When I first saw the picture above, I had not initially read the headline. I thought the guy was wearing red gloves. Sadly, this was not the case. It seems that the man in the picture above, for a reason we’ll discuss in a bit, decided along with an accomplice, to attack a complete stranger and cut his head off. The, “red gloves,” he sported turned out to be the blood of his victim. He committed this act of pure barbarism in broad daylight, on a busy London street, and felt no impulse to flee the scene ahead of local police, who by the way took 20 full minutes to arrive, There is an added importance to this fact, which we’ll also discuss in later. They strutted about like rock stars afterwords, granting interviews to people with cell phones. During the times when citizen journalists weren’t recording their rants, they gloated over their accomplishment, taunting the government and the citizens of the nation in which they live.
The motivation for our murderous thugs is not something that requires a psychic. It was not a random act of disaffected youths acting in response to some desperate societal depression. The thought, “I can’t find a job so maybe I’ll kill someone,” was not racing through the otherwise innocent minds of Britain’s future. They quite clearly were shouting, “Allah hu akhbar.” as they severed their victim’s head in front of shocked witnesses. During their many spontaneous interviews, they described in detail that this was their contribution to jihad, Islam’s very visible war with the West, our culture, and our principle of freedom. They strutted around like proud peacocks, not worried about the consequences of their actions, because they were convinced that 72 virgin somethings await them in the grand traditional Islamic afterlife, in which every selfish base desire man kind is capable of having will be satisfied as a reward for those who kill infidels in the most gruesome manner possible.
Until yesterday, Britain and the people in charge of her have pretended that terrorism and Islam have no connection. That changed yesterday, as their Prime Minister, David Cameron, for the first time connected those dots in an official manner. Britain it seems is tired of paying the price for appeasement. Their problem of course is that with decades worth of Muslims who have already established deeply entrenched pockets of Sharia throughout England, they’re in for one hell of a bad time ahead. They are infested with this cancer upon their society, and it was their willful blindness that did it to them.
We have the same problem here. We have the same pockets of deeply entrenched Sharia existing here. Those same sleeper cells that have infested England, have infested us here, and have already made their presence known. There is a price to pay for pretending that there is no connection between Islam and terrorism. That price was paid in Boston most recently. The politically correct and their police force are going to get the rest of us killed, or worse. Handling acts of terror as police matters, and offering empty platitudes as our weapon to combat them will prove as in effective in the future as those methods have been in the past.
This next point I wish to say while you keep a little piece of personal disclosure in mind. While in High School, and through part of my college experience, many years ago, I was one of these people. So believe me when I tell you this. When you see one of these bumper stickers on the back of a car,
you are in the presence of museum grade stupidity. You may wish to get your camera out, and take pictures of who belongs to the sentiment, and place that photo with your collection of other curios. The owner of that sticky backed messaging performed a miracle simply by placing their pants on correctly during the morning hours, let alone driving a car without a brain.
This politically correct message of unbridled appeasement makes at its core a dangerously naive assumption. It combines an asinine level of moral equivalence with a willful blindness that guarantees the annihilation of all societies that follow its advice.
It assumes that all societies are equal, with none being morally superior or even preferable to others. It equates the acts of groups where public beheadings and honor killings are considered acceptable behavior with those who’s acts of barbarism include cutting off the hair and shaving off the beards of any the guilty seek to intimidate. For the liberals reading this, blowing yourself up on a school bus and taking 40 children with you to meet Allah is not on the same level morally speaking as those who spray paint insulting messages on buildings thought to be bars with patrons seeking an, “alternative,” lifestyle.
The other glaring problem with this bumper sticker is that it assumes, quite moronically, that all of the referenced groups have equal amounts of trouble getting along with the others in that collection. Coexisting would be no problem for any of the last five groups, if the first one did not feel that world domination was its duty to their Deity. The message of this idiocy is that the remaining five groups referenced are unwilling to coexist, while ignoring that the first group actually is unwilling to coexist.
There is another aspect to this story. The two assailants were armed, not only with knives and cleavers, but with guns also. In England, guns are not legal to possess, even for police. Somehow, the criminals found a way to break that law, and why shouldn’t they. Clearly, obeying the laws of the land was not one of their priorities. The Police took longer to arrive, because they were tipped that they would be facing a situation where the bad guys had guns. They were able to strut around for 20 minutes unchallenged, precisely because they knew that no one passing by on the street would be armed. When the police arrived, they opened fire on the cops.
If anyone doubts that Western Governments are beholden to Islamic interests, the UK is a prime example. Like the United States, Immigrants from Islamic nations are given preference over others. The situation is so dire, that east London is practically a Pakistani colony. In a reminder of this Islamic colonization of the UK, a British soldier was beheaded in the Woolwich section of London.
A man reported to be a serving soldier is dead and two people have been shot in Woolwich, south east London, after what Sky sources understand is being treated as a terrorist attack.
Downing Street has called a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee after the incident in John Wilson Street, which David Cameron described as “truly shocking”.
Senior police officers are thought to believe the killing was a politically-motivated Islamist terrorist attack and video has emerged that appears to show one of the alleged attackers attempting to justify the pair’s actions.
Dozens of weapons – including a number of knives – and pools of blood could be seen on the ground, where a man wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt is said to have been attacked by two men.
Witnesses say the pair appeared to deliberately drive their car at the victim, before getting out with various bladed weapons and launching their attack.
Following their attack, as the victim lay motionless in the middle of the road, witnesses say they heard the pair chanting “Allahu akbar” – and inviting passers-by to take photographs of them.
If the British did not have gun control, Law abiding Britons would have taken the Islamist savages out. Will this attack change Britain’s Pro-Islamic immigration policies, nope. Look at the reaction from some following the Boston Marathon attack. Instead of focusing on Islamic Immigration they attacked all Immigrant groups, thus distracting from the issue of Islamic immigration. Clearly this reluctance to call out people from Islamic countries is due to their political clout and politicians on their payroll.
My heart goes out to the family of this British soldier, who is another victim of Islamic terror.
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The B.B.C. (known as”Auntie” in the United Kingdom) is a dangerous organization that desperately needs to be privatized. I am glad that the author mentioned Jeremy Paxman who makes the MSNBC crew seem “fair and balanced”. The B.B.C. has refused to report on an internal investigation of its own anti-Israel biases.
by Jonathan Foreman
Admired around the world, and nowhere more than in the upper reaches of the American media, the British Broadcasting Corporation has long enjoyed the unstinting support of Britain’s metropolitan media elite, whose views it both forms and reflects. In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher considered it institutionally hostile to her person as well as to her agenda. Two decades later, Tony Blair went from being one of its favorites to its number-one target, largely though not exclusively because of the Iraq war, which the BBC opposed from the very first suggestion of military action against Saddam Hussein. By the time Blair came out in favor of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008, to the barely contained fury of the BBC’s news reporters and analysts, he had already become the despised outcast he is today in British metropolitan circles, spoken of by the BBC only in terms of opprobrium and bitter mockery.
In the last few months, however, the reputation of the BBC has been battered by a twin scandal involving pedophilia, cover-ups, and journalistic shoddiness. The scandal has, in turn, provoked widespread questions about the role and internal culture of the government-subsidized broadcasting behemoth as no previous controversies have done.
It began with the revelation that one of its biggest stars, Sir Jimmy Savile, for more than 30 years had exploited his youth-oriented programs to molest and, in some instances, rape children, often on BBC property. Savile, a peculiarly unattractive and charmless personality whose success was mysterious to foreigners and many Britons, was the longtime host of Top of the Pops, the UK’s equivalent of America’s Top 40, and of a program called Jim’ll Fix It in which children, often disadvantaged, would write and ask for a wish to be granted, such as meeting a famous person. Between the early 1960s and his death in 2011, Savile’s long white hair, chunky jewelry, and trademark Cuban cigars were inescapable on British TV, and his Northern-accented staccato voice was a staple in advertisements and public-service announcements.
The onetime miner, professional wrestler, and dance-hall disc-jockey had a face for radio and a voice for mime. He was not witty or smooth or charming. But in the mid-1960s, he had the advantage of being obviously working class at a time when the BBC establishment was painfully upper-middle-class and Oxbridge, and desperate to connect with youth culture and “the street.” It may well be that this background, and the BBC’s instinctive veneration for it, were among the things that made him so strangely untouchable even as rumors of his sexual predation accumulated. That he did so much charity work—in a country where charities and NGOs are nearly worshipped by the BBC and other media—also made him untouchable, while providing him with extraordinary opportunities for wrongdoing.
There were persistent rumors about his sexual proclivities at these places and in the BBC. This was partly because he was an overtly creepy figure who lived with his mother until her death (he was a lifelong bachelor) and sported the mirthless grin of a horror-movie clown. But also he had been investigated by various UK police forces on several occasions as late as 2007 and inspired sporadic allegations of child abuse that never received much attention in the news media.
It seems, however, that he used a lupine cunning to intimidate officials who might have raised a flag. Not only was he a famous public man who skillfully exploited British worship of the nonprofit sector to foster his Teflon image of benevolence, he also had a sinister ability to get hold of confidential information about the staff in the hospitals and prisons he visited. A skillful bully, he apparently liked to remind anyone who seemed likely to ask awkward questions what good friends he was with senior police officers or members of the cabinet.
Later, the flagship current-events show Newsnight decided not to proceed with an investigative program about Savile and his alleged sex crimes, possibly because corporation executives feared they might spoil the tributes to him scheduled for Christmas 2011. Jeremy Paxman, the formidable lead presenter on Newsnight (who described Savile’s predation as “common gossip” and the BBC management’s handling of the affair as “pathetic” and “contemptible”), apparently pressed his bosses to run the show, but to no avail.
The then director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson—now chief executive of the New York Times—denies that he ever heard rumors of Savile’s activities, or that he had any role in the cancellation of the Newsnight program. His denial has been contradicted by one of the organization’s top reporters.
Nine months after the BBC canceled the Newsnight investigation of Savile, a program on the competing private network ITV supplied a devastating account of the star’s pedophilia, which led to a police investigation by 14 forces across the country. So far, almost 500 alleged victims have contacted the authorities, and police have recorded 31 convincing allegations of rape and 199 other serious crimes, many of them committed on BBC property. As more and more people broke their silence and recounted the experiences at his hands, it came to light that Savile had even molested children at a hospice.
It is worth noting that at the beginning of the scandal, Savile’s apologists pointed out that when he began his career as the host of a pop-music show in the 1960s it was “normal” for rock musicians and people in the industry to sleep with underage groupies. [.......]
The second stage of the two-part scandal took place after the editor of Newsnight had already stepped down (after denying that he had been pressured to drop the Savile program) and as the police began to investigate other claims of rape and pedophilia by entertainers at the BBC. In what looked suspiciously like an effort to distract the public from the Savile debacle, Newsnight accused a senior, retired Conservative politician of similar crimes. The groundless accusation was based on flimsy evidence: the memory of a now middle-aged victim of care-home abuse, some of whose previous accusations had turned out to be false and had cost Private Eye magazine hefty libel damages.
There have been other BBC scandals in the last few years, though none—not even the 2003 Gilligan–Kelly affair, involving the suicide of a government scientist named as the source of a report claiming the government “sexed up” WMD evidence in advance of the Iraq war—has provoked the current level of soul-searching and external criticism.
In 2008, Panorama, an investigative journalism show, claimed that Indian subcontractors for the Primark department-store chain were using child labor. Primark complained that Panorama’s footage of boys in Bangalore sweatshops was fraudulent. An inquiry by the BBC Trust determined that it was indeed “more than likely” that the sweatshop scenes had been staged.
A year earlier, the BBC had been forced to apologize to Queen Elizabeth II after broadcasting a trailer that was deceptively edited to suggest she had stormed out of a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz. That same year, an internal investigation discovered that a BBC6 radio show had repeatedly faked competitions featuring nonexistent prizes and in which callers were actually members or friends of the production team. This was only one of several instances of pretend call-in shows discovered during the last decade.
Usually the BBC’s staff, PR unit, and supporters have successfully dismissed even the most deserved and well-founded criticism as politically motivated or threatening to the organization’s prized independence and objectivity. Accusations of endemic and consistent political bias have been particularly easy to bat away, largely because those making the accusations fail to understand that the organization’s very real biases—even those against Israel and America—are largely unconscious.
Everyone in the UK who owns a television set has to pay an annual license fee of £145.50 ($228). This adds up to some £3.5 billion ($5.5 billion). (Another £1.5 billion, or $2.4 billion, comes from BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s profitable commercial arm.) The leading conservative columnist Charles Moore has called this “the most regressive and ruthlessly collected of all government imposts.” It clearly weighs more heavily on the poor than on the rich. This seems all the more unfair given that the fee is generally justified by the BBC’s defenders as funding the production of critically lauded drama and current-events programs that are watched by the upper-middle class.
In fact, the costume dramas so often bought by PBS and the current-events programs that were widely believed to be such fine examples of professional “objective” journalism account for a very small amount of the BBC’s product and budget. It actually spends much more public money trying to compete for audience share with lowest-common-denominator dreck like Hotter Than My Daughter, My Man Boobs and Me, and Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents—a reality show in which teenagers were taken to the Mediterranean and encouraged to behave badly without knowing that the BBC had secretly brought their parents to watch. It was the BBC, not one of its commercial rivals, that first imported the original junk-reality TV series Big Brother to the UK. It goes almost without saying that the free market has a proven ability to fund such programs.
There are institutional problems within the BBC almost as troubling as its failure to spot a pedophile in its midst, its ruthless cover-up of his activities, and its unjustified targeting of a Tory to distract the public from its shabby behavior.
The BBC’s broadcasts reach 97 percent of the British population and at least 224 million people abroad. It has extraordinary power over British political and cultural discourse, an influence even greater than that enjoyed by the New York Times in the United States. (It also exerts remarkable influence over elite American journalists, especially those who specialize in foreign affairs.) [.......]
Despite being notoriously poorly managed by an enormous, slow-moving, jargon-addicted bureaucracy, the corporation ruthlessly and successfully uses its political influence and its domination of TV, radio, and the Internet (the license fee allows it to put vast amounts of material on the Web) to prevent any potential competitor from developing a similar “cross-platform” media power. When the Murdoch media empire was bidding for full control of BSkyB (the country’s biggest satellite TV operator and the main challenger to BBC TV’s “freeview” service), the BBC joined the concerted, ultimately successful PR effort by the Guardian, the New York Times, and other organizations to influence the Ofcom regulator against News International. [.........]
Indeed, the BBC is such a power in the land that it could almost be another branch of government, albeit one without democratic legitimacy. It certainly can behave like a kind of permanent opposition to the country’s elected leaders. That could theoretically be a good thing, an additional check and balance on overweening state power, but there is an argument that in practice it has a subversive effect on British democracy and legitimacy. One of the striking aspects about its current-events coverage from a foreigner’s perspective is the overtly cynical, disrespectful attitude its interviewers display to politicians. And this is an attitude mirrored in the corporation’s dramas and comedies, which tend to portray politicians, almost uniformly, as liars and crooks every bit as evil as large corporations and business executives.
When one of the BBC’s grand inquisitors, such as the intimidating Jeremy Paxman, interviews a politician, his tone usually makes it clear that the former is a liar who deserves to be caught out. The presenters on the morning show Today—listened to by everyone within Britain’s equivalent of the Beltway—behave the same way: Politicians are down in the gutter with Americans, generals, Catholic priests, bankers, and, of course, Israeli spokespersons, as presumptive liars and scumbags. When challenged, people in the BBC justify this aggressive stance as a courageous speaking of truth to power, but it is more often an exercise of power without responsibility: After all, the interviewees are the elected representatives of the people; the interviewers are self-appointed, publicly funded tribunes representing the assumptions and prejudices of the new ruling class.
It only takes a few days of listening to BBC talk radio or watching the news to get a sense of its institutional biases. You will never, ever hear an interviewer suggest that maybe the state should play a smaller role in some aspect of national life, that unrestricted mass immigration might have adverse effects, or that Britain’s welfare benefits might have undesirable social consequences or be prone to exploitation. You will certainly never encounter any skepticism about the UN, foreign aid, and the European project. Anyone who is unconvinced by the attractions of a European superstate is treated as a bigot or dinosaur or deemed mysteriously blind to the obvious appeal of “Europe” as envisioned by the modern and the cultured.
In terms of domestic politics, the BBC has exhibited, at least since the days of Thatcher, an institutional contempt for the Tory Party: Just as you are unlikely to meet a New York Times editor who openly votes Republican, there are simply no open Tories at the BBC. This is not surprising in that as a matter of course the corporation places its job advertisements in the left-of-center Guardian.
Much airtime is taken up by campaign-like bulletins that presume the existence and dangers of anthropogenic global warming, and impartiality goes out of the window whenever subjects like solar power and green taxes come up. Multiculturalism, though increasingly discredited in the UK as a whole, is still official BBC policy internally (diversity workshops are a grim fact of BBC working life), and BBC reporters and interviewers remain among its most resolute proponents. Ironically, although one BBC director general, lifetime Labour Party activist Greg Dyke, accused the corporation of being “hideously white,” its staff already includes a higher number of ethnic minorities than the nation as a whole, and its newsreaders an almost comically high proportion of the same. [.........]
