Thursday, May 07, 2009

Muslim preacher of hate is freed early from jail in Britain

This guy does plenty of incitement to violence and incitement to violence is not normally protected by free speech laws -- not that there's much free speech in Britain anyway

One of Britain's most notorious preachers of hate is back on the streets after being freed early from jail. Abu Izzadeen, who publicly confronted John Reid when he was Home Secretary, had his jail term reduced by the Appeal Court - along with four other extremists convicted of supporting terror. The ruling meant the ranting fanatic and a number of his fellow hardliners could immediately walk free because they had already done half of their reduced prison terms.

Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said the men were a danger to society. 'Abu Izzadeen and his organisation publicly call for attacks against those whom they see as enemies of Islam,' he said. 'Their ideology not only glorifies violent jihad but teaches their followers that taking part in suicide bombings is their duty as Muslims. 'The early release of a hate preacher like Abu Izzadeen demonstrates that the British courts are still far away from understanding the very clear and present danger that this country is facing from militant Islamists.'

Izzadeen - who was born a Christian with the name Omar Brooks, later changing his first name to Trevor - was jailed for four and a half years last April for inciting and raising funds for terrorism. He and fellow British-born Muslim convert Simon Keeler were handed the same jail term after making a series of rabble-rousing speeches at a central London mosque. Four fellow fanatics were also jailed. The defendants were all members of an extreme Islamist group known as Al-Muhajiroun, which has been banned only to allegedly regroup under a different name.

They made speeches in November 2004 outside the Regent's Park Mosque in London - at the same time as U.S. and British soldiers were fighting fierce battles against insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq. The court heard the men urged their audience to join the fight against coalition forces and to donate money to insurgent groups. Izzadeen was also recorded voicing his support for Osama Bin Laden.

Izzadeen, who lives in East London, walked free on Saturday. His release has been celebrated on extremist Islamic websites. Three other defendants also had their sentences reduced. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: 'All offenders subject to probation supervision on release from prison have to adhere to a set of strict conditions.'


Britain's global warming law 'could cost £20,000 per family'

Laws aimed at tackling global warming could cost every family in Britain a staggering £20,000 - double the original forecast. Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband admitted the bill for introducing legislation to cut greenhouse gases had soared from £205billion to £404billion between now and 2050. But in figures quietly released to Parliament, the Cabinet minister claimed the benefits to the UK would be more than £1trillion - a tenfold increase on the £110billion predicted last year.

Last night Mr Miliband was accused of entering 'Alice in Wonderland territory' with the figures in an attempt to stifle concern about the price of bringing in the Climate Change Act. Senior Tory MP Peter Lilley said Mr Miliband 'heavily massaged' the statistics to 'remove embarrassment' that the laws represented poor value for money.

But ministers insist the costs of not acting on climate change would be higher than the price of acting now.

Under the Climate Change Act, the Government is committed to cut carbon emissions, blamed for global warming, by 80 per cent before 2050. Originally the Government wanted to cut emissions by 60 per cent, with maximum costs of £205billion and benefits of £110billion. But the figure rose to 80 per cent after a threatened backbench revolt last year.

The extra cost was only revealed after the Bill became law in November. Four months later Mr Miliband slipped out revised figures in the House of Commons Library to avoid scrutiny, say critics.

They show the cost, which the Government says represents the predicted difference between the economy with and without carbon-constraining measures, had soared to a worst-case scenario of £404billion - in the region of £20,000.

Mr Lilley, a former Trade Secretary, said he accepted a reduction in global warming would cost a lot. But in a letter to Mr Miliband he said: 'When it comes to your revised estimates of the benefits we enter Alice in Wonderland territory.'

Mr Miliband said the benefits had risen because a global deal on tackling carbon emissions was more likely because Britain had passed the Climate Change Act. He denied the figures were framed to produce a convenient answer.


Reduce exam stress: give pupils more tests

The reason British teachers dislike SATs is nothing to do with children - it's because their work is exposed to outside scrutiny. Sats are grade-school exams in Britain

Complete this sentence: a light ray hitting a mirror at an angle is reflected off at the _____ - ____ angle.

Now complete this multiplication: (a) x (b) x (c) = 286, where a, b and c are prime numbers.

Finally, fill in each gap in the following with a different word for “nice”: It was so... of Lauren to invite us all back to her house after the play. She made everyone a really... hot chocolate with some... pink marshmallows floating in it. Patrick said he thought the theatre was ...

Congratulations. You may have just passed your Key Stage 2 standard assessment tests (SATs). For a set of fairly minor exams that children take only once before the end of primary school, and which the Prime Minister yesterday promised to keep, SATs cause an inordinate amount of fuss. That the National Association of Headteachers and the National Union of Teachers have decided to ballot members over boycotting the tests next year says a lot more about the failings of the teachers than it does about the limitations of the exams.

There is no need for a child to be stressed about an exam unless adults make them so. All the pressure put on children comes from teachers and parents. Seven-year-olds should be happily unaware that they are even taking a test at Key Stage 1, particularly as their teachers do the assessment at this stage. Nor is there much need for an 11-year-old to be stressed at Key Stage 2 tests. Revision is a not particularly arduous business of answering practice questions (Will you practice/practise playing the banjo?) for an hour a day, and looking up the answers at the back of the book. Most 11-year-olds simply object to any homework.

The real reason behind the calls for a boycott is that the tests at the age of 11 are the first national ones and the first where results are published; hence they are the first test of teaching quality as well as of individual ability.

Private schools have tests at the end of each term (some at the end of each week) and you do not hear parents squealing about it. If teachers in the state system are “teaching to the test”, and confining their pupils' education to the narrow band of questions in an exam, that is their fault. A good, creative, confident teacher will not do so.

Equally, a good, creative, confident parent will not judge a school purely on its test scores. For every teacher subjecting pupils to formulaic worksheets, there are probably a dozen parents poring over the league tables. The information that these provide is far too narrow, which is a good argument for having many more tests in state schools, not fewer. They would then take on less significance individually, but provide a more rounded picture of progress overall.

An average score from a child's performance throughout the years at primary school, or even individual results every term or year, would give secondary schools far better information than Key Stage 2 results do. Many secondary schools find them so inaccurate that they retest the children anyway.

I wouldn't send a child to a school where the headteacher was boycotting SATs and I hope that most teachers will reject the boycott. Given the load of continuous assessment, and its contiguous jargon, that they are already buried under, straightforward tests that they do not have to assess themselves ought to be the least of their worries.

Look up the reading assessment guidelines for primary children. Each “level” is split into seven “assessment focuses” (AFs): “Using AFs for classroom-based assessment enables a direct link to be made to national curriculum standards in a subject and the primary framework learning objectives. The AFs sit between the national curriculum programmes of study and the level descriptions...”

Clear? So, the heading for the AF3 for reading is: “deduce, infer or interpret information, events or ideas from texts”. And at Level 3 for 7 to 9-year-olds, this is what the teacher has to gauge in each pupil: “straightforward inference based on a single point of reference in the text, eg, ‘he was upset because it says “he was crying”'; responses to text show meaning established at a literal level, eg, “‘walking good' means ‘walking carefully'” or based on personal speculation, eg, a response based on what they personally would be feeling rather than feelings of character in the text”. (Yes, it really does say “walking good”. I'm sorry; I didn't write it.)

This is learning reduced to jargon. No wonder my GP friends say that they always know when a teacher has come through the door because she will be on the verge of tears. This degree of intrusive monitoring, target-setting and assessment is a form of bullying of the teaching profession. It implicitly tells teachers that ministers do not believe they are competent and, in some cases, that is undoubtedly true.

A good teacher would not have to be told that a child should be able to make inferences from a statement, just as good schools do not actually need SATs. But scrapping Key Stage 2 tests would enable some bad schools to continue to fail to monitor their pupils.

And some teachers find themselves cheating. I have seen them monitoring in-school assessments for younger children: in one class, the teacher helped almost every child, because they had no idea that they were supposed actually to do something with the worksheets without any assistance. They sat there bemused until the teacher read out the questions and showed them how to do it, one by one, and then they copied their answers from the cleverest on the table, which was what they had become used to doing in lessons. Then the marks were noted down as theirs.

Key Stage 2 SATs are the first time that a child sits down to national exams, not tests assessed by its teacher. Given the hassle of the self-assessment process for any sensible teacher, and the unreliability of its results for parents, I would have thought the straightforward SAT would come as a relief.


NHS trust apologises for 'under-treating' a mental patient who went on to kill a pregnant woman

Basically, they just wanted rid of him

A mental health patient stabbed a pregnant stranger to death after a string of failures in his care, a report revealed. Benjamin Holiday, a law student, killed mother-of-five Tina Stevenson, 31, in a random attack a day after missing his medication.

An independent investigation found his mental health problem was 'under-treated' and his condition should have been 'more assertively managed'. A decision by a social worker not to detain him just weeks before the killing was a vital 'missed opportunity'. Humber Mental Health Trust has now apologised to Miss Stevenson's family.

The 31-year-old had been seven months pregnant with twins when she was killed. The unborn children also died.

Holiday, now 28, was a talented undergraduate until experiments with cannabis and then ecstasy are believed to have caused his mental illness - forcing him to drop out of university. He was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was 'in and out' of psychiatric hospital for four years.

In November 2004 psychiatrists decided he was well enough to be released from a secure hospital unit after two weeks' treatment and he returned home to live with his mother Christine, taking medication every two weeks. The day before the killing a community nurse arrived at the family home in Hull by appointment to give Holiday his regular injection, but he was not there.

On January 5 2005, Holiday stole a knife from a store and stabbed Miss Stevenson as he walked home. She had been to a hospital ante-natal clinic that morning and was walking near her home when she passed him. Holiday, who had previously complained of hearing voices in his head telling him to kill, turned around and stabbed her once in the back before running off.

In 2006 he was given an indefinite hospital order after admitting manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

The independent report written by NHS Yorkshire and the Humber listed a series of failings in his treatment. It said Holiday was able to 'abscond and absent himself from inpatient care too easily' and his final admission in November 2004 was 'a missed opportunity to compulsorily detain him'.

Detailing his years of treatment and problems, the report revealed how Holiday told a nurse in 2002 he thought about killing his friend and felt he could have raped a woman he went on a date with. He was admitted to hospital the following day and discharged days later.

In November 2004 he escaped after being sectioned and a consultant psychiatrist requested his social worker make a formal application for his longer term 'detention' on his return. But when he returned Holiday seemed 'calmer', the social worker decided against making the application and he was released.

The inquiry concluded Holiday's consultant psychiatrist, who had an excessive workload, was not to blame. It recommended a number of changes to procedures and staffing.

Yesterday Holiday's mother Christine said: 'It is clear mistakes were made in my son's care. There was a lack of communication, a lack of accountability, and records were not shared. 'This meant people did not realise how ill my son was and so he didn't always receive the most appropriate care.'

The same NHS trust also apologised to the family of Ivy Torrie, 82, who was killed by her mentally ill son, Michael, in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, in 2003. A separate report yesterday said the root cause of Torrie's actions was the 'rapid reduction of medication and the way this was managed in the absence of a risk assessment'.


Each illegal immigrant costs Britain a million pounds, says study as Government faces calls for amnesty

At least America's Hispanic illegals mostly work. In Britain a majority of illegals are complete parasites on working Britons

An amnesty allowing illegal immigrants to stay in Britain would cost taxpayers 1 million pounds for each newcomer, a shocking new report revealed today. The massive sum reflects the costs of handouts and other state services provided over the lifetime of the average immigrant. The figure would also apply to many of those who have already been granted asylum in Britain, according to campaign group Migrationwatch which commissioned the study.

Their revelation came as thousands of churchgoers, trade unionists and charity workers today prepared to rally in London in support of an ‘earned amnesty’ for 450,000 foreigners. The coalition argues that providing permanent residency for those long-term illegal immigrants who meet certain conditions – roughly half the total – would bring in more than 1billion of tax a year.

But Migrationwatch warned that such an amnesty would overburden the public purse during a recession and only tempt more migrants into the country. ‘Our calculations show the numbers are truly enormous, adding an unacceptable – and entirely unnecessary - burden to the nation’s balance sheet,’ said the group’s chairman Sir Andrew Green. ‘It is clear that not only is rewarding illegal behaviour wrong in principle but the experience of Spain and Italy shows conclusively that it encourages even more illegal immigration in anticipation of future amnesties. ‘This is a ridiculous proposal which is bound to increase illegal immigration rather than reduce it. It is also a shocking waste of public money at a time when we can least afford it.’

To calculate the individual cost of each granting asylum, Migrationwatch researchers set the tax and National Insurance paid by immigrants against their demands on state funds. The research is based on a married 25-year-old, married with two children, who earned the minimum wage and lived in private rented housing, retired at 65 and lived until 80. The major component of the costings is Housing Benefit.

An immigrant couple living on the minimum wages who then retire on Pension Credit, will receive Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit throughout their working life and throughout their retirement. The total Housing Benefit they receive will be 291,000 plus a further 19,000 pounds in Council Tax Benefit. In London, where some 70 per cent of illegal immigrants are believed to live, the costs are even greater. As rents are considerably higher in the capital the total lifetime costs for a two child family resident in London is 1.1million, of which 505,000 is Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

‘Clearly some of these immigrants will already be married, or will not marry, and some will work above the minimum wage so that their Housing Benefit will be lower,’ said Sir Andrew, a former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia. ‘On the other hand some may have families of more than two children, thereby attracting more Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits. ‘Also they may be unemployed – immigrants are, on average, more likely to be economically inactive than the UK population as a whole.’ Compared with the UK average of 22 per cent of the working age population being economically inactive, the rate among Somali, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Iranian immigrants respectively is 81 per cent, 56 per cent, 55 per cent and 48 per cent.

Campaigners gathering in support of granting asylum to illegal immigrants will be heartened by London Mayor Boris Johnson’s comments that providing amnesty would be ‘morally right’. Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Christians from other denominations will attend services in the capital – where two thirds of immigrants live - before taking part in a rally in Trafalgar Square as part of the Strangers into Citizens day of action. High-profile church supporters include Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who steps down later this month as leader of Catholics in England and Wales and his successor as Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols.

Neil Jameson, co-ordinator of the campaign, said: ‘The current government strategy of imposing heavy fines and document checks on employers as well as deporting families is an inhumane, costly, and complicated way to tackle irregular migration. ‘We propose that those who have been here for four or more years should be admitted to a two-year pathway to full legal rights during which they work legally and demonstrate their contribution to UK economy and society. ‘Combined with the current border-tightening measures, our policy will reduce illegal immigration, and British society will be the winner.’

Migrationwatch’s claims were also dismissed by the organisers of the rally. ‘Neither Sir Andrew Green nor I are economists,’ said Dr Austen Ivereigh, Strangers into Citizens’ director of policy. ‘So we should defer to those who are. And they are agreed that a Spanish-style regularisation, as advocated by President Obama, has great economic benefits. ‘In the case of Spain in 2005, the measure paid for itself many times over in new social security and tax revenues.’

Spanish authorities let 44,000 settle under an amnesty in 1985, but when the exercise was repeated in 2005 the figure soared to 700,000.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘Our policy on an amnesty for illegal immigrants remains unchanged and is very clear. ‘Those here illegally should go home, not go to the front of the queue for jobs and benefits. ‘We have a proud tradition of offering sanctuary to those who truly need our help, but to grant an amnesty would be likely to create a significant pull factor to the UK and would undermine the asylum system as a whole.’


Named and publicized: The 16 barred from Britain

We read:
"Sixteen people banned from entering the UK were "named and shamed" by the Home Office today. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she decided to make public the names of 16 people banned since October so others could better understand what sort of behaviour Britain was not prepared to tolerate. The list includes hate preachers, anti-gay protesters and a far- right US talk show host.

"I think it's important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it's a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won't be welcome in this country," Ms Smith told GMTV. "Coming to this country is a privilege. If you can't live by the rules that we live by, the standards and the values that we live by, we should exclude you from this country and, what's more, now we will make public those people that we have excluded.

"We are publishing the names of 16 of those that we have excluded since October. We are telling people who they are and why it is we don't want them in this country." She said the number of people excluded from Britain had risen from an average of two a month to five a month since October.

The list of the 16 "least wanted" includes radio talk show host Michael Savage, real name Michael Weiner. "This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country," Ms Smith told BBC Breakfast.

Also named are American Baptist pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Snr and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper, who have picketed the funerals of Aids victims and claimed the deaths of US soldiers are a punishment for US tolerance of homosexuality. Hamas MP Yunis Al-Astal, Jewish extremist Mike Guzovsky, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen Donald Black and neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe are also on the list released today.


There is nothing wrong with this in principle. If I am entitled to say who is allowed to enter my house, surely a nation has a right to say who will enter it.

That the aim seems to be to suppress certain speech is however disturbing, but not as disturbing as it once would have been. I would guess that this ban is the best free advertising these guys could have got. Young people are inherently rebellious and many will resent attempts to hide things from them. And these days it takes only a few minutes on the net to find out all that these guys stand for. The British government has just given them all a huge boost towards getting their ideas out.

Michael Savage is not amused

We read:
"An American “shock jock” said last night that he was planning legal action against the Government after discovering that he had been on a list of 16 people banned from entering Britain since October.

Michael Savage, who hosts the “Savage Nation” radio show, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had been defamed and endangered by the decision made by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

“This lunatic . . . is linking me up with Nazi skinheads who are killing people in Russia,” he said. “She’s putting me in a league with Hamas murderers who kill Jews on buses. “I have never advocated violence. I've been on the air 15 years. My views may be inflammatory, but they're not violent in any way.”


Sue 'em, Michael. You will get a following in Britain too, at the end of it! It's the sanctimonious British government that will end up looking pathetic.

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