Filming holiday celebration constitutes “antisocial behavior”

Amateur photographer captures his own arrest

Police questioned an amateur photographer under anti-terrorist legislation and later arrested him, claiming pictures he was taking in a Lancashire town were “suspicious” and constituted “antisocial behaviour“.

Footage recorded on a video camera by Bob Patefield, a former paramedic, shows how police approached him and a fellow photography enthusiast in Accrington town centre. They were told they were being questioned under the Terrorism Act…

He and his friend were taking photographs of Christmas festivities on 19 December, after attending a photography exhibition. The last images on his camera before he was stopped show a picture of a Santa Claus, people in fancy dress and a pipe band marching through the town.

He turned on his video camera the moment he was approached by a police community support officer (PCSO). In the footage, she said: “Because of the Terrorism Act and everything in the country, we need to get everyone’s details who is taking pictures of the town.”

She replied: “I’m an officer of the law, and I’m requiring you, because I believe your behaviour to be of a suspicious nature, and of possibly antisocial [nature] … I can take your details just to ascertain that everything is OK.”

Patefield and his friend maintained that they did not want to disclose their details. They were stopped a third and final time when returning to their car. This time the officer was accompanied by an acting sergeant. “Under law, fine, we can ask for your details – we’ve got no powers,” he said. “However, due to the fact that we believe you were involved in antisocial behaviour, ie taking photographs … then we do have a power under [the Police Reform Act] to ask for your name and address, and for you to provide it. If you don’t, then you may be arrested…”

Patefield was arrested for refusing to give his details, while his friend, who gave in, walked free. Patefield was held for eight hours and released without charge.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Discretion is the better part of valor.

But, sometimes you have to stand up and be counted for the freedom we’re supposed to be fighting all over the world to protect. Even if some petty pop-up snoop has the authority to shut you down. UK or US? It’s all the same.

British SAS training Libyan special forces

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The SAS has been ordered by the Government to train Libyan special forces despite the country having armed the IRA, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

For the past six months Britain’s elite troops have been schooling soldiers working for Col Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, which for years provided Republican terrorists with the Semtex explosive, machine-guns and anti-aircraft missiles used against British troops during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Sources within the SAS have expressed distaste at the agreement, which they believe could be connected to the release of the Lockerbie bomber…

The disclosure that members of the SAS are training their Libyan counterparts will further raise suspicions about exactly what has been agreed behind the scenes between Tripoli and Britain…

Defence sources said the training arrangement must have been given high-level political approval

The Ministry of Defence refuses to comment on special forces activities, but sources have admitted that SAS reserves have bolstered the team that has been training “Libyan infantry in basic skills”…

The first moves towards setting up the training agreement are believed to have begun after Tony Blair visited
Libya as Prime Minister in 2004. However, the deal was only finalised and “signed off” by Mr Brown earlier this year.

What goes around, comes around.

One of the essential reasons I try to promote commerce as the core of competition between nations is that, sooner or later, that’s what it always has to come down to. The difference being – if you’re open about it, you reduce the likelihood of war. If you rely on the superpatriots and hack hypocrites to install “official” policies of exclusion, you end up increasing the incidence of corruption as they fumble around in the darkness to grab a share for their buddies.

Animal rights campaigners jailed

Seven animal rights activists who blackmailed companies linked to an animal testing laboratory have been jailed for between four and 11 years.

They used paedophile smears, criminal damage and bomb hoaxes to intimidate companies associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) in Cambridgeshire.

Heather Nicholson, Gerrah Selby, Daniel Wadham and Gavin Medd-Hall were found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail. Gregg and Natasha Avery, of Hampshire, and Daniel Amos admitted the charge.

Sentencing the activists, Mr Justice Butterfield called the campaign “urban terrorism” and a “relentless, sustained and merciless persecution” which had made the victims lives “a living hell”.

He said he accepted that the seven had genuine deeply-held beliefs that animal testing was wrong, and had the right to protest against it. But he told them that companies had the right to conduct vital biomedical research and the right to conduct lawful trading…

“You are not going to prison for expressing your beliefs, you are going to prison because you have committed a serious criminal offence.”

