What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Just don't resist, and maybe they'll be merciful

The all-new, official British position on domestic jihad: Don't fight back to avoid "inflaming" terrorists.

I find this one really hard to wrap my brain around, but...

Britain's high court last year ruled that "long sentences for terrorist crimes could "inflame" rather than deter extremism." And so, accordingly, terrorists are having their sentences reduced. That's jolly. We'll have to check back with them in a few years and see how that's working out.

By the way, and tangentially related: I have a grade school age home schooled student who has a research paper to write and has decided to do it on the lifting of the seige of Vienna in 1683. Lots of web sites out there. The Wiki article almost looks too scholarly for the age category. Any suggestions from readers of sites giving a good overview of the lead-up, the siege, and the battle lifting the siege? A book suggestion or two wouldn't come amiss either. Nothing too heavy. The Internet yields an embarrassment of riches, but I imagine my learned readers will have their faves.

Thank goodness Jan Sobieski III, not to mention the defenders of the city itself, did not have the philosophy of their Lordships of the British high court.

Comments (34)

Lydia,

John Stoye's The Siege of Vienna is still the best book on the subject IMO, but it's probably too heavy for a youngster.

I would suggest Vienna 1683 by Simon Millar. I haven't read it myself, but I've read other entries in the Campaign series. The one on the 1565 Siege of Malta was suberb and just right for your student, so I'd recommend Vienna 1683 on that basis.

Great suggestion, CJ! Will be revving up ILL to get hold of a copy.

If long sentences are more inflammatory than shorter, wouldn't it follow that no sentence is less than short sentences? Why the stance for reducing sentences? Why not free all terrorists, unless they're reducing the sentences to such an amount that gives them a bearable amount of backlash, based on some magical computer model's prediction?

I think they really believe that there is some such model, Robert, maybe in the justices' heads somewhere. The Vision of the Anointed strikes again.

The Osprey series of books is fantastic---colorful drawings and good maps. Both necessary when studying military history, especially early modern history, which hasn't been preserved in ways that make it easily accessible for young students (that is, it doesn't hold any place in conventional American popular consciousness the way that later modern history or even the middle ages or ancient times do, so it's very difficult for younger children to visualize what they're learning about).

If the link above didn't work properly: www.ospreypublishing.com I think that is the UK version, but the books are readily available in the US. Check the usual online suspects and hobby stores.

It's another example of Anarcho-Tyranny. The ruling elites let the criminal classes loose to wreak havoc, then they can crack down on the middle class, whom they truly fear the most.

I second the Osprey series recommendation.

Perhaps it is prudent on a day such as today to Remember Lepanto?

Good point, Jack, and here is our own Paul Cella's post on Lepanto:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2008/10/october_7_1571_lepanto.html

Gintas, I know you're right, and yet I always wonder: If one of these charming fellows is released early and plans/perpetrates another 7/7, might not some of their Lordships get blown up in it, too? Do such considerations of sheer self interest never occur to them?

I heartily recommend Niccolo Capponi's Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto. It's an informative, engaging and unexpectedly funny treatment of the great battle.

Isn't it inevitable that those who believe in neither truth or justice, but rather, at best, believe in "management," shall come to such decisions? ... And then turn such power as they wield against those they should be defending?

Isn't this "zero tolerance" -- the schools policy under which bullying and aggression are willfully ignored until the victim(s) of the aggression act to protect themselves, at which point *they* are punished -- writ large?

Manuel II had some wonderful things to say about islam :)

Ilion asks:

Isn't this "zero tolerance" -- the schools policy under which bullying and aggression are willfully ignored until the victim(s) of the aggression act to protect themselves, at which point *they* are punished -- writ large?

I wonder whether the judge would also give this advice to woman who is the victim of a rapist/murderer: don't resist, and maybe he won't murder you. Of course, that ignores the depth of the psychotic disorder, in which he actually gets part of his kick out of the murder itself, but hey, who says the judge needs to be aware of facts?

Or, would the judge tell the person who is filing a suit against a health insurance company for failure to pay for services: Don't complain against them - they may drop your policy if you do. Better to just accept their stiffing you on the past costs, in the hope that you might get them to pay something in the future.

It's funny you should bring that up, Tony. Lawrence Auster has been listing the wearisome numbwer of times recently that news stories, repeating what they have been told by police, refer to a horrific murder as "a ______________ gone wrong." It's almost standard practice, now. If a woman is raped and then, say, stabbed to death, it's referred to as "a sexual assault gone wrong." If intruders murder an elderly couple, it's "a robbery gone wrong." Again and again, the message is, "Hey, this guy just wanted to rape a woman. If she hadn't resisted, he wouldn't have stabbed her. These men were merely trying to rob a house. What a shame something went wrong and they somehow found themselves murdering the inhabitants."

I read not long ago about a bank employee who was fired for catching a bank robber. Really. The bank had a policy that its employees are not supposed to do anything to resist bank robbers. He ran after the guy and caught him until the police got there and got fired.

So this liberal mindset has permeated our whole society.

This judge's praise for the virtues of self-non-defense is suggestive. Not only is self-defense of one's person now almost taboo, but so is defense of one's culture.

It's like a parody of Christian kenosis and asceticism. The self and the society are disciplined and emptied out, leaving them malleable not for God but for demons human or incorporeal.

As for the bank robber story in Lydia's comment directly above:

recently in my area two young Best Buy consumer electronics store employees chased after a man who had stolen $100 worth of cell phones. In the parking lot they ran into his accomplice, who pulled a knife on them.

I believe the thieves wounded one boy and the boys' female manager, who had run out behind them.

The boys were fired for violating company policy and their training. In light of the danger they put others into, I think the policy is understandable. An overbroad application of such policy is also to be shunned.

I read not long ago about a bank employee who was fired for catching a bank robber. Really. The bank had a policy that its employees are not supposed to do anything to resist bank robbers. He ran after the guy and caught him until the police got there and got fired.

The really terrible part about this is it's in part a liability issue. There are cases in which Criminal robs Store, Employee trips the alarm, and Criminal panics and winds up shooting Bystander (or it's a silent alarm and Bystander gets caught in the crossfire when the cops arrive). Bystander sues the store for negligently aggravating a dangerous situation and causing his injuries. The problem is that you can make the case from a proximate cause standpoint, but it's a prime example of the problem of having a society that only looks at problems from one very particular (and inadequate) angle.

I think I see your point but your quote is incorrect.

Your "long sentences for terrorist crimes could "inflame" rather than deter extremism" is a quote from Jihad watch. Of a story by one Mr. David Leppard. Of the TimesOnline. Sure, the word "inflame" is in the ruling, but your exact quote, even sans quote marks around inflame, is not.

The ruling is published on The British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) website:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2008/1465.html

[Point 8: "If sentences are imposed which are more severe than the circumstances of the particular case warrant this will be likely to inflame rather than deter extremism." Id.]

Or per Mr. Leppard's report in it's original journalistic source site, in second to last paragraph, which apparently didn't make the cut at Jihad Watch, where he's admirably clear in giving context.

"The judges stated: “Care has to be taken to ensure that the sentence was not disproportionate to the facts of the particular offences. If sentences were imposed which were more severe than the circumstances of the particular case warranted, that would be likely to inflame rather than deter extremism.” This was the green light for further sentence reductions in subsequent terrorist appeals.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article6860231.ece

[And, just to be comprehensive, the final paragraph.]

"Harry Fletcher, of the probation service union Napo, said: “Due to the extraordinary number of successful appeals, scores more terrorists will be released. Every single one that comes out will have to be supervised until their full sentence expires.”" Id.

Maybe I'm missing the forest for the trees just by pointing this out. But I'm in the habit of googling up the actual legal rulings, since they're fairly easy to find these days. Like with Encyclicals. Why rely on some journalist's cherry picked quote?

From the forest viewpoint, I see their courts as saying, ok, we've got laws and sentencing guidelines, we're a land of laws, we're going to stick to our laws and judge these things on a case by case basis in part because if we deviate from those laws just to nail a certain class of criminals --despite what we agreed to after debating these things and passing laws in parliament, then, well, we're not really a land of laws. "Give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety's sake," and all that. And there's a serious tactical reason to pursue this line of dealing with terrorists. It works. And the British know it works. See No. Ireland. Bend your own rules to "get" terrorists, and they win.

And there's a serious tactical reason to pursue this line of dealing with terrorists. It works. And the British know it works.


Really??? Letting dangerous criminals out of jail who have been sentenced for 15 years after only 10 years "works"? Who knew?

And sorry, I don't have your childlike faith that this idea of "more severe than the crimes warranted" is a reference to some sort of cut-and-dried set of sentencing guidelines which were cut-and-dried violated in a "bending of the rules just to get a certain class of criminals." Not at all. Sounds to me rather like their Lordships telling us all that plotting terrorist attacks warrants a relatively shorter sentence than what they are seeing. (From my perspective, it warrants pushing up daisies, but unfortunately that is not an option in Britain right now.) But I'll check the links and see if I'm wrong.

Read it. One set of judges disagreeing with another set of judges about such heavy questions as, "Just how mitigating is it that a person deliberately distributing terrorist materials claims that he wasn't actually trying to encourage terrorism?" "Did the judge in such-and-such a case _really_ make a reduction in sentencing because the terrorist claimed to have had a change of heart since being arrested?" Please. This has nothing remotely like the look of "bending your own rules to get extremists" which is then being corrected by their Lordships. And that is borne out by the fact that some obviously extremely dangerous people who committed serious crimes have subsequently been let off with the proverbial wrist-slaps as a result.

I acknowledge that the judges cloaked their call to surrender with the fairly transparent claim that it is only sentences that are "excessive" in light of the "facts of the case" that they are deploring. I am happy to acknowledge that. I am also highly unimpressed with the judges' fig leaf.

Then why let them out of jail ever? Rhetorical.

As far as I can tell, you want them treated as enemy combatants, if anything. Fine.

But you'll admit Britain went a different way right? You'll admit they discussed it and decided to treat these guys criminally, yes? Do you want to do more reading before you answer this time or do you want to take my word for it or what? Because next up is me trying to explain, again, that if you have a legal system, it's a good thing, an honest thing, an integrity thing, to keep to it rather than just jump around willy nilly based on someone's willfully uninformed feeling. People tend to consider a government of the former to be legitimate, respect that government, deal with it. People tend to consider a government of the latter ridiculous, disrespect it, ignore it, throw it off. People who want peace dive into these little details like what the law actually says, what the facts of the case are....

Oh, by the way, in the case I cited --you know, the case where the judge announced the new official position domestic jihad of "Don't fight back to avoid "inflaming" terrorists," only he didn't and that's not what he actually wrote --which latter at least you now admit (I'll not hold my breath for the apologies), one of the sentences was reduced from 6 years to 5 1/2. I'll let you figure out, if you can, how much the other case was reduced, if at all.

Another by the way: amazing that, even after I sent you the case, you fired off a response without first reading that case. Amazing. That's your standard of scholarship? Misquotes from second hand sources and then when someone is good enough to send you the link to the primary source you don't even bother to read it and you memorialize your willful ignorance on your own blog. Wow.

Back to the substance. You're wrong. Once you treat them as criminals instead of combatants then you have to let them have appeals, habeas corpus, the whole lot. Otherwise you're full of it --as a government that is. The inflame comment was a "by the way" type of comment, as in, ok, we're doing this because we looked at the statute and the facts here and it's the right thing, and, oh, by the way, not doing the correct thing would only tend to harm the integrity of our government and needlessly get people upset. But you are all seeing and all knowing of course, so it's ok for you to call it a fig leaf.

PS: I am curious as to whether there's an across the board reduction of sentences going on, what the percentages are, etc. etc. Care to run the numbers? Should I hold my breath waiting on that too?

Once you treat them as criminals instead of combatants then you have to let them have appeals, habeas corpus, the whole lot.

Fine. But you don't have to reduce their sentences on appeal, especially not on the grounds on which these sentences were reduced.

You're assuming I want somebody to break some rules. I don't. I said that it doesn't look to me (after, yes, reading the ruling) like anybody did break any rules in the first place. And by the way, don't start babbling at me about "enemy combatants" and jumping to conclusions that have little to do with what I actually said. I don't take kindly to it and won't allow it.

Here is a longer quotation from the news story, which both Spencer and I did cite correctly:

Up to 30 “high-risk” terrorists — including some of the most dangerous men in Britain —are due to be released from jail in the next year.

More are being freed in the wake of a ruling by Britain’s most senior judges that long sentences for terrorist crimes could “inflame” rather than deter extremism.

An analysis of appeal court cases shows that of the 26 terrorism cases it has heard, 25 have led to men with terrorism convictions having their sentences reduced. Others are being released because they serve only part of their term.

The leniency of the British appeal court to some convicted terrorists contrasts with America where they can be locked up for their whole lives.One man designated “high risk” and due to be freed soon is Andrew Rowe, a Muslim convert who was found guilty of having notes on how to fire mortar bombs.

Rowe was sentenced to 15 years in 2005. He is due to be freed next April after his sentence was reduced to 10
years. Others who have had their terms cut include some of those who helped the failed suicide bombers of July 21, 2005 and two of those convicted of soliciting murder during the Danish cartoons protest.

The reduction of 15 years to 10 years is hardly trivial. The story says that 25 of 26 appeals have led to reductions in sentences for "high-risk" terrorists. This is also not trivial. Why you should assume that somebody was mistreating the poor terrorists, bending the rules, and giving them illegally harsh sentences in the first place and that all the appeals court is doing is correcting this injustice and maintaining the integrity of the legal system is a bit of a puzzle. You have never heard of activist judges? Or you are a liberal and don't believe in them? Never mind. Actually, I'm not terribly interested in more of your rants about what I supposedly think when you don't know what you are talking about.

25 of 26 appeals have lead to reductions. So what? Of how much?

Recall you started your post accusing the British of reducing the sentences so as to avoid inflaming terrorists. As if that was the entire, sole, exclusive, or primary reason. Now you want to get into the nitty gritty of the legal issues. I am happy that you concede the whole point of your initial post is invalid. My work is done here.

PS: "don't start babbling at me about "enemy combatants" "

"The leniency [cmc note: the journalist's word] of the British appeal court to some convicted terrorists contrasts with America where they can be locked up for their whole lives."

You ever wonder why America can lock them up for their whole lives?

If that's a competent and informed opinion in your view, I would just point out that the author is not saying that the sentences imposed on these terrorists are objectively excessive or illegal but rather that the appeals courts "unpick" them. In other words, the appeals courts have a problem. And he also argues that they appear to "unpick" the sentences at a _higher_ rate than for non-terrorists.

Why do you think he wrote that they could "unpick" them? What do you think he meant?

Because they had an arguable claim for legal error. Reasonable people could disagree whether those claims were valid. Unreasonable people, on the other hand, rely on knee-jerk reactions like, the judges are liberals, they're activists, any reduction must mean that they judges are cowards, etc.

Note the article just cited by me includes these gems: "My police sources tell me that the wigged ones are unhappy with the sentences available to them.... The judges have responded by loading up these offenders with as much jail time as they can - which is then challenged and unpicked in the appeal courts by top QC's raking in hundreds of thousands in legal aid." So he's arguing the appellate judges seem to be doing their job. His complaint is against the statutes, that the law enacted by the proper authorities, is flawed. In contrast, you jumped to the conclusion, cherry-picking from a secondary source and misquoting, that the Appellate judges have had no rational legal reason for their reductions but have done so solely, primarily, and exclusively from cowardice.

In other words, not "the appeals courts have a problem" (what, a drinking problem, a gambling problem, a reading comprehension problem, internet connectivity problem?), but the appeals court have/found a problem(s) _with_ the legal decisions of the lower courts. That's what appeals courts do. That's what they're supposed to do. That's the whole point of an appeals court. Now maybe they're motivated by other things. But where's your proof of that? Disparate impact alone? These numbers = suggestion of cowardice + a by the way comment = it's valid to say these decisions are motivated and solely based on cowardice --without any need to actually read or even look at the decisions themselves. That's your argument. It's a dandy, but it's seriously flawed.

That's what appeals courts do. That's what they're supposed to do.

Actually, not. Appeals courts are supposed to call things as they are on the basis of law. They can deny an appeal, as you well know. I interpret your well-informed (by your account) article differently. Yes, indeed, the article says that present laws do not permit automatic life imprisonment for many of these terrorists, but I do not read it as saying that something illegal is being done at the lower level which the appeals courts are then reasonably overturning. Not at all. And the fear of "inflaming extremism" should not be a consideration at all. Not at all.

It wasn't. At least not if you take them at their word. Which you don't. Why not? Because they put in that sentence acknowledging a reality of human nature: treat people unfairly and they get angry. You don't deny the reality. But you suggest any talk of it betrays cowardice and thus invalidates the whole lot of decisions. Like forget the legal arguments*, this is a smoking gun, let's get new judges instead of these dweebs.

Is that it? If so, that's cool. Like they say, you're entitled to your gut reaction.

So again, other than this one sentence in the Rahman case and the suggestive numbers, what have you got on the British courts of appeals to show them to be motivated primarily by cowardice here?

***
*Which you didn't bother to read before posting or even later commenting, and which, amazingly!, you persist in misquoting,--show me where in the Rahman decision the phrase "inflaming extremism" appears. I checked. It doesn't. So what are you quoting? A journalist. Nah, those guys would never phrase things in a provocative way just for the fun of it! Meanwhile the primary source is freely available --nay, worse, I _gave it to you_.

All right. I'm finally getting fed up with you, Mr. Collins. I don't know who you are. I don't know if you're a liberal or just a pedant who happens to be full of yourself or what your deal is. But stop already telling me I'm "misquoting" because you're too full of your own wonderfulness to savvy word cognates. You idiot: _You_ were the one who first quoted the sentence to which I alluded, _I_ have read it _in_ the court opinion, and it goes like this:

If sentences are imposed which are more severe than the circumstances of the particular case warrant this will be likely to inflame rather than deter extremism.

Oooooooh, boyyyyy, it's the word "inflame" instead of the word "inflaming." What a terrible misquoter I am. In fact, I persist in misquoting. In fact, I made a horrible mistake because I said that "inflaming extremism" shouldn't be a consideration, when I know as well as you do that it says "will be likely to inflame...extremism." Shocking misrepresentation.

Go jump in the lake. I've been remarkably patient with you, but this is ridiculous.

And, yes, I do consider that sentence telling. As I agreed with you above, they claim that the idea is that these are "more severe" than is warranted. I think that's ludicrous. Here was some guy deliberately passing out literature urging terrorism and we're supposed to get all wrinkle-browed over the fantasy-world thought that the poor fellow wasn't trying to encourage terrorism by passing this stuff out? We're supposed to consider that (your words) he is being "treat[ed] unfairly" (I hope you note the square brackets so you don't start screaming about misquotation because I used a cognate of "treat") because we _should_ have read his mind and concluded that he was merely "reckless" about the effects of what he was passing out? What an incredibly dhimmi way to think. Or maybe this just reflects your and the appeals judges' general softness on crime. I suppose that is also a possibility. I did point out above something concerning the liberal mindset and a general idea that we should not defend ourselves from crime. I don't know. But I do know that it is disgustingly ludicrous to hold that a failure to take off _enough_ of someone's sentence because of such ersatz considerations is "treat[ing him] unfairly."

And it was wholly inappropriate for the appeals judges to bring up "inflam[ing] extremism."

The only people who are being treated unfairly here are the people of Britain who are not being protected. I hope Parliament reintroduces the death penalty and applies it to terrorism inter alia. Yesterday. And give the people back the right to keep and bear arms while they are at it.

As for my taking time out of my busy day the other day to give you what I clearly labeled as a preliminary
response to your comment, after which I did go and read the document you cited and got back to you after reading it, what a jerk you are for continually abusing me for doing that. You've never had anybody in a conversation say, "I'm really suspicious of that. I know what I think that probably is, but I'll check out what you recommend and get back to you"? Saying something like that is a poor standard of "scholarship"? Baloney. I told you what I thought preliminarily, then read it, then what I thought afterwards. There is no scholarly problem here in the slightest. This is a conversation. That's the kind of thing that people do in conversations. If you don't get that, leave people in the blogosphere alone until you do get it, but don't go around trying to score some kind of trollish points over such things.

Now stop wasting my time.

I don't know who you are. I don't know if you're a liberal or just a pedant who happens to be full of yourself or what your deal is.

Who cares? What's that got to do with what I've written?

It has to do with my attempt to explain all this junk from you about my supposed "persistent misquoting." There is no "persistent misquoting." I have read the ruling. I disagree with your evaluation of it. I was pausing to attempt to explain your idea that you have a right to be on a high horse, and in particular your nonsense about "persistent misquoting." Now enough already.

No, you were reacting before thinking, before reviewing easily available facts. Like here.

Mr. Collins, you are obviously behaving in this way in an attempt to goad me into something or other. I'm not sure what. I'm not going to delete your comments or do anything further in this matter unless you go further or in some other direction. You, therefore, will have the immense self-gratification of having the last word. Readers are free to read the thread and the links for themselves and draw their own conclusions, and I'm happy to take my stand on that. But I warn you not to continue trying to be annoying just for the sake of being annoying, because I don't have much time to waste being endlessly patient with people who behave that way and will not always put up with it and answer it, point by point, to the extent that I have done here.

Ok, look, I thought I posted a reasonable, decent, helpful first post. The only flaw I can see in it was perhaps being insincere, passive-aggressive, and falsely charitable to your possibly understandable point --really, I don't think there's much point to treating these guys as anything other than the low level deluded criminals they are. And the response struck me as rude and ignorant. Maybe that's my fault; maybe I should have just opened up with something like, you're wrong, the British and the British courts know what they're doing.

Now, the point of the website seems to be serious discussion of how to preserve Christendom. To that extent, let me say here before I go on, yes, much of what I've written was to provoke, and I'm sorry I didn't figure out a better way to say certain things --or not say them at all.

That said, to continue, a sub-point of the site would seem to be dealing with Islam and whatever level of threat Jihad presents. Further sub-points brings us to the question of whether to deal with terrorists as mere criminals (Britain) or as enemy combatants (USA). You've made here a post essentially accusing the British government, and by extension, the British people I suppose, as cowards for a spate of appeals court decisions reducing sentences. One way of looking at it occurred to me: well, that's just a criminal justice system running it's course. And without examining the cases themselves, one shouldn't jump to the conclusion that it's cowardice. I saw no such analysis in your post and thought to correct it, and, in such a way, possibly challenge you with my view that we here in the US have been, and are, over-reacting to our own detriment in how we are dealing with these terrorists. To turn a card even more over than what I thought was pretty clear with my No. Ireland mention, I think we could learn a lot from the Brits on this topic. Among other lessons, they had the Guilford Four case. Miscarriages of justice happen. Sometimes whole bunches of convictions get overturned. Think of some of the 80's child abuse cases. I think in the future we're going to look back and Guantanamo with shame. We're already looking back at Abu Graib (spelling?) with shame? What could be next?

Call me child-like if you will, but the fact of the matter is that these guys convicted in Britain at no time constituted a significant threat --and by significant threat I mean William of Orange, Louis XIV, Whilhelmine Germany, Third Reich, Soviet Union level threats. No, these guys are, relatively speaking, jokers. And for that you want what? The British to throw away the integrity of their court system? You want to post a knee-jerk uninformed accusation of cowardice? As if that's going to do anything constructive. No, I think that's wrong. Real criticisms of their system can be leveled, even real, serious criticisms of this crop of cases --see, e.g. Dalrymple, James Kalb, Lawrence Auster, or even, I suppose if I noodle around a bit more, your own site. But this particular post, no. And, unfortunately, this particular comment thread, not too much either afraid to say.

Thanks for the last word. I'll try to end on a lighter, personally forthright note. Last time we, uh, discussed things, it was on your personal blog. And the Giants beat the dreaded Patriots just hours after I signed off on the discussion. I see I'm too late to play the lottery, so perhaps it's your turn for a pleasant bit of good news. Be well and thanks to you all again,
--Christopher

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