Tuesday, November 13, 2018

UK: New head of CPS under fire for refusing to use phrase 'Islamist terrorism'

Elite arrogance again.  How can someone so adrift from reality be a good Crown Prosecutor?

The new head of the CPS has been accused of adopting "deeply unhelpful” language about terrorists after spending 90 minutes with CAGE, the group that described ISIS executioner Jihadi John as “a beautiful young man".

The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) has criticised Max Hill QC's appointment as the Director of Public Prosecutions, claiming he has "aped" the rhetoric used by CAGE and its supporters.

Mr Hill, who replaced Alison Saunders [long overdue] last week, held a 90 minute meeting with CAGE last autumn - a month after the organisation's international director, Muhammad Rabbani, was convicted of a terrorism offence and fined for refusing to give police the PIN number of his mobile phone when he was stopped and searched at Heathrow Airport.

It came after the group had held a press conference following the February 2015 killing of ISIS’s chief executioner Mohammed Emwazi describing the brutal killer as “beautiful” and “extremely gentle”. The 27-year-old from Queen's Park, London, is thought to have been responsible for the beheading of western hostages including US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

Accusing the QC of being "influenced, inaccurately, by the Islamist group's agenda", the HJS pointed out similarities between Mr Hill's refusal to refer to "Islamist terrorism" and CAGE describing the use of the word "Islamist" as a smear on the religion.

In February, Mr Hill - then head of the Government’s terror watchdog - declared that it is “fundamentally wrong” to use the phrase “Islamist terrorism” to describe attacks carried out in Britain and elsewhere.

He said that the word terrorism should not be attached “to any of the world religions” and that the term “Daesh-inspired terrorism” should be used instead.

His comments put him at odds with Prime Minister Theresa May and the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who have both spoken about the threat posed by “Islamist terrorists”.

The HJS claims Mr Hill’s rhetoric appears “almost identical” to wording used by CAGE in 2017 to criticise Mr Hill’s predecessor David Anderson for his use of the “Islamist” term.

CAGE said: “This ‘Islamist’ smear is an ad hominem attack reminiscent of neoconservative “think-tanks” that seek to whitewash Prevent (the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy) and delegitimise community concerns.”

In his 2018 independent review of terror legislation, published last month, Mr Hill refers to "the perception and experience of racism and stigmatization in the workings of Schedule 7 and Prevent, whether repeat stops at borders or undue focus on Islamist extremism”.

Again CAGE have used very similar language, declaring on its website: “This follows the racial profiling of Muslim primary schoolchildren under the BRIT project, which had the effect of stigmatising nine-year-old Muslim children as prone to violent extremism.”

CAGE has also accused Prevent of having a counterproductive effect, quoting UN special rapporteur Maina Kiai as saying: “by dividing, stigmatising and alienating segments of the population, Prevent could end up promoting extremism, rather than countering it”.

According to the HJS, Mr Hill has also held meetings with other organisations which have been outspoken in their criticism of Prevent including MEND, Just Yorkshire and The Cordoba Foundation, once described by David Cameron as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood”. Its founder, Anas Al Tikriti, has openly supported the brotherhood and Hamas stating: “I believe that if you are occupied you need to fight back”.

Mr Hill has also met with the Friends of Al Asqa, founded by Ismail Patel who has stated that “Hamas is no terrorist organisation…we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel”, and was a spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative which has links to the terror Group. Friends of al-Aqsa’s bank account was closed by the Co-op to ensure that funds “do not inadvertently fund illegal or other proscribed activities”.

MEND were once described as “Islamists masquerading as civil libertarians” while Just Yorkshire is an anti-Prevent group funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which has also funded CAGE.

Emma Webb, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society said: “In the wake of negative publicity damaging the CPS, Max Hill has vowed that through his appointment he will “restore trust”. But it is difficult to see how this will be possible given his habit of meeting disproportionately with extremist and intolerant groups.

“Meeting with such groups is bad enough, but his apparent aping of their divisive rhetoric is a step to far. Their fingerprints are all over his own positions.

“He has shown himself to have bad taste and judgement in the company he keeps. This is certainly not a man who can be trusted to ensure justice is done when it comes to Islamist extremism.”

