Thursday, October 17, 2013

Some more multiculturalism in Britain

A man convicted of murdering his on-off girlfriend hours after brutally raping a stranger has been jailed for life with a minimum of 33 years for the 'horrifying' attacks.

Marvin Samuels, 31, stabbed Sharlana Diedrick, 32, 16 times and would have continued the frenzied attack if he had not hurt his hand.

Hours earlier he attacked a 43-year-old woman as she walked her chihuahua around a reservoir in Brent, north London, because she looked like Ms Diedrick.

The victim was dragged into the undergrowth before being ordered to strip naked and was then raped.

The Old Bailey heard he tried to strangle her with her scarf, before repeatedly beating her over the head with a bottle and tree branch. He then left her for dead.

He was found unanimously guilty of murder at the Old Bailey last week and had admitted two other charges of rape and grievous bodily harm.

Sentencing Samuels today, Judge Timothy Pontius told him: 'These three crimes are all individually horrifying in the extent of the mere brutality with which they were committed. Taken together, they represent a level of violent behaviour carried out during a period of just a few hours that I have rarely encountered.

'You went out armed with at least one knife that day and by the time you murdered Sharlana Diedrick you had two knives.'

The judge said it was noted that he did not use a knife on his rape victim.

'Nevertheless, you raped her brutally and beat her savagely with a tree branch and, on your own admission, a bottle,' he said.

'Furthermore, you used a scarf to strangle her.'

The woman 'remains so traumatised by the extent she suffered at your hands that she has been unable to describe any of it', the judge added.

'It was only six hours or so later that you killed Sharlana Diedrick, the mother of your young son.'

Powerfully-built Samuels, of Stonebridge, north west London, showed no emotion as he was told he would serve three concurrent life sentences for the three counts.

He denied murder, claiming he was not 'mentally responsible' at the time.

The judge went on: 'In all the evidence the jury and I have heard, in particular the number of blows and the force with which they were inflicted on a wholly defenceless woman sitting at the wheel of her car, I am not of the slightest doubt that you intended to kill her.

'Furthermore, whatever your mental state at present, there is no doubt in my mind that on September 29 last year your mind was not so afflicted as to lessen the culpability of what you did to any extent.'

Jurors heard he launched the terrifying attack on a 42-year-old woman who was walking her pet chihuahua by Welsh Harp Reservoir in Neasden, north west London, at around 5pm.

He battered the woman, who looked like Ms Diedrick, with a bottle and a piece of wood after dragging her into undergrowth.  He strangled her with her scarf, rendering her unconscious, and then left her for dead.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was unable to give information about what happened to her but forensic evidence was found linking Samuels to her.  Her naked and badly-beaten body was found when her worried husband and others carried out a search after she did not return home.

Ms Diedrick, with whom Samuels had a 'volatile' relationship, was found at 11.16pm that night with her body slumped halfway out of her Hyundai car, which was parked near his home.

Witnesses said they had heard her screaming.  She suffered 16 stab wounds to the chest and abdomen.

Samuels, who the court heard has suffered from an anti-social personality disorder and paranoia since childhood, was also charged with the attempted murder of the rape victim but was cleared by jurors.


China to ban people with HIV from spas and public bathhouses in move condemned by UN

China plans to ban people with HIV from accessing spas, hot springs and public bathhouses, it has been revealed today.

The Chinese government has posted a draft regulation online, ordering spas and similar premises to display signs prohibiting 'people with sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and infectious skin diseases'.

The proposal, which has been condemned by the United Nations' AIDS agency (UNAIDS), has sparked outrage among campaign groups.

It is the latest instance of ongoing discrimination against HIV carriers in the world's most populous country.

China already bans those with the virus from becoming civil servants - with HIV-positive people facing the possibility of losing their jobs if their employers discover their status.

Others HIV carriers have sought hospital treatment, only to be turned away.

Hedia Belhadj, China's coordinator for UNAIDS, said she was concerned by the proposed Ministry of Commerce rule, which was posted online by China's State Council today.

She called for it to be removed - pointing out there is no risk of transmission of HIV in a spa or bathhouse setting.

'UNAIDS recommends that restrictions preventing people living with HIV from accessing bath houses, spas and other similar facilities be removed from the final draft of this policy,' she said.

She also urged that 'any other policies preventing people living with HIV from accessing public or private services be revised'.

Campaign groups have also spoken out against the proposal, which could affect as many as 780,000 people living with HIV in China.

'The only value of this draft law is in discriminating against those with AIDS,' said, Yu Fangqiang, director of the Nanjing-based anti-discrimination NGO Justice for All.  'This law must be changed. All the HIV NGOs know this new rule, and they want to fight it.'  He added that his organisation and five other domestic NGOs are seeking to collaborate on a response.

In 2010, China lifted a long-standing ban on HIV-positive foreigners entering the country - although, in recent years, top officials have spoken more openly about HIV prevention and control.

The country has also extended access to free antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people.

However, discrimination against those with HIV and AIDS remains an issue at hospitals, workplaces and other establishments across China.

In January, a draft regulation in south China's Guangdong province proposed to ban people with HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases from becoming teachers.  But officials dropped the provision in April after an outcry from rights groups.

Most attempts by HIV-positive people to sue over discrimination have failed.

However, earlier this year, a plaintiff who was denied a teaching job after it was revealed he was HIV-positive was awarded 45,000 yuan (£4,605) from an east China county education bureau, state media reported.

The case marked a milestone that activists have cited as a cause for hope in future legal battles.

Ms Belhadj said that widespread stigmatisation of those with HIV in China has complicated efforts to curb its spread.

Addressing the 'stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV essential in the national response,' she added.


Press regulation plan 'would break the law'

Plans to regulate Britain’s 300-year-old free Press are in breach of the law, a senior peer and lawyer is warning.

Lord Lester, an eminent QC who is the architect of reforms to Britain’s notorious libel laws, suggested that punishing newspapers that refuse to join a new Press regulator with exemplary damages would violate Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression.

The Liberal Democrat peer said: ‘The British Press is subject to our plentiful criminal and civil laws. There is no need for further state intervention, as proposed by the “Hacked Off” celebrity campaigners.

‘We need a system of independent self-regulation that encourages professional standards and provides effective redress, avoiding unnecessary litigation.’

Boris Johnson yesterday urged newspapers to boycott the Government’s proposed Royal Charter on Press regulation, branding the exercise a ‘monstrous folly’.

The London mayor said the Leveson Inquiry into media standards had arisen from a ‘string of essentially political embarrassments’, including the MPs’ expenses scandal.

Last week, the three main parties agreed the detail of a Royal Charter setting up a system of regulation in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.

An alternative put forward by the Press, which would have meant a new independent regulator having strong investigative powers and the right to impose fines of up to £1million, up-front corrections, with inaccuracies corrected fully and prominently, and independence from the industry and politicians, was rejected.


A chilling lesson from history and why shackling the Press is inimical to liberty

On January 5, 1895, in the centre of Paris, watched by 4,000 soldiers and 20,000 civilians, a Jewish artillery officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, was publicly degraded.

All the insignia of his rank — the gold braid, the buttons, even the piping on his trousers — were torn from his uniform. His sword was snapped in half.

As the crowd yelled ‘Death to the Jews!’ and ‘Judas!’ he was paraded around the Ecole Militaire.

The following month he was transported to Devil’s Island off the coast of South America, and forbidden to speak to anyone — even his guards — for the rest of his life.

Nobody dared to defend Dreyfus in public; nobody wanted to. He was universally loathed as a traitor who had betrayed secrets to the Germans. Trying to imagine the equivalent hate-figure in modern Britain, I can think only of Jimmy Savile. But there was one great difference: Dreyfus was entirely innocent.

The story of how Dreyfus was framed, convicted and then rescued from his dreadful fate is the subject of my new novel. It is a tale worth retelling: a perennial warning of how easily justice can be corrupted, especially by secret trials; how ruthlessly so-called respectable organisations (not just governments) will conceal their mistakes; and how vital it is to have newspapers willing to defy not only the conventional opinions of the great and the good, but even — if necessary — the law.

This last lesson is one we in Britain need to consider urgently as we sleepwalk into State regulation of the Press for the first time in 300 years.

Dreyfus owed his eventual salvation to two very modern phenomena: whistleblowing and muck-raking journalism. The whistleblower was Georges Picquart, the youngest colonel in the French army, who was put in charge of the military’s secret intelligence service a few months after Dreyfus was exiled.

Like everyone else, initially he believed Dreyfus was guilty. But the following year he discovered the Germans still had a spy operating on French soil — a womanising gambler, Major Charles Esterhazy.

By the summer of 1896 he was sure Esterhazy was acting alone, and that Dreyfus had been convicted on the basis of forged intelligence documents.

Picquart was unable to persuade his superiors to reopen the Dreyfus case. Eventually, he passed what he knew to a lawyer, who — through an intermediary — briefed the Dreyfus family, who then publicly named Esterhazy as the real traitor.

Naturally, Esterhazy protested his innocence, backed by the full weight of the French state, desperate not to admit their complicity in Dreyfus’s wrongful conviction.
The story of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (left) shows how vital it is to have newspapers willing to defy not only the conventional opinions of the great and the good, but even - if necessary - the law

The story of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (left) shows how vital it is to have newspapers willing to defy not only the conventional opinions of the great and the good, but even - if necessary - the law

But on November 28, 1897, Le Figaro published private love letters written by Esterhazy 13 years earlier to his mistress, Madame de Boulancy, in which he expressed his hatred of his fellow countrymen (‘I would not harm a little dog, but I would have 100,000 Frenchmen killed with pleasure’).

Of course, it is possible that if the French in 1897 had had something in place like the UK’s proposed new Press watchdog, it would have ruled in Le Figaro’s favour: that it would have accepted it was in the public’s interest that Esterhazy’s private correspondence should be printed, despite the obvious breach of his copyright and invasion of his privacy.

But that is with the wisdom of hindsight. I would not bank on it — not in the political climate of that time; not when all major parties, the Catholic Church, the army and the great bulk of the Press subscribed to the belief Dreyfus was guilty and Esterhazy was being traduced by a sinister ‘Jewish syndicate’.
In January 1898, a court martial unanimously cleared Esterhazy of all the charges, and the Minister of War issued a warrant for the arrest of the whistleblowing Colonel Picquart (pictured)

In January 1898, a court martial unanimously cleared Esterhazy of all the charges, and the Minister of War issued a warrant for the arrest of the whistleblowing Colonel Picquart (pictured)

Two months later, in January 1898, a court martial unanimously cleared Esterhazy of all the charges, and the Minister of War issued a warrant for the arrest of the whistleblowing Colonel Picquart.

Again, one can imagine the excellent use that Esterhazy and his lawyers would have been able to make of a statutory Press complaints procedure, set up under Royal Charter and designed to be responsive to public opinion.

They would surely have been able to argue that to print further allegations against him, now that he had been officially declared innocent by a court of law, would be tantamount to persecution — ‘trial by the Press’ — a witch hunt.

It would have been a brave newspaper editor who would have defied that ruling.

The author Emile Zola famously defied the court martial, and in the newspaper L’Aurore published the truth about the Dreyfus case under the headline: ‘J’Accuse . . !’

He was prosecuted for criminal libel, fined, and sentenced to a year in prison. The managing editor was sentenced to four months and fined 5,000 francs. These were swingeing penalties.

Even so, it is salutary to contemplate the prospect, more than 120 years later, that Britain may soon have much stricter rules which, had they been in force in France at the time of Dreyfus, might have closed L’Aurore altogether.

In truth, a free Press is seldom a pretty sight. The Press in France at the end of the  19th century was awash with xenophobia, anti-Semitism and lurid sexual scandal.

Journalists fought duels with outraged readers. In 1914, the wife of the Minister of Finance, fearing her husband’s adultery was about to be revealed, shot dead the editor of Le Figaro — and was duly acquitted by a jury who thought she had a point. The Press was ugly but it was indubitably free, and unlicensed: that was its glory.

Like roughly 70 per cent of the British public, according to the opinion polls, I too have a deep distaste for the methods of some elements of the tabloids, especially in their treatment of the families of murder victims; I welcome their prosecution under the existing laws.

But I fear such excesses are part of the price of liberty.

In the words of the philosopher, Isaiah Berlin: ‘Everything is what it is: liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or culture, or human happiness or a quiet conscience.’

The proposal that newspapers should have to register with a regulator or face the prospect of crippling damages in the courts if they are sued, strikes me as fundamentally inimical to liberty. The notion this regulator should meet in private to decide its judgments is troubling.

The idea that any such regulator would somehow operate in a bubble of dispassionate rectitude, unmoved by the fierce and vulgar prejudices of the day, is nonsense.

I fear it is entirely typical that the driving force behind this anti-libertarian proposal should be the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.

In 1965, the playwright Joe Orton wrote: ‘We live in a country which would give the power of arrest to the traffic lights if three women magistrates and a Liberal MP would only suggest it.’ And nothing much has changed since.

In 1899, the French government was finally shamed into granting Dreyfus a pardon, but he had to wait until 1906 to be fully cleared. For 12 years the politicians and the judges failed him repeatedly.

The lesson of the Dreyfus affair is that liberty depends on free newspapers, and those newspapers are most vitally needed precisely when they are most awkwardly, stubbornly and disgracefully opposed to the prevailing consensus.

If the French Press had been regulated in the 19th century in the way we propose to regulate ours in the 21st, I have a horrible suspicion Dreyfus would have died on Devil’s Island.



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


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