Category Archives: Terrorism

Comic Becky Fury on what ISIS/ISIL’s beheader Jihadi John was really like

Becky was talking just off Brick Lane last night

After yesterday’s blog with Chris Dangerfield was posted, Becky Fury – winner of at least one genuine Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award – asked if she could give a response.

So I met her last night in London’s East End, just off Brick Lane.

“What made you want to respond to the blog?” I asked her.

“I basically,” she told me, “wanted to do some self promotion…”

“Oh God,” I said.

“…and I had some ideas about politics,” Becky continued.

“Good grief,” I said. “You didn’t want to have a go at Chris Dangerfield for perceived Islamophobia?”

“No.”

“Well, that’s no use at all,” I told her. “You just wanted a chat.”

“Yes,” she laughed. “I just wanted to be validated. Do you want me to talk about Islamic Fundamentalism?”

“It’d be something,” I told her.

“My friend actually taught Jihadi John,” Becky said. “He was basically a kid in remedial maths at school.”

“And he went to my college,” I told her. “The University of Westminster… Well, it was The Polytechnic in my day.”

“When he was at school,” said Becky, “he was a kid that nobody liked. He had B.O. and bad breath. He was basically a disenfranchised kid and this idea of running off to become an Islamic Fundamentalist was obviously quite attractive. Then he got turned into this character in tabloid newspaper mythology. But he was basically just a kid from remedial maths who didn’t get on with anyone.”

“This character in tabloid newspaper mythology”

“Well,” I said, “beheading people certainly works as a bid for attention.”

“He was basically pissed-off,” said Becky. “Maybe if they had had better pastoral care in his local London borough he wouldn’t have done that. And then there were all those girls running off to find this hunky Jihadi John in Syria and, when they get there, they just find that it’s Muhammad, the smelly kid from remedial maths and they think: Well, we might as well have just stayed in Tower Hamlets and met him and our mums wouldn’t have been quite so pissed-off.

“Obviously, you don’t want to encourage any type of religious fundamentalism. You can pick on one as being worse but, if you do pick on one as being worse, you make it worse and it turns it into something that becomes more dangerous because you have given people something to join in with. After they started trying to ban the burkha, lots more Moslem women started wearing burkhas because they were told they should not be allowed to do it. That’s what happens when you try to put a lid on things.”

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The Angry Brigade was mildly irritating

The Bush Theatre stage production

The Bush Theatre stage production today

At the end of April, I blogged about The Angry Brigade play opening at London’s Bush Theatre and quoted my friend Sam Taylor (not his real name) who was around at the time.

This afternoon, I went to see the play with Sam.

I was more concerned with the style; Sam with the content.

The play was two-and-a-half hours long including a 20-minute interval in the middle and the first half, at least, could/should have been cut by a third. Words were being written and spouted simply for the sake of writing and spouting words, not developing a plot.

The first half seemed like some stylised semi-farce or something out of a 1970s sitcom with comic police and added serious bits and the second half seemed to be trying to be poetic and arty and cutting-edge.

“I just don’t know,” I told Sam, “why the story of The Angry Brigade has gone off the radar and disappeared from memories of British social history. I mean, you say it’s cos they were so dull, but…”

“Yes,” said Sam.

“You were in two minds about seeing the play,” I said.

“I just didn’t have a clue,” explained Sam, “what they could possibly do with the four of them because, as far as I know, they’ve never given out their story and no-one knows, so I just didn’t see how you could make a play out of these four very dull people. They just were not very charismatic people.”

At the time of the eventual trial verdict...

Four of the eight charged were sentenced…

“The real people?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Sam. “And they were so young.”

“Immediately post-university,” I said.

“Yes,” said Sam. “I was afraid of what the play might do with the story – try and make it politically justified. That all their wild ramblings would be rationalised.”

“I thought,” I said, “that the play gave vent to their wild ramblings in the second half in a reasonably fair way.”

“But the astonishing 168 or was it 186 attacks in one year?” said Sam. “That is quite astounding. At what point did the papers first print the story?”

“I have to say I didn’t know there had been an embargo on it,” I said. “I guess there must have been a ‘D’ Notice on it.”

“Yes,” said Sam.