Commentary readers may well have some sense that the BBC’s news division—the largest news organization in the world—has an Israel problem, as it was widely reported in the United States that the BBC’s then Jerusalem correspondent Barbara Plett actually wept in 2004 while covering the final illness of Yasir Arafat. (A BBC investigation responded to listener complaints by saying that her reporting met required standards of “fairness, accuracy, and balance.”) Plett, a Canadian, is now the BBC’s UN correspondent and remains obsessed with Israel. Another BBC correspondent in Israel, Irish journalist Orla Guerin, once produced a story about a curfew in Bethlehem titled “How the Israelis Stole Christmas.” But neither is as anti-Israel as some of the local BBC correspondents in Gaza, who in some cases are pro-Hamas activists in their spare time; their “balance” is nevertheless asserted by the organization.
Sometimes the corporation’s simplistic anti-Zionism gets its staff into trouble: It was almost certainly a factor in the kidnapping of its Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston in 2007 by gangsters with close connections to Hamas. Johnston, like many BBC reporters, was so close to Fatah that he was seen by some Gazans as essentially a Fatah agent. Palestinian Information Minister Mustafe Barghouti described him as “someone who has done a lot for our cause.”
Of all the reflexive political attitudes of BBC management and staff, the animus against Israel stands out for its obsessive and visceral qualities. The organization makes more documentaries about Israel and the Palestinians than about any other foreign subject. Again and again events in Israel and the Palestinian territories are the lead story on the BBC news website, even when world-shaking events are taking place in parts of the globe you might expect progressives to care about. The BBC’s Middle East “experts” were almost all taken by surprise by the Arab Spring, so focused were they on Israel, and so convinced were they that all the problems of the Middle East derive from the Zionist presence. An official internal report on anti-Israel bias by Malcolm Balen in 2004 has been suppressed by the BBC, presumably because it confirms the existence of the same; the corporation has spent almost $400,000 in legal fees defending the report against Freedom of Information Act requests seeking its release.
The institutional prejudices apparent in some of the BBC’s news and current-events coverage are often mirrored or even exaggerated in its entertainment output, a classic example being the successful spy series Spooks—which represents a world in which there is no Islamist terrorism and Islamist threats invariably turn out to be ruses created by evil Mossad agents and domestic right-wingers. The BBC’s serious dramas are often even worse. Every year the corporation funds heavy-handed agitprop TV films and series that are almost comical in their clunky earnestness, such as the recent consciousness-raising effort by Richard Curtis, The Girl in the Café, which starred Bill Nighy as a senior political adviser converted by Kelly Macdonald’s ingenue to the struggle against African poverty and Third World debt. [........]
The most important thing to understand about BBC bias is that, like its institutional obsessions with youth and celebrity, it is neither conscious nor in any way officially mandated. There are no orders from the top reminding journalists that Israel should be considered the greatest threat to peace, freedom, and justice, or that businessmen should generally be treated as crooks until proven innocent. That is just what everyone in the corporation believes in the same way that they know the world is round. Moreover, it is what they believe that everyone else—by which I mean everyone who is intelligent, educated, and of decent moral character—believes.
For anyone who knows people who work at the BBC, this makes perfect sense. Many of my university contemporaries joined the BBC; they were pretty much all of a type, as if they had belonged to the same clique in high school. They were middle-class, middle-ability kids with predictably “right-on” (i.e., conventionally left-liberal) views. They shared mildly bohemian ideas about culture as a progressive, transgressive enterprise and were prone to conform to mainstream intellectual fashion. (There were a couple of exceptions: a girl whose spectacular sex appeal and wild clothes masked skeptical views about Third World virtues, and a hard-line Communist of working-class background whose eccentric career trajectory eventually took him to the Washington Times.) Those with whom I am still in contact decades later tend to have the same assumptions and attitudes that they had back in the Thatcher years. Conservatives are heartless, greedy, socially snobbish, and probably sexually deviant in repressed and dangerous ways. The UN is good, aid organizations are good, peace activists are good, unions are good, and the EU is good.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that a certain self-regard and the smug sense of belonging to an organization of uniquely intelligent, educated, and cultured people is what lies at the root of the BBC’s institutional problems. Now the BBC has revealed itself as capable of the worst kind of bureaucratic malfeasance for such a trusted and exalted organization—trying to hide its role as an abettor of an evil man by slandering a good one. Some part of its reputation may never recover.
Rodan Addedum: This thread will also serve as an update thread for the Boston Marathon attack. After the false report of an arrest, Boston’s federal courthouse has
BOSTON (Reuters) – Security officials on Wednesday ordered staff, media and attorneys to evacuate Boston’s federal courthouse, according to a Reuters reporter on the scene.
Scores of people could be seen leaving the building. No further details were immediately available.
This story gets more confusing by the minute.
Update: The FBI tells the media to stop spreading uncomfirmed reports.
2:56 p.m. The FBI says “no arrest has been made,” media should “exercise caution and attempt to verify information” before reporting:
Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.
A great farewell to Margaret Thatcher by one who actually knew her. I love his mentioning that the British Conservative Party has a long and ignominious tradition of knifing their leaders in the back. Margaret Thatcher was the only post World War II Prime Minister (with the exception of Sir Anthony Eden who was Churchill’s Foreign Secretary) whom I could have seen as a great World War II leader.
by Conrad Black
The news of the death of Margaret Thatcher is not, at her age and in the condition that she has been in for some years, a great surprise or entirely sad. But in contemplation of the great career she had and the immense service she rendered the United Kingdom and the Western world, it is overwhelmingly sad. In general, Britain’s greatest prime ministers have served successfully in wars with other Great Powers: William Pitt the Elder (in the Seven Years’ War), William Pitt the Younger (in the Napoleonic Wars), Palmerston (in the Crimean War), David Lloyd George (in the Great War), and Winston Churchill (in World War II). Robert Walpole, Robert Peel, John Russell, Benjamin Disraeli, William Ewart Gladstone, and the Marquess of Salisbury are also generally reckoned to be great prime ministers, either as stylish survivors like Walpole and Salisbury or as great reformers, and especially if their accomplishments were leavened with a tremendous wit, parliamentary legend, and literary cachet, as Disraeli’s and Churchill’s were.
