British justice works for once
Parents of killer teens jailed for lying to police. If it had not been such a high-profile case, the parents' action to protect their progeny would probably have been held to be part of their "human rights". One of the mothers is a prostitute so that would be in her favour these days. She is herself a "victim", of course. Could be an appeal on those grounds coming up, I'll guess
THE mother of the teenager who murdered British schoolboy Rhys Jones was jailed for three years today for lying to police during their investigation. Janette Mercer, 49, had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court in February.
Mercer, from Croxteth in Liverpool, had backed her son when he told police he owned a black and cream mountain bike, not the silver bicycle captured on CCTV footage of the shooting of 11-year-old Rhys in August 2007.
Her son Sean Mercer, 18, was jailed for life in December for killing the schoolboy who died after being shot in the neck as he walked home from football practice across a Liverpool pub car park.
"Your son was a key suspect in the murder and you knew he had told a pack of lies," Judge Henry Globe told her, as Rhys's parents Stephen and Melanie Jones sat in the court to hear the sentencing, "You backed him up and you told more lies," the judge added, the Press Association reported.
Sean Mercer, a member of the Crocky Crew gang, had been aiming at members of a rival group, Norris Green's Strand Gang. After the shooting, Mercer cycled to the home of a 16-year-old boy where he hatched a cover-up plot with the help of six other Crocky Crew members to get rid of his clothing, bike and gun.
Also sentenced were Francis and Marie Yates, the parents of Sean Mercer's co-accused James Yates, who both pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. Both were given 18 month sentences for destroying their son's mobile phone SIM card. Francis Yates, 49, was given an additional three years for helping establish a false alibi for his son.
More hatred of decent people from the British police
Student finds mobile phone while out celebrating his 18th birthday and is ARRESTED after handing it in to police
A college student who found a mobile phone while out celebrating his 18th birthday was arrested after handing it in to police. Teenager Paul Leicester was arrested for 'theft by finding' and detained for four hours. The Southport College A-level student eventually had the case against him withdrawn but said it was a 'shocking experience'.
Paul said: 'Being arrested isn't a way to celebrate your 18th birthday. What are you supposed to do when you find a phone? I told the last caller I would drop it off at the police station the next day. But they arrested me for theft by finding.' The teenager was kept by Merseyside Police in Southport police station for four hours and had his fingerprints taken, along with a DNA swab and a photo for police records. Officers then grilled him for 15 minutes about the alleged 'theft'.
Paul, who is of good character, has a Saturday job at a jewellers and is held in high regard by his teachers. The former Birkdale High School student, who lives in Seaforth, added: 'I want people to be aware of what happened. I thought I was doing the right thing and had it thrown back in my face. 'I would not go to the police in future. I would arrange for it to be collected by the last caller. All I was doing was the honest thing. It was a shocking experience.'
Paul's father Vinnie Leicester, 37, said: 'I'm disgusted and angry. It should never have happened. Paul's mum and I have brought him up the right way. It's ridiculous.'
A police spokesman explained the complaint of theft was subsequently withdrawn and Paul was released without charge. Sefton Area Commander, Chief Supt Ian Pilling, said: 'Merseyside Police has contacted Mr Leicester in relation to the incident and he does not wish to make a complaint against the police. As a matter of course we are reviewing the circumstances of the arrest.'
A Leninist View of the American Media
Conservative exasperation with media bias is a tired refrain, a waste of energy. Complaints of bias start from the premise that press coverage ought to be fair and objective. But is this the premise on which today's mainstream media is based?
It's not. The premise that now guides the mainstream media is something we haven't seen before in this country - thus the never-ending consternation of conservatives at the blatant bias of the media and the nonchalance of its practitioners when caught in the act. We have seen press behavior like this before, though - not here, but in China and the Soviet Union during their classical Leninist eras.
When studying Chinese and Soviet politics back in the 1960s and 70s, I lived on a constant diet of the People's Daily, Pravda, and their companion publications. It was clear from the first day that the press in Communist China and the Soviet Union was fundamentally different from ours. It had a different purpose, a different relationship not only to the political power structure, but to the truth itself. Railing at Chinese or Soviet media bias the way that today's conservatives whine about ABC or the New York Times would have been foolish. Instead, it was necessary to understand the assumptions and objectives that underlay media that was under Leninist control. How did they see their role in society? What did they see as proper and improper practice?
There are rules about how a Leninist press works - its operational code. When reading People's Daily and Pravda with these rules in mind, the controlled press made perfect sense. What's the point here? Troublingly, these same rules fit today's American mainstream media - and the media's relationship to the Democratic Party - nearly to a T.
