Category: Crime


Murder

It’s Halloween. Billy the Pill, Zimmerman, Crazy Alice and Charlie The Mute are having a few in the June Bride. A body has been found in Banglatown. Billy the pill tells Crazy Alice and her boyfriend Zimmerman all about it:

“So Charlie’s having a curry in Brick Lane and he’s just about to order another couple of poppadoms and a beer when all of a sudden the Abduls are running about like headless chickens and there’s coppers all over the gaff, creeping all about and eyeballing all the punters…”

He pauses for a swallow of his pint and a drag on his cigarette and Charlie The Mute nods to Carol to confirm what has already been said.

Charlie isn’t too good with words, having had his tongue removed some years before by some rather nasty face who had been extremely upset at Charlie for speaking out of turn regarding the sexual politics of the said face’s girlfriend.

“Anyway,” Billy continues, “It seems one of the Abduls has been out the back dumping some dodgy leftovers or something and he’s having a crafty inhalation, when he sees this pair of legs sticking out from behind a f**king wheelie-bin. Well, he comes back into the gaff shaking like a leaf and whiter than a sheet. Ain’t that right Charlie?”

Charlie nods. A dribble of beer runs down his chin. Alice and Zimmerman follow its progress to the lapel of his jacket. Billy takes advantage of the natural pause for dramatic effect. Then he lowers his head level with Carol’s and draws his finger in a slow arc from ear to ear.

“Throat cut!”

Then in an awed, theatrical whisper:

“Almost took her f**king head clean off.”

Carol shivers and grips Zimmerman’s arm. He mutters:

“All right girl, all right,” and strokes her hair. Then he orders her another half of bitter and a double Jack Daniels for himself.

“They know who did it?” he asks.

“F**king hell mate,” retorts Billy, “give them a bleeding chance, it only went down not less than two hours ago. Ain’t that the truth, Charlie.”

Charlie nods and holds up two fingers at Zimmerman, who responds with an uncomfortable shrug, handing Carol her half pint and pocketing her change.

“Bet it was a f**king Abdul, anything you like. Any takers?”

It’s the Dwarf. He’s just come in, edging his way between them to get to the bar.

“Can’t stand that shit they eat!”

“No you’re wrong, boss,” Zimmerman objects, “They don’t eat that shit. They just make it for the punters. And they’re mostly all English… like us, like.”

“Here we go,” chortles Billy, laying his forefinger lightly on the side of his nose and eyeing The Mute conspiratorially.

“Here’s the man! Now we’ll get the inside story. What do you know, boss, no, put your money away. I’ll get that. Come on, you’ve heard something, haven’t you?”

“All in the fullness, young man, all in good time.”

Billy passes him a pint and the Dwarf takes a long pull on it before reaching up and ceremoniously placing his half empty glass onto the counter. Meanwhile Crazy Carol, Zimmerman and Charlie look on.

“As it happens, I had reason – one of my little helpers got a bit careless – to be entrammeled for a short period of time this evening in the rather unpleasant environs of Lime Street nick, wherein I stumbled upon…” He reclaims his glass and swiftly eradicates the remainder of its contents, “…a little whisper!”

Billy the pill bites the crook of his thumb. Charlie is trying to lick the beer off his chin with his absent tongue. Carol and Zimmerman stand open mouthed and transfixed. The Dwarf’s eyes meet Carol’s.

“It seems the unfortunate young lady is an acquaintance of yours, a part time brass, lives in a flat down Shandy Street with some nonce?”

Carol’s eyes pop with shock and disbelief and her features freeze.

“F**king hell, boss. It can’t be. Not her, not little Alice.”

Zimmerman mutters:

“Poor cow. Don’t get upset babe.”

He makes to apply a sympathetic embrace but Carol shrugs and shakes her head, pushing his arm roughly away as she fishes a packet of cigarettes out of her bag. She lights one and blows the smoke in his face.

“Poor cow my arse,” she growls, “c**t owes me fifty f**king quid!”

After about a microsecond of stunned silence Billy the pill starts to laugh, closely followed by the Dwarf, Charlie and Zimmerman, in that order, and then Carol too starts giggling. Billy chortles:

“F**king hell Carol, ain’t you got no respect for the dead?” At which point she loses control completely, collapsing into whoops of hysterical laughter and spraying everyone with beer and spit.

“Yeah?” she splutters, “well I’ll tell you something else Billy boy, the bitch was three months gone!”

Gales of hilarity shake the big bevelled mirror behind the bar, glasses rattle on the shelves and the guffaw echoes like scandal all through the pub and out of the big swing doors and into the street. Somebody says later you could hear them laughing all the way down the Mile End Road.

Advertisements

To be blessed

Ok, so I’m doing my time in the sun now.

But the bar scenes, the 2am lounge scenarios, the backstage kitchen sink sets, the imported stench from the ghettos in perfumed candle or aerosol formats, the blacks, spics, bubbles and micks around the place, strategically situated on bar-stools and banquettes just to brighten up the setting and muddy the narrative for the paradox that’s in it?

Well, sunshine doesn’t burn everything out completely.

“You know that stumbling feeling,” I recall Ted asking, “like you’re falling over your own shadow in the dark or tripping on a small piece of conversation somebody left on the carpet in a corner of the room? That’s what being me is all about.”

Ted may have been a degenerate asshole but he was right, life just won’t sustain such things, isn’t dense enough. They feed you that garbage all around the world, everywhere you go and it doesn’t get any sweeter no matter where you hear it. 

The sex only helped with the physical stuff, and the alcohol was a waste of time because nobody recognised that the pain was there in the first place. You can mend a bird’s broken wing but it sure as hell isn’t going to fly the same again.

A bird can’t fly with a limp and retain its grace, and the spirit of the people won’t be raised by a dictator speechifying with a lisp.

But it’s all way back when in the long gone and misty now. So we lived at night, denizens of the dark; but now we must take notice of the day and it doesn’t come easy. Maybe we just can’t adapt or perhaps it’s just that we won’t. Whatever.

No matter which way you cut it, it seems the past will remain there, right there where it belongs, even though every bone, nerve and thought tells us that it’s been following us right along, that it’s here right now in the present and will be all the way through to whatever future is waiting.

I just sit here and watch their shapes in the shadows. What I can’t see with my eyes I sketch in with my thoughts. Who can help but marvel at the workings of their mechanisms of hope?

Oh to be within touching distance of an understanding of the politics of transfer, to be blessed.

A comment on gun crime in the UK

Below is a comment by Ms Vaughan, which I received in response to my Gun crime in the UK post (11/09/06). I decided to publish it here because of its current relevance.

22 February 2007, 12:31:43 | Ms Vaughan
I am a Connexions Personal Adviser working in South London and I come into contact with young people everyday.

In light of the recent shootings in the Black community involving young people, I feel that it is now time for us to offer practical ways to tackle the problems and move forward.

I believe that everyone in our community should be coming together now. I think that they need to be shown that they can overcome all things with only a little determination, confidence in oneself and nurturing from family and school.

I am pleased to share with you a web site that promotes this and will be of interest to everyone in our community: http://www.school-info4u.com

A particular demand exists for a web site that delivers clear and specific advice to parents and carers who are raising African-Caribbean children.

School-info4u.com has the leverage to make a difference.

This free resource aims to tackle many of the problems that are causing these young people to ‘go off track’. This might be in relation to various issues, ranging from school exclusion, gang culture etc.

I guess most people might find it deeply uncomfortable talking about what’s really going on with the state of our youth. But as long as we choose complacency over awareness, we can’t change the status quo. In fact, the problems will likely grow in magnitude until people are finally forced to open their eyes and deal with the consequences. As is the case now!

The sooner each one of us decides that we do want to know, and that we are willing to invite others to open their eyes too, the more easily we will be able to turn this situation around. I guess that this won’t happen overnight, but I retain optimism…a flicker of hope in these difficult times! 

For me it’s all about trying to do my little bit to try and transform our community…’ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach’.

I believe that any small thing that one person can do to help another will make all the difference and I feel as though I am doing this with the School-info4u.com project.

Take a look at http://www.school-info4u.com

Kindest regards

Ms Vaughan

Mirza Tahir Hussain is to have his death sentence commuted by President Musharraf (click source). This is great news. However, questions remain.

Why did it take Musharraf so long?

Will Mirza receive any compensation for the eighteen years of his life that were taken from him on the strength of an unsafe conviction under a dubious legal system (Sharia Law)?

