I want to be free. And rich and happy and lucky in love, of course. But there’s no point in hoping for any of that if I have to live in a world where the future is a boot stamping on an unprotected face forever.
On the Guardian website today (29 August 2014) is a top-of-the-page headline: “New powers to seize terror suspects’ passports”. Now maybe that seems fine to you – can’t have terrorists suicide-bombing their way around the world on British passports, can we? But that is not the intent of prime minister Cameron’s plan, and by wording their headline as they have, the Guardian (and, I expect, other newspapers) are deliberately misrepresenting what the government are up to.
The current law already allows for the confiscation of terror suspects’ passports – “terror suspects” meaning people who are suspected of engaging in terrorism. This new law is rather an extension of the old, much-criticized “control orders”, which allowed the authorities to keep people under virtual house arrest because the police think the individual might engage in terrorism. The law allowed for control orders to be imposed on individuals without telling the “suspect” what evidence existed. If you’re put under a control order as a result of evidence that you and your legal representatives aren’t allowed to see, how are you supposed to effectively defend himself? What if the evidence is faulty? How can you appeal, when you don’t know what lies the authorities are using to impose the control order?
And now the thought crime is going one step further. “Oh look, there’s a British Muslim trying to leave the country. He’s got a return ticket to Paris on the Eurostar, but maybe he isn’t really planning to return. Maybe he’s going to travel on to Syria or Iraq and behead people. After all, that’s what Muslims do, isn’t it? Look on Youtube, you’ll see a video of an American journalist being beheaded by a British Muslim. Bloody British Muslims, all the bloody same. Better take away is passport.”
Secret evidence, secret courts, all makes me think “secret police”, and “police state”. Maybe you don’t care because you’re not a Muslim? Well, who do you expect to come rescue you when the authorities decide that people like you might be a threat? Pull your head out of your butt; and don’t give me any of that “Can’t happen here” crap, because it is happening here, now.
Incidentally, the UK terror threat was raised from substantial to severe for the first time since 2010. This means that an attack is deemed to be “highly likely” – although not necessarily imminent. Who decided that? Them. And you must never question what they say or do…
***TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC ANNOUNCEMENT***
According to WordPress, this is my 399th post. Which means the next post will be #400!! That’s got to be a cool anniversary, yeah? So get in touch, tell me what you’d like me to write about, and I’ll try to please you all. If you’re familiar with I HATE HATE!!! you know I’m perfectly capable of writing about anything, even stuff I know absolutely nothing about. And if no one makes any suggestions, I’ll pretend someone did and write some drivel about something no one knows or cares about. Something else you know I’m perfectly capable of, if you are at all familiar with this blog…
Well, what a shock (pun intended)! A police officer tasered a naked man in a cell because the suspect threw his underpants at him… and his brutality has been vindicated by a court!
Wiltshire PC Lee Birch, the cop who shot the man was cleared of assault and misconduct. He must have acted in self-defence, as everyone knows that underpants are dangerous weapons… And the victim, Daniel Dove, hadn’t even committed a crime. He had been arrested for being “drunk and disorderly” but was later released with no charge (except for the electrical charge he got from the stun gun of course). Which makes me wonder: if throwing his underpants at PC Birch was such a vicious attack that warranted use of a taser, how come he wasn’t charged for that attack? And why was Dove being strip-searched anyway? He was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, not suspicion of possessing drugs or carrying concealed weapons. It’s not routine procedure to strip-search suspects.
My guess is that Dove was pissed off for being nicked for no reason. He probably got mouthy, so the police decided to put him in his place and humiliate him by strip-searching him. Dove was naked when he threw the underpants, but police rules state that during a strip-search the suspect should never be completely naked at any one point. He should have been wearing a shirt or t-shirt when removing his underpants. Birch was deliberately humiliating him. If it happened to me, I’d probably throw more than my underpants at the cop.
Unfortunately, police are using their tasers without proper reason all over the country. Lancashire Police constable Scott Fairclough used the electro-shock weapon on the 20 year old man after he had refused to be strip-searched. The whole incident was captured on CCTV. And Fairclough’s colleagues thought the whole thing was funny! One PC was heard saying the 50,000 volt weapon would make him “glow in the dark” and produce “blue flames coming out of his eye sockets. ” And another officer commented: “Ahh did you make him cry? Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.”
