Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Why 47 dangerous criminals on the run in Britain can't be named: Because of their human rights, of course!
Forty-seven dangerous fugitives cannot be named by officials – because of their ‘human rights’. They include criminals convicted of child sex offences, murder and rape. All have breached the terms of their licence and should have been returned to prison.
They are assessed by officials as being at ‘high or very high risk’ of committing further criminal offences. But the Ministry of Justice has refused to name them. Critics said the human rights of offenders were being put before those of ordinary members of the public.
Details of the scandal first emerged 18 months ago when officials revealed more than 1,000 criminals were at large despite having been recalled to custody. Among the total were some who have been on the loose for up to 25 years after police failed to track them down.
The most recent Ministry of Justice figures show 960 have not been found, including two rated as level four – the highest risk to the public – and 45 rated level three. The group of 47 includes two murderers, two paedophiles, a rapist and ten robbers.
Police should find 75 per cent of recalled prisoners classified as ‘emergency’ cases within 74 hours and three-quarters of standard recalls should be completed within six days.
Details of all offenders who had not been returned were compiled following the murder in London of two French students, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, in 2009 despite the killer being recalled to jail. Dano Sonnex, who had been serving eight years for a stabbing and a number of knifepoint robberies, had been mistakenly freed under low supervision when documents revealing his true danger to the public had not been shared by officials.
Opportunities to return the 23-year-old to prison were then squandered or missed. When an arrest warrant was finally issued, it took police a further 16 days to get round to knocking on his door. By that time, Mr Ferez and Mr Bonomo were dead, knifed to death by Sonnex earlier that day.
Tory MP Philip Davies said human rights should not be used as an excuse to hide the ‘hugely embarrassing’ revelations. ‘It’s absolute madness. Once again it appears to put the human rights of dangerous criminals ahead of the rights of law-abiding people to know who is at large. 'It must be in the public interest to put the names of these offenders in the public domain.’
Ministers have now ordered a review of the policy of releasing criminals’ details. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘This Government is committed to transparency and there should be a presumption that such information is published unless the police object for specific operational reasons. Recapturing high-risk offenders will always be a priority.
‘Over the past 10 years, in more than 99 per cent of cases where an offender has been recalled, the individual has successfully been returned to custody.’
BBC sneers at popular novels
The BBC has been attacked for its "sneering coverage" of genre fiction during its World Book Night programmes. BBC Two's programmes The Books We Really Read: A Culture Show Special and New Novelists: 12 Of The Best, which were shown on March 5, triggered the protest.
The 85 signatories to a letter to Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC, include the Gold Dagger-nominated crime author SJ Bolton and children's writer Debi Gliori. Many fantasy, science fiction and horror authors – including Iain Banks and Michael Moorcock - also signed the letter.
Fantasy author Stephen Hunt, who organised the petition, said: “The sneering tone that was levelled towards commercial fiction during The Books We Really Read was deeply counterproductive to the night’s aims of actually encouraging people to read novels. The weight that was given to the single sub-genre of literary fiction in the remaining programmes was unbalanced and unrepresentative of all but a small fraction of the country’s reading tastes.
"And closest to my own heart, the failure to feature a single work from the three genres of horror, fantasy, and science fiction was a disgrace. The official World Book Night list included Philip Pullman’s fantasy novel, Northern Lights. It is a shame the BBC could not.
"There have been weeks when one in three books sold in the UK were Harry Potter novels, or more recently, Twilight novels. The sweeping under the carpet of the very genres of the imagination which engage and fire readers’ minds shows a lot more about the BBC production team’s taste in fiction than it does about what the general public is actually reading. If the BBC really wishes to support reading in this country, then they should produce a literary version of The Film Programme, or commission a modern updating of the Bookworm show that had Griff Rhys Jones as its lead presenter in the ’90s. A series with a mainstream slot. Then perhaps the BBC can do what it said on the tin the first time around: cover the books we really read.”
The intolerant Left will never be happy
Celebrating a holiday in Britain is like trying to celebrate it in an unhappy family. The best-laid plans for reviving much-loved traditions quickly blow up in an almighty row. There’s no embarrassing uncle in his cups or stroppy in-laws; just schools that drop Nativity plays, shopping centres that phase out carols, and offices that shun Christmas trees. When Christians meekly complain that their Christmas is being ruined, the powers-that-be shout them down: “It’s in the name of diversity, stupid!”
Now there’s a new rumpus, and just in time for Easter. The Wakefield and District Housing Association in West Yorkshire has ordered one of its electricians to remove a palm cross from the dashboard of his company van. Colin Atkinson, a grandfather and former soldier, faces the sack for refusing to follow orders.
Clearly, in the eyes of this publicly funded body, Mr Atkinson’s palm cross is on a par with a swastika, or a racist slogan. The symbol of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice strikes Mr Atkinson’s bosses as offensive: any show of Christian allegiance could drive a divisive wedge into this multicultural society.
I wish these self-appointed defenders of multi-culturalism would consult a representative group of Jews and Muslims. They would discover that minority faiths have no issue with palm crosses or Christmas carols. Read the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs, on this subject; listen to Fareena Alam, editor of the Muslim magazine Q News, and Dr Taj Hargey, an Oxford-based imam. They all agree: a Britain that respects, and protects, its predominant faith is a Britain that respects, and protects, all faiths.
At stake is not just a happy holiday. Once banning Christian symbols becomes accepted practice, the rejection of Christian beliefs is next. Already, social services have stopped a Christian couple from fostering children lest they infect their charges with an anti-gay attitude.
Soon, the authorities will forbid conscientious objection: Christian doctors, for instance, will be forced to carry out elective abortions, which they regard as a sin.
Where will it end? I fear intolerant atheists will not be satisfied until they’ve driven faith underground: Christians, Jews and Muslims will be forced to resort to Masonic handshakes and hush-hush gatherings. Meet you in the catacombs.
How Do We Deal With "Sticks and Stones?"
In our present day culture, we have been taught (usually at mother's knee) that “sticks and stones may break your bones but names can never harm you.” Annoying as it is to have people call you names, it does not warrant punching them in the face. But this is not so elsewhere, not did it used to be so in our own civilization's past. What we are talking about here is “the honor culture.”
Until the middle of the 19th century, gentlemen fought duels of honor. That by seriously wounding or killing an opponent who had either said something unpleasant about you or dishonored you (by seducing your wife), you were obliged to engage in a duel. That went out of style here-although one notorious duel was fought in our own history-that of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton died and Burr became an outlaw.
The Sicilian mafia, a holdover from a medieval past, has always been an honor society that punished disloyalty, above all sins, with death. A disloyal wife, along with disloyal colleagues, were so dispatched.
In today's world, the only “honor cultures” left are in the Muslim world. A man's honor, they tell us, rests in the women he “possesses,” wives, daughters, concubines, and even mothers. Should any of these women step out of line in their sexual behavior (even though falsely accused of this-or even as the victim of a male in the household), the men's honor is lost until the woman is murdered. In Muslim-majority countries, for the most part, the murderer of a woman for such purpose is lightly punished by the courts, if at all.
We only care about this when such an honor culture moves among us, such as the case of the outraged Muslim radio executive who decapitated his wife because she “dishonored him” by wanting a divorce, or the Texas taxi driver who murdered his college girl daughters whose “American ways” besmirched his “honor.” Europe has also been so awash in “honor killings” that they are finally starting to address.
So, how does the Muslim world feel about “sticks and stones?” We have seen the Afghan response to the stupid actions of an American pastor in Florida who held the Koran on trial, found it wanting, and “executed” it by burning it. A very stupid act, we would all agree, but one defended by our freedom of speech-even when obnoxious. He also said Islam is not a religion of peace, which outraged “peaceful” Muslims in Afghanistan. They proved him right. The Afghans considered this insult to their honor sufficient to go on a rampage of murder, slaughtering any UN officials they could find. To them, a book burning warrants human deaths.
One might also wonder how the honor of Pakistani fanatics was redeemed by blowing up a shrine of another Muslim sect, Sufis, and killing and wounding 50 people. Does worshipping Islam in a slightly different way demand a death sentence? Evidently so.
Israel, a modern state, regards sticks and stones in a different way. After enormous provocation by Hamas in Gaza hurling hundreds of rockets at them (sticks and stones), they went in the winter of 2008-9 to clean out the rocket factories and their perpetrators. Then the UN sent in a respected investigator, South African Judge Richard Goldstone, who urged both sides to investigate, but severely condemned Israel for deliberately targeting civilians. This report was devastating to Israel's reputation. Name calling can harm you.
After a new investigation, Goldstone acknowledged his report was mistaken. The Israelis had no government policy to target civilians. Hamas, however, not only plants their weapons among crowded civilian homes, but is happy to abuse civilians-theirs and Israel's. Goldstone has now condemned them for refusing to conduct the investigation he requested.
When it comes to “sticks and stones” and name calling that hurts, we must consider the source. Honor cultures do not think as we do, but we dishonor our own culture when we fear “offending” them.
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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.