Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stupid accusation about Tasmania from a leading British newspaper

The stupid political correctness described below is added to by the newspaper's accusation that the Tasmanian blacks were "eradicated by genocide". The accusation is scurrilous but is a favourite of Leftist historians worldwide. All the evidence shows that the Tasmanian blacks were already dying out when white men first arrived and that their demise was hastened by the diseases of the white settlers to which the blacks had no immunity. See here and here

One of the world's most significant collections of human remains is to be lost to science, after the Natural History Museum (NHM) today agreed to repatriate it to an Australian aboriginal community. Bones and teeth from 17 aboriginal Tasmanians, which were collected in the 19th century, will be sent back to Australia next April, where they are expected to be cremated.

The specimens are the first from the museum's collection of almost 20,000 human remains to be repatriated since the law was changed last year to allow it to do so. The request from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC), supported by the Australian Government, was accepted by the museum's trustees even though its own scientists had argued strongly that it should be kept intact as "a particularly important collection to the global scientific community." The ruling sets a precedent that could ultimately see thousands of items from the NHM's collection returned to indigenous communities for burial or cremation. Although 54 per cent of its human remains are from the UK, all those from abroad that are less than 1,000 years old could now qualify for repatriation if an appropriate request is made.

The Australian Government has already begun negotiations about the return of a further 450 items that originated in Australia, and Native American and New Zealand Maori groups are also in discussions with the museum. The prospect of losing so many specimens from one of the world's foremost repositories of human remains has dismayed some scientists, who argue that they retain great importance. Original remains are valuable for studies in fields as varied as human evolution and forensic science.

The Tasmanian collection is particularly signficant because the island has been isolated from the Austrialian mainland for thousands of years, and its aboriginal population offers valuable insights into human evolution that cannot be obtained from other sources. A few dozen museum specimens are all that remains of this unique ethnic group, which was eradicated by genocide in the 19th century.

"Failure to maintain scholarly access to these remains would reduce the ability of all people to know aspects of their common heritage, to the detriment of both the Tasmanians and the wider community," NHM scientists said in their response to the repatriation request. "The Tasmanian human remains must continue to be available for scientific research, either at the NHM or at another repository."

While most scientists accept the case for repatriating remains where a clear line of descent to living individuals or communities can be proven, many object to the idea of granting broad claims where ancestry is less certain. Some modern aborigine groups can trace descent to full Tasmanian aborigines, but have heavily interbred with other populations. The NHM's trustees, however, agreed to the TAC submission, which argued that the remains were taken without consent from an oppressed people, and should be returned for cremation in accordance with local spiritual and religious traditions.

The museum, however, has approved a three-month period of extensive scientific research on the remains before they are returned, including DNA analysis and CT scanning. The TAC had explicitly asked that no further research be conducted on the specimens. Michael Dixon, the museum's director, said: "This is something of a momentous day for the museum. It is a landmark decision, following our first opportunity to consider the repatriation of human remains. "We acknowledge our decision may be questioned by community groups or by some scientists. However, we believe the decision to return the Tasmanian remains, following a short period of data collection, is a commonsense one that balances the requirements of all those with an interest in the remains."

Chris Stringer, Head of Human Origins at the museum, said: "I regret the future loss of scientific data from these specimens," he said. "If the Tasmanian people in the future want to investigate their own past, they will no longer be available."

The decision marks only the second time that a national museum has agreed to repatriate human remains since the Human Tissue Act allowed them to do so. Prior to last year, the NHM and other state collections were banned from parting with any of their specimens by the British Museum Act of 1963. This provision was repealed following the Palmer Committee's 2003 report into collections of human remains, which recommended that institutions should normally seek to return such specimens if an appropriate modern ethnic group requested them.

Several private collections, such as the University of Manchester, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford, have already returned specimens voluntarily, and the British Museum has returned cremation ash bundles to Tasmania since the law was changed. The NHM will also return a skull of an aboriginal Australian that was exported illegally in 1913. This decision was not contested by scientists.


Gross mental health negligence in Britain

Cumulative failure of staff at a London hospital led to the murder of a former banker by a man whose schizophrenic condition made him dangerous, a report into the killing found yesterday. The independent inquiry recorded a number of errors in the treatment of John Barrett, 42, who was allowed to walk out of a secure unit despite a history of violence and mental illness. Barrett repeatedly stabbed Denis Finnegan, 50, a retired banker, as he cycled through Richmond Park on September 2, 2004. Two days earlier, Barrett had been admitted to the Springfield Mental Health Hospital in Tooting after hearing voices in his head, and was in a medium- security unit.

The inquiry named Gillian Mezey as the psychiatrist who made the "seriously flawed" decision to grant permission by phone for Barrett to have an hour's unescorted leave in the hospital grounds, even though she had not assessed his condition.

Robert Robinson, the lawyer who chaired the inquiry, was even more critical of management at the hospital and the South West London and St George's Trust, which runs it. He said that clinical decisions were often unsupported by evidence and were rarely challenged by colleagues. In a direct attack on the judgment of Dr Mezey and other clinicians, he said that staff had been too reluctant to intervene against Barrett's wishes, going along with what he wanted in the hope of maintaining his co-operation. That was con- trary to all legal and clinical guidelines, but management at the trust had failed to take action. "The trust knew there were problems and didn't do anything about them," he said.

Many senior managers have been replaced. In conclusion, the 422-page report casts doubt on whether the new senior staff at the trust were up to the job and recommended that a new team of experts be sent in to force through change. "We doubt whether there is the managerial capacity within forensic (psychiatric) services or the wider trust to achieve the necessary changes," it said. It called for the secure unit at Springfield hospital, in which Barrett was treated, to be closed. The trust has rejected this advice.

Dr Mezey, who is also a police adviser on domestic violence and murder, is still employed by the hospital but no longer deals directly with patients. Nigel Fisher, chief executive of the trust at the time of the murder, has been promoted to a job at the Department of Health, where he advises hospitals on how to win foundation status.

Peter Houghton, the trust's new chief executive, said now that the inquiry had been published he would explore whether disciplinary action would be taken. Along with the criticism of the health trust, the inquiry condemned the independent Mental Health Review Tribunal that allowed Barrett to leave secure care at Springfield hospital in 2003, only a year after he had stabbed three people at random at an outpatient clinic in St George's Hospital. One man almost died in the attack.

The tribunal spent only 45 minutes considering the case, examining reports from Springfield hospital that recommended conditional discharge. At the time of the 2002 stabbing he was considered so dangerous that he was placed under the direct care of the Home Office. Only the Home Office raised objections to his release, making it clear that it did not want him back in the community. Barrett failed to adhere to the conditions laid down for his release, including taking his antipsychotic drugs and staying off recreational drugs. The conditions were not monitored or enforced, and he began to behave erratically and complained of hearing whispering voices. That led to his returning to Springfield hospital on August 31, 2004. He was furious when he was placed in a secure ward, believing that he should have been placed on an open ward. In the hope of calming him down and retaining his co-operation for treatment, Dr Mezey granted him "ground leave" from which he absconded and murdered Mr Finnegan, a stranger.

Michael Howlett, director of the Zito Trust, a mental health charity set up in 1994 after the murder of Jonathan Zito by a man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, said that it was the most damning report he had seen in the past decade. "It beggars belief that John Barrett, who was a restricted patient under the responsibility of the Home Office for a very serious offence of violence in which he very nearly killed a man in 2002, should have been granted a conditional discharge by a mental health review tribunal as early as 2003," he said.


Iranian fanatic funds British university: "Durham university is in the process of opening a new centre for Shii Studies with financial support from Mesbah Yazdi. An Ayotllah whose statement "If anyone insults the Islamic sanctities, Islam has permitted for his blood to be spilled, no court needed either" made headline news in Iran, is funding a British university!"

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