“And, in the play,” I said, “the police seemed to be baffled why they bombed the Post Office Tower.”

“They were just kids,” replied Sam. “They were just… Biba, the Post Office Tower. How can you rationalise that?…”

Photo (left) of bombing at the Employment Secretary’s home

Photo (left) of bombing at the Employment Secretary’s home

“Well,” I said. “The Post Office Tower is fair enough. It was a defence installation. Presumably is. Nothing to do with the Post Office. But I just thought the whole play was superficial. There is so much material in that story, there has to be a good play – or film – in there somewhere. But this wasn’t it.”

“You have to have charismatic characters,” said Sam, “a premise and some genuine political beliefs instead of playing at anarchism.”

“They vaguely,” I said, “tried to have some depth in the second half, but it just degenerated into running around, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. A lot of the budget must have gone in buying the music rights.”

“It wasn’t any music I ever listened to,” said Sam. “The strange thing is that, in that circle, I don’t remember anyone ever playing music. At university you did; you used to go to each other’s rooms but, in that circle, with so many people coming and going in all the squats and in these communes – we weren’t in squats, we were communes – I don’t remember anyone ever sitting quietly listening to music.”

“Also,” I said, “the play was only about four people and the police in the play only seemed to be pursuing four people. Maybe it was concentrated for artistic reasons.”

Poster supporting The Angry Brigade

Poster supporting The Angry Brigade

The Angry Brigade trial was called, at the time, the trial of The Stoke Newington Eight.

“I knew nothing about the trial,” said Sam, “except everyone knew that they were guilty, though not on those charges. I do remember there was fundraising for them and marches for them and the feeling – which you would appreciate – that those charges were false. They did it, but not what they were charged with… I’d have to go back and read about it in retrospect because I knew about it so little at the time.”

“And there was the other guy,” I said, “who I think everyone thought was the central one. Though the play did include a German bloke coming over with guns. And they mentioned Paris.”

“Yes,” said Sam. “They were clearly getting their supplies from Paris.”

“I was,” I said, “amazed they only got ten year sentences. You would think, just for setting off bombs at the front and back doors of the Employment Secretary’s home alone they would have got stiffer sentences.”

“Mmmm…” Sam responded.

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The Angry Brigade, British anarchists – the real bombers were never arrested?

The Post Office Tower was bombed by The Angry Brigade

London’s Post Office Tower – bombed by The Angry Brigade

Tonight, the new play about 1970s anarchist bombers The Angry Brigade is being premiered at the Bush Theatre in London.

I have always thought it odd that The Angry Brigade are seldom mentioned in social histories of the 1960s and 1970s. They were active around 1969-1972 and the Bomb Squad (now called SO13) was specifically formed to track down The Angry Brigade.

Their targets included banks, embassies, factories, the 1970 Miss World contest (a BBC Outside Broadcast van was bombed) and the homes of judges, police chiefs and government MPs. In 1971, a bomb exploded in the Post Office Tower (now renamed the BT Tower) and two bombs exploded outside Employment Secretary Robert Carr’s house.

Some of the alleged Angry Brigade’s alleged arms

Some of the alleged Angry Brigade’s arms found by the police

I have a friend called Sam Taylor. Well, no, I don’t. I have no friend called Sam Taylor. But let us pretend that is his real name. It is not.

When I mentioned the new play at the Bush Theatre to Sam Taylor, he told me he did not think the play should have been written.

“Why?” I asked him.

“Because,” he told me, “I thought the Angry Brigade were meaningless. I thought they were just a sad little collection of young people who were doing something which was very wrong. They were making the facts fit the plot. They wanted to do something. They were caught up in their own propaganda. These days, the propaganda is political correctness. Back then, it was anarchism. I can only remember being in the same room as them once.”

“With who?” I asked.

The Bush Theatre stage production

The Bush Theatre stage production tonight

“With the four who were convicted. The men I can’t remember at all. I remember one of the girls. They were very unprepossessing young people. I only remember them being in the corner of a room, probably at some meeting about what time we were going to arrive at Covent Garden Market in the morning to pick up the fruit and veg.

“London had had the Vietnam protests and there were a lot of Americans in London at the time. So, from that protest movement grew this anarchist movement and it had its roots in things which are quite acceptable now.”

