Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mercadona Rocked As Own Label Linked To Canine Deaths


Mercadona is in the middle of a public relations disaster after its ‘Compy’ own label dog food brand was linked to the deaths of several pets across Spain, after having caused kidney failure in the animals. . The deaths were initially recorded by pet owners in Andalucia, Murcia and Alicante, but new reports have claimed that similar cases have been found along the Costa del Sol. Several pet owners insisted that the deaths were caused after their pets ate the own label product, and following intense pressure, Mercadona has removed two variants of the ‘Compy’ range from select stores. The chain said it is now studying whether there indeed is a connection between the product and the deaths. It would not comment on whether the problem was caused by a recent shift in packaging of the product from tins to cartons. Mercadona added: “At this stage we have only removed the product as a precaution and we are waiting for the results of the analysis. We do not know with any certainty if the food is to blame”.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Britain’s biggest international criminals has walked free from court despite been accused of attempting to smuggle £80 million worth of cocaine into the U.K.

A man who was named one of the Britain’s biggest international criminals has walked free from court despite been accused of attempting to smuggle £80 million worth of cocaine into the U.K.

Jamie Dempsey, 33, was suspected of plotting to flood London and the south-east with 299kg (660lb) of high-purity cocaine in 2009.

He appeared on a ‘most wanted’ list of crooks hiding in the Costa Del Sol - nicknamed ‘Costa Del Crime’ - and even featured on BBC’s Crimewatch programme.

Freed: Jamie Dempsey, centre, leaves court with his friends and family after being acquitted of his involvement in an £80m euro cocaine empire

Freed: Jamie Dempsey, centre, leaves court with his friends and family after being acquitted of his involvement in an £80m euro cocaine empire

Speaking outside of court after being cleared of any wrongdoing, Dempsey said: 'I’m just relieved the nightmare is over.

'I couldn’t be further from being a criminal - I’m just a penniless plumber from Essex.




'I was in Marbella at my parent’s house when I was arrested - the police simply got the wrong man, it was a case of mistaken identity but I don’t want to say any more.

'My face has been all over the TV and the newspapers, my friends and family have been put through hell.h

'I just want to have a good meal and get on with my life.'

Arrested: Dempsey was cuffed in Benhavis, a mountain village near Marbella in Spain in a police operation that cost £1m

Hiding place: Dempsey was cuffed in Benhavis, a mountain village near Marbella in Spain in a police operation that cost £1m

A two-year investigation, costing over £1million pounds, was launched to track Dempsey who was believed to be evading capture in Spain.

Officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) finally arrested him with the help of the Spanish police in Benhavis, Marbella, last May following a tip-off from the public.

His capture was hailed as a 'great result' but on Monday he was dramatically cleared of conspiracy to supply cocaine after a four-week trial.

Last May police named Dempsey as a suspected drug lord living the high life in the Costa Del Sol.

But a jury of five men and four women took nine-and-a-half hours to find him not guilty.

Judge Michael Pert ordered the court to be cleared after Dempsey’s family erupted into cheers after the verdict was read out. 

Fernando Hurtado was sentenced to 28 years in jail at Leicester Crown Court
John Esqulant was sentenced to 28 years in jail at Leicester Crown

Jailed: Fernando Hurtado, left, and John Esqulant, right, were both sentenced to 28 years behind bars

Speaking outside Leicester Crown Court his sister Natalie Dempsey, 24, said: 'We are just happy he’s coming home.

'Our family has been torn apart because of this. We’re going to give him a proper Essex home coming.

'The champagne will be flowing in Chigwell when he comes home. He doesn’t normally drink or smoke but he’ll want to party hard after all this.

'The police got the wrong man but they didn’t care. They just wanted to arrest someone in the Costa Del Sol and send them down.'

Last year three people arrested in the same police ‘sting’ operation as Dempsey were jailed for a total of 55 years.

Taxi driver John Esqulant and Colombian Fernando Hurtado were each jailed for 23 years at the same court after they were convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Part-time model and promising footballer Frank Stedman was jailed for nine years after admitting the same offence.

The sting operation began in March 2009 when officers posed as criminals who could arrange delivery of the drugs.

Three Soca agents met 41-year-old Hurtado, from Woking, Surrey, at a site in Waltham Abbey, Essex, to organise the delivery.

Two weeks later, Stedman, 26, of North Weald, Essex, paid the officers £320,800 in cash as part-payment for the drugs.

Shortly after the handover in April, armed officers stopped the van containing the Class A drug near an industrial estate in Markfield, Leics.

Esqulant, 52, of Theydon Bois, Essex, and Hurtado were arrested the same day while Stedman was brought in as he stepped off a flight at Heathrow airport in June 2010.

Spanish government will try and secure the 'gold on the Rock'


With the Odyssey gold back in Spain, the Spanish keep referring to more gold that remained in Gibraltar. It is being reported in Spain that the Spanish government will try and secure the 'gold on the Rock' through what they term a European order. They say that although Gibraltar likes to play a dual role, it is in fact part of the UK and thus Madrid is knocking on the UK's door to get them to urge Gibraltar to hand over the gold. Bilateral talks are said to be taking place. It is said that there are 59 artefacts still in Gibraltar, apparently stored by Odyssey. A Spanish heritage official was critical of the way the Oddysey gold left for the USA via Gibraltar,which is a joint sovereignty airport, adding that it was far from being dignified. This happened in 2007, a year after the signing of the Cordoba Agreement. The British Embassy in Madrid has confirmed that it is in touch with the Spanish foeign ministry, saying it was not clear if part of the consignment was in Gibraltar. Two military planes laden with 17 tons of silver and gold coins from a Spanish warship that sank during a 1804 gunbattle with the British is now back in Spain. It followed a 5-year legal battle between the Spanish and the American Odyssey company. On Thursday the Peruvian government made an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to block transfer of the treasure to give it more time to lodge its claim as the rightful owner of the gold. Peru says the gold and silver was mined, refined and minted in that country, which at the time was part of the Spanish empire. But the appeal obviously arrived too late, as the gold was flown to Madrid by the two Spanish military aircraft.

Tarragona village wants to grow marihuana to get out of the recession


village in Tarragona has come up with a way to beat the recession. They propose to plant marihuana. A smokers’ club in the village of Rasquera and say the plantation would create jobs. They say they will not sell it, rather it will be for the use of the club members and also for ‘therapeutic ends’. A cannabis association in Barcelona that uses the drug for therapeutic reasons has offered to pay 36,000 € to the club and sign a deal with the Town Hall, and then promises to pay 550,000 € a year each July for the land rental, legal and judicial costs, and security which make up the project, noting the Town Hall won’t have to pay a penny. For now the local Town Hall is to hold a meeting and vote on Wednesday to decide on what to do; they have requested a report to see if the idea is legal or not. The Mayor of Rasquera, Bernat Pellisa, told the EFE news agency that they are studying the proposal which he said was ‘developed and an opportunity, and certainly not frivolous’. There are about 1,000 inhabitants in the village, and while they admit they could never have imagined it, the crisis is such they say they are prepared to grow whatever is needed.

Renounce your British Citizenship?

Britain ignores its citizens who live abroad. James Preston, a businessman in Spain angrily declares he will renounce his British citizenship. Yet he feels sick at feeling forced to do so. Why does he do it? He is denied representation at Westminster (the vote!) because he has lived outside of Britain for more than 15 years. He has fought before the High Court his demand to be represented as a Citizen in the British seat of power – the Parliament at Westminster. His case and his appeal have been rejected. James Preston resents having the door slammed in his face. Britain denies him the basic democratic right of representation. He writes “We have concluded, therefore, that the contract between the State and my wife and I – the citizens – has been broken. We moved to Spain, an EU country, to represent British interests and find work, and not continue to claim unemployment benefit.” James Preston in his despair, intends to renounce his British citizenship and take out Spanish citizenship. Britain, in this, acts as a dictator State which regards the citizen abroad as ‘subjects’ and not as free people with democratic rights. The Government of Britain will not listen to the citizens abroad but still expects their obedience to the laws of Britain. These are strong words but are they not true? James Preston, is undoubtedly proud of his British (English) Ancestry which he can trace back for over 400 years. He left Britain in 1995. He was then unemployed but found work with a British company in Madrid, and has worked for British companies ever since. He stills considers his soul is British, but in Spain you cannot hold dual citizenship. Because Britain will not grant him representation in Parliament he therefore feels that he has no alternative but to turn his back on Britain. But still the clammy mechanical claw of British bureaucracy might well hold claim on his estate at his death. British Tax Law could still claim to his dying day that he is ‘domiciled in Britain’, because it says he will retain his British domicile of birth! You may think this outrageous and you are right to think so. It is difficult to cut yourself loose from the British State if you are born British. The fact that his children are educated in Britain, and extraordinarily, the very fact that he has taken a case before the High Court in London to claim the right to vote displays in the eyes of the Revenue his ‘attachment’ to Britain. It is incredible but true that for these reasons the estate he leaves could well be subject to taxation by the British State, even though he would die a Spanish citizen. Mr. Preston also tells me that his children do not have full British Citizenship but are considered as 'Spanish of British descent' because they were born in Spain. If they had been born in the UK they would be fully British. If they then marry British spouses and have children born outside of Britain, his grandchildren would not be British citizens at all. But if they were born in the UK they would be British. It is a crazy stupid mixed up world. It is the last straw that, after having been insultingly refused the right to Representation, Britain could still claim a pound (£) of ‘flesh’. It beggars belief that Britain, claiming to lead the world in Democracy so treats its own citizens who dare to live abroad. It cannot desire, can it, that every British Citizen living abroad should renounce their citizenship? Should not Britain be proud of us who live abroad? To our neighbours we are the image of Britain. Why are we ignored by our own country? We want to be ambassadors for Britain, but Britain does not want us – except perhaps our money.

Prison and no bail for Moroccan man who planned to poison tourist complexes in Spain

37 year old Moroccan man who was arrested in La Línea de la Concepción because of alleged links to Al Qaeda has been ordered to prison without bail. Police now believe that Abdellatif Aoulad Chilba, who is married to a Spanish woman, was planning to poison the water in tourist complexes in the area. It has been revealed that a phone call he made to his wife, who lives in Girona, on the 12th of this month, sounded as if it was a goodbye. National Court judge, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has charged him with belonging to a terrorist organisation and for conspiracy to carry out a terrorist act. The Moroccan had expressed his wish to carry out such an attack against the ‘infidels’ in several internet forums which were also being used to recruit new members for different Islamic cells. It was on one such forum that he asked for the formula for a mortal venom. One person responded with how to produce a botulism toxin.

Spain and Morocco to establish joint police stations in Tangiers and Algeciras


Spain and Morocco have agreed to open joint commissioners’ offices in Tangiers and Algeciras from May. The interior ministers from both countries gave the announcement on Tuesday in Rabat. Jorge Fernández Díaz and his Moroccan counterpart, Mohand Lanser, did little detail about the composition of these ‘centres of police cooperation’. Morocco is the first country outside the EU with which Spain has come to such an arrangement. There are already similar offices established with France and Portugal. The talks between the interior ministers today centred on illegal immigration, organised crime and drug trafficking. Fernández Díaz underlined the ‘support’ of the Spanish Government for the process of ‘political and democratic reforms which are being brought in by King Mohamed VI’ in Morocco, and described them as ‘an example for the Arab world and many other countries’.

Four members of 'Anonymous' arrested in Spain


National Police has arrested four members of the Anonymous collective in Spain as part of an international operation against cyber-crime. Two of them are currently in prison thought to be behind DDos attacks, and the other two have been released. They are allegedly linked to attacks on the UPyD webpage, as well as for revealing personal data from the GEOS security personnel. A man known as ‘Thunder’ or ‘Pacotron’ was F.J.B.D. arrested in Málaga, J.M.L.G. known as ‘Troy’ was arrested in Madrid, J.I.P.S was also arrested in Madrid with a 16 year old close collaborator, J.M.L.G. thought to be part of the international hacking group known as ‘Sector 404’. 25 computers have been impounded along with hard discs and other storage devices, following four searches in Spain and these are now being analysed. The case has resulted in two servers being blocked in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic and has developed with the help of Interpol.

Search for a lorry driver after man and his niece are found dead in Zafra

The Guardia Civil are searching for a lorry driver following a double homicide in Zafra, which they consider was the settling of scores. The family of the man shot dead, a businessman Manuel Borallo, along with his niece, Verónica Gordillo, say that the crime could have been committed by a lorry driver from Algeciras whose whereabouts are now unknown. It’s thought however that he could have been in Zafra when the crime was committed in an industrial estate on Monday. The dead businessman had denounced the lorry driver to the Guardia Civil previously for using his company’s name without permission and also for using lorries with no ITV test or insurance. It seems the lorry driver had travelled to Zafra on Monday to ask for explanations. The only thing the family know is they were talking by phone with the niece, Veronica, when some bangs were heard and the line went dead. They say the last thing she said was she had to go because the man had come to see the papers. An autopsy is being carried out on the two bodies in the Anatomic Forensic Institute in Badajoz.

Friday, 24 February 2012

ENVELOPES full of cash, drug habits funded by EU grants and police taking payments to legalise prostitutes – you name it, it has happened in Spain.


 Add to those a snail-paced justice system and, a law society in Malaga that fails to scrutinize bent lawyers, and things start to look distinctly cloudy. Consider too that last week Spain’s top anti-corruption lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, was suspended from his post for illegally tapping the phones of lawyers, and most will come to the same conclusion. “Yes, corruption is certainly endemic in Spain,” says Gwilym Rhys-Jones, an Estepona-based financial expert. “Sadly there is a tradition of it and it became institutionalised since the late 1980s as nobody was dealing with it from the top down.” There is certainly nowhere better to highlight the problem than here on the Costa del Sol, where in Marbella for over two decades you could only get anything done if you were prepared to pay for it. Under the current Malaya corruption trial, centred around Marbella Town Hall, which has been going for over a year. Over a hundred councillors, mayors, businessmen and civil servants are currently on trial for taking backhanders totalling up to 2.4 billion euros. And sadly, the same state of affairs was taking place at hundreds of town halls around the country, with a central government apparently prepared to turn a blind eye. It led to hotels and golf courses being built in national parks, developments installed in river flood plains and hundreds of thousands of illegal – and unsellable – homes around the country. It comes as no surprise then that Transparency International has listed Spain as more corrupt than Uruguay, Chile and Qatar, and almost on a par with of Botswana – quite a feat for the fourth richest nation in the European Union. And while some might like to point the finger at the right or the left, the range of cases shows that bending the rules for personal gain goes right across the spectrum. The Conservative PP party has often been in the spotlight – most recently thanks to the Gurtel case, in Valencia – but the PSOE socialist party, particularly with the ERE pension scandal in Andalucia, certainly takes some beating. Even the royal family may have dipped its toes in the murky waters, with King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law about to stand trial for a misuse of public funds and embezzlement. So where did it all begin? Franco regarded it as the ‘necessary lubrication for the system’, according to historian Stanley Payne. While central government appears to be largely free of endemic corruption, in the regions it is quite a different story. In Andalucia, for example, UGT trade union leader Manuel Pastrana believes as many as 75 per cent of the region’s town halls are corrupt. This is partly down to the fact that much of Spain’s corruption is linked to illegal planning, which is said to be more profitable than drug dealing – mainly because tourism is the biggest earner on the Costa del Sol. It’s a simple tale, and sadly all too common. Developers purchase non-urban, rural land for knock-down prices, then pay corrupt town hall mayors to reclassify the land as available to develop. This leaves the developers to build whatever they like – and it is arrangements like this that explain the illegal 411-bedroom Algarrobico hotel in Almeria’s Cabo de Gata natural park – which will thankfully be demolished any day now. The question is, why are so many mayors and councillors tempted to the dark side, considering the possible environmental and criminal consequences? Aside from describing Spain as having the ‘slowest justice system in the known world’, investigator Rhys-Jones argues that it is human nature to be tempted by money once it’s dangled in front of you. “When people see a massive amount of money, they can’t help but steal it. It’s human nature,” he says, using the unscrupulous former Marbella mayor Jesus Gil as his example. Jesus Gil was described as the bad apple that spoilt Marbella’s bunch “Gil was a crook, but he started out with good intentions. Marbella was a mess in the 1980s. Property wasn’t selling. It was a dump filled with drugs and hookers. So Gil started a political party, the GAL, to try and sort it out.” But this apparent do-gooder turned resident evil, with many describing Gil – who was convicted in 2002 – as being the bad apple that spoiled Marbella’s bunch. Either way his legacy was a disaster and has led to the following three mayors – as well as his main cohort, planning boss Juan Antonio Roca, who became the svengali of the operation – all facing prison. Much of the corruption comes down to backgrounds and a lack of education, believes Marbella-based lawyer Antonio Flores. “A lot of mayors have previously had rural-based jobs, without the ability to make any money,” he explains. “The moment they have responsibility, the temptation to make money becomes too great. After four years in power, they’ll often have to go back to their tractors,” he says. A classic example of a rags-to-riches mayor is Julian Munoz, also heavily implicated in the Malaya case, who worked as a waiter before running Marbella Town Hall in 2002. Roca, too, had been on the dole before going on to pilfer 30 million euros. Planning boss Juan Antonio Roca, the main man in the Malaya case Flores compares town hall councillors with more prominent politicians in central government who are less reliant on get-rich-quick methods: “It’s not so difficult to get another job when you’re in a higher political position,” he says. The good news is that most commentators agree that corruption in Spain is on its way out. “The Malaya case was where the mentality changed,” estimates Flores. “It was a turning point for corruption and the Marbella run by thugs completely collapsed when they were all arrested. “As Spain becomes more civilised, we are slowly getting rid of corruption,” he continues. “But it has definitely not gone completely,” argues Rhys Jones. “That will take quite a few more decades.” As for shamed Judge Garzon, opinion remains firmly divided on whether he too was a man who let power corrupt him… or whether he has been silenced by a country whose corruption will be harder to iron out than some may hope. Big cases Malaya Planning chief Juan Antonio Roca is at the heart of this 2.4 billion euro scandal in Marbella. The unelected Roca operated a cash-for-permissions scheme, which saw over 18,000 homes built illegally. Gurtel Businessman Francisco Correa gave money to PP bosses in Valencia in return for lucrative contracts with the regional government. ERE The Junta is being investigated in a 647m euro retirement scandal, where posts were created in non-existent companies in order to defraud public funds. Ballena Blanca One of the largest money laundering cases in Europe, with 21 people accused of investing proceeds from drug trafficking and prostitution in property via over a thousand companies.

EU clampdown on unregulated financial advisers in Spain


The European Commission is to consider setting up an ombudsman to help expat victims reclaim against unregistered financial firms. It comes after a local pressure group, that represents over 1,000 victims, sent a dossier of information to Brussels. The Costa del Sol Action Group demanded action against the advisers who, it claims, have lost their clients over €120 million (£102 million). “It is good news as something has to be done about this bunch of rogues,” said group founder David Klein. “The current Spanish regulatory system is totally inadequate and ineffective. Dealing with the authorities is a constant game of ping-pong. Anyone can come to Spain and be a financial adviser; they could have been selling fish before they came here for all anyone knows." This situation could soon be coming to an end, after the European Commission confirmed it was to begin "a preliminary investigation of the problem". Foreign Office plans evacuation of expats 18 Dec 2011 It has asked for more information and the action group has called on all victims to write to the European Parliament outlining their experience. “This problem is causing untold stress and heartache in the expatriate community and it cannot be allowed to continue,” explained Klein. The European Commission is to study how investors would be able to make an official complaint against Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs). At present, there is no effective means for victims to make a complaint against product providers who work with unregistered IFAs. The group was also highly critical of the local media for its willingness to accept adverts from unregulated financial firms in a bid to maximise advertising revenue. To highlight the problem, the group included testimonials by members who were allegedly defrauded by one specialist investment brokerage, which it claims is "not regulated or registered". It said the company was able to trade, "collecting unsuspecting clients who are soon relieved of their money". One Costa del Sol-based financial adviser, Richard Alexander, said he was pleased with the EU’s response. “Bring on the review,” he said. “I have seen too many sad stories of people being turned over, badly advised or grossly over-charged by unregulated independent financial advisors in Spain. "It is entirely possible to provide professional, quality advice without the client losing out.”

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Juan Antonio Roca has face to face showdown in court with Marisol Yagüe

A face to face declaration in the Malaya case in Málaga on Wednesday brought sparks between the ex Marbella Town Hall real estate assessor, Juan Antonio Roca, and the ex Mayor of Marbella, Marisol Yagüe. Roca said to Yagüe – ‘Darling, I deeply lament disagreeing, but I did give you money’. To that Yagüe said ‘You are looking for a way out of jail’. The conversation between the two came after she denied to the prosecutor that she had received envelopes, in the form of backhanders, from Roca. Judge José Godino then ordered a face to face ‘careo’ between the two which lasted just over a minute. ‘When did I ask you for money, Juan Antonio?’ she spat ‘I paid you always on the orders of Jesús Gil’, he replied, adding that the payment was for ‘maintaining cohesion’ in the three way government of which she was Mayor. The payments to Yagüe and the rest of the councillors took place between January 2004 and 2006, according to Roca’s own notes, which he has collaborated repeatedly in court. He says the ex Mayor received 1.8 million €. Yagüe told the court that Roca knows she loves him a lot, and that she wants him to get out of jail, ‘but it is not as he says’, she said, looking directly into his eye and grabbing his forearm. She also denied that he had supplied funds for the purchase of a luxury flat in Madrid in the Argüelles district. She faces 20 years in prison and a 3.8 million € fine in the case on charge of bribery, perversion of the course of justice, fraud and the misuse of public funds. The questioning continues on March 5.

Libyan land being freed for development in Marbella


A large real estate project which the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank wanted to place in Marbella is back on the road. The project was frozen because of the death of Muamar El Gaddafi, but now the lawyers for the development say it is active again. The lawyer Ignacio Pérez de Vargas said the plans are for 1,915 homes, a golf course and a congress hall to be built in La Resinera, the finca owned by the Libyan in Benahavís which stretches to 6,900 hectares across the municipalities of Benahavis, Estepona, Pujerra and Júzcar. Part of this is in the Sierra de las Nieves, declared a Biosphere Reserve, but the PGOU urban plans shows 500 hectares which can be built on in Benahavís. Construction could start as early as December. The Spanish Government blocked all the assets owned by the Libyan Government in Spain, or related to Gadaffi, when the fighting started in Libya. There is another plot in Nerja also owned, as nearly all the Libyan assets, by the Libyan Foreign Bank. Now the politicians and ambassadors of the two countries have been talking, and the Libyan Ambassador commented ‘Soon we will know what is going to happen to our properties in Spain. We have asked for meetings to find out what we can do with them. Now we will try to complete the arrangements so the projects we initially had in mind can go ahead.

Ex Marbella Mayor, Isabel García Marcos, found guilty of corruption


The ex Mayor of Marbella, Isabel García Marcos, has been handed down her first conviction for real estate corruption. Penal Court 10 in Málaga fined her 3,600 € and banned her from holding public office for ten years. Three other ex councillors were given the same sentence, José Jaén and Carmen Revilla among them, and another 11 ex-councillors were given a year’s prison sentence and a ten year ban. These include Julián Muñoz, Rafael González and Marisa Alcalá. José Luis Fernández Garrosa, Alberto García Muñoz and Pedro Reñones were all given nine month prison sentences and a nine month ban from office. The case relates to April 2002 and a licence for the construction of 20 luxury villas on a plot of land in Trapiche.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Spain to Reform, But Not Shut Down, Immigrant Detention Centres


Spanish government has decided to reform the country’s Immigrant Detention Centres (CIEs) in response to a wave of criticism of the way they are run, following the death of two migrants. But the announcement has not toned down the campaign for closure of what many regard as prisons. "We appreciate the government's plan to approve regulations for the CIEs, as we had been demanding, and we hope it will guarantee the human rights of immigrants, although we continue to insist that they be closed down," Mamen Castellano, the head of Andalucía Acoge (Andalusia Welcomes), an NGO that works on behalf of immigrants, told IPS. She was referring to the creation of regulations for the running of CIEs, and to "changes of a certain depth," especially in the centres located in the southern Spanish cities of Algeciras and Málaga, announced by Interior Minister Jorge Fernández on Jan. 31. Foreign nationals lacking the necessary documents to live and work in Spain may be held for up to 60 days pending deportation proceedings, in the CIEs, which are defined in the country's immigration laws as "non-correctional public facilities under the Interior Ministry." Human rights organisations complain that they are prisons in disguise. The report "Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros en España. Derechos Vulnerados" (Immigrant Internment Centres in Spain: Infringed Rights), published in December 2011 by Migreurop, a Euro-African network of NGOs defending migrants' rights, describes violations of basic rights of people interned in centres in Málaga, Algeciras, Madrid and Barcelona. "They are prisons in form and essence, in spite of the law stipulating that these centres cannot be correctional in nature, since the persons held there have committed no crimes," the report says. "Internment, which should be an exceptional measure, is being used as a precautionary measure," said Castellano. The country’s immigration laws provide for alternatives to internment in a CIE, such as withholding a person's passport or ordering him or her to appear before a judge once a week. Castellano says she is in favour of regulations to govern CIEs, as a prior step to their being dismantled, "because a minor administrative offence should not lead to loss of freedom," as it often does now. For her part, Salva Lacruz, in charge of the lobbying programme at the Spanish Commission for Refugee Assistance (CEAR) in Valencia, said "the regulations are a step in the right direction, but not a solution." She regretted that closure of the CIEs is not on the government's agenda. In Lacruz's view, the death of two immigrants detained at these centres and the Migreurop report reveal "unacceptable" flaws, and "forced a reaction" from the centre-right People's Party government, led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who took office Dec. 21. A 41-year-old woman from DR Congo, Samba Martine, died of meningitis Dec. 19 while being held at the Aluche CIE in Madrid, and a 21-year-old man from Guinea-Conakry, Ibrahim Sissé, died Jan. 5, apparently of a heart attack, in the Barcelona centre. The Migreurop report calls attention to the deplorably rundown state of the CIE installations in Málaga and Algeciras, which in the past were deemed unfit for habitation, even as prisons, because of the risks to the health and safety of inmates. In fact, because of the threat of collapse at the CIE in Málaga, the local police canine unit was transferred out of the building - but immigrants are still held there. On Dec. 22, the Málaga City Council unanimously approved a proposal from the Izquierda Unida (United Left) group requesting that the building be condemned. Minister Fernández's promise of "changes of a certain depth" at the Málaga and Algeciras CIEs elicited a communiqué from Andalucía Acoge, which said "the only in-depth reform possible for these centres is their demolition." CEAR Valencia, the anti-racist NGO SOS Racismo, Andalucía Acoge, Médicos del Mundo (Doctors of the World) and other rights groups and local neighbourhood associations are staging a campaign with the slogan "No to the immigrant detention centres!" aimed at closing down these centres in Spain and the rest of Europe, and at putting a stop to police raids to arrest migrants, Lacruz said. The civil society organisations also complain that racial and ethnic profiling is used in identity checks throughout Europe. The campaign to close down the CIEs has a daily presence on Facebook and Twitter, with hashtags such as #CIEsNO, #stopredadas y #razonesCIErre (meaning roughly "No CIEs", "Stop the Raids" and "Reasons for Closure") and a wiki page, whose users can add, modify, or delete content, has recently been created. Meanwhile a Valencia court is investigating a complaint lodged by several foreign nationals held in the city's CIE, who reported being beaten, mistreated and humiliated by the police, according to a written complaint filed Nov. 4. All aspects of these centres, from security to health care and meals, are controlled by the police, who manage them and administer the finances. In prisons, on the other hand, police only carry out security duties. The reforms announced by the interior minister for Spain’s 12 CIEs include limiting police action solely to security duties and leaving the care of internees to unspecified "specialised staff". SOS Racismo said the measures were "insufficient and overly vague," and demanded that the centres be shut down because "they are incompatible with democracy, as they deprive of their freedom people who have committed no crime." According to municipal records for January 2011, 42 percent of immigrants in Spain are from other European countries, 30 percent are from Latin America, 23 percent are from Africa, and the rest are from Asia. In spite of the economic crisis plaguing Spain and the rest of the EU, the number of undocumented foreigners detained by the authorities at their point of entry into the country in 2011 was up by nearly 50 percent compared to the previous year, according to a report from the Interior Ministry.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Child asylum seekers receive £1m Home Office compensation


Forty children held in adult detention centres while seeking asylum are understood to have received a share of £1m compensation from the Home Office. The children, thought to have been as young as 14, began legal proceedings in 2005 for being "wrongfully detained". Previously, immigration officers could refuse to accept a person's claim to be under 18, if they suspected otherwise, and deal with them as an adult. The government has since accepted its policy was unlawful, and changed it. The compensation, plus a further £1m in costs, was paid to a number of boys and girls from countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia and China, reports the Guardian newspaper. The payments were made in 2009 and 2010 but have only just come to light. The children had launched judicial review proceedings of the Home Office's policy in 2005. Mark Scott, of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, who represented the children in their judicial review proceedings, said: "It is obvious that vulnerable children who have done nothing other than to seek help should not be locked up by the State." 'Expert knowledge' Before 2005, the judgement on whether they were 18 or over could be made by an individual immigration officer and they could then be kept under lock and key in an adult detention centre. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote Vulnerable children who have done nothing other than to seek help should not be locked up by the State” Mark Scott Bhatt Murphy Solicitors This policy was eventually accepted to be unlawful by the Home Office in January 2007, which conceded that it "did not strike the right balance between, on the one hand, the interests of firm and fair immigration control and, on the other hand, the importance of avoiding the detention of unaccompanied children". A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "We take the welfare of young people exceptionally seriously. "Where there is any doubt over an individual's age, they will not be detained unless an independent local authority age assessment concludes that they are over 18. These checks are carried out by social workers with expert knowledge. "All of our front-line staff receive specialist training to ensure that the welfare of young people is considered at every stage."

Witnesses reveal Lord Lucan's 'secret life in Africa'


Evidence that missing aristocrat Lord Lucan was smuggled out of the UK to a secret life abroad has come from two new witnesses. An ex-detective said there was a credible sighting of Lucan in Africa. And a woman who worked for Lucan's friend John Aspinall told the BBC she arranged for his children to fly to Africa where the peer could view them "from a distance". Lucan disappeared in 1974 after the murder of his children's nanny. Sandra Rivett was found dead at Lucan's home in Belgravia, London. The peer's blood-soaked car was later found abandoned in Newhaven, East Sussex. 'Flights to Africa' Lucan, born Richard John Bingham in 1934, was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote Instructions were to make arrangements for John Bingham, also known as Lord Lucan, to see his children” Jill Findlay Secretary to John Aspinall In an interview in 2000, Aspinall said Lucan probably committed suicide by scuttling his boat in the English Channel. Since Lucan's disappearance there have been more than 70 alleged sightings of him in countries across the world including South Africa, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands. Mr Aspinall's secretary, who asked not to be identified and assumed the name Jill Findlay, said she was invited into meetings where the missing aristocrat was discussed by her boss and Sir James Goldsmith, the multi-millionaire businessman. "Instructions were to make arrangements for John Bingham, also known as Lord Lucan, to see his children and to do that I had to book his two eldest children on flights to Africa," she said. "I don't know the exact dates, it was between 1979 and 1981 and it was on two occasions I booked the flights." She said the children would have visited Kenya and Gabon and Lucan would have been able to see them from a distance but he would not meet them or speak to them. Clear conscience Ms Findlay said she had "no idea of the enormity" of the search under way for Lucan who was then the most wanted man in Britain. She also said Mr Aspinall told her to expect him to announce Lucan's death to the press, a statement which came in 2000 and which she took as a signal that he had died in Africa. It took Ms Findlay a further 12 years to break her silence. She said events began to piece themselves together as she reflected on her life during a recent illness and she wanted to talk to the BBC to pass on information to whoever may find it of interest. Ms Findlay said her conscience was clear because she had not helped Lucan escape. She said she was prepared to give Scotland Yard a statement. Mr Aspinall died in June 2000, three years after the death of Sir James Goldsmith. 'Investigation stopped' Bob Polkinghorne, a former detective inspector who worked on the Lucan inquiry when it was being dealt with as a cold case during the 1980s, also said: "The word was he was in Africa. "Lady Lucan, I am quite convinced, didn't think he was dead." Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote I think his gambling fraternity friends spirited him out the country” Bob Polkinghorne He said a further confirmation that Lucan was alive came from a reliable witness who saw one of Lucan's close acquaintances in the early 1980s as he holidayed in Africa. Mr Polkinghorne said: "He was surprised to see this acquaintance standing on a bridge. "After two to three minutes, he was joined by another man who he is adamant was Lord Lucan." The former detective, who now lives in Kent, said permission to pursue this lead was refused by the Metropolitan Police. He said: "I was then later told, a few days later, discontinue the inquiry. You haven't got approval to continue." And he added: "I think his [Lucan's] gambling fraternity friends spirited him out the country."

Friday, 17 February 2012

Luxury eco-resort opens on Easter Island


Luxury has landed in the island's capital, Hanga Roa, with the soft opening of Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa. Situated on the town's main drag and only a kilometre from the airport, the 75-room resort appeals to travellers who want to experience the wonders of Easter Island in eco-friendly style. The overall design is inspired by the ancient dwellings of Rapa Nui, the island's native people, and includes such environmentally sound components as energy-generating solar panels and wind turbines. Rooms have free-standing clay baths, desks made from volcanic rock and terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Check into the spa for a sand sauna or a dip in the outdoor Kneipp pool.

Men who smuggled drugs from Dover to Skelmersdale jailed


A gang who smuggled heroin and cocaine into the UK hidden in a lorry have been jailed for a total of 31 years. Carl Robinson, 30, and Graham Miller, 38, both of Skelmersdale, were tracked bringing the drugs from Dover to Lancashire in August last year. They were arrested after meeting Ian Adderley, 46, of Kirkby, in Skelmersdale. All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import and supply Class A drugs at an earlier hearing. They were arrested in dawn raids on 12 August after a major surveillance operation carried out by officers from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, Titan. Officers also seized the class A drugs which had an estimated street value of more than £1m. 'Ill-gotten gains' Robinson, who also pleaded guilty to affray in connection with an incident at a pub in Skelmersdale on 6 August, was sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison. Adderley, who also admitted cannabis production was sentenced to 12 years, and Miller to nine years and six months in jail. Speaking after the trial, Det Supt Jason Hudson, head of operations for Titan, said it would do all it could to end the mens' criminal enterprise. "Titan is here to dismantle and disrupt the organised crime groups causing the greatest levels of harm to the North West," he said. "This group clearly fit that category and we are committed to not only arresting and bringing those people to justice but also financially ruining them, to ensure that all the financial gain that they have managed to achieve through their ill-gotten gains can be taken off them."

