that, "a man may sell his daughter as a slave, but she will not be freed at the end of six years as men are." Except that comes from the Bible – Exodus, Chapter 21, verse 7.

The Bible is packed with justifications for slavery, including killing your slaves. So presumably the Sun, along with others who regard Islam as a threat to our civilisation, will soon be campaigning against "Sunday Schools of Hate" where children as young as seven are taught to read this grisly book. And next Easter they'll report how, "I saw a small child smile with glee as he opened a Cadbury's egg filled with chocolate buttons. But behind his grin I couldn't help but wonder whether he wanted to turn me into a pillar of salt, then maybe sprinkle me on his menacing confectionary treat."

In his defence of making stuff up, the Sun's ex-political editor spoke about the amount of domestic violence suffered by Muslim women. But there's just as much chance of suffering domestic violence if you're not a Muslim, as one of the 10 million such incidents a year that take place in Britain. Presumably the anti-Islam lobby would say, "Ah yes, but those other ones involve secular wife-beating, which is not founded on archaic religious customs, but rational reasoning such as not letting him watch the snooker."

And finally the Sun's man defends the line of his paper by saying that, after all, these Muslims "are trying to bomb our country". So it's their civic duty to make stuff up – the same as keeping a look-out for spies during the Second World War.

So we should all do our bit, and every day send in something, until the press is full of stories like "Muslims in Darlington have been raising money for semtex by organising panda fights." Or "In Bradford all nurseries have been ordered to convert their dolls' houses into miniature mosques so that Muslim teddies have somewhere to pray."


Thanks to Anon for the heads-up

December 29, 2011

EDL leader in lay-by attack

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POLICE have launched an investigation after English Defence League leader Stephen Lennon was violently assaulted in a lay-by outside Luton.

Mr Lennon, who calls himself Tommy Robinson, says he was driving along the A6 at about 2am last Thursday (Dec 22) when he pulled over after another car, a black Vauxhall Zafira, flashed its lights at him.

When he got out of the car he was attacked by three men, with the beating only coming to an end when a ‘good Samaritan’ stopped at the scene, he said.

Mr Lennon, who runs a tanning salon in Luton, said:
“I was on my way back from Dunstable and near Streatley I noticed the car flashing me.

“I pulled over and got out. The car was being driven by a girl and three lads jumped out and I took a beating.

“As soon as I got out the passenger leapt out and I could tell straight away what was going to happen.

“I started fighting back and then the other two got out.

“The geezer that pulled over to help me said one of them had a pole but I didn’t see anything. But the hospital said the injuries looked like they’d been caused by a blunt object.”

Mr Lennon drove to Bedford Hospital where he was given a CT scan, which revealed bruising on his brain. He was released later the same day.

“I didn’t want to go to hospital but the guy that helped me kept insisting that I had to go,” he said. “They had knocked me out when he arrived – he said if he hadn’t pulled over they would probably have carried on.

“I’ve never had a kicking like it. I had to go home to my kids looking like that.”

Mr Lennon said claims on an anti-EDL website that the attack had been faked or had been carried out by football hooligans were “pathetic” and had been fabricated by people who had been kicked out of the EDL for being too right-wing.

He described his attackers as being of Asian appearance and said they were wearing jeans and bomber jackets, with one wearing a checked scarf.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said it was as yet unclear what the motive for the attack was.

They appealed for any witnesses to come forward, including the good Samaritan, saying: “He was driving a silver Ford Mondeo and was called John or Jonathan.

“The officer investigating this case is Det Con Tom Hamm, contactable direct on 01582 473322. He would like to hear from John or anyone who knows who John is.

Luton Today

I was going to write an article outlining the differences in the various statements that Lennon has put out but these following comments save me the job.

Anonymous said...

So many discrepancies

1) Where's the official statement about the knuckle dusters ? It seems they turned magically into a rod

2) Why didnt he mention this imaginary Samaritan when he initially made the bullshit statement to the EDL ?

3) Why no mention to the police of his vivid imagination thinking the girl in the car was his wife ?

4) The EDL and the BFP made a statement saying the police are treating it a racially motivated crime..... the police havent said anything of the sort

The liar lennon has cried wolf way to many times..... no one fooking believes him anymore.... not even his own ever shrinking flock

Thanks Anon.

December 28, 2011

Council suspends worker linked to Norway gunman

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A council worker has been suspended following a Sunday Times investigation into a network of far-right groups.

Chris Knowles, who is employed by the children’s services department at Leeds city council, has been questioned over his links to the English Defence League (EDL) and a website featuring anti-Muslim content.

Knowles has been accused by Paul Ray, a former senior EDL figure, of operating under an alias to disguise his controversial views. He has been using the name “Aeneas Lavinium” on Facebook and other websites linked to Anders Breivik, the Norwegian gunman who massacred 69 people in summer.

Last week Oslo police confirmed for the first time that Breivik travelled to Britain at least twice — in May 2002 and December 2003.

The gunman has claimed in his 1,600-page “manifesto” that during a trip to London in 2002 he met an English “mentor” who inducted him into a modern-day version of the Knights Templar Order. Police, however, have no evidence to verify this claim.

Ray says that Knowles attended a meeting in July 2009 at which members of the EDL were introduced to key ideological figures in the so-called “counter-jihad” community. He was involved at the time with a right-wing organisation called the Centre for Vigilant Freedom (CVF), which used an address in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, for correspondence. Another member of the organisation was Ann Marchini, a buy-to-let property tycoon who was revealed last weekend as an EDL backer.

The CVF is now part of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) whose website includes many contributions from a writer called “Aeneas”. One article is about Fjordman, an anti-Islam blogger named 111 times by Breivik in his manifesto.

The site also features favourable items on the EDL and a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with an exploding bomb on his head.

When Knowles was asked if he was Aeneas, he said: “I’m not willing to confirm anything.”

Leeds council launched its probe after being shown the ICLA website. A spokeswoman said: “We take the allegations made by The Sunday Times very seriously and a member of staff has been suspended while we undertake a thorough investigation. If there has been any breach of the council’s policies or code of conduct we will take appropriate action.”

Additional reporting: Mark Lewis in Oslo

Sunday Times

EDL logic bypass...

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EDL logic bypass: "Lets duff up this guy who nicked my photo..." "Yeah, I'd recognise his face anywhere!"

Cheers to Everything EDL for the screenshot

December 27, 2011

The 'non-racist' EDL 'Dreaming of a White Christmas'.

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Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas to all our readers!

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An extremely Happy Christmas to all of our supporters who celebrate it and our very best wishes to those who don't (except the EDL, who we hope have a piss-poor Winterval). Whichever you are, let's all look forward to a great (and peaceful) 2012 for everyone. Special thanks from us here at Lancaster Unity to all our friends, fellow writers and readers who have contributed to our success during 2011. Your help and support has been very much appreciated.

We're taking a couple of days off while we sleep off the nut roast/turkey and sulk because Santa STILL hasn't brought the iPad despite all the hints, dammit. ;-)

Enjoy the holiday! We'll see you soon!

