Archive | December, 2011

Murdoch and Race

Contributed Post: By Roddy NewmanWhile the British media has uncovered a number of Rupert Murdoch scandals which have thankfully led to a reduction in his influence in this country, it has not reported, or has barely reported many horrible things which his media empire does in Britain, the US, and Australia.
This article is about those overlooked Murdoch scandals.
It discusses: 1 crucial aspect of the paying police scandal, and 1 crucial aspect of the ‘phone hacking scandal which most people are unaware of; 2 examples of Rupert Murdoch media in this country and Australia driving people to kill themselves; numerous proven examples of Murdoch media in this country, the US, and Australia fabricating news stories; the racism of Murdoch’s Fox News network; prominent Americans who say that Fox News, which is notorious in liberal circles in the US for its fabrications, is like a fascist or Communist propaganda operation; Rupert Murdoch’s political hero, Ronald Reagan, appointing 5 pro-Third Reich people to government jobs when he was elected US President in 1980; Murdoch’s love affair with China’s Communist regime; Julian Assange’s January admission that WikiLeaks has US diplomatic cables whose content should worry Murdoch and News Corporation, and that those “insurance” cables will be published if anything happens to him or WikiLeaks; Murdoch’s Australian media empire illegally paying police in that country; “The Sun” employing the cruel “comedian” Frankie Boyle as a columnist; “The Sun” hacking scandal, which has not been reported very much at all, despite the fact that there is now good evidence to prove that the paper was involved in hacking, which is why Jude Law is now suing them for allegedly hacking his ‘phone; campaigns which are now trying to persuade people to boycott News Corporation’s products; some ideas for a humorous boycott campaign against News Corporation; and finally, the national culture reasons why France and Holland have no “News of the World” and “Sun” type newspapers, while Britain does.
Scotland Yard has announced that its Operation Elveden will look into claims that a “small number” of police officers were illegally given money by the “News of the World” between 2003 and 2007, but Paul McMullan, who was deputy features editor at the “News of the World” from 1994 to 2001, admitted during Radio 4’s July 7 “World at One” programme, that in 1995, one of his colleagues at the paper paid a police officer for a tip off that the daughter of the film actor Denholm Elliott was begging outside a London tube station, and occasionally working as a prostitute, and also admitted that there was a “going rate” of between “two and five hundred pounds” for police tip offs of that sort, so the illegal payments appear to have begun long before 2003, and to have involved more cases than Denholm Elliott’s daughter Jennifer, which means that the paying police scandal is bigger than most people realise.
Paul McMullan was also quoted in “The Guardian” of September 8, 2010, as having revealingly said that the “News of the World” used Glenn Mulcaire’s hacking for “just about every story”, which means that the hacking scandal is also bigger than most people realise.
Paul McMullan also admitted during the “World at One” programme, that his story about Jennifer Elliott, and his subsequent “News of the World” stories about her drug problems, “humiliated and destroyed her”, and that he feels guilty about the fact that she later committed suicide.
Jennifer Elliott was not the first person who had been driven to kill themselves by the Rupert Murdoch media empire’s cruel and sexually repressed obsession with publicising people’s private lives, which the public should only be told about if they, for example, expose the hypocrisy of a sexually moralistic politician or cleric.
In 1964, one of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian newspapers, the Sydney “Daily Mirror”, printed an entirely fabricated story under the headline, “WE HAVE SCHOOLGIRL’S ORGY DIARY”, which led to a 13 year old boy who was named in the story, Digby Bamford, being expelled from his school and hanging himself. The 14 year old schoolgirl, who was also expelled from her school, was later medically examined by a doctor for the local Child Welfare Department, and was found to be a virgin.
In 1971, the “News of the World” ran a similar entirely fabricated story about a 15 year old dancer in the “Top of the Pops” audience, Samantha MacAlpine, which claimed that a “leatherette bound book” she had written in, revealed that she and other dancers in the audience, were involved in sexual “promiscuity” with musicians who appeared on the show. She then committed suicide, and the pathologist revealed that she had also been a virgin.
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has in fact become notorious for its completely fabricated stories, which is why an American comedian turned Democrat Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, has written a humorous book which includes entire chapters about the proven lies of 2 presenters who work for Murdoch’s Fox News, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right” (Penguin, London, 2004).
Al Franken’s book is very definitely worth reading, because (a) it is amusing, because (b) it is, “The book that the Murdoch-owned Fox News tried to prevent from being published”, to cite “The Observer”, and because (c) Fox News unsuccessfully sued Franken for using their “Fair and balanced” slogan in his book title.
Another example of Fox News’s disinterest in the truth, is the fact that it has broadcast digitally altered photos of 2 “New York Times” reporters which gave them yellow teeth, and in one case, a receding hairline, and dark patches under his eyes:
Yet another, is its decision to make it look like a Sarah Palin book signing had attracted a huge crowd, by reusing footage from a 2008 election John McCain / Sarah Palin campaign rally:
Fox News used the same rebroadcast old footage to make a right wing event look bigger tactic, to inflate the size of a crowd at a Michele Bachmann led protest against Barack Obama’s health care reform:
Since then, Fox News’s Sean Hannity has backed Michele Bachmann’s entirely incorrect claim that African Americans were more likely to grow up in a 2 parent household under slavery, than they are under Barack Obama:
Al Franken’s book exposed Sean Hannity’s dishonesty in the chapter “Fun with Racism”, as it pointed out on page 269, that of the 15 people who were then on the advisory panel of the African American Republican Leadership Council, 13, including Hannity, were white, and 1 of the 2 who was not, former Massachusetts Senator Edward W. Brooke III, had never heard of the group, and had no idea why they were fraudulently claiming that he was their honorary chairman.
Given Sean Hannity’s backing for Michele Bachmann’s rosy tinted view of slavery, it is even more bizarre that he should have been on the AARLC advisory panel.
Perhaps Fox News’s racism, which led to it being sued by a black employee who was subjected to racist comments by his colleagues, and then fired for complaining about them, explains why he is:
As Rupert Murdoch was a supporter of the last Republican President, George W. Bush, and as Sean Hannity is a fan of Michele Bachmann, it is disgraceful that a woman with a rosy tinted view of the American slavery era, will quite possibly, if she becomes the Republican candidate for President, be able to rely on support from Fox News, and the rest of Murdoch’s American media in the 2012 election, and in the White House if she is elected.
It is certainly hardly likely that Fox News will back Barack Obama in 2012, because most of the people who could be Republican candidates for President next year, are working for Fox News as commentators, as this article points out:
Moreover, a Fox News contributor, Liz Trotta, has joked during a broadcast about assassinating Barack Obama, who, not surprisingly, is not a big fan of Fox:
It is inconceivable that a contributor to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, C-SPAN, or MSNBC would joke on air about assassinating an American politician, so George Soros, who grew up under Hungary’s fascist and Communist regimes, before emigrating to the US in 1956, was right to compare Fox News journalism to Nazi and Communist propaganda:
The American documentary, “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism”, which was partly based on testimony from numerous former Fox News employees, also features former CBS Evening News Anchor Walter Cronkite, who describes Fox News as “far right wing”, and former Fox News contributor Larry Johnson, who talks about the almost “Stalinist system” at Fox News, which backs up what George Soros said about Fox.
You can watch “Outfoxed” here:
Larry Johnson’s “Stalinist system” remark might sound far fetched to some people, but this “Daily Telegraph” article, which is not online, but which was republished by the Melbourne newspaper “The Age”, quoted an unnamed former senior Fox executive as having said that the network spied on its staff by reading their emails, and made them “feel they were being watched”, which led to Fox employees working in conditions which were like “Russia at the height of the Soviet era”:
“Outfoxed” also quotes former Fox News employees who point out that Rupert Murdoch is a big fan of the late Ronald Reagan, and that Fox celebrated Reagan’s birthday, so as Fox has been compared to Nazi and Communist propaganda, I ought to point out that Reagan, and his Vice President George H. W. Bush, appointed 5 pro-Third Reich people to government jobs.
When the Reagan-Bush team won the 1980 election, they appointed former Waffen (Armed) SS officer General Fritz Kraemer to their Star Wars advisory panel. Kraemer, who was already working for the Pentagon Plans Division, was a mentor to another Reagan-Bush appointee, Secretary of State General Alexander Haig. A second Reagan-Bush adviser, was a former officer in Hitler’s Wehrmacht, General Albert Wedemeyer. A third, was the German / Irish American Pat Buchanan, the 1985-1987 White House Communications Director.Buchanan is a notorious Hitler regime apologist who allegedly advised the Reagan-Bush Administration to ignore Jewish protests against Reagan’s forthcoming 1985 official visit to a partly Waffen SS cemetery in West Germany. Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel alleged that at a meeting with Jewish leaders at the Reagan-Bush White House, “The only one really defending the trip was Pat Buchanan, saying, ‘We cannot give the perception of the President being subjected to Jewish pressure.'” (“Is Buchanan Courting Bias?”, “Washington Post”, February 29, 1992). Buchanan denies making this alleged remark.Another Reagan-Bush appointee, was J. Peter Grace, a chemicals magnate, who was put in charge of the US Government’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control. Among Grace’s employees, was Otto Ambros, who was the inventer of Zyklon B, the poison gas which was used to kill Jews at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, and so on.A final Reagan-Bush appointee, was Lev Dobriansky, who was made US Ambassador to the Bahamas. He edited a journal called “Ukrainian Quarterly”, whose politics can be gauged from the fact that it ran an article which praised General Pavlo Shandruk, the creator of the Waffen SS Galician Division, which worked at Auschwitz.Shandruk also fought against the US Army at some place called Bitburg.Finally, I ought to point out that when he was Governor of California (1967-1975), Ronald Reagan considered putting leading figures in the California counterculture in camps which sound like Nazi concentration camps, and the Soviet Gulag camps. To quote Simon Wells’s “Charles Manson: Coming Down Fast” (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2010), which is a biography of the notorious multiple murderer and cult leader Charles Manson: “As California was fast becoming the epicentre of radicalisation, Governor Ronald Reagan began to seriously consider locking up the hippie scene’s chief protagonists in internment camps.” (p.40)
As this “Guardian” article explains, in 2004, Fox News was forced to apologise after it attributed damaging statements to George W. Bush’s opponent, John Kerry, which were complete fabrications, and which were the kind of 100% false propaganda that the Nazis and the Eastern European Communists were notorious for:
In its July 8 issue, “Private Eye” pointed out that when Rupert Murdoch was interviewed by the House of Lords communications committee in New York on September 17, 2007, he said, “he believed that Sky News would be more popular if it were more like the Fox Channel. Then it would be ‘a proper alternative to the BBC'”.
He also told the committee that, to quote their minutes, “Sky News could become more like Fox without a change to the impartiality rules in the UK. For example, Sky had not yet made the presentational progress that Fox News had. He stated that the only reason that Sky News was not more like Fox News was that ‘nobody at Sky listens to me.'”
Because Fox News has been involved in broadcasting fabrications, it is certainly a good thing that Sky News is not more like Fox News. If Rupert Murdoch, who of course currently owns a 39% controlling shareholding in BSkyB, had been allowed to take 100% control of it, would he have told Sky News staff to make their station like Fox News, or face the sack?
After all, in “The Guardian” of July 16, Polly Toynbee revealed that, “Already the low rumble of Murdoch commentators demanding a change to the law on political bias in broadcasting was tilling the ground for the Foxification of British television…”.
The proven lies of Rupert Murdoch’s British employees, are of course generally better known in Britain than Fox News’s fabrications.
They include the completely fabricated stories which “The Sun” printed about: the Hillsborough disaster; Elton John supposedly having sex with underage male prostitutes; refugees supposedly eating swans; Tony Benn’s supposed insanity; and Peter Tatchell supposedly going to the Gay Olympics (which was part of a “Sun” hate campaign against him during the 1983 Bermondsey bye election that led to him being physically assaulted by fascists, and other homophobes, more than 300 times in the following decades); the completely fabricated stories which “The Sunday Times” and “The Sun” printed about Carmen Proetta; the November 12, 2007 “Sun” story about Ken Livingstone which claimed that he had accused the 7/7 bombers of killing “the wrong people”; and the July 23 “Sun” front page story, “NORWAY’S 9/11″, which also featured the smaller headline, “‘AL-QAEDA’ MASSACRE”.
Three days after that Ken Livingstone story, “The Sun” was forced to print an apology on page 36 which said:
“In Monday’s Sun we reported that London Mayor Ken Livingstone had accused the 7/7 bombers of killing “the wrong people”…In fact no such comment was made by Ken Livingstone and we apologise to Mr Livingstone for the error.”
The “‘AL-QAEDA’ MASSACRE” was of course the work of far right Christian fundamentalist Freemason terrorist Anders Breivik, who claims to have co-founded the Norwegian Defence League, which is under the control of the anti-Islam English Defence League. He was also a member and local official of Norway’s Progress Party, who have called for Islam to be banned in Norway, but Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers never allow little things like facts to get in the way of a chance to smear Muslims, which is why his “Today” newspaper, which thankfully closed down in November 1995, ran an April 20, 1995 front page story about the Oklahoma City bombing which was headlined “IN THE NAME OF ISLAM”. The real Oklahoma bombing culprit was of course Timothy McVeigh, who was inspired by a fascist novel which openly advocates the killing of all of the world’s billions of non-white people, including Muslims, “The Turner Diaries” by the late William Pierce, who was a big inspiration to the BNP, asI explained in this article:
You can see the July 23 “Sun” front page here:
You can read about the “Today” front page on page 141 of Margaret Kleffner Nydell’s book, “Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Modern Times” (Intercultural Press, London, 2005).
As it has now emerged that Scotland Yard has told the relatives of 7/7 victims that the “News of the World” may have hacked their ‘phones, and as the FBI are investigating the possibility that the “News of the World” tried to hack the ‘phones of 9/11 victims, “The Sun”‘s lies about Ken Livingstone and the Norway massacre, and “Today”‘s lies about the Oklahoma City bombing, were particularly disgusting.
As “The Sun” fabricated a comment about the 7/7 bombing, it is not surprising that the Murdoch media empire has been involved in publicising other war on terror fabrications.
The Iranian nuclear bomb programme is a serious threat to the world, because of the Iranian Islamist tyranny’s thoroughly vicious nature, because of its willingness to engage in terrorism, and because, like all types of religious and secular fundamentalists, it has a weak grasp on reality, but that does not mean that “The Times” should be publishing a document about the Iranian nuclear programme which US intelligence sources have branded a forgery:
The just cited article quotes former CIA counterterrorism official Philip Giraldi, who revealed that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has published other similar fabrications: “The Rupert Murdoch chain has been used extensively to publish false intelligence from the Israelis and occasionally from the British government”.
Of course, Rupert Murdoch’s empire does not need governments to make up war related fabrications for it to publish, as it is perfectly capable of creating its own. For example, the completely fabricated “Sun” interview with Marcia McKay, the widow of Ian McKay, who won a Victoria Cross during the Falklands War. That “interview” is mentioned on page 420 of Australian journalist John Pilger’s book, “Hidden Agendas” (Random House, London, 1999).
Although “The Sun” fabricated a war on terror related statement by Ken Livingstone, who it calls Red Ken, because it does not like his democratic socialist views, Rupert Murdoch is a friend of the Chinese Communist Party, which has of course killed tens of millions of people during its 62 years in power, mainly because of the vast famine which Mao’s Great Leap Forward directly led to.
As John Pilger points out on pages 530-531 of “Hidden Agendas”, Rupert Murdoch has published a biography of the former Chinese dictator Deng Xiaoping which was written by Deng’s daughter, has broadcast a documentary series which was based on the biography, has said of China that, “The truth is – and we Americans don’t like to admit it – that authoritarian countries can work”, and has helped the Chinese Communists to censor the Internet:
“In 1997, with the People’s Daily, he launched his ‘Chinabyte’ Internet service in English. Politics will be censored; the Chinese users’ view of the West will be the Murdoch view.”
As Rupert Murdoch’s fellow Australian Julian Assange has pointed out in this interview, China is the world’s worst censor of the Internet:
Julian Assange also said during that January interview, that WikiLeaks is in possession of US embassy cables whose content should worry Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation, and that those cables were “insurance” files which would be released if anything happened to him or WikiLeaks.
Red Rupe, the purveyor of Communist style 100% false propaganda, also does not seem to like democratic greens very much, because his Melbourne “Herald Sun” newspaper was censured by the Australian Press Council after it made up a number of lies about Australian Green Party policies:
Those lies were not surprising, as Rupert Murdoch’s Australian newspapers are climate change deniers, and as another Murdoch newspaper, “The Australian”, has called in an editorial for the Australian Greens to be “destroyed at the ballot box”:
Those dishonest lies were not surprising for another reason, the fact that the Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, News Limited, is just as happy to dishonestly break the law by paying police as its News International British arm is, as this article explains:
