A Consideration of the Criminal Investigation Process — Part One

El Inglés returns to the topic of law enforcement in the UK with the first in a two-part series of essays.

British police

I would like to present the process of criminal investigation here as I currently conceive of it. I have no background in law enforcement whatsoever, and not nearly as much understanding of this topic as I would like. Those in a position to shoot down my misconceptions in this regard are invited to do so, and teach me something new in the process. This ringing self-endorsement out of the way, let us proceed.

A Consideration of the Criminal Investigation Process — Part One
by El Inglés

The Two Sweeps

Criminal investigation consists of two non-overlapping though mutually-reinforcing processes that will, ideally, meet in the middle to deliver the perpetrators of crime into the waiting hands of the police. These approaches are what I refer to as the bottom-up sweep and the top-down sweep. Let us consider each in turn.

The bottom-up sweep is that in which evidence from crime scenes and other sources, typically consists of physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, and/or video evidence, is stitched together to provide clues as to the identities of the perpetrators. Police officers investigating crime scenes, using latex gloves to pick up empty shell casings, asking bystanders crowding round a corpse on the pavement if anyone saw anything, checking CCTV cameras to try to retrieve a mugshot of the gentleman in the top hat who held up the liquor store: these are all examples activities constituting a bottom-up sweep.

Note that some amount of evidence obtained in this manner will be required to secure a conviction in a case, unless the culprit, identified in whatever fashion, can be induced to confess, and, further, that the chances of said confession taking place in the absence of any such evidence may be rather slim. Also note that much evidence obtained via the bottom-up sweep will be confirmatory in nature. Obtaining fingerprints of the culprit in a given case will be of no value in tracking him down (unless their fingerprints are already on a fingerprint database, a possibility I ignore here to make the point), but of great value in convincing a jury of their guilt if they can be tracked down by some other means. Similarly, finding a shell casing from the firearm used in a homicide will not lead the police to the killer, but may help them secure a conviction against that killer if he can be identified by some other means and arrested with the firearm in question located conveniently in his bedside cabinet. Not for nothing do such types tend to dispose of weapons after use.

In contrast, the top-down sweep is that in which the police attempt to gain insight into who committed a crime by determining those who might have had reason and/or opportunity to do so. It is less physical and more human than the bottom-up approach, relying as it does on such things as familiarity with known criminals in a given area and the details of their criminal ways, interviews with the loved ones of murder victims to try to elicit information as to the likely killers, and using informers to gain access to the word on the street after a bank robbery. Thus, the top-down approach scans in the opposite direction from the bottom-up approach, sifting the entire population under suspicion in a different fashion. It does not directly generate evidence of anything; rather, it helps focus the bottom-up sweep on those investigative areas and/or targets where its efforts will be best spent, and allows bottom-up evidence such as fingerprint evidence to be checked against specific suspects.

The Relationship Between the Two Sweeps

When the police begin to investigate a crime, what they are actually doing is conducting preliminary bottom-up and top-down sweeps. These sweeps inform and refine each other, leading, in theory, to the eventual arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s). Let us see how this might work out in the context of a hypothetical jewellery store heist, in which a gang of armed robbers have made off with millions of pounds worth of precious stones. This is, of course, a major crime, and one to which the police would undoubtedly be able and prepared to commit significant resources.

Once the crime has been reported to the police, one group of officers/specialists will be responsible for: a) checking any available CCTV footage; b) searching for forensic evidence such as fingerprints, hairs, blood, shoeprints, or articles of clothing left at the scene; c) ascertaining the exact modus operandi of the perpetrators, and d) obtaining witness statements from store personnel and any other witnesses to the crime. At the same time, a second group will busy itself with: a) drawing up a list of armed robbers/jewel thieves known to be at large in the area in question in recent years; b) asking paid informants whether they have heard anything about the crime ‘on the grapevine’; and c) asking those being arrested for other crimes whether they have any pertinent information, perhaps offering to reduce sentences if cooperation is forthcoming.

Let us assume that our thieves are competent professionals, and carry out their raid with sufficient skill as to ensure that: a) CCTV footage shows only four medium-build white men in ski masks, arriving and escaping in a stolen car which is later found burnt out three miles from the crime scene; b) no forensic evidence of note is left at the scene; c) the MO of the crime has no particular distinguishing features; d) witness statements provide no clues as to the identity of the perpetrators. This degree of professionalism places the onus squarely on those performing a top-down sweep, who have more luck, being able to ascertain that: a) a British armed robber of note, whom we shall call Mister A, was released from prison in France six months previously and known to be back in the UK; b) the word on the street is that said armed robber had been putting together a crew for some sort of ‘job’; c) according to a burglar arrested for an unrelated crime, who knows a man who knows a man, Mister A has already starting dipping his toe in the waters of illegality. On the basis of this information, and having no other leads at all, the police decide to focus on Mister A as the target of the investigation.
– – – – – – – –
So far then, the police have a complete failure on the part if the bottom-up sweep, but some progress with the top-down sweep. Pursuing this sweep further, they locate Mister A and place him under physical surveillance for several weeks. This allows them to piece together a picture of his activities and contacts. Further investigation reveals that several of the people so identified have previously come to the attention of the police for one reason or another. Three in particular have convictions for crimes of violence and larceny, and appear strong candidates for being Mister A’s accomplices during the robbery.

Continuing physical surveillance of Mister A and his possible accomplices, Messrs. B, C, and D, reveal that Mister D is less careful than the others in keeping a low profile. He is observed to be spending a great deal of money, despite having no job and no known income from other sources, and the police obtain permission to place him under electronic surveillance, tapping his home phone and his mobile phone. Mister D continues to dig his own grave by discussing the possibility of unloading some quality merchandise with a man already known to the police as a fence for jewellery and other upmarket items.

Further surveillance allows the police to ascertain the time and place of the meet between Mister D and the fence, upon which they swoop. Mister D, the fence, and their companions are arrested, and merchandise stolen in the original jewel heist recovered from the possession of Mister D, who confesses to his role in that crime. A warrant is issued for Mister A’s arrest and he is informed, untruthfully, that Mister D has fingered him, Mister B, and Mister C for the initial heist. He is also shown the jewellery recovered from Mister D, upon which he admits his part in the crime and testifies against Mister B and Mister C, something which Mister D refused to do. All four men are sentenced to long jail sentences.

I cannot vouch for the realism of this scenario in every detail, but the objective is not to be accurate in every regard. Rather, the objective is to highlight the interaction between the top-down and bottom-up sweeps. Consider a country with a population of one million in which a murder has just been committed, and the population to be a series of one million black circles laid out in a line. The bottom-up approach is akin to a robot running along the underside of the line flagging individuals consistent with the specific evidence it has gathered, while the top-down approach is a robot running along the top of the line flagging individuals considered plausible on the basis of its investigations. The objective of the process is to get at least one match but as few as possible. These matches are candidates in the investigation. The actual culprit may not be included among them, but that is simply one of the difficulties the police face.

Note that each sweep, as it makes progress, provides fodder for the other to refine and focus itself. The physical evidence that Mister D took part in the heist (the stolen jewellery in his possession) did not fall into the lap of the police from on high. Rather, an opportunity to discover it was created through careful investigative work based on the initial top-down sweep. The initial bottom-up sweep generated no hits at all, but the initial top-down sweep narrowed down the list of all possible culprits to a strong candidate. A fresh, tightly-focused, and patient bottom-up sweep (the raid on the illicit jewelry sale) was then initiated with the desired results. Numerous examples could be given of mutual feedback between the sweeps.

The Efficacy of the Sweeps

It is worth pointing out that different types of crime, and different types of criminal, will prove more amenable to being solved and identified respectively through different combinations of the sweeps. Burglary is a crime which is notoriously unresponsive to police investigation. Often one hears stories of the UK police barely taking the crime seriously at all. Frustrated homeowners ask attending officers (when those officers bother to turn up at all) what the chances of catching the burglar are, only to be met with shrugs of indifference. Though I sympathize with the rage people manifest in response to what they see as the indifference of officialdom, let us consider the problem in the context of the top-down and bottom-up scanning mechanisms.

The bottom-up scanning mechanism is greatly enfeebled by the relative lack of importance attached to burglary as a crime, which means the police tend not to sweep for fingerprints, DNA evidence, or the like. Indeed, they cannot, or police budgets would be consumed on that alone. The only type of bottom-up evidence likely to emerge should the burglar not be caught in the act is eyewitness testimony, which may not exist in any given case and may not be useful even if it does. A bottom-up sweep of the pool of all potential suspects is exceptionally poor even for generating confirmatory evidence for a crime like burglary unless the criminal makes a howling error of a type easy to avoid (e.g. dropping a signed photograph at the scene of the crime) or is extremely unlucky.

The top-down scanning mechanism is potentially more useful for burglary cases, in that most areas will have a number of usual suspects known to engage in certain types of crime repeatedly. Locking up a single one of these offenders will prevent a large number of burglaries while they are incarcerated. However, given that new burglars are presumably coming into existence all the time, even these top-down sweeps will often wrongly rule out actual culprits. Worse, unless the number of potential culprits can be greatly reduced in this fashion, it is not obvious that the time of the police is well used in questioning known recidivists in the hope that they let something slip. Thus it is that the clearance rate for burglary is largely a result of individuals asking for large numbers of former offences to be taken into account when the long arm of the law finally catches up with them selling off stolen goods or sneaking out of someone’s house.

Note that, all other things being equal, the seriousness of the offence is a key factor in determining how likely the culprits are to be brought to justice. Though the careful criminal can take steps to reduce the amount of evidence left at the scene of the crime (or anywhere else), reducing the ripples caused by the entire process of planning, committing, and trying to get away with a crime will be far harder. If my house were burgled, the police would not be prepared to commit great resources to investigating the crime. However, if the President of the USA were murdered in my back yard by criminals a hundred times more professional, they would still be more likely to be caught, as the US federal government would leave no turn unturned in its hunt for the killer.

It is hard to overstate the importance of the following point: rendering either of the two sweeps ineffective kills the investigation. If the bottom-up sweep comes up empty, no top-down sweep can secure a conviction, however accurately it may narrow down the candidates for investigation (Note: this ignores the effects of interrogation, which will be discussed in the second installment of this essay). Of course it is hugely to the disadvantage of a criminal to be identified in this fashion if he hopes to continue a life of crime; he will be under close scrutiny thenceforth, and fresh evidence gained in the future may be used to secure convictions for crimes he thought he had got away with. Nonetheless, the fundamental point remains that, at least for the time being, they are in the clear. Conviction on the part of the police that they know who committed a certain crime does not constitute evidence that will stand up in court.

Similarly, ignoring that small subset of all crimes that can be solved purely by bottom-up sweeps (e.g. a rape committed by someone whose DNA is already on file and from whose victim a semen sample can be retrieved), rendering the top-down sweep ineffective leaves the investigators nowhere to turn. As already stated, evidence obtained in bottom-up sweeps tends to be confirmatory rather than suggestive of the identity of the perpetrator. When evidence thus obtained is strongly suggestive, the crime in question will almost certainly have been committed by a very unlucky individual, or a very stupid individual. Subsequent to a recent murder in the UK, one of the murderers took the victim’s mobile phone, inserted his own SIM card, and started using it as his own, within minutes of the murder itself, allowing the police to identify him through the phone. A similar rank stupidity was committed by another murderer, who used his victim’s registered Oyster card to travel home on the London Underground after committing the crime, thereby allowing the police to track him via CCTV footage taken from the station he disembarked at.

We must give thanks that these dangerous criminals were so careless in their post-crime behaviour. But it remains the case that even a modicum of intelligent behaviour and anything other than the most terrible luck will render it impossible for the police to identify criminals through bottom-up sweeps alone. Accordingly, effective top-down sweeps will tend to be required to bring to justice those who are not cognitively challenged. Not for nothing are the police so keen to try and determine who might have had a motive to commit, say, a murder. Without a plausible suspect, where do they begin their investigation? If it transpires that the person in question had just defrauded someone, or was having an affair with someone else’s wife, then their job suddenly looks a lot easier, because their top-down sweep immediately identifies the defrauded business partner or the cuckolded husband as the prime suspect.

Of course, the real suspect may be someone else, but given that most people who are murdered are murdered by someone they know, the police are on strong ground now, statistically speaking. Assuming their prime suspect is in fact guilty, the investigation will now turn to whether or not the police can marshal enough evidence on the basis of a bottom-up sweep to get their man. Will the one eye-witness to the crime pick the suspect out of a line-up? Does the suspect have a credible alibi? Can the police find the murder weapon and establish that it was in the possession of the suspect? Did the suspect leave any physical or DNA evidence on the victim or at the scene of the crime?

The Primacy of the Top-Down Sweep

It appears to be the case that, on net balance (and we must generalize here to say anything useful at all), the top-down sweep is not only more important than the bottom-up sweep in criminal investigation, it is very significantly more important than the bottom-up sweep. Decades of unrealistic police dramas notwithstanding, police work does not tend to consist of Sherlock Holmes-style deduction, where the slightest clues are incorporated into a brilliantly accurate and irrefutable account of how the crime took place. The ability of the police to identify strong suspects for a crime (i.e. conduct a top-down sweep that throws up legitimate targets of inquiry) and then assemble as strong a case as they can out of the evidence they have (push the case as far as they can with the newly-focused bottom-up sweeps and interrogation based thereupon) is largely determinative of whether or not they can bring charges against careful criminals. Fools who blunder through open tins of paint at the scene of their crimes and then stroll the twenty yards home may not be covered by this generalization, but I am not especially concerned with them. The criminal with a sense of professional pride and concern for the craft is the central concern of this essay.

Given the threat the top-down sweep poses to the discerning criminal, it is worth considering in a little more detail just how broad this sweep can be in a modern, technologically-advanced society. Consider the following case. Some months ago, a gang of three youths were convicted of carrying out three home invasions in the UK. According to the newspaper reports that accompanied their convictions, they had been, despite their youth, an unusually careful gang, conducting their raids at different locations across the country so as to avoid quickly coming to the attention of any one police force.

However, integration of police databases and crime reports on a nationwide level is a key concern not only for the British police but for police forces in general, and this case gives us some insight into why. Let us assume that the gang carried out its home invasions in a competent fashion, wearing masks at all times, not allowing the licence plates on its vehicle to be seen by anyone at the crime scene, and taking care not to leave physical evidence at the scene. One might naively think that, given this degree of care and their habit of targeting widely separated properties, the gang would have been virtually untouchable, but this was obviously not the case. Now for all this author knows, one of the gang could have drunk too much one night and carelessly told his girlfriend the source of his newfound wealth. But let us ignore that possibility here and return to the top-down sweep to illustrate the principle, which is important and becoming all the more so irrespective of whether it actually applied in this case.

Despite the best efforts of the criminals, the pattern their string of home invasions constituted would undoubtedly have been picked up on quickly by whatever computerized criminal database our lords and masters have been busy assembling over the last few years; three home invasions, almost certainly the same perpetrators. Let us pose a question. What are the chances of any given person or vehicle having been in close proximity to any two of the targeted houses at the times they were targeted if they had not been involved in any way with the crime? The answer is clearly very low, and would drop away effectively to zero for three crimes or more. If the police have available to them any means at all of retrospectively scanning, in an admittedly partial fashion, the environs of each crime scene at and around the time the crime was committed, they may well identify persons or vehicle who were present at least twice, and, if they were lucky, all three times. But would these scans take place?

We already have an automatic licence plate recognition system covering a substantial portion of the UK’s road traffic (presumably tied up with the speed camera system and therefore operating across a significant fraction of major roads throughout the country). London in particular will have other CCTV systems, partly as a legacy of past IRA bombing campaigns and partly as a response to the emerging threat of Muslim terrorism. Efforts are currently ongoing to conduct a massive expansion of this system to cover virtually all UK road traffic. It should be becoming clear why conducting multiple home invasions while driving to one’s targets in the same vehicle is a virtual guarantor of a long spell at Her Majesty’s Leisure. The phenomenal power of the police’s souped-up top-down sweep must be understood, and similar sweeps considered: the already-mentioned electronic Oyster card introduced for the London Underground system in recent years, credit and debit cards (whether checking for location or tickets purchased), mobile phone records which allow phone (and therefore user) locations at given times to be ascertained through proximity to different masts, and undoubtedly others too. The introduction of facial and even gait recognition systems and their application to vast databanks of CCTV camera footage cannot be far away, at least technologically. Telephone and email surveillance, both widely used, fall into a slightly different category as they possess content and are therefore probably better categorized as part of a bottom-up than a top-down sweep. Nonetheless, their importance in this respect should not be underestimated.

If I were interested in conducting a series of home invasions across the UK (which I am not), I would add certain things to my to-do list and, as a consequence, probably stay out of prison at least somewhat longer than our trio above. I would not use the same vehicle to travel to each target, and would not use my own vehicle or that of any conspirator under any circumstances at all. At the very least I would rent different cars on different occasions with different credit cards to make it impossible for the police to get an immediate match with their scan. Better still would be to use cars that I had borrowed on pretexts from friends or relatives not obviously connected to each other and not living in the same area. Best of all would be to steal a car and dump it at the end of the job, though that of course creates extra risks. I would also ensure that no one in my gang took any sort of mobile communication device with them on the job, and that they left all credit and debit cards at home to assure they were not inadvertently used, with all that that could later imply for the plausibility of alibis.

If these things seem a bit excessive, the reader should bear in mind the earlier point about how the resources the police bring to bear on a crime are roughly proportional to its seriousness. If you plan to be driving around the country, kicking people’s doors in, pointing guns at their heads and threatening to shoot them if they refuse to give you the combination to their safe, you had better expect the police to start pulling out all the stops. And the longer you get away with it, the deeper they will dig, and the greater the chances of their souped up top-down sweeps bringing your name up on a screen.

Interestingly, any evidence gained in this fashion, or by other top-down sweeps, remains very strongly circumstantial unless and until the sheer coincidence it represents becomes such that a jury would not believe it was a coincidence. What if the new, focused, bottom-up sweeps still yield nothing, as they may well? Are the police then confounded, left to lick their wounds and wait for the next opportunity to put the criminal in question away? Not at all. Once the perpetrators have been correctly identified, they are in serious trouble even in the absence of conclusive evidence. Why this should be the case will have to be explained in the second and final part of this essay.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/31/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/31/2010The news feed is somewhat truncated tonight because I was away until late this afternoon and haven’t caught up yet.

The big news of the day concerns the possible move to ban face-covering veils in Belgium. The law has been approved by a parliamentary committee, but has yet to be voted on by the full parliament.

Thanks to Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, REP, Sean O’Brian, Takuan Seiyo, TB, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post, rather than with the news articles, so that they are more easily accesible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

Freedom is Slavery. Dhimmitude is Peace.

JLH has translated another article about the reaction of the German establishment to Turkey’s demands for the education of ethnic Turks in Germany in their ancestral language and culture. The translator includes this note:

This is an instant follow-up to the article about the teachers’ union. If there is a way to score this, I’d say that Erdogan threw a tantrum, then played nice at the meeting and this one-two punch got Merkel to take a half-step back.

From Sueddeutsche Zeitung on March 29, 2010:

A Little Peace

by Stefan Braun, Ankara

Chancellor Angela Merkel has shown that she is open to Turkish schools in Germany. “If Germany has schools for foreigners in other countries, then naturally Turkey can have schools in Germany,” Merkel said on Monday in Ankara after a talk with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They would just have to be bilingual.

Turkish schools must in no case be used as an excuse not to learn German, she said. Like Erdogan, she is not concerned about assimilation but about successful integration. “And on that we agree,” said the chancellor. Erdogan said that Turkish citizens in Germany naturally want to preserve their culture but also to integrate.

After their first meeting and after the critical comments of past days, Erdogan and Merkel exerted themselves to represent Turkish-German connection as good, dependable and trustworthy. In spite of contrasting views in the debate about Turkish high schools in Germany, possible sanctions against Iran and the question of full Turkish membership in the EU, Merkel and Erdogan emphasized that relations between the two countries are excellent.

– – – – – – – –

Erdogan spoke of “friends and allies” and of being “very important for one another,” and that their deeply rooted relationship could be a model for other EU states. Merkel praised the “close and friendly relations” between the two countries. The German delegation had previously described the relationship between Merkel and Erdogan as very good.

Concerning the nuclear dispute with Iran, Erdogan rejected sanctions proposed by Merkel. There must be further diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian leadership, he said. Previous sanctions have proven futile. “Are there nuclear weapons in the area? Yes! Are there sanctions? No!” said Erdogan, referring to Israeli nuclear weapons.

Before Merkel’s two-day visit, the tone had been getting sharper. Erdogan especially had been quoted issuing strong attacks, including personal ones on Merkel. There was talk of “hate” against Turks and of whether Turkey had become a “whipping boy.” Previously, Merkel had rejected Erdogan’s call for more Turkish high schools as she had Ankara’s demand for full membership in EU. With respect to schools, in her briefcase she had a full list of primary schools and high schools where Turkish is taught.

With reference to the Turkish demand for EU membership, Merkel said she had learned that the concept of a privileged partnership which the CDU and CSU preferred as a substitute for full membership had not “gotten good vibes” in Turkey. Merkel promised that negotiations would continue with options open, and should concentrate first on a solution to the Cyprus question.

The Truth is Not Officially Knowable

This came while I was gone, and everybody has probably already seen it by now, but here it is anyway: a newspaper blogger in Britain has been censured for posting a statement about culturally enriched crime in London.

The interesting thing is that Mr. Liddle is being censured for asserting something about the ethnicity of criminals in London as if it were fact. Since Her Majesty’s Government effectively prevents any comprehensive ethnicity-vs.-crime statistics from being gathered, this means that any assertion on such matters could be actionable under the mandate of the PCC, since hard data do not exist. By these standards, the truth about ethnic crime in London is no more provable than the doctrine of transmigration of souls.

It’s also notable that this blogger’s “racism” was not directed at Muslims in this case, but at Afro-Caribbeans.

According to Yahoo News:

First Blog Faces Censure by PCC

Former Radio 4 Today editor Rod Liddle has become the first journalist to have an online blog censured by the press watchdog. Skip related content

A complaint was upheld by the Press Complaints Commission after the writer and columnist claimed on the Spectator website that the “overwhelming majority” of violent crime in London was carried out by young Afro-Caribbean men.

Stephen Abell, director of the watchdog, said it was “a significant ruling” to make against a newspaper or magazine blog for inaccuracy.

– – – – – – – –

A reader complained after Liddle wrote in December that “the overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community”.

Mr Abell said: “This is a significant ruling because it shows that the PCC expects the same standards in newspaper and magazine blogs that it would expect in comment pieces that appear in print editions.

“There is plenty of room for robust opinions, views and commentary but statements of fact must still be substantiated if and when they are disputed. And if substantiation isn’t possible, there should be proper correction by the newspaper or magazine in question.”

The article breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, the PCC concluded.

A spokesman for the body said: “It was certainly true in this case, for example, that a number of readers had taken issue with Mr Liddle’s claim and had commented on the blog. However, the commission did not agree that the magazine could rely on publishing critical reaction as a way of abrogating its responsibilities under the code.

“While it had provided some evidence to back up Mr Liddle’s position, it had not been able to demonstrate that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of crime in all the stated categories had been carried out by members of the African-Caribbean community.

“Nor could it successfully argue that the claim was purely the columnist’s opinion — rather, it was a statement of fact.”

Hat tip: TB.

Your Red-Blooded ’Merican Nooz Right Here

The Baron’s away and the real happenings around the world are moldering in his mighty news machine, which only a very geeky programmer could ever figure out how to operate.

So, since the comments overflowed on the Virginia post today, I reckoned some real live American news might be just the thing.

Stipulated ahead of time: yes, we’re all nuts. We like it that way. Kind of like Australians, but without the Oz accent or the Outback. I don’t think Arizona qualifies as an Outback.

This news is 100% Obama-free…except for telling you it is, anyway, which makes it officially 99% you-know-what. Close enough for government work…

And on to our stories:

First item up is a post about Charles Johnson’s belief that the Tennessee state flag has some neo-Nazi elements. I kid you not. On the other hand, maybe Chazzer was just trying to get some attention and by Thursday it will all be “April Fools!”. CJ has done stranger things. Give me a week and I’ll think of one.

Then there’s the guy who crawled through the Mickey D’s drive-through window so he could get his fish sandwich.

We had snow to beat all in January and February and now March is going out in a flood. Literally. Notice they said the storms have moved in a southwest to northeast pattern. Fortunately for us, the future Baron is in the southwestern part of the state. Thus, while the Baron left here in the rain by the time he’d gotten to the mountains down there, the sun was shining. All the rivers have been up and rushing over their banks. Real Spring has followed our first Real Winter in decades. Which means Real Summer is going to be a killer.

Fox News, the media outlet all superior beings love to hate, is taking the rest of them to the cleaners. For the past 99 months, Fox has led the rest in cable news and it continues to climb as the oh-so-politically-correct media gnash their teeth in the outer darkness. Just wait till Sarah Palin starts there. Whowee, the haters will be coming out of the woodwork, drooling on their shoes. Another April Fool’s joke: she starts April 1st. Another reason not to have a TV.

Speaking of haters, the FBI infiltrated a whacko-Christian group. An armed whacko Christian group…
– – – – – – – –
These dudes are all safely in jail and every leftist atheist blog in the country is rejoicing that our polity has been saved yet again from more Krazy Kristian Killers, also known as rightwingextremists. So now when do they go after Jamaat-ul-Fuqra Islamic hatred and infiltrate their compounds? Don’t hold your breath.

NASA climate data is even more questionable than “the besmirched Climate-Gate data”. Hey, that means we’re even worse than the UK professors because our blunders weren’t purposeful. Just more government keystone cops bureaucracy in the US but the wily Brits, they were the real deal. Clever and evil instead of merely hapless. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to pursue the clean green dream. Why let reality or economics get in the way of Utopia? Ah, I just love Gaia religion. Can’t wait for the Spring rituals, the ones where they lay the wreath on Rachel Carson’s monument. Maybe I’ll burn some trash in the yard in her honor or spray a little weed killer on the damn clover.

More women are arming themselves against a sea of woe. Read about the Quaker woman with a Glock 9mm and other tales of the felt need for self-defense. Only in America? Sure. Because in America women are permitted to arm themselves. Makes potential rapists nervous.

Good news for those Navy Seals who are being keel-hauled by their superiors. It’s a wonder that young men volunteer to be put in harm’s way anymore, especially considering that the harm seems to come from those in command.

The Census. Has yours come in the mail yet? Did you get the short form (numbers and ages of people in the house, plus race) or the long form, which asks for more data. We got the short form and dutifully filled it out and mailed it. A friend of the fB’s turned his Anglo name into something Hispanic-sounding…if you call “Smithito” Hispanic, that is. Sister Toldjah has some ideas as to why folks feel annoyed with this. Could it be that 2010 will be the last census for a while? This is not going to play out well.

Discrimination! Smokers need not apply to this hospital. Current employees won’t be fired, but any future job-seekers will have to pass a nicotine test. As of May 1st. This is a growing trend, but soon everyone will be too poor to smoke anyway.

Oh, I nearly forgot this news since it’s nearly a week old now. But look for the new fad this summer – flash mobs. One of the downsides to teh burgeoning social media, hmm? I already mentioned the long hot summer ahead. Seems like it may get even hotter in urban areas.

The genuine, world-wide, interesting news will return tomorrow. As will the Keeper of the News Machine. Meanwhile, if anyone has more American news, leave it in the comments.

Iranian Nuclear Scientist Defected to Great Satan…Last Year

Umm…breaking news…

It seems that a scientist from Iran who went to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage last June got lost on his way back home. Or maybe bad Americans kidnapped him? How come Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the video tapes?

An award-winning Iranian nuclear scientist, who disappeared last year under mysterious circumstances, has defected to the CIA and been resettled in the United States, according to people briefed on the operation by intelligence officials.


A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment. In its declassified annual report to Congress, the CIA said…

– – – – – – – –

“Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons.”

Amiri, a nuclear physicist in his early 30s, went missing last June three days after arriving in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, according to the Iranian government. He worked at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, which is closely connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, according to the Associated Press.


Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, and other Iranian officials last year blamed the U.S. for “kidnapping” Amiri, but his whereabouts had remained a mystery until now. [the rest of the story from ABC is at the link]

Heaven knows the man wouldn’t have willingly come to the U.S. It stands to reason that the Great Satan kidnapped him and forced him here.

Hot Air has some opinions on this story, which is just beginning to get legs even though the disappearance occurred last year. Allahpundit says:

  • This is just the latest reminder that the CIA’s doing some bang-up work these days (no pun intended). Hats off to Panetta and crew. [see link at original post]
  • He points out that Amiri was long since thought to have defected…or been kidnapped by the Torture-R-US Crue. The Sunday Telegraphreported Amiri’s disappearance four months ago [see link at Hot Air] The ‘Graf speculated he’d “given up the goods on Iran’s nuclear program”. As Hot Air says, Amiri helped “fill in the blanks”.

However, he questions why old information is being treated as breaking news.

He wonders if it’s a matter of timing. Western intelligence believes Iran is busy as a beaver building more nuclear sites. Thus, breaking the news now, the administration hopes to make Iran paranoid about (a) what do we know and when did we know it; (b) even more paranoid that we could get one of their scientists; and (c) this may pressure the usual foot-dragging suspects – i.e., Russia and China – to move toward a tougher stance. We can complain about the villainous Iranian government by ourselves, but it rises to a whole nother level when one of their own, now safe, nuclear scientists says, yes indeedy, Iran is being very bad.

At the end of his post, AllahP has a video of Obama and Sarkozy in a joint press conference today saying that eight years is enough and we’re running out of patience. Sheesh. Only the insane have any patience left to reel out anymore.

Anyway, if you can stand to look at the infotainment of the Obama administration, it might be worth a look.

But the real deal is whether or not the Russians are paying attention. Otherwise, there won’t be any sanctions because America doesn’t do ‘real’ sanctions. Nope. Not our style. We literally bow & scrape and call this behavior “foreign policy”.

Meanwhile, good Muslim nuclear scientists in Iran who want to make a pilgrimage to Mecca in the future are probably going to be closely guarded by their keepers. The methodology for such cases is surely something for which Russians can give plenty of pointers. Putin must be a mother lode of proven techniques.

As for the ‘resettled’ scientist, you have to wonder how safe he really is. The tentacles of Iran and its friends are long and intrusive.

Are Virginia Democrats Dumbed-Down Dhimmis?

The video below examines the reactions of various state Democrats to the exposure of their support for Dar al Hijrah “Islamic Institute” in Northern Virginia. That support took the form of being listed on the poster for the Center’s fundraising dinner to be held on April 3rd.

These dhimmis are obviously cool with the idea of promoting the Islamization of Virginia. Dar al Hijrah is attempting to raise the money to buy their building (currently rented). The whole project will cost about ten million dollars. It will include the mosque, an Islamic academy, and a youth center.

[If you get an error message on the video, click You Tube link at bottom right]

These lovely people are part and parcel of the Virginia Jihad, which is far larger than this wiki acknowledges.
– – – – – – – –
In this investigative report (I suggest you follow the links they have), a previous fund-raiser in February at was specifically designated to help with the legal fees accrued by Sabri Benkahla. For fun, google his name and see all the usual suspect organizations pop up, including our beloved ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

Benkahla was part of this group of convicted terrorists whose links to Lashkar-e-Taiba were successfully established when they were convicted[pdf] in 2005, back when CNN was still putting scare quotes around “terrorist”.

David Headley, the American terrorist arrested by the FBI in Chicago is also heavily connected to LeT. Five years on, this CNN background video on Headley is no longer putting those scare quotes around “terrorist”, at least not when it comes to the American Mumbai plotter who agreed to ‘cooperate’ and give information to avoid being executed for the capital crimes that occurred in India.

Interestingly, the CNN video doesn’t even mention Headley’s aborted plans to kill Kurt Westagaard and Fleming Rose before moving on to behead the employees of Jyllands-Posten, throwing his bloody Jihad prizes out the windows and finishing it all off by blowing himself up. As the imam says, he wasn’t going to be a murderer, nor was he a murderer in helping plan for Mumbai. No, Headley was to be a martyr, busy restoring Islam’s honor. So now he’s squealing on his connections in exchange for his life. Some honor, Doodad.

As the video feature shows, there are many links between American terrorists and Dar al Hijrah. These links are well-known to anyone who bothers to look at the progress terrorist groups are making in the U.S. It is crucial that any politician be conversant with what Islam is doing in his area of governance.

This particularly applies to Democrat National Chairman and ex-governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine. He has been burned by his ignorance in this area while serving as governor. His behavior in this endorsement of Dar al Hijrah could be considered dereliction by those willing to cut him a break. I think ex-Governor Tim “Judas” Kaine’s commissions are far worse than mere dereliciton.

It’s well past time for these information-impaired politicians to wise up. They ought to be in the front lines of the fight against the inroads Islam is making in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Instead, they’re busy trading votes and using our safety as their currency.

They have no shame.

It just goes to show what politicians are willing to do in exchange for a few votes.

Oops, forgot the Hat Tip. Apologies to Occidental Soapbox

Moving Day

WayfarerI’ll be away all day today and into tomorrow, helping the future Baron move into his new digs in Southwest Virginia.

Be kind and well-disposed towards one another (and to Dymphna) during my absence. No news feed tonight; it will resume tomorrow.

[Post ends here]

Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/29/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/29/2010Muammar Ghaddafi, the Man of Many Spellings, recommends that Nigeria be partitioned. Col. Qadafi thinks the country should be divided into multiple ethnic states, and not just between Muslims and Christians.

In other news, the French Council of State has approved a limited ban on the wearing of veils in public administration. Also, Ford has sold Volvo to a Chinese company for $1.8 billion.

Thanks to Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Diana West, Insubria, JD, TB, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

German Teachers’ Association: Turks Must Assimilate

This is a refreshing change from the usual tales of Western dhimmitude and appeasement. In a response to recent inflammatory remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the German Teachers’ Association spoke out with notable political incorrectness.

JLH, who translated the article below, has this to say:

Erdogan is again pushing the envelope. If he keeps revealing the grand strategy and simultaneously irritating segments of German society, he may turn out to be the best weapon the anti-jihadists have.

From last Friday’s Hanover Zeitung, as reported in Europe News:

German Teachers’ Association Attacks Turkish Premier Erdogan

The president of the Teachers’ Association, Josef Kraus, has expressed strong disapproval of Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push for Turkish high schools in Germany. “That is unacceptable and anti-integration, to the disadvantage of young Turks living here,” said Kraus to the Rheinische Post.

– – – – – – – –

The head of the Teachers’ Association accused Erdogan of Islamic expansionism and called on Chancellor Angela Merkel, during her visit to Ankara in the coming week, to decisively reject Turkish interference in German affairs.

The Teachers’ Association, he said, is not against requiring Turkish as a second or third language, to strengthen the language capabilities of young Turks. But it is clear that, with all due deference to ethnic origin, Germany must require not only integration, but assimilation, of all Turks living here.

A Modest Proposal for an EU-Wide Minaret Ban

Opponents of the Islamization of Europe gathered in Germany on Saturday to discuss the idea of a referendum on an EU-wide minaret ban, modeled on last year’s referendum in Switzerland. In an ironic hoist-with-their-own-petard moment, the referendum is being proposed in accordance with the EU’s own rules recently put in place by the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty.

Our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled a report on the event in Gelsenkirchen, beginning with a summary based on articles from NOS and FOK! Nieuws:

Call for EU referendum on minarets

Minaret ban: Pro-NRWA number of right wing parties from several European countries would like to see a follow-up on the Swiss minaret-ban in Europe.

The parties announced this at a conference on March 27 in Gelsenkirchen, organized by the German party pro-NRW to launch a campaign for a European referendum. The Treaty of Lisbon makes European referendums possible under certain, not fully worked out conditions. For instance, it is unclear exactly how many countries should support such an initiative, although the according to the European Commission, nine member states should be sufficient. Of those countries, 0.2 percent of the population would then have to sign off on the initiative. As soon as this is clear, a follow-up conference will be organized in the European capital Brussels, to take the next concrete steps towards an EU-wide referendum.

The referendum that was held nearly four months ago in Switzerland at the initiative of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) stands as the model for the European referendum (including the poster, which is used with permission of the SVP an adapted version of the Swiss poster). Around sixty percent of Swiss voters agreed last year with a ban on minarets.

Besides the German party pro-NRW, other parties from among others Belgium (Flemish Interest), Austria (FPÖ) and Sweden (Sverigedemokraterne) took part in the initiative.

The various speakers at the conference left nothing to the imagination. Filip Dewinter, leader of Vlaams Belang said: “Islam is a conquering religion that seeks the destruction of our democracy and its replacement replace it a dictatorship based on Sharia. On one thing you need not doubt: Islam intends to conquer all of Europe. Islam is a predator, ready on jump on the weakest victim: Europe ages, dies out and leaves itself blinded by the multicultural away-with-us ideology.

Also the Catalan Josep i Rius Anglada and the Swede Kent Ekeroth let their opinions be heard. Rius Anglada quoted an old Spanish slogan, which was used in battle against the forces of the dictator Franco. “Islamists, no pasaran, you cannot get through.” Kent Ekeroth said, quoting Winston Churchill: “We’ll fight till victory. Victory at all costs. Because without victory we will not survive”.

– – – – – – – –

Vlaams Belang and the Austrian FPÖ put a lot of effort in the financial and organizational support into the campaign and into pro-NRW. Dewinter: “Here we lay the foundations of an international [organization] against Islamization. We are the voice of the European majority.”

Following the congress, in Duisburg-Marxloh a demonstration was held to protest against the building in Marxloh of the large “Merkez Mosque”.

From Abendland in Christenhand, the website of the anti-minaret initiative:

The Turkish press outlets “TÜRKIYE” and “SABAH” reported with sensational and polemical articles about the planned international conference of pro-NRW for a Europe-wide ban on minarets in the Ruhr area and the planned protests at various mosques. According to them, the activities should be prohibited by the executive, as it would allegedly insult Muslims and would undermine their rights. Turkish journalists had also announced that they would show up in great numbers on the last weekend of March to defend the supposedly marginalized Muslims in the Ruhr area.

Source for the minaret poster: Abendland in Christenhand.

Update on the Moscow Terror Attack

The explosions at two Moscow metro stations early this morning, which killed at least 37 people, were the result of suicide bomb attacks by two female terrorists. No terror group has yet claimed responsibility, but the attacks are believed to be the work of Muslim separatists from the North Caucasus.

The excerpts below are from The Daily Mail. Be warned: the original article includes graphic photos. Sensitive readers are advised not to click the link.

Hunt for ‘Black Widow’ Terror Gang After Female Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 37 in Bomb Attacks on Moscow Trains

Police in Moscow were tonight searching for female accomplices of two women suicide bombers who killed at least 37 people and injured 65 by targeting two packed tube trains during the busy rush hour.

President Dmitry Medvedev declared Russia would act ‘without compromise’ to root out terrorists as he ordered airports to be put on alert and security to be stepped up throughout the country.

The two bombs are the worst attack on the Russian capital for six years and no group has yet claimed responsibility.

But suspicion has fallen on Muslim militants from the North Caucasus, where the Kremlin is fighting a growing Islamist insurgency spreading from Chechnya to neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia.

Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, said the terrorists were likely to have been ‘black widows’, Muslim women radicalised by the situation in the North Caucasus.

‘Body parts belonging to two female suicide bombers were found and, according to initial data, these persons are linked to the north Caucasus,’ he said.

Police are tonight expected to publish CCTV images of the suicide bombers, along with two women of ‘Slav appearance’ who accompanied them.

– – – – – – – –

Witnesses spoke of panic at the two underground stations this morning after the blasts as people fell over each other in dense smoke and dust, trying to escape.


The first explosion tore through the second carriage of a metro train just before 8am as it stood at the Lubyanka station, close to the headquarters of Russia’s main domestic security service FSB. It killed at least 23 people.

About 40 minutes later, another blast in the second carriage of a train waiting at the Park Kultury metro station, opposite Gorky Park, killed 12 to 14 more people.

Both bombers wore explosive belts packed with bolts and iron rods to maximise casualties.

The bombers have believed to have been identified from surveillance videos inside the Red Arrow underground trains.

Analysis of footage from other cameras in Moscow Metro stations has also helped identify the faces of two women and a man.

The report also quoted a source saying earlier that the female suicide bombers boarded the train at Yugo-Zapadnaya station in southwest Moscow.


Surveillance camera footage posted on the internet showed several motionless bodies lying on the floor or slumped against the wall in Lubyanka station lobby and emergency workers crouched over victims, trying to treat them.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov told reporters that female suicide bombers had carried out the attacks.

Prosecutors said they had opened a ‘terrorism investigation’ after forensic experts found the remains of a female bomber.

The Russian rouble fell to 34.25 from 34.13 against the central bank’s euro-dollar basket, on concern the blasts could indicate the start of a bombing campaign against Russian cities.

Russian equity markets were little changed, with the rouble denominated MICEX index up 0.04 percent.


The current death toll makes it the worst attack on Moscow since February 2004, when a suicide bombing killed at least 39 people and wounded more than 100 on a metro train.

Chechen separatists were blamed for that attack and suspicions are likely to focus on the North Caucasus where rebel leader Doku Umarov, who is fighting for an Islamic emirate embracing the whole region, vowed on Feb 15 to take the war to Russian cities.

‘Blood will no longer be limited to our (Caucasus) cities and towns. The war is coming to their cities,’ the Chechen rebel leader said in an interview on the unofficial Islamist website.

Hat tip: JD.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and the Wiener Akademikerbund

As I mentioned last month, the Austrian anti-jihad activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was one of the speakers at the Freedom Defense Initiative on February 19 at CPAC. Her speech has been subtitled in German, and I present the two-part video of it here as a prologue to the latest news from the front lines in Vienna.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Elisabeth is a member of the board of the Wiener Akademikerbund, which last week came under fire for its politically incorrect opinions. Two articles about the controversy from the Austrian MSM may be found here and here (both in German).

I asked our Austrian correspondent AMT — who knows some of the members of the Akademikerbund — to summarize the latest brouhaha for Gates of Vienna:

There has recently been a smear campaign against the Association of Vienna Academics (Wiener Akademikerbund, abbreviated AB), which for years has stood for the maintenance of traditional European culture in the face of increasing Islamization and uncontrolled immigration, for democracy, for the rule of law, for freedom of expression, for plurality, for protection of life (against abortion and euthanasia), for the family as the kernel of society, for the humanistic ideal of education and for free entrepreneurship.

The Association of Vienna Academics is an active think-tank and a pivot-point between political, scientific, economic and cultural-social areas. Its chief distinguishing quality is complete independence: truth alone matters. The entrance criterion is not a formal, academic education, but the nobility of spirit they express in their daily lives, wherever they may be active.

– – – – – – – –

For years, the AB has seen its central duty as calling attention to deleterious developments in many political fields — on the national and international levels — and fighting against them in an effort to encourage constructive solutions. It has succeeded in many cases. In doing so, however, the AB has attracted the hostility of the politically correct elite.

A position paper from last November was brought out for the first time this week as an excuse to defame the AB, stigmatizing it as right-extremist. In this way, central themes of great social-political significance for our future are intended to be withdrawn from public discourse.

The attempted “execution” of the Association of Vienna Academics clearly shows its practical political power. What is being done to it is corrupt and unfair, but will also ultimately prove to be futile.

If anyone wants to help the Association of Vienna Academics, email wien-ab@live.at.

When I was in Vienna back in 2008, I met with a number of members of the Wiener Akademikerbund, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that they are among the staunchest defenders of Western culture that we have. The politically correct transnational elites are marshaling their forces to do battle at the Gates of Vienna against those who would resist Islamization and the destruction of our national identities.

They will not succeed.

Explosion at the Lubyanka Station

Dozens of people have been killed in an explosion at a Moscow metro station. There’s no word so far of Chechen terrorism as a cause, although the NYT has some speculation. And it’s worth noting that the offices of the FSB are reported to be directly above the (surprise!) Lubyanka Station.

According to the Beeb:

Deadly explosions on Moscow Metro system

At least 25 people are reported to have been killed in an explosion on the Metro system in central Moscow, with a second blast coming shortly afterwards.

The first blast happened at the city’s central Lubyanka station, reports quoting security sources said.

A second explosion happened at the Park Kultury station, Russian news agency Tass reported.

Ten people were injured in the first blast, Tass said, quoting the emergencies ministry.

The number of casualties at the second blast is not yet clear.

– – – – – – – –

A ministry spokeswoman said that at Lubyanka 14 people were killed in the train and 11 on the platform.

“The blast hit the second carriage of a metro train that stopped at Lubyanka, at 0756 (0356 GMT),” Irina Andrianova said.

“There was no fire. Rescuers of the Moscow emergencies department and firefighters are now working at the site,” she added.

The headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), is located just above the station.

The second blast came about 40 minutes later, at 0838 (0438 GMT), and there “are killed and injured”, security sources said.