Sunday, December 20, 2015
Multiculturalist imported more than a tonne of drug-cutting chemicals used with cocaine to give it a street value of £35million -- jailed for 10 years
A baby-faced criminal has been jailed for importing more than a tonne of drug cutting agents that could have been used to make £35million.
Shem Lovelace set up a website called Strictly Benzocaine UK to sell chemicals to cocaine and heroin dealers when he was just 17.
But his operation was uncovered after customs officers at Felixstowe, Suffolk, seized 40 drums of cuttings agents sent by a Chinese company on August 20.
A judge at Croydon Crown Court found that Lovelace, 20, played a major role in the operation and has jailed him for 10 years.
Judge John Tanzer said told him: 'Your looks, how you come over from a distance especially as baby faced, are belied by your criminality.'
Beverley Akinbile, prosecuting, said the consignment seized in Suffolk included 750 kilograms of benzocaine and 250 kilograms of phenacetin.
She said the chemicals are usually cut with cocaine on a three to one basis.
Croydon Crown Court heard Lovelace was interviewed following the seizure and police seized his laptop from his home in Thornton Heath, south London.
His laptop search history included searches for 'how to open an anonymous bank account' and 'how to buy benzocaine'.
He was linked to another Brighton based dealer who would supply customers with the drugs, cut with the agents Lovelace supplied.
Lovelace would then get a 20% share of the deal due to him supplying the cutting agents.
Despite the scale of the seizure at Felixstowe, Lovelace only made around £37,000 from importing benzocaine and phenacetin between July 2013 and July 2015, the court heard.
Lovelace admitted encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence and one of acquiring criminal property.
Sentencing him, Judge Tanzer said: 'You are a man who is very young still. Conversely, you are a young man with a substantial criminal record.'
The judge added: 'The volumes of importation were massive, in all 1.1 metric tonnes. There is substantial money around as shown in count two of the first charge where you are charged with having criminal property.
'It would be naive to say that you other than knew what this was all about. The crown assists it makes the value involved as some £35million on the street.
'The level of what you were involved in is way above the figures set out in the sentencing guidelines.'
Nigel Shepherd, defending, said Lovelace was merely naive and not at the heart of the operation.
He said payments and exchanges had continued to take place while Lovelace was remanded in custody,
Mr Shepherd said: 'Somebody else was operating this importation and the defendant had been put in prison. It cannot have been him.'
He claimed Lovelace believed that the cutting agents were legal to sell and distribute.
'He was told it is like the cannabis shops where people sell hookahs and lighters for the consumption of cannabis.
'He was told that these are legal things. They may be for an illegal purpose but they are legal things.'
Speaking after the case, Detective Sergeant Phil Carruth of Croydon Crime Squad said: 'This was a bespoke investigation over a six month period by Met officers working in conjunction with the National Crime Agency.
'Tenacious detective work resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of cutting agent that had no purpose other than to be illicitly cut with class 'A' drugs.
'Today's sentence should act as a deterrent to others. The MPS will pursue, charge and convict those involved in such illegal activities.'
The glorification of the tiny minority who feel born into the wrong sex has troubling implications
By Sarah Vine
No one should have been surprised last week to hear that Eddie Redmayne has received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in The Danish Girl. The film, which opens later this month, tells the story of Twenties artist Lili Elbe.
Born Einar Wegener, Elbe first slipped into the role of a woman when his wife (also an artist) needed a female model for a portrait sitting.
It was then that he realised that his true gender was female, and Lili was born, or so the story goes.
In 1930, he became one of the first men to undergo gender reassignment surgery. For the transgender community, the story of Lili’s conversion is a tale of heroism comparable with Nelson Mandela’s struggle against apartheid, or Emmeline Pankhurst’s emancipation of womankind.
And since Hollywood loves a tale of triumph against the odds, it stands to reason that they should already be thinking of lobbing gilded statuettes in Redmayne’s direction.
But that is not the whole story, for 2015 has been the year in which being transgender went global.
It has been front and centre-stage for months, starting with the arrival of Caitlyn Jenner — formerly the ripplingly muscled Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner — wearing only a basque on the front cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
We’ve also had, in no particular order, the Guardian’s food writer Jack Monroe — a mother of one — deciding to reposition herself as a ‘non-binary transgender’ (meaning that she identifies as neither man nor a woman).
The boxing promoter Frank Maloney, meanwhile, is now a regular on television and in newspapers presenting a new persona as a woman named Kellie.
We have had the irony of Benedict Cumberbatch, the most self-consciously politically correct actor on the planet, being accused of the modern equivalent of blacking up his face for playing a funny cameo in the upcoming sequel to the fashion industry comedy film Zoolander, as a gender indeterminate supermodel by the name of ‘All’.
We’ve seen the introduction of the term ‘Mz’ instead of ‘Ms’ as the correct title for people of a transgender persuasion.
There have been lessons for primary school children about gender identity — presented by a transgender man.
Germaine Greer has been banned by students in Cardiff for saying transgender women don’t ‘look like, sound like or behave like women’.
Schools in Britain have been offered a £30,000 ‘grant’ to encourage them to hire transgender teachers.
And just this week, we’ve seen Fiona Manson, who posed as a single father and used a fake penis to seduce a female friend, avoid jail after a judge accepted the 25-year-old transsexual — known as Kyran Lee and awaiting gender reassignment surgery — was a man trapped in a female body. (‘It must have been enormously difficult growing up,’ said the judge.)
Only a month earlier, in a similar case, Gayle Newland was jailed for eight years after impersonating a man to trick a female into sex.
The mother duped by Manson said the judge’s decision to impose a two-year suspended sentence left her a ‘victim of a sex attack and political correctness’.
Even mainstream entertainment channels such as TLC, widely watched by teenagers, have jumped on the transgender bandwagon.
When my 12-year-old daughter happened to inquire this week what I was working on and I replied, ‘a piece about being transgender’, she knew exactly what I meant (when I was her age I wouldn’t have had the faintest idea).
‘Oh yes, Mummy,’ she said, ‘Transgender is really trending right now. You should watch I Am Jazz on TLC — everyone’s really into it.’
I Am Jazz, it turns out, is a transgender reality TV show about a 15-year-old American boy growing up as a girl. Like any other 15-year-old girl, she worries about her bra size, and whether she will ever find a boyfriend.
Under close medical supervision, Jazz is undergoing therapy to block her male hormones, designed to prevent the development of male characteristics such as an Adam’s apple and facial hair. At the same time, she takes oestrogen to help her body look more feminine.
Eventually, once she is an adult, she will have surgery to remove all physical vestiges of her birth sex.
Her parents, who seem like nice, ordinary middle-class people, are fully behind her. Her mother, fiercely protective of her youngest child, accompanies her on medical visits and shopping trips.
Her father wipes away tears and dispenses hugs with studied attentiveness.
They are, in short, the very model of the all-inclusive 21st-century family, a shining example to us all of what life for your average transitioning transgender teen ought to be like. And all this is presented as perfectly normal.
A related story appeared in the Mail last week, of a six-year-old boy from Scotland called Daniel, who is being brought up as a little girl called Danni, complete with dresses and pretty hair bunches.
The child’s parents say that when Daniel reaches puberty he will be prescribed hormone blockers until he is 16 and old enough to decide whether he wants to become a she. Then, he will decide whether to start taking oestrogen for two years before undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
So how did we get here? Well, the sudden interest in this area of life is, in some respects, a sign of more enlightened times.
Against a backdrop of increasing intolerance in the Middle East, with organisations such as the Taliban and ISIS preaching vile hatred of all alternative lifestyles — and throwing homosexuals to their deaths from rooftops — it is to our credit as a society that we have come to develop a greater tolerance of less conformist lifestyles.