“You were living in a squat at that time?” I asked.

“No,” said Sam. “The squatting movement was pretty much starting up around then, but we are not squatting. We were renting. We were a collective. It was a very loose group of anarchists, all having different aims. The other collectives were quite well-off. We were probably the poorest. The other collectives were not short of money. We were the only working class people I ever met. In one collective, one of the members was very much into women’s refuges. I remember there was a Food Co-op but also there was an Adventure Playground group. Adventure Playgrounds were thought to be quite revolutionary in their day.

The Angry Brigade logo - whoever they really all were

The Angry Brigade logo – whoever they really all were

“These were not mainstream things in those times and that was the link. That was how I got to be on the fringes of these collectives. We only ever knew them as the name of where they lived. It was a very small, loosely-connected group of collectives and one of them was the Amhurst Road Collective.”

“Which,” I said, “was partly the Angry Brigade.”

“Yes,” said Sam. “But I didn’t know that at the time. The extraordinary thing about the whole of that anarchist movement is how nobody has spoken about it. The big story is the extraordinary loyalty. As far as I know, I never heard that anyone had shopped anyone else. Everyone was being arrested, followed, searched, intimidated, beaten-up…”

“I think,” I said, “that beating-up suspects was standard practice at the time.”

“Yes,” Sam agreed. “The words you did not want to hear were: Come along with me to Barnet police station.”

“Barnet?” I asked.

The offices of Time Out magazine were raided in the search for The Angry Brigade

Time Out magazine’s offices were raided in the police search

“For some reason it was always Barnet police station. We were just hearing: Such-and-such a collective were all taken to Barnet. They were trying to say these people were loosely affiliated but, after people were arrested and released and their names were in the frame, the bombings were still continuing. As far as I know, nobody has ever come clean about what was actually going on and who was running it.

“There was clearly, from what I could see, a lot of coming-and-going between France, Germany and London and the people I met had clearly been very involved in the student revolt in Paris in 1968. I never knew the back story except I knew there were foreign links. The people in these other collectives had links with foreigners and they were going off abroad.

“The other thing I remember is someone called Petra turning up and I was told I had to leave the house I was staying in because Petra was arriving. When I asked about her, everyone closed down and I was even told there were two Petras. I wondered if that was to throw me off the scent. I always wondered if was Petra from the Baader-Meinhof group.”

Part Schelm of Baader-Meinhof

Petra Schelm of Germany’s Baader-Meinhof Gang

(In May 1970, Petra Schelm travelled with other members of Baader-Meinhof to Jordan where they were trained by the Palestine Liberation Organisation in urban guerrilla warfare. On 15 July 1971, after a car chase in Hamburg, Petra fired a handgun at police. The police returned fire, allegedly with a submachine gun. However, a closeup photograph of her body taken at the scene immediately after her death shows a single gunshot wound through the eye.)

“I don’t know if there was a link with the Baader-Meinhof group,” Sam told me, “because nobody has ever come out and spoken about any links between all those groups. There were lots and lots of raids going on and the one thing they were always after was address books.

“At the time, my collective were simply paranoid about smoking dope. We knew we were being watched, but we thought it was the Drugs Squad. I took it all with a pinch of salt. But then we heard Amhurst Road mentioned in the news and we saw the names and we realised it was that collective. And all these people were being arrested and taken to Barnet police station. We were surprised and shocked and moved out very quickly.

“I went to stay on people’s floors within London. They were regarded as safe houses; I don’t know why. I don’t know why they were safe when everyone else was being picked up. Then I worked under another name in London and then I left London to work in the West Country.

At the Angry Brigade trial, the jury was bette for their political beliefs

Angry Brigade trial jury was vetted for their political beliefs

“It seemed to me from what I read and heard that they were framed by the police, that the evidence was planted on them. Clearly they were involved in it – but it may simply have been that they were the printing press.”

“Supposedly,” I said, “the Rolling Stones’ arrest involved drugs being planted on them. They were guilty as hell, but the police planted the drugs to get an arrest.”

“Exactly,” said Sam. “That seemed to be accepted at the time. What came out at the trial was that they seemed to have believed the… I don’t know much about the others. I only know about the four. I didn’t really follow it at the time… But, as far as I know, no-one was ever arrested successfully for placing the bombs. They were charged with conspiracy. No people – because it seemed there were many more than just one person – were actually successfully arrested or prosecuted for planting the bombs.”

“There were an awful lot of bombs going off,” I said to Sam.

“Yes,” he agreed. “And the press were not printing them all. There were a great many more bombs than were publicised. I found that out retrospectively. And what happened has stayed with me. Even now, I instinctively don’t like having my picture taken.”

There is a trailer on YouTube for the Bush Theatre play.

and there is a 72-minute documentary about The Angry Brigade on YouTube. I can’t guarantee the facts are true.

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Mad Moslem terrorists and a bizarre reaction by the Apple Store in Paris

Last Thursday, the Daily Mirror reported the Charlie Ebdo attack

Last Thursday, the Daily Mirror reported the Charlie Hebdo attack

Last week, as you may have noticed, there were two Islamic fanatic terror attacks in Paris which were triggered by cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Twenty people, including three terrorists, were killed in three days.

The attacks triggered, on Sunday, an alleged 4 million people marching on the streets of France in protest – including 40 world leaders in Paris.

By unhappy coincidence, my friend Lynn had pre-booked a weekend trip to Paris with her husband whom I shall call Peter (not his name).

This morning, she sent me an e-mail:


Last Friday, the London Evening Standard reported the ongoing drama

Last Friday’s London Evening Standard on the ongoing drama

The weather in Paris was chilly so Peter wore a fleece cap and I wore a cashmere beret… But we were told to take them off in the Apple shop!


I asked Lynn: “Did they think your cashmere beret was one step away from a burkha?”

I got this reply:


It was simply a city with lots of people strolling towards the march areas and no traffic apart from police cars, police bikes, taxis and a very few private cars. The parking areas were full with cars with CD diplomatic plates. We did not go on the Metro as we prefer to walk everywhere, but also in case it was overcrowded.

Yesterday The Scotsman reported theParis march

Yesterday, The Scotsman reported the march in Paris on Sunday

It seemed to me a fruitless and expensive exercise. If every member of the Muslim faith in Europe had gone out on the streets to protest about the lunatics taking over their religion (although any religion involves lunacy at worst and extreme suspension of disbelief at best) it would have some purpose. If each nation had expressed its sympathy and explained that, instead of spending enormous amounts on policing such events and sending politicians to France, they were investing extra sums in policing the fanatics, that would have some purpose. This was just a similar reaction to the sick and maudlin overkill whenever anyone famous-for-a-day dies (Diana Windsor being the most extreme example); it achieves nothing.

I described our headgear in the Apple Store in detail to show that our faces were in no way obscured from security cameras – we were not wearing hoodies. If we had been Orthodox Jews, would Peter have been asked to remove his kippah/skullcap or, if Sikh, his turban?


I asked my eternally-un-named friend what her view of the whole caboodle is. She told me:


The Sunday Telegraph reports

Sunday Telegraph reports story

A lot of people are talking about leaving France out of fear and a lot of people are living in terror because the PC media keeps portraying the perpetrators as disconnected or some such. In fact, most people feel disconnected, but they don’t go around killing people – and certainly not because of a feeling it is not only their right but their duty. 

The media, including the BBC is responsible for bad, biased reporting on Israel and Palestine. Our way of life has been eroded. Muslims should review their religion in the light of common sense.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I remember the thing people feared was young people being brainwashed by the Moonies – How to rescue them from the brainwashing which had the person really believing in the cult. It’s ironic that the moon features in both – in this case, the crescent moon.

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World War I, Cambodia and beheadings

Front page of Sunday Telegraph

Front of today’s Sunday Telegraph

I am posting my blog a little late today because, this morning and lunchtime, I went to the Imperial War Museum in London where, amongst other marketing matters, they were discussing reaction to the design of their new First World War exhibition area.

Yesterday, the self-styled Islamic State beheaded British aid worker David Haines.

When they beheaded the second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, a couple of weeks ago, my eternally-un-named friend and I discussed whether or not, if you were the family of the victim, you would want to – almost feel compelled to – watch the video of the beheading. I think we both came to the conclusion that we probably would.

I have no urge of any kind to see the beheading of any of these (so far three) victims.

But, for some reason, if I were a brother or father or son, I think I would want to see.

It makes no logical sense. It would have no good, positive effect. It would merely traumatise you with those images for the rest of your life. But there is, I suspect, some inexplicable human urge to experience the last seconds of your brother or husband or father or son.

The Imperial War Museum this morning

London’s Imperial War Museum this morning

The new Imperial War Museum exhibition on the First World War manages an excellent balance between facts and people. It is a big exhibition. I had 50 minutes to skim through it. But, to see it  properly might take three or four hours.

Strangely, the two things I will remember most are a film where not much happened – it was just German prisoners and British soldiers filing past a camera – but you could see all the faces and eyes of those now long-dead people…

And the other thing I will remember is a statistic right at the start of the exhibition which stated that, in the period 1900-1914, average life expectancy in the best parts of the West End of London was 55 (actually 55 for women; 50 for men) and life expectancy in the poorer East End of London was 30.

Nothing to do with the War, but it put it into context. It made that world come alive to me.

Killing fields outside Phnom Penh in Kampuchea/Cambodia

The killing fields outside Phnom Penh in Cambodia in 1989

I went to the killing fields of Phnom Penh and to Tuol Sleng in 1989. Tuol Sleng was the Khmer Rouge interrogation centre to which prisoners were taken before they were driven in trucks to the killing fields.

At the killing fields in 1989, you could see the outlines of the mass grave pits of 10 or 15 years before and, here and there, little shreds of shirts and slivers of human bones which had splintered off when skulls and hands and bodies had been smashed.

There were glass pagodas of skulls. But the slivers of bone and the glass pagodas were less horrifying than the small entrance hall to Tuol Sleng where the walls were covered with faces.

Photos at the S-21 interrogation centre in Phnom Penh

These people were at Tuol Sleng long ago

With Germanic efficiency, the Khmer Rouge had photographed their victims before they were taken to the killing fields. Photographs of their faces, as if they were passport photos for death.

All the men and women photographed knew they were going to die.

They did not think they might die.

They knew they were going to die and soon.

They all had that same look in their eyes: a distant, empty stare without hope.

So it goes.

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Comedy critic Kate Copstick on that ‘rape blog’ and her hellish trip to Kenya

Copstick and Alastair at the Mama Biashara shop yesterday

Copstick and Alister at the Mama Biashara shop yesterday

Since 2008, comedy critic Kate Copstick has been running her Mama Biashara charity in Kenya.

As well as health care projects and workshops, it gives small grants and helps poor people (especially women) set up their own small businesses which may give them a lift to a better life.

Last week, she returned from one of her frequent visits to Kenya. Her trip there coincided with the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall.

“So you had a hellish time in Kenya?” I asked her yesterday at the Mama Biashara shop in Shepherd’s Bush. Also in the shop was volunteer helper Alister.

“It was probably,” she said, “bad karma following me after my unforgivable suggestion in your blog… You know what I did, Alister? Looking back, I can’t believe I did it – I suggested that women might like to take a little responsibility for their actions.”

“Alister, were I to meet you in a bar and I was already pissed and I wrapped myself round you, bought you several drinks, had more drinks myself, asked you if you wanted to come home with me, took you home, upstairs, got naked with you, lay down on the bed with you, what would you think I was planning?”

“A sleepover?” suggested Alister

“So you would not leap aboard and fuck my brains out?” asked Copstick.

“Definitely not,” said Alister. “Although, if I worked for Help The Aged, maybe I would.”

“Well,” said Copstick, “just because I suggested if a girl acts like she’s up for it, dresses like she’s up for it, walks like she’s up for it, talks like she’s up for it, drags a guy into a horizontal position and takes his clothes off… then he might get the idea that she was up for it… Apparently that’s wrong.”

“So,” I said, “some may argue this resulted in bad karma in Kenya.”

Mama Biashara’s Kate Copstick

Copstick on happier earlier trip

“I arrived in Nairobi on the 16th of September,” said Copstick. (That was the day the blog was published.) “And, from that very first day, it went wrong. My mate Dave, the man with the car – ‘Dave The Deathtrap’, they call him – had had his Deathtrap confiscated. So I had to get a regular taxi. I bunged everything in the back and thought: Well, at least it’s a shiny, lovely, new taxi so we’re not going to get stopped by the police.

“So we were stopped by the police.

“They did all that stuff of shining the torches in the back of the car right in your eyes. They couldn’t find anything wrong with the car, so they said: Oh, you have committed an offence. You’re not wearing your seatbelt. You have to pay a fine.

“So I said: OK, terribly sorry. Take me to the police station, charge me and I’ll pay the fine. At which point, they dragged me out of the car and said: It’s not for you to tell us to take you to the police station! It’s for us to decide to take you to the police station! 

“I said: Terribly sorry. That’s what I meant. Take me to the police station, charge me and I’ll pay the fine – at which point there was lots of Kenyan harrumphing.

Why can you not just pay the fine here?” they asked.

Well, if I pay it here, I told them, it’s not a fine, is it? It’s kitu kidogo (meaning something small i.e. a bribe) and I don’t pay kitu kidogo. There was a great deal more harrumphing. I kept insisting on being taken to the police station. They thought I was crazy, but they let us go. I remember thinking I so hope that’s not an omen, because I’d never been stopped before on the way from the airport. But then there was the whole Westgate shopping mall hoo-ha – the attack by Al-Shabaab terrorists.”

“You weren’t near there?” I asked.

“I can’t afford to shop there,” said Copstick. “But, to show they were doing something, the police started randomly rounding up boys in slums and either arresting or shooting them and a lot of the Mama Biashara workshops we had planned were cancelled because the idea of a white woman dressed in black having meetings with lots of young guys in slums was just going to be tempting fate too much… The police would have been saying: Ey! You are Samantha!

“They called Samantha Lewthwaite (the UK-born white woman who was initially suspected of being involved in the Westgate attack) Dada Mzungu, which means White Sister, so the shouting would have gone: Ey! You’re Dada Mzungu! – No! I’m Mama Biashara! 

“Even I thought it would be tempting fate because, once you’re arrested in Kenya, such a world of shite opens up.

“So I went off to Owendo down near the Tanzanian border – the arse end of nowhere, fairly ghastly – but Mama Biashara is doing loads of stuff there and it’s fantastic.

“The first night I arrived I was full of Yoohooo! Marvellous! Tomorrow, up-and-at-em! Loads of good work to do!

“So I go to bed – I had a little cupboard they slotted a bed into – and, in the morning, I get up and stand on a 1,000 shilling note, which is worth about £8. I think: That’s very strange. But there’s another one on the floor and then I find my bum bag which is open and I think This isn’t good, so I check and there’s maybe 10,000 shillings left where there had been around 100,000 shillings.”

“How much is that?” I asked.

“About £800,” Copstick told me. “The youngest son told me he had woken up at 5.00am and the front door was open. They reckoned somebody the previous night – somebody who knew the house and had had money from me before and knew where I kept my money, knew I always brought cash and knew where I slept – had come in and hidden somewhere, probably under my bed, and come out when everyone was asleep, taken the money and gone out leaving the door open.

Copstick, in London yesterday, remembers her Kenyan trip

Copstick, in Mama Biashara yesterday, remembers the trip

“News update – as always, your blog is the first to know – they think they might have found her. There’s a local woman who had previously been given money by Mama Biashara who all-of-a-sudden, despite having no money, paid off all her children’s school fees including arrears, bought school uniforms for them all and disappeared. So, with Sherlock Holmesian logic, they think it might be her.

“The thing is I don’t want anything horrible to happen to her. It’s more in sorrow than in anger. She wasn’t really stealing from me. She was stealing from everyone else who could have got a grant from that money. It’s alright for me. I can come back to London and my apartment in Shepherd’s Bush to the high living to which I am accustomed and the slightly stinky toilet.”

“Indeed,” I said, “you were never going to end up with the money yourself. You only had it there to give it away.”

“Yes,” said Copstick, “But it did start to put even more of a downer on the trip and I did develop something of a pouty lip.

“And, when I went back to Nairobi, the police were still rounding up all the wrong people with added GBH…”

(CONTINUED HERE… IN WHICH ARMED MEN COME FOR COPSTICK…)

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Criminal eggs and Canadian paintballers turned terrorists

The after effects of sunshine in Britain

The after effects of one day of unexpected sunshine in Britain

I still bear the scars of last weekend’s Word Egg Throwing Championships.

The ignominy of defeat has faded slightly, but now the skin on my forehead and the top of my head has started to flake. It was sunny all day in Lincolnshire last Sunday. Who knew such a thing could happen in Britain in June?

When I have a full day of sunshine and no lotion, my skin burns, I go red and a few days later – which is now – I start to flake. I am leaving little white flakes of me wherever I go whenever I rub my head. It is not an attractive physical characteristic.

Meanwhile, still on the subject of eggs, yesterday I got an e-mail from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent, Anna Smith in Vancouver. When she last wrote a week ago, she was claiming it was a bit dull in the Dominion. Now she tells me things are perking up a bit. Her e-mail started thus:

“NAKED INTRUDER COOKS EGGS, say the headlines. A man broke into a house near Trout Lake, had a shower and was frying himself some eggs when he was discovered by the home owner. The clean naked egg frying  intruder has been receiving compliments from admirers on the comments pages of the local news.”

When he was confronted by the surprised home-owner he fled the scene, still naked and was arrested later by police, near Trout Lake, still naked.

Vancouver cop Brian Montague

Cop Brian Montague has advice on how to avoid naked men

According to CBC TV News, this happened at 7.00pm in the evening and Vancouver police constable Brian Montague reported: “We think he was on drugs at the time. I don’t know exactly what drugs, This incident highlights the need for homeowners to be careful about leaving doors and windows open during the warm summer weather. 400 of the 1,157 residential break-ins this year showed no sign of forced entry. Ensuring your doors and windows are locked is a simple deterrent.”

Meanwhile elsewhere, Anna tells me…

“In Surrey – a wretched and rapidly growing city on the eastern shore of the Fraser River occupying the psychic position of Essex to London – a young couple have been arrested on Vancouver Island, and accused of being home grown terrorists, with pressure cooker bombs similar to the ones used in Boston. They’re supposed to have planned to  cause explosions during Canada Day celebrations outside the provincial legislature buildings.

“The male of the pair had been a punk musician and anarchist, but lately things had gone downhill… Acquaintances of the couple have reacted in disbelief and have suggested that they must have been assisted… Others were amazed that the pair had made it all the way from Surrey to Vancouver island (about sixty kilometers) and wondered how they had managed to afford the (£10) ferry ride…”

John Nuttall, paintballer turned accused terrorist

John Nuttall (right) Canadian paintballer turned terrorist

According to CBC, on Canada Day last year, the two accused – John Nuttall and his wife Amanda Korody – planned to celebrate Canada’s freedom from England “by shooting each other in the face with brightly coloured paintballs.”

Fellow paintballer Randy Tetzlaff was quoted as saying that Amanda Korody came to play only once that he could remember and seemed intimidated by the game. Then she and Nuttall stopped coming last August, and he never saw them again.

Nine months ago on a YouTube, Nuttall responded to another commenter who insulted Muhammad:

“Hey kafir, you wanna say that to my face? I am a Mujahid and, inshAllah, I will die a Shaheed!” (ie “I am a Muslim who believes in jihad and, God-willing, I will die a martyr.”) He added: “Call me so we can set this up,” and included his phone number.

Meanwhile, says Anna…

Anna Smith ignores the BBC in Canada

Anna Smith enjoyed her Canada Day 2013

“On Canada Day this year I escaped from downtown and went out into the Annacis Channel of the Fraser River on a Zodiac inflatable boat.

“Several irregularly shaped compressions appeared, crop circle like, on the beds of water reeds that dart out from the downstream tip of Annacis Island. I named them aqua circles and tried to imagine a monster capable of creating such a massive flattening.

“Perhaps a shoal of giant mud eels? An amphibian white sturgeon? As the sun set, I watched the shadows sharpen on Mount Baker, the snow covered volcano that stands like Mount Fuji to the south. A local artist took dozens of photos of Mount Baker from different angles, the way Hokusai did with his woodcuts, only the local ones featured trailer parks and dredger moorings for the foreground.

“Oh – I almost forgot to mention – There is also a syphilis epidemic.”

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Filed under Canada, Humor, Humour, Terrorism