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Mon, 17 Jun 2019
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Rehabilitate or open UK Gitmo? RT panel discusses Muslim gangs in British prisons

UK prison
© Getty Images / PA Images / Stefan Rousseau
A fresh UK government report says Muslim gangs at British top security prisons use coercion and violence to force religious conversion of non-Muslim inmates. An RT panel locks horn over ways to tackle it.

According to government figures, there are around 13,000 Muslim prisoners in Britain, comprising about 15 percent of the total prison population. The Ministry of Justice study, based on interviews at three of Britain's eight maximum security prisons, said Muslim gangs exert pressure on non-Muslim inmates to convert to Islam, using various tactics including direct violence.

People 2

Hundreds attend unsanctioned rally in Moscow to support journalist after drug case against him dropped

Ivan Golunov
© AFP / Vasily MAXIMOV
Ivan Golunov
Hundreds attended a rally in Moscow to support reporter Ivan Golunov on the day after drugs charges against him were dropped and his house arrest ended. The rally wasn't sanctioned by officials, who had approved another date.

The drug-dealing charges against Golunov, an investigative journalist with Meduza, were dropped on Tuesday due to lack of evidence. The police officers suspected of framing the journalist have been suspended pending an internal investigation.

The highly controversial case spurred a broad public outcry, with supporters saying Golunov had been targeted for his reporting about corruption. Leading media outlets and public figures demanded a swift probe into suspected police corruption.

Golunov's supporters decided to go ahead with their march on Wednesday, despite his release. Moscow officials had sanctioned the event for June 16 and urged residents not to take part in Wednesday's rally.


On the self-destructive trajectory of overly successful empires

US unipolar world power map
It's difficult not to see signs of this same trajectory in the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1990.

A recent comment by my friend and colleague Davefairtex on the Roman Empire's self-destructive civil wars that precipitated the Western Empire's decline and fall made me rethink what I've learned about the Roman Empire in the past few years of reading.

Dave's comment (my paraphrase) described the amazement of neighboring nations that Rome would squander its strength on needless, inconclusive, self-inflicted civil conflicts over which political faction would gain control of the Imperial central state.

It was a sea change in Roman history. Before the age of endless political in-fighting, it was incomprehensible that Roman armies would be mustered to fight other Roman armies over Imperial politics. The waste of Roman strength, purpose, unity and resources was monumental. Not even Rome could sustain the enormous drain of civil wars and maintain widespread prosperity and enough military power to suppress military incursions by neighbors.


Tens of thousands protest extradition bill in Hong Kong - clashes with police reported

hong kong protest
© Reuters / Tyrone Siu (L) ; AFP / Philip Fong (R)
Hong Kong is hit by another massive rally, with people flooding the streets to demand a backdown on a bill that would allow extradition to mainland China. Tear gas and pepper spray have been used to tackle the unrest.

An estimated tens of thousands of residents of Hong Kong surrounded the Chinese-ruled local legislature on Wednesday, voicing unease over an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to stand trial there. As the rally grew bigger, some protesters, mostly young people dressed in black, began erecting barricades around the area.

Many of the people have been holding umbrellas, which echo visuals from Hong Kong's 'Umbrella Revolution' of 2014, where they came to symbolize passive resistance to the use of pepper spray by police.
hong kong protest
© AFP / Dale de la Rey
Hong Kong police man a barricade
Protesters on Wednesday have also rallied in and around Lung Wo Road, a main east-west motorway running near the offices of embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Hundreds of officers, many wearing riot gear and equipped with batons and plastic shields, prepared to stop the crowd's advance.

Comment: This is the second day of pretty massive protests in response to the bill. 'Delaying the debate' may dampen the protests for now - we'll see - but if public response is this big, chances are it will be just as big once the delay is over, unless the bill is scrapped entirely. On yesterday's protest:


Why bother with a milkshake? British left-wing comedian fantasizes about attacking right-wing politicians with acid

Jo Brand
A left-wing comedian in the United Kingdom says she fantasizes about acid-attacking right-wing politicians, asking "why bother with milkshakes?"

During an appearance on Radio 4 last night, Jo Brand, who is a lifelong Labour Party supporter, tacitly endorsed political violence.

"Certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they're very, very easy to hate, and I'm kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?" asked Brand.

Comment: As any good criminologist will tell you, all crimes committed by pathological individuals begin with a fantasy...


It's official: Child molesters in Alabama will now be chemically castrated

alabama chemical castration
Republican Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Monday that will require some sex offenders to undergo chemical castration one month prior to being released from custody, and will also ensure that offenders have to foot the bill for the treatment.

Under the law, offenders "convicted of a sex offense involving a person under the age of 13" will have to be chemically castrated a month ahead of release and would also be required to continue treatment "until the court determines the treatment is no longer necessary." Offenders would also have to pay for the procedure, but a denial of their parole could not be based "solely" on an inability to pay.

Chemical castration is defined in the law as "the receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person's body," according to AL.com.


UK drug war: Child spies put in grave risk of harm by Home Office

looking through hole
© Pixabay
The Home Office is endangering children as young as 15 by allowing them to be used as informants on drugs gangs and terrorists, a court will hear.

High Court judges will today (June 11) consider a judicial review brought by children's charity Just for Kids Law accusing the Home Office of exploiting children by allowing them to be used as spies.

The case comes after it was revealed during a House of Lords debate in October last year that a 17-year-old girl was recruited by police to spy on a man who was sexually exploiting her.

While deployed as a covert informant, she continued to be exploited by him and was even coerced into being an accessory to murder.

Government figures reveal that at least 17 children, in 11 local authorities, have been recruited as spies since January 2015 - one aged just 15.


Trudeau vows to ban single-use plastics by 2020

© Global Look / Arindam Shivaani
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that in addition to banning single-use plastics, his government would take other, unspecified steps to reduce plastic pollution.

Trudeau did not specify the products to be banned, but said likely candidates include plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates and stir sticks "where supported by scientific evidence and warranted."

"You've all heard the stories and seen the photos," he said. "To be honest, as a dad it is tough trying to explain this to my kids. How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches across the world, their stomachs jam packed with plastic bags?

"How do I tell them that against all odds, you will find plastic at the very deepest point in the Pacific Ocean?"

Comment: See also:


Serial hostage-taker holds two guards captive in French prison

soldiers and chopper
© AFP / Jean-Francois Monier
French soldiers stand next to a chopper in front of the penitentiary center of Alencon, in Conde-sur-Sarthe, northwestern France late on June 11, 2019.
Two people have been taken hostage at a high-security prison in Conde-sur-Sarthe in the Orne region of north-western France, according to local media.

One inmate took a guard and a trainee guard - said to be male and female - hostage at the facility during the evening meal time between 18:30-19:00 GMT, according to Le Figaro. The prisoner is reportedly armed with an improvised knife.

Media reports said the French Ministry of Justice has responded to the incident and activated a crisis unit.

Footage from the scene shows heavily armed police officers, as well as military servicemen - who apparently arrived by helicopters - amassing in front of the correctional facility. The police officers apparently belong to the elite RAID unit - a special tactical force, analogous to SWAT.

Star of David

NY Times abandons humor, drops political cartoons over fallout from 'antisemitic' graphic

New York Times headquarters

New York Times headquarters
The New York Times has stopped publishing political cartoons over a month after experiencing heavy backlash over a controversial cartoon featuring a blind President Donald Trump led by a seeing-eye PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Times made its official announcement after the paper's in-house cartoonist leaked their plans in a blog post. Complaining about the "moralistic mobs" that "gather on social media and rise like a storm," cartoonist Pat Chappatte - who did not draw the offending cartoon - nevertheless slammed the image as something "that should never have run in the best newspaper of the world," blunting his message with the suggestion that he sympathized with the outrage mobs in this case.

"The media need to renew themselves and reach out to new audiences. And stop being afraid of the angry mob," Chappatte wrote, attaching a final cartoon featuring a sad-looking artist with broken pencil gazing down at a memorial to the cartoonists murdered in 2015's Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. "In the insane world we live in, the art of the visual commentary is needed more than ever. And so is humor."

Comment: Also see: