Monday, August 15, 2011
Widow takes on BBC over its anti-Israel bias
The BBC's secrecy rather speaks for itself: A media organization that fights to COVER UP information??
For six years, Steven Sugar pursued a one-man legal battle against the BBC in an attempt to force it to disclose a secret report.
He was trying to get the corporation to publish an internal assessment off its coverage of the Middle East conflict, which he believed would reveal bias against Israel.
Mr Sugar won an appeal for a full court hearing but when he died of cancer in January at the age of 61 it appeared his mission was at an end. Now, his widow, Fiona Paveley, has taken up the fight to reveal the contents of the 20,000-word document and the case is to be heard at the Supreme Court.
Mr Sugar’s lawyers told Mrs Paveley that she could represent him and she believes it is her duty to continue his battle.
The BBC has spent more than £270,000 on legal fees to prevent the public from seeing the report, written in 2004 by Malcolm Balen, a senior journalist, for Richard Sambrook, then BBC director of news. But a defeat for the BBC could cost the corporation even more because it could weaken its ability to deny requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Mr Sugar lost at the Information Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, but his legal team - who have waived their fees - are hopeful of success in the Supreme Court.
Mrs Paveley said: “I used to tease Steven about his obsession with fighting this so I think he would have a wry smile that I’m carrying it on, but I couldn’t let it drop.”
Mr Sugar, a solicitor, first asked the BBC to publish the Balen Report in 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act and refused to accept the BBC’s argument that it was outside the Act’s scope.
The corporation successfully argued in the past that the report should not be released because it was held for “the purposes of journalism, art or literature” and, as such, was exempt. It was commissioned to analyse the BBC’s coverage of Middle East issues and make recommendations for improvement.
Mrs Paveley, a 48-year-old clinical psychologist, was approached by her husband’s lawyers after he died. They explained that the case could only continue if he was represented at court.
“I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to abandon it,” she says. “It would have almost felt like a betrayal to let all his hard work go to waste. He never gave up, so why should I?”
Mrs Paveley said that she and her late husband saw an anti-Israeli bias in the reporting of Orla Guerin, the BBC’s former Middle East correspondent, who was accused of anti-Semitism in 2004 by the Israeli government.
Mrs Paveley said: “Steven thought that reporting should be balanced. As a publicly-funded body, it seems wrong that the BBC is afraid and reluctant to be more transparent.”
Another reporter, Barbara Plett, was found by BBC governors to have “breached the requirements of due impartiality” after she said she cried as a dying Yasser Arafat left the West Bank in 2004.
More recently, Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, was also found to have breached rules on accuracy and impartiality in two reports about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A BBC spokesman said: “If we are not able to pursue our journalism freely and have honest debate and analysis over how we are covering important issues, then how effectively we can serve the public will be diminished.”
A Supreme Court spokesman said: “This is an interesting case which the Justices have decided raises an issue of general public importance. “It will effectively establish the test for what constitutes a document held for journalistic purposes.”
Riots the predictable result of the Leftist values that now rule Britain
WHEN I was a student, I took a course in the sociology of deviance. After weeks reviewing theories about the causes of law-breaking, the lecturer announced that we were asking the wrong question. "The real question," he said, "is not why some break the law. It is why we don't all break the law."
Following last week's riots in Britain, politicians and commentators have similarly been asking the wrong question. What caused thousands of (mainly) young males to torch buildings where they live, loot local shops and attack fellow citizensis a no-brainer. Kicking against authority is exciting. Being in the thick of the action when the television cameras are rolling makes you feel important. And the chance to grab some designer clothing and a widescreen plasma TV is too good to pass up.
Yet many people did not riot, and they are the interesting ones. Why didn't everyone cash in on the anarchy? The answer lies in external and internal constraints.
External constraints have to do with the likelihood of getting caught, and the consequences if you are. Last week, many people calculated, correctly, that they could mask their faces, join a mob, and act with relative impunity. Police resources were desperately overstretched, and it soon became clear that even if the police arrived in substantial numbers, they would do nothing. The images that shocked middle England most were those showing the police standing watching as young hoodlums ran around breaking into shops and setting light to buildings. There was, for a while, no law, and no serious attempt to maintain order. Shopkeepers and householders were left to defend themselves.
Police chiefs accept they made a strategic mistake, that had they acted sooner and more firmly, the rioting may have been contained or quelled altogether. The perception that you could join a riot and get away with it undoubtedly fuelled the violence. But why were the police so inert?
The answer is that, for many years, they have been accused of being too heavy-handed. Had they acted earlier, and more firmly, we would today be hearing familiar complaints about brutality, excessive use of force and institutional racism. By doing nothing, the police ensured there could be no damaging images on YouTube and no inquiries arising from their conduct. The Brits have neutered their police and last week they saw the consequences.
The calculation by many rioters that they were unlikely to get arrested was reinforced by the knowledge that it wouldn't matter much if they were. There is a widespread belief in Britain that the criminal justice system is weak and ineffective. Blair's ASBOs (anti-social behaviour orders) became a joke and are being scrapped; community service orders are often disregarded; and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke insists prison doesn't work and sentences should be cut. Little wonder youngsters are unconcerned about the possibility of a criminal conviction.
So the external constraints have withered. Even so, most people did not join in the rioting. The reason is they knew it was wrong. And this points to the crucial importance of internalised constraints. Internalised constraints are the product of early socialisation, in which we learn the basic norms and values of our society. The process starts from the moment we are born, so that by the time we reach the rebellious years of adolescence, basic notions of right and wrong are deeply ingrained and almost instinctive.
Hormones and peer group pressure might tempt us from the straight and narrow in the teenage years, but a nagging conscience drags us back again.
The key agencies of socialisation are families and schools. In Britain, both are in a state of disarray, so many youngsters grow up without a strong moral framework to guide their actions.
In the schools, there has been a 40-year revolt against structure. Gone are the rows of desks, all facing the front. Gone is the concern for spelling rules, the rote learning of arithmetic tables, the laborious phonic reciting of the alphabet. Teachers in jeans emphasise creativity, self-esteem and child-centred learning, which means students' desires are paramount. In place of the last-resort threat of physical punishment, trouble-makers are excluded, which means they are passed around schools, repeating their mischief-making while attracting no meaningful response.
Those fortunate enough to be raised by committed parents may come out of this system relatively unscathed. Commentators have recently noticed the remarkable success of Indian and Chinese youngsters growing up in Britain. They easily outperform white and Afro-Caribbean kids in school, and they also have much lower crime rates (I saw few Indian or Chinese kids running riot on the streets last week). The explanation is that they are raised in strong, aspirational families.
At the opposite extreme, about one-third of British children grow up in single-parent families, most of which are female-headed. Despite repeated protestations to the contrary, this is not a viable or desirable way to raise children, especially boys.
The problem has little to do with money. A middle-class friend who is a single mum told me last week how she is finding it impossible to control her 14 year-old boy. He recently called her a "f . . king whore" and threatened to knife her when she attempted to punish him. She is a teacher. Boys need adult male role models, and (although it is unfashionable to say it) paternal authority.
It should come as no surprise to learn that societies that fail to socialise their young properly become unhappy, chaotic places. French sociologist Emile Durkheim warned of the dangers of anomie weakness of normative regulation back in the 1890s.
Nor is there any secret about where to search for solutions: more effective enforcement of rules by authority (including the police and the schools) is needed to maintain a predictable sense of order and renewed support for strong, cohesive, traditional families is needed to sustain the conditions required for effective, moral upbringing.
The trouble is, most Brits don't want to hear this. They recoil against the language of rules, structure, authority and personal responsibility. They want the government to do something, but they are unwilling to examine their own codes of living. I suspect things are going to get a lot worse before public opinion resolves to do something effective to reverse the rot.
Leftist laws prevent British children from being disciplined
In another shocking example of middle-class children being involved in the riots, the father of a teenage looter said parents were powerless to punish their children because of the nanny state.
The ‘heartbroken and ashamed’ cameraman, who has helped make BBC and Channel Four documentaries on policing and justice, said that parents cannot discipline their offspring properly for fear of being reported to police or social services.
His 16-year-old daughter appeared at City of Westminster magistrates’ court on Saturday charged with stealing a £500 iPad during rampant violence last Monday.
The father of five said: ‘I am heartbroken and totally ashamed that she got caught up in all this. ‘Basically I feel this is the end product of a society that tells you that you can’t discipline your children. ‘They say, “If you hit me, it’s physical assault and if you shout at me, it’s verbal abuse”. ‘These children are a little bit out of control at the moment.’
‘Children now have the power over their parents, not the other way around. There is no respect as their rights are prioritised above parental authority. ‘When I was young, I was given a good clip round the head by my mother if I stepped out of line – now no parent can do that.
‘My daughter could go to jail for this. I hope it’s the wake-up call she needs.’
Crime report from a black city
In one day, 15 people were shot in Detroit. Six of them died.
Between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday, there were shootings at nine locations, the Detroit Police Department said Saturday. Two of the incidents had multiple victims.
But this kind of violence isn't new. As of Monday, there had been 215 homicides this year, up from 183 during the same period in 2010, according to Detroit police statistics. But that's a drop from 241 homicides during that time period in 2009, according to statistics that were released as part of a quarterly report to citizens. Shootings are the leading culprit.
Those shot in this recent spree range in age from 14 to 46. Nine are younger than 21.
In one case, five victims -- ages 16 to 19 -- were shot during a backyard welcome home party on the 200 block of West Greendale in northeast Detroit for a person recently released from being incarcerated in connection with an assault with intent to murder crime, police said. During the celebration, shots were fired. One of the 16-year-olds died.
"Persons at this gathering are not providing information on the shooter(s)," police wrote in a synopsis of the shooting incidents.
Other situations included an attempted robbery; men, who were gambling, shot during an altercation; a 20-year-old shot walking to a basketball court, and a 15-year-old, who told police he was walking, heard a shot and felt pain, but who investigators believe shot himself.
A 40-year-old man, who died, was discovered to have been shot after he crashed his vehicle into a pole and tree at Warren and St. Antoine.
In addition to these shootings, a 14-year-old was fatally shot at about 6 p.m. Saturday when a gun went off while an 18-year-old man was playing with it, police said, adding that all parties associated with the incident are being interviewed by the homicide section.
Highlighting what police are dealing with, between 6 a.m. July 29 and 6 a.m. Aug. 1, there were at least 20 people shot, based on information in major crime reports released by the department.
This includes a multi-victim shooting on July 31. According to police, a backyard party on the 18000 block of Bradford was shot up and five people injured. Also that day, a 56-year-old man was found fatally shot on the 12000 block of Rutland.
After a 3-year-old was shot and killed in July when a bullet pierced the front window of her family's apartment, Godbee said there has to be outrage in the community. Aarie Berry was killed after a daylong neighborhood fight.
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.