A CPS spokesman said Mr Hill has always been clear about his desire for “the need for consultation with the community, particularly Muslim communities, and awareness of the full range of what different organisations are bringing to the field, not just the government favoured ones”.

He added: "Max Hill QC was appointed by the Attorney General after a rigorous and open competition, overseen by a Civil Service Commissioner‎."


Ignorant hounding of Roger Scruton

Douglas Murray

There are times when you wonder whether our culture is too stupid to survive. The thought has kept occurring over recent days as I have watched the cooked-up furore over the appointment of Sir Roger Scruton to chair a British government commission looking into beauty in architecture.

What are Scruton’s qualifications for this unpaid job? Well, he has written two exceedingly influential books on architecture, The Aesthetics of Architecture (1980) and The Classical Vernacular (1995), as well as numerous papers and articles on the subject. He has spent more than half a century thinking about the question. And he is also Britain’s most famous living philosopher, respected in – and honoured by – many other countries and finally honoured in this country two years ago with a knighthood. Not only does Scruton have no betters: there are very few who come anywhere near to him.

But stupid ages get policed by stupid people along ever stupider lines. And so after Sir Roger’s appointment was announced, various minnows decided to do what they could to tear him down. One who led the charge was somebody who must – against very stiff competition – count as among the laziest journalists in Britain. Now at BuzzFeed News, Alex Wickham also contributes a tiny monthly political ‘gossip’ column to GQ magazine which stands out even in that organ for its sheer pointlessness, unoriginality and vacuity. It is so derivative and thin that you can see through it.

Anyhow, perhaps Wickham is hoping his new BuzzFeed colleagues will someday forgive his years spent at the right-wing Guido Fawkes website. Whatever the cause, Wickham has led a crusade to have Scruton fired from his unpaid job. Wickham’s latest offering promises an ‘exclusive’. It then goes on to misrepresent a single statement – which is wholly justifiable as it happens – about the nature of sex and regret. He then goes on to claim: ‘BuzzFeed News has unearthed footage of a lecture he gave in the US in 2005.’ ‘BuzzFeed News’ has done no such thing. Wickham has merely – clearly stretching his own investigative skills close to breaking point – gone on YouTube and found a lecture that has been freely available for years.

Inevitably various low-grade MPs have found it impossible to resist justifying their own occupation by destroying someone else’s. A Liberal Democrat MP called Wera Hobhouse – who has made absolutely no mark on the world to date – expressed ‘deep concern’ about Scruton’s ‘offensive views’. To which someone should reply, ‘And what do you think of his work on Kant? Or Spinoza?’

The Labour MP Wes Streeting also boarded the outrage bus. Streeting claimed that ‘It beggars belief that [Scruton] passed a vetting process’. Let me tell readers of something that beggars belief even more. What beggars belief is that a person as compromised as Wes Streeting was ever allowed to stand for Parliament. Because of the size of the Jewish community in his own constituency (and after defeating a distinguished Jewish MP in a squalid campaign) Streeting poses as a great friend of the Jewish community.

In fact his track record shows him to be interested only in his own career-advancement. I first encountered Streeting a decade ago when he was the head of the NUS. Back then the recently stood-down head of the Islamic Society at University College London had just tried to bring down a plane over Detroit by blowing up a bomb he had brought on board. I was among those who took a dim view of this, as I and others did of the university and student societies who had turned a blind eye to the bomber’s extremism during the time he was at university.

But did Streeting try to go for the source of the problem? Not at all. A typical NUS shill, he merely spent his time (including in a public debate with me at UCL still available – sorry, ‘unearthed’ – on YouTube here) attacking anyone pointing out the problem that existed on campuses. He spent his time eye-rolling, giggling and throwing around accusations of ‘Islamophobia’. On another occasion during his presidency Streeting – who is gay – sat in a room with a virulently homophobic Islamic cleric and spoke after that cleric’s speech, making no attempt to either correct, nuance or chastise the extremist’s views.

If Roger Scruton cannot be an unpaid chair of a small commission I have no idea how Wes Streeting should pass as suitable to be a member of Parliament. Once again we get into the Dawn Butler / Toby Young problem.

Streeting’s Labour colleague Andrew Gwynne (shadow communities secretary), meanwhile chose to get even further ahead in the outrage stakes. After jumping on a set of Scruton’s comments on Jews, Muslims, gays and much more – all of which have been provably misrepresented – Gwynne declared that ‘Nobody holding [Scruton’s] views has a place in modern democracy.’ Gosh. Well perhaps once all the philosophers have been cleared from the national stage we can rely on the mind of Andrew Gwynne to guide us through all the big questions of life.

Finally we have the New Statesman (where Scruton wrote a wine column for many years). According to somebody called Ben Brock, whose qualification is that he ‘works in publishing’, Scruton is merely an absurd figure. ‘A man obsessed with 18th century fork handles’, apparently, who as a result ‘is not going to solve the housing crisis.’ One wonders what crisis, if any, Ben Brock might solve. Despite working in publishing, he cannot even address the problem of his own flamboyant ignorance. For instance he dismisses Scruton’s views on architecture as mere ‘Nimbyism’ and then writes, ‘This is all – aside from his beloved foxhunting – that Scruton has ever really been interested in.’ Sometimes you wonder how anyone can write a sentence that ignorant and still get up in the morning.

For example, if ‘all that Scruton has ever really been interested in’ is ‘Nimbyism’ and foxhunting, how are we to explain his more than 40 books? If he is uninterested in philosophy why has he written so many important works on it? Why did he write the seminal Modern Philosophy (1994), a book Brock might have trouble picking up, let alone reading? If Scruton is so dull and uninterested in other things why has he written several of the most important books of recent decades on music and aesthetics (including The Aesthetics of Music (1999) and Understanding Music, (2009))? Why the book-length studies of Tristan and Isolde and the Ring cycle? Why his absorbing 1987 book on Lebanon or his hugely influential book The West and the Rest (2002) which emerged from Scruton’s study of Farsi and Arabic? Why the many other books and papers on religion, sexual desire and the environment? And this isn’t to get started on the novels, memoirs and more. Including a remarkable book of short stories (Souls in the Twilight) published just last month which is a moving and deeply humane insight into a range of complex, diverse characters.

I could go on. It appears that Scruton’s detractors will continue to mine the columns Scruton has secretly published in all the national papers in order to expose his wrong-think. They will continue to ‘unearth’ his public lectures. And they will continue to pretend that none of the complex things in life – including the complexity of human relations – should ever be opened up or explored by anyone. Especially not philosophers. Perhaps they will have their way. Perhaps they will ensure that nobody who has thought seriously about anything important (and gained international acclaim for doing so) must ever be allowed anywhere near our increasingly ignorant and stupid public life. But I hope that Scruton does remain in his small advisory role. If he doesn’t then it would be the strongest demonstration possible that as a country we have got to a stage you might summarize as ‘the survival of the thickest’.


EU corruption at work

My biggest beef with the European Union has always been the way it stifles consumer-friendly innovation in the interests of incumbent businesses and organisations. Today’s victory for Sir James Dyson at the European General Court lays bare an especially shocking example.

Dyson’s case, which has taken five years in the courts, reveals just how corrupt and crony-capitalist the European Union has become. It is no surprise that Sir James was and is a big supporter of Britain leaving the EU. Essentially, the rules have been bent to allow German manufacturers to deceive customers about the performance of their vacuum cleaners, in a manner uncannily similar to – but even worse than — the way mostly German car manufacturers deceived customers about the emissions from diesel vehicles.

In today’s decision – a very rare case in which the EU courts have had to back down — the EU’s General Court said it would uphold Dyson’s claim and that “tests of a vacuum cleaner’s energy efficiency carried out with an empty receptacle do not reflect conditions as close as possible to actual conditions of use”. Yes, you read that right: until now, in Europe only, vacuum cleaners were tested without dust, the better to suit German manufacturers.

The case concerns labels on vacuum cleaners stating how much energy they use. The Energy Label for corded vacuum cleaners is mandated by the EU’s Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations. The purpose is to encourage energy efficiency in such products and the job of the Energy Label is to make sure that consumers get clear information about product performance. Dyson was the first manufacturer to support limits on the power consumption of motors in vacuums. Why wouldn’t it be: its Cyclone product is very efficient?

The Energy Label was introduced throughout the EU in September 2014 and updated in September 2017. It covers overall energy rating, rated A to G, with A being best and G being worst; annual energy usage in kWh; the amount of dust in air emitted from the machine’s exhaust (A to G); the noise level in decibels; how much dust the machine picks up from carpets (A to G); and how much dust the machine picks up from hard floors and crevices (A to G).

All very reasonable, until you find that the European Commission stipulated that under these regulations, vacuum cleaners are tested empty and with no dust. This flies in the face of the methods developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an international standards organization, which have been adopted by consumer test bodies and manufacturers worldwide. It is out of line with the way other appliances, such as washing machines, ovens and dishwashers are tested “loaded”, not empty.

Why would the EC have made this strange decision? Because the big German manufacturers make vacuum cleaners with bags. Sir James Dyson invented ones without bags. And the bag ones gradually become clogged with dust so they have to use more power or lose suction. The decision to test them empty plainly benefits the bag-cleaners. Behind the scenes the German manufacturers lobbied for this outcome.

The result of this is that you can buy a bag cleaner with an A rating, take it home and find that most of the time it performs like a G-rated cleaner.

So in 2013 Dyson challenged the labelling rules in the EU General Court, arguing that, to reflect real-life experience, the performance of a vacuum cleaner should be tested in real-world conditions, and that might actually include – God forbid – encountering dust. In November 2015, the EU General Court dismissed Dyson’s claims saying that dust-loaded testing is not reliable or “reproducible” and therefore could not be adopted, despite the fact that the international standard does use dust. Nonsense: in its labs and in houses, Dyson tests its own machines using real dust, fluff, grit and debris including dog biscuits and Cheerio cereals – of both the European and the American kind.

Dyson appealed to the European Court of Justice in January 2016 and on 11 May 2017 it won. The court said that to reach the conclusion it had, the General Court “distorted the facts”, “ignored their own law”, “had ignored Dyson’s evidence” and had “failed to comply with its duty to give reasons”. The ECJ said that the test must adopt, where technically possible, “a method of calculation which makes it possible to measure the energy performance of vacuum cleaners in conditions as close as possible to actual conditions of use”. The case was passed back to the General Court, which was given time to reconsider its verdict at leisure. Today, after eighteen months of cogitation (what do judges do all day?), and with nowhere to go, the court capitulated.

Dyson has this to say about the case: “the EU label flagrantly discriminated against a specific technology – Dyson’s patented cyclone. This benefited traditional, predominantly German, manufacturers who lobbied senior Commission officials. Some manufacturers have actively exploited the regulation by using low motor power when in the test state, but then using technology to increase motor power automatically when the machine fills with dust – thus appearing more efficient. This defeat software allows them to circumvent the spirit of the regulation, which the European Court considers to be acceptable because it complies with the letter of the law.”

How much more shocking does the crony-capitalist corruption at the heart of Brussels have to get before people rebel against this sort of thing? They did already? Ah yes, Brexit, true Brexit, cannot come soon enough.


Security expert says we’re ‘feeding the beasts’ of terror with shoot-to-kill policy

As happens every time, somebody says the terrorist was mentally ill.  And that is true in one way.  He was certainly deviant from the norm.  The important point however is that when a Muslim feels out of sorts in some way for some reason he tends to see that as a call to Jihad.  Jihad provides an answer to your truobles that will send you straight to Paradise. Attacking unbelievers rewards people with problems.  So Islam is still the problem in these attacks

The claim that his actions were a cry for help is comoplete BS.  You don't load your car up with gas cylinders and try to explode them in a busy street as a cry for help.  He wanted to kill unbelievers and go to Paradise.  That is all

Karl Stefanovic has launched a scathing attack on the “timid” critics who wanted police to refrain from shooting a knife-wielding terrorist.

As a debate rages over Australia’s response to Friday’s sickening terror attack in Melbourne, Karl Stefanovic has backed police and launched a scathing attack on their “timid” critics.

The Today co-host praised said he felt sorry for the young police officers who were forced to shoot the knife-wielding terrorist dead.

He said they were “consumed” by a “politically correct” message from the public — which dictates that they should try to keep the terrorist alive.

“People (were) yelling, ‘Shoot him, shoot him’ they tried their best not to,” he said this morning. “I reckon, on second thought, someone comes at police with a knife you shoot them dead straight away?

“You know what the courage of the cops, this is a reminder again of what our police do. The first there, first to deal with it, fighting back. I’m amazed. Who would be a police officer? Who would be a police officer and they do it and they do it without complaint.”

“They do it sometimes with the public hating them. But they’re the first you call when you need them and they were the first to respond. I salute them this morning.”

The rant came after a counter-terrorism expert said Australia is leaving itself wide open to future attacks by training police to shoot terrorists dead.

Dr Allan Orr, a counter-terrorism and insurgency specialist who is researching and writing on the Sydney cafe siege — said Australia is “feeding the beasts” of terror and failing to prevent future attacks by giving cops shoot-to-kill advice instead of shoot-to-injure training.

He recommended creating a British-style rapid response anti-terror unit — with high powered weapons and access to helicopters — and powers to track people on terrorist watch lists to prevent more extremist attacks.

“These specialist police would be completely armed, unseen and just minutes away from the scene of an attack,” he told Fairfax.  “In the UK these frontline officers don’t deal with anything else but counter-terrorism, so they’ve got their play book down to response times of two minutes.”

The call comes in response to a deadly attack in Melbourne’s Bourke Street on Friday by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali — a Muslim refugee from Somalia. Ali crashed his car full of gas cylinders before stabbing three people, killing prominent Italian restaurateur Sisto Malaspina.

As Melbourne mourns over the tragic consequences of the deadly attack, a fierce debate is raging over how tough our immigration laws should be.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is advocating a tough-line approach which would allow the government to more easily deport residents before they become ­citizens. “I’ve been very open about the cancellation of visas, the numbers have ramped up, because there are some people who should not go on to become Australian citizens,’’ he said yesterday.

“The law applies differently, ­obviously, to someone who has ­Australian citizenship, by conferral or births, as opposed to someone here on a temporary status because they are the holder of a particular visa category.”

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has backed the call, according to the Herald Sun. “Deportation and the cancellation of visas are matters for the Commonwealth government, but we certainly support this action being taken against extremists and those who wish to do us harm,” he said.

Ali was known to federal police and had his passport cancelled in 2015 amid fears the Somali-born man would travel to Syria.

“It is important for us to get as much information from the imams, from spouses, family members, community members, council workers, people that might be interacting with those that might have changed their behaviours, that they think have been radicalised,” Mr Dutton told reporters in Brisbane.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he backs religious freedoms but has also called on Islamic leaders to call out the attack.

Those remarks that have in turn been labelled divisive by Muslim groups who say their community is not to blame for the actions of an individual and fear it could stoke Islamophobia.

“It is extremely disappointing in such difficult times and during a national tragedy, when all Australians of all faiths and backgrounds should be called upon to unite and stand together against any form of extremism and violence, to see our nation’s leader politicising this incident and using it for political gain,” the Australian National Imams Council said in a statement on Sunday.

Mr Dutton says the government’s community engagement programs have worked in building solid relationships with members of the public who have provided critical intelligence that has helped stop other attacks, but that there were still gaps in information gathering.

The family of a popular Melbourne restaurateur who was killed in the Bourke Street terror attack has been offered a state funeral as the city continues to mourn the tragedy.

Hundreds of flowers and cards line the footpath outside of Pellegrini’s restaurant as staff let mourners know the tributes would be passed on to the family of Mr Malaspina.

The 74-year-old man was walking down Bourke St, just a few hundred metres from the business he had run for more than 40 years, when he was caught up in the horrific attack.

Mr Andrews spoke to the family of Mr Malaspina and offered a state funeral.

Tasmanian businessman Rod Patterson and a 24-year-old security guard were also injured in the attack.

The attacker’s family has said the man had mental health problems in a note to reporters.

“Hassan suffered from mental illness for years and refused help. He’s been deteriorating these past few months,” a note given to Nine News showed. “Please stop turning this into a political game. This isn’t a guy who had any connections with terrorism but was simply crying for help,” it read.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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