Cheers everyone
All at Lancaster Unity x

The Tommy Robinson beating fiasco appears to have been faked

6 Comment (s)

EDL Leader Tommy Robinson on his Death BedThe English Defence League issued a statement yesterday claiming that their leader had been beaten up by a gang of Asians. Unfortunately the story has more holes in it than Hel Gower's tights with many 'patriots' refusing to buy it. In what appears to be another in a long line of crass publicity stunts, even his own football hooligan firm, the Luton Men in Gear (MIGS) don't believe it so EDL News is taking a look at the evidence (or lack of).

In a story reminiscent of the faked Kevin Karroll assassination attempt, the EDL released this statement via the Gates of Vienna blog.

He was out driving, when he saw a car similar to his wife’s, driven by a blond white girl. The other car flashed its lights so Tommy pulled over.
A group of Pakistani youths wearing knuckle dusters poured out. Tommy was knocked out pretty quickly, and they gave him a good kicking.
He looks pretty beaten up, but no bones were broken, and no eyes or teeth are missing. He had a brain scan this morning. We don’t know the results yet.
He has spoken to The Sun, who asked whether he had called the police. Tommy said there was no point, as a racial attack on a white guy was of no interest to them.
The first flaw in this story is the fact that he thought he had recognized his wife in an identical car to hers but failed to notice that there was also a gang of Asians in the car. The second being that if he had been beaten up by a gang of Asians with knuckle dusters, his injuries would have been significantly worse than the photos below suggest. He seems to have sustained heavy bruising and a bump on the head and that is about it. Third is his unwillingness to go to the police claiming they are not interested in cases of actual bodily harm which is quite clearly something he has made up as the police are obliged to investigate every case of ABH whether they are racially aggravated or not.
This lie is further outed by the fact that the East Anglia Division yesterday announced that the police are prosecuting two Asian men who allegedly attacked a female EDL Member at one of Tommy's court cases last year.
Tommy had no problem talking to the police in the summer when he got his picture in the paper for chasing a man who mugged an old lady. This whole fairytale story suggests that he was beaten by one of his own.
Even The Sun newspaper refused to run the story after they asked him if he went to the police and he said no.
These photos were issued, apparently of Tommy in his hospital bed.
The first photo appears to be taken in a hospital bed. The second photo suggests that it was taken at his home and liberal amounts of poorly applied blue eye shadow has been used to make his injuries look worse (or more silly) than those depicted in the first photo and a photoshopper seems to have gone over the top with the smudge tool and carried the bruise up towards his eyebrow.
There also appears a very precise bruise line above his left eye in the first photo. The whole thing looks fake.
Whilst quite clearly Tommy has a rather large lump on his forehead that could have quite easily have been obtained by stumbling into a wall after a heavy Stella Artois session in the Racist Parrot. (Whipperley Ring, Luton, Bedfordshire LU1 5QX)
Tommy issued a follow up statement on Gates of Vienna:
Message from Tommy: "They were shouting ‘allahu akhbar’ and ‘Merry Christmas, Tommy’”.
Also: He had a C.T. scan, and apparently has “bruising of the brain”. He got out of hospital this afternoon.
he has brusing of the brain and they let him out that very same afternoon? Really.
The North West Infidels have heard a different story on the football hooligan grapevine which heavily suggests that Tommy walking around town thinking he owns the place earned him a beating from one of his own.

MIG member, Keith Chambers muddys the waters further by claiming he took the beating three weeks ago.
Other nationalist groups are also failing to buy into the story. (click to enlarge)
The English Defence League are falling foul of the 'boy who cried wolf' syndrome and each attempt to rile their members against Muslims is getting more and more ridiculous and transparent. Tommy has obviously taken a beating but it is much more likely to be one of his own than a vivacious blonde honey trapper in a car full of Muslims he did not see.
These events, including the attempted assassination attempt on Kev, always happen three days before a significant event on the calendar, whether that is Christmas, St Georges Day or a national demo. Each one have been proven to be utterly fake and have been quickly dropped by leadership.
Tommy has courted endless bad publicity over the last twelve months and members are getting sick of him. This latest attempt seems like a last ditch effort to unite the far right back under the EDL's wing and seems to have backfired spectacularly with few on the far right believing a word he says.
Donna Mortimer from the EDL's propaganda department has now openly called for violence towards Muslims which is a criminal offence in itself.
Many of the more savvy members of the EDL are starting to see through these ridiculous publicity stunts but the dimmer ones (which seem to represent a fair proportion of the EDL) have started foaming at the mouth and vowing revenge on Muslims in general which leads a dangerous precedent.

EDL News

Thanks to the many people who sent this in.

December 22, 2011

Coventry BNP charity leaflet campaign 'absurd'

14 Comment (s)
The British National Party has defended its decision to leaflet residents in Coventry, asking them to donate scrap metal to help "British" charities.

A BNP spokesman said they were merely addressing the issue of scrap merchants operating in the Coundon area.

Coventry North-West MP Geoffrey Robinson, who was contacted by one of his constituents about the leaflets, called it "an absurd proposition". Help For Heroes, named on the leaflet, said it was "strictly non-political".

Mark Baddrick, a BNP organiser in the city, said: "This is a local issue that concerns a lot of people... that they are really fed up with this trail of scrap vans trawling the streets."

Mr Baddrick admitted the party had not approached Help for Heroes but said they had done benefits for the charity before.

"We will approach them when we have raised some funds and if they decline the offer of a donation, that's entirely up to them."

Responding to the criticism, he added: "If they're really that concerned, why don't they address the issue we're trying to address instead of criticising our efforts."

Labour MP Mr Robinson, said he could "understand people being very upset" about the leaflet.

"What is the BNP trying to do? It's a political party. They should concentrate on those affairs. The idea they can can become conduit to charities is absurd."

Bryn Parry from Help for Heroes said: "We have no affiliation with any political party and do not endorse the use of our name for the promotion of any political viewpoint. The money we raise supports wounded servicemen and women of every colour and creed. We strongly oppose any individual or political party who believes we should act otherwise, and those who seek to use the charity's name for their own political gain."

Councillor Ed Ruane from the Labour-led Coventry City Council, said the authority had joined forces with the police to "see if this is legal and whether the BNP are licensed to trade in this manner".


Motherwell fans' sickening Nazi salutes at event to launch book on 'SS' hooligans

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Grinning fans did Nazi salutes outside an SPL ground to mark the launch of a book glorifying football hooligans.

The notorious Motherwell Saturday Service - who call themselves the “SS” - organised the stunt on the steps at Fir Park. Last night, club bosses were examining the sick images and discussing whether to launch an investigation.

The SS initially hired a room at Fir Park for the launch of the book Dressers. But club bosses got wind of it and cancelled the bash. The ragtag bunch still managed to hold the event at the independent Fir Park Social Club, opposite Motherwell FC’s ground. Around 140 of the group posed for photos on the steps outside the Phil O’Donnell stand, with some doing “sieg heil” salutes.

Motherwell FC stressed that the event took part in the social club, which has no links to the football club. A spokesman said: “We are trying to be Scotland’s premier family andcommunity club and we are trying to portray a message that this the club is all welcoming to everybody – families and children. We condemn football violence in the highest possible way.”

The club do not know if the people at the event were regular fans. The spokesman added: “We don’t know any of these people. Because it’s outside the ground, it makes itdifficult for us to do anything. People can walk up and do anything.”

The spokesman added that the event was booked simply as a “book launch”. He said: “The club found out what the book involved was and cancelled the booking and told them to seek alternative premises. That was in the middleof the week leading up to the event.”

The Motherwell SS were named in tribute to Hitler’s ruthless Schutzstaffel squad, who carried out some of the worst atrocities of World War II. SS is also the initials of the name given for the book’s author, Stanley Smith. Promotional blurb for the book brazenly tells how it “chronicles the rise of one of Scotland’s original football casual groups, pioneering the fashion that was to become central to the Saturday afternoon fracas in town centres and at football grounds all over Scotland”.

Fir Park Social Club did not respond to repeated requests to comment.

Daily Record

Thanks to Anon for the heads-up

Remove the England captaincy from John Terry

2 Comment (s)
Racism in football is back in the news this week with the eight match ban handed down to Liverpool’s Luis Suarez for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrick Evra and, today, the news that John Terry is facing criminal prosecution for allegedly racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.

The Football Association is just as much in the dock as its reputation and credibility is scrutinised at home and abroad. The stakes were raised last month when the FA spoke out at the apparent indifference towards racism in football by FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, after he claimed that racial abuse on the field could be dealt with by a handshake after the game.

The FA appear to have handled the Suarez case in accordance with the rules and appear only to have come to their judgement after much deliberation. It is sad that Suarez’s Liverpool team-mates and manager rallied round him without even slightest concern of his guilt. Wearing T-shirts in support of him undermines efforts to stamp out racism within the game. Let us just hope that at some stage in the future these same Liverpool players, who appear so quick to jump to Suarez’s defence, are not left annoyed with players of a rival team who rally round someone who has abused one of their own.

The John Terry incident raises even more serious questions. Obviously he is innocent until proven guilty, but it seems totally inappropriate for him to remain England captain whilst criminal charges hang over him. He was stripped of the captaincy after a Sunday newspaper exposed an extra-marital affair so it would only seem correct that he is once again forced to stand down as captain while charges of using racist language exist.

English football has done much to rid itself of racism over the last fifteen years and we can rightly boast to have the most pro-active national football association on this issue anywhere in Europe. The FA should act decisively over John Terry’s captaincy rather than be forced to act later under pressure. How can we seem to lecture other countries and FIFA if they fail to deal with this issue swiftly? If John Terry is found not guilty then he can regain the captaincy at some future date. If he has the interests of the game, and indeed the national team, at heart then he will also want to step aside as soon as possible.

Hope not hate

December 21, 2011

Leicestershire policeman's 'foul-mouthed rant on his Facebook page'

4 Comment (s)
A police officer is being investigated for allegedly posting foul mouthed and possibly racist material on his Facebook page.

The officer made the comments on his personal site but has fallen foul of his employer because he names the force in his biography at the top of his home page.

A selection of the posts, some of which date back to the beginning of the year, were sent to the Leicester Mercury anonymously. In one, the officer, who the Leicester Mercury is not naming, uses foul language about "foreigners", calling them "scum". Elsewhere he swears freely and refers to a "brilliant" shift which culminated in "fights in town".

A police spokeswoman said the matter was under investigation. The officer has not been suspended while the review is carried out.

A person who spotted the postings contacted the Mercury to complain, saying: "This person openly announces that he works for Leicestershire Constabulary, yet uses abusive language of the worst kind."

Ivan Stafford, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, said: "Officers have to be mindful that they are on duty and are representing the force 24 hours a day. Whatever they do, even if they think it is in a private arena, can be picked up and will affect people's perceptions of them and the force. Our advice to anyone using social networking sites is to think very carefully about everything they write."

Another officer, who has a personal Facebook account and also uses the social networking site Twitter regularly, said: "I post about the job from time to time because these sites are about staying in touch with friends – and a lot of my friends are police officers. But I'm always very careful what I say because this is in public. I've seen the posts that are being investigated and I can see why some people might be upset by some of them. But at one point he says he has worked a 17-hour shift, so I can understand fully why he might want to let off some steam from time to time."

The officer under investigation has since removed the reference to his employer in his Facebook biography. The comments that sparked the investigation can no longer be seen.

A force spokeswoman said: "We encourage officers to use social networking, but advise them to be careful what they put out on personal accounts."

This is Leicestershire

Infidels and their sick intentions

7 Comment (s)
John "Snowy" Shaw
One of our regular contributors has just forwarded us this screen grab of comments made on the NWI Fightback Facebook page.

NWI Fightback is one of the official Facebook pages belonging to the EDL splinter “The Infidels” led by John “Snowy” Shaw of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. Shaw, Llama farmer, ex crack cocaine addict and petty thief broke away from the EDL following a number of disputes regarding the EDL’s direction along with accusations from both sides of financial wrongdoings.

Shaw has dragged “The Infidels” further and further to the extreme right, linking up with established right wing organisations such as the National Front and embracing anti Semitism and anti Catholic sentiment along the way.

One known associate of John Shaw is the one time London UDA chief Frank Portinari who was jailed for 5 years in 1994 for smuggling guns to the UDA/UFF.

The NWI Fightback page is controlled by Shaw’s ever faithful clown and lieutenant Shane Calvert of Blackburn. Calvert, who likes to be the centre of attention, regularly posts offensive comments, often posting links to far right websites. One such thread was posted yesterday and shows the chilling intentions of Shaw, Calvert and “The Infidels”.

We will be passing these grabs over to the relevant authorities.

Shane Calvert
Click on images for full-size
Hope not hate

An emphatic stand against racism in English football

2 Comment (s)
The men charged with one of the trickiest decisions in FA history were unequivocal

Negro or negrito, it doesn't really matter now. Sometimes it's not what you say so much as how you say it, and how many times you do so and the effect it is plainly having in the hair-trigger atmosphere of a match between such ferocious rivals as Liverpool and Manchester United. That certainly was the conclusion of the independent regulatory panel of three which last night accepted the allegations of Patrice Evra and banned Luis Suarez for eight matches.

As it did so it swept aside the sophistry of the brilliant Uruguayan's defence that he had done nothing worse than slip into a cultural divide, that what he said to an enraged opponent two months ago wouldn't have raised the eyebrow of a black compatriot back home in Montevideo.

It is the kind of argument which can hold up a court for some time – as it did in this minefield of a case which represented such a huge challenge to the nerve and the working morality of the rulers of the game in this country – but had it been accepted the chances of success in similar prosecutions in the future would have slumped to around zero.

There would have been a precedent for the niceties of one man's understanding of what might constitute a serious offence against the pride and the dignity of another. Instead, the judgement was that if Suarez had offended in a way that may have been subtler than when he bit an opponent in the Dutch league – and earned the nickname of the Cannibal of Ajax – he had still crossed an unacceptable line.

The implications are heavy for anyone who, had the outcome been different last night, might have been tempted to join in any regression to the days when racism was such a harsh reality in the English football.

Certainly, although John Terry denies the allegations, it might create a new level of tension for the Chelsea and England captain, who awaits the deliberations of the Crown Prosecution Service as it weighs the evidence in the charge of Anton Ferdinand that he too was a victim of racial abuse.

The adjudicating panel was led by QC Paul Goulding but it is hard not to believe that he received powerful underpinning from his colleague Denis Smith.

A magnificent centre-half for Stoke, and a manager who knew both success and failure, Smith went into the hearing under the bizarre suggestion that an old professional connection with Sir Alex Ferguson's son, Darren, might make him a less than impartial arbiter. For anyone who knew him, the theory might have been etched crudely in crayon rather than tweeted. Indeed, Smith's long, injury-strewn but superbly indefatigable involvement in the hard end of professional footballer made him eminently qualified to note the difference between nuances of language, and intention, and the realities of serious provocation and insult.

Even so the long days of deliberation suggest a near forensic examination of the claims and counter-claims. Surely, it had to be so.

That Evra had once had a similar charge to the one he made against Saurez rejected, and had evidence at another hearing categorised as "unreliable" no doubt emboldened Liverpool's defence of their outstanding player. It is also true that last night's verdict could easily have been shrouded in inconclusive platitudes and irresolute action.

Instead, the men charged with arguably one of the trickiest decisions in the history of FA discipline were unequivocal. Liverpool, predictably, are indignant and last night issued a powerful statement of rebuttal. From the tone of it, it would be surprising if they do not take advantage of the two-week suspension of Suarez's sentence which allows for an appeal.

Liverpool said the decision was extraordinary in that the issue had come down to the word of Evra against Saurez's and that their player had no record of racism, pointing out his mixed-race heritage. They also cited Evra's comment that he did not regard Saurez as a racist.

So what was the accusation against Saurez? It was one with which the panel concurred. He was guilty of misconduct and insulting behaviour and the use of racist language. You could translate that into some mild attempt at incitement to a loss of control in a player with whom you were engaged in a desperate battle for advantage. You could also say that in another context Saurez would have been guilty of nothing more than "cultural" clumsiness.

The decision was, however, much more emphatic. It said that Saurez had succeeded in inflaming his opponent in a calculated and unacceptable way. This could create an interminable argument about cause and effect but the gut instinct here is that a difficult but vital stand has been made. And, you may ask, against what precisely? Hopefully, it is the idea that racism, however it manifests itself, is in English football not consigned to the past.


The 'Iranian Schindler' who saved Jews from the Nazis

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Thousands of Iranian Jews and their descendants owe their lives to a Muslim diplomat in wartime Paris, according to a new book. In The Lion's Shadow tells how Abdol-Hossein Sardari risked everything to help fellow Iranians escape the Nazis.

Eliane Senahi Cohanim was seven years old when she fled France with her family. She remembers clutching her favourite doll and lying as still as she could, pretending to be asleep, whenever their train came to a halt at a Nazi checkpoint.

"I remember everywhere, when we were running away, they would ask for our passports, and I remember my father would hand them the passports and they would look at them. And then they would look at us. It was scary. It was very, very scary."

Mrs Cohanim and her family were part of a small, close-knit community of Iranian Jews living in and around Paris. Her father, George Senahi, was a prosperous textile merchant and the family lived in a large, comfortable house in Montmorency, about 25km (15.5 miles) north of the French capital.


When the Nazis invaded, the Senahis attempted to escape to Tehran, hiding for a while in the French countryside, before being forced to return to Paris, now in the full grip of the Gestapo.

"I remember their attitude. The way they would walk with their black boots. Just looking at them at that time was scary for a child, I think," recalls Mrs Cohanim, speaking from her home in California.

Like others in the Iranian Jewish community, Mr Senahi turned for help to the young head of Iran's diplomatic mission in Paris. Abdol-Hossein Sardari was able to provide the Senahi family with the passports and travel documents they needed for safe-passage through Nazi-occupied Europe, a month-long journey that was still fraught with danger.

"At the borders, my father was always really trembling," recalls Mrs Cohanim but, she adds, he was a "strong man" who had given the family "great confidence that everything would be OK."
Unlikely hero

The 78-year-old grandmother has lived for the past 30 years in California with her husband Nasser Cohanim, a successful banker. Mrs Cohanim has no doubt to whom she and her younger brother Claude owe their lives.

"I remember my father always telling that it was thanks to Mr Sardari that we could come out. My uncles and aunts and grandparents lived there in Paris. It was thanks to him they weren't hurt. The ones that didn't have him, they took them and you never heard about them again."

Of Mr Sardari, she says: "I think he was like Schindler, at that time, helping the Jews in Paris."

Like Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories, Sardari was an unlikely hero.
Nazi propaganda

In his book In the Lion's Shadow, author Fariborz Mokhtari paints a picture of a bachelor and bon viveur who suddenly found himself head of Iran's legation house, or diplomatic mission, at the start of World War II. Although officially neutral, Iran was keen to maintain its strong trading relationship with Germany. This arrangement suited Hitler. The Nazi propaganda machine declared Iranians an Aryan nation and racially akin to the Germans.

Iranian Jews in Paris still faced harassment and persecution and were often identified to the authorities by informers. In some cases, the Gestapo was alerted when newborn Jewish boys were circumcised at the hospital. Their terrified mothers were ordered to report to the Office of Jewish Affairs to be issued with the yellow patches Jews were forced to wear on their clothes and to have their documents stamped with their racial identity.

But Sardari used his influence and German contacts to gain exemptions from Nazi race laws for more than 2,000 Iranian Jews, and possibly others, arguing that they did not have blood ties to European Jewry. He was also able to help many Iranians, including members of Jewish community, return to Tehran by issuing them with the new-style Iranian passports they needed to travel across Europe.

A change of regime in Iran, in 1925, had led to the introduction of a new passport and identity card. Many Iranians living in Europe did not have this document, while others, who had married non-Iranians, had not bothered to get Iranian passports for their spouses or children.

When Britain and Russia invaded Iran in September 1941, Sardari's humanitarian task become more perilous. Iran signed a treaty with the Allies and Sardari was ordered by Tehran to return home as soon as possible.

Racial purity

But despite being stripped of his diplomatic immunity and status, Sardari resolved to remain in France and carry on helping the Iranian Jews, at considerable risk to his own safety, using money from his inheritance to keep his office going.

The story he spun to the Nazis, in a series of letters and reports, was that the Persian Emperor Cyrus had freed Jewish exiles in Babylon in 538 BC and they had returned to their homes. However, he told the Nazis, at some later point a small number of Iranians began to find the teachings of the Prophet Moses attractive - and these Mousaique, or Iranian Followers of Moses, which he dubbed "Djuguten," were not part of the Jewish race.

Using all of his lawyer's skill, he exploited the internal contradictions and idiocies of the Nazis' ideology to gain special treatment for the "Djuguten", as the archive material published in Mr Mokhtari's new book shows.

High-level investigations were launched in Berlin, with "experts" on racial purity drafted in to give an opinion on whether this Iranian sect - which the book suggests may well have been Sardari's own invention - were Jewish or not. The experts were non-committal and suggested that more funding was needed for research.

