Sunday, August 21, 2016
Australia DPP Investigates Case of Boy Shafted by Prosecution and Own Lawyer.
We recently reported on the case of a 15-year Sudanese refugee, known only as ‘JB’, who spent seven years in prison for murder after both the prosecution and his own defence lawyer acted improperly by withholding evidence which raised significant doubt regarding his guilt.
Now, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Lloyd Babb SC (pictured), has launched an inquiry into the conduct of those involved.
The story so far…
A Supreme Court jury found that JB had fatally stabbed Mr Spowart, an innocent bystander, during a 2008 gang brawl in Sydney’s west, after he asked for a cigarette and was rebuffed.
“Apparently reacting out of a wounded sense of pride, the offender threw a punch,” the trial judge said.
“Despite his age, his life experience suggests that he was fully cognisant of the lethal nature of knife wounds inflicted to the chest and abdomen.”
The judge sentenced JB to 23 years in prison, with a 16-year non-parole period. The child served out nearly seven of those years, before new facts came to light that set him free in April this year.
A police informant, known as ‘A107’, claimed that JB had confessed to stabbing Edward Spoward around the time of a police interview, something which JB has always denied.
During the original trial, the prosecution submitted that the jury could confidently convict JB based on the alleged confession alone.
However, the fact that A107 was a police informant, and had avoided prison by testifying against JB, was never disclosed to JB’s barrister. In fact, it was withheld by the DPP solicitor, the prosecution barrister and the boy’s own criminal defence solicitor, Robert Kaufmann, who incredibly went on to represent A107 in the very case for which he avoided prison after testifying against JB – a monumental conflict of interest.
The failure to disclose this crucial information meant JB’s barrister was unable to cross-examine A107 about the fact he was a police informant and had a vested interest in testifying against JB.
The DPP will also be examining whether it was proper for the prosecution to submit that the jury could convict on the alleged confession alone, given that it knew the credibility of that supposed confession was significantly undermined by A107’s status and motive for testifying.
In the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal
The NSWCCA found in its April judgment that JB’s trial had miscarried because of “failures of the prosecuting authority”.
The Attorney-General himself supported JB’s appeal, submitting that the prosecution had failed in its ethical duties in a number of significant respects. Among other things, the Attorney-General acknowledged that the Crown Prosecutor and his instructing solicitor had met with A107, but notes of that meeting “appear to have been edited” and did not mention that A107 was a police informant.
When A107 told police JB had confessed to stabbing Spowart, A107 was himself facing charges of having defrauded victims of $40,000.
Police later swore an affidavit which outlined the vital “assistance” A107 had given police in the JB case, and A107 avoided prison altogether primarily because of that affidavit.
Where to now?
The conduct of all parties will now be assessed by the DPP, who has the power to bring criminal charges for a range of offences, including perverting the course of justice.
NSW Police have also launched their own internal investigation into the matter.
It is unclear whether complaints have been made to the Legal Services Commissioner against the prosecution and defence lawyers concerned.
One would expect those involved to face serious consequences, in order to deter others who may similarly discard their ethical obligations for their own purposes, regardless of the interests of justice.
Posted at 11:35 am by l8in
Saturday, August 20, 2016
The shocking story of Israel’s disappeared babies.
New information has come to light about thousands of mostly Yemeni children believed to have been abducted in the 1950s. Jonathan Cook 'No one wanted me to know the truth,' said Gil Grunbaum, pictured in the late 1950s with his adoptive parents [Courtesy of Gil Grunbaum] ‘No one wanted me to know the truth,’ said Gil Grunbaum, pictured in the late 1950s with his adoptive parents [Courtesy of Gil Grunbaum] Tel Aviv ��" For nearly 40 years, everything about Gil Grunbaum’s life was a lie, including his name. He was not, as he had always assumed, the only son of wealthy Holocaust survivors who owned a baby garments factory near Tel Aviv. Grunbaum had been stolen from his mother by doctors at a hospital in northern Israel in 1956, moments after she gave birth. His biological parents ��" recent immigrants to Israel from Tunisia ��" were told their child had died during delivery. They were sent home without a death certificate and denied the chance to see their baby’s body or a grave. Despite his darker looks, it never occurred to Grunbaum that the parents who raised him were not biologically related to him. Now aged 60, he says the discovery was “the most shocking moment imaginable. Everyone I loved ��" my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins ��" had been deceiving me for decades.” And so had government officials. AL JAZEERA WORLD: Israel’s Great Divide “Even when I discovered by chance that I was adopted, the welfare services did everything they could to try to stop me finding my biological family,” Grunbaum told Al Jazeera. “No one wanted me to know the truth.” After a three-year search in the late 1990s, he finally learned his family’s name ��" Maimon ��" and tracked down his birth mother to the suburbs of Haifa in northern Israel. Some 41 years after they were separated, the two met for the first time, in an emotional reunion. Grunbaum’s story would be deeply disturbing if it was unique. But growing evidence suggests that there could be thousands of other children who were abducted in Israel’s first decade. Despite his darker looks, it never occurred to Grunbaum that the parents who raised him were not biologically related to him [Courtesy of Gil Grunbaum] Last weekend, Tzachi Hanegbi, a government minister tasked with studying the disappearances, conceded that at least “hundreds” of children had been taken without their parents’ consent. It is the first time a government official has ever made such a public admission. After weeks of re-examining evidence presented to a commission of inquiry in the late 1990s, Hanegbi told Israeli TV: “They took the children and gave them away. I don’t know where.” The Kedmi inquiry, which had issued its findings in 2001, found that as many as 5,000 children may have disappeared in the state’s first six years alone, although it examined only 1,000 of those cases. Jacob Kedmi, a former Supreme Court judge who died last month, concluded that in most cases, the children had died and been hurriedly buried. Hanegbi’s admission appears to confirm allegations long made by the families ��" and supported by scholars and journalists ��" that the inquiry was little more than a whitewash by the Israeli establishment. Kedmi placed the hundreds of thousands of documents relating to testimonies and evidence under lock for 70 years. They will not be made publicly available until 2071. This was a crime perpetrated against thousands of parents, who still don’t know the truth about their children’s fate. Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber, author of Israeli Media and the Framing of Internal Conflict: The Yemenite Babies Affair The first consequence is likely to be mounting pressure on the government to open the state’s adoption files so that the true extent of the disappearances can be gauged and families reunited. But Hanegbi’s otherwise evasive comments will do little to end suspicions that officials are still actively trying to avoid confronting the most contentious questions: Why were the infants taken from their families? Did hospitals and welfare organisations traffic children in Israel’s early years? And were state bodies complicit in the mass abductions? When asked by Israeli TV programme Meet the Press whether government officials were involved, Hanegbi would say only: “We may never know.” His reluctance to be more forthcoming may be understandable. Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber, an Israel academic who has written a book on the disappearances titled Israeli Media and the Framing of Internal Conflict: The Yemenite Babies Affair, noted that the “forcible transfer” of children from one ethnic group to another satisfied the United Nations definition of “genocide”. The 1951 convention includes the crime of “complicity”. “Ultimately, I don’t think it matters whether government officials actively planned what happened or they simply looked the other way while others carried out the kidnappings,” she told Al Jazeera. “Either way, this was a crime perpetrated against thousands of parents who still don’t know the truth about their children’s fate.” Almost all of the missing children were from Jewish families that had arrived from Arab countries shortly after Israel’s creation during the Nakba of 1948, when hundreds of thousands of native Palestinians were expelled from their homes. IN PICTURES: Nakba ��" ‘Palestinians will return to their stolen lands’ The mystery has been dubbed the Yemenite Children Affair, because most of the children who disappeared were from Yemen. But there were also significant numbers from Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia and the Balkans. Grunbaum learned of his own place in this scandalous affair in 1994, the year before the Kedmi inquiry was launched. His wife had become suspicious that there were no photos of his birth or a birth certificate, and that he was much darker than his parents. When she phoned state childcare services, a clerk broke Israel’s strict privacy laws by mistakenly revealing to her that Grunbaum had indeed been adopted. The couple was then hastily called to a meeting at the Tel Aviv office, where they were briefly allowed to view two pages from his file. No details of his biological family were provided. Grunbaum said his wife became suspicious that there were no photos of his birth or a birth certificate [Courtesy of Gil Grunbaum] “Even in my confused state, I could see there was something fishy. There was no signature on the adoption papers, either from my biological mother or from a judge,” Grunbaum said. “I was in a state of shock for a long time afterwards. I stared at the TV all day long for four months, running my life through my head, looking for the clues I should have seen. I resigned from my job. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.” Although childcare services had details of his biological family, they refused to help. It took three years of intensive searching ��" initiated by the recollections of neighbours of his parents at the time of his adoption ��" before he was sure he had identified the family. “I went straight to the head of child services and told her their surname. I asked her if I was right ��" I didn’t need a reply,” Grunbaum said, noting the colour drained from the woman’s face as she realised he had found his biological family. Grunbaum’s biological father had died a few years earlier, but he met his biological mother in a supervised visit in Haifa. It had taken her a month to recover sufficiently from hearing the news that her son was alive to agree to a meeting. “She hugged me and we cried. I gave her an album of photos of my three children. She said with surprise, ‘I have a blond grandson!'” Grunbaum then started a double life, visiting his biological mother and his five siblings while hiding the truth from his adoptive parents until their deaths a few years later. “I was afraid to confront them. They were elderly and in poor health. I think it would have destroyed them to realise I knew the truth.” The irregularities in the adoption papers indicate that his parents were likely to have known their adopted child was procured without the biological mother’s consent. Grunbaum admits he was filled with confusion and anger at his parents for a long time. Shortly after he found out about the circumstances of his adoption, his parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Grunbaum found himself living a double life, visiting his biological mother and his five siblings while hiding the truth from his adoptive parents [Oren Ziv/Al Jazeera] “They asked me to make a speech at the party, but I couldn’t. I was too frightened of what might come out of my mouth,” he said. Pressure on the Israeli government to provide answers in cases like Grunbaum’s has intensified in recent years, as social media has helped the affected families to understand how widespread the disappearances were. In late June, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by announcing a fresh examination of the evidence. In a video posted to his Facebook page, he promised to get to the bottom of the affair: “The subject of the Yemenite children is an open wound that continues to bleed for many families who don’t know what happened to the infants, to the children who disappeared.” He appointed Hanegbi to re-examine the documents from three previous inquiries. Grunbaum holds a picture of an advertisement featuring him as an infant to promote his parents’ baby clothes business [Jonathan Cook/Al Jazeera] Yael Tzadok, an Israeli journalist who has spent 20 years investigating cases of children who disappeared, told Al Jazeera: “This is Israel’s darkest secret. Jews kidnapped other Jews, Jews who were coming to a state that had been created as a refuge in the immediate wake of the Holocaust. Bringing the truth into the daylight risks causing an earthquake.” The families and their supporters believe the majority of the children are still alive, but only a minuscule number, like Grunbaum, know that they were stolen from their parents. Even among those few, said Madmoni-Gerber, most are reluctant to go public, fearing that the truth will tear apart their families, who may have conspired in their abduction. Israeli Jews who originate from Arab countries are known in Israel as Mizrahim, in contrast to those of European heritage, who are called Ashkenazim. Tzadok said the evidence suggested that most of the missing children ��" from Mizrahi families ��" were taken by hospital staff and sold or given away to European Jews, both in Israel and abroad. “The evidence from that time, the 1950s, clearly shows government officials, judges, lawmakers and hospital staff speaking openly about the fact that the children were being abducted. The public may not have known, but the authorities certainly did,” Tzadok said. Tzadok, who is active with Achim Vekayamim, a forum for the families of missing children, said deep prejudices among European Jews against the Mizrahim ��" and especially the Yemenites ��" had made the kidnappings possible. “Mizrahi parents were seen as bad, primitive people who were a lost cause. The dominant view then was that, by placing the children with Ashkenazi families, they could be saved ��" unlike their parents. They would be re-educated and made into suitable material for the new Zionist state,” Tzadok said. “The hospital staff and officials probably didn’t think they were doing something wrong. They thought it was their patriotic duty.” Israeli media coverage shows Tzila Levine being reunited with her biological mother, Margalit Umaysi, in 1997 [Courtesy of Amram] Racism among European Jews towards Jews from Arab countries reached the very top of the government. Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, described the Mizrahim as “rabble” and a “generation of the desert”, concluding that they lacked “a trace of Jewish or human education”. In the early 1950s, he warned: “We do not want the Israelis to become Arabs. It is incumbent upon us to struggle against the spirit of the Levant, which corruptsindividuals and societies.” Recently unearthed documents also show vigorous debates within the Israeli army in the early 1950s about whether Mizrahi conscripts were mentally retarded, making them a hopeless cause, or simply primitive, a condition that could be changed. In his book The Idea of Israel, historian Ilan Pappe observed that Israel’s Ashkenazi elite worked strenuously at “de-Arabising … Jews upon arrival” in Israel. The establishment’s open disdain for the Mizrahim eventually led to political backlash, noted Pappe. In the late 1970s, after decades in opposition, the right-wing Likud party won power from Ben Gurion’s Labour party. Today, Likud is led by Netanyahu. Grunbaum said Israel’s European elite were also sympathetic to the plight of Holocaust survivors, like his adoptive parents, who had lost most or all of their family and struggled to have children of their own. The nurse said, ‘You have lots of children, why not let us take one of them?’ My grandmother refused. A couple of days later, the nurse told her her baby girl had died. She did not receive a death certificate and was not shown a grave. Shlomi Hatuka, who helped found Amram, an organisation campaigning on behalf of the families “My father had been in Auschwitz and my mother in Dachau. The survivors suffered from psychological and physical traumas that meant it was difficult or impossible for them to have children,” he said. “The view at that time was that the Yemenites had large families and could afford to lose one or two.” The Kedmi inquiry heard such views expressed by medical staff who worked in hospitals suspected of abducting children. Sonia Milshtein, a former senior nurse, testified that Yemenite parents “were not interested in their children” and that they should have been happy that their “child got a good education”. Sarah Pearl, head nurse at the Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO), a charity that ran care homes from which children are alleged to have disappeared, told Israeli media that when she asked why the children’s parents never visited, she was told by the head administrator that they “have lots of kids, and lots of problems, so they don’t want their children”. Like many of those who have been campaigning for greater transparency, Madmoni-Gerber, an Israeli professor of communications now based in the United States, said her own family had been scarred by the Yemenite Children Affair. Her father and aunt were among 50,000 Yemenite Jews airlifted to Israel in 1949 and 1950 in a series of secret US and British flights known as Operation Magic Carpet. Like many other Mizrahim, they were temporarily sheltered in one of dozens of “absorption camps” across Israel. Madmoni-Gerber’s aunt gave birth in an Israeli hospital in 1949. “When it was time to go home, staff on the delivery ward asked her to leave her baby behind with them. She refused. When she arrived back at the camp, the child was snatched [by staff] out of her hands. She never saw her baby again.” Hanegbi’s admission is certain to rock an Ashkenazi establishment that has long been in denial about the Yemenite Children Affair. For instance, Yaron London, one of Israel’s best-known commentators, has called suggestions of kidnappings a “conspiracy theory“. And Dov Levitan, a professor at Bar Ilan University, near Tel Aviv, who is a leading expert on Yemenite immigration to Israel, recently stated: “I can’t put even one finger on a case in which I can say that there was an act of abduction or a criminal act.” READ MORE: The child soldiers of Yemen Shlomi Hatuka, a 38-year-old Yemenite poet and teacher who three years ago helped found Amram, an organisation campaigning on behalf of the families, said that continuing racism towards the Mizrahim had made possible a “conspiracy of silence” lasting more than six decades. His activism began after his grandmother revealed to him 22 years ago that she had been asked by a nurse in the early 1950s to give up for adoption one of the twins she had just given birth to. “The nurse said, ‘You have lots of children, why not let us take one of them?'” Hatuka told Al Jazeera. “My grandmother refused. A couple of days later, the nurse told her her baby girl had died. She did not receive a death certificate and was not shown a grave. “My mother told me my grandmother talked about her kidnapped child until the day she died,” he added. “She never got over it. At the time, none of us could really grasp what had happened to [the baby]. It was just too strange. It was impossible to believe.” ‘We have used social media and new technology to help bring more attention to the kidnappings,’ said Shlomi Hatuka [Jonathan Cook/Al Jazeera] Hatuka said the official re-examination of the files had been prompted by growing pressure from the Mizrahi community: “We are the third generation, and we are better able to organise. We have used social media and new technology to help bring more attention to the kidnappings.” Amram is demanding that the Israeli authorities open up adoption papers so that the children who were abducted can try to find their parents. “If Netanyahu really wants to help clarify what happened, this would be the easiest and quickest way to do it,” Hatuka said. Currently, a 1960 Adoption Law makes it a criminal offence for an adopted child or their adoptive parents to publicly reveal that an adoption took place. Officials have claimed the restriction is needed to protect privacy, but there is mounting pressure to scrap it. Amram has also established a database of missing children on its website. Hundreds more families have come forward with information of children who disappeared, including cases that have never been investigated. Hatuka believes that the total number of children who are missing could be as high as 8,000. Even based on the official figures, one in eight Yemenite infants under the age of four may have disappeared in the state’s first six years. Boaz Sangero, a law professor at a college near Tel Aviv, wrote in the Haaretz newspaper this month that the figure was “astonishing”, and demanded an urgent re-examination of the evidence. The extent of the problem was further underscored last month when four legislators in the 120-seat Israeli parliament came forward to reveal that their own relatives had disappeared in the 1950s. Two were from Netanyahu’s Likud party. Nurit Koren, whose cousin went missing, told The Jerusalem Post newspaper: “Everybody is coming and telling me it happened in their families too. The phonedoesn’t stop ringing.” Nava Boker said that her sister and brother were taken. “I am afraid that the same people who planned and executed these crimes of ripping babies away from their mothers’ arms ensured their own safety and hid the documents.” Boker and other activists have been infuriated by the Kedmi inquiry’s decision to place under lock hundreds of thousands of documents relating to its investigations until 2071. There has also been widespread criticism of the way the inquiry was conducted. Tzadok called the panel’s report “shameful”, and accused it of ignoring the evidence of wrongdoing it unearthed. Sangero noted that the commission employed only two investigators to look into the case files of some 1,000 missing children. In 69 cases, it said it could not determine the children’s fate. Tziona Heiman, shown with her biological mother, was taken from a Jerusalem hospital as a baby [Courtesy of Amram] The panel avoided using its subpoena powers, thereby allowing officials to refuse to testify, or agreed to let them give evidence behind closed doors. The inquiry also did not carry out DNA tests. On many occasions, birth and burial records requested by the Kedmi inquiry either disappeared or were reported to have been destroyed by fires or floods. The inquiry, Sangero observed, did not investigate how so many files could have been lost. The panel was equally trusting of a 1960 census that listed many of the supposedly dead children as having “left the country”. In addition, the inquiry failed to examine why many of the biological parents received military draft notices for their children on what would have been their 18th birthdays. Heiman as a child [Courtesy of Amram] Tzadok noted that, in one of the most disturbing oversights, the inquiry failed to probe the disappearance of 40 infants after they were supposedly sent from an absorption camp to Jerusalem for immunisations. On its website, Amram has compiled damning testimonies presented to the three inquiries that suggest abductions of Mizrahi childrenwere widespread and systematic, and might have amounted to trafficking. Such evidence appears to have swayed Hanegbi too. He told Meet the Press: “I’m reading testimony of nurses, social workers and people who admitted the children to hospitals and a variety of people, each of whom saw a small piece of the puzzle.” Ahuva Goldfarb, national supervisor of social services at that time, admitted to the Kedmi inquiry that children had been “unregistered” when sent out of the absorption camps, away from their parents. He added: “It was systematic as could be.” The parents were told their child was “no longer alive”. In a letter dated April 1950, a senior health ministry official, Dr M Lichtig, expressed concern to state hospitals that children were not being returned to their parents. “There have been instances in which children were released from hospital and did not return to their parents. Apparently, they were found by people seeking to adopt,” he wrote in the letter. “The bereaved parents searched for their children … We must make every effort to ensure that such incidents do not repeat themselves.” Hanna Gibori, head of adoption services in the country’s north at that time, testified: “Hospital physicians handed over babies for adoption straight out of the hospital, without the official adoption agencies being involved.” As late as 1959, a Knesset member, Ben-Zion Harel, said a significant number of children were being placed for adoption at Israeli hospitals in “unacceptable ways”, bordering on “trafficking”. All of this appears to have occurred with minimal or non-existent judicial oversight. In 1955, a high court judge, Shneur Cheshin, wrote in a decision: “To our embarrassment, fictitious adoption orders and custodial orders are issued weekly, indeed daily.” Hospitals and government officials were able to take advantage of the absence throughout the 1950s of any adoption laws. Oversight was only tightened up in 1960, with the passage of the Adoption Law. A nurse who had once worked at the Batar hospital in Haifa, where Grunbaum was born in 1956, admitted on an Israeli TV show that prospective parents would “place an order” for children with the hospital. Batar closed in 1976, but requests by the Kedmi inquiry to see its archives were met with claims that the documents were either lost or destroyed by fire. OPINION: Israeli colonisation is at the root of the violence Grunbaum’s story, though rare, is not unique. Investigations over the past two decades have unearthed a handful of similar cases. After Amram launched its website, a friend of the family revealed to Hatuka that she had been in an institution where she believed Yemenite children like herself were trafficked. Hatuka has been able to piece together the early life of the woman, who agreed to be identified by the pseudonym Shoshana. She and her twin brother were taken from their mother at birth and placed in a care home in Jerusalem run by WIZO. WIZO, which still runs childcare services in Israel, is mentioned in several cases of missing children who were later found. In a statement to Al Jazeera, WIZO said that the process of admitting and releasing children from the institutions it ran was managed by authorised government authorities, noting: “WIZO’s sole responsibility was to care for the health and wellbeing of the children. Throughout the years, WIZO has provided authorities, upon request, with all of the records and materials relevant to the children in its institutions. WIZO fully supports any investigation that could shed light on issues subject to public debate.” Yemenite Jews are shown en route from Aden to Israel during Operation Magic Carpet, circa 1950 [File photo] At seven, Shoshana and her brother were moved to an ultra-Orthodox institution for parentless Yemenite children called Gur Aryeh, in Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv. Shoshana told Hatuka that intermittently they would be gathered in a room and visitors, called “American aunts”, would inspect