Margaret Thatcher conducted only a secondary war (the Falklands), as Salisbury did (against the Boers), but she conducted it extremely well and to the ultimate benefit of the enemy, as Argentinean democracy, whatever its limitations, resulted from the British rout of the Ruritanian and brutal junta that lumbered out of the Buenos Aires Officers’ Club in their over-bemedaled tunics to oust the nightclub singer who was the widow and successor of Juan Perón in 1976. [..........]In these 180 years, only Gladstone, in four separate terms and a parliamentary career spanning 63 years, and Salisbury, scion of Britain’s most exalted family (the Cecils) and chosen heir of Disraeli, in three terms, served longer than Margaret Thatcher, the daughter of a provincial grocer.
It has been a disservice to her great achievements that Margaret Thatcher has been torn down by the Left, ungratefully deserted by her own party, and had her privacy violated by vulgar snobbery and snide cinematography (even if somewhat redeemed by the thespian artistry of Meryl Streep). Not too much should be read into the confused defection of the Conservative party from the legacy of the only person in 180 years who has led them to three consecutive full-term election victories. The British Conservatives leave the selection and retention of leaders to the parliamentary party, and have knifed every leader they have had since Stanley Baldwin, who took a good look at the Nazis and retired in 1937, except those who retired before they could be disembarked. Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher, and Iain Duncan-Smith were pushed out, and Alec Douglas-Home, John Major, William Hague, and Michael Howard retired before that indignity could be inflicted on them. Sharper by far than a serpent’s tooth is a British Conservative MP’s ingratitude.
When Margaret Thatcher was narrowly elected prime minister in 1979 over James Callaghan, the United Kingdom was on daily audit from the International Monetary Fund, currency controls prevented the removal of more than a few hundred pounds from the country, top corporate and personal income-tax rates were 80 and 98 percent, and those who had the temerity and persistence to enjoy a capital gain (which was hard to come by in Britain in that economic climate) were apt to enjoy the exaltation of soul generated by an effective tax rate of over 100 percent. The entire economy was in the hands of an intellectually corrupt, Luddite trade-union confederation, which chose most of the delegates to any conference of the governing Labour party, and whose shop stewards and craft-unit heads could shut down an entire industry in mid-contract for any reason, from an individual work grievance to the sour grapes generated by a poor round of darts in their local pub (on working hours).
In the year preceding the 1979 election, in what became known as “the winter of discontent,” almost every industry in the country had been shut down by capricious strikes, including the airports, trains, electric power, coal mines, garbage collection, and undertaking. The captains of industry and finance in the City, the style-setters in Mayfair and the West End, the doyennes of Bloomsbury and Knightsbridge, and the denizens of the chancelleries and ministries of Belgravia and Westminster huddled in the cold and dark, dead or alive. Government-owned operations, from the steel industry to the airports, were a cesspool of inefficiency and, in the private sector, large numbers of fictitious jobs were salaried and the proceeds went as sinecures to union favorites or into a pot to be divided at the pleasure of the union bosses. [.........]
The Britain whose headship Margaret Thatcher had assumed had not led a foreign military operation since the debacle at Suez in 1956, in which the British and French, by prearrangement and without consulting the United States, incited an Israeli invasion of the Sinai and then bunglingly invaded Egypt and masqueraded as peacekeepers separating the two combatants. Twenty-five years later, the Argentineans invaded the Falklands and the British forcibly ejected them. Then, as always, Margaret Thatcher did not flinch. Nor did she when the Irish terrorists blew up her hotel at Brighton, killing several of her MPs: She insisted that the conference open exactly on time the next morning and gave extemporaneously an unforgettable call to arms against the terrorists. Nor did she when, as she cleaned up the state-owned industries and disemployed hundreds of thousands of under-worked beneficiaries of decades-old feather-bedding, and she was reviled in huge demonstrations. She did not waffle or waver over deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Britain, Germany, Belgium, and Italy to counter the Soviet ICBMs already in place in the satellite countries. When asked whether she sought a “nuclear-free Europe,” she instantly replied that she favoured “a war-free Europe.”
When large chunks of her parliamentary party lost their nerve over her free-market economics — a reduction of the top personal income-tax rate to 40 percent, elimination of all currency controls, massive privatization of industry, and right-to-work laws to remove the terror of the labor leadership — she famously told her party conference: “U-turn if you want; the lady’s not for turning.” She was a rock-solid supporter of the Western Alliance and was instrumental in the balanced elimination of intermediate-range missiles in Europe and the satisfactory end of the Cold War. She is generally credited with assisting President George H. W. Bush in determining that Saddam Hussein had to be evicted from Kuwait: “George, this is no time to go wobbly.” [........]It was, to scale, Elizabeth I’s Gloriana, without Shakespeare to publicize it, and with more than a trace of the Churchillian courage and virtue that first attracted her to a Conservative candidacy under Churchill’s leadership in 1950 and 1951.
She formed her judgment of Germany when the Luftwaffe (in what must rank as one of the greatest long-term strategic blunders of World War II) bombed the town of Grantham, where teenage Margaret Thatcher lived. And she formed her opinion of Americans from the U.S. servicemen, black and white, whom she and her family invited home for dinner after the wartime Sunday services in her local Methodist church. [.......]
She was a strong woman, but never a mannish one. She was an Oxford alumna (in chemistry) when they were somewhat rare, a Tory candidate for Parliament, an MP, and a female cabinet secretary when they were rare, the first woman leader of a major party in Britain, and the first woman prime minister; she assimilated this meritocratic rise, in the gritted teeth of hidebound British high-Tory traditionalism, with neither diffidence nor triumphalism. When she became the leader of the party, she entered the Carlton Club, the Conservatives’ social headquarters in St. James, and when informed that ladies were not allowed in other than as guests, she replied as she brushed past the doorman: “They are now.” [.........]
Her successors have squandered most of the national economic strength and political capital she bequeathed to them. She was undercut and stabbed more in the back than the front by her own party, for advocating in respect of Europe precisely what the great majority of the British public now believes — that European cooperation is unambiguously good, but integration should be approached with caution by Britain, until it is not stripping institutions that have served it well for centuries in favor of well-intentioned but unfledged replacements.
[..............] When she retired as prime minister, the party chairman, Kenneth Baker, a loyal supporter, said, “We shall not see her like again,” and she said, “It’s a funny old world.” The following day, when she easily rebutted a no-confidence motion, the hard-left Labour MP Dennis Skinner loudly said, to great applause, “You can wipe the floor with this lot, Margaret,” referring to those who would succeed her in both parties. So she could. She was a saintly woman, and one of the great leaders who has arisen in a thousand years of British history.
Read the rest - Thatcher ranks as one of the greatest leaders of Britain in a thousand years
One of the great champions of smaller government passed away overnight. Many on this side of the Atlantic know of Ronald Reagan’s legend, and how he reformed our concept of government for the better, but what many of us overlook is that Reagan had a partner on the world stage, who did the same for her own side of the pond. During the time of Reagan and Thatcher, two of the West’s most influential governments shrank in size and scope, the regulatory environment that sought to choke our economies receded, and the threat of the Eastern Bloc was soundly defeated foreshadowing the fall of the Berlin Wall.
As much as political figures of today attempt to rewrite history and tell us that the fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the world’s desire to come together, that description of events is no where near accurate. The truth is that there was a Cold War of Proxy being fought by the world’s super powers, which was, due to improved technology combined with the advent and proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, every bit as dangerous as any war with real battles that had ever been waged in human history. Margaret Thatcher was a general in the front lines of that Cold War, and she helped to engineer the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was that destruction of a very real enemy that brought down the Berlin Wall, and not the world’s rousing rendition of Kumbayah and Unicorn rides, as has been the recent interpretation.
Margaret Thatcher embodied the American Spirit far better than many of our own politicians. She will be missed.
Who decides who gets fined? What keeps government from abusing this rule?
PARTY leaders struck a deal on a new newspaper regulator today – amid accusations it will introduce Britain’s first ever Press law.
Talks between Tory, Labour and Lib Dem chiefs finally led to an agreement in the early hours of this morning.
It will lead to the setting up of a Royal Charter to govern the regulation of the Press…
In a bid to allay fears that the new set-up will be open to Government interference, any changes will need the support of two-thirds of MPs.
PM David Cameron – who had opposed calls for the regime to be underpinned by a new law – insisted he had got what he wanted.
He said: “It’s not statutory underpinning.
“What it is, is simply a clause that says politicians can’t fiddle with this so it takes it further away from politicians, which is actually, I think, a sensible step.”
But Labour denied the Premier’s claims.
A source said: “This is not a little bit of statute, this is not a dab of statute, this is statute pure and simple.”
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: “What we have done is adopt the so-called ’royal charter plus’ in full.
“It is underpinned by legislation – both to install a real system of costs and damages and crucially to make sure that future governments can’t mess around with the Royal Charter.”
In an emegency Commons debate this aftenoon the PM insisted the cross-party deal on a royal charter on press regulation defends the principle of a free press.
He added: “As Lord Justice Leveson recommended, we need a system of tough, independent self-regulation that will deliver for victims and meet the principles set out in his report.
“This system will ensure upfront apologies, million-pound fines, a self-regulatory body with independence of appointments and funding, a robust standards code, an arbitration service that is free for victims and a speedy complaint handling mechanism.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Today we break the pattern of decades and decades, where politicians promised to act on wrongdoings by the press and failed to do so.”
You had something to hide
Should have hidden it, shouldn’t you
Now you’re not satisfied
With what you’re being put through
It’s just time to pay the price
For not listening to advice
And deciding in your youth
On the policy of truth
Things used to be so different now
It used to be so civilised
You will always wonder how
It could have been if you’d only lied
It’s too late to change events
It’s time to face the consequence
For delivering the proof
In the policy of truth
Is what you swore
The time before
Is what you swore
The time before
Now you’re standing there tongue tied
You’d better learn your lesson well
Hide what you have to hide
And tall what you have to tell
You’ll see your problems multiplied
If you continually decide
To faithfully pursue
The policy of truth
A fascinating story of murder, a post war investigation, followed by swift justice! Also one of my favorite action films of all time!
by Simon Read
Immortalized in the film The Great Escape, the mass breakout from PoW camp Stalag Luft III on March 24-25, 1944, was swiftly followed by terrible retribution – the cold-blooded murder of 50 recaptured prisoners, on Hitler’s direct orders.
Fifty of the Allied airmen who tunnelled out of Stalag Luft III were executed in chilling scenes like this.
In 1946, RAF Special Investigation Branch officers reconstructed the murders of Squadron Leader Thomas Kirby-Green and Flying Officer Gordon Kidder near Zlín, Moravia, (above). Gestapo officer Erich Zacharias was hanged for his role
On March 29, 1944, Australian Squadron Leader James Catanach and three fellow Allied airmen found themselves languishing in a Nazi prison just a few miles short of the Danish border.
After being prisoners inside Stalag Luft III, a notorious PoW camp located 100 miles south-east of Berlin, freedom had seemed so close just days before.
Two years after being shot down over Norway, Catanach had been part of the most daring escape of the war. Some 76 Allied airmen had tunnelled out, before attempting to disperse across Europe and escape back to Britain.
The 22-year-old Aussie spoke fluent German and believed – wrongly, as it transpired – that he had a reasonable chance of making it to neutral Sweden.
Catanach and Arnold Christensen of the Royal New Zealand Air Force had managed to make their way to the railway station at Sagan, the town nearest the camp, and catch the express to Berlin. They spent the night in the capital, avoiding detection, and purchased train tickets to Flensburg.
It was here, in this ancient city on the Baltic coast, that they were spotted and arrested.
Now, with Christensen and fellow escapees Hallada Espelid and Nils Fuglesang, Norwegians with the Royal Air Force, Catanach sat wondering what awaited them. They assumed the Germans would return them to a prison camp, as was normal protocol.
STILL IN THEIR ESCAPE CLOTHES: Photographs of (from left) Lieutenants Hallada Espelid and Nils Fuglesang, Norwegians with the RAF, Australian Squadron Leader James Catanach and Pilot Officer Arnold Christensen of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, taken by the Kriminalpolizei shortly after their arrest in Flensburg in March 1944. All four were murdered by the Nazis
But that afternoon, Major Johannes Post of the Gestapo and his comrade Oskar Schmidt arrived to question the quartet.
Post, 38 years old and a stocky five-and-a-half-feet tall, was an ardent Nazi, fanatical in his loyalty to Hitler and intimidating to all who knew him.
The interrogation proving futile, the prisoners were handcuffed and marched to the waiting cars outside. Post took custody of Catanach in his car and set off with his driver, eyeing his captive in the rear-view mirror. Out in the countryside, where the road curved sharply to the right, the Mercedes came to a halt.
Catanach was told to get out and cross the road, where a gate opened into a meadow. Without uttering a word, Post then pulled a Luger 7.65mm pistol from his pocket and shot Catanach between the shoulder blades, killing him instantly.
As Post pocketed his weapon, the second car arrived. Schmidt ordered his driver to pull in behind the Mercedes. The journey back to Sagan, he told his three prisoners, would take several more hours. The men would be wise to relieve themselves.
Schmidt and his two partners marched the prisoners across the road. One of the airmen saw a dark object lying in the grass. The realisation that it was Catanach drew a panicked scream.
Frances McKenna had been a detective-sergeant in Blackpool, where his dedication had earned him the nickname ‘Sherlock Holmes’
All three jumped backward and tried to scramble away before three gun reports echoed across the meadow.
Two of the airmen fell lifeless; the third hit the ground but struggled, opening his mouth as though wanting to speak. Post approached the airman and put a bullet in his head.
Concrete pilings that served as foundations for each washroom and kitchen were dug into the earth. Prisoners would have to dig through these before they even hit soil.
Squadron Leader Roger Bushell was 32 years old when he arrived in 1942. He had already been a prisoner for two years and had a reputation as a veteran escape artist.
Assuming command of the escape committee, Bushell hatched a plot to break out 250 inmates.
The audacious plan called for the simultaneous digging of three tunnels named Tom, Dick and Harry. [........]
To reach the cover of the nearby forest, he estimated that tunnels would have to reach at least 200ft.
Disaster struck in September 1943 when Tom was discovered, but by March 1944 it was thought Harry – at 336ft – had reached the cover of the trees. The escape was set for Friday, March 24, a moonless evening.
On the night, freezing temperatures had hardened the ground. It took more than an hour to open the exit shaft, only to reveal a near-catastrophe: Harry fell a good 20ft short of the forest, meaning escapees had to risk crawling across open, snow-covered ground to the trees.
By four in the morning, it was decided the 87th man in the tunnel would be the last to go. Above ground, meanwhile, a sentry patrolling the perimeter approached the edge of the woods to relieve himself, only to notice steam rising from the ground.
As he approached, three escapees broke cover with their arms raised high. Startled, the guard fired a single shot into the air.
Armed guards swarmed the compound and eventually a roll call was taken. The numbers tallied were startling. Seventy-six men had escaped.
Stalag Luft III, the notorious PoW camp located 100 miles south-east of Berlin, was the scene of a mass breakout in March 1944
Hitler’s rage was all-consuming. He summoned SS chief Heinrich Himmler and Reichsmarschall Göring and ordered that all 76 fugitives be executed upon recapture.
Word of such an atrocity, Göring explained, might result in fierce Allied reprisals. Himmler agreed, prompting Hitler to order that ‘more than half the escapees’ be shot. [........]
The Kriminalpolizei (the criminal-investigations department of the Reich police) issued a Grossfahndung, a national hue and cry, ordering the military, the Gestapo, the SS, the Home Guard and Hitler Youth to put every effort into hunting the escapees down. Nearly 100,000 men needed to defend the Reich were redirected to the manhunt.
By Wednesday, March 29, five days after the breakout, 35 escapees languished behind bars in the cramped cells of the jail at Görlitz, not far south of Sagan.
Those who remained on the run hoped to make destinations in Czechoslovakia, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. Luck, however, worked against them.
[........]Before long, all but three of the fugitives were back in captivity.
Two weeks after the escape, the whereabouts of the escapees remained a mystery to the prisoners inside the camp. Just six men had thus far been returned to Stalag Luft III and marched directly into the cooler, the solitary-confinement block.
Murdered in cold blood: A list of the escapees, with photos, who were shot. Among the dead were 25 Britons, six Canadians, three Australians, two New Zealanders, three South Africans, four Poles, two Norwegians, one Frenchman and a Greek
But on April 6, Group Captain Herbert Massey, the senior British officer in the camp, was to learn the fate of so many of his men.
The camp commandant, Colonel Braune, informed him that 41 had been killed while resisting arrest or attempting to escape after being captured; not one had been merely wounded. Braune was unable to look Massey in the eye as he told him the lies.
On April 15, a list identifying the victims appeared on the camp’s noticeboard. The list now contained not 41 names, but 47. [..........]
Among the dead were 25 Britons, six Canadians, three Australians, two New Zealanders, three South Africans, four Poles, two Norwegians, one Frenchman and a Greek.
The Swiss government then reported the killings to the British government, including three additional victims, bringing the total number of those murdered to 50. Churchill was incensed, and even amid the final push for victory made finding the killers a priority.
‘They will never cease in their efforts to collect the evidence to identify all those responsible… When the war is over, they will be brought to exemplary justice.’
In August 1945, three months after the Allied victory in Europe, the man to mastermind the hunt for the killers was found. Tall and lean, Frank McKenna had been a detective-sergeant in Blackpool, where his dedication had earned him the nickname ‘Sherlock Holmes’.
Escape route: A reconstruction of ‘Harry’ from the tunnel entrance point at the Stalag Luft III Prisoner of War Camp in Zagan, Poland
He subsequently secured a posting with the Special Investigation Branch (SIB) of the RAF Police, where Group Captain WV Nicholas, the head of SIB, quickly came to admire McKenna’s puritanical work ethic. When the Sagan case file hit his desk, Nicholas knew who to send it to.
In McKenna’s view, the odds of conducting a successful investigation were daunting but not impossible.
His plan was to comb the files of regional war-crimes record offices in the hope of establishing leads.
Despite the obstacles and the sheer numbers involved, McKenna believed the investigation would last several months at most. It was an optimistic assessment.
Joining McKenna in the hunt for those responsible for the 50 murders was Wing Commander Wilfred ‘Freddie’ Bowes, chief of the Special Investigation Branch, British forces, Occupied Germany.
Their investigation saw them criss-crossing the rubble-strewn landscape of post-war Germany and Europe. Each murder case proved to have its own challenges, as they pursued every clue in the search for justice.
In February 1946, Bowes left for Czechoslovakia to pursue a lead in the murders of Squadron Leader Tom Kirby-Green and Canadian Flying Officer Gordon Kidder.
The two airmen had got as far as southern Moravia in their attempt to reach Hungary before they were murdered. Now, a prisoner called Friedrich Kiowsky had implicated Gestapo officer Erich Zacharias in the killing.
Two years earlier, while working as a driver for the Frontier Police in Zlín, Kiowsky had seen Zacharias take part in the killing of the two Allied prisoners. The handcuffs were taken off the dead men, and everyone present was given the strictest instructions to discuss what had happened with no one.
A Gestapo lawyer later helped witnesses orchestrate their alibis should the International Red Cross launch an investigation. They were to say the two fliers had tried to escape while relieving themselves and were shot at a distance of 20 to 30 metres.
Bowes pulled the jeep over and surveyed the landscape: open country, with no possible cover for anyone attempting to escape.
One of the fallen 50: Johannes Post at his trial, at the moment the death sentence was passed
A few weeks later, McKenna arrived in the American-held port of Bremen. Records showed that a German national by the name of Erich Zacharias worked as a clerk at the U.S. Army Refrigeration Plant at the docks.
McKenna arranged a U.S. Army military police escort, and that afternoon descended on the docks, where he spotted Zacharias standing outside the refrigeration plant. He was taken under armed guard to an American-run prison while McKenna sought permission to transfer him to British control.
In the interim, however, Zacharias managed to escape, running off and disappearing into the nearby wreckage of a bombed-out building.
Weeks later investigators intercepted a letter addressed to a friend of his and sent American soldiers to storm the return address – a house in Brunswick – where they found the fugitive Zacharias packing for a long trip.
McKenna took Zacharias into custody and placed him in a British holding facility in Minden. [........] Zacharias made no attempt to assert his innocence.
On April 5, 1946, McKenna then escorted Zacharias to the London Cage: three large white mansions in Kensington Palace Gardens operated by MI19, the branch of the War Office charged with the interrogation of captured enemy personnel.
Lieutenant Colonel AP Scotland oversaw the facility’s operation. When Scotland received Zacharias at the London Cage, the Gestapo man struck him as being ‘a wild young brute’. McKenna warned the colonel that his new inmate had a penchant for escaping, but Scotland dismissed McKenna’s concerns.
Too short: Richard Attenborough and Steve McQueen in iconic film The Great Escape. 76 PoWs made it out through ‘Harry’ but the tunnel fell 30 yards short of vital woodland cover
Zacharias was soon transferred to a holding facility at Kempton Park Racecourse in Middlesex. But on the night of May 13, he took his tin dinner plate and began scratching away at the wood surrounding the lock on his cell door, eventually scraping away enough to release the mechanism and escape for a second time.
He was not at large for long, for later that morning a member of the public spotted a man hiding in a local park. Zacharias was discovered beneath a bush, nursing a sprained ankle.
By May 1947, the investigation appeared to be winding down. The RAF had tracked down 329 suspects, 23 of whom were directly complicit in the Sagan murders. Two of those individuals were dead by their own hand, and one – Kiowsky – was in Czech custody.
Soon afterwards, the commandant of the holding facility in Minden called McKenna to say that the North West Europe War Crimes Unit had just brought in a man working as a haulage contractor.
The man’s name was Johannes Pohlmann, but he had been identified by a witness as former Gestapo officer Johannes Post. McKenna went to see the prisoner, and pulled from his tunic a picture of Post.
The face was thinner – but the eyes and prominent chin left no doubt in his mind.
His cover blown, Post freely admitted to knowing all about the murders of Catanach, Christensen, Espelid and Fuglesang, adding with apparent pride that he was in command of the execution squad. [........]
On July 1, 1947, 18 defendants in the Sagan case went on trial at the British Military Court in Hamburg charged with committing war crimes by killing and ordering to kill prisoners of war who had escaped from Stalag Luft III. All the defendants pleaded not guilty.
The defence argued that orders issued by Hitler were legal; disobeying them was not. International law, however, deemed the following of such orders to be illegal, and on September 3, 1947, the court rendered its verdicts. All were found guilty.
Post, Zacharias and 12 others were sentenced to hang.
Six months later, on gallows built by the British Army’s Royal Engineers, the 14 Sagan murderers went to their deaths at the end of a rope, bringing to an end one of the most extraordinary manhunts of the 20th century.
Read the rest – The Great Escape murders: How the Nazi slaughter of escaped heroes led to one of post-war Europe’s biggest manhunt