Friday, May 06, 2011
Invaded by gypsies, ignored by the police. Now this British farmer is facing a £20,000 fine
They arrived on his picturesque farm three years ago in a threatening convoy of caravans and lorries. And they have remained there illegally ever since. Desperate for help, Gerald Cleave turned to police – only to be warned, with frustrating inevitability, that he could be arrested if he tried to force them out himself.
Now officials have finally taken action. But, astonishingly, that action is to tell Mr Cleave that if the travellers do not move on, it is he who will face prosecution. The 68-year-old has been informed he faced fines of up to £20,000 if the 50-strong community remains there today.
He was handed an enforcement notice by the Dartmoor National Park Authority threatening prosecution unless the camp was cleared by midnight last night.
The farmer said the brazen travellers have turned his agricultural land into an eyesore and have even arranged for their post – including insurance documents and catalogue orders – to be delivered to his farmhouse.
Yesterday he recalled how he pleaded with the group to leave the one-acre site at Middle Stidson Farm in South Brent, Devon, when they first arrived.
Mr Cleave was shocked when the National Park Authority, which is responsible for planning issues in the area, told him it had no legal powers to evict. He said police then warned him he could be arrested for assault or criminal damage if he intervened directly.
After the travellers arrived in May 2008, an application to turn the camp into a permanent site was refused. The group was served with an enforcement notice in August last year giving them nine months to leave.
But Mr Cleave was furious when a similar notice was sent to him. He said: ‘It’s ridiculous to think I could be left with a huge fine from all this. I don’t see why I should have to spend thousands getting rid of them. I’d rather go to prison than pay a penny. I have been given notice from Dartmoor National Park Authority that they must leave but they haven’t given me any help.’
He described the past three years as a ‘living hell’ and claimed his ‘hands were bound’. "I’ve owned this land my whole life. It was inherited from my father and I have had to watch as it has been turned into a mess,’ he said. ‘I’m desperate to get them out so I can get my land back and use it for agricultural land again. As it stands, there are at least 40 vehicles on the land, which is now a sprawling mess with horses and dogs running about.
‘I’m at a complete loss as to what to do. I’ve tried everything legally within my powers. ‘I could forcibly remove them but might face prosecution. I’ve asked them to leave and they won’t listen to reason, what more can I do? It’s the law of the land and the reason why this country has gone to pot.’
Dartmoor National Park Authority confirmed it had served an enforcement notice to the landowner ruling the travellers must leave. Stephen Belli, director of planning, said if the group hadn’t moved on, the authority had five options, one of which was prosecuting the owner. Others included prosecuting the occupiers or imposing a court injunction to imprison those still there.
He said: ‘I sympathise with the owner as obviously he didn’t invite them there, but that is an option available to all planning authorities throughout the country.’
The travellers had yesterday put up metal panelling and fencing around the site and posted a notice on the gate which read: ‘We live in this property. It is our home and we intend to stay here.’
They later held a huge party with loud music and drinking.
One woman said: ‘We won’t be moving. Where are we supposed to go? We have children enrolled in schools around here, and there is a lady in remission from cancer on the site. Now is not the time to move on.’
Debunking the 2-state myth
Op-ed from Israel: Counting on Palestinian state to improve our security situation is absolute madness
One of the assumed benefits of the proposed two-state solution is that the creation of a Palestinian state will finally make the Palestinians fully accountable for their actions. Thus, any acts of aggression from the new entity against Israel will be considered an attack on Israel from a sovereign country rather than from a terrorist organization.
Moreover, it is this distinction, so we are told, that will not only allow Israel to forcefully respond to any acts of Palestinian aggression but also do so with the full support and understanding of the international community.
Although such line of reasoning sounds very enticing and has even managed to win over some former skeptics, we shouldn’t buy it. In fact, a quick survey of the last 20 years seems to indicate otherwise.
At the height of the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq launched scud missiles at Israel in an attempt to draw it into the conflict. This was a classic case of a sovereign Arab country attacking Israel with powerfully destructive missiles, aimed at some of its most populous regions. Nonetheless, despite the numerous missiles that landed in Israel, due to various geopolitical considerations and behind-the-door pressure Jerusalem did not respond.
Roughly 10 years later, Israel speedily removed all of its troops from southern Lebanon. At the time we were promised that Israeli positions would be taken over by the South Lebanese Army (SLA) in order to prevent Hezbollah forces from stationing themselves within spitball range of Israel’s northern border. In addition, we were assured by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak that should Hezbollah ever commit an act of aggression against Israel our response would be very painful.
Like usual, Israel fulfilled its side of the agreement while the Arabs failed to uphold their part. As a result, rather than having the SLA parked across the border we received Hezbollah. This change of events afforded Hezbollah the opportunity to closely watch our troop movements, something they quickly cashed in on. After a mere few months of up-close surveillance, Hezbollah men dashed across the border and kidnapped three Israeli soldiers.
However, despite our hard-earned justification to retaliate to such an unprovoked act of aggression and even the prime minister's own guarantee to respond with might in such situation, in the end we did very little. Thus, the promises meant nothing and unfortunately the kidnapped soldiers were killed.
Five years after the tragic kidnappings in Lebanon, Israel removed all Jewish presence from Gaza. At the time we were told that the removal of Israeli troops from the Strip would shift the burden of accountability to the Palestinian Authority, thereby forcing it to rein in the various terrorist organizations. This, like every other promised benefit, turned out to be false as attacks against Israel only increased.
While Israel did eventually re-enter Gaza at the end of 2008 as part of Operation Cast Lead, this happened only after thousands of missiles were fired at Jewish communities close to the Gaza border. Moreover, the promised admiration of the world we supposedly were to acquire following our unilateral pullout quickly melted away, as many in the international community hypocritically condemned Israel for its actions in Gaza.
Although there were times when Israel responded forcefully to cross-border attacks, such as in the Second Lebanon War, the growing trend through the years has been for a limited Israeli response or total restraint. Moreover, rather than winning the world's approval based upon our polite and considerate behavior, this trend has been accompanied by the growth of an increasingly hostile anti-Israel environment worldwide.
This being the case, why should we believe that things will be different next time? It is far more plausible to assume that acts of aggression emanating from a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will be met with the usual limited Israeli response. Moreover, even in the rare instance where Israel responds more forcefully, it is safe to assume that the world will quickly condemn the Jewish state regardless of the circumstances.
In light of the above, how on earth can we use an unproven assumption as the basis for severely weakening our national security, something which is sure to happen if a Palestinian state is created in Judea and Samaria? Indeed, it's absolute madness.
Why Rebuffing the Legal Attack on the National Day of Prayer Matters...Especially at a Time Like This
The timing of the National Day of Prayer with the events of this week couldn’t be more appropriate if one would have planned it that way. And recent court decisions rebuffing the ability of anti-religious groups to go to court to strike down the event also couldn’t come at a better time.
First, it was the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation that anti-religionists had no legal standing to challenge President Bush’s speech because it contained religious references…
Then, just last month, the Supreme Court held in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, that there was no standing to claim that Arizona’s tax credits for school choice unconstitutionally establish religion simply because some of the private donations go to religious schools…
Now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has ruled in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Obama that the same anti-religious group from the Hein case has no standing to challenge the National Day of Prayer because the group hasn’t been harmed “one whit.”
This trend is a big deal. For years, individuals claiming the government violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause (meant to keep the government out the church’s business by prohibiting the establishment of a national religion) have received a free pass into court because all they had to do is say a particular public display of religion offended them in some way.
