Friday, March 04, 2011

Huge and unlawful British police operation celebrated

The tone of the report below is laudatory but much is omitted. Note for a start this excerpt from an earlier report: "Of the 6,717 boxes targeted by detectives in the biggest raid in the Met's history, just over half were occupied. And of those that were full, 2,838 boxes were now handed back, a figure that represents 80 per cent of the number of boxes seized. Eight out of ten box owners were provably innocent. Taylor said: 'Of the £53 million in cash that the police took, £20 million has also been given back and £33 million is now being referred to as "under investigation", of which only £2.83 million has been confiscated or forfeited by the courts."

In other words most of the people targeted were innocent and were subjected to great harassment in order to prove their innocence and recover their property. And police pocketed some of it in a few cases.

Of greater concern is that the right to privacy enshrined in Britain's human rights act was totally ignored. And now the proprietors of the safe deposit facilities who DID respect the right to privacy of their depositors are being treated as criminals.

For the dubious legality and police duplicity involved -- and much more beside -- see here

The directors of a 'cash and carry for crooks' will be sentenced today for running a £50million 'treasure trove' for criminals.

Milton Woolf and Jacqueline Swan funded wealthy lifestyles by charging criminal gangs tens of thousands of pounds each to store more than £50million in cash, along with firearms and child pornography linked with contract killers, drug dealers and human traffickers.

Police later seized nearly 7,000 safety deposit boxes in a £10million sting, described as one of Scotland Yard's most ambitious investigations in its 180-year history and the largest operation against organised crime.

Paintings, gold ingots, gold dust, jewellery, drugs, fraudulent passports, paedophile material and fake documents were found stashed in boxes at the fraudsters’ London headquarters.

Meanwhile, directors Woolf and Swan turned a blind eye to the illicit goods and even advised customers how to store goods in such a way that would not arouse suspicion, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Michael Holland QC, prosecuting, said: 'The directors, we say, wanted to try to adopt the "three wise monkeys" approach - hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, rather than be vigilant to report suspicious activity as they were obliged to do.'

Police launched Operation Rize, involving more than 500 officers, after detectives worked on a host of tip-offs that Safe Deposit Centres Limited was corrupt.

As a result of the operation, police made 146 arrests, 30 of them leading to convictions. Several depositors are now serving jail terms for paedophile offences, money-laundering, drug-dealing and firearms.

'It's been extremely successful, unprecedented and the largest operation against organised crime,' he said.

Woolf, 55, of West Heath Drive, Barnet, north west London, will be sentenced for 14 offences, including money-laundering and possession of a firearm, while Swan, 47, of Hexham Road, Barnet, will be sentenced for seven counts of money-laundering.

A third director, Leslie Sieff, 63, from Cricklewood, north west London, has already been fined £1,000 for possessing counterfeit 60,000 US dollars (£36,855) last December.

They were caught in June 2008 when police seized thousands of deposit boxes, ranging from small book-sized boxes to large walk-in safes in a string of west London raids.

This followed 18 months of surveillance and preparation and raids on three safe depositories, two offices and three homes.

The boxes were taken from Park Lane Safe Depository in Park Street, Hampstead Safe Depository in Finchley Road, and Edgware Safe Depository in High Street, Edgware, to a secure location in a heavily-armed convoy.

'Already around £13 million has been returned to public coffers, with many more investigations outstanding,' Mr Ponting said. ‘Eventually more than £50 million will be returned to public coffers, while around 900 investigations have been referred to Revenue and Customs.


Fire the parasites in Britain's local government, not cops and soldiers

No one denies that there are some outrageous Old Spanish Practices still to be tackled when it comes to police pay. Or that there are savings to be made in the defence budget, which was woefully mismanaged under Labour. But the Coalition should tread warily before alienating police officers and frontline soldiers. They are going to need these people in the coming years.

Two of the basic duties of any government are keeping the streets safe and defence of the realm. How is that going to be achieved adequately by sacking trained military personnel and slashing police numbers and pay?

