“Brave” USA bullies child “pirate”

22/04/2009

Sometimes I think it’s impossible for me to think any less of the USA. And then the Yanks do something so disgusting, I’m forced to accept that there are fresh depths to which they can sink. Look at how they’re treating Abduhl Wali-i-Musi, the Somali teenager accused of masterminding the kidnap of the captain of the Maersk Alabama. According to the boy’s mother, Abduhl is just 16 years old, a boy who was tricked into participating in piracy. It’s clear he is very young – the Chicago Tribune says he is just 5 foot 2 inches in height, “and looked bewildered and so scrawny that his prison clothes were several sizes too big.” His lawyer, Deirdre von Dornum, described him as “extremely young, injured and terrified”.

The USA is determined to punish Abduhl severely for his involvement in the kidnap plot.  He is a minor – his mother says he’s 16, his defence believes he’s 15 – but the court has decided he’s 18, and so can be tried as an adult.  There doesn’t seem to have been any actual confirmation of his age – the judge first ordered the court be closed as appropriate for a minor like Abduhl; then he announce4d that he was ruling that the boy was in fact a man, and let the press and sight-seers back in.  Did someone tell the judge he’d better try Abduhl as an adult?  Maybe…

And the prosecution allege that the boy was the leader of the pirates!  Imagine: a band of cut-throats led by this little boy!  Remember, he’s 5 foot 2 and maybe as young as 15 – does this sound like a pirate captain?  More like a cabin boy!  Yet the USA seems determined to set this child up with a life sentence.  What the heck?!!

Sometimes I think the Yanks can’t get any worse.  And then they get worse…


Brit hacker loses fight against extradition

08/08/2008

Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who broke into US Defense and NASA computer systems in search of evidence of UFOs, has lost his battle against extradition.

It was 2002 when the police came round to McKinnon’s house to nick him.  Now 6 years later,  on 30 July, the House of Lords agreed he should be sent to America to face trial and possible imprisonment.

Initially, McKinnon thought he would be tried in the UK and might get, at most, 3 or 4 years in prison. But then the US authorities decided they wanted to try him in an American court with charges that could a sentence of 70 years.

The Americans claim that McKinnom was intent on sabotage and that he did $700,000 worth of damage to US computer systems.  McKinnon refutes this – he says he had no malicious intent and was just trying to find the “truth” about America’s dealings with extraterrestrials.

The Americans have been hyping up the case, claiming that his hacking activities damaged defense systems in September 2001 – during the 9-11 crisis.  They’d have us believe that McKinnon is an online terrorist.  And they want to punish him accordingly.

Of course it’s no surprise that the UK government supports the USA’s desire to put him on trial in a US court.  But it is worrying to know that the UK authorities has no problem with sending a British citizen to another country to face a possible 70 years in jail.  McKinnon could have been tried in a UK court… so why wasn’t he?  Why is everyone so keen to ship him abroad?

I’ll tell you why: it’s because the UK government loves the USA.  A perverse love.

Remember when there was all that hullaballoo about “extraordinary rendition” (aka kidnapping)?  The UK government had absolutely no problem believing the lies told by the USA about how no rendition flights came anywhere near British territory.  It’s since been proven that these illegal flights often used to land in the UK territory of Diego Garcia to refuel.  And rendition planes frequently overflew the UK despite US assurances this never happened.

And now the UK is actively helping with a rendition.  They are to render McKinnon to the Americans, to do with as they will.


Shannon’s stepfather and child porn!!

11/04/2008

What an awful development… Shannon Matthews’ stepdad, Craig Meehan was today charged with 11 counts of possessing indecent images of children.  In total, he’s alleged to have had 140 child porn pictures stored on computers at home.

This comes in addition to Shannon’s mother being charged for child neglect and perverting the course of justice in connection with Shannon’s disappearance last month.  And Meehan’s mother Alice, and her daughters Amanda Hyatt and Caroline Meehan, were also arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

There’s been no suggestion that Shannon was in any of her stepdad’s pictures, nor that Meehan has abused her.  But it’s extremely disturbing that the girl has been living with an alleged pedophile. Add to this the suggestion that her family were all in some way involved in a conspiracy around her kidnap… the possibilities are stomach-churning.

Thank the stars that the police put Shannon into care rather than return her to her parents.


Shannon Kidnap Faked! Mom Arrested!

08/04/2008

Well, well!! It seems that Shannon Matthews wasn’t really kidnapped at all… her mother, Karen Matthews, has been arrested – apparently after admitting to police that she knew where her daughter was hidden all along!!

Matthews, aged 32, is charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice. Serious stuff.

In case you didn’t hear about this case at the time, here’s a recap: Shannon Matthews, aged 9, vanished on 19 February and was found 24 days later after one of the largest missing person hunts ever conducted by West Yorkshire Police. She was found hidden under a bed at the home of a relative, Michael Donovan. (He’s the uncle of Shannon’s stepfather.)

Craig Meehan’s sister, Amanda Hyett (Shannon’s step-aunt), and his mother, Alice Meehan (Shannon’s step-grandmother) have also been arrested in connection with this: Ms Hyett was questioned “on suspicion of assisting an offender”, and Ms Meehan was arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Both women were released on police bail.

This complicated case has got me baffled. It looks like Karen Matthews faked her daughter’s kidnap. But if it was a fake, how come Michael Donovan is still facing charges of kidnap and false imprisonment? Surely the police can’t have it both ways?!

As to why this crazy business happened: since Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal, her parents have accrued quite a lot of money. Did Karen Matthews think she too could make some cash if her daughter went missing?

I can remember Matthews making appeals on the TV for her daughter’s safe return. And her fellow inmates in prison will also remember it. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes right now!! Oww!!


“I’m close to finding Madeleine,” boasts lying private eye

06/12/2007

At the end of November, Francisco Marco, the overweight boss of the Spanish Metodo 3 private investigation agency, claimed that his boys were on the verge of finding Madeleine McCann.  Marco said that the Portugese police were bumbling and inept; that Madeleine was “definitely alive”; and that very soon, he would find her.

Well, ten days have passed since his claims – and there’s still no sign of the missing girl.

The fact is, the hunt for Madeleine is beginning to seem pretty hopeless.  Kate and Gerry McCann still say in public that they’re sure their daughter is still alive.  But in private, they must now start to face up to the fact that they very well may never see the girl again.  A resident of Praia da Luz, who has been involved in the case since near the start, said:  “No one is any nearer knowing what happened and we are tired of retracing old ground.”

I’ve been as hopeful as anyone that Madeleine would turn up.  But I fear that it is a murder case, and that the body – and the killer – will never be found.

But Fransisco Marco is still acting like the ace sleuth.  He is still making boastful claims to the press.  Claims that never seem to lead to anything substantial.  He just keeps parrotting the line that he’s “sure” Madeleine is still alive.

Well, Kate and Gerry have said that they are sure she’s not dead.  But they never pretended that they had any reason other than blind faith to believe that.  Marco, however, says it with the air of someone who is privy to secret information.  He constantly makes out that he knows more than he’s saying.

It’s time for the McCanns to accept that Marco knows jack.  They’ve been “sold a pup”.

Fransisco Marco: latter-day Sherlock Holmes?  Or a quick-talking operator with pockets full of empty hands?


Claims and counter-claims about Madeleine McCann

09/11/2007

There are a lot of theories doing the rounds about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, according to the Daily Telegraph.  The Portugese police apparently think that Madeleine died after a fall from stone steps at the family’s holiday apartment.  This theory arose after a sniffer dog detected “the smell of death” on the steps.

So what in hell is “the smell of death”?  I understand that sniffer dogs work by “indicating” when they detect the substance they are trained to find.  If a sniffer dog trained to find human remains (as the dog involved was trained) “indicated” the steps, the police would have tested the steps for human remains.  If the remains were there, the McCanns would have been in serious shit.  But this “smell of death” crap is ridiculous.

But also ridiculous is the theory currently being pushed by McCann family representatives – that a disgruntled ex-maid at the holiday complex kidnapped Madeleine as revenge against her former employers.  The maid would have to be completely insane to have done that, totally wacko… and drooling lunatics don’t make the best kidnappers.

The worst news I’ve seen though, is the report that the McCanns are planning to speak about the investigation on American chat shows.  Under portugese law, it is illegal for them, as official suspects or “arguidos”, to discuss it.  I understand that the McCanns are frustrated by the lack of progress and the accusations flying around, but if they breach Portugal’s secrecy laws then they will deserve everything they get there.


Branson pledges £100,000 to defend Madeleine’s parents

17/09/2007

Echoing public opinion in the UK that the portugese police are on the wrong scent, globe-trotting celebrity billionaire Richard Branson has said that he’ll donate £100,000 to defend Gerry and Kate McCann if they should end up in court accused of being involved in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

Reuters reported Branson’s pledge, which had followed news that the money donated by the public to help find the girl – more than one million pounds – would not be used to pay the McCanns’ legal bills. And they’ve already hired lawyers both in Portugal and here in the UK. Branson hopes that other wealthy individuals will make similar pledges. This is a reflection of the fact that the vast majority of people in the UK believe the police in Portugal should never have declared the McCanns as”official suspects”.

mccanns.jpeg

Gerry and Kate McCann

The press really do need to ease up on their coverage of Madeleine’s parents. Kate and Gerry McCann did invite massive publicity, in the hope that it would help find the four-year old girl – but the way it blew up in their face is most undeserved.

I remember hearing on the radio, not long after the police’s announcement, that seven years ago a portugese mother was jailed after her child went missing – and the same detective who led the case against her is now in charge of the hunt for Maleleine. This all helps create suspicion that the portugese police, having messed up at the start of the case by not treating it as an abduction, and with no leads to follow, will use the McCanns as scapegoats.

I do not share the portugese police’s suspicions. I take the McCanns at face value – as the frantic parents of a missing child. I’ve seen their televised appeals. They can’t be faking those emotions, surely.

But I’m also concerned at the news that they’ve hired a British lawyer. That suggests to me that, if the portugese police want to talk to them again, the McCanns won’t return to Portugal of their own free will – that they are planning to fight any extradition attempt.

They’re innocent, of course – wouldn’t they want to take the opportunity to prove, once and for all, that they are not involved in this horrific crime?

But I’m no expert, I’m just an interested observer. And I share my observations here, with anyone who wants to know. I’ll always tell the truth about what I think of the Madeleine McCann case.

Let’s keep hoping she’ll come home soon.

———-

UPDATE: Tue 18 Sept 11:36AM

The portugese police do want to interview the McCanns again.  Apparently they went to a Portugese Court to try and get the couple ordered back to Portugal.  But the judge refused, saying that the case is “too flimsy”.

Of course, the case will remain flimsy, if the police can’t gather any more evidence.  And they obviously think that reinterviewing the McCanns is the way to get that evidence.


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