them. Children would regularly disappear. During her stay in Gur Aryeh, Shoshana was told that her biological mother had died five years after giving birth to her. In the late 1990s, when the Kedmi inquiry was under way, a few Israeli journalists intensified their search for such children. In the most famous case, widely reported in 1997, Tzila Levine was reunited with her biological mother after a 20-year search. DNA testing confirmed her blood ties to Margalit Umaysi, an immigrant from Yemen. It is time for the country to be more open about its past. We need to drag these issues into the sunlight and see what really happened. Gil Grunbaum, adopted as a baby A doctor in Haifa had taken Levine from Umaysi shortly after her birth in 1949 and handed her to adoptive parents using forged papers. The adoption was approved by Moshe Landau, a judge who went on to serve in Israel’s Supreme Court. ”I feel that I’ve won a war ��" a lifelong war,” Levine told reporters at the time. The case of Tziona Heiman was exposed five years later by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. After she confronted her Ashkenazi parents with suspicions that she was adopted, they admitted that she had been selected from a Jerusalem hospital. Their neighbour, Yigal Allon, a famous Israeli general, had ��" in their words ��" given them the girl as a “birthday present”. Heiman later found her biological parents. Madmoni-Gerber also located an abducted child in 1994, when she was an Israeli journalist. Moshe Becher was taken from his Yemenite family in 1953 and placed in the care of WIZO. A Turkish couple were issued a forged birth certificate for him in 1956. Like most, Becher was never shown his adoption file, and was unable to track down his biological parents. A letter from the welfare services stated simply: “We have no clue as to your mother’s identity or whereabouts.” Hatuka said Amram was now working to create a private DNA database abroad. It would allow both those who suspected they were kidnapped ��" including those now living in Europe or the US ��" and the parents of missing children to submit their DNA to see if matches could be made. Grunbaum said the families’ campaign was not a quest for revenge against those behind the kidnappings. “It is time for the country to be more open about its past,” he said. “We need to drag these issues into the sunlight and see what really happened.” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/shocking-story-israel-disappeared-babies-160803081117881.html
Posted at 7:39 pm by l8in
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Lyon Diocese Searched In Hunt For Paedophile Priest.
Lyon (AFP) - French investigators searched the offices of the diocese of Lyon on Wednesday over the alleged cover-up of a paedophile priest, a source close to the probe said.
The diocese said in a statement that the Archbishop of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin, who is under fire over his handling of the affair, "has said repeatedly that he is prepared to cooperate openly with the investigation".
The search of the offices is linked to the prosecution of Bernard Preynat, a priest who has admitted sexually abusing scouts that he was supervising in the Lyon area of central France more than 25 years ago.
Preynat's victims have filed a formal complaint against Barbarin and other leading clergy, accusing them of failing to inform the police of the priest's acts when he became aware of them in 2008.
"As part of the preliminary investigation opened by the Lyon prosecutor, the diocese of Lyon has today handed over to investigators material which could shed light on these tragic events," the diocese said in a statement.
Barbarin, 65, a media-friendly and influential archbishop, has denied any cover-up and pointed out that the crimes date from a decade before he became archbishop of Lyon in 2002.
Last week, he apologised during a mass to victims of sexual abuse.
Quoting Pope Francis, Barbarin said he was "obliged to assume all the evil committed by some priests and personally apologise for the damage they have caused by sexually abusing children."
The scandal is the worst to hit the Catholic Church in France since 2001, when a bishop was given a three-month suspended jail sentence for failing to inform authorities of a paedophile priest.
The Catholic Church worldwide continues to be dogged by cases of paedophile priests and past cover-ups, despite Pope Francis' promise of a crackdown.
Posted at 8:31 pm by l8in
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Blog.Co.Uk Has Turned Off The Lights.
My principal blog site for the last ten years has switched off the lights and closed.
10 short, long years.
It was a place of friends and information and sometimes ranting.
WordPress does not really do it for me – so what next ?
(A quiet retirement ?)
Posted at 9:06 pm by l8in
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Tory Party Bully Activist To Suicide.
THE father of a Tory activist who killed himself after an alleged bullying campaign by more senior party members fears an internal inquiry into his death will result only in a cover-up.
Ray Johnson, whose 21-year-old son Elliott was found on the tracks at a Bedfordshire railway station in September, urged Conservative chairman Lord Feldman yesterday to send collected information to the police. In a letter made public by the political web site The Blue Guerrilla, Mr Johnson said he was “concerned” about the internal investigation led by Prime Minister David Cameron’s fellow old Etonian Edward Legard. The inquiry, Mr Johnson wrote, “can in no way be recognised as independent or free from party interference. “I have no doubt that Mr Legard has the ability to conduct such inquiries, however, his appointment will raise issues of lack of independence due to his close personal connections within the party, leading to claims of complicity to cover up the issues of endemic bullying, harassment and intimidation that appears to be seen as acceptable within the party.”
At the core of the allegations lies former parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke, who is said to have “made life difficult” for Elliott. Mr Clarke, who ran the Tory general election campaign drive RoadTrip, was named in a note left behind by Elliott before his suicide. Mr Johnson accused the party of treating younger activists as “fodder in pursuit of electoral victory.” And he said that Mr Clarke’s reappointment to lead RoadTrip 2020 despite the investigation showed that he had Tory friends “at a higher level.” In his letter to Lord Feldman, Mr Johnson added that he was “shocked” to find out that other young Conservatives had been too afraid to come out with their own stories of abuse. “That this is the case is a damning indictment against the Conservative Party, which blatantly failed in its clear ‘duty of care’ towards young people,” he wrote. “The party’s belated attempt at an internal inquiry is too little, too late. The correct process would be to now hand the investigation and all evidence over to proper authorities, the Metropolitan Police, for a full criminal inquiry.”
Mr Clarke has denied any improper behaviour towards Mr Johnson or others. #GrantShapps http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b720-Inquiry-into-Torys-suicide-will-cover-for-bullies,-father-fears#.Vk4x_HbhDIX
Posted at 10:09 pm by l8in
Thursday, November 12, 2015
I cannot access my site tut.
Posted at 8:38 pm by l8in
Sunday, November 08, 2015
Remembering those who gave their lives in the war(s). Remembering the promises of politicians of 'never again'. Remembering 9000 of our veterans are homeless. Remembering mental health services for those traumatised cut then withdrawn. Remembering the cuts to services and benefits to those disabled in the conflict(s). Reminded that our politicians and OUR society is sick and so so hypocritical.
Posted at 5:22 pm by l8in
Monday, September 21, 2015
British(?) Pig Blows British Prime Minister.
DAVID CAMERON BIOGRAPHY CLAIMS U.K. PM PUT A ‘PRIVATE PART OF HIS ANATOMY’ IN A DEAD PIG
David Cameron, leader of the U.K.’s Conservative party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2010, has faced a lot of controversy over his political career. Among other rivalries, Cameron has had an ongoing feud with fellow Tory Lord Michael Ashcroft.
Now, the Daily Mail is reporting that Lord Ashcroft, in collaboration with journalist Isabel Oakeshott, has written a biography of David Cameron which makes some startling allegations – particularly, that The Right Honourable Prime Minister David Cameron once placed a “private part of his anatomy” in the mouth of a dead pig, as part of an initiation rite at Oxford University.
The book, titled Call Me Dave (an obvious and rather crass play on Caitlyn Jenner’s Call Me Caitlyn documentary) prominently features the story of the alleged dead pig initiation rite, indicating that it was recounted to the authors by an unidentified contemporary of Cameron’s who went on to become an MP, according to the Daily Star.
The biography focuses a lot on Cameron’s time at Oxford; entering the prestigious school in the wake of the popular British TV series Brideshead Revisited. The series featured the handsome Lord Sebastian Flyte, and Oxford peers suggest that David Cameron may have modeled his university persona after the character of Flyte and the decadent lifestyle of the Brideshead characters. James Delingpole, an Oxford friend of Cameron, recounts his experiences.
“There was a division at Oxford between those of us who wanted to live the Brideshead lifestyle — to ape it — and the people wearing donkey jackets who were in support of the miners.”
“The atmosphere among those of us who wanted to live the Brideshead life was really quite pleasant. There were cocktail parties in the Master’s Garden… and we could all play at being Sebastian Flyte.”
According to Call Me David, however, Cameron took things a lot further, joining the infamous Piers Gaveston Society, known for specializing in bizarre rituals, sexual excess, and illegal drugs.
Call Me David alleges, through their MP source, that Cameron took part one night in a Piers Gaveston initiation ritual involving a dead pig. The gist of the alleged ritual, without going into too much detail, is that the head of a dead pig was sat on the lap of a Piers Gaveston member, and that the initiate was required to place a “private part of his anatomy” into the pig’s mouth.
The source allegedly repeated these allegations to Call Me David‘s authors on multiple occasions, and further alleged that he had seen photographic evidence of them. He gave the dimensions of the photograph and provided the name of the individual who he claimed currently holds the photograph.
Unsurprisingly, when the authors contacted the supposed holder of the photograph, they received no response.
Call Me David goes on to indicate that Cameron went on to join the even more notorious Bullingdon Club, another unofficial Oxford dining society that more closely resembles a real-world version of Animal House, albeit absolutely all-male, all-rich and all-high-society. The Bullingdon club is known for its “boisterous rituals,” which include frequent vandalism of restaurants and college rooms. Oxford University refuses to officially acknowledge or sanction the Bullingdon Club, in spite of the general high profile of its members, David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson among them.
In closing, bear in mind; Call Me David is an unofficial biography written by one of David Cameron’s long-time political rivals and based heavily on undocumented evidence. It is to be taken with a grain of salt. But if social media is any indication, whatever the truth may be, the British PM is going to wake up with egg on his face in the morning. Possibly with a side of sausage and bacon.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2435299/david-cameron-biography-claims-uk-pm-put-a-private-part-of-his-anatomy-in-a-dead-pig/#x4sOdpMTOzJkwdHw.99
Posted at 12:38 pm by l8in
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Have Essex Council Covered Up #ChildAbuse ?
THE LEADER of Essex County Council has issued a public appeal for evidence of a possible child abuse "cover-up” in the 1980s and 90s.
David Finch said the authority and Essex Police were keen to investigate recent allegations about a "paedophile ring” operating at County Hall.
Cllr Finch urged witnesses to come forward after a former NHS manager made a speech at the Houses of Parliament last week, where he made allegations of a child abuse "cover-up”.
The claims were made by Robin Jamieson, who was district psychologist – managing 20 staff – for Southend in the early 1990s and sat on the Child Protection Committee.
Mr Jamieson made a speech at a "whistleblowers event” at Westminster last Tuesday in front of MPs, barristers and campaigners.
He claimed that in the 1990s he was approached discretely by junior staff with alarming allegations, suggesting serious failures in child protection.
He said he reported the concerns to the council but found the response "insulting and threatening”.
He claimed he informed the police but had no knowledge of any subsequent investigation.
In a statement issued after Mr Jamieson's speech, Cllr Finch said: "We are aware that there have been some historical child abuse concerns in relation to individual members of staff employed by Essex County Council in the 1980s and early 1990s.
"We know that these concerns were investigated at that time by the council and Essex Police and appropriate actions were taken in accordance with the evidence available at the time.
"There was no evidence of an organised cover-up, nor indeed was there sufficient evidence at the time for further investigations to take place.
"However, these are clearly very serious allegations. If Mr Jamieson, or anyone else, has evidence of a 'cover-up' or of agencies failing to properly investigate such concerns, we would very much welcome the information and would fully investigate such concerns together with Essex Police.”
Mr Jamieson spoke out after reading a series of exclusive Yellow Advertiser reports about compensation payments for alleged abuse.
The YA revealed in January that County Hall paid almost £100,000 compensation in 2014 for alleged abuse, including £90,000 for two cases in 1993 in the Vulnerable Children and Young People department.
However, civil servants refused to answer any questions about the payments. They claimed releasing even basic details – such as answering 'yes' or 'no' to whether anybody was convicted in each case – could identify the alleged victims.
In subsequent Freedom of Information responses, County Hall reclassified the alleged abuse pay-outs as personal injury claims, making them indistinguishable from pay-outs for minor accidents like cut fingers.
l If you have knowledge of abuse or a 'cover-up' at County Hall, Essex Police can be reached by dialling 101, the NSPCC child abuse hotline is at 0808 800 5000 and County Hall is at 01245 430430.
Posted at 11:15 pm by l8in
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Tory ? 100 Reasons Not To Be A Conservative.
1. Deficit still at a staggering £80billion despite Tory election pledge to balance the books by 2015.
2. National debt still rising after five years of Coalition and now standing at almost £1.4trillion.
3. Osborne has overspent his plans by £200billion and borrowed more than Labour did in 13 years of government.
4. Britain's productivity rate is still miserably low and is now 21% lower than average output of other G7 countries.
5. Treasury is still missing out on a shocking £34billion a year through tax avoidance despite a promised clampdown.
6. Major firms say constant Tory threats to leave the EU are damaging long-term investment in Britain.
7. More than three-quarters of a million young people still out of work ��" and rising
8. House prices are still spiralling out of control, far beyond the reach of most first-time buyers. The average house price is now £188,858 according to the Halifax, seven times the average wage of £27,271 (ONS)
9. Tough decision on a new airport runway for London and the South East kicked into the long grass until after the election
10. Iain Duncan Smith's failed ‘Work Programme' leaves more than 650,000 people OUT of work for more than a year.
11. This has been the first Parliament since the 1920s where living standards fell rather than rose
12. Average households in Britain are now £1,600-a-year worse off than in 2010
13. Family finances hammered by a surprise VAT hike to 20% - despite Tory claims that they had "no plans” for a tax rise.
14. Energy bills have soared by more than a third since 2010 - far above wage rises.
15. Average rents up by 13% since the last election - far above wage rises.
16. Water bills up 12.5% since the last election - far above wage rises. 17. Number of workers trapped on exploitative zero-hours contracts has soared since 2010, and is now at 1.4million. They earn £300 a week less than permanent colleagues, according to the TUC.
18. National minimum wage still 21% lower than the £7.85-an-hour experts say is needed for basic standard of living
19. Rail fares up nearly 25% since the last election - far above wage rises.
20. The richest 1% of Britons now own the same amount of wealth as 54% of the population. The NHS
21. £3billion wasted on a top-down reorganisation of the NHS that nobody voted for.
22. More privatisation of our cherished health service following hated Health and Social Care Act. The BMA says that a third of nearly 3,500 NHS contracts went to private firms.
23. Waiting time for cancer treatment at a six-year high.
24. A&E departments in meltdown with key targets missed week after week. Earlier this month, more than one in five patients were not seen within the four hour target - officially the worst performance since records began.
25. Proportion of people who get to see a GP within 48 hours slumps from 80% to 40%.
26. NHS bosses forced to find £5billion of cuts despite greater pressure on services
27. Average ambulance response time 25% slower than in 2010
28. More than 3 million patients waiting for operations ��" up 25% since 2010
29. NHS staff suffering work-related stress soars to nearly 40%
30. Nearly 10,000 hospital beds axed since the last election.
31. Infants taught in over-sized classes of more than 30 pupils rockets 200% since 2010
32. More than 13,000 primary school children now taught in classes of over 40 kids
33. University students hammered with £9,000-a-year tuition fees despite Lib Dem promise not to hike fees.
34. The Tories' pet ‘free school' projects divert cash away from needier areas with school place shortages - a third of funding for school places, or £1.7bn, in 2014/15. According to the NUT, free schools are three times more likely to employ unqualified teachers and just 67% were rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, compared to 80% of state schools. 35. Hard-working teachers suffered constant attacks from meddling ex-Education Secretary Michael Gove who criticised them at every turn 36. Plans to build more than 700 new schools across Britain brutally axed in 2010
37. Vital education maintenance allowance to support the neediest students was scrapped in 2011
38. Teachers hammered by real-terms wages cuts year after year
39. Tories forced to backtrack on plans to slash schools sports funding by more than £100million shortly before the London Olympics
40. Even free school milk for the under-fives was axed ��" and then reinstated after a public outcry.
41. The Tories' cruel and vindictive Bedroom Tax has hammered the most vulnerable in society. The Tax is costing 500,000 households an average £700 extra a year. One in three victims are disabled and 60,000 are carers. Sixty per cent were in rent arrears as a result.
42. Disabled people have faced the misery of unfair assessments by fit-to-work firm Atos. Atos pulled out of the contract last year, saying the government tests were not fair on claimants. In 2012 over 42% of appeals against the company's assessments were upheld,
43. Annual cuts to benefits for the needy as George Osborne pegs annual increases below inflation
44. Massive backlogs of sick people waiting to be assessed for benefits due to blunders at the Department of Work and Pensions
45. Councils forced to slash funding for elderly care after losing a quarter of their own budgets since 2010. Cuts of £1.1bn mean the number of elderly people receiving care fell by nearly 30% from 1,230,625 under Labour to 849,280 now.
46. Brutal benefit sanctions regime introduced which punishes the poorest in society by withdrawing their money for weeks at a time. Campaigners say sanctions have also been used to massage jobless figures.
