Saturday, October 21, 2006


A Labour peer yesterday named a "serial and repeated liar" whose false allegations resulted in an innocent man being jailed for a sex attack. Lord Campbell-Savours used parliamentary privilege to name the woman during a debate in the House of Lords on rape legislation. He suggested that women who make false allegations of rape should be named and prosecuted for perjury. It is believed to be the first time that the identity of a woman who claims that she has been the victim of a sexual offence has been revealed in Parliament. Women's rights groups said that they feared that the naming of the woman would further deter rape victims from reporting their ordeal.

It is a criminal offence to name anyone who complains to police that they have been the victim of a sexual offence, even if the alleged attacker is found not guilty in court. But Lord Campbell-Savours is protected from legal action for comments made in the House of Lords. Speaking in the Lords he said: "Is not the inevitable consequence of the workings of the law as currently framed that we will carry on imprisoning innocent people such as Warren Blackwell, who was falsely accused by a serial and repeated liar, (the woman's name), who has a history of making false accusations and having multiple identities? "As a result of her accusations, he spent three and a half years in prison following a shabby and inadequate police investigation and was exonerated only when the Criminal Cases Review Commission inquiry cleared him and traced her history.

"Should not mature accusers who perjure themselves in rape trials be named and prosecuted for perjury?" The official record of the Houses of Parliament, Hansard, included the woman's name in its report because it believed it was covered by parliamentary privilege. However, the Press Association later removed the woman's identity from its report of the debate after seeking legal advice, which said that she was entitled, by statute, to lifelong anonymity. Lord Cambell-Savours said last night that he was unable to comment further on the issue because he would not be covered by privilege outside Parliament.

Mr Blackwell, 36, from Daventry, Northamptonshire, spent more than three years in jail for a sex attack before his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal last month after fresh evidence suggested that his alleged victim was a liar. The Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, discovered that the alleged victim had made similar accusations. The Court of Appeal ruled that Mr Blackwell's conviction was unsafe in the light of the new evidence that the complainant had made "strikingly similar allegations" about other sex attacks, had an ability to lie and a possible propensity to self-harm.

Lord Campbell-Savours' comments came after intense debate about the right to anonymity for victims of sexual offenders and those accused but not convicted. Anonymity is granted automatically to the accuser in rape cases, under the Sexual Offences Act 1976. The woman who accused Mr Blackwell can be identified only when she waives her right to anonymity or is convicted of attempting to pervert the cause of justice, proving that the sexual assault never took place.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Home Office Minister, told the Lords: "It is not inevitable that people will be falsely accused. One of the tragedies in relation to rape allegations is that very few of those who suffer this most dreadful crime have the courage to come forward at all." Ruth Hall, of Women Against Rape, said: "Women are being targeted by the criminal justice system for bringing allegations of rape. It is a new development that we have seen over the past few weeks. "There have been a number of women prosecuted for perverting the course of justice or having something added to their Criminal Records Bureau records because they have made allegations of rape. "The system is institutionally sexist. We don't believe that any assumption can be made that a woman has not been telling a truth."

At present 5.6 per cent of rape cases result in a conviction. The Government and lawyers fear that any attempt to remove anonymity would reduce significantly the number of women coming forward and prepared to go to court

Source. (We read here that the current name of the vindictive bitch is Shannon Taylor).


With just one in twenty cases of rape leading to a conviction there have been growing demands for changes to the law to make it easier bring prosecutions. However, there have also been growing numbers of cases where men have had their rape convictions overturned and prosecutions of women who have made up allegations. Last month a teenager was jailed after four men were held in police cells for 36 hours after she accused them of rape. Cinzia Sannino, then 17, only admitted her lies when police showed her footage on a mobile telephone of her performing naked lap- dancing for the men after returning home with them from a Cardiff club. The case led a spokesman for the False Allegations Support Organisation to comment: "Too many people jump on the bandwagon, aware that they can get compensation for false allegations."

Two weeks later a woman who falsely cried rape against her former husband was also convicted of perverting the course of justice. Sally Henderson, 40, a mother of two, described by the prosecution as a "wicked liar", claimed that Richard Cooke, 39, had repeatedly raped her during their year-long marriage. However, police discovered that her claims were almost identical to false allegations she had made five years earlier against a previous boyfriend, Gloucester Crown Court heard. Lifting an order preventing her identification, Recorder David Lane, QC, said: "The public has a right to know the identity of a person who makes such allegations and who seeks to use the system of justice for her own, unscrupulous ends."

A month earlier an obsessed stalker who accused her psychiatrist of rape was convicted of harassment, threats to kill and perverting justice. Maria Marchese, 45, rummaged through Jan Falkowski's dustbin for a used condom to clinch DNA evidence. The case against the consultant, of Limehouse, East London, was dropped - but his relationship with his fiancee collapsed.

There have been growing calls for men accused of rape to be granted anonymity until they are convicted. The Liberal Democrats voted last month to grant anonymity to anyone accused of rape until conviction.



By Jeff Jacoby

Did the Ottoman Turks commit genocide against the Armenians in 1915? Careful -- in some places you can be arrested if you give the wrong answer to that question. Under Article 305 of the Turkish Penal Code, for example, those who promote recognition of "the genocide of the Armenians" are subject to prosecution, while Article 301 makes the denigration of "Turkishness" a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. The Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk , winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature , is among those who have been charged under Article 301. His offense was to tell a Swiss interviewer that "30,000 Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it." (The charges against Pamuk were eventually dropped, but other prosecutions are ongoing.)

Yet if acknowledging the Armenian genocide is a crime in Turkey, gainsaying it could soon be a crime in France. Last week the French National Assembly voted to approve a bill under which anyone denying the 1915 genocide could be sentenced to a year's imprisonment and a 45,000-euro ($56,000) fine. That matches the penalty under French law for denying the Nazi Holocaust.

The French legislation is meant to uphold the truth -- the Armenian genocide, like the Holocaust, is a fact of history -- while the point of the Turkish law is to debase it. Both, however, are intolerable assaults on liberty. Beliefs should not be criminalized, no matter how repugnant or absurd. As I wrote when David Irving was convicted of Holocaust denial in Austria earlier this year, free societies do not throw people in prison for giving offensive speeches or spouting historical lies.

We Americans should know this better than anyone. The right to speak one's mind is supposed to be a core article of our civic faith. Yet the would-be censors are busy here, too. At Columbia University two weeks ago, a forum on immigration was to feature a speech by Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen, a group that monitors the US-Mexico border for illegal immigrants. But moments after Gilchrist began speaking, protesters led by members of the International Socialist Organization stormed the stage, overturning tables, unfurling banners, and yelling insults. After 15 minutes of pandemonium, campus police shut down the program.

In Seattle, two teachers are suing the affluent Lakeside prep school for illegal racial discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment. "Among the plaintiffs' complaints," reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "was Lakeside's invitation to conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza to speak as part of a distinguished lecture series." But D'Souza, a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a veteran of the Reagan White House, never gave the lecture: Faculty members opposed to his views howled when he was invited, and the school's headmaster, bowing to the censors, rescinded the invitation.

Asked about the campaign against him, D'Souza had said: "I am coming to speak on one day. If they think what I am saying is so awful, they have the rest of the year to refute it." But that isn't enough for the enemies of free speech. They insist not only that speakers with politically incorrect opinions be shunned, but that anyone offering them a platform be punished as well.

Then there is "Grist," an environmental webzine whose staff writer David Roberts recently proposed that global warming skeptics be put on trial like Nazi war criminals. "When we've finally gotten serious about global warming . . . we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg," Roberts wrote. Negative publicity led him to recant, but he is far from the only one invoking the Holocaust as a way to silence global warming heretics.

Environmental writer Mark Lynas, for example, puts dissent on climate change "in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial -- except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don't will one day have to answer for their crimes." This totalitarian view is taking root everywhere, making skepticism on climate change taboo and subjecting anyone reckless enough to question the global-warming dogma to mockery and demonization. Former vice president Al Gore lumps "global warming deniers," some of whom are eminent scientists, with the "15 percent of the population (who) believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona" and those who "still believe the earth is flat."

The silencers are at work in the marketplace of ideas, using hook or crook to smother opinions they dislike. The lust to censor is as powerful as ever. If only liberty's defenders were equally vigilant.

Multicultural madness needs such antidotes

A twentysomething visitor from Britain brings us the message that there should be no special rules for Muslims, writes Janet Albrechtsen

IN another sign of predictable cultural capitulation, a check-in employee with British Airways is banned from wearing a small Christian cross but Muslim and Sikh employees may wear turbans and the hijab. Little wonder, then, that Munira Mirza is so refreshing. This young woman, reared as a Muslim, says it's time to scrap multiculturalism and to stop defining people as members of a minority group. Specifically, it's time for our political leaders to stop engaging with Muslims as Muslims. They are citizens; no special rules apply.

Mirza pulls few punches when exposing the West's cultural surrender. We all know the problem. Free speech in the polite West is a little clogged up these days. A Dutch film-maker, Theo van Gogh, is slain for making Submission, a movie critical of Islam. The scriptwriter, Dutch political activist Ayan Hirsi Ali, is forced to live under threat of death. Amateurish Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed unleash orchestrated madness across the globe. A nun is killed in Somalia because local Muslims don't like the Pope musing about Muslim attitudes to violence. A French teacher is hiding, under police protection, after describing Mohammed as a "merciless war leader". And so it goes on.

When it's easier to stay quiet for fear of provoking violence from some Muslims or attracting accusations of racism from Western appeasers, then the West is already living under the shadow of Islamic fascism. We're stuck with silent feminists who prefer cultural rights and the burka over women's rights and the silly noise of some on the so-called progressive side of politics marching to the tune of "We're all Hezbollah now".

Which is why, in the battle of ideas, Mirza is a much needed and perhaps most unlikely warrior. This twentysomething petite British woman who visited Australia last week says multiculturalism has caused the West's cultural timidity. She isn't talking about the simple acceptance of diversity originally sold to us as multiculturalism and embraced by Australians. Multiculturalism has gone far beyond whether to eat Thai, Indian, Italian or Chinese food.

Particularly in her native Britain, but also across large swaths of the Western world, multiculturalism has become a far bigger and more insidious concept during the past three decades. Its basic proposition is cultural relativism: that all cultures are of equal value, none can be criticised (except for the majority one), and that encouraging integration is racist.

In Mirza's Britain, this has delivered a tribalised society in which identity politics reigns supreme. In this world, victimhood is especially prized. Mirza told The Australian that multiculturalism "encourages groups to claim exclusion in order to get attention. In order to get resources, you have to prove your weakness." In a competitive multicultural marketplace, groups vie for most victimised status. This political culture disenfranchises people as individuals, rejecting that they are moral agents responsible for their own future.

At a Centre for Independent Studies lecture last Wednesday, Mirza told her audience that when she was at school in Britain a decade ago, few Muslim girls wore headscarves. Now Muslim girls, even those whose mothers don't wear the scarf, are choosing to put it on as an identifier of difference and oppression, the oppressor being the West.

Multiculturalism makes the private part of you - your religion - your most valuable public asset. And it's off bounds to criticise any part of it. Just ask Jack Straw, the leader of Britain's House of Commons, who was recently dubbed a terrorist guilty of inciting religious hatred for raising the problem of interacting with veiled Muslim women.

That powerful multicultural concoction of separateness and victimhood has left the West fractured, neutered of a confident and united identity. The consequences have been far ranging, according to Mirza. Most acutely, it has fuelled home-grown terrorism.

Young Muslim boys such as the London bombers - born, reared and educated in the West - have gone looking for meaning elsewhere because, Mirza says, "being British is so discredited in this country ... The most compelling thing about the al-Qa'ida identity is its victimhood status; it is the ultimate logic of multiculturalism, with its claim that it represents an oppressed minority."

The multicultural message has wrought other disastrous consequences documented by Mirza. Culture Vultures, a book she edited earlier this year, showcases how the arts have been subsumed by an ethnocentric emphasis that promotes wasteful projects with little artistic merit. In the workplace, multiculturalism has spawned diversity training because difference needs to be micro-managed. The premise is that without expert training in how to deal with difference, pudden-headed workers will succumb to their inherent bigoted, racist tendencies.

But, as Mirza points out, emphasising difference through diversity training ends up dividing us more. The ostensibly different ones are reminded of their difference, encouraged to treat every slight as an exhibition of racism. And the rest, their fellow workers, are left paralysed in their interactions for fear of being labelled a racist.

Australia has not yielded to the levels of multicultural madness infecting Britain and Europe, which is why Mirza's message is both a warning for Australia and a sign that perhaps the intellectual tide is turning in Britain. She says the answer is to stop the politics of tribalisation and start being unashamedly proud about the Enlightenment values that lie at the core of Western liberal democracies, values such as freedom of speech.

Where Mirza is less than convincing is in her tendency to ignore Islam as part of the problem confronting the West. When asked whether there was something about Islam that explained the rise of Islamic terrorism, she said all religions could be twisted to suit warped agendas of violence. Perhaps. But disaffected Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs are not plotting jihad: a point the Pope wished to raise in his speech at a German university before being pummelled into apologetic appeasement.

Following that fracas, Marcello Pera - who in 2004 co-wrote with the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger a book titled Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam - told the International Herald Tribune it was legitimate for those in the West to ask if jihad is a necessary part of some interpretations of Islam. It's not a comfortable topic but it goes with the terrain of free speech. And on that score, as Mirza said at a lunch last week, "we could all do with a little more courage, frankly". Amen to that.


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