Bwahahahar Mustafa

So, the fruitloop racist feminist from Goldmiths’ Students’ Union has had her collar felt.

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To be fair, this has been comprehensively covered by Nero, Sargon, Liddle etc and I don’t really have anything fresh to add. I agree with their view which is that while Ms Mustafa is a ghastly piece of work, she should never have been arrested, let alone charged with crimes.

Sure she should have faced huge public opprobrium, ridicule and condemnation – and she did. That should have been the end of the matter. Efforts to have her removed from her job failed, and actually, I’m glad that the lynch mob failed in their quest, but at the same time, surely her employer ought to have seen that her comments and conduct were thoroughly incompatible with the post of “Welfare and Diversity Officer” that she held in the Goldsmiths’ SU.

Naturally, her fellow travellers are aghast at this “attack on free speech” while completely failing to acknowledge or understand that they have either stood idly by or cheered when the free speech of people they find less agreeable has been curtailed. This is the world they have helped to create, and it’s now bitten one of their own on her arse.

Conversely, many libertarian types (both left and right leaning) share my position, which is that expressed by Noam Chomsky, and similarly attributed to Voltaire, correctly or not.

Media preview

That is a stance you don’t seem to see from the SJW, lefty bien pensant types, many of whom are outraged and disgusted that dreadful right wing white men, and GamerGate supporters are rallying to the #IStandWithBaharMustafa hash tag, despite finding her views and her conduct to be most disagreeable.

So it may be somewhat cognitively dissonant, but I can and do laugh at Mustafa being hoist by her own censorious petard, while condemning her prosecution under a totalitarian law for idiotic and hyperbolic words on a screen.

AJ

UPDATE: This from the epic Brendan O’Neill over at Spiked is just sheer joy:

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https://youtu.be/X_yJdpzy500?t=734

#Twitterjoketrial – It’s finally all over…

Finally it’s victory for Paul Chambers.

I first wrote about the #TwitterJokeTrial in January 2010, and last wrote about it in November 2010. See the links in the latter post for more information if you’re not familiar.

It is now July 2012. All that time, Paul Chambers has been living with the life diminishing, career destroying ignominy of being a pawn of the idiot bully state.

Today, his high court appeal against his conviction of May 2010, against 127.1(a) of the Communications Act 2003, was granted, and Paul has now been cleared of all charges.

As someone who (passively) supported Paul all through this disgraceful process, and was an early donor to his fighting fund, I am delighted with this, and I am delighted for Paul and his family.

I want to avoid melodramatic invocations of Orwell, Kafka et al, but I am infuriated and disgusted by the system and its mindless ‘process following’ automatons, who draw a wage from our pockets for making absurd, perverse and unjust decisions day in and day out, in the name of following the process.

  • A little guide to people, for you, by the way: If a person is more interested in the process than the outcome, they are a complete arse, who should be avoided at all cost.

    These people love nothing more than waiting for you to transgress some ‘guideline’ in the name of progress, so they can pour a bucket of shit over your head. If eugenics hadn’t got such a bad rap, we could have genetically selected these vermin out of existence.This applies across public and private sector – it’s a universal truth.

Perversely, I am grateful to the CPS for opening up the eyes of thousands of people to the cruel and grotesque ways of our beloved state. Anyone who wants more state, or more controls, restrictions, bans, probably doesn’t care if great numbers of people go through the same nightmare Paul Chambers has over the last 30 months. If it saves the hurt feelings of just one Labour voting ovine pleb.

It is asserted here that the Director of Public Prosecutions personally took the decision to pursue the Chambers case to the bitter end. To the original trial, against the Crown Court appeal and against the High Court appeal. (H/T @VeryBritishDude https://twitter.com/VeryBritishDude/statuses/228820125887897601 )

It’s time for Kier Starmer’s head to be offered up on a platter. Personally, I think he should be taken out shot in front of his family. Or blown sky high. Either way, I want it live on HDTV.

AJ

The Joke Trial #Twitterjoketrial

No, not mock trial. Not even a trial where Rolf Harris sings “Tie me kangaroo court down”

This is a joke trial. Of the kind that makes a mockery of justice.

I speak, of course, about the Paul Chambers case, about which I and others have written extensively.

Yesterday, Paul’s appeal against his conviction under section 127.1(a) of the Communications Act 2003 was denied on all counts.

I am utterly aghast. Paul, and his nearest and dearest, must be utterly devastated.

Commentary on Twitter has been almost universally of the view that Paul’s treatment, at the hands of the CPS and the courts, is simply disgraceful and utterly baffling.

Take this post from CharonQC, for example. It refers to some of his tweets on the matter:

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He makes some useful points, too.

WE MUST DO – AND DESERVE – BETTER THAN THIS….

I won’t be arrested for saying this (I  assume.. although nothing is certain, it would seem) …. I won’t be prosecuted for saying this (ditto) …. I do not practice… so I can’t even be censured… (pretty sure on that one).   We really do need to sort our legal system out if it can bring about such an absurd and unjust result….. even if *The Law* justifies the decision of the judge as framed… if that is the case.. we need better laws..and we do deserve them.

And this, it would appear, is the rub.

Stereotypically inscrutable legal tweeter, @Art_Li makes some good points in the comments of Charon’s post.

He suggests both that the judgement is, tacitly or otherwise, a matter of policy….

What I will say is that behind every law and/or prosecution, there is a public policy decision (read motive). The policy decision in this case MAY BE one to discourage “joke” threats, whether on Twitter or elsewhere IN ORDER TO minimise the “leads” the police and security services have to follow up on a daily basis. We know resources there are not unlimited and already they are following up on dozens if not hundreds of leads every day (that is not a fact, just my assumption).

… and that the high court is unlikely to overturn the decision, because it is based on the strict interpretation of a law, as handed down by the House of Lords (now Supreme Court).

  • The following passages from the House of Lords judgment in the case of DPP v Collins (2006) may be of interest. This case was referred to by Mr Chambers’ legal team as well as the Judge in the recent appeal. The case concerned offensive messages but the wording of S.127(1) includes menacing messages too. (Capitalisation below is mine) :-

    “The very act of sending the message over the public communications network … constitutes the offence even if it was being communicated to someone who the sender KNEW WOULD NOT BE IN ANY WAT OFFENDED or distressed by it”.

    Lord Bingham of Cornhill : “it must be proved that the respondent intended his words to be offensive to those to whom they related or BE AWARE THAT THEY MAY BE TAKEN TO BE SO.” … “It can make no difference to criminal liability whether a message is ever actually received or WHETHER THE PERSONS WHO DO RECEIVE IT ARE OFFENDED BY IT.”

    It appears the Judge was therefore applying and following the Collins precedent.

    Art

  • I’m not a lawyer, and I can’t claim to understand the precise technical implication of the ruling, but it frustrates me greatly that Art thinks this is so fundamentally important. As if the law is an end in itself, before which all must bow down, however absurd it may be.

    Charon does, on the other hand, know a bit about the law…

    If this is taken to extremes – then many disagreeable statements are capable of coming within this definition and then we are truly doomed…..

    There is a place for a common sense approach to be taken into the application of our laws….. and if that can’t be done by the judiciary, then we simply have to get the law changed so that we don’t have these manifestly absurd cases.

    Art’s point seems to be this: The ruling of the Lords is the ruling of the Lords, and that’s that. That there is no latitude for a judge in any lower court to make any different or differentiated ruling.

    Regarding the chances of success in the High Court, Art is, therefore, not optimistic.

    The implication is this: there are only two realistic ways of fixing the situation.

    One is to take the case to the Supreme Court in order that they may over-rule, clarify or supersede, the DPP vs Collins ruling – for only they can do so. A defeat in the High Court looks like an expensive and risky step that will have to be taken in order to undertake the even more expensive, and even more risky journey to the highest court in the land.

    Having come this far, and Paul Chambers might not thank me for saying this, it would be pointless if he now won in the high court, leaving the next hapless twitterer to role the dice time after time in the same way he has had to, in the face of judge after judge who takes an inflexible reading of DPP vs Collins.

    Far better, it seems, would be for the case to end up before the Supreme Court, where the issue of DPP vs Collins could be put to bed.

    The other thread to be taken up is for the statute under which Chambers was prosecuted to be changed, amended, repealed, dumped in the great legal shredder.

    With the farce that is the Government’s so called ‘Your Freedom’ consultation around a grand repeal of so-called bad or illiberal laws, I don’t believe we can in anyway count on this important matter being addressed.

    Which leaves the option of lobbying, campaigning and insisting that this ludicrously framed law is fixed. Making representations to your MP, to the Minister of Justice, to the Prime Minister. To the newspapers, on the internet, on placards and through loudhailers.

    This is evidently the view of @John_Demetriou. Art Li clearly leans towards the view that getting the law changed is the only way forward.

    And yet, that won’t clear Paul Chambers’ name, or give him his life and career back.

    I wish Paul well and hope that this all, in the end, works out for him. It’s been a shit year for him. The state has made him their plaything, and the state doesn’t play nice.

    #######

    Nor will any change in the law come in time to help the Conservative councillor chappie who was arrested yesterday and bailed, accused of the same offence as Chambers, for tweeting that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown should be stoned to death, in response to her on-air assertion that the west has no right to cast moral judgement against the practices of some Islamic countries.

    Delicate, vulnerable Yasmin called the police. She said:

    Alibhai-Brown, who writes columns for the Independent and the London Evening Standard, said last night she regarded his comments as incitement to murder. She told the Guardian: "It’s really upsetting. My teenage daughter is really upset too. It’s really scared us.

    "You just don’t do this. I have a lot of threats on my life. It’s incitement. I’m going to the police – I want them to know that a law’s been broken."

    She added that she regarded Compton’s remarks as racially motivated because he mentioned stoning.

    So, rolled into one, from Yasmin, we have a ludicrous playing of the race card, a bit of ‘nasty Tories’ political point-scoring and great fear, offence and upset – all from some daft tweet, the likes of which must occur en masse on forums, twitter and blogs, in response to inflammatory comments from this controversial talking head.

    Do Mel Phillips, Rod Liddge, Simon Heffer, Peter Hitchens  or even Jeremy Clarkson not attract vituperative and unpleasant critics? Judge Jacqueline Davies, who presided over Paul Chambers’ defeat yesterday has certainly been in receipt of twitter ordure in the last 24 hours.

    And, apparently, like a good little socialist, Yasmin’s first and last response is to run crying to nanny.

    Compton’s arrest may well be the first indication that the Chambers conviction has opened up the floodgates for to police arrest any one for any contentious, angry or humourous tweet at any time, “even if it was being communicated to someone who the sender KNEW WOULD NOT BE IN ANY WAY OFFENDED or distressed by it”"

    Think about it? Get in a political argument on Twitter, and next thing, some offence-seeking lefty will decide that it’s best to rebut your argument by calling the police and accusing you of being a racist/homophobic/offensive menace, even if you are a threat to nothing more than the merit of their argument.

    A free for all and a legal feeding-frenzy could ensue, which would seal the deal on our lack of freedom of expression in the UK.

    Might as well delete all your tweets now, folks. We are truly and genuinely screwed.

    AJ

    Paul Chambers #twitterjoketrial update – half time at the appeal court

    Friday saw the opening of Paul Chambers’ appeal against his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which he was adorned with after sending a silly, but harmless and hyperbolic, tweet relating to an airport.

    Initial expectations were that the hearing would be wrapped up on the day, with a verdict either in favour of common sense and reason, or in favour of the cruel and arbitrary whims of the state.

    However, not only has this not come to pass – the hearing was adjourned late on Friday afternoon – but the matter is likely not to be resolved this side of November. So Paul Chambers, and his nearest and dearest, are to be left in further agonising suspense by a callous, arbitrary and inhuman system.

    All the coverage you need on the current state of play is provided by the distinctly uneffable @DavidAllenGreen.

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     Click to read on

    .. And from @flayman, the guy widely credited with bringing Paul’s case to the attention of the Internet at large, a very insightful post about the state of play.

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    I’m writing this new post because Paul’s appeal was heard and then adjourned yesterday in Doncaster Crown Court and because the prosecution has, in my opinion, not only failed to strengthen its case since May but has offered evidence that actually weakens it to a never before seen level of farce.

    Click to read on

    Matt (@flayman) highlights a telling account of one of the CPS’s arguments, as relayed by the Guardian.

    Caroline Wiggin, for the prosecution, said Chambers had earlier sent direct messages to the woman in Northern Ireland as it appeared possible that the airport might close. In one he wrote: “I was thinking if it does I have decided to resort to terrorism.” She argued that the context provided by such messages strengthened the case that Chambers intended to cause menace. “If a man in prison were to send a message to his wife that he was going to come and beat her up, the court might consider that were menacing, albeit the man himself may have difficulty in putting it into effect,” she said.

    He does a simply masterful job of demonstrating the monumental incoherence of the argument put forward by Caroline Wiggin, which you should read.

    What really irked me about it, though, and what Matt does not address, is the implied gender politics informing the CPS’ argument.

    It’s like something from chapter one of the “Harriet Harman Manual of Righteous Misandry” and my piss has been gently simmering ever since I read it yesterday.

    Look at it again.

    In one he wrote: “I was thinking if it does I have decided to resort to terrorism.” She argued that the context provided by such messages strengthened the case that Chambers intended to cause menace.

    ORLY? How so? After all, this is a chap messaging the girly he’s on his way to see. Part of a running gag, perhaps?

    Anyway, what possible motive, in the minds of the righteous, could a horny, hairy Yorkshire MAN have to make such a journey?

    “If a man in prison were to send a message to his wife that he was going to come and beat her up, the court might consider that were menacing, albeit the man himself may have difficulty in putting it into effect,” she said.

    O. Kay.

    So, err… once more for the cameras…

    If a man in prison were to send a message to his wife that he was going to come and beat her up

    Permit  me to pose a question. Do you think, for one minute, that if it were Paul’s young lady in the dock for her part in the same series of messages, Ms Wiggin would have posited that…

    “If a woman in prison were to send a message to her husband that she was going to come and beat him up, the court might consider that were menacing, albeit the woman herself may have difficulty in putting it into effect,”

    Well, do you?

    There are plenty enough objective, rational reasons why Caroline Wiggin’s argument is fatuous, non-sensical, prejudiced and fallacious.

    But none of these approaches, as effectively as they make this woman look like a fool, satisfies my ire.

    The implied, and lazy, feminist premise that all men are brutes and all women are victims, which seems to underpin this argument is breathtaking.

    Matt, though – a man who is reasonable to the point of being fucking infuriating sometimes – insisted that Ms Wiggin was only putting forward the arguments cooked up by the CPS, and that it was unfair of me to level accusations of stupidity at her.

    If anything, Matt’s assertion makes things look even worse.

    In the conclusion I’d provisionally drawn, perhaps one of shooting the messenger, what we had was one woman who could be dismissed as a lazy, spiteful, man-hating, feminist idiot.

    In Matt’s scenario though, the only conclusion we can draw is that the CPS is, institutionally, running a prosecutorial policy of lazy, spiteful, feminist, man-hating idiocy.

    I was happier when I was just pinning the blame on Caroline Wiggin.

    Now the whole house of cunts has to fall. Kier Starmer’s head needs to be on a platter by Christmas if Chambers is not cleared.

    AJ

    UPDATE: Matt has now gone one better and garnered the opinion of a linguistics expert, who has deconstructed the tweet that got Paul into so much bother. Must read blogging.

    Paul Chambers Appeal Announced

    Further to previous posts, Jack of Kent has just posted the news:

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    And there’s plenty of reason for us to continue to support the fund raising effort that is being undertaken to support this appeal.

    The appeal will now be primarily undertaken by the awesomely formidable Stephen Ferguson, one of the United Kingdom’s best and most sought-after defence and appellate barristers.

    However, in Jack of Kent’s will also continue to provide pro bono legal support to Paul, as will a similarly esteemed media lawyer. This continues to imbue a certain cognitive dissonance in me, but it’s all good.

    Paul and his legal team will also have support pro bono from myself and Andrew Sharpe (who tweets as @TMT_lawyer).

    This is all good news, and I can only wish all involved in this effort the best of luck.

    Oh, wait. No, I can also give some more cash to the fund.

    Onwards.

    AJ

    Donate to Paul Chambers Legal Appeal Fund #section127 #twitterjoketrial

    Do it now…

    Click HERE to go to the fundraising page and click DONATE

    Further to this, Paul Chambers has decided that he is going to appeal his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for sending an "indecent, obscene or menacing" message for Tweeting the following throw-away hyperbole:

    "Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!"

    It’s a case that has alarming implications for anyone who has ever sent an email, text, tweet, photo or blog comment that may be construed, by anyone, who may happen upon it at an indeterminate later time, to be “of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

    Hear top legal opinion on the matter podcasted here:

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    Paul now has a £1,000 fine and a criminal record. Needless to say, that pays no heed to the fear, pain and stress he and his family have endured over the last 3 months. Nor to the various other ways in which he is now out of pocket (and a job) on account of this travesty of justice.

    Thanks,

    AJ

    Jack of Kent on the Paul Chambers verdict

    I’ve been waiting for this on tenterhooks.

    Paul Chambers: a Disgraceful and Illiberal Judgment

    I set out below the decision of District Judge Jonathan Bennett that Paul Chambers was guilty of the offence of sending a menacing message via a public telecommunications network, contrary to section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

    Regular readers of this blog will know I rarely criticse judges. In two years following the Simon Singh libel case, for example, I never once directly criticised Mr Justice Eady.

    However, I believe the judgment below is not only illiberal and incorrect.

    I believe it is a disgrace.

    But even more worrying is the revelation that the Crown Prosecution Service submitted that the offence needed no intention at all.

    Now some important extracts from the judgement:

    I have to consider the final part of the “tweet” – “otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high”. The context is we live in a society where there are huge security concerns particularly in relation to airports and air travel. I do not need to repeat the very real incidents there have been in the UK in recent years let alone worldwide. With that background I can have no doubt that the remark posted by the defendant is menacing.

    Errr… O. Kay.

    His intention is of course different matter to which I now turn.

    Do go on.

    I now have to consider whether the prosecution have to demonstrate a particular state of mind to satisfy me the offence is made out. It is more than just an intention to send a message to another. [The prosecutor] in his skeleton argument seeks to persuade me that mens rea is not required for the offence beyond a simple intention to send the message (see paragraph 7 of the prosecution skeleton argument.

    So… wait? What?

    It is not sufficient for the prosecution to say this case is obiter dicta because the ratio of the case concerned the definition of “grossly offensive”. It is dealing with the very same sub-section. I find the case binding upon me. I therefore conclude that the prosecution must show some mens rea to satisfy me, to the requisite standard of proof, for me to find this case is proved.

    So mens rea must be shown by the prosecution? Well we’re home & dry then, right? Oh….

    I do not have to accept what the defendant tells me about his state of mind at face value. I also note the defendant is an experienced, and clearly very heavy user, of “Twitter”. Furthermore he has travelled by air, although he had not used Robin Hood airport previously.

    So Chambers had all the information and experience necessary to know what he was posting was likely to have the consequences it has had? The airport’s security dismissed his tweet as a non-viable threat.

    I found strange his evidence in relation to airport threats not seeming to relate to him and appearing to be in another world.

    He DIDN’T MAKE AN AIRPORT THREAT for crying out loud. He made a stupid hyperbolic comment.

    Of particular significance is the fact that this “tweet” was posted to the public timeline, unlike most of his “tweets” in the time frame around this particular posting. This message would have been of particular significance to the lady known as “crazy colours” in Northern Ireland to whom the defendant was going to see on his air journey. He chose to post it in the public domain where in theory it was open for anyone to see, as indeed did Mr Duffield.

    Oh you’re an expert at this now, are you? Do you UNDERSTAND how slim the difference is on Twitter between a post in the public timeline and one directed at a specific twitterist?

    As for Mr Duffield. Well, what an unmitigated Berkeley Hunt.

    Carry on up the Khyber:

    I am therefore satisfied, so that I am sure, that the defendant sent the message via “Twitter” and it was of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live. Furthermore I am satisfied the defendant was, at the very least, aware that this was of a menacing nature and I find him guilty of the offence.

    Jesus wept.

    Gordon Brown, you and your cronies did this to my country, you utter disgrace.

    Read on for the full judgement and treatment…

    Also tomorrow, prolifically podcasting blawgist Charon QC is recording a podcast with Jack of Kent on this very dire matter.

    AJ

    In his own words

    Paul Chambers writes…

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    For one joke on Twitter I’ve had my civil liberties trampled on, and have now got a criminal record

    The vast majority of us like to consider ourselves decent people. We pay our taxes, hold doors open for others, stay out of trouble, that kind of thing. I certainly thought of myself this way, a 26-year-old man trying to forge a career and get on with life. So when I was arrested on 13 January at work by four police officers, it came as a bit of a shock.

    The reason for the arrest was a tweet I had posted on the social network Twitter, which was deemed to constitute a bomb threat against Robin Hood airport in Doncaster: "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!" You may say, and I certainly realise now, it was ill-advised. But it was clearly frustration, caused by heavy snowfall grounding flights and potentially scuppering my own flight a week later. Like having a bad day at work and stating that you could murder your boss, I didn’t even think about whether it would be taken seriously.

    Call me naive or ignorant, but the heightened state of panic over terror issues was not something I considered as relating to me in any way – until I was arrested, shoved into a police car in front of colleagues, hauled off to Doncaster police station, and interviewed for the rest of the day. My iPhone, laptop and desktop hard drive were confiscated during a search of my house. It was terrifying and humiliating.

    I never expected to be charged, but a month later I was: not under the offence of making a bomb threat, for which I was originally arrested, but under the communications act for the offence of sending a menacing message. This first appeared to be an absolute offence, much the same as speeding: conviction does not depend on mens rea. For a stupid mistake, I was faced with the prospect of a career-ruining criminal conviction. After fresh legal advice it turned out I could argue I had no intention and awareness to commit the crime, and I could plead not guilty. Even after all the preceding absurdity and near-breakdown-inducing stress, I was confident common sense would prevail in my day in court.

    Unfortunately,yesterday I was found guilty and ordered to pay £1,000 in fines and legal costs, which I have to find along with my own legal costs of another £1,000. I am considering an appeal, though I have no means, having left my job due to the circumstances.

    The bright side has been an outpouring of support on Twitter, unexpected and overwhelming, with many users – including Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross – offering to cover or donate towards my costs via a fund set up by a third party. Writers Sali Hughes, Emma Kennedy and Graham Linehan were among more than a thousand others who sent messages after my verdict was announced. Right now I’m unsure whether to accept their help, but I am truly warmed by the offers.

    Whatever happens now, I remain terrified. Terrified of speaking my mind, terrified that my life has potentially been ruined. Most of the authorities could see it for what it was, and yet I find myself with a conviction because the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was in the public interest to prosecute. It would appear we live in such a hyper-sensitive world that we cannot engage in hyperbole, however misguided, without having civil liberties trampled on by, at best, heavy-handed police.

    I would have fully accepted the police coming to my house to question me; it would have taken all of five minutes to realise what had happened. I would have learned my lesson and no taxpayer money would have been wasted on a frivolous prosecution. I have had some very dark days, and my family has been put through the wringer, because I made one silly joke.

    twitter.com/pauljchambers

    AJ

    Donate to the Paul Chambers Twitter Joke Trial Fund

    Note: @stephenfry has very generously offered to pay Paul Chambers’ fine. Nevertheless, this still leaves Paul very much out of pocket, especially if he decides to appeal – he has 21 days to make a decision & no doubt he’ll need to take legal advice in order to come to that decision.

    A facility has now been set up to donate money to assist Paul Chambers with the fallout of the Twitter Joke Trial.

    Donate now via PayPal to TwitterJokeTrialFund@gmail.com

    This chap is responsible for it:

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    And good on him, I say.

    He’s set up a Twitter account – @TwJokeTrialFund

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    Read more here:

    http://tumblr.com/xsq9pzkg2

    AJ

    Apparently, Paul Chambers got what he deserved

    … or so say several commenters under the Guardian’s report of his case:

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    It’s satisfying to note that Punkrockhack is wrong in more ways than I’d previously thought possible. Paul did indeed get with his NonIron bird.

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    I was preparing to write a rebuttal to these people, pointing out that if they think the trauma Paul has undergone, and the collateral destruction of his career (not just a lost job!) is just punishment for an ill-judged but innocent throwaway remark, then they have lost all sense of proportion and I fear for our society of collaborators.

    Happily, via Twitter, I see that another bloggist, Graham Linehan has done an excellent and comprehensive job of addressing the attitudes demonstrated above.

    What all these people are essentially saying is this:  because this country was made less safe by  the hasty, reckless, duplicitous way in which  Tony Blair took us into war (a war which only yesterday claimed 114 more lives), and because he will never be brought to justice for that, we must live in a state of paranoid readiness, a state of nervous anxiety, a humorless state that cannot tell the difference between a joke and a threat, for the foreseeable future. Because that one, massive crime will go unpunished, we shall all be punished in thousands of interesting ways.

    As Robert Harris said, while we stand at airport security with our shoes in our hands, Tony Blair floats unimpeded through another part of the terminal.

    As we sit by a ruined Tube station, picking rubble out of our hair, Tony Blair is on his way to a thousand quid a plate dinner in a bulletproof limo.

    To those people who put forward the view that Paul is the one at fault here, I’d like to say,  it’s not supposed to be like this. We’re not supposed to be scared of our shadows. We’re not supposed to be torturing people. We’re not supposed to be letting people get away with murder. We’re not supposed to be prosecuting people for offhand jokes.

    Quite.

    AJ

    Paul Chambers Coverage Elsewhere

    Doubtless not a comprehensive list, but:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie/5987450/a-disgraceful-prosecution-that-should-shame-britain.thtml

    http://andrewtindall.com/2010/05/10/crap-jokes-stop-right-there-criminal-scum/

    http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/05/paul-chambers-found-guilty.html

    http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2010/05/i-am-going-to-blow-up-robin-hood-airport.html

    http://badreason99.blogspot.com/2010/05/paul-chambers-phonepayplus-and-perverse.html

    http://www.techeye.net/internet/twitter-airport-bomb-joker-found-guilty

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/10/twitter_bomb_joker_guilty/

    http://ron-broxted.livejournal.com/162123.html

    This last link contains a lead on finding out more about the judge involved today.

    District Judge Jonathan Bennett (he of Edlington infamy)

    To be updated as and when.

    AJ

    UPDATE: 11 May 19:00

    http://charlesrussell.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/tweet-in-haste-repent-at-leisure/

    Blamestorming

    As is the way, the brewing twatterstorm is getting round to the grisly business of apportioning blame for the situation Paul Chambers finds himself in. The invisible finger seems to be alighting up on Kier Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, head of the Crown Prosecution service.

    There are so many points at which discretion and common sense could have prevailed. The police. The CPS. The judge.

    It didn’t prevail.

    Clearly, then, the police, the CPS and the judge are all implicated. But if you dig down and ask why they behaved in the way they did, I’m pretty sure you’ll find government targets and directives at the bottom of it all.

    The police, the CPS and the courts were strongly encouraged to pursue this matter, and can only, at the end of the day, be accused of acting in their own understandable self-interest, in applying the law as it is written.

    So we come down to two points:

    • Bad law, drafted and passed into law by the Labour government.
    • Target driven pursuit of prosecutions, under whatever laws may apply, bad or not.

    So, if you support Paul Chambers and share my horror and disgust at his plight, but you voted Labour last week, you really need to stand back and re-evaluate what it was you voted for.

    AJ

    The unintended consequences of a Twitter Joke.

    https://aljahom.wordpress.com/category/twitterjoketrial/

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    Disgusting.

    Paul reported earlier that we was considering mounting an appeal, but part of him just wants it to be over.

    I can totally understand his sentiment, but if it’s true he now can’t complete his professional qualifications, he HAS to appeal if there’s any possibility at all of overturning this disgusting, moronic, spiteful and shameful verdict.

    A paypal fund is being set up for us all to donate towards Paul’s fine (details to follow).

    If he needs money to fund an appeal, I think we should also contribute to that. There’s a lot of good will towards Paul in the twattersphere, and if we can tap it to such an extent that Paul’s name is cleared, that would be a victory.

    AJ

    Your Country

    A song written by exiled Ukrainians seems appropriate, somehow:

    Your country raised you
    your country fed you
    And just like any other country
    It will break you
    On front line send you
    Tax the hell out of you
    And just like any other country
    It will lock you up you!

    But unfortunately there’ll be no judgement day
    It would be kind of fun to see
    What they would have to say
    When the god they preached
    Would actually be there
    And all who didn’t like The Stooges
    Would go to fucking hell!

    What are all these countries
    How did they appear?
    Who cut up the cake?
    Who brought up all this gear?
    Did it have to do anything
    With its people’s will?
    I don’t know, I don’t know
    I don’t know my dear…

    But even all the garbage
    they pour over our eyes
    Does not prevent us from living
    Most magical of lifes

    Now it’s six in the morning
    I’m down in New Orleans
    Sister paintings on the wall
    They will speak to me
    And up later on we resume salutations
    to the rest of local Tribal Connections

    Quite.

    AJ

    In these troubled times

    … is a catch all excuse for jackbooted authoritarianism. Whether it’s harassing photographers, or criminalising hyperbole.

    The judge who found Paul Chambers guilty today said this:

    A district judge at Doncaster Magistrates Court ruled today the Tweet was "of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live".

    Which basically means that, because of a rag-bag of bearded lunatics, everything we ALL say is subject to strict controls.

    Ergo, this judge (District Judge Bennett apparently) is doing the bidding of Islamic extremists who seek to disrupt our society and our justice system.

    Paul Chambers is a victim of the appallingly misconceived attitude that characterises the UK’s official response to domestic terrorism.

    It’s truly frightening.

    Calling Thomas Jefferson:

    When the government fears the people, there is liberty.  When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

    I don’t think we can be in any doubt that right now, there is tyranny.

    AJ

    Paul Chambers GUILTY! WTF!??

    He was prosecuted under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for sending an “indecent, obscene or menacing” message.

    The more I dwell upon this, the more I feel sick to my stomach. This country is ruined and there truly is tyranny.

    My commiserations to Paul Chambers, and here’s hoping the sentence will be lenient, and not even a sniff of custodial.

    More anon.

    AJ

    (Background here)

    UPDATE: £1000 fine.

    image 

    UPDATE: With pledges of help with Paul’s fine mounting up on Twitter, Old Holborn is on the case of (i) finding out if Paul wants this help and (ii) getting it done.

    #twitterarrest #helppaulchambers Update

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    Thursday it is then.

    I guess (iAnal) it can go three ways now.

    1. The judge can reject the motion to change the plea to not-guilty and go on to sentencing.
    2. The judge can accept the motion and declare that there is no case to answer.
    3. The judge can accept the motion and set a trial date in front of twelve men good and true.

    Probably the best result all round is option (2) and I expect that’s what Paul Chambers is hoping for (I would be), but option (3) would (one would hope) make South Yorks Police, the CPS and the government look very stupid indeed. Sadly, it would be unlikely to get underway until after the election.

    So fingers crossed for Mr Chambers and cheers to the above iconised twatterist for keeping us updated.

    AJ