Sunday, November 23, 2014
Multicultural taxi driver and three friends sentenced to a total of 68 years for gang rape of drunk woman passenger in Britain
A taxi driver and his three friends have been sentenced for a total of 68 years over the rape of a drunk passenger.
Tamseel Virk, 42, Najim U-Saeed, 31, Wakar Akhtar, 21, and Azad Raja, 38, were each handed 17 year jail terms for the 'despicable' attack on the vulnerable woman in Bradford, Yorkshire.
A judge heard how taxi driver Virk picked up the intoxicated victim after she had been out celebrating a friend's birthday in Leeds.
When she came round, she found Raja was having sex with her - while Akhtar told her he had already had sex with her.
Virk, U-Saeed and Raja were sentenced at Bradford Crown Court. Akhtar was also sentenced but is currently on the run - and is believed to have fled the country after giving evidence, the court heard.
His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told the court that the victim had been enjoying herself earlier in the evening of May 25. But she ended up 'coming to her senses on a park bench in another city being raped'.
Describing the victim's experience as a nightmare, he told the three men in the dock: 'This was totally despicable, it was utterly callous, it was a degree of inhuman behaviour hard, even for one such as myself inured to evil, to understand.'
During the two-week trial, in which the men denied conspiracy to rape, the court heard that the teacher had been drunk when she left the party without her bag and was seen at Leeds train station.
The judge said: 'On that day, as was her right, she enjoyed at the birthday party a number of drinks. That is part, gentlemen, of our culture.'
At some point she had got in a taxi to travel to wherever she was staying but had got out again in a confused state - possibly regarding getting her bag back.
It was then, the court heard, that Vick saw her and 'accosted her and secured her in the presence of the cab' according to the judge.
Vick then drove the confused woman from Leeds, West Yorkshire, to Bradford, 11 miles away - and to a destination she had not asked for.
During the journey, the court heard, there were 15 phone calls made between Vick and the other defendants. 'This was four men putting into place an operation to do that which the jury have found,' said Judge Durham Hall, adding that their victim was a young vulnerable woman.
After meeting at a park in Bradford the court heard Akhtar had invited his uncle Raja to 'join in the fun'.
Their victim came to in the early hours of the May 26 being held and being raped by a man.
During the trial, the court heard that U-Saeed then turned up 'too late physically to join in the rape that he had set up'.
Speaking to the court via a video screen the woman spoke briefly to the court to give her victim impact statement. She told the court that prior to the incident she was a confident independent woman. 'I had been planning to settle down and start and family with my partner of four years.
'Following the 25th [of May] I felt I had the identity and everything I had worked for kicked out of me.'
She added: 'Something so horrific and personal has happened. I do believe I won't let what's happened get the better of me.'
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Snow, said: 'Firstly, I want to praise the courage of the victim in this case, who has had to give evidence during the trial, against the men convicted today.
'These men have been found guilty of a despicable crime against a vulnerable lone female, who was taking a taxi home after a night out.
'Tamseel Virk had collected the victim in Leeds, her intention was to go home. 'Unfortunately Virk realising her vulnerability, sexually assaulted her in his car. 'Following this appalling act, he then arranged with friends to deliver her to them.
'She was then taken to a park in Bradford, miles from where she intended to be dropped off, whilst there she was forced to commit sexual acts on the other males present.
'I have no doubt whatsoever that the events of that night have had a significant and profound effect on the victim. 'We hope that the sentences passed by the courts today will give the victim in this case some comfort and help her to try and now move on with her life.
'We also hope that today's sentence will give victims of similar offences the confidence to come forward and report these matters to our specially trained officers, who will robustly and thoroughly investigate with sensitivity all reports with the aim of securing convictions against offenders.'
Have scientists finally found the 'gay gene'? Major new study of 800 brothers backs claims sexuality is in our genes
A large study of gay brothers has reignited the debate over whether a 'gay gene' exists - and adds to evidence that genes influence men's chances of being homosexual. Some scientists believe several genes might affect sexual orientation.
Researchers who led the new study of nearly 800 gay brothers say their results bolster previous evidence pointing to genes on the X chromosome.
The researchers say they found potential links to male homosexuality in a portion of chromosome X and on chromosome 8, based on an analysis of genetic material in blood or saliva samples from participants.
Chromosome X is one of two human sex chromosomes; the other is chromosome Y, present only in men.
The study authors note that animal research suggests a gene located in one region of chromosome X may contribute to some sexual behavior; it's one of the same regions cited in the new study.
They also found evidence of influence from a gene or genes on a different chromosome.
But the study doesn't identify which of hundreds of genes located in either place might be involved.
Smaller studies seeking genetic links to homosexuality have had mixed results.
The new evidence 'is not proof but it's a pretty good indication' that genes on the two chromosomes have some influence over sexual orientation, said Dr. Alan Sanders, the lead author.
He studies behavioral genetics at North Shore University Health System Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois.
Experts not involved in the study were more skeptical.
Neil Risch, a genetics expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said the data are statistically too weak to demonstrate any genetic link. Risch was involved in a smaller study that found no link between male homosexuality and chromosome X.
