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2007: Jan-March

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26th March   Ore Inspiring Injustice ...

Old Bailey
Operation Ore class action clear to begin

From Inquistion21

At last, the money required to commence the Operation Ore class action has been raised. It has been a long and arduous process and at times lonely and dangerous, but the British courts will now decide if the lives of thousands of citizens can be somewhat restored and if justice can prevail.

This is a simple announcement to mark the point where the Operation Ore class action can begin. It will be enacted mainly in Great Britain where Operation Ore ruined so many lives, but should have a knock-on affect in Ireland, Canada and Australia, and back in the US where it all began.

The process of raising the money to begin has been very difficult as most of the class action Orees were ruined and bankrupted by police and prosecution actions carried out in the name of Operation Ore. Many of those ruined were cleared by the police or courts but ruined nonetheless, not that police, courts or media cared.


23rd March   Who Should Police the Internet? . ..

BBC logo BBC running a forum on the topic

From Pryce on The Melon Farmers Forum

BBC Have Your Say are having an interesting discussion about internet pornography:

Who should police the internet? Who should prevent children from seeing internet porn?

A federal judge in America has overturned a law designed to protect children from viewing internet pornography. Judge Lowell Reed of Philadelphia said it violated the right of free speech.

The law made it illegal for websites to provide children access to "harmful" material, but it was never enforced.

Opponents criticised the ruling, saying parents should not have to shoulder the burden of restricting adult material.

Who should stop children from accessing internet pornography? Who should be legally liable? Should it be parents or websites? Are software filters effective?

Some interesting comments so far:

"What about shutting down all porn sites on the internet? The USA spends so much money on internet porn in a week to pay off all of Africa`s national debts. I want to know why people need to see this trash. China has it RIGHT on this one, people need to be prevented from accessing this totally useless and ignorant form of entertainment and children will hence be protected." laura macleod

"Internet Pornograpy should have never been allowed on the net in the first place. Surely this can be banned and its up to the parents to put a lock on their computers to stop children accessing these web sites." Welsh Dragon

Most people, however, do believe that it should be the parents` responsibility.


14th March  The Latest Horror Movie ...

The Last Horror Movie DVD cover
Blame potential following murder case

An extract from the Daily Mail

A cannabis-smoking teenager obsessed with violent horror films butchered two friends with a knife before calmly calling the police, a court has heard.

Thomas Palmer repeatedly watched a DVD about a serial killer who filmed himself stabbing his victims to death just days before carrying out his own horrific double killing.

His girlfriend at the time of the killings Ruth Cunningham, 17, said she had regularly visited him at his mother's home, where they would have sex on the bed - often involving him tying her up and blindfolding her - before watching DVDs. His DVDs of choice were usually horror films or involved martial arts.

Cunningham said in a videoed interview that just a week before the killings he had over a four day period repeatedly watched a "gory" British DVD entitled The Last Horror Film , which features graphic depictions of people's throats being cut. Among other DVDs Palmer was interested in was a film called House of a Thousand Corpses , Cunningham added.

Cunningham's mother, who was present in the video interview shown to the jury, then commented: It makes you wonder why they produce these films.

The trial continues.

21st March  Update: Last on the Last Horror Movie ...

The Last Horror Movie DVD cover
Blame potential low

An extract from The Telegraph

A "knife-obsessed" cannabis addict was jailed for life today for murdering two teenaged friends in a frenzied attack.

Tom Palmer will serve a minimum of 18 years for slitting the throat of Steven Bayliss and stabbing Nuttawut Nadauld.

Palmer, of Wokingham, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denied murdering them, claiming he was suffering an "abnormality of mind" at the time. But a jury at Reading Crown Court dismissed this.

A key issue in the case was the role Palmer's drug use and mental illness had played in the killings. Palmer said he first tried cannabis when he was 14 and that, by the time he reached his 15th birthday, he was smoking it every day. He told prison doctors that the drug worsened his anxiety and that in the months before the killings he had started seeing and hearing things.

Medical experts for the defence told the jury that Palmer was in the first stages of schizophrenia but had not yet developed the full-blown disease. But the prosecution this diagnosis as speculation and argued that Palmer could have been making up his symptoms. They said his heavy drug use had "exacerbated", but not caused, the onset of schizophrenia. The 20-year-old has a family history of breakdowns, nervous disorders and schizophrenia.

His friends told police he watched only horror films and one in particular, The Last Horror Movie , became a favourite shortly before the killings, but they expressed shock that Palmer would be involved in any violence himself.


20th March   Golly !. ..

Golly badge Golly rag dolls seized by police

From This Is London

The Police raided a shop and seized a pair of golly rag dolls.

The alleged crime was that they were designed in the style of a golliwog, and a visitor to the shop where they were on sale had complained to police.

As a result shopkeeper Gavin Alexander faced a £1,000 fine after being accused of a public order offence.

Police have since returned the dolls and said charges were not being pressed. But Alexander attacked the decision to take the complaint seriously in the first place: Surely the police have got more important things to do? It's cases like this that cause racism.

His shop, In Touch in the village of Wrightington, Lancashire, sells soft toys, curiosities, furniture and other products. The £4.50 "golly rag dolls" and matching key-rings were on display with African statues and Buddha figures.

The Commission for Racial Equality said the question of whether golliwogs were considered racist depended on the context in which they were displayed.

Last night Lancashire Police said: This incident was reported to us by a member of the public. No offences have been committed and it is no longer a police matter."

The golliwog first appeared in a children's story by American writer Florence Kate Upton in the 19th century and was popularised in Britain when jam manufacturer James Robertson & Sons adopted it as a symbol for its products in 1910. By the 1980s, however, it was increasingly seen as offensive and Robertson's dropped the golly in 2001.


19th March   Fears Prevail . ..

The Friends of Voltaire

The Modern World

I disapprove of what you say,
but I will defend to the death
your right to say it.
I defend your
right to say it
... BUT ...

Leeds University cancels talk about islam

From The Telegraph

Leeds university has been accused of "selling out" academic freedom of speech by scrapping a talk on links between the Nazis and Islamic anti-semitism after allegedly receiving emails from Muslims protesting about the event.

Matthias Kntzel, a German author and political scientist who specialises in the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, was told that a talk and a two-day workshop, on Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Anti-semitism in the Middle East, had been cancelled because of supposed security fears.

In a statement yesterday, two academics in the Leeds German department, which had organised the event, claimed the university had bowed "to Muslim protests". Dr Kntzel said he had given similar addresses around the world and there had been no problems: ' I know this is sometimes a controversial topic but I am accustomed to that and I have the ability to calm people down. It's not a problem for me at all. My impression was that they wanted to avoid the issue in order to keep the situation calm. My feeling is that this is a kind of censorship.'

He has given the talk at Yale and in universities in Jerusalem and Vienna. Dr Kntzel said the contents of emails described to him did not overtly threaten violence but they were very, very strongly worded'.


13th March   Secret Bid . ..

I Spit on your Grave DVD cover eBay make a high bid for the most arbitrary and secretive censors award

From DarkAngel on The Melon Farmers Forum

Anyone remember that story about "Ebay" pulling auctions of the Box of the Banned DVD set a while back? Well I had a few run ins with Ebay myself lately and thought I would share my experiences.

I listed some DVDs on there I no longer wanted. The next day I got an email saying a couple of them had been pulled as they violated Ebay's listings policy. The discs in question were I Spit on your Grave and Faces of Death 2 . Both of which being the cut UK versions, bearing the BBFC rating on the front.

I decided to take issue with them over this, so emailed their customer services explaining these discs were not pornographic in any way, were legally certified by the BBFC and could be purchased from any local high street outlet or bought online at Amazon.

They replied that their listings policies for films was stronger than UK law allowed and films that breached them, due to either excessive violence or sex/nudity could not be sold through them (they also said titles like Baise Moi and Caligula ).

I asked them why they had this descriminatory policy against certain titles, particularly as many of these could be purchased from Woolworths HMV etc and they said that they deemed certain films inappropriate. I asked why they deemed certain films inappropriate, they said it was their company policy as set out in their guidelines, and round and round the answers went until they just stopped bothering to reply. The only conclusion I could draw was "because they say so".

Ebay is virtually the only major auction site now that they've effectively killed off the competition. None of the other sites have the same large buyer base. Sure you can sell stuff on Amazon marketplace, but only at fixed price.

It seems to me they were quite happy to allow auctions for all sorts of films when they were still establishing themselves, but now they've cornered the market are trying to impose a bizarre form of arbitrary censorship on material some of the hierarchy doesn't personally like.

It could be argued "tough luck, thats their rules you have to live with them", but how would people feel if a Virgin Megastore (or HMV or whoever) opened up in town, forced all the other record stores out of buisiness, then once they were the only one left refused to stock/sell certain titles, despite their being a demand for them?

Ebay sure get my vote as bit-part censors. Just seems a bit bizarre they would deny themselves listing fees for a few films on the basis they dont personally agree with the content. I did ask if there was some sort of moral issue here, but they ducked that question.


6th March   Teaching about Narrow Minded Admin . ..

Teacher sacked for topless pictures

Who'd be a teacher...being set up to be sacked from your profession for all sorts of minor politically correct nonsense

From Manchester Evening News

A teacher been barred from working at an Oldham school after topless pictures of her appeared in a newspaper. Photographs of Louise Crolla were also claimed to be posted on a modelling agency internet site.

Royton and Crompton School head teacher Des Herlihy banned her after parents complained. Education chiefs confirmed the supply teaching agency which employs Crolla has been asked not to send her back to the school while the issue is investigated.

But Crolla insisted last night that she was not seeking a modelling career and had been `horrified' to see the topless pictures in the newspaper. She said: I have been totally stitched up by a photographer who took personal pictures and has decided to make some money out of it.

Crolla said the pictures had been taken three or four years ago and were not intended for modelling purposes.

Coun Diane Williamson, chairman of the governors, said: As soon as the situation came to light I was fully briefed. I support the head teacher's handling of the situation.

Crolla was employed at the 1,157-pupil mixed comprehensive through an agency and was not a full member of staff. She said she had not been employed as a PE teacher and had only worked there for four days as a volunteer coach.

Oldham council's service director for schools, Nick Hudson, said: Mr Herlihy has the full support of the local authority in the way he is dealing with this. We are fully satisfied that Mr Herlihy has taken the necessary steps to ensure that normal teaching has not been compromised in any way for pupils ... nor has their welfare as a result of the allegations.


17th February   PC Plod . ..

Willy 4 Fanny card Puerile police action over jokey Valentines cards

From The Sun

A florist was ticked off by 5 cops for having the words ‘Willy’ and ‘Fanny’ in his Valentine’s window display.

Mark Nicholas had cards saying Willy 4 Fanny and Who will you give one to this Valentine’s?

But four officers told him to take them down after complaints — and a fifth went to his home to issue a warning. Mark of Hayle, Cornwall, said: It seems ridiculous.

Police said: The words were not appropriate.


14th February   Fantasy World . ..

Gabriele Caccini book cover Does an interest in horror stories preclude one from working with kids?

I have also been made aware that many school teachers may possibly also have an interest in sex. Sack the lot of them!

Based on an article from This Is Lancashire

A teacher at a church high school is being investigated following complaints about her gothic vampire websites.

English and drama teacher Samantha Goldstone has agreed to stay away from St Christopher's C of E High School, Accrington, during the probe.

Investigations centre on the part-time gothic fiction writer's personal websites and other sites that promote her book and poems.

One section of her book, written under the pen name Paigan Stone, refers to a fictional student drugging a vampire student.

Her personal MySpace website, which has now been taken off public display, included supposedly provocative images & videos and also references to her gothic writing which she boasts contains adult content with vampire eroticism, violence and blood lust. The site also links to her published debut novel which includes references to a 17th Century vampire who lusts after women after being drugged with ecstasy.

Alasdair Coates, head teacher of St Christopher's, said: Concerns have been raised with me regarding the conduct of a member of staff and content on the internet. As soon as we got the complaints we took immediate action and the governors have been informed. These concerns have to be investigated appropriately and, while we do this, the member of staff has agreed to stay away from school. This is not an indication of guilt as we have not completed the investigation. There has been no formal suspension. Pupils and staff work hard to achieve high standards and expect us to look into allegations. However it would be unfair to discuss the exact nature of the allegations or identify the member of staff.

Goldstone, who has been at the school for three years said: I've been told by the school that I cannot comment on the matter.

Visitors to her website are told she is an English and drama teacher in Lancashire. It also says she has appeared in six anthologies for her poetry and short stories. Her book is widely available on websites including popular sites like On her website she wrote: The recent success of Vampire novel Gabriele Caccini has been the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.

16th February  Update: A Stake Through the Heart of PC Blood Suckers . ..

Gabriele Caccini book cover Pupils rally to support teacher

Based on an article from This Is Lancashire

Pupils and tutors have leapt to the defence the teacher under investigation after complaints about her supposedly "lurid" gothic vampire websites.

Support for teacher Samantha Goldstone of St Christopher's CE High School came as it emerged her debut vampire novel was in a good book guide alongside horror legend Stephen King.

As revealed in Saturday's paper, the English and drama teacher has agreed to stay away from the church school she has taught at for three years while the complaints are investigated.

Investigations centre on the part-time gothic fiction writer's personal websites and others that promote gothic literature written under her pen name Paigan Stone which she says contains adult content with vampire eroticism, violence and blood lust.

Following complaints from parents, headteacher Alasdair Coates has launched the investigation.

But more than 60 messages have been posted on the Telegraph's website - many from past and present pupils and teachers supporting her.

One former pupil from Burnley writes: As a past pupil of Samantha Goldstone's I feel that the way she is being treated is appalling. She was a great teacher and has helped many pupils in their English and Drama work. What she does in her personal life should not affect her role as a teacher.

And a teacher writes: Mrs Goldstone may have been a touch naive by posting her picture on her website but what on earth has she done wrong?.

Another posted by a pupil named as "Laura" states: I'm one of Mrs Goldstone's drama pupils and she is the best thing that has happened to this school.

But not everyone is as sympathetic, one message reads: Do you think it is right for pupils ages 11-16 to see their teacher like this? St Christopher's is a respected school, and I don't think they should have teachers who do things like this.


2nd February   Stupid Stunt ...

Jackass 2 DVD cover
Accident leads to inevitable call to ban Jackass

From The Scotsman

A man has described the horror of seeing his son turn into a human fireball after copying a stunt from a film.

Stuart Harrison, 11, was rushed to hospital with severe burns following an incident at his home in Inverclyde. Stuart is still being treated on hospital.

It is understood he was engulfed by flames after copying scenes from Jackass: The Movie by spraying himself with deodorant and setting himself alight.

Stuart's father and his mother, Pearl, want the Jackass TV series and the 18-rated films banned following the incident. The film, which stars Johnny Knoxville, originated from the MTV series Jackass. It has the tagline "Do not attempt this at home" and contains a number of pranks and stunts that did not get past the television censor.

It was reported the boy watched the film in his bedroom with his twin brother and best friend before acting the scene out.


20th January   No Complaints ...

Press Complaints Commission
UK newspapers agree to extend PCC regulation to their internet video

From the BBC

UK newspaper and magazine publishers have agreed to allow the Press Complaints Commission to regulate audio-visual material on their websites.

The PCC already regulates print and still photo material on newspaper and magazine websites, but will now extend its remit to audio and video clips, including podcasts.

Sir Christopher Meyer, the chairman of the PCC, said that the move is an extension of the PCC's remit to regulate the electronic version of newspapers and exactly the same rules would apply.

The full details of the extension to the PCC's online content remit are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.


19 th January   Premier League Censors ...

FA Premier League logo Creeping internet filtering

Based on an article from ClickPress

Netintelligence (Ni) Cloud Clean is a network-based system which prevents access to supposedly illegal sites without the user realising they have been actively blocked. Instead, an error message is displayed when someone tries to access an illegal site.

The software manages web addresses supplied by a law enforcement agency, a media rights or copyright owner, or another licensed provider of illegal website addresses, eg the Internet Watch Foundation.

Phil Worms, director of products and marketing at Netintelligence, said: We can take the URLs of these sites and add them to our database, so that when someone tries to view a Premiership match illegally via a website, or access paedophilic material, all they see is an error message saying ‘website not found.

Whilst I understand that this system may raise concerns about personal choice and censorship, our view is simple, “if its illegal its illegal.” With the many of the media companies becoming internet service providers in their own right, BskyB, for example, it makes sense for them to protect both their end users and their intellectual property at the same time.

21st January   Music Industry wants to Clean Up ...

FA Premier League logo IFPI wants Cleanfeed for Copyright

From Linx Public Affairs

he international lobby group for the recorded music industry has called for “Cleanfeed” style network level content blocking to be extended to cover websites that facilitate copyright infringement. The demand comes in IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2007.

IFPI sees ISPs as the “Gatekeepers of the Internet” who it believes has the capability, and therefore (it argues) the duty, to act as the music industry’s vehicle for copyright enforcement law. IFPI CEO John Kennedy said: Disconnection of service for serious infringers should become the speeding fine or the parking ticket of ISP networks.

Kennedy says ISPs must join with the music industry to achieve the “holy grail”, in which the boom in music sales as people replaced record collections with CDs is repeated by people buying the same music all over again from online services.


8th January   Villains ...

EU logo
As seen by Internet service providers

From the ISPA Awards

The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA UK), an Internet trade association revealed its nominations for ‘net’s villains of 2006.

This year’s Villain nominees are:-

  • Commissioner Vivianne Reding and European Commission 
    For foisting the most arcane set of rules yet seen for prior registration of .eu domains, requiring UK registered companies to submit legal affidavits to justify the authenticity of their business.
  • e360 insight
    For attempting to use a court in Illinois with no UK jurisdiction to obtain a Restraining Order on Spamhaus, a company that provides dependable real-time anti-spam protection for Internet networks.
  • Peter Black, Executive Chairman Next Generation Networks UK 
    For making the Next Generation Networks UK body, an independent body looking at next generation networks and services, too elitist and not allowing smaller ISPs to be involved.
  •   The British Phonographic Industry
    For applying pressure on Cable & Wireless and Tiscali to reveal the names and addresses of customers who the BPI believed to be file sharing, with poorly prepared evidence.
  •   The US Government
    For imposing prohibition like restrictive legislation against legitimate European gaming sites.

Awards will be presented on the 15th February 2007.


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