47. Theresa May's landmark child abuse inquiry still not underway more than eight months after it was set up
48. Child poverty soars by 300,000 under this Government
49. Flagship Universal Credit scheme has been a dismal failure and is now years overdue. Iain Duncan Smith pledged a million people would be claiming it by April 2014 - the real number was 11,070
50. Almost one million people now turning to food banks due to brutal cuts in support. The number of working people claiming housing benefit up by 60% since 2010.
51. Nearly 500 public libraries closed or abandoned for volunteers to keep afloat since the last election.
52. More than 2,000 youth workers axed and at least 350 youth centres closed across the country since 2010.
53. Vital bus services relied upon by the young, poor and elderly cut by 50% in some areas due to massive town hall funding cuts.
54. Children's lives put at risk with more than 1,000 lollipop ladies sacked - even though they earn just £3,000 a year
55. House-building slumps to its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s. 56. Pub closures soar with Britain now losing 29 community pubs every week.
57. More than 500 Sure Start centres axed since the last election - despite Tory promises they would be saved
58. More than 3.3million young people aged 20-34 forced to live with their parents - up 16% since 2010
59. David Cameron's dream of creating a ‘Big Society' of volunteers falls flat and is quietly dropped.
60. Funding brutally cut to councils in the poorest inner-city areas while wealthy Tory town halls receive extra cash.
61. David Cameron's pledge to cut net immigration to the ‘tens of thousands' in tatters as it soars beyond 260,000 people per year
62. The bungling Home Office loses tracks of 174,000 illegal immigrants - and admit many of them will never be found.
63. Chaos at the Passport Office after massive staff cuts left thousands of families unable to go on holiday in 2014.
64. Customs checks for dangerous drugs and weapons at Britain's borders scaled back due to staff shortages
65. British citizenship handed out to criminals from abroad without any proper background checks
66. Shameful ‘Go Home' vans sent into ethnic communities in an attempt to weed out illegal immigrants
67. Almost 650,000 records of potential drug and tobacco smuggling ‘deleted' from Government computers without being followed up
68. Coalition pledge to introduce exit checks at UK borders has still not been met after five years in power
69. Almost £1billion wasted on the failed ‘eBorders' IT system which was supposed to modernise border control.
70. Unknown numbers of people entered the UK unchallenged during a secret 2011 pilot scheme to relax mandatory checks.
71. British Army slashed to just 80,000 troops by 2020 - its lowest level for 200 years.
72. Soldiers sacked, army barracks shut down and sold off and 300-year-old brigades disbanded in the biggest Army cuts in decades.
73. Vital decision on renewing Trident nuclear weapons system kicked into the long grass after a fierce Coalition row.
74. More than £100million wasted on a costly U-turn over the type of fighter planes purchased for Britain's new aircraft carrier.
75. Police numbers axed by 15,000 staff in just five years - the biggest police cuts of any country in Europe.
76. Police and Crime Commissioner elections prove an expensive mistake as just 15% of people bother to turn out to vote
77. London's Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh, Boris's right-hand man in charge of policing, warns Scotland Yard still does not have enough cash to keep Britain safe from terror attacks in 2015.
78. Theresa May forced into an embarrassing U-turn over terror control orders after admitting key measures which were dropped by the Coalition are actually essential to keep Britain safe.
79. British prisons in crisis with overcrowding, prison escapes, staff assaults and inmate suicides all soaring under Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
80. Public safety put at risk as right-winger Mr Grayling puts the vital probation service into the hands of private contractors.
81. The Conservative Party is still funded by a bunch of City fatcats and tycoons - who benefited from a millionaires' tax cut from George Osborne.
82. Sleazy Lib Dem David Laws was forced to quit as Treasury Secretary just days after being appointed over his expenses claims - but was still handed a new Government job two years later.
83. Fellow Lib Dem Chris Huhne was also forced to quit the Cabinet and later jailed after lying to cops about a speeding rap.
84. A Coalition pledge to reform the out-of-date House of Lords was dropped due to opposition from Tory backbenchers
85. David Cameron gave his firm backing to expenses shame Culture Secretary Maria Miller - shortly before she was forced to resign in disgrace.
86. And he made disgraced newspaper editor Andy Coulson the chief spin doctor in Number 10 - shortly before he too was forced to resign.
87. Peerages were handed out to wealthy businessmen who have donated large sums of money to the Tories and Lib Dems
88. Tory peer Lord Haningfield was caught by the Mirror repeatedly ‘clocking in' for short periods of time to scoop his £300-a-day House of Lords allowance
89. Tory Defence Secretary Liam Fox was forced to resign in 2011 over his close links with lobbyist Adam Werrity.
90. David Cameron promised to end ‘Punch and Judy' politics at PMQs ��" but now calls his opponents childish names every week.
91. David Cameron promised he would lead the ‘Greenest Government Ever' - and then told pals after the election he would ‘cut the green crap' 92. The Tories appointed a right-wing Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, who didn't believe in climate change.
93. The botched badger cull saw thousands of animals butchered at a cost of £3,350 per head - without having the desired effect.
94. Bungling Tories were forced to drop plans to sell off Britain's forests to private firms after a huge public outcry.
95. After claiming to back renewable energy, David Cameron announced he wants a moratorium on all future onshore wind farms.
96. Government support for people installing solar panels was halved in 2011, leading to a 90% cut in demand.
97. The Tories' flagship ‘Green Deal' scheme of energy efficient home improvements was a disastrous flop, with just 132 people signing up in the first eight months.
98. George Osborne attacked "costly” green energy and backed risky fracking for shale gas instead.
99. Air pollution levels have got worse in British towns and cities despite Government pledges to reduce toxic fumes.
100. Massive cuts to flood defence budgets in 2010 left Britain badly exposed to repeated flooding in the years that followed.
Posted at 4:36 pm by l8in