Live and let live is the modern mantra — and rightly so. Freedom of expression, whether it be political, sexual, social or religious, is a cornerstone of democracy. But the sheer force with which the transgender agenda has been pushed to the forefront of the cultural discussion has been quite remarkable. As has the aggression used by various lobby groups to promote what we might call the transgender case.
Personally, I feel very sympathetic. It must be incredibly traumatic and confusing to feel alien in one’s own skin, to want so desperately to be something you are not.
I cannot imagine that anyone would undergo gender reassignment surgery or pump themselves full of hormones unless their suffering were genuine. It must require both courage and conviction to make irreversible changes to one’s gender.
But the sheer dominance of the transgender narrative in the media, and the aggression directed at anyone who exhibits the merest twitch of a quizzical eyebrow, is astonishing.
Raise even the slightest moral, ethical or sociological question about this issue, and you might as well be saying Hitler wasn’t such a bad chap after all.
Quite simply, we seem to have spent most of this year being told that it’s not good enough for us simply to accept transgender individuals as a small but perfectly valid community: we must also embrace and praise them as though theirs were some sort of heroic achievement on a par with the discovery of penicillin and not, at the very core of the thing, just a rare and often traumatic condition.
The simple fact is that like so many ‘culturally sensitive’ issues these days, all open and honest conversation about gender identity is drowned out by the kind of cultural fascism that prides itself on standing up for minority interests while at the same time denying many others — who often form the majority — their right to expression.
After Caitlyn Jenner appeared in Vanity Fair, one American TV actor, Drake Bell, tweeted: ‘Sorry ... still calling you Bruce.’
Such was the flood of outrage that he had dared to criticise her sexual transformation that he was forced to issue a grovelling apology: ‘I sincerely apologise for my thoughtless insensitive remarks. I in no way meant to hurt or demean those going through a similar journey.’
So it is that any kind of debate or discussion is shut down.
Just as those in the mainstream should learn to accept and understand the alternative life choices of others, there must, I would argue, also be some acceptance and understanding of those who choose to question this cultural trend.
And yet tolerance, on this issue as well as on many others — such as Christianity (bad), the traditional family (bad), climate change (good), animal rights (good) and so on —appears all too often to be a one-way street in favour of those who shout the loudest.
Indeed, the crescendo of noise around gender issues is particularly surprising when you stop to think how small the transgender community really is.
While every individual’s experience is doubtlessly precious, the numbers involved are extraordinarily small.
Only 400 or so people a year actually apply to have their gender legally re-assigned. According to the transgender community, at any given time in the UK, one per cent of the population is, to use the approved terminology ‘gender non-conforming’. That seems like an awfully high estimate to me.
In any case, assuming those numbers are correct, of that one per cent, only around one in five will, at some point in their lives, seek treatment. And yet you could now be forgiven for thinking that gender dysmorphia — when someone feels their true gender identity is not the one they were born with — is as common in the population as, say, ginger hair.
There is something else, too, that I, as a parent, find increasingly worrying. Because while I’m perfectly comfortable with grown-ups making these sorts of decisions, I’m deeply uncomfortable with the idea of children having their normal growth altered in the run-up to puberty and beyond.
Earlier this year, the Tavistock and Portman Trust, which specialises in gender issues, described a four-fold rise in referrals of children under the age of ten reporting ‘gender confusion’.
In total, the number of under-11s referred to the unit has risen from 19 in 2009/10 to 77 in 2014/15. Still a tiny number; but nevertheless a very significant increase. There has to be a reason for this, and it cannot simply be a sudden epidemic of gender dysmorphia. Surely there must be some cultural pressures at play here, whether from schools or from parents themselves.
Any parent knows that children enjoy trying on different personalities and roles. My daughter used to love dressing up as male characters for National Book Week, for example, and my son once went as The Boy in the Dress, from his favourite David Walliams book.
He often complains, too, that girls get shouted at less in class, and how monstrously unfair it is that they seem to be so much better at maths than he is. But I wouldn’t for one moment infer from these actions that he has a burning desire to be a girl.
Children pass through many phases in their lives, and nine times out of ten they grow out of them. You have no way of knowing who or what they really want to be until they have completed the process of growing up.
No, my big concern is that as a result of this increasing focus on transgender people, we are imposing the adult anxieties of a marginal group on innocent children who are not yet old enough to understand the implications — and whose sexuality may not yet have been defined.
There is something else, too. A wider — and far more sinister — agenda at work here: an attack on traditional gender roles.
I call myself a feminist because I believe women should be able to be proudly female as mothers, wives, daughters while at the same time being respected and treated as equals to men.
But some of the more radical sisters hate this idea of a clear, confident gender identity. They want to undermine the idea of true masculinity by adopting male characteristics and behaviour themselves; but in doing so they also undermine a woman’s fundamental right to be a woman.
The proselytising of transgenderism is surely part of that attempt to blur the divide between men and women.
Cruelty or prejudice towards anyone is ugly. But something almost as ugly is using the difficulties that individuals with genuine problems face as a kind of Trojan horse for an attack on the traditional gender roles.
So-called equality experts and campaigners in universities and schools mistakenly teach as fact the idea that differences between the sexes are an illusion, as outmoded and discredited as the idea of the earth being flat. Not only is this simply not true, it also hasn’t achieved the desired outcome.
No amount of gender-neutral pronouns can detract from the fact that it is still mostly men who run for political office and blow things up, while women still spend more time looking after children and running homes. It is, I’m afraid, the way of the world.
Of course people who suffer from gender dysmorphia need society’s help, support and infinite understanding. But it’s important to recognise that, however divine Eddie Redmayne may look in a dress, the vast majority of us are still very happy living in the bodies we were born with.
Security Dies Where Multiculturalism Thrives
While Americans fret over Donald Trump’s plans to ban Muslim immigration to the United States temporarily thanks to the government’s inability to keep us safe, the government continues to prove its inability to keep us safe. This week, we found out that President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security prohibited agents from screening foreign citizens applying for visas to enter the country. According to former acting undersecretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis John Cohen, “During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process. … The primary concern was that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly and there were concerns that it would be embarrassing.”
He continued, “It was primarily a question of optics. There were concerns from a privacy and civil liberties perspective that while this was not illegal, that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly.”
So 14 Americans in San Bernardino died for optics.
While President Obama insists that the government must check the metadata of American citizens to catch terrorists, he insists that his own people stop checking the publicly posted Facebook messages of potential terrorists.
This is the essence of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism suggests that all cultures are equal, that they carry equal values, that they pose equal threats to public safety. Extending that logic, we must treat suspects from all cultures with equal care. But what if not all cultures provide an equal threat? What if the people who engage in some cultures are more likely than others to participate in terrorism? Then, in order to maintain the multicultural fiction, we must bend over backwards not to check out threats from such cultures. Either that, or we must violate everyone’s civil rights equally.
The former is happening in the United States; the latter is happening in France, where the government has been knocking down the doors of hundreds of mosques on grounds of “preach[ing] hatred” or using “takfiri speech,” according to French imam Hassan El Alaoui. In the United States, we’d see such raids as a violation of the First and Fourth Amendments. In France, they have no such amendments. They do, however, have a multicultural view of the world.
Or at least they did. Across Europe, the reality of multiculturalism is hitting home. German chancellor Angela Merkel, who was recently named Time’s Person of the Year for taking in one million Syrian refugees, said, “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie’ … We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.” She was forced to denounce her own former viewpoint thanks to the fallout from her decisions: Refugee camps have turned into hotbeds of rape and child abuse. Mass Muslim immigration into Europe has heightened such challenges for years, of course, but the left and the press have suppressed such information.
This is what happens when the West denies its values. Eventually, reality forces the West to confront the truth: Its own culture is superior to others, and that pretending otherwise creates real danger. But so long as leftists like President Obama remain in denial, that danger will only grow.
