Saudi Royal “Purge” Is Young Prince Shaking-Down Relatives For 70% of Their Wealth

Don’t forget what happened to King Faisal. This sly usurper may yet rue the day he got too greedy and ruthless and sold out Palestine.

ThereAreNoSunglasses

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal [Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud/Facebook]

According to the Financial Times (FT) the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Bin Salman, is negotiating a settlement with some of the country’s most well-known figures who have been detained under corruption charges since the beginning of the month.

In some cases, Saudi officials are demanding 70 per cent of the suspect’s wealth in exchange for their release.

It was widely suspected that Bin Salman’s anti-corruption purge was part of a wider strategy to raise money for the country’s depleting treasury, which has grappled with a recession triggered…

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Hijab: Ofsted should be addressing schools not little girls

#OFSTED #Islamophobia #UnfairDiscrimination
“The real question for Ofsted to answer should be ‘why are primary school uniform policies allowing hijab for girls under the age of puberty when Islamic laws state otherwise’. Anything else will simply not address the elephant in the room.”

WOMEN UNITED BLOG

On Friday, a group of campaigners and activists met with Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Schools, to discuss the hijab as part of school uniform policy for one in five primary schools in the UK. Following the meeting, Ms Spielman announced that children will be asked ‘why they wear the hijab to school’ in an article published by the Sunday Times under the headline ‘Inspectors to quiz girls in hijabs’.

If true, then the focus of Ofsted seems to me to be misguided. Surely, Ofsted should be holding the primary schools to account that have allowed this change to their school uniform policies rather than quizzing little girls? After all, the expected answer from girls as young as four and five who wear the hijab will more likely than not is that their parents want them to wear it or that they are wearing it because their mothers…

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Video: Heartless Hammond – ‘there are no unemployed people’

Typical BS from the nasty party of swingeing cuts and rampant austerity while all too many grapple with whether to eat or heat! Yet, there’s plenty money in the kitty to bomb middle-eastern countries …

The SKWAWKBOX

Useless and out-of-touch Chancellor Phillip Hammond this morning warmed up for this week’s Budget by reminding us all just how useless and out of touch he is.

Asked on this morning’s Marr show about unemployment, Hammond claimed:

There are no unemployed people.

Marr had to remind him of the facts:

This Tory, who is supposed to be managing the nation’s finances, can’t tell the difference between zero and 1.4 million.

We have a Chancellor who is so remote and heartless that he ‘forgets’ 1.4 million unemployed people who – along with our disabled, our vulnerable and the huge numbers of workingpoor – are suffering appalling hardship.

If anyone thinks Hammond is going to announce a budget this week designed to do any more than fake an improvement in their situation, they need to watch this video over and over until the scales fall from their eyes…

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#ParentalAlienation Divorcing parents could lose children if they try to turn them against partner

Divorcing parents could lose children if they try to turn them against partner | THE GUARDIAN | 17 November 2017

Measures being trialled to prevent ‘parental alienation’ feature penalties including permanent loss of contact with child

Parental alienation is estimated to be present in 11%-15% of divorces involving children.
 Parental alienation is estimated to be present in 11%-15% of divorces involving children. Photograph: Alamy

Divorcing parents could be denied contact with their children if they try to turn them against their former partner, under a “groundbreaking” process being trialled by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass).

The phenomenon where one parent poisons their child against the other is known as parental alienation, the ultimate aim of which is to persuade the child to permanently exclude that parent from their life.

Cafcass said it had recently realised parental alienation occured in significant numbers of the 125,000 cases it dealt with each year.

Sarah Parsons, the assistant director of Cafcass, said: “We are increasingly recognising that parental alienation is a feature in many of our cases and have realised that it’s absolutely vital that we take the initiative. Our new approach is groundbreaking.”

In addition, contact between the parent and child could be restricted or refused for a number of months. In the most extreme cases, the alienating parent will be permanently banned from any contact with their child.

Parental alienation is estimated to be present in 11%-15% of divorces involving children, a figure thought to be increasing. Other research has found that about 1% of children and adolescents in North America experience parental alienation.

UK judges are increasingly recognising the phenomenon. One wrote about a case where she was forced to transfer residence to re-establish a relationship between a child and an alienated parent. “I regard parental manipulation of children, of which I distressingly see an enormous amount, as exceptionally harmful,” she said in her summary.

Parental alienation occurs on a spectrum from mild to extreme, all of which can be extremely damaging to the children involved. Experts admit they are only now beginning to understand the range of ways it manifests itself.

Parsons said: “We have reached a much clearer position on parental alienation recently, which we want to send a very clear, strong message about.

“The current, popular view of parental alienation is highly polarised and doesn’t recognise this spectrum. We want to reclaim the centre ground and develop a more nuanced, sophisticated understanding of what’s going on.”

Parental alienation occurs almost exclusively when parents are separating or divorcing, particularly when legal action is involved. It is, however, different to the common acrimony between divorcing parents and is internationally recognised as a distinctive form of parental psychological abuse and family violence, undermining core principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN convention on the rights of the child.

In the US and Canada, “parenting coordinators” are ordered and supervised by courts to help restore relationships between parents and children identified as alienated. In Mexico and Brazil, alienating a child from a parent is a criminal act.

Until now, cases of parental alienation in the UK have relied on Cafcass caseworkers recognising incidents on a case-by-case basis. Many parents, however, say their experiences of alienation have been missed or compounded by the social work and family court system, often leading to permanent estrangement from their child.

From spring 2018, all frontline Cafcass caseworkers will be given a new set of guidelines called the high conflict pathway, which will itemise the steps social workers must take when dealing with cases of suspected alienation. The pathway will spell out exactly when children should be removed from the alienating parent and placed with the “target parent”.

The guidelines, which will also affect how cases are dealt with in family courts, were sent out at the beginning of this month to judges, lobby groups including Families Need Fathers, experts, doctors and lawyers for a three-month consultation.

Alongside the guidelines, Cafcass has developed a 12-week intense programme called positive parenting, designed to help the abusive parent put themselves in their child’s position, and give them skills to break their patterns of behaviour.

A trial of it will start shortly, with 50 high-conflict families being sought across the country. After an evaluation in spring, the programme will be rolled out nationwide.

If it does not work, psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts will be brought in. If the alienating parent continues to perpetuate the abuse, however, contact with their child will be limited to supervised visits.

In extreme cases, care proceedings will be initiated and the parent will lose contact with their child. “Our priority, however, is to preserve the relationship with both parents,” Parsons said.

Jerry Karlin, the chair and managing trustee of Families Need Fathers, said Cafcass’s new approach was “very welcome news”.

“The demonising of a parent has long been recognised as damaging the child not only at the time of separation, but reaching into his or her adult life,” he said. “Parental alienation is identified as the single biggest issue among those who come to FNF seeking help.”

Case study – Robert (not his real name)

“I’ve lived through and witnessed the inexorable alienation of my older daughter over the past five years, which has culminated in complete loss of contact. I will not have seen or heard from her for three years this coming January. We had a fantastic, loving relationship for the first 12 years of her life.

“I know from what my younger daughter has told me that in numerous insidious and not so insidious ways, my ex-wife put an intolerable amount of stress on my eldest daughter. It eventually became too emotionally traumatic for her to see me. She eventually sent me a short email, saying she wanted to break off all contact with me. I’ve not heard from her since.

“The pain of being subject to parental alienation as a target parent is a truly soul-destroying thing to live through. In my darkest days, I can remember being out driving at night and thinking that maybe I just wouldn’t turn the wheel when I came to the bend with the high stone wall. This is a horrible form of child abuse that is struggling to get out from under the rock of prejudice and ignorance.”

Why Does Israel Keep Attacking Syria?

American exceptionalism to rule of international law is trumped only by the criminal state of Israel, which with typical hubris, detests peace. An inkling of historical research reveals its course of conduct of attacking its neighbours belligerently to try and achieve hegemony in the entire middle-east.

Fig Trees and Vineyards

In the above video we see a political analyst expressing disappointment that Putin has not spoken out against Israel’s repeated airstrikes on Syria. It’s a legitimate concern, and one which I’ve expressed previously myself. Interestingly, however, almost at the same time the video was uploaded by Press TV, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov angered the Israelis by describing Iran’s presence in Syria as “legitimate.”

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#JudicialAbuse: Judicial behaviour: #Bullying in the courtroom

Judicial behaviour: Bullying in the courtroomParamjit Ahluwalia | LAW SOCIETY GAZETTE | 13 November 2017 | 

This article, written by a number of colleagues from my chambers, seeks to address an issue integral to ensuring and promoting wellbeing, equality and diversity in the legal profession.

As we have seen, the arenas of politics and the film industry are under the spotlight over alleged misconduct and abuse, and how this was allowed to proceed unchecked for so long.

For advocates in the sphere of criminal law, our workplace is the courtroom. We too are entitled to an environment free from bullying, harassment and prejudice.

A firm, robust and independent judiciary is precisely what the justice system requires and we applaud that. But what happens when individual judges, through their behaviour, create a workplace environment that contains elements of bullying, particularly in relation to female advocates?

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice highlight a structural imbalance – only 28% of judges in 2017 are women. The ‘Dignity at Work’ statement by the lord chief justice expects all judicial officeholders to ‘treat their colleagues and members of staff decently and with respect’.

They must be ‘committed to ensuring the environment in which judicial officeholders and staff work is free from harassment, victimisation and bullying and that everyone is able to work in an atmosphere in which they can develop professionally and use their abilities to their full potential’.

The guidance states that ‘bullying’ carries its normal meaning. It ‘consists of conduct that is offensive, intimidating, malicious and/or insulting, and which has the purpose or effect of undermining, humiliating, and/or frightening another person. It may amount to a misuse or abuse of power; unlike harassment and victimisation, the conduct need not be related to one of the protected characteristics of the person against whom it is directed.’

While advocates are neither staff nor judicial colleagues this same ethos should also apply to those appearing before the courts.

Even in 2017, certain rogue practices continue to thrive. As advocates we look on as the next generation endures toxic practices akin to a ‘right of initiation’ to criminal advocacy. It is fundamental that this changes and that the legal community, no longer condones this culture or brushes it under the carpet.

The culture and power dynamic in a courtroom means that such judges are allowed to bully and abuse advocates as a means of asserting control. And this is broadly tolerated. Here are some recent examples:

  • Bullying of a female advocate during the trial of a young person because she had the audacity to stand up to the judge. The advocate was driven to tears in the robing room by that conduct. A senior member of the bar, walking past with no knowledge of the case at all, was heard to observe: ‘Let me guess, HHJ XXXX.’ They guessed correctly.
  • Telling an advocate they are ‘impertinent’, and that they needed ‘to be very careful indeed. If you come in front of me again with that kind of assertion (appearance of bias) with nothing to back it up then you will be in trouble’. In relation to this example, the Court of Appeal considered the last comment to be ‘wholly inappropriate and indeed reprehensible’, adding that the judge did not treat Ms X with the courtesy that she was entitled to expect.
  • A defendant raised their hand to explain something to their advocate after a hearing. The female advocate explained they may have a short point to raise. The judge stated that the advocate should go outside and come back in the courtroom if she was ‘brave enough’. The advocate concerned politely indicated to the judge ‘I am brave’ before leaving the court.
  • Hostility throughout a jury trial to a female advocate who was from outside the area. The degree of open and sustained hostility was such that the opponent remarked ‘if she was male or from the local practising area it wouldn’t have happened’.

It is sad that we have come to expect and accept abuse by members of the judiciary. One individual volunteered that they had ‘seen that women (especially tough women) and those of minority backgrounds are disproportionately at the receiving end of such treatment’.

We want to start a real discussion within our legal profession about how to combat bullying in the courtroom and support individuals subjected to it. We have focused upon examples in criminal courts, but instances of judicial bullying are by no means limited to that jurisdiction.

There needs to be some consideration and acknowledgement of the fact that the impact of such comments upon female advocates affects the way women advocates are treated in court, in front of a jury, and by colleagues in the profession. Such instances of undermining behaviour have a direct impact on the confidence that lay clients have in their advocates. A key cog in understanding and combating the lack of career progression is exactly this issue.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office exists to deal with complaints about judges’ conduct. Unfortunately, most advocates would not feel comfortable with reporting individual instances. They would not wish to make a fuss or they may be worried about repercussions for their career; or merely regard the phenomenon as ‘part of the job’.

This effectively allows the narrative of bullying entitlement to continue without public scrutiny and opprobrium.

Perhaps it is now time for the professions to consider:

  • A confidential and independent complaints mechanism for advocates – that is, not linked to the judiciary and organised through the professional bodies.
  • A working group to ensure facilitation of anonymous comments through professional bodies such as the Criminal Bar Association and the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association.
  • A requirement for the professional bodies to ensure resident judges and senior members of the judiciary are made aware of what is taking place – particularly in terms of checks and monitoring – to establish awareness of patterns.
  • A new code of conduct for the judiciary to help prevent bullying behaviour arising.

Abusive conduct and bullying by judges is inappropriate and needs to end. It is not part of the job and should not be tolerated. It is important that we start this conversation, and that all our colleagues in the legal profession know that the status quo is insupportable.

Most fundamentally of all, how are we effectively to represent the interests of our clients when our role as advocates is at risk of being hampered by judicial abuse?

The authors of this article (from Garden Court chambers) are Leslie Thomas QC, Paramjit Ahluwalia, Stella Harris, Sean Horstead, Thalia Maragh, Vicky Meads, Keir Monteith, Terry Munyard, Maya Sikand, Lucie Wibberley and Felicity Williams.

 

#UKSC Lady justice: is the judiciary ready for Brenda Hale?

Lady justice: is the judiciary ready for Brenda Hale? Afua Hirsch | PROSPECT | November 14, 2017

The End Of Forced Adoption In The UK? Meet The Social Workers Challenging The System.

Finally, the long-overdue death knell of non-consensual, forced adoption/foster care is beginning to sound:
“Most significantly Re B-S draws our attention back to a judgement by Hale LJ Re C and B [2001] 1 FLR 611, para 34: “Intervention in the family may be appropriate, but the aim should be to reunite the family when the circumstances enable that, and the effort should be devoted towards that end. Cutting off all contact and the relationship between the child or children and their family is only justified by the overriding necessity of the interests of the child.” This is fortified by a judgement in the Strasbourg court
YC v United Kingdom
(2012) 55 EHRR 967, para 134:
“Family ties may only be severed in very exceptional circumstances and … everything
must be done to preserve personal relations and, where appropriate, to ‘rebuild’ the family. It is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing.” The judgement leaves us in no doubt about its opinion that the court should assure itself that the local authority responsible for the provision of services have explored and exhausted all the alternative ways to support and protect the child, short of applying for orders contemplating non-consensual adoption which, to be made “only in exceptional circumstances and where motivated by
overriding requirements
pertaining to the child’s welfare, in short, where nothing else will do” (Sprinz 2014)”

Researching Reform

A new piece of research written by social workers predicts that forced adoption will come to an end in the UK. The document also offers new research on the impact of adoptions on birth parents and asks whether it is right for the government to pursue adoption at any cost.

Adoption 1

The report, entitled, “The End of Non-Consensual Adoption? Promoting the Wellbeing of Children in Care,” has been co-written by Joe Smeeton, Director of Social Work Education at the University of Salford and Jo Ward, a Principal Lecturer in the Division of Social Work and Professional Practice at Nottingham Trent University.

It’s a brave piece of research which in part goes against the grain in a country where removing vulnerable children without parental consent is seen as an acceptable practice.

Adoption 2

The paper predicts that non consensual adoption will eventually come to an end in the UK, largely due to fierce…

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#FamilyLaw #SocialWork #Evidence: What is evidence-based practice?

What is evidence-based practice? | COMMUNITY CARE |  10 November 2017

Social workers need to understand and use research to provide effective support, but there are debates about how evidence should be used

Forced Adoption – Question It!

Please sign this petition calling on the government to investigate forced adoption and fostering in the UK. It has been started by the family of murdered toddler, Elsie, whose real name was Shayla.

The draconian blueprint for parental alienation and demothering/defathering is hammered out on the anvil of non-consensual or forcible child removal, based on an undemocratic application of s31 of the Children Act 1989 by local authorities at court.

Blatant statism trumps autonomy by victimising family members.
Thus cycles of multi-generational harm and family/parental alienation are unleashed.
All purportedly in the name of child protection and safeguarding.
Children are unnecessarily deprived of loving parents and natural family life, regardless of gender, due to prioritising a corporate business plan. Instead of objective scrutiny, rubber-stamping false, misleading and inaccurate reporting is, all too often, the norm.

If non-consensual, forced adoption and fostering practices were banned in the UK, the blueprint for obvious miscarriages of justice would also be abolished even in private law.

s83 of CA 1989 has proven wholly inadequate in its remit of research and returns of information over looked after children so needs root and branch reform.

Researching Reform

Welcome to another week.

A petition calling on the government to investigate forced adoption and fostering in the UK has been started by the family of murdered toddler, Elsie, whose real name was Shayla.

Shayla was killed by her adoptive father after the local authority placed her in his care.

The petition has gathered over 4,000 signatures and calls on the government to carry out an independent review of both forced adoption and fostering. The petition calls these practices a form of child abuse, and suggests they are tantamount to child abduction. It also highlights the ‘risk of future/ significant harm’ test under S.31 of the Children Act 1989, which allows social workers to remove children on the basis that harm to a child could take place in the future, often with very little evidence to support the view. The petition also calls out the lack of transparency in the…

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