Dr. Robert Green, a medical geneticist at Harvard Medical School, called the new study 'intriguing but not in any way conclusive.'
The work was published Monday by the journal Psychological Medicine. The National Institutes of Health paid for the research.
Specific causes of homosexuality are unknown. Some scientists think social, cultural, family and biological factors are involved, while some religious groups consider it an immoral choice.
Study participant Dr. Chad Zawitz, a Chicago physician, called the research 'a giant step forward' toward answering scientific questions about homosexuality and helping reduce the stigma gays often face. Being gay 'is sort of like having certain eye color or skin color — it's just who you are,' Zawitz said.
'Most heterosexuals I know didn't choose to be heterosexual. It's puzzling to me why people don't understand.'
Biased Anti-Bias Regulations
Anti-bias regulations are sometimes biased and at odds with civil liberties. The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson gives a recent example from a left-leaning region in Spain:
The separatism-minded Spanish region of Catalonia has enacted a law under which “the person accused of homophobic acts will have to prove his innocence, reversing the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.” [El Pais, TheLocal.es] The law includes fines for anti-gay occurrences in the workplace. Advocates defended the shifting of the burden of proof onto the accused to prove innocence as a “positive discrimination measure [that] is already in place for other offenses, such as domestic violence against women, in instances when it is very difficult to prove.” [VilaWeb]
Never mind that European human-rights provisions say that “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.” People accused of bias are apparently deemed so awful that they can be stripped of universal human-rights protections (as are those accused of domestic violence).
In America, the Education Department is moving in the same direction, although it is doing so without any legislative authorization. Citing federal laws such as Title IX and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work, is issuing “Dear Colleague” letters demanding that schools restrict due process and stop being evenhanded in discipline. Its demands are not only reducing the due process rights of accused people, but also are undermining fairness and accuracy in adjudications (and eroding free speech as well).
In the United States, some colleges now operate a two-track system, in terms of the burden of proof. In ordinary offenses, they apply a clear-and-convincing evidence standard, and allow the accused protections like prior disclosure of the evidence against them (and sometimes allow the accused to personally cross-examine the complainant if the accused cannot afford counsel). But in cases of alleged sexual harassment, assault, and gender-related offenses, they apply a meager “preponderance of the evidence” standard, bar any cross-examination by the accused, and often deny the accused meaningful access to the evidence against him needed to prepare a defense.
The Education Department has caused this inequitable result, through a misinterpretation of the federal sex discrimination law Title IX. The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights takes the erroneous position that the clear-and-convincing evidence standard is banned by Title IX, that interim measures against the accused should take place before any finding of guilt, and that adjudications and appeals should be done so quickly and with so little scrutiny of the complaint that basic protections for the accused often become impossible to provide. A White House task force demanded this year that accused people not be able to cross-examine their accusers, even though court rulings occasionally require that opportunity in campus cases like Donohue v. Baker.
I earlier explained why the Education Department’s change in the burden of proof was illegal, and wrongly ignored the notice-and-comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
The Education Department disregards the fact that, as James Picozzi noted in 1987 in the Yale Law Journal, “Courts, universities, and student defendants all seem to agree that the appropriate standard of proof in student disciplinary cases is one of ‘clear and convincing’ evidence.” (James M. Picozzi, University Disciplinary Process: What’s Fair, What’s Due, and What You Don’t Get, 96 Yale L. J. 2132, 2159 n. 17 (1987)).
The Education Department’s demand for interim measures (against innocent students accused of sexual harassment or assault who have not yet received a disciplinary hearing) is a violation of due process, as I earlier explained in The Daily Caller, and at greater length at this blog.
The Education Department also undermines due-process and equal-protection guarantees through its recent promotion of de facto racial quotas in school suspensions, which misinterpret the federal race-discrimination law Title VI, as I explain at this link.
Such racial quotas violate the Constitution and the court ruling in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997). They also ignore the fact that student infraction and misbehavior rates vary dramatically by racial group, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice by John Paul Wright, et al., making any demand for proportional representation in suspensions nonsensical. That study, entitled “Prior Problem Behavior Accounts for the Racial Gap in School Suspensions,” concluded that higher school suspension rates among certain ethnic groups are “completely accounted for” by misbehavior among students in such groups, and not the result of prejudice on the part of teachers or school officials.
The Continuing Assault on American Culture
Last week in Maryland, the Montgomery County school board added its voice to the growing chorus singing the tired refrain that America’s long-held cultural traditions can be dismissed if they do not accommodate everyone. By a 7-1 vote, the board eliminated all religious references such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah from their 2015-2016 school calendar.
The move was made following a request from the Muslim community that has lobbied for years to include at least one of two major Muslim holidays, Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr, on the school calendar. Saqib Ali, a former Maryland state delegate and co-chair of the Equality for Eid Coalition, bemoaned the decision, saying, “By stripping the names Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they have alienated other communities now, and we are no closer to equality.” Muslim leaders were especially interested in raising the status of Eid al-Adha because the holiday falls on the same day as Yom Kippur and they considered the move an important symbolic step.
No doubt. Yet in a predominantly Judeo-Christian nation, the obvious question must be asked: How far should such accommodation go? What about Shinto holidays such as Setsubun-no-hi or Haru Matsuri? Hindu holidays such as Vasant Panchami or Pitr-Paksha? How about the Buddhist holidays of Vesak or Uposatha?
Once our prevailing culture – the one that created the most dynamic nation in the history of the world – is subsumed in a multi-culti stew, shouldn’t everyone be equally accommodated? And if not, don’t we owe the rest of the world an apology for having the temerity to insist that our prevailing American culture prevail in America?
Certainly the American Left thinks so. In fact, our apologist in chief, a.k.a. Barack Obama, has made a regular habit of apologizing for our nation’s shortcomings. Moreover, he has rendered the concept of American exceptionalism meaningless by comparing it to that of other nations. Such nonsense is reminiscent of the leftist-inspired “every kid gets a trophy” mindset that puts showing up on par with genuine achievement, lest anyone’s feelings get hurt.
That would be the same Barack Obama poised to deal the prevailing American culture its biggest body blow in history, unilaterally legalizing millions of illegal aliens. Illegal aliens are urged by the Left to “celebrate their differences” in lieu of assimilation, respecting our border, language, traditions and culture.
And make no mistake: Public schools and odious school boards like the one in Montgomery County are leading the charge. They stand in solidarity with city councils in Seattle and Minneapolis that scrapped Columbus Day in favor of “Indigenous People’s Day,” part of an effort to remind Americans about “social justice,” and what Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant called the “ongoing marginalization, discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.”
Again, such cultural assaults are nothing new. In 2012, students at Capital High School (CHS) in Charleston, West Virginia, were forced to stand during the Black National Anthem (Lift Every Voice and Sing), played every morning following the true National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. They were forced to do so until Capital High School principal Clinton Giles relented following pressure from parents. One is left to wonder whether anyone ever challenged the rank separatism a different national anthem for black children represents.
Not likely. As with every assault on America’s prevailing culture, those who dare to object are routinely dismissed as bigots, racists, nativists, etc. by those who believe the only remaining cultural imperative is political correctness.
That political correctness has reached absurd levels in our nation’s schools. In 2013, Hunter Spanjer, a three-year-old deaf boy in Lincoln, Nebraska, was bullied by school officials to change his name, because the Sign Exact English (S.E.E.) for “Hunter” looks like a gun, violating the school’s zero-tolerance policy. Hunter was joined by seven-year-old Josh Welch, a Baltimore student suspended for chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a pistol, representing yet another affront to the leftist doyens who have willingly joined the ranks of their fellow leftists, all of whom are determined to “transform the United States of America” into a socialist utopia.
It is a socialist utopia that requires dismantling our prevailing culture, brick by brick. One that increasingly characterizes the 80% of Americans who believe Judeo-Christian values constitute the foundations of American culture as out of touch at best, or at worst, as our illustrious president once put it, “bitter clingers” who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
“It is about equity,” said Montgomery County school board member Rebecca Smondrowski, who introduced the resolution to eliminate the holiday calendar references. “I made the motion because, if we are closing for operational reasons, then there should be no need to make reference to religion. That is the most equitable solution that I could see while recognizing that we need to be seriously addressing the criteria for how these things are decided in the future.”
Bet your life those criteria won’t include any deference for our prevailing Judeo-Christian culture. As far as the Left is concerned, such deference requires an offsetting accommodation – or an abject apology.
New Air Force Rules Cleared for Takeoff
Veterans' Day may have been Tuesday, but it looks like the Air Force has a belated offering: more clarity in the debate over religious liberty. For two years, our friends in Congress have been calling on the branch to overhaul its language and better protect the freedoms our fliers are fighting to protect. Based on the latest news, it looks like the message is finally getting through to Air Force leaders, who just released a new document that, we hope, is a step in the right direction on an issue that should concern every American. In particular, the Air Force took aim at AFI 1-1, Sections 2.11 and 2.12, softening the tone that was immediately hostile to faith.
Now, under the new regulation, the branch has done away with the vague and confusing language, which shackled any Air Force leader from expressing their religious beliefs – even in an unofficial capacity. Several of our allies on the Hill, including House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Dr. John Fleming (R-La.), and Randy Forbes (R-Va.), have repeatedly called on the Air Force to revise their rules. Of course, we’ll only know what this means practically when leaders implement it.
“Congress made it clear in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that the Department of Defense needs to do more to protect the freedom of our service members to practice and express their religious beliefs while serving our country,” Sen. Lee said. “As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has worked for these protections, I am encouraged to see the Air Force reassessing their own standards to bring them closer to current law. I hope that these new regulations will be implemented with adherence to Congress’s intent of protecting the constitutional rights of Airmen.”
To nudge the branch along, Rep. Lamborn had offered an amendment to the Defense bill calling on the Pentagon and Air Force to revise their regulations on religious liberty. Yesterday, he was on “Washington Watch” to talk to me about these developments. (To listen, click here.) These brave men and women risk their lives to defend America – the least we can do is provide them the clarity and support their faith deserves.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.