OK, so we’re all in this together, etc, and the private sector has absorbed its share of the pain. The military and the constabulary accept that they should not be exempt from the austerity drive. But you can’t maintain Army morale when you’re sending P45s to soldiers in Afghanistan.

The police, in particular, have done well from successive governments over the past couple of decades and have little to complain about. This time, though, the Home Secretary Theresa May has a real chance to overhaul the salary structure sensibly, while scrapping the bonus culture, senior officers’ dubious perks and the overtime racket. My understanding is that most cops are more concerned about security of employment and keeping their pensions intact than defending the ‘grab-a-grand’ scam.

Slashing bureaucracy can put more bobbies on the street and still ensure that police officers are both fairly paid and can spend more time with their families, instead of being forced into working overtime.

It also needs a rethink of police priorities. For instance, it was reported this week that Essex Police are setting up roadblocks to assist council officers in catching employees smoking in company cars. So-called ‘sniffer wardens’ and uniformed cops will check inside vehicles for evidence of cigarette smoke.

Company cars and lorry cabs count as ‘workplaces’ and anyone discovered smoking in them faces a £50 fixed penalty or a full court appearance and a £200 fine.

Firms which allow it can be fined £2,500.But is this really how we want our police to spend their shifts — stopping commercial travellers going about their lawful business, just so some jobsworth can sniff their ashtray?

More to the point, at a time when cops and soldiers are facing pay cuts and job losses, why are we employing people to strip-search cars for fag ash?

While councils are closing OAP day centres, libraries and nursery schools, the stormtroopers of the nanny state are escaping unscathed.

There’s talk of losing 5,000 police officers and 11,000 members of the Armed Forces. But I’ll bet you could easily find ten times as many smoking cessation officers, five-a-day advisers, diversity enforcers, ‘real nappy’ campaigners and ‘climate change’ co-ordinators ripe for the culling. Under Gordon Brown, the public sector added another million staff, most of them in non-jobs.

We should be sacking the parasites in local government, not cops and soldiers. Unlike every other worker in Britain, the police and Armed Forces can’t strike, by law. So they are entitled to special treatment and consideration.

In a couple of weeks, we are once again going to ask some of these coppers to put themselves in the way of rioters intent on smashing up central London to protest about the ‘cuts’. The Old Bill must ask themselves why they’re bothering when they’re for the chop, too.

No wonder the Police Federation is talking about staging its own protest rally. Who’s going to police that, then — redundant paratroopers?


Hillary says the unspeakable

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Geneva on Feb. 28 for a major U.S. policy address to the UN Human Rights Council. While Clinton welcomed the ouster of Libya from the Council -- on orders of the UN General Assembly -- her speech was more newsworthy on two other counts.

First, she called for creation by the Council of a special rapporteur to document human-rights abuses in Iran -- "Why do people have the right to live free from fear in Tripoli but not in Tehran?" she asked -- and second, she slammed the Council for its "structural bias against Israel."

This was a dramatic, public spanking of a Human Rights Council that has disgraced itself by its singular determination to demonize Israel, while ignoring real human-rights abuses in China, Russia, Burma, Iran, Cuba and, until last week, Libya. Only four months earlier, the Council actually had heaped praise on Qaddafi's regime.

Here is what Clinton had to say about the abysmal behavior of the Human Rights Council vis a vis Israel:
"The structural bias against Israel -- including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item -- is wrong. And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together. As member states, we can take the Council in a better, stronger direction.

"The Council must apply a single standard to all countries based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country."

Clinton's sharp denunciation of the Council's vendetta against Israel was doubly newsworthy; first, because she delivered it directly to its intended target at a plenary session of the Council, and, second, because it came from the foreign policy chief of the Obama administration, which has been more wont to blame Israel than to defend it on the world stage. Prime Minister Netanyahu still has personal scars from withering Clinton criticisms to prove the point.

Yet, neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post devoted a single line to Clinton's condemnation of the "structural bias against Israel" by the UN Human Rights Council.

Nor did these two papers report still another newsworthy nugget in Clinton's speech in Geneva --her flat rejection of a long-standing campaign by Muslim countries to criminalize criticism of Islam.

While Jerusalem welcomed her defense of Israel to be treated equally with other UN members, there must have been lots of rumpled feelings in capitals throughout the Muslim world for her demand that the Council "move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized. It is time to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression."

Supporters of the First Amendment have been in the forefront of pushing back against Islamic efforts to criminalize criticism of passages in the Koran. One would have thought that the Times and the Post, as self-styled First Amendment freedom-of-expression disciples, would take note of Clinton's remarks on this topic. But they didn't.

It seems that at the Times and the Post, a high-profile expression of support of Israel and an equally high-profile rebuke to Muslim countries by the secretary of state of the United States don't rate as news that's fit to print.


Australia: Ethnic-based anger explodes at NSW High School

Lebanese Muslims tend to be very arrogant and aggressive -- as is shown by their readiness to defy and attack police in the story below. Ordinary Aussies on the other hand are some of the most easy-going people in the world. But they can be pushed too far and a lot of Lebanese Muslims are prone to such pushing -- which is where the Cronulla riots also came from

IT had been simmering for months, say students, and this is the moment school racism reached boiling point. A brawl that erupted between a student's relatives and police was the culmination of an R-rated slanging match on Facebook between "Leb" and "Aussie" students.

While education officials denied yesterday there was any ongoing violence at Hoxton Park High School in Hinchinbrook, south west Sydney, parents and students said tensions between students had escalated in the past few years.

A 14-year-old student said that she was "jumped" on Wednesday afternoon by "10 Australian girls" who punched, kicked, scratched and spat at her. "They were saying, 'f ... Arabs', 'you bitch', 'you slut' - everything. They said all Muslim mums with scarves can hang themselves with it," the student said. "I was very upset and very angry. [Other Muslim children] at school were very angry, too." The girl said she didn't know why she was singled out by her attackers.

Posts on social networking site Facebook claimed the attack on this girl was in response to a fight between her friends and the group who "jumped" her two weeks ago.

The girl said she called her relatives for help and by 3pm a large crowd of her family and friends had gathered at the front of the school. They allegedly clashed with police who used capsicum spray to subdue the crowd and arrested six men and women, aged between 26 and 50, who were later charged with offences including affray, intimidation, assaulting police, resisting arrest and offensive language.

Witness Zahra Elasmar, whose two children attend the school, said Wednesday's fight was a spillover from the racist slurs made on students' Facebook pages. Facebook images obtained by The Daily Telegraph show derogatory comments made about other students including "lebs are rats!" .

Mrs Elasmar said she wrote to the Department of Education and Training about racism at the school and, with other parents, met with DET representatives, school staff and police liaison last month.

She said she collected 50 signatures on a petition sent to officials, but that it had fallen on deaf ears. "The principal doesn't know how to deal with this," she said. "What we witnessed today is not right in a multicultural country. We don't want another Cronulla [riot] at Hoxton Park."

A Department of Education and Training spokesman said the School Education Director will meet with Mrs Elasmar "soon" and that students who engage in racist or other anti-social behaviour are "disciplined".

Another parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said his son was attacked last year by "Leb students". "He can protect himself, but I was worried," he said. It was this brawl which caused the subsequent near-riot at the Green Valley Police Station.

While a police media release claimed only 40 supporters of the six people arrested over the school fight congregated outside the station, a police incident report obtained by The Daily Telegraph shows worried officers called in backup from units from across the South-Western Sydney command.

The report said police estimated "between 80 to 100" people - predominately young men - surrounded the police station. When a breakaway group tried to storm the station, police found themselves "faced with a real danger and the possibility of a volatile and violent confrontation resulting in the urgent call for assistance". Police with the assistance of surrounding local area commands, the dog squad and highway patrol officers took two hours to bring the large and angry group under control.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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