Why was it eighteen years before his case came to the attention of the media and the UK political establishment?

When will state sponsored murder be universally abolished?

The long wait for “justice”

December 1988 — Mirza-Tahir Hussain, 18, flies from Leeds to Pakistan, where he is arrested after death of taxi driver near Rawalpindi. He claims that he shot driver in self-defence.

September 1989 — A sessions court in Islamabad sentences him to death.

November 1992 — The High Court orders a retrial.

April 1994 — A sessions court in Islamabad sentences him to life. 

May 1996 — The High Court acquits him of murder but a month later refers the case to the Federal Sharia Court.

May 1998 — The Sharia court sentences him to death by two votes to one.

December 2003 — The Supreme Sharia Court of Pakistan rejects the appeal.

May 2006 — President Musharraf issues the first of three stays of execution. The last expires on October 1.

October 26 — Ramadan and Eid end, meaning Hussain can be hanged at any time.

November 15 — Reprieved.

Gun crime in the UK

While gun ownership in the UK is perhaps more tightly controlled than in any other European country, with gun crime constituting less than 1% of total crime, it is a fact that guns and incidents involving firearms are a quotidian feature of modern city life. So much so that out of the almost 11,000 firearms offences committed each year in England and Wales, most are not even reported in the media.

In London there is a shooting once a day; there are on average two and a half fatal woundings each month. Figures are higher up north. In Manchester two and a half offences occur each day; most of those are committed by young men between the ages of 15 and 20.

The latest victim of UK gun crime, in Manchester’s Moss Side district — dubbed ‘the British Bronx’ — was not gang-connected, according to detectives. He was a nice kid, a softly spoken 15 year old, his mother’s “precious baby”, who often helped his pastor at the local Seventh Day Adventist Church.

He stopped 3 bullets from a semi-automatic weapon. Police said yesterday they believe the killing was a case of mistaken identity.

Last night his mother spelt out his name in candles on the patio of the house where he lived.

His name was Jesse James.

Click here for Teens and Guns: The Shocking Truth

24 rules of disinformation

This has been floating on the net in one form or another since the late ’90s at least. I’ve shortened a few things and made a couple of changes to make it scan better.

You can find the unabridged version at 9/11 Truth.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don’t discuss it–especially if you are a public figure. If you don’t report it, it didn’t happen, and you will never have to deal with the issues.

2. Be incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues. Focus on side issues which portray the topic as critical of some otherwise sacrosanct theme: freedom, democracy, family values… This is also known as the “How dare you!” gambit.

3. Create rumour-mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all as mere rumours and wild accusations.

4. The straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent’s argument, which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent look bad, while avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the “shoot the messenger ploy”. Associate opponents with unpopular titles — “kooks”, “right-wing”, “liberal”, “left-wing”, “terrorists”, “conspiracy buffs”, “radicals”, “militia”, “racists”, “religious fanatics”, “sexual deviants”, “intellectuals” — thereby discouraging 2nd wave opposition and avoiding discussion of difficult issues.

6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack on your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded. Alternatively, simply ignore any answer.

7. Question motives. Twist or amplify facts to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias.

8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough “jargon” and “minutiae” to illustrate you are “one who knows”; always make it clear that God is on your side. 

9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues with denial: “Lacks credibility”, “Doesn’t make any sense”, “Provides no proof”, “Doesn’t contain or make a point”, “Lacks logic”, “Supports no conclusion” (mix well for maximum effect).

10. Establish fall-back positions. Using a minor element of the facts, “confess” with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made — but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities. Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for “coming clean” and “owning up” to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

11. Enigmas have no solution. Draw upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding an acusation and the multitude of players and events; make out the entire affair as too complex to solve. Commentators will loose interest and the actual issues will not have to be addressed.

12. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards with an apparent deductive logic in a way that forbears any actual material fact.

13. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely.

14. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

15. Vanishing evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won’t have to address the issue.

16. Change the subject. 

17. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can’t do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents, draw them into emotional responses, which will make them look foolish and overly motivated.

18. Ignore presented proof and demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the “play dumb” rule. Declare any material presented by an opponent in public forums irrelevant; be critical of media reports or books as valid sources, damn witnesses as unacceptable….

19. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

20. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. For example, if you own the prosecuting attorney, you can rest assured that the Grand Jury will hear no damaging evidence and that such evidence will not be available to subsequent investigators. In short, the matter can be considered officially closed.

21. Create a new truth. Manufacture your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s); or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

22. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working, create bigger news stories.

23. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive means: blackmail, destruction of their character by release of blackmail information, threats against family mambers, arrest and detention…or death by murder if all else fails.

24. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, vacate the kitchen.

Installation of a network of secret Automatic Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras has been completed this month throughout Scotland.

And Alan Burnett, overseer of the project for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, has revealed on-going plans to expand the system to local authority CCTV networks.

“We understand some people are worried about this being Big Brother,” he said, “but the general public shouldn’t worry. There are checks and balances regulating the intelligence on the system.”

Proponents of the network, such as Margaret Mitchell, the Scottish Tories’ justice spokeswoman, say the government needs to deploy “whatever resourses are available” to tackle terrorism.

I’d like to know the nature and extent of those “checks and balances”, Mr Burnett.

“It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”- Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

‘Big Brother’ concerns as secret system of cameras is rolled out

Leeds man Mirza Tahir Hussain, sentenced to death under Sharia law 18 years ago, has been granted a further stay of execution until 1 October.

The article below, which I wrote and first published in May of this year, provides a background to the case.

It was nearly dusk when Mirza Hussain reached Rawalpindi.

He had arrived in Karachi the previous day and had stayed overnight there, setting off before noon to visit relatives.

The 18 year old British-Pakistani was a long way from his home in Leeds, where he had lived since migrating to England with his parents as a boy.

He had been educated and brought up there and had trained in the British Territorial Army.

His ultimate destination was Buhbar, a village in Chakwal district, about 56 miles south of Islamabad.

Mirza had been born there and he looked forward to spending Christmas with members of his family, some of whom he had not seen in many years.

The only way to get there from Rawalpindi, however, was by taxi and, initially, he could not find a driver willing to take him.

Tired from his journey, and apprehensive at the prospect of having to spend the night in a strange city, he eventually became involved in a conversation with Janshir Khan, who agreed to take him to Buhbar for 500 rupees.

It was a ride that was to change the young man’s life forever.

As they approached the village of Mandra, Khan allegedly stopped the car and made a sexual proposition to Mirza.

When the youth refused, the driver produced a gun and assaulted him.

In the ensuing scuffle the firearm went off and Khan was shot.

Mirza kept his head and did what any innocent person would have done had the incident occurred in England.

He drove to the nearest police station.

But, as he was soon to discover to his cost, the police in Pakistan do not operate the way they do in England and Mirza was immediately arrested.

When Khan later died, the boy was charged with his murder, tried, convicted and, in September 1989, sentenced to death by the Session Court.

Upon appeal in November 1992 the High Court in Lahore revoked the death penalty in the light of allegations that the police had fabricated evidence and introduced false witnesses.

The case was returned to the lower court for retrial but Hussain was again convicted.

This time he received a life sentence.

A second appeal was made to the High Court and on May 20 1996 he was acquitted.

Pakistan, however, operates a dual legal system; as well as the secular court, which acquitted him, there is also the Islamic, or Sharia, judiciary.

The following week, as he awaited his release, the case was referred to the Federal Shariat Court on the grounds that the offence with which he had been charged – “haraahbah, or robbery with murder – came under its jurisdiction.

On August 1998 the Shariat Court found
Tahir Mirza Hussain guilty by a split 2-1 verdict and he was again sentenced to death, despite the fact that the system under which he was tried requires an eye-witness or a confession, and the prosecution had neither.

Abdul Waheed Siddiqui, the dissenting judge, said that Hussain was “an innocent, raw youth”, who knew nothing of “the mischief and filth in which the police of this country is engrossed”, and that the police had fabricated evidence in “a shameless manner”.

Mirza has been detained in Islamabad’s notorious Adiala jail for 18 years and was due to be hanged on June 1, two days before his 36th birthday.

After direct appeals by the UK Government and the European Parliament, Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has intervened and a fresh stay of execution has been granted, allowing the condemned man’s family another month to negotiate a “blood money” deal.

However, even if that is possible, Mirza will remain in prison indefinitely.

Kahn’s family have reportedly rejected a previous offer of £18000 made six years ago. (Don Galloway 27 May 2006)

In response to news of his brother’s latest reprieve, Amjad Hussain said:

“While this further stay of one month gives me and my family a little relief, it is not enough and in many ways it is extending the uncertainty and agony my brother and all of us have now lived with for 18 years.

“We did not ask for this stay. It shows that my brother’s case has got the attention of the Pakistan authorities, but it seems they are still undecided as to whether President Musharraf will step in and stop an innocent man being executed or whether they will let this barbaric punishment go ahead.

“My brother did not commit the crime of murder that he has been convicted of. His trial was unfair and his detention in Pakistan for the last 18 years has destroyed all our lives. Tony Blair must intervene directly now, and I implore President Musharraf to end our agony and commute the sentence immediately.”

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock added:

“This stay is not enough. It does not address the facts that there are serious doubts about the safety of Mirza Tahir Hussain’s conviction and that he still faces execution in a matter of weeks.

“We will continue to press the Pakistani authorities, for as long as it takes, until we know that Mirza Tahir Hussain will not, at any time, be executed. And we expect the UK Government to do the same.”

Terror Plot: C.P.S press release

21 August 2006
Susan Hemming, Head of the CPS Counter Terrorism Division, today made the following statement in relation to an alleged plot to detonate explosives on board aircraft:

“I was briefed in relation to these allegations before the arrest and asked to advise on some preliminary legal issues both before and just after arrest. Together with another senior CPS lawyer, I have been working with the police full time at New Scotland Yard for the last eight days. We have been carefully examining and assessing the evidence against each individual with the assistance of anti terrorist officers in order to come to charging decisions at the earliest practicable opportunity.

“This morning I made a decision that there was sufficient evidence and authorised, with the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the charge of 11 individuals.

“Eight individuals have been charged with two offences relating to an alleged plot to manufacture and smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices onto aircraft and assemble and detonate them on board. Those individuals have been charged with conspiracy to murder and the new offence of preparing acts of terrorism contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

“In addition, three have been charged with other offences under the Terrorism Act 2000. One has been charged with possession of articles useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism and two with failing to disclose information of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism. One woman has been released from custody without charge.

“I would like to remind you of the need to take care in reporting the events surrounding this alleged plot. These individuals are only accused of these offences and they have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be responsible media reporting which should not prejudice the due process of law.

“Finally, 11 other individuals are still in custody and remain under active investigation. Their position is being assessed on a regular basis with a view to considering the need to keep them in detention. We cannot yet make a decision about whether further charges will follow or if a further application for detention will be made on Wednesday as the evidential picture is continuously developing. Any such application would be made by a Crown Prosecutor to a High Court Judge in accordance with the new legislation.”

CPS-related enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8106 or 020 7796 8102.

Priceless comment

I was browsing the online version of the Scotsman newspaper the other day and came across the headline:

Three jailed after birthday party ends in frenzied cleaver attack

I read the report, which concerned Stephen O’Donnell, a young man in his late teens who, having been dumped by his girlfriend, becomes depressed and is subsequently prescribed prozac.

One evening in January, our young friend, presumably high on the “happy pills”, discovers that the young lady in question is at a party hosted by another young man, Stephen Shaw, whom he suspects is the reason for the breakdown of the relationship.

Anyway, the upshot is that the first Stephen and two friends arm themselves with a meat cleaver, knives and a set of numchucks–a martial arts weapon with a chain linking two wooden batons–and gatecrash the party.

The second Stephen’s right arm is almost hacked off and he is stabbed multiple times in the stomach; his heart stops three times as medics try to save his life during an all-night operation and he requires 30 pints of blood.

Stephen O’Donnell ends up in court where he blames his actions on the prozac.

The trio are sentenced to a combined 19 years.

Not a remarkable story, really; this kind of thing happens in Glasgow most weekends.

However, I happened to glance through the comments section and discovered this, from Carol of Stirling:

Surely it’s time sentences became relevant to the severity of the crime, in this case these guys deserve to be locked up permanently – premedicated attempted murder – they planned it, tooled up and did not succeed only through chance certainly not through self restraint

Beautiful, Carol, absolutely priceless.

%d bloggers like this: