London cops face record-breaking sex offense allegations – report

Sexual offense complaints against the Metropolitan Police hit a decade high, with the majority coming from within the force

The number of sexual offense complaints against London’s Metropolitan Police officers soared to a decade high in the year following the brutal murder of Sarah Everard, a Telegraph report on Sunday revealed. The majority of these complaints were made by other officers.

According to figures obtained by The Telegraph under Freedom of Information laws, 251 allegations of sexual assault, harassment or other sexual offenses were made against the Met’s officers and staff last year. Of these, 190 allegations were made internally by colleagues, an increase of 104% on 2020 and 206% on 2010. The vast majority of those accused, some 87%, were male.

According to The Telegraph, the findings “shatter the record for the number of sexual assault allegations against the force’s personnel in a single year.”

For the Met, the report is another damning headline after more than a year of scandals. In September, police officer Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life sentence for falsely imprisoning, raping, and murdering Sarah Everard the previous March. A month later an officer was charged with the rape of a woman whilst he was off duty, and last month an officer was hit with a litany of new sex crime charges, bringing the total number against him to 29.

Read more

Police officers charged over ‘grossly offensive’ messages

Amid mounting allegations of officer misconduct, a report in October found that the Met is the worst force in the country at solving sexual and violent crimes.

“This data reinforces the mountain of evidence showing that the Met has a serious problem with institutional misogyny,” Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, told The Telegraph. “While the increased number of recorded allegations may in part reflect greater awareness and inclination to report following high profile cases like the murder of Sarah Everard, the data does indicate the scale of sexual offending by Met Police officers.”

The report also drew attention to the apparent lack of consequences for officers accused of sexual misconduct. Campaigners told The Telegraph that the independent chairmen who oversee misconduct proceedings often hand out overly lenient punishments. Out of the 217 officers and staff who had complaints lodged against them last year, just 11 were charged with a crime.

Throughout the Met’s recent scandals, the force has been led by Commissioner Cressida Dick. However, Dick resigned earlier this month, saying that Mayor Sadiq Khan “no longer [had] sufficient confidence in my leadership.” In a statement, Khan said that he was “not satisfied” with Dick’s plans to purge the force of the “racism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny” identified in an independent report published a week earlier.

Fed-up, frustrated and disenfranchised – Why Indigenous Canadians joined the freedom convoy

We are encouraged to believe that different experiences mean that some groups can never unite. The Freedom Convoy shows us the opposite is true.

Since a movement dubbing itself the ‘Freedom Convoy’ emerged at the end of January and headed to Ottawa to protest vaccine mandates for border crossings, labour leaders, the media and online activists have moved from perplexed to outright hostile. Some have even cheered on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement this week of plans to invoke the 1988 Emergencies Act to clear out the protests. But the impulse to defend freedom and self-determination has attracted a diversity of groups to the cause. The fact that many indigenous have joined in support of the protests tells us that the desire for freedom is a spark we would do well not to extinguish.

Throughout their time in the Canadian capital, the truckers have attracted support from a wide cross section of Canadian society including indigenous Canadians who make up about 5% of the Canadian population. Many members of my own family joined the convoy, making their way south to Ottawa from Northern Ontario. Some joined in at the capital. Indigenous people appeared in full regalia and others wore orange T-shirts symbolising protest against atrocities at residential schools. While some groups within the convoy undoubtedly held different ideas about the underlying causes, two clear demands have emerged: 1) end covid-related mandates, and 2) roll back forms of digital surveillance enacted since the start of the pandemic. Summed up in the demand for ‘freedom’, indigenous and non-indigenous participants alike emphasised that this was a cause shared by everyone, regardless of background.

Read more

Canada blacklists ‘Freedom Convoy’ crypto wallets

But the picture hasn’t all been rosy. The convoy is controversial, sparking deep rifts in the Canadian parliament, in wider Canadian society, and even in families and small communities. The truckers were condemned by their own labour unions, who sided with Trudeau’s government in favour of vaccine mandates. Similarly, indigenous leaders rejected indigenous involvement and warned their citizens that this was not their cause. Instead, they emphasised that indigenous people were needed in their own communities. The movement didn’t speak to the particulars of the indigenous people, they were told. In other words, this is not our fight.

But it is. Or at least it should be. Divide and conquer has become, unwittingly or not, the modus operandi of destruction for today’s social movements. Each group is encouraged to have their own cause and are discouraged from seeing unity across identity lines. This is not the first time this has happened. Few are aware that the enforcement of “Jim Crow” laws in the early 20th century was sparked by solidarity movements of poor black workers and poor white farmers in the American south. Their coming together presented a serious threat to the status quo that had to be put down. By encouraging one group to see their interests in their race rather than their class position, they were successful in splitting the movement into warring factions.

Despite having different sources, indigenous people have more in common, more even than the shared abandonment of the cause by their leaders. Both groups have strong reasons to reject surveillance. Truckers have been subject to increasingly intrusive levels of surveillance, long before the introduction of vaccine passes and ubiquitous QR codes. Their cabs have been fitted with driver-facing cameras, their every movement controlled and tracked by electronic logging devices. Similarly, indigenous people are some of the most monitored people in Canada – a fact attested to by the reality that children are being taken away in alarming numbers. No action goes unwatched. No ‘mistake’ goes unpunished.

Read more

Governors, premiers want trucker vaccine mandate dropped

Unfortunately, the left, indigenous leaders and the professional classes in general have found it difficult to make sense of any claims that can’t be transformed into social policies and new forms of surveillance. Thus, they have been receptive to claims for more monitoring, for ever-expanding definitions of ‘wellbeing’ that invite intrusion into more and more aspects of individual and family life, for ever more intrusive forms of health monitoring, and generally the types of surveillance the Freedom Convoy is rejecting. Their disavowal of the protests has meant that far-right conspiracy theorists have converged to fill the gap. Strange characters have given voice to real concerns because no one else would.

Truckers want to be treated as citizens and adults capable of making their own decisions, not just about what goes into their bodies, but also about how they live their lives and do their jobs. In this way, vaccine mandates are just a conduit for broader frustrations about the thwarting of their rational subjectivity. Instead, they are increasingly treated as objects whose right to self-determine is secondary to so many other demands.

Read more

More Canada protest donor data leaked

So too has self-determination been one of the most longstanding demands of indigenous communities. But it has been continually demoted in favour of wellbeing, mental health and the need to ‘heal’. Instead, indigenous people have been transformed into objects, supposedly limited in their capacities by the ravages of colonialism and the residential school system. As one young woman put it, ‘We’re still experiencing the effects of the residential school from our parents and grandparents. We’re all damaged, and we’ll pass it on to our children, so it will never end.’ Self-determination seems continually distant. But some people are rejecting this vision. Like the truckers, they want more.

So many in Canadian society and around the world have not taken seriously the Freedom Convoy because they cannot take seriously the demands for freedom and self-determination. Labour unions and indigenous leaders discouraged their members from supporting the protests, pushing them instead to worry about safety and their own insular causes. This is because the interests of these leaders lie in the very forces this movement is opposing: greater surveillance and greater domination, but all for our own ‘protection’ and all for our ‘own good’. But many people have had different experiences that will nonetheless lead them to the same place: They want to be able to decide for themselves how they will live. The rest of the world had better sit up and listen.

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HOLD THE FRONT PAGE – Queen tests positive for ‘Covid’ with a test not testing for it

The Queen has tested positive for Covid, Buckingham Palace has said.

The monarch is experiencing “mild cold-like symptoms” but expects to continue “light duties” at Windsor over the coming week, the palace said.

“She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all the appropriate guidelines,” it added in a statement.

The Queen, 95, had been in contact with her eldest son and heir, the Prince of Wales, who tested positive last week.

It is understood a number of people have tested positive at Windsor Castle, where the Queen resides.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I’m sure I speak for everyone in wishing Her Majesty The Queen a swift recovery from Covid and a rapid return to vibrant good health.”

Read more: The Queen tests positive for ‘Covid’

Pilot sues defence ministry for ruining sex life – media

A former RAF helicopter pilot alleges that 20kg body armor caused medical problems that “adversely” affected his “personal life”

A former British air force helicopter pilot has reportedly sued the Ministry of Defence (MoD), accusing it of negligently issuing heavy body armor that led to nerve damage and sexual dysfunction. He is seeking more than £200,000 ($271,884) in damages, according to The Telegraph. 

In the lawsuit filed at the High Court, Louis Warburton – an almost 10-year veteran with the Royal Air Force (RAF) – alleges that the 20kg (44lbs) ‘Load Carriage System’ body armor had damaged soft tissues, the paper reported. The 30-year-old accused the MoD of failing to carry out a risk assessment and act on his complaints about the armor being poorly adjusted.

The paper noted that Warburton, a former flight lieutenant with 18 Squadron at RAF Odiham base, served in peacekeeping operations in Mali, where he flew Chinook helicopters during the ongoing Operation Newcombe. He claimed the bulky armor squeezed his thighs during long flights of up to eight hours, damaging his sciatic and femoral nerves and causing severe pain and numbness.

Read more

Ministry of Defence accused of ‘failing British troops and taxpayers’

Less than a month after being deployed to Mali in January 2019, Warburton reported his painful symptoms to the MoD, The Telegraph noted. This apparently led to him being medically downgraded in July 2019 and then discharged from the RAF. However, the problems persisted – disrupting his professional and personal lives.

Documents submitted by his legal team allege that he has “difficulty sleeping due to ongoing pain” and his “personal life with his partner, have been adversely affected,” the paper reported. Warburton also apparently said he could not drive or sit down without pain, which has left him “restricted in domestic activities” and unable to apply for a number of jobs.

According to The Telegraph, the suit claims the MoD was negligent in failing to issue suitable and reasonably safe personal protective equipment and providing a safe system and place of work. It also noted that Warburton was not shown how to adjust the armor.

READ MORE: MoD ‘woke’ language rules withdrawn – reports

An unnamed MoD spokesperson declined to comment on the case, but told The Telegraph paper that “the health and safety of our personnel is our foremost priority on both training and operations.” The paper also quoted government sources as saying “compensation is paid” to claims where the MoD’s legal liability has been “proven.”

Firefighters discover one of 12 missing passengers of fire-stricken ferry

The vessel flying the Italian flag caught fire on Friday morning, with 12 people initially unaccounted for

Rescuers have found one of the 12 missing passengers from the Euroferry Olympia alive. They vessel caught fire in the early hours of Friday off the coast of Corfu, Greece. It was bound for Brindisi, Italy.

According to media reports, the man did not sustain any serious injuries. Greece’s minister for shipping and island policy, Giannis Plakiotakis, told Skai TV that the person is “possibly a Lithuanian citizen,” with the authorities “waiting for identification.” A number of other media outlets claim the man is a 21-year-old Belarusian truck driver.

According to media reports citing Greek officials, rescuers spotted the passenger on the ferry’s stern, with Greek TV channels running footage that apparently depicts the moment the rescued man climbed down a stepladder onto a tugboat. The trucker’s first words were reportedly: “tell me if I am alive.”

A total of 241 passengers and 51 crew were aboard the ferry when disaster struck. 

A rescue operation is currently underway as 11 people are still unaccounted for. The Greek authorities believe most of the missing are truck drivers from Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and Lithuania. According to some reports in the Greek media, they may have chosen to sleep inside their vehicles on the fateful night as the ship was crowded.   

Read more

Hundreds rescued from ferry inferno

Some of the rescued passengers described their fiery ordeal to the media. One trucker told Reuters that “it was so unreal, it was a bit like the Titanic, but it was real.” Another driver said he feared he would not make it out alive. 

The abandoned vessel has now been moored in place by a tug boat to prevent it from colliding with other ships passing nearby. The blaze, the temperature of which at one point reportedly exceeded 600C, has been largely extinguished, with small fires continuing to burn in the ferry’s guts as of Sunday.

The Greek authorities briefly detained the ship’s captain and two other crew members for questioning before releasing them. 

The Euroferry Olympia’s operator insists the vessel underwent a completed safety check on Wednesday. 

Once the fire is completely put out and the fate of all missing passengers is ascertained, rescuers plan to pump out the remaining oil from the vessel’s tanks so it doesn’t leak into the sea. The ferry will then be towed to a safe port where Greek and Italian investigators will set about examining the wreckage to find out what caused the fire. 

Greek officials are describing the blaze as the worst incident at sea since 2014, when 22 people lost their lives as a result of a fire that broke out aboard the Italian-owned passenger ferry Norman Atlantic in the Adriatic Sea.