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100 arrested in hate crime raids across London

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  1. ‘One hundred people were arrested today as part of a police swoop on hate crimes in London.’

    Operation Athena is being carried out to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which was held on Sunday’.

    Literaaly brings tears to my eyes. I thought this kind of thing already existed in the UK as a regular service to the LGBT population.

    Incredible good news.

    I intend to contact the London Police Department to congratulatem them on this action and to suggest that this kind of Operation Athena be extended to other areas of the UK.

  2. I’m wondering what criteria was used to determine who should be arrested..

  3. What great news…. see that David Skinner, you little troll? You’re kind will end up in prison soon, for their foul mouth, their stupidity, and their hate of their fellow man…

    …Viva the Gays! Viva humanity!

  4. Bud Burgoon-Clark 20 May 2009, 4:46pm

    From a US perspective, no matter how much we’d like to see Fred Phelps in jail, still, arrests and searches go against the grain of our Constitutional provisions guaranteeing free speech, and against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

  5. Bud: I can see where the USA is coming from. At what point does opinionated free speech become insulting behaviour?

    It’s a very difficult line in the sand to define. I personally think that already our personal opinions are being eroded at the behest of the politically correct nanny state, but that said, there are certainly cases that need examination including a lot of religious nutters out there.

  6. Bud Burgoon-Clark (4):

    From a Canadian perspective, how legal is it in the
    States for stalkers to follow and kill people, e.g. John Lennon?

    Do you think the States have just announced that Canadians wanting to cross the border will now have to have a passport, a PASSPORT, just to visit relatives and loved ones for a few days?

    You don’t see that as over-acting, do you? Of course not, because there’s money to be made and jobs to be created to bring the American economy back on its feet, right… a crisis that would never had happened if your country wasn’t so full of corrupt multi-billionaires whose business ventures were ‘above’ being searched or seized.

    When Obama recently posed with his lovely wife in front of the Lincoln Memorial, I really doubt that he meant to say that it was unconstitutional to get a grip on hate groups, notably the KKK of which you appear to be a member, you bonehead.

    ‘Unreasonable searches and seizures’? Has it ever occured to you that 9-11 would never had happened in the American Intelligence Agencies had done their work instead of going for coffee and cream donuts every 15 minutes?

    Stuff it, pal, and thank whatever god you believe in (‘In God We Trust’ my ass), that life for the LGBT population of London is now safer and more secure.

    These are decent, good-living people who deserve all the rights your Constitution, not to mention the priviledges the UN Declaration of Human Rights grants every living human being on this planet.

    If you ain’t happy with that, red-neck, take a trip on the the starship Enterprise, and don’t forget to bring a few boxes of Cheerios and a loaded pistol with extra amunition in case you run across a ‘dangerous trouble-maker like Harvey Milk’.

    Get the picture, sweetie?

    Word of warning: don’t bug me ! ! !

    I have already sent an e-mail congratulating the London Police Force, and it would be a piece of cake to trace your hateful e-mail and to proceed with a reasonable search and seizure of your little computer, and to squeeze your head to see what color feces would come out of your mouth, you brainless twit.

  7. Bud, I understand your point. But there’s a logical connection between the US logic and the UK logic on this philosophy. Of course, the US has very clear limits on free speech. One great US jurist pointed out that it is a criminal offence to cry ‘Fire’ in a crowded theatre should no fire exist. The UK concept of inciting racial/homophobic/religious hatred is an extension of crying Fire in a crowded theatre. Americans never seem to realise how small the UK is and how densely populated it is. Ideas can move around Britain incredibly quickly and become entrenched. In every big city and town in Great Britain you’re going to come across people of different colour and sexuality and religious belief. And in just the last 50 years we’ve have very obvious examples of what happens when incitement to hatred is left to run unchecked: race riots; horrific religiously-identified warfare; and terrorist attacks on the gay population.
    The decision to ban the incitement of hatred and active expression of that as social policies has the support of all the mainstream and most of the minor political parties. They all recognise that unless boundaries are drawn in terms of what it means to be British, then any attempt at social cohesion would fall apart at the first hurdle.
    These policies are the result of hard-learned pragmatism rather than some political ideology. People are still free to think whatever they want, they’re just not allowed to damage or incite others to damage their neighbours. If they do, then they face prosecution – in exactly the same way an American would if he cried ‘Fire’ in a crowded theatre simply to incite panic.

  8. BrazilGayScene 20 May 2009, 6:40pm

    “I’m wondering what criteria was used to determine who should be arrested..”

    As the article says, probably those dangerous people who had committed acts of violence or broken the law I would expect?

  9. well done! Hey can’t you come over to Luxembourg? We could fill the prison with LGBTI-phobic employers. Is it acceptable to get fired because you’re T? My employer does NOT do things like that and helps me instead! Proud to work there. Proud to tell it is ING!

  10. “100 arrests had been made relating to domestic violence and hate crimes such as homophobia and transphobia.”

    This sounds encouraging. . . I agree

    . . . but without more defintion and clarity as to the nature of the crimes commitmed. . . the article reads to me as a bit of a tease.

  11. Yes, we need some clarity. Presumably it’s about violence or incitement – in which case, fantastic. However, I’m extremely worried by RobN who implied ‘insulting behaviour’ was appropriate for arrest – we have no right not to be offended!! There is no law against it either – only against incitement to violence or hatred – and thank god for that. We cannot afford to live in a society where we can arrest people just for what they say.

  12. I’m also finding it a bit odd – did all these people commit a crime on the same day? Did the police save up nicking them for a special gay festival? It sounds more like a PR exercise than anything else. My confidence in plod policy is not enormously high at the moment – I’d want to know a bit more about who was arrested for what. And whether much of it actually stuck.

  13. Jim George 21 May 2009, 2:13am

    I hope they arrest God and Ban the bible for provoking such violence towards those who are different, and leading brain washed sheeple to such erroneous action.

  14. John (11):

    “I’m extremely worried about RobN…”

    If you were to read carefully the whole of what RobN wrote, you would not have any real cause to worry. He said a lot more than what you have retained. We are all inclined to selective reading, I suppose.

    Fact is, we cannot afford to live in a society where people would not be held responsible for what they say, especially if it incites violence against the LGBT population.

    Nor can we afford to live in a society where we cannot trust the police department.

    Then we could all be ‘extremely’ worried, right?

    Jim George (13):

    “Arrest God and Ban the bible…”

    Communist Russia has done that, they have the T-shirt; look where it has gotten them.

    They threw the baby out with the bathwater; they should have saved the Golden Rule and so should we.

    But I see your point and I can’t totally disagree.

  15. While it is great news – as ever – that people committing violent acts are being prosecuted, I would say, from a communications and even a human rights perspective, there are some disturbing aspects to this story:

    1) Why wait for IDAHO if the identity and crimes of the arrested individuals are known to the police anyway? Is there not an element of risk invovled in waiting for such an occiasion and letting these guys run around in the meanwhile, possibly giving them more opportunities to commit criminal acts?

    2) Why exactly a hundred arrests? What would police have done if there had only been say 98 people on the list? Add another two chaps who they found drunk in the street? Have they maybe taken 3 off because 103 was not a nice, round number?

    3) Why was a concerted raid needed? Were they afraid that the hate-crime maffia would alert criminals after the first couple of arrests? Come on! There would have been no risk involved in just arresting these guys one-by-one as a matter of routine.

    I am afraid that the way this was carried out may have jeopardised the rights of the people arrested and the efficient and effective work routine of the police. If a shadow of a doubt might arise concerning any of these, then I think more harm was done by this action than good. In general, the police have a very special license: within strict limitations, they can excercise violence legally. This is an extremely sensitive issue and therefore the police’s work should be carried outextremely carfully and systematically and with maximum respect for the rights of the people who the police excercises this right against. I think an unnecessary and communications driven mass arrest of suspects is not exactly the ideal setting for this.

    I am not writing this to defend the hate crime suspects. Their cases should be investigated, they should be tried and prosecuted if necessary. However, the fundamental rights of any citizen should be respected 100% throughout this process.

  16. Andy (15):

    Hm-m-m. Of course, I see where you’re coming from, and it is a corker.

    The sentence that rubs me the wrong way though is the following:

    “This is a sensitive issue and the police’s work should be carried out carefully and systematically and with respect for the rights of suspected criminals.”

    Allow me to paraphrase my interpretation: …exercising violence legally is a sensitive issue. Police work should be carried out carefully. The rights of suspected criminals should be respected.

    If I have understood you correctly, then I agree, and I believe the police would agree as well, although I do not recall reading that violence was exercised while arresting these individuals.

    Call me naive, but here in Canada one of the first thing we are taught as yougsters is that a policeman is our friend. This feeling stays with us all our lives.

    For example, whenever I’m driving around town and I meet a police cruiser, I automatically give the constable a nod of the head whether or not I recognize him, and he nods back. Often, I do know him or her, as well as something about his or her family.

    It never occurs to me that a constable may not be carrying out his/her duties without being careful and systematic. I do admit that policeman/woman can make mistakes, and they are usually the first ones to admit it.

    When I leave town for a week or so, I always call the receptionist at the police department, identify myself, give my home address, my car license number and where I can be reached while I’m away. In return, the police agree to patrol the street on which I live 2 or 3 times during the night.

    My point is I have an habitual respect for members of our police force.

    Secondly, once or twice a year, we read in the headlines of our daily paper that the police have made simultaneous raids throughout the province and have arrested 20, 30 or 70 individuals. Most of the time, it’s to break up a drug ring that reaches as far as Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Mexico or even South America.

    While I don’t have any problem with a guy/gal smoking a joint from time to time if it can enhance a weekend evening in a club, a reading of ‘Hamlet’ or Carl Sandberg, or listening to Cher, Tina Turner, Matt Alber or even Mozart or Vivaldi in the privacy of your own home. No harm done.

    However, when criminals are dealing with tons and tons of cocaine, crack and other harmful drugs whose names escape me, and which can severely and negatively affect the normal development of the children and teenagers who are targeted, then I believe the police, after accumulating evidence for months and months do well to arrest the lot of them in a concerted raid in one single day because criminals lose many of their rights when they become a threat to society.

    To return to your comment, I will agree that the article was brief and scant. Many details could have been added to our advantage. But that’s as far as I will go.

    Finally, I first saw a severely beaten transexual entering the emergency door of an hospital many years years ago when I was in my 20’s. She was barely 18 or 19, and I knew her Mom and Dad. More recently, I know of an older transexual who was devoted to her father while he was dying of cancer and who was nearly crippled for life by an attack of thugs in a parking lot.

    She was alone, not a threat to anyone, and had no way of defending herself because carrying a pistol is illegal in the UK, unlike in the USA, e.g. Harvey Milk’s assasination.

    In the final analysis, I believe the arrests made on IDAHO Day were a concerted effort to protect transexuals and gays in London and that the people arrested had been under investigation for a good length of time, even though it is a fact that a beaten transexual will not always report an attack to the police. Many go into a depression; some commit suicide, and all the police find is a corpse without a history.

    These are the daily realities of transexuals, and also of certain gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Their rights, our rights, must also be protected.

    That is why I immediatly sent an e-mail to the London Police to congratulate them and to thank them, identifying myself right down to my telephone number. I believe more of us could do that instead of second guessing their intentions.

  17. Hello Jean-Paul,

    Your paraphrase of my sentence was right. Thank you for the clarification. It was interesting to read about Canadian attitudes to the police. People’s attitudes toward the police are supposed to be reliable indicators of the political culture in a country, so this is good news for Canada.

    I lived in Britain for a while, and as far as I remember, the British had a similar attitude to the police there. That is good for Britain.

    I too am enraged by any violence, also by the cases you have written about.

    Nevertheless, I feel this is somewhat beside the point I was trying to raise. Here is what bothers me:

    1) Having confidence in the police is a good thing. Yet never should this mean you do not subjet the police’s work to systematic and objective scrutiny. Failing to do so is a threat to democracy.

    2) When considering this news item, I think it is important to also ask whether the police did the right thing in organising a mass raid to arrest these individuals. Remember that the only thing that linked the people arrested was that they are suspeted to have committed hate crimes. This is not organised crime like the drug dealers in your analogy. There is no logical argument for a mass arrest of these individuals, unless to save fuel by putting them all into one large bus…

    3) As I see no logical reason for this action, I think (and this is indeed a guess) that the actual purpose was to arrange something big for IDAHO to demonstrate that the police are firm on hate crimes. While it is a good thing to assert that, this is not a good way to do it. Why not? See my previous comment: doing this just involves too many risks and too many compromises to the efficient and effective conduct of business by the police.

    4) What would have been wrong with arresting these guys one by one and then organising a press conference for IDAHO to announce that so and so many suspects have been arrested and are being investigated in connection with hate crimes in a given period? I think that would have been proper conduct.

    5) I think the way the police combat crime should be determined by the flow of information and by how opportunities to arrest suspects arise, rather than by international days against any wrongs in the world. I think such symbolism should not influence the police’s work. I do think it suspicious when hate-crime raids coincide with IDAHO.

  18. Hi Andy (17):

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and for understanding my casual relationship with the local police force.

    Maybe I should have added that I live in a small city whose population is roughly 35,000 people.

    I lived in Montreal for 7 years and never met a policeman (I have never had a police record of any kind).

    I lived in the heart of the city, loved every minute of the cultural life, was appalled by the stinking greenish morning smog that covered the quiet streets, and I never got used to hearing police or ambulance sirens at all hours, not to mention the sound of helicopter traffic controlers and huge airplanes coming and going in all directions.

    In those days, my attitude towards the police force would certainly have been quite similar to yours, especially since there were constant rumours of police officers accepting bribes and that kind of stuff, and pulling off PR stunts.

    On the whole, I appreciate your point of view and the intelligence wih which you present it.


  19. Robert, ex-pat Brit 22 May 2009, 7:58pm

    JimJohn, I totally concur. Religious cults are the major contributors to homophobia, the evidence is all there for millenia. They use fear mongering in America to defeat marriage equality legislation, to stall the repeal of banning gays in the military (DADT, don’t ask don’t tell policy) and DOMA (Defence of Marriage Act). I’d like to see the cultists banned altogether for the hatred they instill and the discrimination they blatantly say we deserve. I’m all for forced deportation to the middle least, I think they’d find they have a lot in common with extremism and sharia law. Its hard to tell the difference at times.

  20. Robert, ex-pat Brit (19):

    How can anyone disagree with your comment, except perhaps for the last sentence?

    I would add, however, that religious cults whose roots penetrate into the Abrahamic religions are the major contributors to homophobia.

    Also, I would like to see them banned for the reasons you mentioned.

    Forced deportation does not seem realistic to me, although the idea does express the depth of your conviction, and I can certainly understand your conviction.

    Disbanding these cults on the grounds of fear-mongering or inciting violence would be a sustainable long-term solution because it would be legal and beneficial both to the victims of their homophobia and to the children born into these cults.

    Obviously, I am talking about removing the children from the families who are members of these cults, having them de-programmed by professionals, and helping them integrate into the mainstream which would nurture their normal development as valuable citizens.

    In this way, the cults would be crippled and destined to fizzle out, although they would have to be supervised because of their propensity to incite violence.

    In the meantime, it has been said, and I am inclined to believe it, that same-sex marriage in America will be legalized in every State within the next 10 years.

    If the day ever comes when the efforts of the UN to universally decriminalize homosexuality are taken seriously, a similar proceedure could save the upcoming generations of Muslim children and stem the tide of homophobia coming from the extremist cults of Islam.

    Eventually, we would have a diversity of cultures based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    A long term project, call it a dream, a hope for the future, but let’s not lose faith in humanity’s ingenuity to survive together.

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