Rupert Murdoch’s sewer journalism has of course led to the creation of groups which are campaigning for a boycott of the Murdoch media empire, and if those groups were to use humour, the boycott campaign might be able to attract significant media attention, and thus public support. Humour might also persuade many people who are not currently boycotting all of News Corporation’s products, to find out what they are online, so they can do so, because people do not want to be associated with things which are objects of ridicule, in case their friends and family regard them as ridiculous.
As the French comic playwright Moliere once rightly said, people do not mind being called wicked, but they hate being laughed at.
That fact may explain why, as this article explains, Fox News threatened legal action against the makers of “The Simpsons” (which is broadcast by its sister channel, Fox Entertainment), after they ridiculed its Republican bias with headlines like “Do Democrats Cause Cancer?”:
Another point about using humour against News Corporation, is that using serious tactics against “The Sun”, which likes to see itself as a humorous paper, is a bad idea, as some people might see its serious tactics opponents as humourless fanatics.
Of course, in reality, “The Sun”‘s “sense of humour” is the kind which school bullies, who cruelly laugh at their victims, but cannot take a joke which is directed at them have, which is why “The Sun” employs the world’s worst comedian, Frankie Boyle, who has made sick, school bully type “jokes” about the disabled son of Peter Andre and Jordan, Rebecca Adlington, Ellen MacArthur, Venus Williams, and other people and subjects, as a columnist.
After Frankie Boyle made a “joke” about Down’s Syndrome, Mencap spokesman Ismail Kaji was thus right to say that Boyle’s “joke” was “no different to bullying”. Cruelty is indeed not funny, unless you have the mentality of a school bully.
Despite the fact that “The Sun” has that kind of mentality, it is still a mistake to use serious tactics against a newspaper like that.
It is also a mistake to use cliched humorous tactics like custard pieing Rupert Murdoch in the Commons, especially given Murdoch’s age. Groups in primarily Belgium, the US, Canada, and Britain have been using custard pies in the face to make bigoted, arrogant, or pompous powerful or influential people look ridiculous in public for decades, but the tactic is no longer funny, as there are only so many times you can see Bill Gates, free market fundamentalist guru Milton Friedman, anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, and many other people with a creamy face before the joke gets stale.
Plus, pieing people is illegal, and leads to an assault charge, though in the case of the veteran Belgian piester Noel Godin, who may hold the world record for “most people pied” (unless veteran American piester Aron Kay does), French and Belgian police are sometimes laughing so much that they find it hard to fill out the assault with a custard pie charge sheet, or offer to pay his fine if he will pie a famous person they dislike.
So if people were to use a more original humorous approach by, for example, issuing press releases to publicise the fact that at a particular time, they were going to be asking the public to sign humorous, surreal anti-News Corporation petitions, and to boycott its products, outside certain large newsagents, there would be a chance that such a campaign could get some media publicity.
After all, Abbie Hoffman, the founder of the group which Aron Kay was involved with in the 1960’s, the Yippies, regularly featured in American TV news broadcasts, because the original humorous approach which Hoffman used, meant that the TV networks were entertained by his amusing stunts, which made for great TV, and which allowed him to communicate his ideas to a vast audience on a regular basis.
Some of Abbie Hoffman’s stunts were featured in the biopic “Steal This Movie!”
Without the media publicity that he received, anti-News Corporation groups would stay obscure. With such media publicity, they could be high profile, like the boycott apartheid products campaign was.
Moreover, with media publicity, such groups could be even more successful than the advertising boycott campaign which the African American activist group Color of Change ran against Glenn Beck, a Fox News presenter who has defended the original US Constitution for classifying black people as three fifths of a human being, who has defended slavery, who has called Barack Obama a racist, who has compared the Obama Administration to the Third Reich, and who has compared the Norwegian Labour Party youth camp where Anders Breivik massacred his victims to a Hitler Youth camp. You can read about, and watch Beck’s comments here:
You can read about Color of Change’s successful campaign against Glenn Beck, which, according to “The Guardian” of July 18, is largely credited with driving him off Fox, on a liberal website:
Color of Change’s successful campaign would be an excellent role model for any groups which were trying to persuade the same advertisers who deserted the “News of the World” to desert “The Sun”, which also appears to have been involved in hacking, as I will now explain.
As this “Guardian” article about Sean Hoare, The “News of the World” ‘phone hacking whistleblower who was found dead on July 18 reveals, Hoare said that he and Andy Coulson listened to hacked ‘phones at “The Sun”:
As “Private Eye” pointed out in its July 22 issue, TV PR Ian Johnson, who ran the BBC’s entertainment press office from 2001 to 2004, found that voicemail messages which friends and relatives left were not getting to him, and decided that as he was in charge of “EastEnders” publicity, he had become a target for someone who was hacking into his ‘phone, so to see if he could trap them, he persuaded a friend to leave a fake message about the Dot Cotton character in “EastEnders” leaving the soap.
Later that day, he was ‘phoned by a “Sun” journalist who asked him for a BBC comment, as they were going to run a front page story the next day with the headline “Dot Leaves Albert Square”.
So, in the same way that the “News of the World” was deleting messages from friends and relatives on Milly Dowler’s ‘phone to make space for new ones which might give them news stories, “The Sun” was deleting messages from Ian Johnson’s friends and relatives for its own sewer journalism benefit.
Jude Law began suing “The Sun” in July for allegedly hacking his ‘phone to write four 2005 and 2006 stories, so it may also be the case that in the same way that the “News of the World” was hacking Jude Law’s former partner Sienna Miller’s ‘phone, “The Sun” was hacking his.
Ideas for humorous, surreal, anti-News Corporation petitions could include the following:
Because there is a book called “”The Sun” Book of Short Stories” (Bantam, London, 2007); because “The Sun” once issued a tall book which featured full scale reproductions of some of their front pages; and because “The Sun” has completely fabricated stories on a number of occasions, a petition to Rupert Murdoch could ask him to tell his HarperCollins company to publish “”The Sun” Book of Tall Stories”.
Because Rupert Murdoch announced in 1989 that he was a born again Christian; and because an imprint of his HarperCollins (Avon Books) publishes “The Satanic Bible”, which was written by the late Church Of Satan founder Anton LaVey, a petition to God could ask for Rupert Murdoch to be sent to Hell, instead of to whatever part of Heaven is reserved for smut, smear, and sexism peddlers.
Because Fox News presenter Sean Hannity wrote a book called “Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism”, which included a newspaper that is owned by Moonie cult leader Reverend Moon (“The Washington Times”) in a list of “Great publications” (as Moon openly argues for the worldwide abolition of democracy, and its replacement by a global theocracy run by him, Hannity’s book perhaps ought to have been titled, “Let Theocracy Rule: Winning the War for Tyranny over Liberalism”); because Fox News contributor Liz Trotta used to work for “The Washington Times”; because Fox News has a favourable view of George W. Bush, who has Moonie ties, as these 2 detailed and “Mother Jones” magazine articles explain; and because Reverend Moon modestly claims to be God incarnate, a petition to Reverend Moon could ask him to use his divine powers to create a permanent solar eclipse, so “The Sun” disappears forever:
Finally, because Reverend Moon owns a Latin American newspaper called “Tiempos del Mundo” (“Times of the World”); because Moon openly says that he wants to rule the world; because Rupert Murdoch owns “The Sun”; because that newspaper is aimed mainly at men; because Rupert Murdoch owns “The Times”; and because Rupert Murdoch did own the late, and very unlamented “News of the World”, another petition to Rupert Murdoch, could ask him to set up a new global “News of the World” Sunday newspaper for Reverend Moon, and global daily sister papers called “The Sun” (which would be aimed at men), and “The Moon” (which would be aimed at women, as it would feature men in swimming trunks on page 3, other photos of half naked men, and adverts for a Moonie front group, the Women’s Federation for World Peace).
In conclusion, I will point out that the main reason why Britain has ended up being scandalised by News Corporation’s sewer journalism, is because, unlike much less sexually repressed countries like France and Holland, which have no “News of the World” type newspapers at all, because there are not enough sexually repressed people in those countries who want to read about which celebrity is having an affair with another celebrity, there are a lot of sexually repressed British people who derive vicarious pleasure from reading about such subjects, and who want “Sun” type smut in their newspaper.
