Thursday, September 14, 2006


The victim is always wrong: Young thugs terrorised this woman for two years, trampling her garden and kicking footballs against her house. She shouted at them to leave her alone. And who do you think the police charged? Her.. for swearing

A mother of two has been fined for swearing at yobs who made her life a misery. For more than two years a group of about 15 teenage thugs have hounded Donna Appleyard, 32, subjecting her to relentless abuse, threats and vandalism. But when she finally snapped over the constant intimidation and swore at one of the bullies, she was arrested and fined. And if she doesn't pay up, Donna could face a spell in prison.

She said yesterday: "I am absolutely furious that I have been made out to be the criminal when all I have ever wanted to do is live in peace and quiet." Almost every day since 2004 Donna and her neighbours in Knottingley, West Yorks, have had to endure the gang jumping fences, trampling gardens, shouting, swearing, kicking footballs against windows and hanging around their street into the night. The three-bed semi she shares with partner Colin Lamb, 34, and her kids James, 14, and Holly, 12, was such a relentless target that on March 30 she lost her temper and swore at one tormentor.

And two weeks later police called at her home saying a 13-year-old had made a complaint. She was handed an 80 pound fixed penalty notice but refused to pay and was taken to court last month - only for magistrates to up the sum to 120 pounds which Donna must now pay or face a jail term. She said: "I was at the end of my tether and admit I swore at one of them. But that's nothing compared to what my neighbours and I have suffered."

Donna claims she made countless complaints to police about the gang but nothing was done. She said: "Officers told me I'd scared children. Well, what do they think has been happening to us for the past year? I am livid. "These kids have made me, my family and my neighbours feel like prisoners in our own homes. "They are intimidating and aggressive and make our lives hell. All I did was swear at them and I am in trouble with the law. "What about everything they have done to us? I can't believe the police have arrested me and left them to run wild."

Incensed neighbours Shirley and George Wardle have offered to contribute half to Donna's fine. Shirley, 69, said: "It's deplorable. Whoever charged her wants to come and live here a while."

But Donna is so enraged by how she has been treated that she is still refusing to pay the penalty. She said: "I don't see why I should lose money when all I have done is stick up for my family. "I've been told that if I don't settle I could go to prison. But I won't pay because, in my eyes, I haven't done anything wrong."

Sgt Neil Haley, of the local neighbourhood policing team said: "We appreciate that anti-social behaviour can be frustrating. "But people should not take the law into their own hands."



Anti-Iraq war progressives can't accept the real lesson of 9/11: there's a global Islamist movement bent on the destruction of the West. The fifth anniversary of 9/11 offers a brilliant study of the progressive neurosis, commemorating an event while denying its origins, nature and cause. It has been akin to an exhausting and endless documentary on Pearl Harbor that scarcely mentions Japan, the sort of product where a professional editor would demand a rewrite.

The anniversary has become an extravaganza in Bush bashing, a reminder that President George W. Bush is the most compelling and easiest media target for a generation. His blunders in Iraq are a fundamental part of the post-9/11 story. But John Howard nailed the problem on Four Corners when he said: "It's a very strange thing to start the dialogue with Iraq rather than start the dialogue with the attack on the 11th of September."

In fact, it's not strange at all. This is the progressive mind in action. For the progressive mind the source of the problem is Bush. The real story is the Iraq war. The dynamic driving the terrorists is Bush's aggressive tactics. So where else would you start and end but Iraq?

The Western progressive mind is profoundly uncomfortable with the nature of the 9/11 attack. This is an event that invokes God, moral absolutes and cultural divides, a trinity of ideas totally anathema to Western progressives who know that God is dead, moral absolutes don't exist and multicultural diversity is utopia. The progressive mind, supreme in our media, treats 9/11 as a human interest tragedy that inspires homilies on the meaning of life. This conceals the reality: 9/11 is an epoch-changing event not because nearly 3000 died (more people have died in many other events) but because it was a transforming political, cultural and strategic event.

This is what the progressive mind cannot accept. It begins with the enemy. Yes, there was an enemy, though, of course, it offends polite company to admit this. The truth was summarised in the US 9/11 commission report (often at odds with Bush) when it said: "The enemy is not just terrorism, some generic evil. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism, especially the al-Qaeda networks, its affiliates and its ideology."

The 9/11 commission argues the challenge is more than a war on terrorism. The enemy (of which al-Qaeda is a manifestation) is a global ideological movement. The threat is millennial: "Bin Laden and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the 'head of the snake', and it must be converted or destroyed."

For the progressive mind, this is hysterical or an exaggeration or both. The progressives (witness the civil liberty lobby in Australia) cling ferociously to the claim that terrorism has been around for years and nothing much different is happening now. Their entire position depends on such a fiction. The more the origins of 9/11 are documented, the more this is exposed. So, better stick with Iraq.

Consider the causes. The more the causes of 9/11 are revealed in a global ideological movement operating in the mosques and the schools and feeding off deep-seated resentment across the Muslim world towards the US, all implanted well before Bush's Iraqi venture and even before Bush entered the White House, the more difficult it is to sheet home responsibility to Bush. So, better stick with Iraq.

Consider the consequences. The more the strategic implications of 9/11 are ventilated - the fact al-Qaeda wants to acquire a nuclear capacity; that Osama bin Laden met Pakistani nuclear officials to plan further attacks; that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and bin Laden considered but decided against striking US nuclear facilities "for now"; that Harvard University's Graham Allison, after his forensic analysis, concludes that a "dirty bomb attack is overdue"; and that Bush, above all, in everything he has done, has been driven by his fear of an attack by weapons of mass destruction - the more apparent is the unprecedented danger and the more understandable is the strength of Bush's reaction. So, better stick with Iraq.

Consider the moral dimension. The more the Islamist attack against the West is depicted as a plan to kill as many innocent men, women and children as possible in a self-declared war against US power and ideology, the more the US seems wronged rather than guilty. So, better stick with Iraq.

Consider the cultural dimension. For bin Laden, the ideological fixation is against the US as a cultural and religious entity ("the worst civilisation witnessed by the history of mankind"), while for Bush the war is not against Islam but against the Islamist terror groups. This distinction, central to the meaning of 9/11, is blurred by Bush's misconceived Iraq war. So, better stick with Iraq.

In my view, the criticism mounted by US former counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke about the disastrous consequences of the Iraq war is convincing. The evidence from Iraq and Afghanistan is that the jihadists are re-energised. But neither the Iraq conflict nor Bush's mistakes define or explain the larger war between the West and Islamist terrorism that is symbolised by the 9/11 attacks and will continue after a resolution in Iraq.

The West remains confused and divided about the nature of this conflict and how to respond. It is polarised between the radical conservative reaction typified by Bush and Tony Blair and the mind-set of denial typified by their progressive opponents. The West has succeeded in the mechanics of tighter security, intelligence and policing. But it has failed in the battle of ideas, the proof being the ongoing recruitment to jihadist ranks in its own societies. Bin Laden has won a dividend he never expected. This is the divide between Bush-Blair-Howard executive governments and their progressive critics, whose final denial is their refusal to admit they are part of the problem


Black crookedness finally recognized in Australia

Aboriginal land councils in NSW will be forced to seek the approval of regulators for all business and investment activities under reforms designed to bring an end to decades of cronyism and corruption. NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Milton Orkopoulos will today announce the biggest overhaul of the NSW land rights system since 1983, when about 79,000ha of Crown land was divested to 121 local Aboriginal land councils. The combined holdings of the LALCs now amount to about 1per cent of NSW and have an estimated value of $1billion.

Mr Orkopoulos said yesterday the changes would "provide greater accountability and stamp out nepotism" by transforming land councils from small-scale community organisations into "the million-dollar corporate structures some have grown into over the past 23 years". He hopes the reforms will realise the intention of the 1983 act to provide local Aboriginal communities with permanent income to fund benefits such as superannuation and education scholarships.

Instead, profits have been squandered on dubious investments, redirected to the mates and families of council board members and staff, or siphoned off by unscrupulous developers. A number of LALCs have become embroiled in financial and bribery scandals and there are currently 12 councils under the control of administrators.

Under the reforms, councils will need the approval of their members, as well as of their regulating body, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, before selling off land or setting up businesses with the proceeds. The NSW council will also, for the first time, have full access to the financial records of related corporate entities set up by LALCs. When such entities fail, the risk will be borne by the directors, not the land council. In addition, the members of the NSW land council will be elected from six regions under a collegiate model designed to short-circuit cronyism and prevent the domination of elections by a few large Aboriginal families. The revised act will also insure that the powers and responsibilities of board members are clearly defined and made distinct from those of staff.

Last year, The Australian revealed a joint venture between the NSW land council and Macquarie Bank to develop Aboriginal land and create income streams for communities. Tim Hornibrook, head of Macquarie Indigenous Financial Services, said yesterday he was confident the reforms "would push the less reputable operators out of the market, on the commercial side". "At the moment the councils are asset rich and cash poor," he said. "You've got to look at improving their ability to transact in an open and transparent manner with commercial entities."

Murray Chapman, administrator of the NSWALC, said he hoped the changes would "drag the council network into the 21st century". "It will put land councils on a more commercial footing and make them better able to deliver services to their members," he said. "Our mob have got their fair share of crooks, like any other part of Australian society. "You'll never get rid of them, but (the reforms) will make things far more difficult for the standover men and the outright crooks," Mr Chapman said.


No comments: