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Thursday 31 August 2017

Muslim Foster Row - Mail Milking It

Now that the Case Management Order for the so-called Muslim fostering case has been made public, the press has a problem: so much prejudicial drivel was written in the past few days, but the iron code of press intransigence dictates that no-one is permitted to hold their hands up and say sorry. But the judge in the case has ordered a whole series of restrictions on reporting - not that you would know from the Mail.
What the f***'s wrong with a few more days' misinformed Muslim bashing, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

This is what the CMO told our free and fearless press: “The court has reminded everyone that the general reporting restrictions on reporting public law family cases apply to this case. It is imperative that no information should be published which may, even by way of ‘jigsaw’ information, lead to the identity of the child being disclosed directly or indirectly”.

There was more. “In order to allow this case to progress expeditiously, the names of the mother’s solicitor, the child’s solicitor, the Child’s Guardian, the currently allocated social workers should not be identified in any publication”. And more still.

The media shall not publish … Any information which will identify the child, the  community in which the child lives or the child’s school … Any image of the child … Any  image of the foster carers or any information which will identify them … The identity of the  child’s solicitor, the Mother’s solicitor, the child’s Guardian or the allocated social workers”.

What was the Mail to do? The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre had already told readersHer parents allegedly 'begged' Tower Hamlets Council, where children's services were criticised by Ofsted earlier this year, to allow her to live with her grandmother”, even though we now know the girl’s biological father has not been found - so whoever he is, he wasn’t part of any “begging”.

But now that the CMO has revealed that the girl’s maternal grandparents are of Muslim heritage, although non practising, and the grandmother does not have English as a first language, with court documents having to be translated for her, the Dare doggies are duty bound to about turn. So forget the parents wanting the child to live with grandparents.
Brace yourselves for more headlines like these

Now, it’s “A row over a five-year-old Christian child sent to live with Muslim foster carers took an extraordinary twist last night when it emerged the girl’s grandparents are Muslims … The girl’s mother had claimed her foster care was inappropriate and a Family Court judge ruled she should be allowed to live with her maternal grandmother instead”.

Do go on. “But court documents revealed the grandmother is a non-practising Muslim, does not appear to speak English as her first language and wants to raise the British-born child abroad - against the wishes of the girl’s mother”. Ah, the get-out clause.

Leave aside that the mother has recent cocaine and alcohol issues, and appears to have criminal proceedings outstanding against her. Leave aside “The placement will be subject to a written agreement with the grandmother and the mother in order to safeguard the welfare of the child. The court has today approved the new care plan as it considers this to be in the child’s best interests, the welfare of the child being the courts paramount consideration”. Just keep milking the story. Our free and fearless press, everyone.

So the Mail, for one, will not be dropping this particular bone yet. No change there, then.

Muslim Foster Row - Trevor Phillips BUSTED

As if the press were not in enough trouble over the Muslim foster case after the release of a Case Management Order yesterday, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have dug themselves into a considerably deeper hole, aided and abetted by former CRE head man Trevor Phillips, whose opinion piece for the Sun today should have been pulled as soon as the CMO became public. That it was not speaks volumes.
Trevor Phillips - a dishonest accessory to vicious racism

The headline tells you all you need to know about the total and utter disregard for facts: “The decision to put a five-year-old Christian girl into Muslim foster care is like child abuse and the council must pay … It's an outrage officials in Tower Hamlets, East London chose to value their pro-Muslim reputation above the welfare of the child”.

As the CMO made clear, “The child was removed from the mother’s care and placed by social services with foster carers on an emergency basis in March 2017 as a result of the police exercising their powers of protection. There was no culturally matched foster placement available at the time. There was a temporary change of foster carer in the summer to enable the original foster carer to go on holiday”.

Phillips clearly could not be bothered acquainting himself with the facts; he has an agenda to serve, and serve it he does in no style at all. And there is more. Maybe too much more.

The child was deprived of her own cross, and encouraged to learn Arabic - presumably because the women of the household were less than ­proficient in English”. Presumably Trevor Phillips couldn’t be bothered checking that fact either - no proficiency in English, no presence on the fostering list. And the rest is conjecture.

Still, if you’re going to piss your credibility up the wall, better make it a good one: “Worse still, the officials in Tower Hamlets, East London, whose children’s services were earlier this year condemned by inspectors as displaying ‘serious failures’, clearly placed being seen to be pro-Muslim above the welfare of the child concerned … That’s hardly ­surprising in a council dogged for years by accusations of being dominated by an Islamist clique … But it makes their actions worse than idiotic, and more akin to child abuse”.

Tower Hamlets clearly did no such thing. The rest is irrelevant - the council followed proper procedure, and put the welfare of the child first. As to the “child abuse” smear, well, Trev is still busily digging. And lying through his teeth.

Thank heavens for the ­Muslim woman judge, Khatun Sapnara, who briskly dismissed the council’s objections and ordered them to take the child back to her grandmother … I would lay a bet that life with Grandma is going to be part of the healing process”.

The judge did no such thing: it had been decided over a fortnight ago that the child would be placed with her maternal grandmother - and the council was part of that process. Moreover, Phillips really ought to read the CMO, which makes clear the grandmother does not speak English as a first language, and is from a Muslim heritage.

Then Phillips changes tack, objecting even to culturally matched foster placements. Why so? “Because in all the cases that I’ve seen, the test of a placement’s success isn’t some bureaucratic Dulux colour chart test - it is whether the child is happy and flourishing”.

Again I refer to the CMO: “The child’s Guardian has undertaken enquiries and visited the child in the current foster carer’s home and spoken to the child alone. The Guardian has no concerns as to the child’s welfare and she reports that the child is settled and well cared for by the foster carer”. So he should have no objection to the placement.

Instead, Phillips digs himself yet deeper by throwing in a crass and irrrelevant comparison: “I was brought to my senses over a decade ago by the ­brutal torture and death of Victoria Climbié, an eight-year-old Ivorian girl entrusted to distant relatives by her parents” The Victoria Climbié case has absolutely nothing to do with this one.

You think that’s a nasty smear? He’s got worse in reserve: “In recent years, courageous newspapers have brought to light the grooming of children by men in mainly Pakistani communities, as well as that by men in the entertainment industry”. The Tower Hamlets case has stuff all to do with grooming. This is beyond the pale.

And there is more: “And as we saw when Tower Hamlets attempted to prevent reporting of the case, too often the first instinct on being found out is to prevent the truth being told”. Ah, but if Tower Hamlets wanted to prevent reporting of the case, the CMO would not now be in the public domain - and Trevor Phillips’ reputation would not be in shreds.

It’s in shreds, not least because of his disgraceful conclusion: “Ill-considered actions compounded by silence, just as much as the grooming gangs and disc jockeys, are responsible for the agony of vulnerable children … These people must not escape public judgment”. Well, what’s sauce for the goose, and all that.

The “public judgment” should also consider agenda-driven copy which appears in a paper with a grim reputation for vicious racism. Such as that contributed by Trevor Phillips, which was known to be a pack of lies before today’s Sun went to press.

I do not use this term lightly, but Phillips’ latest exhibition of willingness to be a useful idiot for the bigots in the Baby Shard bunker, his complicity as an accessory to the peddling of more of that vicious racism, makes him nothing better than an Uncle Tom.

Will he or the Sun say sorry for defaming Tower Hamlets council and peddling a pack of lies, knowing it will trigger more Islamophobic hatred? Will sham press regulator IPSO lift a finger to the Murdoch mafiosi? But you know the answer. This article was ill-conceived, and wrong at every turn. Phillips is finished. And remember - Don’t Buy The Sun.

Muslim Foster Row - THE FACTS

Once upon a time, the press’ guru on child court issues was Christopher Booker, who would pontificate on the subject in the Sunday Telegraph, passing adverse comment on the courts, anyone whose views opposed his own, and especially the BBC, who had covered the subject without reference to Himself Personally Now.
Andrew Norfolk - now in deep trouble

Then, in December 2013, Booker overreached himself over the case of an Italian woman who had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, with her baby delivered by Caesarian Section and taken into care. Booker made a number of highly creative claims about social services, the hospital concerned, and especially the woman’s backstory. Then the court papers became available, the truth was revealed, and he was bust.

The fate of Christopher Booker may not have been known by the Times’ Andrew Norfolk, but the trashing of a reputation forged by the Rotherham grooming scandal is going the same way. Norfolk brought his readers the story of a five-year-old white Christian girl who had been placed with a foster family who were Muslims.

This duly triggered every rent-a-mouth Tory MP, the far right, and more importantly for the press, the legendarily foul mouthed editor of the Daily Mail. The girl was judged to be suffering a “plight”, she had been “forced” into a Muslim family, and as the local authority concerned was Tower Hamlets, they were immediately judged to be in the wrong.

And then, as with the Booker coverage of the Italian woman, the courts approved the release of an anonymised version of a hearing which took place two days ago. The Times is still protesting its innocence, claiming to be in the right, and as befits a Murdoch title, blaming as much as possible on the BBC. But they are in a minority of one.

Norfolk’s claims about the girl appear to have come from contact with her mother: the single, uncorroborated source approach that did for Booker. The Case Management Order from which I quote can be seen HERE.
Proceedings began with a warning for Norfolk: “[Tower Hamlets] does not oppose the application by Mr Norfolk on behalf of Times Newspaper[s] to observe today’s proceedings but is clear that any reporting must be responsible, consistent with legal guidelines and  principles but importantly, must not compromise the child’s right to privacy and confidentiality, either directly or otherwise”.

As to why the child was placed with the foster carers concerned, this most revealing snippet explains much, and was not covered by the press: “The child was removed from the mother’s care and placed by social services with foster carers on an emergency basis in March 2017 as a result of the police exercising their powers of protection. There was no culturally matched foster placement available at the time. There was a temporary change of foster carer in the summer to enable the original foster carer to go on holiday”.

And the mother’s complaints on the appropriateness of the foster placement? “The mother raised some concerns about the appropriateness of the placement. On 27th June 2017, the court directed the Local Authority to produce a statement to address the cultural appropriateness of the foster care placement”. The result of this?

The allegations made against the foster carers are disputed by the local authority … The child’s Guardian has undertaken enquiries and visited the child in the current foster carer’s home and spoken to the child alone. The Guardian has no concerns as to the child’s welfare and she reports that the child is settled and well cared for by the foster carer”.

So much for the child being “distressed” and “sobbing”. Moreover, “The mother has at no stage applied to the court for a change of foster carer”. I’ll just leave that one there.

As to the maternal grandmother, into whose care the mother wanted her child to be placed, “Documents including the assessment of the maternal grandparents state that they are of a Muslim background but are non practising. The child’s mother says they are of Christian heritage”. The press’ spin on that is eagerly awaited.
And any claims by Norfolk, the Times, or any other paper to have influenced the court’s judgment are debunked by “On 15.08.17 the local authority proposed a change in its care plan to enable the child to be placed with the maternal grandmother today. All parties are in agreement. The placement will be subject to a written agreement with the grandmother and the mother in order to safeguard the welfare of the child. The court has today approved the new care plan as it considers this to be in the child’s best interests, the welfare of the child being the courts paramount consideration”.

The decision to place the child with the maternal grandmother had already been reached two weeks ago - before the story was first broken by the Times.

Just to make sure this is understood, the Order notes “For the avoidance of doubt, the Court makes it clear that the decision to approve the new care arrangements for the child to live with the grandmother under an interim care order is as a result of the application of the relevant law to the evidence now available to the court and not as a result of any influence arising out of media reports”. Got that, assembled hacks?

The press also gets this warning: “The court expresses its concern that photographs of the child and foster carer have been published in the press … The court has reminded everyone that the general reporting restrictions on reporting public law family cases apply to this case … In order to allow this case to progress expeditiously, the names of the mother’s solicitor, the child’s solicitor, the Child’s Guardian, the currently allocated social workers should not be identified in any publication”.

We also get an insight into the problems faced by the child’s mother: “The  mother’s solicitors are permitted to file and serve segmented hair strand and liver function test results, in respect of alcohol, covering the last six months to the date of testing, by 4pm on 08.09.17 … The Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police shall by 4pm on 08.09.17  disclose to the local authority all papers relating to the criminal proceedings in respect  of mother, and to include any notes of sentence and pre-sentence reports

So it is now clear why the Police might have exercised their powers of protection, and why there might not have been time to place the child with foster parents whose cultural background matched that of the mother. It is also clear that any journalist using the mother as his or her source might have been expected to exercise considerable caution.
Then we come to the issue of “they don’t speak English”. One, foster parents can’t become foster parents if they don’t speak English. And two, remember that the press is now treating the placement with the maternal grandmother as some kind of triumph. Then consider this snippet from the Order.

The maternal grandmother shall file and serve a statement responding to the final statement of the Mother, addressing the role she has played in the child’s life, any application that she has made to any court in respect of the child in the past and her future plan for the child by 4pm on 22.09.17. This statement is to be translated [my emphasis]”.

Add to that “The local authority shall, upon receipt thereof, translate the mother’s final  statement and this order into the language spoken by the maternal grandmother 
and shall serve these on the maternal grandmother by no later than 15.09.17”, and “The grandmother has changed her position now to say that she wishes to return to her country of origin and care for the child there” to the assertion that the maternal grandparents are “of a Muslim background but are non practising”, and what do we get?

Simples. We get a child being placed with a Muslim family who don’t speak English. After the Times, aided and abetted by the remainder of the right-leaning press pack, had railed against the child being placed with a Muslim family who allegedly didn’t speak English.

The difference, of course, is that the second Muslim family who don’t speak English enjoys the approval of the press. That is all.

And the conclusion? The child’s welfare was at all times paramount. The Police and local authority were faced with an emergency situation, and had to respond appropriately. It was not possible to place the child with the maternal grandmother until an assessment had been carried out; this has now been completed. At all times, the relevant law has been applied, and at no time has the press influenced proceedings.

It would allow Andrew Norfolk, and his bosses, to salvage something from the wreckage of their wayward journalism by simply holding their hands up, admitting they seriously misled the public, and apologising for so doing. That they have not yet seen fit to do so tells you all you need to know about our free and fearless press.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Labour Deselection Smear BUSTED

As if the Owen Jones and Assed Baig climbdowns were not enough for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, they have messed up again today in their efforts to demonise the Labour left and pretend that The Red Team is riven with anti-Semitism. This has led the Fawkes rabble to run to the rescue of Jess Phillips, and whatever her needs may be, being helped by The Great Guido is not one of them.
Behold the arbiter of morals and decency

The Fawkes folks’ sudden conversion to supporting Labour MPs has resulted in their postingLoons Threaten to Deselect ‘Zionist’ Jess Phillips”, thus demonstrating their fealty to the Murdoch mafiosi by recycling a favourite left-bashing term (“Loons”) of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). So who are these so-called “Loons” who wish to perform the D-word upon the outspoken Birmingham Yardley MP?
Sorry, subtlety's off tonight

This proves more problematic for the Fawkes rabble: all they can pony up is a rather crude graphic making a number of variously creative accusations against Ms Phillips and concludes with the ominous-sounding proclamation “DESELECTION AT THE NEXT ELECTION”. But the manner in which this is to be carried out is not told. That does not deter The Great Guido, or rather Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, who wrote this drivel.
You took HIM on trust? Oh dear!

Jess Phillips is the latest Labour MP to bravely speak out about some members of the British-Pakistani community ‘having issues about women’s roles in a family, in society’. The response from the hard-left? Threatening to deselect her at the next election. Oh, and they’ve added in their online graphics that Jess is apparently a ‘Zionist’. Not sure what that has to do with anything” observes the Fawkes teaboy.
And this graphic came from ...

So this, we are led to believe, is the action of something called the “Hard-Left”, another term coined by the less than totally impartial rent-a-rant hosts of Fox News. But who is behind this “Hard-Left”? Is it Momentum? Is it a mainstream group of MPs or councillors? Is it left-leaning journalists sympathetic to Labour? Is it Trades Union members and/or officials? What we do know is that it is none of those.
... someone not even in the Labour Party

The dead giveaway - that this has not unadjacent to Sweet Jack to do with anyone in the Labour Party - comes with the two Twitter handles displayed prominently on the graphic, @MontyBestUK and @KMJBUK. Both these accounts appear to be run by the same person, who has been pushing the graphic that the Fawkes folks have leapt on. But the bio for the @KMJBUK account shows The Great Guido has been a tad selective.
Although it claims to be “Passionate Real-Jeremy Corbyn Labour”, the very next line admits “Not a member of Labour coz of NEC!” So the graphic cited by the Fawkes blog comes from someone who not only isn’t a Labour member, but also appears to have been excluded or expelled from the party! There is no credible threat to Jess Phillips - certainly not from this source. The Great Guido has been caught with trousers alight once more.

And Alex Wickham is once again full value for his nickname. Another fine mess.

Guido Fawked - Channel 4 Climbdown

It was only last Thursday that Zelo Street caught the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog overreaching themselves: after trying a nudge-and-wink smear against Owen Jones, they came badly unstuck when their suggestion that all was not above board with one of Jones’ recent crowdfunding efforts was shown to have missed the most basic of research. There was nothing untoward. They caved.
Behold the occupant of the moral high ground

But those who thought The Great Guido might think twice before opening mouth and inserting boot thought wrong: yesterday they were at it again, telling readers “Channel 4’s Assed Baig Out After Promoting Terror-Supporting Islamist”. The broadcaster had received a complaint about an item whose participants included one Nadia Chan, and so had removed the online video pending investigation.
Assed Baig

This is standard procedure for Channel 4: the same happened to an item about the Libyan community in Manchester recorded in the wake of the Arena bombing, the latter catching pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins unaware (not, admittedly, a challenging proposition). But then the Fawkes massive heard that Baig had left Channel 4: they immediately added 2 and 2, but as so often, came up with a number greater than 4.
Sadly for The Great Guido, Baig had not been ousted from Channel 4 because of the item featuring Nadia Chan. He duly put them straight: “I left @Channel4News on August 9, before the piece on Muslim women went out. A decision that I had informed them of at least a month before … My decision to leave has got nothing to do with that piece, nor was I forced out anyway. Anything stating otherwise is inaccurate”.
The Fawkes rabble had been caught with trousers well alight once more. Would they carry on and hope no-one noticed? Perhaps they would just tell Baig to sue them if he thought he was hard enough. Sadly for The Great Guido, he was reduced to a mealy-mouthed climbdown, which was quietly slipped out in the hope that no-one would notice. But the post had already been screen shotted - and there was another dead giveaway.
Before ...

The headline was bodged to read “Channel 4‘s Assed Baig Out Amid Promoting Terror-Supporting Islamist”. The first line of the post was also amended to use “amid” instead of “after” - it now reads “A senior reporter has left Channel 4 News amid presenting a package last week promoting a racist Islamist who supported ramming attacks”. Yes, the blog run by someone who once proposed joining forces with the BNP calling “racist”.
... and after ...

But the dead giveaway is that the URL still reads “https://order-order.com/2017/08/29/channel-4s-assed-baig-out-after-promoting-terror-supporting-islamist“. And then the Fawkes rabble ends the post with “The spokesman also confirmed that Baig left Channel 4 News before the piece went to air”. In other words, it was screamingly obvious that his departure was not as a result of the report being broadcast.
... which means this

The Great Guido is starting to make a habit of this crap-research-followed-by-abject-climbdown business. Another fine mess.

Desperate Murdoch Shoots His Own Fox

As the saga of the Murdoch mafia’s latest attempt to get its hands on the 61% of Sky that it does not yet own rumbles on, an interesting diversion arrived yesterday in the shape of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) - or rather its disappearance. Because the decision has been taken that Sky will cease to carry the FNC feed, after 15 years of it being available. The decision has been taken on commercial grounds - allegedly.
The Guardian juxtaposed the two items nicely: “21st Century Fox announced it would withdraw Fox News from Sky in the UK on Tuesday saying that it no longer sees the service as commercially viable … The decision comes as Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, is set to return her verdict on whether to ask the competition regulator to launch an investigation into the Murdochs’ adherence to broadcasting standards in the UK as part of a probe into Fox’s £11.7bn takeover bid of Sky”.

A spokeswoman claimed “[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK … Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK”. There were, it was alleged, a mere 2,000 FNC viewers here.

However, as the Guardian also notes, “the channel has been put under the spotlight in the last year with Ofcom, the media regulator, making a number of rulings against Fox News broadcasts … In the past decade Fox has notched up 22 breaches of its licence and Ofcom’s codes and rules. Of those, seven were against Fox News, with four last year including against a programme which featured a guest who said that Birmingham was a city ‘where non-Muslims just simply don’t go’”.
Moreover, the BBC has addedThe company source said that Fox News had about 2,000 average daily viewers, and that the costs of distributing the US network meant it was not in 21st Century Fox's commercial interests to continue … However, figures from the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (Barb) suggest that Fox News' average daily viewing figures were nearly 60,000 per day this year”.

In any case, what are these “distribution costs” that the Murdoch empire deems so onerous? They just bundle the feed in with Sky News, find it a channel and … ah yes, bundled with Sky News. Therefore easily associated not so much with Sky News, but the people who want to take over Sky. And FNC has been riven with allegations of misogyny, misbehaviour and worse among its staff - even before the bias of the content comes up.

How convenient for a channel that tells you what a world of 100% Murdoch ownership means, which has Rupert Murdoch as its current CEO, and shills incessantly for not only the right, but the white right, the white Christian and evangelical right, to be extinguished - but only in the country where its presence might be a party pooper for the Sky takeover.

Whoever is placing evidence before Karen Bradley, and anyone else involved in assessing the Sky bid, should ensure this move does not prevent the culture secretary getting the fullest possible view of Fox News in all its magnificence.

The Murdoch mafiosi cannot be permitted to sweep their sins under the censorship carpet.

Muslim Foster Scare EXPOSED

This week, our free and fearless press has been hot on the case of a 5-year-old girl who was placed into foster care. This seems a routine and innocuous story to major on, until it  is also revealed that the girl was white and Christian, and the foster families - two of them - were allegedly Scary Muslims (tm). What also makes this interesting is that the story was broken by a reporter whose name might be expected to give it significant credibility.
Placed becomes Forced, with added Plight

That reporter was Andrew Norfolk, who had previously garnered some cachet through his work on the Rotherham grooming affair. So putting his name on the by-line immediately told readers not only that they should take the story seriously, but also that they could be confident in the reliability of the reportage.

The Times, which first ran the story, is behind a paywall, but the Mail characteristically lifted the copy: this reveals the real “disturbing questions” about the whole saga. Let’s start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start.

The parents of a Christian five-year-old forced to live with Muslim foster carers allegedly 'begged' a council to allow her to live with her grandmother”. Allegedly. The claim could not be stood up.

The placements were arranged by Tower Hamlets council in east London, where children's services were criticised by Ofsted earlier this year”. This is dog-whistle code for Scary Muslims (tm). It is also telling readers the fostering decision was wrong.

The council has refused to allow the girl to be placed into the temporary care of her grandmother, according to The Times”. No second source? Hmmm.

Social workers said the child sobbed and begged not to be returned to one foster mother - who wore a face veil in public - as the household spoke no English”. Tower Hamlets council cannot discuss the case publicly, for obvious reasons, but have disputed the claim that the family did not speak English. Moreover, “It said the girl had been placed with an English-speaking, mixed-race family”. What was that about a “Muslim family”?
Must leave Muslims. Times praised. Council failure

Still, back to the Mail: “She also claimed her foster carer had said she should learn Arabic and had taken away her Christian cross necklace, The Times reported”. She claimed. The Times reported. Is all of this hearsay and single sourced?

The child - who is white, was born in Britain and has a UK passport - was allegedly not allowed to eat a spaghetti carbonara prepared by her birth mother because it contained bacon”. Allegedly again. A lot of hedging, even for the Mail.

She was said to have told her biological mother 'European women are stupid and alcoholic' and 'Christmas and Easter are stupid', prompting questions over cultural attitudes in her foster homes”. Was said to have told.

Inspectors rated the council's children's services 'inadequate' and said there was an 'entrenched culture of non-compliance with basic social work standards’”. Another dog whistle to tell readers that whatever Tower Hamlets did was wrong.

So much for the allegations, many of which are hearsay and not backed up by the second source one might expect a Times reporter to have sought out - now we come to the usual parade of Tory MPs ready to shoot their mouths off for a little free publicity.
Mail bang to rights Photoshopping (h/t @DMReporter)

Philip Hollobone, Tory MP for Kettering, said: 'What if it were a Muslim girl being looked after by a Christian couple and they insisted she deny her Muslim upbringing and become a Christian – how would the Muslim community feel about that?’” What Hollobone knows all too well is that whatever the Muslim community felt about that, such a story would not find its way into the Times, and certainly not the Mail. Not the Mail’s kind of people.

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, added”. That’s the whole problem - Andrew Bridgen is always there to add his two penn’orth.

And with that it was back to the nudge-and-wink: “The girl's biological mother was said to be horrified by her daughter's foster placements and their effect on the child … The girl was initially put in a household where her foster mother reportedly wore a niqab”.

Only after all of that does anyone bother to ask the question: “It was not clear why the girl was taken into care earlier this year”. Didn’t Norfolk, or any of those sounding off about the story, bother to ask? The responsibility on the council is to ensure the safety of the child. Fostering, as Esmat Jeraj has pointed out, is a complex business. There are all manner of reasons why the girl was taken into care, none of which have been raised as possibilities, let alone examined by the press.

So another question must be put: what is the motivation of the press in running this story? The thought enters that the Murdoch press, which has such a grim record of crude and bigoted Islamophobia at the Times’ downmarket sister title the Sun, has used the reputation of Andrew Norfolk to inflate a story about a temporary foster placement to combine an attack on an under-fire council with more Muslim bashing.

The problem the Times has in dissociating itself from such a conclusion is that the Mail most certainly has used the story that way: for the Dacre doggies, the dead giveaway came when they were caught crudely Photoshopping a stock photo of a woman in Islamic dress to include a full face veil.

What is all too clear from the reporting of the case is that readers of a supposedly upmarket newspaper have been given a highly selective account of something that the paper’s editorial staff would know to be potentially highly sensitive - and open to misinterpretation by those seeking to demonise minority communities.

That makes the whole affair yet another example of irresponsible journalism and blatant political opportunism, the combination of which serves no purpose except to fuel the egos of politicians and editors. And that’s not good enough.

[A judge has now ruled that the girl should live, for the time being, with a family member]

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Was Palace Terrorist An Uber Driver?

[Update at end of post]

Last weekend, in a bizarre incident outside Buckingham Palace, a man drive his car towards Police vehicles before stopping and, when approached by officers, taking a four foot sword from the car’s footwell (as you do), exclaiming “Allahu Akbar”, instigating one of those nasty fracas that ended up with two Police officers suffering minor injuries, and the idiot with the sword being CS sprayed and duly nicked.
The Super Soaraway Currant Bun was on the story like a rocket: “BUCK HOUSE SCARE … Buckingham Palace terror attack - Man, 26, wielding four-foot sword deliberately drove at police and injured three cops as they took him down with CS spray … Two officers wounded as they arrest suspect who pulled up in a car next to police vehicle”. None of the Royal Family was in residence - one tends not to be in August, dontcha know.

And the attack was soon categorised as a terrorist incident: “A 26-year-old man from Luton has been arrested under the terrorism act following the rampage at the palace … Police have said the attacker in a blue Toyota Prius ‘reached for a 4ft sword’ in front of terrified tourists as three heroic unarmed cops rushed to tackle him”. The Sun’s online copy does not identify the driver of the Prius. But the print edition did.
This is what the paper had to tell: “Police were last night guarding a house in Luton, where the arrested man was named as Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 26 … People in Luton said Chowdhury’s Dad was a taxi driver who owned a blue Prius … Police confirmed a 26-year-old man from Luton was in custody suspected of assault on Police and being held under terror laws”. And since then, further information has come to light.

It has been claimed that the Prius had a TfL Private Hire Roundel displayed - if it was used as a Private Hire Vehicle, and ventured into London, that is not unusual. But now, it seems that TfL records have a name matching the one pitched by the Sun - but only in print - as a registered PHV driver. Yes, there he is, Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, and with a current TfL PHV license which runs until April 2020.
Although the Sun has removed the suspect’s name from its copy, we know the print edition of the Daily Mail from yesterday also named him, telling readers of a second arrest over the attack “Police suspect the man may have known that Mohiussunnath Chowhury was plotting a terrorist attack in central London”. Oh, and “Counter-terror detectives remained at Chowdhury’s £230,000 family home in a suburb of Luton yesterday”.

It must have been the Mail - they included the house price. But more seriously, if the attacker was a licensed TfL PHV driver, who was he working for? The Toyota Prius is used by a large proportion of Uber X drivers - so would Uber care to come forward and dispel rumours that he drove on their app? So far, no other Private Hire operator has owned up to having Chowdhury on the books. So the question stands - was he an Uber driver?

Uber might as well come clean. Because if Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was one of theirs, the information will soon be out there, with the certainty of night following day.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan talked of “one strike and you’re out”. Could get interesting.

[UPDATE 31 August 1700 hours: the BBC has now confirmed that "Mohiussunath Chowdhury, 26, of Luton, was charged under the Terrorism Act 2006 for 'engaging in conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention to commit an act or acts of terrorism'".

The Beeb report has also confirmed that Chowdhury "works as an Uber driver". So perhaps Uber would like to explain how he got through their vetting process.

Meanwhile, TfL might usefully add that to the charge sheet ahead of their decision on whether to allow Uber to carry on operating in London. Just a thought]

UKIP Hosting Nazi Sympathiser

With its popularity declining and having seen a collapse in its vote last June, one might have thought that the last thing the motley collection of saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP would want was another controversy involving the far right. But for the party’s alleged youth wing Young Independence, a far right controversy is just what they are walking in to, and it seems, with full knowledge of what they are doing.
As has been reported, “UKIP's youth wing, Young Independence (YI), have invited one of the organisers of the Defend Europe network to speak at their annual conference in Sheffield next Saturday … Martin Sellner, 28-years old, is the leader of the Austrian part of the Génération Identitaire (GI) network which has been taking direct action against migrants and refugees”. The people who were on the ill-fated C-Star.

Helpfully, the report goes on to tell “Sellner is due to talk for just under half an hour, starting at 12:40pm, at the UKIP event which is taking place at the Hilton Sheffield Hotel on Victoria Quays … Also speaking at the event is former Pegida UK leader Anne Marie Waters who is mounting a bid for the UKIP leadership. Her campaign is being worked on by ex-BNP member Jack Buckby who is barred from joining UKIP due to his fascist past”.

And it contains this warning: “By inviting Sellner and Waters to speak at the event, YI are exposing young members of their party to speakers who advocate direct action and street protests. This is particularly risky as YI has been an entry point to far-right organising for neo-Nazi youths”. This appears to be most prescient, as the Sheffield anti-Fascist Network has picked up on the event and is organising against it.
That group have urged supporters to contact the Hilton Sheffield, reminding them “Martin Sellner is the leader of the far right Identitarian Movement of Austria and was a key player in the farcical Defend Europe mission this summer, which aimed to hinder the work of NGOs attempting to save migrants from drowning in the Mediterrannean Sea”. That movement, as Zelo Street has already observed, has Nazi connections.

The Génération Identiaire crowd on board the C-Star, whose mission to find migrants they could intercept and send back somewhere, included “a motley convocation of Nazis, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and other specimens of forthright bigotry”. Sellner, by his own admission, was one of those on board. He’s at the very least a Nazi sympathiser. And the UKIP youth wing is now inviting him to their conference.

Worse, the party has among its leadership candidates Anne Marie Waters, a virulent Islamophobe whose team includes at least one person who is too extreme even for the Kippers to allow into the party. Former leader Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has voiced his admiration for France’s foremost bigot Marine le Pen - as well as the Austrian far right. We seem to be close to seeing the true nature of this beast.

No-one who values democracy, tolerance and the rule of law should go anywhere near UKIP. Calling them “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” was putting it mildly.