Church Slapped With Criminal Summons Over Worship Service 'Noise'
“Silent Night” has new meaning for a Louisiana church after they were issued criminal sanctions because their worship services exceeded 60 decibels — which is about the same noise level of a dishwasher.
The executive pastor of Vintage Church was issued a criminal summons and the rest of the staff was threatened with “physical arrest” if they used any microphones or amplified sound in their worship services, according to a lawsuit filed by Liberty Institute.
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office are named in the lawsuit, alleging that the local government is “imposing unwarranted and unreasonable demands on the members of Vintage Church.”
“Federal and Louisiana law both protect Vintage Church from this sort of targeted enforcement,” Liberty Institute attorney Justin Butterfield said.
For the record, I reached out to the sheriff for comment, but he declined to speak to me.
The trouble started back in August when the small evangelical congregation announced plans to expand its existing sanctuary located within a subdivision.
However, that meant the church had to temporarily relocate its two Sunday morning worship services to an enclosed outdoor tent. The church applied for, and was granted, a permit to erect the structure.
On Aug. 9, a neighbor called authorities to complain about the noise levels.
On Aug. 18, the church was told by the sheriff’s office that any sounds before 8:50 a.m. had to be kept below 60 decibels. They also told the church they could not set up for the Sunday service until after 8:50 a.m.
Pastor Rob Wilton told me that was the start of what would become weekly visits by heavy-handed authorities.
“It’s been difficult,” he told me. “We have been consistently hassled by our neighbors and by the parish officials since the first of August — every single week.”
By Nov. 12, the sheriff’s office escalated its bullying tactics by issuing a stern warning to the church, vowing to either “issue summons or even ‘physically arrest’ Vintage Church personnel if any amplified sound were used by the church for the first service, including the pastor’s use of a microphone to preach, regardless of the sound levels.”
So that meant no microphones, no electric guitars, no musical instruments that required amplification.
The church complied with those demands — but it turned out not to matter. The following was written in the lawsuit:
“On Nov. 15th, 2015, six JPSO officers in six marked JPSO vehicles, plus Sheriff (Newell) Normand in an unmarked black SUV, arrived at Vintage Church in response to a neighbor’s call. Vintage Church was not using any sound amplification, but JPSO officers demanded to inspect the equipment in the Vintage Church’s tent to ensure that there was no sound amplification. Vintage Church’s pastors showed the JPSO officers that all sound equipment was unplugged. JPSO nevertheless issued a second summons to Pastor (Matt) Brichetto, stating that the sound levels were above 60 dB without any amplification at all.”
What the heck were they supposed to do — whisper the morning sermon?
“I preached without a microphone but we still received a second criminal summons,” the pastor told me. “They literally issued the summons in front of the congregation. Thankfully they allowed me to continue to preach.”
The executive pastor had previously been slapped with a criminal summons, delivered in front of stunned church members. “They even took his fingerprints on our property,” Pastor Wilton told me.
Let’s put this in some perspective, folks. The church was not hosting a weekly Guns & Roses concert. It was a worship service.
Liberty Institute says parish ordinances allow local residents to engage in all sorts of activities on Sunday morning that are much louder than 60 decibels. “The parish allows things like lawn mowers and jackhammers starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday while placing these burdensome restrictions on the church,” attorney Butterfield told me.
If it’s okay to use a jackhammer on Sunday morning, why isn’t it okay to worship Jesus?
There are always two sides to a story. The neighbors may very well have a valid argument. But since neither the neighbors nor the sheriff’s office want to go on the record, we don’t know what that argument might be.
Regardless, the storm trooper tactics of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office are uncalled for.
“We are seeing more and more of this sort of hostility toward churches in the United States,” Butterfield told me. “Five or ten years ago the idea that a church would be issued a criminal summons and would be subjected to this sort of continuous investigation just for having a worship service would be unthinkable.”
I’m certain that Sheriff Normand has much more important things to do on a Sunday morning than bully and harass a small evangelical church.
Perhaps he might consider spending next Sunday reading the Good Book or the U.S. Constitution.
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.