Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for the ‘Crime & Punishment’ Category

Mohamed al Fayed – a real reason for complaint?

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You really have to ask yourself if there is something to the continuing complaints of Mohamed al Fayed (the owner of Harrod’s) that the ‘powers-that-be’ (including Secret Service, the Royal Family, and the police) in the UK are conducting a conspiracy intended to ruin him… in other words… people are out to get him… and have been for a very long time!!

This time the police have spent months investigating claims he groped a 15 year old girl in his office.

Somehow the claims reached the media, and despite him being able to prove he was elsewhere at the time the offences were said to have occured, the police nevertheless took several months to clear his name… whilst leak after leak managed to find its way into the media.

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself if his apparant paranoia really does have some basis in fact!

Source: Furious-Fayed attacks police cleared alleged sexual assault girl 15.

Written by welshdog

February 18, 2009 at 9:51 am

Political Correctness gone mad.

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Over here in Australia the law has decided that the characters drawn in the Simpsons cartoons are the equivalent of real people. Someone who was found to have accessed and downloaded drawing showing the chacters engaged in various sexual acts was fined $3000. He appealed and the appeal was denied.

I’ll accept quite happily that *some* drawing can be made to appear so realistic that they could be mistaken for real people/children and clearly fall under the heading of ‘kiddie porn’, however these characters are so clearly *not* ‘real’ it’s hard to understand how this ruling could have been made… or what ramifications it has for other areas of art!

On my travels around the web I’ve regularly seen these pictures and agree they are quite gross, however they are also quite clearly not real people! They are yellow, have four fingers, have massive overbites and a host of other features quite unlike anything one is likely to find on real people – yet the appeal was denied. This surely is PC gone too far?

 

Bart on a board

Bart on a board

So what now for cinemas that show The Simpsons Movie? In the movie 10 year old Bart is dared by Homer to skateboard naked to the burger bar. He is concerned people will see his ‘doodle’ as he calls it… but goes anyway. On the way the sketch is made humorous by strategic placements hiding his genitals… except for one scene where the camera focusses on them! Surely this court ruling would make showing the film illegal?

According to the ruling this sketch could surely be regarded as ‘kiddie porn’? I see the point of the law and under many circumstances it would be right to apply it but how on earth can it be illegal to show cartoon characters engaged in sexual acts, yet Bill Hensons pictures of naked little girls be deemed acceptable??

The law is totally crazy sometimes.

Written by welshdog

December 9, 2008 at 6:54 am

For United Kingdom read 'Police State'.

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Hot on the heels of the unprecedented arrest of a Damian Green, a Member of Parliament, and the police raid on his Parliamentary office comes news of the imminent arrival of ID’s for every person on UK soil and a threat of *arrest* if ID is *not* presented on demand by the police!!

This move not seen in the UK since the fears of invasion at the time of World War Two is yet one more step in the accelerating march towards the Police State we were afraid of when Maggie Thatcher introduce her Police Bill. Even then those of us who’d read the Bill had concerns but it was passed by the Tory’s massive majority.

The anticipated erosion of civil liberty continued albeit at a slower pace until ‘Terrorism’ became the new watchword for society and the pace quickened one again. Not enough that the police had never needed these powers during the height of the IRA attacks on mainland UK when bombs killed and maimed people every few weeks… the ‘new threat’ was sufficient to allow the ‘Terror Bill’ through and the scene was set.

Comments such as this from Alan Travis, Clare Dyer and Michael White in The Guardian (Jan 28th 2005), went unheeded and the decline went on… all in the name of ‘Public Safety’ and ‘The Greater Good’ until now those creeping little effects are beginning to impact on the general public.

Local councils are spying on their ratepayers and issuing insane fines for trivial offences. Unwarranted police substitutes are banging heads and taking names. Ordinary citizens are being harassed continually while almost unchecked the collapse in law and order is seeing an unprecedented rise in assaults, murders on the street and an underclass of ‘disaffected and alienated youth’ with neither respect nor regard for the norms and mores of decent society.

Society in the UK is going to the dogs as police powers are expanding. Something is desperately wrong with  old blighty and it’ll take a lot more than increased police powers to fix it.

Either way I hope anyone reading this in the UK is getting ready. Today ID cards… tomorrow you’ll have your ‘number’ tattooed on your ear… Orwell might have been a few years out but maybe substitute ‘2024’ for ‘1984’ and perhaps the decline of society in the UK will be complete.

What hurts most is that much of this decline has happened with a Labour Prime Minister at the helm. I wonder what it was that went so badly wrong??

Written by welshdog

December 3, 2008 at 3:55 pm

On a theme…

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This little offering is entitled “Burying the Truth” and, again, is a YouTube ‘short’ about Schapelle Corby and the way the media have portrayed her. Her major problem was the prima facie case that she was in possession of the drugs therefore the onus was upon her to prove she had nothing to do with it.

Having placed the onus on her to prove her innocence… she was then denied the opportunity to prove it to the extent that the drugs weren’t forensically tested, the bags weren’t fingerprinted and the entire batch of evidence was destroyed! This is a redefinition of justice process that defied belief!

Please watch the film and tell me what you think.

Written by welshdog

December 1, 2008 at 7:14 am

David Hicks – the saga continues

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The majority of people around the world have probably never heard of David Hicks or if they ever knew the name have all bar forgotten who he was, the troubles he got himself into… and the abandonment of this Australian citizen by the politicians who were sworn to protect his rights.

I’m not one to claim David was perfect by any means. He was a badly educated somewhat mentally unstable loner who, for reasons of his own, decided to go to fight first with the ‘Kosovo Liberation Front’, then with the Taliban, and lastly with Al Qaeda.

That he ‘underwent training’ of some sort with each of these organisations seems acceptable enough in the story as told but what concerns us is his treatment after the 9/11 attacks on the USA and the offensive that unseated the Taliban power base in Afghanistan, and resulted in David’s unlawful detention and imprisonment by US troops.

There is no need for me to go into his case in detail, if you want to follow it up most can be found in his Wikipedia article. which covers his history, his supposed offences and the resultant drawn out machinations of the bureaucracy that kept him imprisoned for almost 8 years.

What incensed me at the time of his detention and torture by the USA is what *still* incenses me today… that is his almost total abandonment by the Liberal government of the day headed by John Howard. It’s clear from all articles that at the time David was detained he had committed no crime that would result in a trial in either the USA or Australia, yet instead of demanding he be repatriated, as Tony Blair did for UK prisoners, John Howard simply left David to rot.

Yes he eventually pleaded guilty of a crime and was convicted… but both offence and conviction was carried through by a military court procedure created specifically to try him. That his treatment was against both the terms and the spirit of the Geneva Convention is beyond doubt. That he felt he had no alternative other than plead guilty is also beyond doubt. Has he not done so he could well have remained imprisoned in solitary confinement for many more years.

Since being back in Australia he has served the remainder of his sentence and is now released but under a ‘Control Order’ restricting his freedoms significantly. Recently he was has appealed through the GetUp organisation for the Control Order to not be renewed by the Australian Federal Police. Luckily the Rudd government has more political nous than the Liberals they replaced and they have said when the Order expires on 21st December it will not be renewed.

UPDATE – AFP NOT TO RENEW ORDER. STATEMENT FROM DAVID HICKS:
“Today’s AFP decision is a great relief for my family and me. I owe the Australian people a lot. I want to thank all Australians for their support. The decision not to renew my control order will allow me for the first time to now move on with my life.Thank you.”

David Hicks Statement of Thanks

That David was an idiot is beyond question. That he might have fought for the Taliban is a distinct possibility though not proven. That he has been treated abysmally by the Governments of two friendly nations is beyond question. The abandonment of David Hicks to torture in the hell-hole of Guantanamo Bay is a blot on the face of Australian history.

Written by welshdog

November 20, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Australian Child Protection Laws – new guidelines.

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New draft guidelines related to Child Protection Laws have been released by the Australia Council in the aftermath of the Bill Henson controversies. and require that anyone taking photographs of children needs to obtain parental permission first. Ok we’ve been pressing for changes to the law but some of the recommendations offered constitute *far* too restrictive a change!

The issue as far as the majority of us has been concerned is the potential for exploitation of kids by or for paedophiles, and whilst the new rules do now make it clear that the naked child must be supervised by the parent(s) and that they must understand the nature of the artwork that is to be produced there are no clues regarding how these (or the other) guidelines are to be enforced!

Basically the new rules have swung too far in one direction but not far enough in another!

Under the rules I (for example) wouldn’t be allowed to take pictures of my kids at a school concert or at a school swimming gala, or other sporting event, unless a parent of *every* child who attended gave explicit permission for photos to be taken! Can you really see this happening?

What’s worse is that a blanket ban such as this would make it impossible for professional photographers to take ‘crowd shots’ in case a child was amongst the gathering! How would the media cover news reports if they were unable to run news coverage without identifying, contacting and receiving permission to use the image of any child they might have captured as an incidental to the main story??

What we needed and haven’t yet been offered, get was a set of rules and guidelines that allowed parents and friends to take ‘innocent’ images, but pornography such as Henson’s images of naked little girls to be outlawed with a mechanism that ensures offenders can be, *and are* prosecuted!!

I appreciate how hard it would be to ensure that those images of ‘parents and friends’ were actually ‘innocent’ but let’s face it, if a paedophile wants to take photos of kids ‘in the street’ they will regardless what you do to try to stop them. Digital cameras with long lenses are no longer expensive and someone could sit in a car be in a street several hundred yards away from a school or playground and still be able to take clear ‘close up’ shots whilst remaining hidden themselves!

The new (draft) rules show commitment, for which they are to be commended, but their format and focus requires a major rethink to be carried out before they are adopted in legislation.

Written by welshdog

November 14, 2008 at 8:55 am

A whale of a time.

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The baby humpback whale found stranded and motherless in Sydney Harbour, and named Colin… later Colette, was finally ‘euthanased’ in Sydney Harbour yesterday.

There’ve been all sorts of stories about her and the way she was/wasn’t aided by government agencies etc and there is now talk of a *summit* of experts to try to establish guidelines for procedures in the event this happens again.

Wonderful sentiments.

I wonder how many of these experts weeping over the sad loss of this baby whale went off home to eat steak, veal cutlets, sushi and the like? The hypocrisy involved in our relationship with animals is utterly amazing sometimes and you have to wonder just why people can’t see the irony in our behaviour, We desperately seek to succour and maintain the life of one *wild* animal who is following the natural course of it’s life whilst concurrently imprisoning and killing untold millions of other animals helpless to protect themselves or their offspring from our predation?

I wonder when we’ll see a summit of ‘experts’ gathering to establish guidelines for the abolition of meat in our diets?

Yes there’s a real paradox in the way we eat meat, yet feel desperately sorry for the way this animal was treated, but surely things are getting out of hand when we spend millions of dollars protecting *one* animal whilst spending far more millions killing others!!

Written by welshdog

August 23, 2008 at 11:33 am

Insane in America

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The USA is determined to address what it sees as possible criminal or terrorist potential by temporary workers. It’s doing this by deporting people, who have committed an offence, back to their country of origin. This seems quite reasonable, except that they are doing this regardless of the time they’ve spent in the US, or the length of time since the offence.

In the case of 35 years old Welsh born Zak Ashenhurst, 35, his offence was firing a gun into an empty swimming pool and was committed some 20 years ago. Ok a silly offence, possibly dangerous at the time, but done when he was a child! Not only was he a child, but was recovering from Osteomyelitis which he had feared would kill him and was a little ‘stressed’ at the time to say the least! He fronted the courts at the time, was fined, and pulled himself back into line. He went on to create a good life.

He married an American girl and had two children Zaky, 12, and Nicki, five. And has worked ever since.

Over the years the Green Card residents use to maintain their right to work in the US expired and was renewed without incident… until a few weeks ago when officials unearthed his old conviction and, using laws unused for decades, decided he was a risk to national security and threw him in prison.

He was there for a month until he was removed from the country and deported back to the UK yesterday.

This ridiculous and unfair decision has left Zak in what is now almost a foreign country, and unsure whether his family, all American citizens, will be allowed to join him!

Nobody is underestimating the dangers of terrorist activity but surely the lunacy of deporting a solid citizen  for something he did as a youngster should be obvious even to a faceless bureaucrat? The *most* that should have been done was to use Zak as a role model for the thousands of kids that are running wild in US schools! The example of someone who make a mistake and turned his life around should be a positive message used to help otehrs who might be heading down the wrong path! It should not be a cause for further punishment!

The situation is entirely ridiculous and the UK foreign office should be doing all it can to ensure that his family is allowed to join him… if the want to! After all, these are American citizens effectively being told they must choose between living as a single parent family in their homeland or joining their father in a foreign country and facing an uncertain economic future.

The utter unfairness of it just can’t be over stated – though I doubt the US administration would be concerned about this one small family unit, no matter how abysmally it’s treated them.

Edit:
Having trawled around looking for more information I turned up this gem. According to The Star News, this sort of treatment is nothing new. Back in 2004 an 83 year old guy, nominally a ‘Frenchman’ who had committed a long forgotten minor offence, was deported back to Paris despite having lived in the US for 52 years! He was kept in prison for 7 months before being sent back to a country he knew little about and despite him having nowhere in France to go!

Home of the free? Think again!! Right now in the USA Xenophobia rules.

Written by welshdog

August 21, 2008 at 7:00 am

Smiley Miley

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It’s possible some of you might never have heard of singer Billy Ray Cyrus, but I’ll bet there are a lot fewer of you who’ve never heard of his daughter Miley who has been making a name of her own with her alter ego as “Hannah Montana” especially if you have kids around you!

Over the months, fifteen year old Miley has had her share of controversy. Her ‘image’ has been a traditional Disney ‘wholesomeness’ but someone has slowly been leaking pictures of her onto the internet showing her in various states of dress (and undress) and in poses which have done her image no good at all.

I’m not reproducing them here because there are enough images out there of her if you want to look but I *am* reproducing the photo of the guy who’s been accused of ‘leaking’ them!

Josh Holly aka trainreq

Josh Holly aka 'trainreq'

This guy is eighteen year old Josh Holly, who also describes himself as a hacker and runs a blog where his pseudonym is ‘trainreq’. According to Josh, who lives in Murfreesboro, Tenn, USA, he ‘hacked’ into Miley’s phone, read her personal mail and downloaded photos she’d taken of herself (on her own phone).

Now I don’t know about you but I think this is absolutely disgusting behaviour! Whatever else she is or isn’t, Miley is a young girl who has as much right to her privacy as anyone else… maybe more so bearing in mind her age and career… and people like this wannabe really need to be slapped back into line. I sincerely hope the full weight of the law descends on him like a ton of bricks.

Taking this sort of photo of yourself is something millions of kids do now, after all it’s so easy to do and it’s fun to do these ‘sexy’ poses for a laugh. Naturally, most images are simply deleted. For the ‘less than famous’ some images might be shared amongst friends… what people of Miley’s age and situation rarely do is have them posted on the open internet for people to ogle!

In the USA and much of the world Miley, at 15, still underage and whilst none of the pictures so far published are actually obscene they are still ‘questionable’ and if Josh publishes the *nude* shots he says she’d taken of herself he could be in real trouble!

Even leaving that aside, I’m sure the USA has laws that make hacking into private phones and data theft illegal, but added to that I’d have though Billy Ray would be hot on this guy’s tail to sue him for every penny he ever earns. Then of course you have Disney itself who have millions tied up in this girls career and *they* will be less than pleased with Josh. Maybe ten years in the slammer will help explain to him that his actions weren’t quite as funny as he thought.

Ok he has had his own 5 minutes of fame… but now it’s time he learns what happens to people who breach other peoples privacy for their own gain.

Wow… for what might be the first time ever I’m on the side of the rich and famous!

Guilty even if proved otherwise?

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There have been some interesting and subtle changes to the way the law works in the UK. For example a recent decision has established that someone is ‘guilty by accusation’ even if it’s been proved those accusations are in fact false!!

The case of John Pinnington who was falsely accused of sexually assaulting three of his pupils whilst teaching a school for autistic youngsters is one of these.

Despite the cases being investigated by police and having no action taken in any of them, the accusations are on Mr Pinningtons record and a judge has determined there they should remain! The decision means any and all potential future employers must *also* be told about the accusations meaning he can never again resume his career in teaching!

The argument is that any accusation that includes unsubstantiated abuse allegations should only remain on record if there is good cause to believe they are true. A subjective decision perhaps but surely one that could be worked with. However, the judge decided employers needed to know that allegations had been made and for them to be able to make their own decisions, especially when they were employing people working with vulnerable youngsters.

The question remains though… if this decision stands… how does one clear ones name from false allegations? The answer seems to be that mud sticks and basically… you can’t!

For John Pinnington this means his career in teaching is probably at an end.

Story: Fanciful claims left on teachers record

Written by welshdog

August 1, 2008 at 7:59 am