03 February, 2007

Tony Blair: the first draft obituaries.

Tony Blair has not gone just yet but the press, which has a keen nose for such things, is scenting blood. The Times portrays him as a leader in a bunker, presiding over a government in chaos and clinging to power more in hope than expectation:

Mr Blair is beleaguered from all sides. His party is in despair; ministers in public, and even more in private, admit that things are falling apart; Downing Street’s relationship with the Westminster lobby of political journalists is under the severest strain; and the police are clearly closing in. Two of his aides have been arrested, one at dawn, and more questioning is imminent.
In the Daily Telegraph, a surprisingly temperate Charles Moore sees the Prime Minister as a deserved victim of his own and New Labours' moralising.

Finally, in the Guardian, John Harris considers the experience of being an ex-Prime Minister.

More from Mohammed Naseem.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mohammed Naseem, head man at the Birmingham Central Mosque, thinks "“This unfortunate country is moving towards a police state - the laws being passed are wrong and against the traditions of this country.”

One recent tradition of this country, is for Naseem to compare the UK with Nazi Germany and to dismiss the threat of Islamic terrorism as a government plot. Yesterday's Times reports that Naseem has been at it again. For good measure, he added,

“This is a persecuting course of action that the Government has taken. They have invented this perception of a threat. To justify that, they have to maintain incidents to prove something is going on. There is dismay and people feel they are being persecuted unjustly.
Naseem says that the Muslim community is "upset" at all this. Easily remedied. The Muslim community should stop supporting apologists for terrorism, like Naseem.

More Muslims in denial in the Birmingham local press.


You have read Naseem's drivel. Now, thanks to lgf, you can watch it.

02 February, 2007

Nutter News

1. Bob Geldof, professional left wing foul-mouth and alleged entertainer, is to launch a television Peace Channel. The venture is being undertaken by Geldof's capitalist media company, Ten Alps, in conjunction with the Point of Peace Foundation, a collection of Norwegian lefties whose idea of a website appears to be links to be pdf downloads, mostly in Norwegian. Broadcasting left wing nonsense to the world might not be so profitable since the BBC dominates that particular market.

2. Now that the anti-capitalist weirdos are claiming global warming is a proven fact, presumably on the grounds that if you repeat a lie often enough it will be accepted as the truth, every school in England is to be forced to show Al Gore's seminal film on climate change.

Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

Dr Mohammed Naseem

The International Herald Tribune carries an article on local Muslim denial in the wake of Wednesday's terrorist arrests in Birmingham. Towards the end of page 2, it reports that:

The chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque, Mohammed Naseem, said the attention from the arrests was unwelcome because it was based on what he called the un-British notion of arresting people on the basis of suspicion.

But Dr. Naseem, 82, an outspoken critic of American foreign policy who confronted the American ambassador, Robert H. Tuttle, on Iraq during the ambassador's visit to the mosque last year, said he was concerned about "Muslim nationalism." This "Muslim nationalism" had developed among some of his constituents since 9/11 and was based "not on morality, but my nation right or wrong," he said. "That's the dangerous element, and we're trying to counteract it."
Is that the same Dr Mohammed Naseem who compares Blair's attitude to Muslims with Hitler's towards the Jews, thinks al Qaeda only exists as a CIA lie and denies that Muslims were responsible for the 7 July London Bombings?

Is this the same Dr Mohammed Naseem who wants to execute homosexuals (although anybody can be excused for wanting to execute Peter Tatchell)?

Is this the same Dr Mohammed Naseem who has complained that MI6 are watching him?

Is he representative of the people that the West Midlands Police is pandering to with leaflets?

Yes, yes, yes and very probably.

Of today's press, only the Daily Telegraph puts the police's multi-cultural pandering in a rational perspective.

NAO Report on Olympic budget.

The National Audit Office, the UK government's spending watchdog has published a report on risk assessment and management for the Olympic Games preparations: Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – Risk assessment and management. The full report can be downloaded from here. Amongst the usual bureaucratic jargon, the gist of the report is that the government's failure to agree a final budget for the games is a recipe for disaster.

The cost of the games will be shared between London council tax payers, the National Lottery and general taxation. As the BBC points out, the NAO report says that the first two in that list are already at the limit of what they reasonably afford. In fact, London's contribution has been capped at an average of 38p per week and the Daily Telegraph highlights the danger if the £1.5 billion Lottery contribution has to be increased: it will be at the expense of other projects, including school sport.

The NAO's main gripe is that the government is refusing the set its final contribution to the overall budget. It is not hard to see the Treasury as the main problem. The escalating costs and the inevitable tax rises to pay for them is a problem that Chancellor - and Prime Minister in waiting - Gordon Brown would prefer to leave to his successor.

Extra troops for Afghanistan?

Little seems to have changed since I last posted on Afghanistan. NATO's ISAF continues to take on the Taliban in a series of fierce, but isolated, engagements, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. The strategy seems to be to reduce Taliban capabilities before the terrorists launch their widely expected spring offensive.

Probably also with the spring offensive in mind, the United States and the UK are increasing troop levels in the country. Yesterday, UK Defence secretary Des Browne announced another 800 troops, many of which appear to be reservists. According to Reuters, the actual increase, taking into account redeployments throughout the province, will be about 300, so it sounds as if the announcement is largely cosmetic and will not lead to a significant increase in combat troops.

It looks like the British Army will yet again be sent into battle under-manned and ill-equipped. Little seems to have changed since I first posted on Afghanistan.

01 February, 2007

Birmingham Islamic terror.

The Times has a chilling background piece on the Birmingham Islamic terror plot foiled by police yesterday. A group of young Muslims with links to al Qaeda intended to kidnap a British soldier, film his execution and place it on the web.

According to security sources, he was not the only soldier being targeted. At least one other Iraq veteran was given the same [police] warning that he was to be the first hostage in the West to be kidnapped and killed by Islamic extremists.

For the past six months, every police force in the country, backed by the intelligence services and foreign security agencies, has been involved in uncovering what, if proved, would be the most extraordinary terrorist plot yet uncovered in Britain. Known as Operation Gamble, the focus of their attention was about a dozen men, most of them British-born, and from a corner of south Birmingham known locally as Muslim Central. All of them were of Pakistani origin.
As the Guardian amply demonstrates, the local Islamic community is still in denial.

According to the Independent, locals are worried about reprisals. Tough, but the police will be providing levels of protection not afforded the rest of the country.

Cash for honours police interview shady character.

Last Friday, DAC Yates and his team interviewed Tony Blair, again. The news has just been released because, for reasons as yet known only to themselves, the police requested a media blackout. Also for reasons only apparent to the police, Blair was not interviewed under caution but as a witness. The Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and the Times have reports but neither side is saying much about the event. The DT also has a Rogues' Gallery featuring the main individuals involved in the case.

The Independent thinks the Labour government is "falling part" as Labour MPs begin to grasp the political damage being done by the scandal. Ah, nothing brings MPs into contact with reality more than a threat to their re-election chances.

al Yamamah: the blame game.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, who finally ended the Serious Fraud Office's vendetta against BAE in respect of al Yamamah, has been talking about the case to the Financial Times. It is a long interview, long winded even, but it reduces to another statement of the blindingly obvious: it was not in the national interest to upset the Saudis.

The interview's main interest is that Goldsmith denies it was he that pulled the plug and blames the SFO itself.

I haven’t said to the SFO: “Don’t investigate.” And I really think it’s about time if only in fairness to the SFO, never mind me, that the director of the SFO has said very, very clearly, and his assistant director said very clearly to the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] in Paris this week, that it was they who took the decision.

You look strained. I know they have said the same thing to you because you have reported it. I didn’t pressure them. And I didn’t direct them. It was their decision. I have said on a couple of occasions now, precisely for the reasons you have given, that this is not entirely comfortable. I am confident it’s the right decision. I don’t mean in any sense it’s not the right decision. I believe it is and I will explain why.
I think it is time the Attorney General stopped telling breathtaking lies. The decision to drop the case was solely his responsibility and the SFO has said very clearly that it was forced into the decision. [Link corrected]

According to today's Guardian, Goldsmith was himself pressured into dropping the case by Tony Blair.

Over at Peace Journal, there is some unhappy but ethical hippies.

31 January, 2007

Multicultural police recruitment

It is over ten days old, but I only came across this strange story today when trawling the Metropolitan Police website and I have not seen it in newsprint:

Former PC Cheema withdraws claim against the Met.

Former PC Tajinda Singh Cheema has withdrawn his claim of unfair dismissal on the grounds of discrimination after admitting to the hearing yesterday that he gave false evidence whilst under oath.

Mr Cheema was dismissed by the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] in March 2006 for failing to reach the required standard during his probationary period. He claimed that his dismissal was discriminatory and evidence supporting it was fabricated and his claims were reported on the front page of today's Evening Standard.

During the tribunal hearing at the London Central Tribunal in Holborn he made a series of highly damaging accusations of race and religious discrimination against his former colleagues. Counsel for the MPS described his accusations as without 'a shred of evidence' and he withdrew his action after the first day of cross-examination.

Whilst giving evidence Mr Cheema was given advice by the Tribunal Chairman about giving answers that might perjure himself. Had the case continued the tribunal would have heard from 18 witnesses for the MPS, including officers from minority ethnic groups, to show that his claims had no substance whatsoever.

Mr Cheema joined the MPS in August 2001. The normal probation period is two years but Mr Cheema's was repeatedly extended over a five-year period to give him every opportunity to become a competent serving police officer but he was unable to meet the standards we require. The tribunal has dismissed the claims against all respondents.
This strange story raises some worrying questions. Cheema did not make the grade but was given another three years to try. How many of these substandard quota coppers has the Met actually allowed through the system? Would a white individual have received such treatment?

Having failed to become a policeman, Cheema then tried to cash in on it by making false accusations and committing perjury. Is he going to be charged over his behaviour? How many other individuals have done something similar and got away with it?

Arrests in Birmingham Islamic terrorist inquiry.

The BBC reports that, after a six month operation involving MI5, police have raided a series of homes, a general store and a bookshop in Birmingham. As a result of the raids, eight men have been arrested and charged under the the Terrorism Act, 2000 in connection with a plot to kidnap a Muslim British soldier.

Already the local Muslim community has gone into denial.
Saqib Hussain, of Sparkhill, told BBC News he had visited the raided book shop many times and "had never seen any suspicions of terrorist activity".

Mohamed Barber told BBC News his cousin was one of the men arrested in Alum Rock.

"We can vouch for him he is innocent. He doesn't even have time to go to Friday prayers - that's how busy he is," he added.

Abdul Ghaffoor, a regular shopper at the general store, said he had never heard politics being discussed in the shop.
I get the point. If you hear no evil and see no evil, then no evil is being done.

Meanwhile, the Home Office is saying nothing much (Reuters) and the West Midlands Police is coming out with the usual flannel about not tolerating hate crimes and is appointing officers to look after the arrested men's families.

The Times also has a report and the Guardian lists recent terrorist-linked arrests.

Lord Cashpoint arrested.

Crumbling Spires is re-opening for business with the news that, just when it was about to come to an end, the cash for honours police investigation has taken an interesting turn. Previously, the intrepid Assistant Commissioner Yates of the Yard has been looking into how Blair flogged honours in return for donations to the Labour Party; a juicy political scandal which may destroy this government but hardly likely to result in jail sentences. However, over the last three weeks Yates' focus has changed to more serious criminal matters than the sale of a few gongs: perverting the course of justice.

A fortnight ago, Ruth Turner, the Downing Street director of government relations, was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Yesterday Lord Levy, aka Lord Cashpoint, was re-arrested on similar suspicions. The Daily Telegraph has the details.

Obviously, for legal reasons, not too much can be said at this time but the Scotland Yard inquiry team do seem to feel that Downing Street has been obstructing their inquiry and that e-mails, relevant to the case have been destroyed.

Update @17:35

Monsters and Critics has an interesting American perspective on the affair