French teenagers apparently top most sex acts per teenager per year surveys, and in a Durex global sex survey I saw, French people were in first place in the most sex acts per person per year table, and Dutch people in second place, so of course French and Dutch newspapers are not about providing titillation to the sexually repressed. Moreover, the smut and celebrity tittle tattle in British newspapers are the subject of much criticism and ridicule in France, which is why a French travel guide to Britain, warned tourists that you had to search hard on British newsstands to find a newspaper which tells you what is happening in the world, and which is why when the owner of the Paris evening paper, “France Soir”, announced in 1992 that he wanted to convert his paper into a “Sun” type tabloid, there was such a storm of protest, that he was forced to drop the idea, and 1 of the 2 French equivalents of “Private Eye”, “Le Canard Enchaine”, joked that his newspaper should be renamed “Fesses Soir” (“Evening Buttocks”).
There are celebrity magazines in France and Holland, but some French people are very critical of them, even though, despite the fact that they will of course use photos which were taken by paparazzi who harass their victims, they are no doubt not as cruel as newspapers like the “News of the World” and “The Sun”, whose extreme cruelty can perhaps only be properly understood if you read 3 of the late Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich’s books, “The Mass Psychology of Fascism”, “The Function of the Orgasm”, and “The Sexual Revolution”, all 3 of which are among the 20th Century’s most important books.
Wilhelm Reich’s books were burned on bonfires by the Nazis, who ordered his arrest when they came to power, which forced him to flee to Denmark in disguise, presumably because they hated his argument that fascism (and thus its extreme cruelty) is only possible in sexually repressed and male dominated cultures.
It is true that there are many unhappiness related reasons why people are cruel, but sexual misery is the most important one.
A Wilhelm Reich inspired Yugoslavian political sex film, “The Mysteries of the Organism”, so angered Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, perhaps because the film features lines like “socialism without free love is like a graveyard”, or perhaps because Reich called cruel Communism “red fascism”, that Brezhnev said he would order an invasion of Yugoslavia if the film were ever shown in the USSR.
Wilhelm Reich’s free love and female equality ideas are also a threat to religious totalitarians, as all dictatorships and theocracies can only exist if their peoples are kept sexually repressed, and if men dominate their societies.
That is why someone who knew Iranian leader Ayatollah Khameini, said in a July 31 BBC News 24 “Our World” documentary about him, that he hates talking about sexual issues. It goes without saying that he also opposes female equality.
Wilhelm Reich’s anti-authoritarian ideologies ideas are also a threat to free market fundamentalists like the Republican Party which Rupert Murdoch supports, which is why the late Republican FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who, like Rupert Murdoch the exposer of politicians’ sex lives, was widely feared by American leaders, as he ordered his agents to spy on them so he could publicise their sexual indiscretions if they threatened his power, is now known to have been concerned about the way that Elvis Presley was sexualising American youth.
The weekly free magazine “Short List” published an article in its July 21 issue called “Icons spied on by the FBI” which was based on declassified FBI documents that revealed the Bureau’s surveillance of Elvis Presley and other major stars (John Lennon, Charlie Chaplin, Ernest Hemingway, and Frank Sinatra).The article stated:
“Much of the surveillance was based around extortion attempts on Presley and his [prescription] drug abuse, but they were also concerned about the sexual energy which he whipped up in America’s youth, with one report labelling him a ‘definite danger to the security of the United States.'”
Of course, any writer who managed to enrage the Nazis and the leader of the Soviet Communists, and whose ideas are a threat to Islamic fundamentalists and free market fundamentalists, must have been on to something, so the 3 Wilhelm Reich books are very definitely worth reading, if you want to understand the extreme cruelty of newspapers like the “News of the World” and “The Sun”, and why British society allows such newspapers to flourish.
When Reich was looking for somewhere to go into exile after he fled to Denmark, he dismissed the idea of going to Britain, as he regarded it as a very sexually repressed country which would not be receptive to his ideas, and ended up moving from Denmark to the US, after spells in Sweden and Norway. Of course, in the authoritarian 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, none of those countries were receptive to his ideas, and it was not until the anti-authoritarianism 1960’s that Reich’s ideas became popular among large numbers of Abbie Hoffman type young people who were trying to improve the sexual attitudes and behaviour of their societies.
Even today, the fact that, unlike other European countries and the US, state schools in Britain have individuality squashing uniforms, which stop people in those schools making friends and meeting sexual partners, as they find it harder to recognise fellow members of their respective musical and other tribes than people in American and other European state schools, indicates that Britain is still an authoritarian society which is closer to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which forced their young people to wear Hitler Youth, League of German Girls, and Komsomol uniforms, than the US and other European countries are.
That is why Britain has a far worse racist violence problem than any other country in the EU (authoritarian people do not like people who are different to them). Pages 173 to 179 of this EU report reveal that there is several times more racist violence in Britain than there is in Germany for example, which is why British people making jokes about “Nazi” Germans amuse me:
Authoritarianism is also why Britain has such a big school bullying problem (as bullies are authoritarians, they do not like people who are different to them, so they pick on racial and sexual minority people, overweight people, clever people, and so on). This 2007 UNICEF survey of child and adolescent happiness in 19 European countries, the US, and Canada, found that British children and adolescents were less happy than children and adolescents in any of the other countries, clearly partly because of the level of bullying in British schools (the table on page 25 reveals that British 11, 13, and 15 year olds were less likely to say that their peers were “kind and helpful” than their counterparts in any of the other countries which were surveyed):
The gender apartheid in some British schools also makes Britain’s sexual repression / authoritarianism problem worse of course.
So it is no wonder that so many leading British politicians have fascist links.
I discussed the BNP and UKIP leaderships’ fascist and Holocaust denial links in 9 articles for this website (putting my name into its search engine brings all of them up):
In this article, then Labour MEP Richard Corbett discussed the UKIP leadership’s fascist and Holocaust denial links, including an unofficial pact with the BNP which the BNP has admitted to the existence of:
Finally, in this article, I discussed the modern Conservative Party leadership’s fascist links:
Because leading British politicians have fascist connections, it is also not surprising that the BNP possibly has more terrorist links than any other fascist party on the planet, as I showed in this article, “The BNP and terrorism”, which also discussed British fascist terrorists who are not linked to the BNP:
As “The Sun” has always tried to benefit from the popularity of music in Britain, which buys more music per person than any other country in the world, by, for example, filling the centre pages of the first issue after Rupert Murdoch took over with a photo of a naked woman at the feet of the fully clothed Rolling Stones (note that on the Murdoch “Sun”‘s first day, its women are just sex objects macho ideology was already evident, which is partly why Rupert Murdoch very definitely needs to set up “The Moon”, so that after 42 years, News Corporation can prove that it is no longer macho, by not only dropping the yobbish tone of “Sun” articles, but also by publishing photos of half naked men as well as half naked women), it would be a good idea to use music in any campaigns to encourage people to boycott News Corporation products.
Appropriate songs which could be played while people gather signatures for surreal petitions, include: “News of the World”, the 1978 number 27 hit by the Jam, which dismissed the rag as “just a comic, not much more”; a recently rereleased as a download, 1994 solo track from Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s “Happiness?” CD, “Dear Mr. Murdoch”, whose numerous scathing lines include: “They stain all they touch, they’re real woman haters”, “Dear Mr. Murdoch you’re a dangerous chap, With your jingoist lingo we’re drowning in crap”, “And dear Mr. Murdoch what have you done?, You’re not quite as nice as Attila the Hun” ; all of the 1977 Queen album “News of the World”, which is not about a certain ex-newspaper, but which is appropriate music, because of the Roger Taylor song; the July 2011, also numerous scathing lines about Hillsborough, the Milly Dowler case, and corrupt police Billy Bragg song, “Never Buy The Sun”, which has been released as a free download, and which describes Rupert Murdoch as “the Devil”; and a July 2011 Robots in Disguise track on their “Happiness v Sadness” CD, “Lies”, which is also now available as a free download. Its again, numerous scathing lines include: “Why d’u have to deal in gossip?”, “You lazy hack typing fiction into fact”, “No I don’t want my London Standard, Or the Sun or the Star or all your tabloid blah”, and “And why are you obsessed with sex?”
Here are videos for all 4 of those songs:

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Black British Soldiers – The Forgotten Fighters

Wed, May 3 1995 – Guardian

Caribbean Soldiers from WW2

Caribbean Soldiers from WW2

Black Soldiers in WW2

In the early years of the second world war, Britain made frequent requests for help from its colonies. One man to respond was Billy Strachan. Like most Jamaicans at the time he regarded Britain as his homeland, and enlisting it seemed a natural option.

“I went to the British Army camp in Jamaica to ask about being sent to Britain to join the R.A.F, but I was laughed at and told to find my own way there”.

he recalls.

“I then went to the Jamaica Fruits Shipping company, which had some boats coming from Britain four of the middle class white people fleeing from the war, and persuaded them to let me have a passage back for £15. I didn’t have £15, so I sold my bicycle and saxophone to raise the fair”.

On arrival in Britain Strachan had no idea how to enlist, and so he headed off to the Air Ministry in London.

“I hadn’t heard about the recruiting stations and the guards thought I was taking the Mickey when I said I wanted to join up. Luckily, a Hooray Henry, Officer type, overheard us and said: “oh you’re from Jamaica, one of our colonial friends. Welcome. I did geography  at university and I’ve always been impressed by you West Africans.” Thanks to his supreme ignorance I was dragged in, and was eventually sent to the RAF unit in Euston for a medical.”

Caribbean Pilots in WW2

Billy Strachan went on to serve both as an Air Gunner and pilot for Bomber Command, and was a member of the only crew of 99 Bomber Squadron to finish a tour of 30 trips alive.

Once the war ended many black servicemen felt that their efforts were one appreciated.

“It was as if it was okay but was to be over here while there was an emergency, but in 1945 we weren’t wanted any more,”

says Laurent Philpotts, Public Relations Officer for the West Indian ex-service men and women’s association.

After I was demobbed in Nottingham a Padre said to me: “When are you going home?” I was shocked; if a Padre could say that, what must everyone else to be thinking?”

Black Ex Servicemen feel neglected

50 years on, nothing much has changed. Black ex-servicemen still feel neglected by the military establishment and believe they are not afforded the same privileges and facilities as veterans from the white Commonwealth countries. Last year they felt snobbed at not being included in the D-Day Commemorations, and it has only been through a last-minute interventions from leading black figures, such as Bernie Grant, that has ensured invitations for the V.E.Day have been extended to the Gov. Gen. of Jamaica and the president of Trinidad.

The old black British soldiers have not been so lucky. Earlier this year and the West Indian ex-service men and women’s association was sent some forms inviting its members to apply for seating at the VE day commemorative events, but none has been successful. Unsurprisingly, the Association has decided to hold its own commemorative program. Since the vast majority of black and Asian veterans were fighting in the “Forgotten” war in Burma, Malaya and Africa, and most accounts of the war have been written from a Eurocentric perspective by white historians, there has been an inbuilt tendency to discount the contribution in their literature.

Yet, even in those books which focus on the campaigns in which black and Asian troops were involved, there has been a predisposition to be little better role. Colonel Ismail Khan who served with the Indian Army in Malaya has particularly strong feelings about this.

“There is always the sense that the Indian troops weren’t quite as good as the British, and the writers have tended to easy to ignore their efforts or to contend them by attacking their fighting spirit or exaggerating the desertions.”

For those children whose grandparents ER either dead or living overseas, the opportunities for learning even an oral history are extremely limited. Many black and Asian ex-servicemen now recognise that they have a responsibility to write their own history.

One institution firmly behind such moves is the Imperial War Museum. Anita Ballin: the museums education officer, says:

“There is material on the black war effort here at the moment, but you have to look pretty hard to find it, and many people have asked for more information.” In response to such requests the museum has assembled in multimedia resource pack entitled to gather for use in schools and which will also be available through public libraries. Ballin hopes that it is just the first step. “In time I would like the Museum to stage either a special exhibition or for more material to be included in the permanent displays.”

Such efforts are more than welcome, but the black and Asian ex-servicemen realise that it will take a great deal more to shift the underlying attitudes.

During the war, and black people were still a comparatively rare sight in this country, the racism they encountered was minimal, but that soon changed in the post war years. While the rest of Britain set about building a country fit for heroes, black people found that the country for which they had fought was denying them access to equal jobs and accommodation. “It seem as if no sooner had one to many and then another began,” says Laurent Phillpotts. “But just like the last war it’s a battle we are slowly winning.”

Related Articles on this site

Black soldiers in the British Armed Forces – John Ellis
Africans in Wartime Propaganda – Part 1
Related links
Imperial War Museum – Online Collection – Jamaican
Imperial War Museum – Online collection –  African Soldiers
We also served 


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Giles Heron – Footballer

Giles Heron

Giles Heron

Giles Heron became the first Afro-Caribbean player to play first team football for Celtic.

Heron scored on his debut, a 2-1 win against Morton during the 1951-52 season and was quickly bestowed the nicknames “Black Flash” and “Black Arrow”.

Giles Heron became the first Afro-Caribbean player to play first team football for Celtic.

Heron scored on his debut, a 2-1 win against Morton during the 1951-52 season and was quickly bestowed the nicknames “Black Flash” and “Black Arrow”.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1922, Heron played as centre forward for the Jamaican national team as well as playing for the American club side Detroit Corinthians. On a North American tour he was spotted by a Celtic scout and later signed for the Glasgow club in 1951.

At a time when Scottish football was notable for its physical nature, Heron soon struggled – as one local newspaper put it: “lacking resource when challenged.”

The writer Phil Vasili notes that Heron was criticised in Glasgow for “being unable to transfer his pugilistic tenacity” (Heron had previously been both an athlete and a boxer). He was released barely a year later and signed for Third Division Lanark.

Heron also played for Kidderminster Harriers before returning to play for his original club, the Detroit Corinthians, where his son, the acclaimed Jazz musician and poet Gil Scott Heron, was born in 1949.

Shortly before Giles Heron’s son visited Scotland to promote his new book “The Last Holiday,” a local journalist asked about his father’s experiences of playing football in Glasgow.

Despite Heron’s relatively brief spell at Celtic, it is apparent that Giles Heron Jnr still retains fond memories of his time in Scotland. “My father still keeps up with what Celtic are doing. You Scottish folk always mention that my Dad played for Celtic,” said Scott-Heron, “it’s a blessing from the spirits! Like that’s two things that Scottish folks love the most; music and football and they got one representative from each of those from my family!”

It has become a tradition of studious Gil Scott-Heron fans to show up at his Glasgow shows in the green and white hooped shirt of Celtic. “There you go again,” said Gil Scott-Heron jokingly, “once again overshadowed by a parent!”.

Mike Lee, November 2001



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Doug Brown – Stoke-on-Trent

Roy and Doug Brown

Roy and Doug Brown

Doug Brown & Roy Brown’s father, Eugene and his brother John came to England from the Ghana, West Africa, they were students. They decided to join the British Army when WW1 boke out.  John was killed and Eugene badly injured but after the war he got married and had two sons.  Eugene later died of his war injuries and the boys were raised by their mother, an English Woman from Stoke-on-Trent.

Roy Brown was a talented footballer and he was signed by Stoke City on leaving school at 14. The Second World War interrupted his football career although he did play for the club in the Football Regional League. He made his debut in 1941 and played a few games before joining the armed services.

Doug and Roy Brown in 1930s Stoke

Doug and Roy Brown in 1930s Stoke

The league did not resume until the 1946-47 season. Brown scored 14 goals in 74 games for Stoke City. In 1953 he was transferred to Watford in Division Three (South). Over the next few years he scored 40 goals in 142 games.

World War 2

During World War 2 Doug Brown trained as a physiotherapist to help in the recovery of injured soldiers. He continued this work in the newly formed National Health Service.

In 1960 Doug became the physio for Stoke City. His Brother, Roy had played for Stoke city as a young man.

In 1967 Doug set up the first “Lads-and-dads” matches on local school football pitches, which had previously been closed at weekends.
For his work with Lads and Dads he was nominated by Footballers Garth Crooks and Robbie Earle (Both originally from Stoke on Trent) for the BBC People’s Awards.

The same year Doug became an independent councillor, later joining the Labour Party.
He was appointed Lord Mayor in 1984 and then later helped to set up “Match Mates” to help combat Hooliganism. Princess Diana presented Doug with an award for his work in this area.

In 1997 he was appointed as Lord Mayor for the second time.

Doug Received an honorary degree from Keele University in recognition of his lifetime’s service to young people. He was a Justice of the Peace, President of the North Staffordshire Chinese Community.
Honorary member of the Grenadier Guards.Chairman of the board of governors at Sutherland primary school in Blurton (for 22 years).

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Paul Robeson, the Gentle Gentleman

Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson last visited North Staffordshire on October 31, 1958 when he appeared at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, as part of his final British tour.

Accompanied onstage by his longtime friend and associate Lawrence Brown, Robeson had a programme for the evening that was, as usual, extremely varied.

Over the years he had extended his repertoire to include spirituals, songs from his films and show, together with folk songs and popular ballads collected during his extensive tours from countries around the world.

These words were then arranged by Brown to suit Robeson’s rich deep voice. This was reflected at Hanley where, in front of a packed house, he entertained his audience with items by Handel, Bach, Smetana, Mussorgsky, Dvorak and a number of English folk songs and negro spirituals.

In addition, he gave an informal talk on the relationship between speech and song and a “dignified reclamation” of Othello’s farewell.

On the following evening the Sentinel’s at music critic, Jack Oliver (JO), wrote that to Brooks is magnificent voice was “as sonorous as one remembers it to be flexible, rich in tone and value,” adding that he held the audience “completely in school.” After the concert, he welcomed admirers into his dressing room where he sat at the small table autographing photographs and programmes.

Merely sitting there, it was as if he had a special presence about him. As he signed my own program I informed him of my fathers minor involvement as a extra in his film “The proud valley”.

At this, Robeson’s face broke into a broad smile. He rose, shook hands with my mother and greeted us most warmly.Towering above us, he explained in a soft voice that he was wholly proud of having made the film. Of all those he had stared in, he said, it was his favourite.

We both found him charming and my mother later referred to him as a “gentle gentleman” paragraph like many other artistes, Robeson spoke of the welcome here received in the area and how much he enjoyed the concert. He always enjoyed performing before working class people. He could relate to them and generally, they were the most appreciative. Having talk to us for what seemed like several minutes, he then met other admirers who were queueing along the corridors of the Victoria Hall, patiently awaiting an audience with the gentle giant. In later years I learned that Robeson was not merely being polite in his comments about “the proud of valley.” They are, in fact, documented.

The idea for the film was initially presented to him by film producer, David Marshall. The role he was offered of the hero-an ordinary worker-appealed to him from the beginning. Martial’s story was set in the coal mining Rhonda Valley and Robeson played the part of the aptly named David Goliath, a ships Stoker, who obtains work in the local mine.

But as the late Benny Green observed, “instead of playing a stereotype role as in earlier films, for the first time you played a normal human being living along with other human beings and coming to terms with the same problems which faced all men, irrespective of their pigmentation.” There was a whole lot of singing, naturally, and the film ended with a realistic underground disaster and a  hero’s death for Robeson’s character.

“The Proud Valley” was as close to a documentary as a film of the period could be. It put the real people of the Rhonda Valley on the screen and much of it was shot in the mining villages with real houses, streets and people. As it happened, there had been difficulty in finding a pit which would allow location filming, but this situation was resolved when the locally based Shelton Coal, Iron and Steel Co  Ltd gave permission for it to use of it’s Silverdale Colliery. Filming was carried out using many of the colliery employees as extras including my late father Syd Bebbington. Yet filmmaking being the deceptive trade that it is, Robeson acted out his role without ever visiting Silverdale. In the scenes there, his part was undertaken by local miners in long distance shops that film was Premier Leicester Square theatre, London, on March 8, 1940, by which time Robeson had returned to America.

In later years, despite being regarded in his own country as I’m “enemy of the people” because of his political views, he nevertheless went on to have a highly successful concert career. He died in 1976.


Original Article: The way we were supplement NO 37. the Sentinel, Sat.Jul.1998

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Race in the Media – Nov / December

Black News UK

Black News UK

This article relates to race in the media.
Source:  IRR Newsletter.

g u a r d i a n
Forensic evidence suggests Mark Duggan unarmed when shot
The Guardian has revealed that forensic tests have shown that Mark Duggan was unarmed when shot dead by police in Tottenham. Concerns remain over the IPCC investigation.

g u a r d i a n
Government to apologise to Christopher Alder’s family
The government is to formally apologise to the European Court of Human Rights after Janet Alder took her case to them. The government will admit that it made ‘widespread failures’ in its investigation into Christopher Alder’s death.

g u a r d i a n
Pair accused of killing Stephen Lawrence met after murder
CCTV evidence has shown that Gary Dobson and David Norris, the men accused of killing Stephen Lawrence, met each other just four days after the murder, despite claims that they did not know each other.

g u a r d i a n
Evidence mismanaged in Stephen Lawrence trial
According to the defence, a series of mistakes were made by a police forensic scientist in 1993 while handling evidence relating to one of the two men accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence.

l e i c e s t e r   m e r c u r y
Mum punched on bus in Leicester
A mother was racially abused and punched in the face in front of her children, resulting in minor injuries on 21 October. Police are investigating two suspects, one male, and one female.

g u a r d i a n
Man tasered nine times for possession of toy gun
Justice Livingstone was tasered nine times after railway station staff at Norwood Junction called police after seeing a man with a gun. The gun was a toy one costing 99p, which he had bought for his son.

s t a f f o r d s h i r e   m e r c u r y
Two constables investigated over brawl that ended in death
Two Staffordshire police officers are subject to an IPCC investigation that has been launched to determine if race or religion influenced their handling of a brawl involving Israr Ellahi who later.

b b c   n e w s
Nigerian man unlawfully detained
The Court of Appeal has ruled that immigration officials unlawfully detained a Nigerian man after he tried to visit Northern Ireland. The man was entitled to enter the UK as his daughter was born in Belfast.

b e d f o r d s h i r e   n e w s
Single men to be detained at Yarl’s Wood
The detention of single men at Yarl’s Wood immigration centre is to resume following a ruling that children should no longer be kept there. The men are to be held ‘in a discrete unit segregated from other residents’.

g u a r d i a n
Government offers to fly UKBA staff home to work through strike
UK Border Agency staff in embassies across the world are being offered taxpayer-funded flights to Britain if they are willing to work at ports and airports in next week’s strike against public sector pension reform.

b b c   n e w s
Restrictions extended on Bulgarian and Romanian workers
The Home Office has extended the restrictions placed on the number of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals allowed to work in the UK until the end of 2013. According to European Law, the restrictions must then be lifted.

b b c   n e w s
Dale Farm Travellers seek permission for two new sites
The Travellers who used to live on the Dale Farm site are seeking permission from Basildon Council to live on two new sites in Essex.

h u l l   d a i l y   m a i l
Racist language in primary school left unaddressed
Ofsted inspectors have warned that a primary school in Bridlington where children were found using racist and homophobic language have failed to address the issues.

g u a r d i a n
Nick Clegg to criticise racism in bank loans
Nick Clegg is to accuse the British banking system of discriminatory practices against minority ethnic customers, who experience trouble accessing loans to start up businesses.

b b c   n e w s
Sacked BNP worker awarded damages for wrongful dismissal
Marion Thomas has been awarded £2,500 for wrongful dismissal by the BNP last year. Thomas had worked at their office for over a year, and was dismissed without notice.

b b c   n e w s
Images released of EDL Halifax demonstrators
CCTV images have been released showing ten EDL supporters who are wanted for questioning by the police following disturbances at a demonstration in Halifax earlier this year.

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Government to apologise to Alder family over police custody death

Original Article – Guardian

  • Maya Wolfe-Robinson and Owen Bowcott
  • The Guardian, 
Christopher Alder

Christopher Alder

The British Government will formally apologise through the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to the family of Christopher Alder, a black british ex-soldier who choked to death in handcuffs on the floor of a Hull Police Station 13 years ago.

The “unilateral declaration” made by the United Kingdom to the court is a highly unusual admission of widespread failures in the investigation into the cause of the Falklands veteran’s death.

In its statement to the E.C.H.R, the Government will concede that it breached its obligations in regard to preserving life and ensuring that no one is subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment. The Alder family is to receive €34,000 (£29,000) from the Government in an ex gratia payment and to cover legal costs.

The unusual step of issuing a statement of that sort is a form of settlement and invites the court to strike out the case. The Government had fought not to have the case heard in Strasbourg, before lodging an official statement and apology to the Alder family. Its apology is on behalf of Humberside police.

The text of the apology states:
“The Government of the United Kingdom regrets the occurrence of the actions which have led to the bringing of the present application, in particular the treatment in custody of the applicant’s brother, Mr Christopher Alder, and the anguish that this treatment and his death have caused to his family.”

“The Government accepts that the lack of an effective and independent investigation in this case constitutes a violation of the procedural obligations in articles 2 and 3 of the convention. Further, the government accept that the treatment that the applicant’s brother received in police custody amounted to a substantive violation of article 3 with 14 of the Convention.”

Earlier this month it emerged that Alder’s body had mistakenly been left in a mortuary for 11 years after his family believed they had buried him.

His death in April 1998 was one of the most controversial in police custody. Closed-circuit TV footage was recovered showing the 37-year-old father-of-two gasping for air as officers chatted and joked around him. The film showed he received no help from five police officers, who thought he was play acting, as he lost his fight for life. It took 11 minutes for him to stop breathing. Afterwards, as Alder lay dead, monkey-like noises were detected on the audio tape.

After an inquest lasting seven weeks, a jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing, citing “positional asphyxia”. Five police officers were prosecuted for manslaughter but the trial was halted when the judge ruled there was no evidence for a conviction. They were later cleared by a police disciplinary hearing of neglect of duty.

Janet Alder, the dead man’s sister, said: “It has taken 13 years to break through what I see as a reluctance of the organisations dealing with controversial custody deaths to hold police officers accountable, or to believe or consider whether police officers could be capable of severe maltreatment of citizens within their custody.”

“Why or where did Christopher sustain the additional injuries he suffered? Why was another of his teeth missing? Where was his belt? These concerns have never been investigated or addressed.

“It has taken bringing an action in the European court of human rights – and judges there unanimously acknowledging my complaints were admissible after watching the horrific video of Christopher’s death – to force the government to apologise for failing to hold the officers responsible accountable.

“It wasn’t hard to see that my brother – an ex-paratrooper decorated for his services – was denied his right to life; that his treatment was inhuman and degrading and that race played a part in his death.”

Welcoming the UK’s declaration, the human rights organisation Liberty, which has supported Janet Alder, said: “The government’s unprecedented apology and admission of blatant violations of fundamental human rights are hugely significant and certainly not before time.

Corinna Ferguson, the legal officer for Liberty, added: “More than 13 years on still no one in the police has been held responsible for Christopher’s shocking death. Proper accountability is vital in these situations and in future the Independent Police Complaints Commission must take stronger, more decisive action where serious human rights violations occur.

“The offence of misconduct in public office is completely inadequate in these circumstances – as demonstrated by the fact that these officers were somehow cleared of it. Sadly admissions and apologies will matter little if such tragic cases keep occurring.”

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Racism: on the pitch but off the agenda

Racism: on the pitch but off the agenda

By Jon Burnett :  Original Article IRR

24 November 2011, 5:00pm

What should we make of recent allegations of racism in football?

Show Racism the Red Card

Show Racism the Red Card

UNTIL recently, the narrative on racism in English football resembled something of a self-congratulatory redemption story. The forms of racist abuse that were explicit in the 1980s – fans throwing bananas at black players, spitting at them when they took a throw-in, making monkey-noises when they received the ball, not ‘counting’ the goals they scored for the national team – were all seen, by and large, as things of the past. Similarly, the racial abuse that footballers had to endure by opposing players (and in some cases team-mates) was generally explained away as a regrettable reminder of a bygone era. ‘Moved on’ was the general perception: football, aside from the odd remark from the odd bad apple, had ‘moved on’.

The question as to exactly how far the game has moved on has been thrown open with the allegations that England captain John Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand in October and, in November, with the Football Association (FA) charging Liverpool striker Luis Suarez with racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. These may be especially high-profile incidents, yet they show a reality in football in which racism is very much a factor in the present.

In the last two months alone five high-profile footballers, Sammy Ameobi, Jay Bothroyd, Frazier Campbell, Anton Ferdinand and James Vaughan, have had racist comments sent to them through twitter; and the former footballer and now ‘Talksport’ pundit Stan Collymore was threatened with violence through the same format for speaking out against racism. On the pitch, Chelsea fans allegedly sang racist chants to Daniel Sturridge, a striker playing for their club, recently. Arsenal supporters chanted ‘it should have been you’ to Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor, referring to an incident last year when he was on a bus with team-mates from Togo and gunmen shot and killed the driver, the media officer and the team’s assistant coach. (Tottenham fans, incidentally, also racially abused him when he was playing for Real Madrid against them earlier this year.) The Blyth Spartans player, Richard Offiong, claimed that another footballer said to him ‘where are your bananas? Show me your passport’ a few weeks ago.[1] And, returning to social media, Worcester City footballer Lee Smith tweeted on Armistice Day that ‘Illegal immigrants’ should f**k off out of are (sic) country … kill um’, before initially defending his comments and saying he was not really serious about inciting murder.[2]

Read full article

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'Say This.. Not That!' During Holiday Gatherings

Family Enjoying Christmas Dinner

Family Enjoying Christmas Dinner

During the holidays most of us want to spend time with friends and family, while at the same time avoiding the negative comments and unnecessary disagreements that often come with these celebrations. Here are my five rules on what to say/not say to loved ones during holiday gatherings. Follow these rules to help avoid problems or conflicts with everyone from your significant other to your in-laws.

1) Say what you like, not what you don’t.
 Be complimentary. Don’t like a Thanksgiving dish? Don’t mention it and don’t compare it to anyone else’s dish (dead or alive)! Talk about the dish you liked. Didn’t like ANY of the food? Compliment the hostess on her decorations or her outfit. Don’t like those either? You know the saying: If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all!

2) Say what you’re thankful for, not what you wish was different.
Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge all of the things we feel thankful for, yet we often spend time complaining. This is not the time to talk extensively about ongoing problems, so talk about things you feel thankful for like your health, family or friendship. As much as people want to “catch up” they also don’t want to be brought down, so stay focused on gratitude instead of ranting for hours about the economy and the job market! You can have those deep conversations the next day.

Related Links

What not say during the holidays – Full Article

Dr. Michelle Callahan



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Africans in Portuguese Space

Portuguese Africa

Portuguese Africa

Canning House, home of The Hispanic and Luso Brazilian Council, 2 Belgrave
Square, London SW1X 8PJ, England, sponsors a regular series of
Portuguese-related events; for complete information, see the “events” page

Of particular interest is this free lecture,

Friday 16th December,
18.30-19.30 :

“From Invisibility to Visibility: Africans in Portuguese Space”, by Shihan
de Silva, author of ‘African Identity in Asia’ and ‘The Portuguese in the

African movement to Asia has gone on for centuries and many migrants have
assimilated with the local populations. Within historical documents,
Africans become conspicuous through their  military role. Moreover, there
are Afro-Asian communities today, separated by vast distances and hidden in
the villages and forests of Asia. Through their vibrant forms of music and
lyrics still in Portuguese, they emerge from obscurity. Concentrating on
Africans who moved within Portuguese space in Asia, this presentation will
highlight the way in which the migratory process took place and affected
their lives.

Dr Shihan de Silva is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth
Studies (University of London) and a member of the UNESCO International
Scientific Committee (Paris)=

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