The Mirror reported:
In an interview, PC Fairclough said he asked the man to remove his clothing and was met with the reply: “Don’t come in here, you’ll regret it.”
He then said that he heard a deep inhalation of breath from the man and took that as a sign he was about to attack him and activated his Taser.
However, in its report, the IPCC said the CCTV footage it had seen showed the man arrested was not showing signs of being volatile towards officers before the Taser was used.
Guidelines state officers may use the weapon “when faced with violence or threats of violence of such severity that force is needed to protect the public, themselves or the individual concerned”. I don’t see how any of these cases meet that criteria. And there are cases where taser use has been ridiculously cavalier. Another Lancashire Police officer Stuart Wright tasered a63 year old blind man, Colin Farmer, because he supposedly mistook Farmer’s white stick for a samurai sword! And Farmer clearly posed no danger to PC Wright at the time, as Mr Farmer was walking away from the cop and Wright shot him in the back.
The home office has reported that the police also use their tasers on children. Every day kids as young as 11 are being tasered!
Rachel Baines, chair of the Lancashire Police Federation, said there were “always lessons to be learned” where tasers were involved. She said: “The public still find it odd. We are under a lot of scrutiny, but it’s worth remembering that it is a less lethal option than using a baton and causes less injuries to people. We are pleased with the IPCC findings which say the uses were justified.”
Baines is missing the point here, even though she said it herself: tasers are allegedly “less lethal” but they have a horrific effect and can kill. Wikipedia says:
Tasers and other high-voltage stun devices can cause cardiac arrhythmia in susceptible subjects, possibly leading to heart attack or death in minutes by ventricular fibrillation, which leads to cardiac arrest and—if not treated immediately—to sudden death. People susceptible to this outcome are sometimes healthy and unaware of their susceptibility.
Although the medical conditions or use of illegal drugs among some of the casualties may have been the proximate cause of death, the electric shock of the Taser can significantly heighten such risk for subjects in an at-risk category. In some cases however, death occurred after Taser use coupled with the use of force alone, with no evidence of underlying medical condition and no use of drugs.
The taser is an awful weapon. The British police allow only highly trained officers to use firearms, but cops have to do little training before being issued with so-called “stun guns”. Can you imagine what it would be like if the British police were armed with guns?
In my original post on this issue I wrote “you couldn’t make this stuff up!” And reality goes on to prove I’m right!
The Guardian reported that the CPS was going to prosecute 3 men for “stealing” out-of-date tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from a skip round the back of a branch of Iceland, after a member of the public told the police he’d seen them climbing over the wall. The Crown Prosecution Service were intent on prosecuting the “thieves” even though Malcolm Walker, the chief executive of Iceland, had asked the CPS not to continue with the case. In a statement, Iceland said “We are currently trying to find out from the Crown Prosecution Service why they believe that it is in the public interest to pursue a case against these three individuals.”
One of the men, freelance web designer Paul May was going to say that he was taking the food because he needed it to eat and does not consider he has done anything illegal or dishonest in removing food destined for landfill from a skip.
This is hardly the first time the CPS have tried to prosecute people for taking out-of-date food from supermarket skips. Many years ago, two of my friends were arrested with chickens they had taken from a Leo’s (now the Co-operative) supermarket bin. They were charged with theft, elected for trial by jury at Crown Court as was their right, and the presiding judge threw out the case, angry that the court’s time was being wasted in such a way.
In this latest case, the CPS originally said there was “significant public interest” in prosecuting the three men caught last year taking tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and Mr Kipling cakes from the dustbins behind a branch of Iceland. But a public furore persuaded them to see sense.
The case would have brought to the public eye the fact that poor members of society have to go through bins of rotten food looking for something to assuage their hunger, in scenes more reminiscent of the 19th century rather than the present day.
The case has prompted new focus on the phenomenon of “skipping” – taking discarded supermarket waste to cook and eat – and reopened the debate over how much supermarket food is still discarded. Several online petitions were launched, calling on the CPS to reconsider its decision to prosecute.
Baljit Ubhey, the chief crown prosecutor for CPS London, said: “This case has been reviewed by a senior lawyer and it has been decided that a prosecution is not required in the public interest.”
He added: “In reconsidering this case, we have had particular regard to the seriousness of the alleged offence and the level of harm done. Both of these factors weigh against a prosecution. Additionally, further representations received today from Iceland Foods have affected our assessment of the public interest in prosecuting.
“We hope this demonstrates our willingness to review decisions and take appropriate and swift action when necessary. The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to bringing the right charges to court when – and only when – it is proper to do so.”
But of course Ubhey’s explanation is a load of crap. As I reported before, the CPS have considered it correct to prosecute hungry poor people for taking out-of-date food from shop waste bins. The CPS originally valued the food “stolen” from Iceland at £33! And they would no doubt have carried on the case if online petitions hadn’t been produced.
All this case demonstrates is that the police and Crown Prosecution Service are happy to oppress the very poorest members of society.
EDIT: Since posting this, a couple of my friends suggested I might like to see the Daily Mail’s take on this story. I don’t usually bother reading the Mail (it makes me so furious sometimes, there have been occasions in the past where I have actually shouted at a copy of the paper) but my friends’ comments intrigued me so I had a peek.
I was just about to type “Unbelievable!” but then I remembered: this is the Mail. The story’s headline reads
The Mail clearly has a problem with “freegans” (their term for the criminals who blatantly steal unwanted garbage out of bins); their angle on the story is horror that such evil crooks are being set free to continue their crime sprees. They mention that 15 million tons of food are being thrown away each year in the UK, Tesco alone generated 28,500 tons of food waste at its stores and distribution centres in the first 6 months of last year alone, but the Mail’s major problem is the fact that people are being “encouraged” to steal by the CPS’s decision to drop the charges.
Interestingly, they also mention that the three men involved (Paul May, Jason Chan and William James) were held in police cells for nineteen hours before being released! I hadn’t seen or heard that anywhere else. It shows how petty and arrogant the police can be, and is another reason why the police do not automatically deserve the respect they think they are due. Basically, the police stink. And to think, I wouldn’t have learnt this particular fact but for the Daily Mail’s website. Keep an eye out for low-flying pigs ha ha!!!
Khat is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a “drug of abuse” that can produce “mild to moderate psychological addiction” but less so than alcohol or tobacco. Khat chewing is a social custom that has gone on for thousands of years in the regions where it is grown, and no problems were ever identified. But because it can cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria, it has become a “problem drug” that is being made illegal in the so-called “developed” world. The plant has been targeted by anti-drug organizations such as the DEA and is already a controlled substance in some countries, such as the United States, Canada and Germany.
Because khat was being looked at so hardly, the British government commissioned an investigation by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. After a review of the evidence, the expert committee recommended in January 2006 that khat should remain legal. But the Conservatives weren’t happy with that. On 3 July 2013, the British Home Secretary Theresa May announced that khat was to be banned, designating it a Class C substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Accordingly, the Frank drug advice site says:
Khat and the law
Khat will shortly become a Class C drug which means it will be illegal. If you are caught with the drug (possession) you could go to prison for two years and get an unlimited fine. If you are caught dealing or supplying (and that could just mean giving some to your mates) you could get 14 years in jail. It will also be an offence to bring Khat in and/or out of the country, so if you’ve been abroad you cannot bring it back to the UK with you.
Khat is an illegal substance in many other countries like the US and taking khat into the US could attract a heavy prison sentence.
So, Khat is pretty harmless, its use has gone on for thousands of years… and the UK government is banning it anyway. Why?
Because its use is fun! British (and many other) governments love to ban drugs that have a side-effect of euphoria. Look here for the proof! The British government (amongst many others) hate the idea of us enjoying ourselves. Alcohol, tobacco, refined sugar, and caffeine would be illegal if they didn’t have such a long tradition.
Unfortunately, voting for a different party won’t make much difference. The Lib Dems claim to want drugs to be decriminalised and the market regulated, but I think we all know by now that they are a bunch of liars. Maybe the Pirate Party UK would do something positive if they ever got the chance… but I can’t see them getting into government any time soon.
I hate hate. The government hates fun. So I hate the government. If you like fun, maybe you should start hating the government too?