No other area of the law is so liberal in this regard. Normally, in order to sue, one has to actually be injured. For instance, if your neighbor has a problem with city workers trespassing on his property, he can go to court, but you can’t. The court would say your neighbor has “standing” to ask the court to intervene in the matter, but you don’t. This avoids overloading the court with lawsuits filed by folks who don’t even have a real legal interest in the matter, but are merely interested observers.
For some reason, this wise legal principle has been all but ignored in the area of Establishment Clause cases. If an anti-religious group is offended by a cross at a veteran’s memorial way out in the desert, they can sue to challenge it, even if they’ve never even been out to see it.
The practical effect of this easy access to courts—and the ability to collect large attorney fee awards in the event of a win—is that government officials have purged many of the references to our religious heritage that permeate public memorials, meetings, and ceremonies. Why take the risk of having to pay attorneys to defend our historical religious roots and then pay the opposing attorneys their fees if the judge rules against the government? Besides, it’s always easier to do nothing.
Praying together as a nation truly is part of our national heritage. As Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit noted in the FFRF v. Obama opinion, “Since the founding of the Republic, Congress has requested Presidents to call on the citizens to pray. Every President except Thomas Jefferson…has complied.”
Governors in all 50 states have done the same, but they were hesitant to continue to do so after a federal district judge in Wisconsin struck down the statute establishing the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.
Upon hearing of the governors’ hesitancy, the Alliance Defense Fund distributed letters to them, pointing out that nothing in the judge’s decision prohibited members of the executive branch from continuing to issue prayer proclamations—and that we were confident the judge’s order would be reversed on appeal. Thankfully, Judge Easterbrook and two other judges did exactly that.
Hopefully, the 7th Circuit’s ruling is just one more case in the trend toward a more balanced view of standing in Establishment Clause cases. In every other area of law, the “psychological consequence presumably produced by observation of conduct with which one disagrees is not an ‘injury’ for the purpose of standing.” ADF will continue to make this argument in other cases across the country, in the hope that they will follow the Seventh Circuit’s lead.
Those bent on “freeing” our country of its religious heritage must be prevented from roaming the land and intimidating our government officials with the threat of litigation. If your town is being threatened by anti-religionists, you can get help by contacting ADF at www.telladf.org.
Australia has its very own brianwashed Muslims
THE ringleader of an Islamist plot to carry out an armed suicide mission at an Australian army base launched an astonishing diatribe against a Supreme Court judge yesterday.
The man, 34, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stood up in the dock, pointed at Justice Betty King, and called her a criminal.
"Why do you charge us as a criminal? Why don't you charge yourself as a criminal?" the man ranted. "You kill people for oil. You kill kids. You kill innocent people. You are criminal. We are not criminal."
Police and protective services officers surrounded the man and removed him.
When court resumed, Justice King said that though a tendered medical report had stated that the man's behaviour had moderated, his outburst did not indicate a significant change.
The prisoner, along with Saney Edow Aweys, 27, of Carlton, and Nayef El Sayed, 26, of Glenroy, was found guilty by a jury last December of conspiring to plan a terrorist attack on the Holsworthy army base in NSW.
The trio, armed with high-powered military weapons, planned to storm the lightly guarded base, jurors heard. CCTV filmed the ringleader approaching the gatehouse, which was manned by unarmed private security.
His lawyer, Patrick Tehan, QC, told yesterday's pre-sentence plea hearing the plot was amateurish, adding: "He is like Charlie Chaplin walking down (to the gate) with his little bag."
Justice King responded: "Except it's not very funny."
Mr Tehan said his client's conduct in furthering the plot was "very limited". "There're no maps, no plans, no documents found on him. No explosives. No material found in his possession of an extremist nature," he said.
Justice King accepted very little was done, but she said such plots struck terror into the hearts of Australians.
Mr Tehan said his client, born in Lebanon, was a simple man with a simple faith and a low IQ, and his religious fervour increased when he attended a mosque.
"You don't have to be intelligent to be a leader," Justice King said. "You can be charismatic and stupid and still be a leader. There are a number of them in the world."
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.