But you be the judge. Here are the rules, as I discerned and formulated them. "Party" here refers to the governing Communist parties of China and the USSR, in their 20th century heydays.
* The press is part of the Party establishment, not an independent or adversarial entity. The press does not think of itself as a prisoner of the Party, resentfully forced to abandon objectivity in favor of propaganda. Rather, it sees itself as fulfilling a critically important role in supporting and expanding Party rule. Writers are not journalists in the classic Western sense, but are political activists or functionaries.
* The Party decides what is news, what is not, what will be reported, and what will not. The press is used to convey Party positions, and politically correct thinking, to the population. Grass-roots activists read, heed, and promote everything carried in the press. The general populace barely reads it, but has no other source of information or worldview, so tends to passively accept the press's messages.
* Articles must carry the interpretation of events that the Party wishes to convey, without regard to objective accuracy. The press evinces utter certainty of the wisdom and correctness of the Party's motivations, worldview, and policies; no differentiation - much less opposition - is allowed. From time to time, the Party uses the press to agitate the populace in a motivational campaign, aimed either at accomplishing a major goal (such as the Great Leap Forward), or criticizing a domestic Party opponent or a foreign country.
* The Party's leading individuals always receive deference, reverence, approval, even adulation. No criticism or adverse reflections on Party leaders are allowed. Senior Party figures have unrestricted access to press coverage. Investigative journalism is rare, and unthinkable if directed against Party organizations, leaders, programs, or policies.
* Individuals opposed to Party rule are selected as targets of disapproval, usually to the point of demonization. Criticism usually extends to allegations of personal corruption, wickedness, or barbarism. Terms used to vilify Party opponents are formulaic, seeming to draw from a lexicon developed for the purpose; there is little if any verbal creativity in criticism of Party-designated targets. Critics or independent thinkers who are not demonized become non-persons, ignored in all articles related to their areas of expertise or attention.
* Fabrication of events, quotations - even people - is permitted in furtherance of Party objectives. Historical facts, or previous Party positions, may be omitted or reshaped to fit current political requirements. The press will report no past error by the Party or its leaders, except when a leader or faction has fallen afoul of the current ruling Party group - then reporting takes the form of demonization.
* National security topics are viewed exclusively through the prism of Party interest. Threats will be ignored if the Party is not worried about them, or if in some way they reflect badly on the Party's performance in foreign affairs. Conversely, bogus threats will be touted if doing so is in the Party's interest.
* Independent media outlets are either forbidden, or permitted only if they address topics of no political impact.
When we look through this Leninist prism, the behavior of today's American mainstream media becomes quite comprehensible. Where conservatives see dishonesty, double standards, and deception, media practitioners see themselves as fulfilling their role in consolidating Party power in pursuit of a socialist utopia. They have fundamentally different ideas of the media's role in society.
How did this happen? Unlike the China or Soviet Union of the 1950s, there is no explicitly Leninist curriculum in the journalism schools, nor have the Democrats formally appointed political commissars on television and newspaper editorial staffs. Yet the effect is clearly apparent. There seems to be a natural, organic affinity between a political party with dictatorial ambitions and the press, and this makes formal indoctrination or routine enforcement unnecessary.
More interesting, what does this Leninist model predict for the mainstream media and its fealty to the Democratic Party? Today's media adhere closely to all the above rules except the last one: exclusivity. NBC or the New York Times may enforce ideological uniformity within their organizations, but what about independent, conservative voices like Rush Limbaugh or National Review?
Democrats have been explicit about plans to revive the Fairness Doctrine, whose implicit goal is to drive conservatives off the talk-radio airwaves. There is no reason to think that a new Fairness Doctrine would not also be festooned with prohibitions against public "hate speech," defined as anything critical of the Left's political program or personalities. Hate speech prohibitions could also be extended to the Internet, targeting conservative opinion sites and blogs. A compliant Supreme Court is only an appointment or two away.
Nor is direct government ownership of media outlets out of the question. We already have the Public Broadcasting System, and this model could be applied more broadly. In this era of government bailouts, how hard is it to imagine a national icon such as the New York Times, crippled by shrinking advertising revenues, seeking government support "in the public interest"?
Anti-Zionism as Anti-Semitism in Europe
Since the 1980s several high level European politicians have made radical anti-Semitic declarations which accorded with Arab and Muslim positions. In a public statement in 1982, Greek Socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou compared Israelis to Nazis. But no mainstream European leader went as far as Christian Democrat Giulio Andreotti, many times the Prime Minister and then the President of Italy, who declared in Geneva, during an inter-parliamentary conference in 1984,his support for a Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi motion, which equated Zionism with racism, supported the boycotting of Israel, and defended the right of the “armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine [that is terrorism]. Italy was then the only Western country to vote with the Soviet Bloc for this motion. Later, such occurrences became even more frequent.
In April 2002, Franco Cavalli spoke at a demonstration of the Swiss-Palestinian Society in Bern. He was then the parliamentary leader of the Social Democratic Party (SP), which is part of the Swiss government coalition. He claimed that Israel, “very purposefully massacres an entire people” and undertakes the “systematic extermination of the Palestinians.” Was he ignorant of the comparatively higher number of Palestinians massacred by the Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, and their own infighting, or did his anti-Semitism drive him to ignore the numbers? Or could he not explain why the Israelis were so inadequate and impotent at “annihilating” the Palestinians, that they are stronger and more numerous than ever before. Senior members of the Greek Socialist Party routinely used Holocaust rhetoric to describe Israeli military actions against Arabs, even when they are defensive in nature. In March, Parliamentary Speaker in Athens, Apostolos Kaklamanis, referred to the “genocide”of the Palestinians, forgetting that no one people can undergo so many genocides and still survive. Jenny Tonge, a Liberal Democrat MP in the U.K. declared at a meeting of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in 2004 that she might consider becoming a “suicide bomber” if she lived in the Palestinian territories. But in contrast to the other cases, which remained undisputed, her party distanced itself from her statement, explaining that it did not condone terrorism.
Raising the very question of Israel’s legitimacy, or even “recognizing its right to exist,” in itself carries a connotation of suspicion, uncertainty, hesitation, temporariness, and remonstration, as if it were under probation, like a criminal on parole, who has to prove constantly that he deserves his freedom. If Israel concedes, withdraws, shrinks back to its “natural size” (as the Egyptians would have it), obeys, effaces itself, admits “guilt” or plies to, in short behaves like a dhimmi of old, then it is considered by the nations of the world as peaceful, reasonable, moderate, and conciliatory. But when she stands up to her enemies, demands that her rights, territory, heritage, security, people, way of life, and sovereignty be safeguarded and respected, then the world is amazed at her arrogance, self-assertion, aggression, selfishness, spirit of rebellion, fanaticism, extremism, and disregard of others. When diplomats and world leaders admit Israel’s right to exist (thank you), this is often taken as a special favor to her and some Jews are happy at the daily confirmation of that favor, which they never take as a matter of natural right. The dhimmi spirit that they perpetuate dictates to them a grateful mode of behavior towards anyone who condescends to affirm what otherwise would have been considered a matter of course. Perhaps that is the reason why sixty years after Independence Jews continue to express in their national anthem the “hope” of attaining freedom in their land. They cannot believe they already have it.
Consider this: a major or minor world leader tells Israel that she has the right to exist, but she ought to evacuate territory, allow Palestinian refugees to go back to their previous homes, give up her defences, (fences) and depend on international guarantees. This means that her right to exist is conditional on her meeting certain expectations even if they run contrary to her interests or to her very chances of survival in a hostile environment. Thus, not only is Israel, of all nations, required to take steps towards her own demise, as a prerequisite to her conditional recognition by others, if she does not comply, her admission into the family of nations may be rescinded. Can anyone tell the British that they would be recognized provided they return the Falklands to their owners, or the Americans, the Canadians, and the Australians that they can be recognized only if they restored rights to the dispossessed natives that they had conquered, or that the Japanese, Syrians, Iraqis, and Sudanese will be accepted only when they recognize their minorities and stop persecuting them, or Iran, China, and Egypt—only if they accepted democracy or stopped threatening their neighbors? Unthinkable?
Not in the case of Israel, even though it cannot be reproached for any of those violations or improprieties. Take for example the question of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years. In December, 1995, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a resolution, with an overwhelming majority, as in previous years, denying the validity of the Israeli laws, which confirmed united Jerusalem as the capital of modern Israel once again. That resolution also condemned the “Judaization” of Jerusalem as if someone could blame the Chinese for the Sinification of Beijing or the French for the Francification of Paris, or Saudi Arabia for the Islamization of Mecca. When the Arabs dominated East Jerusalem, which they never made their capital, not only did they effect a full Arabization of the city, but they did that to the detriment of Jewish sites such as Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the Jewish Quarter, and no one complained (except Israelis, but they are not counted). But as soon as the Jews restored their sites to their sovereignty, without so much as touching the Aqsa compound, which the Muslims had knowingly constructed upon the holiest site of the Jews, outcries about “Judaization” began, which was heralded as “threatening world peace.” So, when the UN declares that the Israeli measures were “null and void,” one wonders whether the restored Jewish Quarter, which had been destroyed by the Arabs, should have remained in ruins, or demolished again after it was repaired, or that the reparations of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, which had been demolished by the Jordanians and its tombstones used to pave a road, should revert to its state of profanation in order to qualify for the terms of that resolution.
In October 1996 the European community demanded that Israel should rescind all those measures of restoration and construction and return things to their “original state.” Original since when? If the splendor of Jerusalem is returned to its Davidic and Solomonic origins, then al-Aqsa Mosque should be removed to allow for the original Temple to re-emerge. Or perhaps they meant that the latrines that the Jordanians had constructed on the sites of the synagogues that they destroyed in the Old Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem should be reinstituted on the ruins of those now reconstructed sites? The occasion for those European demands was the reopening of an ancient tunnel, dating back 2,400 years in history, to the times of the Jewish Hasmonean Dynasty, before there was any idea of Europe, of Christianity, Islam, Arabs, or Palestinians. And because the Muslim Palestinians who had usurped the holy Jewish Temple Mount, now claim that the tunnel endangered their holy sites, themselves built on the ruins of the ancient Jewish Temple, the Europeans moved to make Israel close it again. And all that, under the Palestinian threat of violence if Israel would not conform. Which one of those new European nations would have acquiesced in a situation where its right to relate to its ancient heritage was called into question?
Jerusalem is but an example. At stake is the self-appointed right of Western countries to determine the standards of behavior to which Israel is held and their presumption to act as supreme arbiters of that conduct. Exactly like the Jews in their midst, treated with suspicion and guilty till proven innocent, so is the Jewish state. It is in this sense that the Jewish state has become the Jew among states. For decades, most nations took the right to call Israel “the Jewish State,” or the “Tel Aviv Government,” lending to it the same legitimacy as the “Vichy Government” ; they made their representations and sent their representatives to that non-existing address; the international media also dispatched their reports from Tel Aviv, while the pictures they showed often originated from Jerusalem, the seat of the government of Israel. All that in order to avoid recognition of Jerusalem, the ancient capital of Israel, which had predated their own respective capitals, as the reconstituted center of modern Israel. So widespread has been that fiction that many people ended up believing that it was Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, that was the capital of Israel. What other country in the world would have been submitted to such treatment, or accepted the systematic negation of its legitimacy, of which the choice of a capital city is part?
This inordinately critical view of the Jews in history has somehow carried over and rubbed off on Israel as well, and directly aided the Arabs and Muslims in their rejection of Israel, lock, stock, and barrel. The intense scrutiny and obsessive coverage of Israel’s every fault and detail sends to Tel Aviv (but more to Jerusalem) regiments of reporters and correspondents, more than to any other world capital save Washington, DC. And all those journalists have to justify their presence in Jerusalem (under the Tel Aviv disguise) and they hunger for news to feed their avid media audiences. Thus, the most absurd of gossip can become reported news, and the most insignificant events can become “history.”
In reports about the Intifadah, for example, articles were written about the special wood used to manufacture police truncheons to maintain order, and the workshops where they were made. Similarly, we have seen that the tedious and repetitive detail that is of no interest elsewhere finds its way into international media news. The nature of the “Jewish” truncheon, which caused suffering to the Palestinians and also tarnished the Jewish reputation, was only a symptom. No one has ever checked the truncheons used by the British police in Northern Ireland or by the French police in quelling street riots in the Parisian slums. But a Jewish truncheon deserves special scrutiny. Palestinian children and adolescents can throw Molotov cocktails at Israeli police, occasionally killing, wounding, or maiming them, but those are “only kids” standing up courageously against their oppressors; repressed by police wielding those redoubtable Jewish truncheons, for Jews have to submit to special standards of conduct, unlike all others.
A Palestinian spokesman made the remark: “We are so lucky that our enemies are the Israelis. If they were Singhalese, who would care to mention us?” The late Father Marcel Dubois, Head of the Dominican Order in Jerusalem, made a similar comment: “Had the occupied territories been under Margaret Thatcher’s responsibility, the Intifadah would have lasted three days only and no one would have talked about it any more.” Both statements were corroborated by a former member of the foreign press corps in Jerusalem Thomas Friedman, of the NewYork Times, who repeated the same observation in almost the same words: “the great luck of the Palestinians is that they are in a state of conflict with Israeli Jews.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.