Another defendant, Trevor Holmes, 51, from Newcastle, was cleared.

Political amateurs with no ability to define or implement, comprehend political strategy and tactics. Their approach to the task they defined had little to differentiate it from religious fanatics willing to kill or maim civilians to make their point.

Sad, but true.

Muslims in India march against terrorism

Daylife/AP Photo by Manish Swarup

Throngs of Indian Muslims, ranging from Bollywood actors to skullcap-wearing seminary students, marched through the heart of Mumbai and several other cities on Sunday, holding up banners proclaiming their condemnation of terrorism and loyalty to the Indian state.

The protests, though relatively small, were the latest in a series of striking public gestures by Muslims — who have often come under suspicion after past attacks — to defensively dissociate their own grievances as a minority here from any sort of sympathy for terrorism or radical politics in the wake of the deadly assault here.

Muslim leaders have refused to allow the bodies of the nine militants killed in the attacks to be buried in Islamic cemeteries, saying the men were not true Muslims. They also suspended the annual Dec. 6 commemoration of a 1992 riot in which Hindus destroyed a mosque, in an effort to avert communal tension. Muslim religious scholars and public figures have issued strongly worded condemnations of the attacks.

So far, their approach appears to have worked: the response has been remarkably unified, with little of the suspicion and fear that followed some previous attacks.

“It’s a pity we have to prove ourselves as Indians,” said Mohammed Siddique, a young accountant who was marching in the protest here on Sunday afternoon with his wife and mother. “But the fact is, we need to speak louder than others, to make clear that those people do not speak for our religion — and that we are not Pakistanis.”

Excellent piece of reporting. A worthwhile read.

One of those tough political decisions needing to be made – juxtaposing national unity and legitimate questions about equal rights and opportunity within the nation of India.

Britain’s threat assessment finds Flu, not terrorism, most serious risk

Pandemic flu, not terrorism, is the most serious risk to the U.K. public, says Britain’s first ever national threat assessment.

Don’t you just hate it when a serious examination of reality produces results counter to every political hack’s favorite slogans?

The document, part of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s overhaul of homeland security strategy, considers the likely dangers posed by threats including terrorism, climate change, extreme weather and pandemic disease…

Though the new register does not rank threats in order of seriousness, it does indicate that flu is considered the most pressing concern, said a spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office.

“It looks at the whole range of risks and looks at them from a national perspective,” said the spokeswoman, on condition of anonymity in line with policy. “It is the first time all of this has been brought together in this way.”

Not that Gordon Brown – the UK’s latest George W. Bush lapdog – will pay much more than lip service to the report.

EU draft security plan calls for international police force and turning over all personal data to the U.S.

German and Italian immigration cops working the Polish border

Europe should consider sharing vast amounts of intelligence and information on its citizens with the US to establish a “Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation” to combat terrorism, according to a high-level confidential report on future security.

The 27 members of the EU should also pool intelligence on terrorism, develop joint video-surveillance and unmanned drone aircraft, start networks of anti-terrorism centres, and boost the role and powers of an intelligence-coordinating body in Brussels, said senior officials.

The 53-page report drafted by the Future Group of interior and justice ministers from six EU member states – Germany, France, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic -argues Europe will need to integrate much of its policing, intelligence-gathering, and policy-making if it is to tackle terrorism, organised crime, and legal and illegal immigration…

The group’s controversial proposals are certain to trigger major disputes, not least its calls for Europe to create an expeditionary corps of armed gendarmerie for paramilitary intervention overseas.

These idiots exemplify the blind leading the blind. Or is it the ignorant and arrogant in the lead?

The EU – led by the example of the Brits – seem bound and determined to give up freedoms in the name of security with little or no policing of the politicians in charge.

India on alert as death toll from bombs rises

Metropolitan areas of India were on high alert Sunday after a wave of synchronized bombs that hit the western Indian city of Ahmedabad killed at least 49 people and wounded more than 114, police reported.

The streets of Ahmedabad were calm, with anxious residents staying indoors and the Indian Army marching through parts of the city to instill a sense of security among residents.

There hasn’t been any outbreak of violence,” said Ahmedabad police Cpl.-in-charge M.N. Raghela. “The army, police and paramilitary forces are patrolling the city, and residents are being very supportive.”

By 4:15 p.m. Sunday (6:45 a.m. ET), the death toll had climbed to 49. The official number of wounded is 114, according to Ahmedabad police, but Raghela said the number of injuries surpassed 200.

The serial blasts occurred barely 24 hours after nine similar explosions rocked Bangalore, known as the Silicon Valley of India. Two people were killed and six injured in those explosions.

In both cities, bicycles, bags and lunch boxes were repositories for the bombs, authorities said.

The stupidity and cruelty of terrorist acts counters every claim made by the criminal perpetrators. There is nothing gained except hatred and contempt for their cause – in return.

I spent decades supporting the struggles for national liberation from the thrall of colonial empire-builders. The best and brightest leaders of those struggles only targeted military occupation forces. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that fanatics whose grounding is essentially religious are so out of touch with reality that they zero in on civilians.

Self-defeating politics, the ideology of idiots!

Nazi supporter guilty of terror plans and possessing child porn

A Nazi sympathiser, described by police as extremely dangerous, has been found guilty of planning acts of terrorism and of possessing child pornography after investigators found homemade bombs and indecent images of children at his home.

Martyn Gilleard, 31, a forklift truck driver from Goole, east Yorkshire, pleaded guilty in two separate cases at Leeds crown court after police found “significant” volumes of extreme right-wing literature, weapons, ammunition and homemade expolsives in his flat last October.

About 39,000 indecent images of children were also seized.

Humberside police, searching only for the child pornography, found the racist material and called in the Leeds counter-terrorism unit. Gunpowder, fuses, camouflage clothing, balaclavas, a bombmaking manual, telescopic sights, knives, a machete and rifle, were discovered. Residents were evacuated as bomb disposal experts removed the explosive material.

Cripes! He did everything except eat neighborhood cats.

Sentenced to 16 years total for all offenses.

McCain campaign strategy revealed

Charlie Black, chief strategist for John McCain, made some surprisingly frank comments in an interview with Fortune Magazine, surprising only in the fact that someone in the McCain campaign would openly say what they are thinking.

Mr. Black referred to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto as an “unfortunate event” but acknowledged that “it helped us” referring to the timing of the assassination coinciding with the New Hampshire primary. He also said of a future terrorist attack; “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him (McCain).”

McCain denounced Black’s comments saying, “its not true.” Black also apologized for his remarks, saying he “deeply regrets the comments” and calling them “inappropriate.”

Sounds like a big dose of CYA to me. The only thing “inappropriate” to Mr. Black and Sen. McCain is that Black actually said these things out loud. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that McCain’s campaign is built on one theme and one theme only–national security. It is to scare the American people into thinking that Barack Obama is too inexperienced to deal with what might happen, and that McCain would be the steady hand at the wheel.

This wasn’t an impulsive sound bite. It was part of a reasoned, reviewed and edited magazine article.

Let’s face it, he didn’t say anything outside our already existing concerns about the politics of fear that have become the hallmark of neocon politics.

Thanks, K B

Hindu Party complains that terrorist bombs don’t kill enough Muslims!

A powerful Hindu-nationalist political party in western India has called for Hindu suicide squads to counter Islamic terrorism, causing outrage and embarrassing the national opposition with which it is allied.

“Islamic terrorism is on the rise in India and in order to counter Islamic terrorism, we should match it with Hindu terrorism,” the unsigned editorial said in Marathi.

“Just like Islamic extremism, to safeguard the country and Hindus we must create Hindu suicide squads if Hindu society is to be saved…”

The editorial, titled “The dud bombs of Hindus! Why embarrass us?”, was prompted partly by two low-intensity bombs that were planted in theatres in northern suburbs of Mumbai earlier this month. One exploded and injured a handful of people, the other was defused by police…

The Saamana editorial called the bombs “ridiculous and stupid” because they succeeded only in hurting a few people who were Hindus, and had no impact against Islamic extremism.

Theocrats and anarchists share the same demented and counter-productive ideology. So-called direct action against a civilian population is an admission of political weakness and failure.