Lonely death

By December 1942, Sardari's pleas had reached Adolf Eichmann, the senior Nazi in charge of Jewish affairs, who dismissed them, in a letter published in Mr Mokhtari's book, as "the usual Jewish tricks and attempts at camouflage". But Sardari somehow managed to carry on helping families escape from Paris, at a time when an estimated 100,000 Jews were deported from France to death camps.

The number of blank passports in Sardari's safe is estimated to have been between 500 and 1,000. In his book, Mr Mokhtari suggests that if each was issued for an average of two to three people "this could have saved over 2,000 individuals".

Sardari never sought recognition for his work during his lifetime, insisting he had only been doing his duty. He died a lonely death in a bedsit in Croydon, south London, in 1981, after losing his ambassador's pension and Tehran properties in the Iranian revolution. He was posthumously recognised for his humanitarian work in 2004 at a ceremony at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles.

Mr Mokhtari hopes that by telling his story, through the testimony of survivors, including Mrs Cohanim, he will bring it to a wider audience but also shatter "popular misconceptions" about Iran and the Iranians.

"Here you have a Muslim Iranian who goes out of his way, risks his life, certainly risks his career and property and everything else, to save fellow Iranians," he says. "There is no distinction 'I am Muslim, he is Jew' or whatever."

He believes the story illustrates the "general cultural propensity of Iranians to be tolerant" which is often overlooked in the current political climate.


Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up

Why do Nazi-themed tricks occur in the UK?

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British Tory MP Aidan Burley has left his post at the Transport Department after taking part in a Nazi-themed party. The order of his dismissal was signed personally by British Prime Minister David Cameron, The Mail on Sunday writes.

Several days ago this newspaper published photographs of a party at a French skiing resort where Burley is sitting side by side with a man wearing an SS officer’s outfit. Burley’s behavior brought sharp criticism from oppositional Labour MPs. Tories also considered their colleague’s conduct “offensive and foolish”. Aidan tried to save his career by denying any sympathy for Nazism. However, The Mail on Sunday discovered that he was not a random guest at that party and it had been his idea to hire the SS uniform.

In all probability, due to the growth of unemployment in the context of an economic crisis and all kinds of migration problems, the UK is living through a certain upsurge of right-wing moods aimed, among other things, against Muslim people. These people are subject to attacks similar to those in the period of the Nazi heyday in the 20th century. In this connection, it is small wonder that one of the participants in anti-Nazi campaigns in the UK Max Levitas directly declares that “the problem of fighting against Nazism is coming to the fore again”.

The English Defence League (EDL) is the face of the British right-wing forces today. This group, which identifies itself as a nationalist movement fighting against Muslim attacks on British culture, has repeatedly arranged protests against “Islamic extremism” on the British Isles. Stirring up anti-Muslim feelings in the British, the EDL and other right-wing radical groups put a stake on immigration problems in the UK. However, the EDL ideology is reminiscent of the past when Oswald Mosley’s Nazi ideas were fashionable in the UK in the late 1920s-early 1930s.

At the same time, it is worth pointing out that problems with immigration, higher unemployment and lower living standards of the British are not the only reasons for the growing radical moods in the country and Nazi-style tricks which have lately become frequent. If we remember the aforementioned Aidan Burley or Prince Harry, who put on a “Nazi” costume at a home party in 2005, those men can hardly be considered unemployed or needy. There must be a different reason for this. We can suggest moral degradation or complete immorality.

It is not a coincidence that straight after the August riots in the country and also last weekend Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about a “moral collapse” in the British society. In my opinion, the roots of today’s right-wing moods in the UK are in the moral field. Even though today’s right-wing radical organizations still remain in the backwater of British politics, people pay much more attention to them than before. Suffice it to say that the British National Party received two seats in the European parliament in 2009.

We can neither ignore the fact that in recent years the British bestseller lists contain a lot of books about the Third Reich. These books are fiction, documentary research and even science fiction. In 2000, only 350 books about the Third Reich were published in the UK and last year 850. The 100 most popular books on this subject have brought their publishers 12mln pounds. I suppose that publishers think little about the ethical and moral side of things when they receive these high profits printing all kinds of books about Nazis.

It is a pity because unduly enthusiasm about the dubious literature describing the Third Reich can eventually have a pernicious influence on the young British minds and is fraught with unpredictable consequences. The lessons of the Second World War in which Russians and the British fought together against Nazism remind us of this.

The Voice of Russia

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

Liverpool furious as Luis Suárez banned in Patrice Evra racism row

2 Comment (s)
  • Striker set to miss eight games and is fined £40,000
  • Liverpool consider appeal against striker's conviction
Luis Suárez has been banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Patrice Evra, prompting an extraordinary response from Liverpool accusing the Manchester United player of being "not credible" and alleging that the Football Association had deliberately set out to punish their player even before hearing the evidence.

In a statement that also calls for the FA to press charges against Evra, Liverpool described themselves as "surprised and disappointed" with the "extraordinary" decision to find Suárez guilty of aiming racist abuse at the Senegal-born Frenchman during the 1-1 draw at Anfield on 15 October.

Their manager, Kenny Dalglish, tweeted: "Very disappointed with today's verdict. This is the time when @luis16suarez needs our full support. Let's not let him walk alone. KD"

The club are considering an appeal, with the punishment suspended and Suárez free to play until the process is completed, and the wording of their statement makes it clear they will not contemplate taking their own disciplinary action against a player who is understood to have admitted calling his opponent a "negro".

"We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no one else on the field – including Evra's own team-mates and all the match officials – heard the alleged conversation between two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner-kick was about to be taken," the statement said.

"It is our strong belief, having gone over the facts of the case, that Luis Suárez did not commit any racist act. It is also our opinion that the accusation by this particular player was not credible – certainly no more credible than his prior unfounded accusations."

That was a reference to Evra's disciplinary case in 2008 when he was banned for four matches and fined £15,000 after an altercation with a Chelsea groundsman. The FA hearing at the time ruled his evidence was "exaggerated and unreliable" and Liverpool made a great point of focusing on this during the Suárez case.

However, the FA's three-man independent commission, led by Paul Goulding QC, did not accept Suárez's argument that the words he used were perfectly acceptable for someone from Uruguay, a defence of culture and semantics that has led to it being described as one of the more complex cases ever to fall under the remit of the FA's disciplinary unit. Suárez said on Twitter: "Today is a very difficult and painful day for both me and my family. Thanks for all the support, I'll keep working!"

There was no apology and it soon became apparent why as Liverpool turned the focus back on to the man who made the allegation. "It is key to note that Patrice Evra himself in his written statement in this case said: 'I don't think that Luis Suárez is racist'. The FA in their opening remarks accepted that Luis Suárez was not racist," their statement said.

"Luis himself is of a mixed-race family background as his grandfather was black. He has been personally involved since the 2010 World Cup in a charitable project which uses sport to encourage solidarity amongst people of different backgrounds with the central theme that the colour of a person's skin does not matter; they can all play together as a team.

"We do not recognise the way in which Luis Suárez has been characterised. It appears to us that the FA were determined to bring charges against Luis Suárez, even before interviewing him at the beginning of November.

"Nothing we have heard in the course of the hearing has changed our view that Luis Suárez is innocent of the charges brought against him and we will provide Luis with whatever support he now needs to clear his name. We would also like to know when the FA intend to charge Patrice Evra with making abusive remarks to an opponent after he admitted himself in his evidence to insulting Luis Suárez in Spanish in the most objectionable of terms. Luis, to his credit, actually told the FA he had not heard the insult."

Evra had reportedly pushed away Suárez's hand when the Uruguayan attempted to pat him on the head and used words to the Liverpool player along the lines of: "Don't touch me, you South American." Liverpool have asked the FA to issue the same charges that have now led to Suárez's reputation being tarnished.

The FA's hearing, that began last Wednesday, had ruled that Suárez used "insulting words" that "included a reference to Mr Evra's colour". The full written reasons will be provided to Liverpool in the next few days and they will have 14 days to appeal. However, if they were to lose an appeal Suárez could potentially face an even longer ban. In the meantime Suárez is set to play in the league fixture at Wigan Athletic on Wednesday.


December 20, 2011

Youngsters make film on respect after ‘racist rant’

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Youngsters from Croydon have recently made a film promoting respect for the community and have released it to the public as a response to the viral video showing racism on a Croydon tram last month.

Fifty young people aged between the ages of 13 and 18 produced the video, titled “Route to Respect”. It focuses on generating a positive relationship between different sections of the community, particularly when using public transport.

They interviewed a range of local figures on the topic of respect, including Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, and Adrian Roberts, Borough Commander for Croydon Metropolitan Police. They also learnt filming and animation skills with the help of Mediabox, the charity who funded the project. This allowed them to direct, film and produce the video themselves.

The project was run by the Croydon Supplementary Education Project (CSEP), an organisation which runs out-of-school educational programmes for Black and Ethnic Minority children in the borough. Project Leader at CSEP, Sasha Rhoden, said: “Young people today are either at home with their families and friends or at school with their teachers and classmates. The only time they interact with the public is on their journey to school. Bus drivers stop them and make them late, they are pushed and prodded and stereotyped as ‘hoodies’. Actually they themselves are quite frightened.”

The footage was filmed last year, but the children decided to release it on YouTube as an antidote to the videos taken on public transport that have emerged in the wake of the video taken on the Croydon tram.

Rhoden added: “An image of someone being very disrespectful in Croydon has just gone viral. This makes our film so much more relevant; it’s about being constructive rather than destructive and encouraging community cohesion. We want to show that young people sometimes do have the solutions rather than being the problem”

The video is being used by police officers visiting Croydon schools to encourage respect for others on public transport.

CSEP want to make a sequel in light of the recent videos called “Route to Respect 2″, but the project has been put on hold whilst CSEP seek the necessary funds. An additional setback to this is the fact that the centre’s film and video equipment was stolen in a break-in earlier this year.

CSEP is an organisation running Saturday schools and other community events and training programmes for the BME community in Croydon. To sign up for the Saturday school, or for more information on CSEP projects, contact


December 19, 2011

Hands-up anyone who believes the EDL is a human rights organisation...

8 Comment (s)
Tommo Ashton and friend
Thanks to Everything EDL for the pic and TwitaReteeta for the heads-up

EU hands out holidays paid for by taxpayer

6 Comment (s)
Tens of thousands of political activists, including hundreds from the BNP, have been given free or subsidised holidays by British and European taxpayers.

Even as it grapples with the financial crisis, the European Union is paying almost £25 million this year to subsidise the trips, arranged through MEPs.

The BNP, which has two Euro-MPs, has made heavy use of the scheme to thank some of its most prominent members at taxpayers’ expense. One BNP official boasted that it was “a good way of rewarding our activists” that “didn’t cost the party a penny”. The trips are ostensibly “study visits” to the European Parliament buildings in Brussels or Strasbourg, but the holidaymakers need spend only a fraction of their time at the parliament to claim the full subsidy, which can be collected in cash without the need for receipts.

One subsidised trip to Strasbourg last week, promoted by the Labour MEP Peter Skinner, lasted six days, with only a few hours spent at the parliament. The rest of the visit, according to a programme seen by The Sunday Telegraph, included a river cruise, a tour of the cathedral, a visit to the city’s Christmas market, champagne tasting, a battlefield tour in Ypres and sightseeing in Reims. Like most MEPs, Mr Skinner did not join the party, but hosted a free dinner for the participants.

Just under 30 people went on the tour, according to Mr Skinner’s office, staying in £100-a-night hotels in Ypres, Reims and the German spa town of Baden-Baden, near Strasbourg.

“After a buffet breakfast in the sunny Great Room, take your coffee on to the terrace to enjoy views of the picturesque Black Forest,” the Baden-Baden hotel’s website says. "Stroll beside the meandering River Oos and admire the Belle-Epoque mansions on Lichtentaler Allee. Play for high stakes at the glamorous Spielbank casino, and unwind in the soothing waters of Caracalla Spa.”

The cost of the six-day trip, including some meals, all accommodation, tours, coach and ferry, was £272. If booked directly, the hotels alone would have cost about £500 at this time of year.

One of those who went on the trip, Juan Leahy, who works for Mr Skinner, declined to comment when asked if it was mostly a “holiday”.

A spokesman for the European Parliamentary Labour Party said: “We believe the public should have the opportunity to see their elected officials at work, and we do not want this opportunity restricted to the rich who can afford travel.”

Stephen Booth, of the reform group Open Europe, said: “Spending taxpayers’ money on what are effectively subsidised holidays can only further erode public trust in the EU institutions. The European Parliament seems to exist in a parallel universe, completely ignorant of economic realities.”

Politicians of all parties help to arrange the trips. Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association advertised a break to Brussels, including return travel by Eurostar and a night in a city centre hotel, for £80.

“We have almost a whole day to sight-see, wander around the Christmas market and pick up inspiration for gifts,” said the association’s website.

Bill Newton-Dunn, the Liberal Democrat MEP, promoted a three-day weekend break in Brussels this month for £205, advertising it on his website as a “Christmas shopping” trip. The visit to the European Parliament lasted two hours on the Monday morning, just before the guests left for home.

The BNP has made extensive use of the subsidies to reward donors to its Trafalgar Club, who last year were hosted on a three-day visit to Bruges at EU expense by Nick Griffin, the party’s leader and an MEP. Ninety-two Trafalgar Club and life members took part.

Mr Griffin said: “Everyone really enjoyed the opportunity to meet and socialise with like-minded people who care about our country.”

Other BNP outings include trips to the First World War battlefields and Waterloo. Pictures on the website of Eddy Butler, a BNP staff member, show the party enjoying their “second breakfast of the day” at a Brussels café. In the evening, the group enjoyed a taxpayer-subsidised dinner, at what another participant, Chris Beverley, called “the wonderfully atmospheric Bivouac de l’Empereur restaurant”.

“Everyone knew they could let their hair down and relax, safe in the knowledge that they were among good nationalists, men and women of honour,” he added.

One BNP trip, in March last year, cost taxpayers €10,791 (£9,775) for 44 participants, an average of £220 a head. It was free for those who took part, according to the organiser, Mr Butler, and even made the BNP a profit.

“The subsidy is for a set amount,” said Mr Butler. “There is no provision to pay back what you don’t use. The organiser of the trip can use any residue for whatever he sees fit: this is quite legitimate.”

Mr Butler said he had donated the profits to the BNP.

In a report last month, the Court of Auditors, Europe’s spending watchdog, criticised this aspect of the scheme, warning that “the procedures in place do not require groups to provide evidence of travel costs, resulting in a risk of overpayment as most groups use cheaper collective transport”.

The subsidy for the journey from London to Brussels amounts to £85 a head, but Eurostar offers a return ticket for £69, and travelling in a privately hired coach can cost as little as £25. From Edinburgh to Brussels the travel subsidy would be £225, but a return flight with Ryanair costs as little as £49. The meal subsidy is set at £30 a person, but since no receipts are required visitors can buy cheaper meals and pocket the difference.

According to the Court of Auditors, 78 per cent of the payments to trip organisers last year were made in cash. This “limited the possibility of applying internal control procedures”, the watchdog warned.

Mr Butler defended the visits, saying: “Everyone had fun and it didn’t cost the party a penny. The trips are a good way of rewarding our activists for their hard work and dedication. Should we feel guilty for the Euro taxpayer? Certainly not.”

Each of the 736 MEPs is allowed to sponsor up to 110 visitors a year, although not all use their full quota. The visitors must travel in groups of at least 10. The trips are promoted to supporters on email lists and websites. Some are advertised on the MEPs’ websites and are not confined to sympathisers, although in practice most of the holidaymakers are political activists.

The European Parliament declined to give the number of British participants in the trips, but figures for the last available year, 2007, show that British visitors claimed €938,000 (£600,000) in subsidies.

The cost of the schemes for all 27 EU nations this year is €29.7 million (£24.9 million), a 40 per cent rise since 2007. As Britain’s share of the EU budget this year is 12 per cent, taxpayers are contributing £3 million to the programme.

A spokesman for the European Parliament said: “It is essential to the exercise of democratic rights within the European Union for members of the public to be granted access to the parliament’s proceedings and premises.”

The parliament said that better controls on the payments would be too “complex and time-consuming”.


December 18, 2011

EDL Angels 'whish' you a Merry Christmas

11 Comment (s)
Click on image for full-size
Thanks to Everything EDL for the pic

Thousands march in Florence after racist shootings

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Thousands marched against racism in Florence on Saturday after a far-right activist killed two Senegalese vendors in a shooting spree that shocked Italy and ignited a row over immigration.

"We want today to be the dawn of a new hope so that our brothers did not die in vain," said Pape Diaw, a spokesman for the Senegalese community. "We really have to work for peaceful coexistence and respect of people but it has to be a real struggle, not just a facade," he told reporters.

Around 10,000 people took part in the demonstration, according to police, while organisers put the number at some 12,000. Participants carried Senegalese flags and placards including one that read: "Racism? Not in my name."

"Our brothers were martyred. Obviously not martyrs of war but martyrs since they were killed while they were working for their daily bread," Florence imam Izzedin Elzir told the crowd in the historic Santa Maria Novella square.

The city is still reeling after Gianluca Casseri, a Holocaust denier and author of fantasy novels, went on the rampage on Tuesday with a Magnum revolver at two local markets including the tourist-heavy San Lorenzo in the centre. Two Senegalese street vendors were killed and another three wounded before the 50-year-old killed himself when police began closing in on him. Senegalese authorities have called for a full inquiry into the killings.

Dozens of Senegalese immigrants and white Florence residents gathered ahead of the protest at the Dalmazia Square market where the spree began, reading passages from the Koran and leaving flowers and messages at a street shrine. A large makeshift sign at the square in honour of the two victims -- Samb Modou, 40, and Diop Mor, 54 -- read simply "Modou and Mor: Two of Us."

After a Muslim rite on Monday, their bodies will be flown back to Senegal the following day.

"There needs to be a strong commitment against racism by everyone and we need to put in place an immigration policy in line with our constitution," said Vannino Chiti, a senator from the centre-left Democratic Party. Chiti, one of several left-wingers at the protest, said Italian law should be changed before the next elections to allow the children of immigrants to obtain citizenship -- echoing a demand made by President Giorgio Napolitano.

Several members of the Senegalese community have also called for the immediate closure of Casa Pound, a national right-wing social group that Casseri belonged to but which has been quick to denounce the violence.

Claudio Morganti, a lawmaker from the anti-immigration Northern League party, said the protest had been "ruined by left-wing politicians who have manipulated it and made it part of their political propaganda."

"The Senegalese have to understand that whoever comes here has to respect the rules and respect the people who are hosting them," he said.

There were several smaller marches in other major Italian cities too. At one in Milan, some immigrants shouted "Racists!" and "Murderers!" at police officers. Bologna, Genoa, Naples, Padua also saw protests.

Many street vendors in Italian cities, who sell everything from African sculptures to tourist trinkets to fake designer accessories, are Senegalese. Their makeshift stalls are popular but they are often selling without official licences and are forced to run off whenever police approach.

In an interview on Saturday, International Cooperation and Integration Minister Andrea Riccardi warned attacks like the one in Florence and an arson attack on a Roma camp in Turin last Saturday were "a warning bell".

"We can't dismiss these as one-off events. They are a risk for the integration and the solidarity of our country. And they show that the crisis is not just economic but much deeper," he told La Stampa daily.

Responding to criticism from the Northern League, Riccardi -- the founder of the pro-integration Catholic community group Sant'Egidio -- was scathing.

"Contempt has been preached for too long, ethnic minority groups have been spoken about harshly for too long. There has to be security for all Italians, for all immigrants and for all those who work in Italy. This is the first thing I told the Senegalese community in Florence: 'There needs to be security for you too.'".


Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up

Tory MP Aidan Burley sacked over 'Nazi' stag party attendance

1 Comment (s)
Aidan Burley 'made the wrong choice not to leave' party at French ski resort which included toasts to the Third Reich

A Tory MP who attended a stag party where guests dressed as Nazis has been sacked as a Commons aide for "offensive" behaviour and placed under investigation by David Cameron.

Aidan Burley had expressed "deep regret" at the "inappropriate" actions of guests, including toasts to the Third Reich, with whom he partied at a French ski resort.

But he was removed from his post as a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Transport Secretary Justine Greening after fresh allegations were made linking him to the behaviour.

The Mail on Sunday, which exposed the party a week ago, said it had new information about the episode.

A Party spokesman said: "Aidan Burley has behaved in a manner which is offensive and foolish.

"That is why he is being removed from his post as Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Transport. In light of information received the prime minister has asked for a fuller investigation into the matter to be set up and to report to him."

The Cannock Chase MP issued an "unreserved, wholehearted and fulsome apology" over the party in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle earlier this week.

One of his friends donned a replica SS officer's uniform and another guest reportedly toasted the "ideology and thought processes" of Adolf Hitler's regime.

In the letter he said he wished he had left the stag party.

"What was happening was wrong and I should have completely dissociated myself from it. I had a choice, and I made the wrong choice not to leave. I apologise for this error of judgment."

The Guardian

December 17, 2011

Jesse Jackson calls for public inquiry into British deaths in custody

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Veteran US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson joined with campaigners in London (Thursday) to throw his weight behind calls for a public inquiry into deaths in police custody.

Jesse Jackson spoke alongside families of some of those who have died in police custody. He noted that 338 people have died in such circumstances since 1998, yet no police officer has been convicted for any of the deaths.

“The police have permission to behave in this way,” he said. “They are protected by the state. The choice is whether we adjust to oppression, or resist and fight back.”

Speakers talked about the recent revelation that eight in nine senior members of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are former police officers.

“The IPCC are not independent,” said Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died in Brixton police station in 2008. “Everything is in favour of the police. The police aren't treated as suspects—they are treated as witnesses. There’s a massive cover-up, a conspiracy, and it's institutionalised.”

Merlin Emmanuel, nephew of reggae artist Smiley Culture who died in March after a police raid on his home, also spoke out.

“As long as there are people who are excessively rich at the expense of the excessively poor, we have the right to protest,” he said.

Kadisha Brown-Burrell’s brother Kingsley Burrell died in April after contact with West Midlands Police. “If we don’t have an inquiry there will be no end to deaths in custody,” she said.

Jesse Jackson drew connections between treatment of black and ethnic minorities in Britain and the US. “Whether here in London or in Chicago or Los Angeles, we have globalised capitalism—but we don’t have globalised human rights,” he said. “The only cure is to fight.”

He added movement for justice should link up with the Occupy movement. “Don't see the Occupy movement as ‘them’,” he said. “We are all the 99 percent.”

Jesse Jackson and the families then travelled to the protest at St Paul’s cathedral to speak at an assembly. Hundreds turned up to hear him.

“Occupy is a global spirit for justice,” he said. “It exposes inequality, injustice and corruption. When we fight back, we can win. If Martin Luther King was here today, he would be at Occupy.”

Socialist Worker

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

Deaths in police custody cut deep in the psyche of black Britons

1 Comment (s)
An improvement on feeble IPCC responses to police abuse might help avoid the kind of anger shown in the summer's riots

'What we have seen in the IPCC investigation of Mark Duggan’s shooting is an
enfeebled organisation with weak ineffective leadership.' Photograph: Rex Features
For many in the black community, justice in Britain is colour coded. The inadequacy of the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to deaths in custody illustrates this stone cold reality.

Mark Duggan, David Emmanuel (aka Smiley Culture), Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser and Jacob Michael, and the surreal and horrific desecration suffered by the Christopher Adler family, have left many of us reeling in shock and anger.

What we have seen in the IPCC investigation of Duggan's shooting is an enfeebled organisation with weak ineffective leadership. The overwhelming perception within black communities is that the current system of IPCC investigation and coroner inquests is so stacked against us that in effect, it protects the guilty and denies justice to the victims.

Within government, the London mayor's office and the senior ranks of the police, there is little appreciation of the depths of anger these tragic cases generate in our communities. That's because tackling racism and institutional racism are no longer considered policy priorities. The results are that the invaluable lessons learned from the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence have now been discarded as "political correctness gone mad". That fundamental mistake has cost the country dear and I fear will do so again in the future.

What's not understood is that a black death in police custody exposes the perennial faultline in relations between the police and black communities. Duggan was the fourth black man to die in suspicious circumstances this year. Since then more have died. Had political sensitivity and genuine anger relating to these tragic events been better understood then maybe the riots that took place this summer could have been avoided.

Death in custody remains the one issue that can transform police and community relations in an instant, tapping deeply into the psyche of black Britons. Historically the tragic story of black men and women being detained then beaten, abused, treated like animals and dying in mysterious circumstances is an all-too-familiar experience.

It is ingrained in our collective memories. From Jim Crow and lynching in America's old deep south, the brutality of the South African apartheid regime, or the beating of Rodney King – or, in the UK, the cases of Colin Roach, Clinton McCurbin, Cynthia Jarrett and Cherry Groce. Brutaliity backed up by institutionally racist organs of state that conspire to deny black people their right to justice.

Very few police officers have ever been charged, and not a single one convicted of manslaughter or murder. What we experience are the impenetrable barriers of ancient laws, lengthy and complex procedures and enormous costs that make justice an unobtainable dream.

There are some ways to try to end this cycle. One is a full and independent public judicial inquiry into deaths in police custody and the inquest process. This could help draw a line under the past 50 years that have seen family after family broken in their desperate search for the truth.

If the government refuses, then alternatively, given the significance of London, the mayor, Boris Johnson, could announce his own independent judicial inquiry. This will bring the cleansing properties of transparency to an issue mired in controversy and acrimony. For this government, moral argument about access to justice many not be enough. However there is a strong economic argument. The cost of an inquiry is cheaper than the cost of a riot.

We also need urgent parliamentary and legislative reform of the now discredited IPCC. If confidence is to be restored then the IPCC will need more powers, authority and truly independent investigators forensically searching for the truth.

In my view, though, none of this is likely to happen soon, and it is therefore inevitable that we will see more suspicious deaths followed by enfeebled IPCC investigations.

If I am right then we have not seen the last riotous disturbance; for where there is no justice, there can be no peace.

Comment is free

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

December 16, 2011

Home Office responds on EDL threat

13 Comment (s)
The Home Office has written to an umbrella group representing a range of Jewish communal and religious groups in response to statements distancing themselves from the methods and aims of the English Defence League.

Earlier this year the leaders of the United Synagogue, Reform, Liberal and Masorti communities, as well as the Board of Deputies and the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' congregation, highlighted their opposition to the EDL's tactics and called on the far right organisation to refrain from using Jewish and Israelis symbols in its campaigns.

Under the umbrella of the Council of Imams and Rabbis of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation, they rejected in particular the EDL's "efforts to incite hatred and antagonism in our society", its attempts to "foment violence" and "drive a wedge between the Jewish community and our Muslim neighbours".

They attempted to draw a line under the EDL's efforts to attract Jewish membership, which reached a peak with a rally "to oppose Islamic fascism" outside the Israeli embassy last year where EDL members waved Israeli flags. The EDL has a "Jewish Division", but it has been beset by infighting and is understood to have only a handful of Jewish members.

James Brokenshire, the Home Office Minister responsible for policy regarding the EDL, has now sent a letter of response to Mehri Niknam, director of the Council of Imams and Rabbis.

"We welcome your positive action to counter the divisive influence and minimise the impact of EDL activity," he said. "As a government our position is clear, we will not tolerate groups like the EDL who spread hate, seek to divide us and deliberately raise community fears and tensions."

He said the government would continue to condemn the EDL's views and actions when necessary and work with police and local agencies. Mr Brokenshire added that the government trusted local agencies to "put in place suitable local measures to counter the influence and minimise the impact of EDL activity.

"We stand ready to provide advice and support where it is requested."

Jewish Chronicle