Turkish criminal gangs are ruling over the streets in the UK


Turkish criminal gangs are ruling over the streets in the UK, controlling much of the drug market in Germany, as well as providing political influence in the Netherlands. Turkish mafia has launched a wide range of activities in various European countries, has its own network subject to certain Turkish political circles. This is stated in the reports of the European countries and the UN. Turkish mafia is influential especially in Germany and the Netherlands. According to annual report of the German police, Turks as well as migrants from Nigeria and Sierra Leone are playing major role in coordination of crime among the immigrants. The number of residents of not German nationality suspected of organizing criminal gangs reached 471,067, while 106,396 out of them were Turks. As to drug trafficking, 26.6% of Germany’s drug dealers are Turks, 21.9% of those engaged in cocaine trafficking are Turks as well. The representatives of this ethnic group stood out as part of those involved in sex crimes in Germany - 34.9% of rapes and other similar crimes accounted for Turks only. German press reports that dangerous Turkish youth criminal gangs are operating in the cities of Germany. They also deal with the main business of Turkish mafia – drug trafficking and prostitution.   Back in 2010 Militant Islam Monitor website wrote that Turkish criminal gangs are controlling the streets of Berlin.  Turkish groups also form a part of a large Turkish community in the Netherlands. It is dominated by Turkish gangs, engaged in buying and selling drugs. According to local police, these groups often appear with their families and clans. The dealers are often controlled directly from Istanbul. The Turks in the Netherlands and Belgium are also selling weapons, are dealing with trafficking of immigrants, prostitution, forgery and money laundering. In the UK drug market is also under control of the Turkish clans. The British press reported that the Turkish criminals are fueling fear. According to law enforcers, about 90% of imported heroin is of Turkish origin. The Turks engaged in heroin business are mainly concentrated in the eastern part of London. They have links with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Back in 2006 thirteen members of a Turkish gang were arrested for hiding 13 kilos of heroine in a butcher shop. Later police found famous Hamit Gokenc aka “Mafia babası” (God father). The criminal gang he was heading had close ties with Turkey’s Grey Wolves gang. As a result of police operation, 22 kilos of heroine was found. In order to understand the reasons for Turkish mafia’s influence in Europe, we must look back at the history. Drug trafficking, distribution and use of drugs were considered a normal thing under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Prior to the ban on cocaine, opium and other drugs in Europe, they were imported directly from the Ottoman Empire. Exports of opium was one of the main sources for income. Naturally, the Turkish suppliers entered the European market being particularly active in France. After the First World War, the Turks formed alliances with the Yugoslav, Bulgarian and Greek criminal circles by organizing cooperation in drug smuggling. Nowadays, the Turkish-Bulgarian, Turkish-Serbian and Turkish-Albanian groups are active in this business. Large Turkish communities formed in Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary are contributing to this. After the Second World War, when Marseilles was major opium trafficking center, the Turkish mafia established ties with the leaders of the drug market – Marseille residents and Corsicans. Then, they expanded their activities reaching the United States. Nowadays, the Turks are controlling major part of the black drug market in Europe - about 93%. The reports of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says 110 tons of heroine entered  Europe in 2009, while 80% came by a route lying through Turkey. Thus, the Turkish criminal groups are expanding their activities in Germany and the Netherlands due to a large and influential community. In the UK, the lever is a huge community of Sunni Muslims. The Muslims from African countries are also joining the Turkish clans selling drugs in the European streets.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Amy Winehouse coroner 'not qualified'


The family of singer Amy Winehouse have said they are "taking advice" following news that the coroner who oversaw her inquest has resigned. Camden Council has confirmed that Suzanne Greenaway had stood down because she had not been a lawyer in the UK for the required five years. The council said she had been appointed "in error" by her husband Andrew Reid, the coroner for inner north London. Ms Greenaway ruled that Winehouse, 27, died from accidental alcohol poisoning. She returned a verdict of misadventure. The Office for Judicial Complaints has begun an inquiry into Dr Reid's conduct. Letter of apology In a statement, Winehouse's relatives said: "The Winehouse family is taking advice on the implications of this and will decide if any further discussion with the authorities is needed." Ms Greenaway qualified in Australia in 1999 in September and was a member of the Supreme Court there but she had not worked as a lawyer for the required time in the UK, a Camden Council spokesman said. The spokesman added that the Winehouse inquest verdict remained legal and would only be judged illegal if it was challenged and subsequently overturned by the High Court. Amy Winehouse's father leaves St Pancras Coroners Court Dr Reid said he was writing to all of the families affected to apologise. He said: "While I am confident that all of the inquests handled were done so correctly, I apologise if this matter causes distress to the families and friends of the deceased." He has offered to hold the inquests over again if the families of the deceased request it. During her time as deputy assistant coroner, Ms Greenaway conducted 12 inquests in Camden, but mainly worked from Poplar Coroner's Court. Coroners are appointed by the Ministry of Justice who then interview and appoint their own staff, including in the case of Dr Reid, his assistant deputy coroner. Under the Coroners Act, he must then notify the local authority although it has no power of scrutiny over appointments, a Camden Council spokesman said. The inquest into Winehouse's death heard she was more than five times the drink-drive limit when she died on 23 July. Ms Greenway had said the "unintended consequence" of Winehouse drinking so much alcohol was her "sudden and unexpected death". Three empty vodka bottles, two large and one small, were found at her flat, St Pancras Coroner's Court heard.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The great Asian gold theft crisis


Two small faces pull the curtain back in a side room and peer round to see who is at the door. After they run back inside, their mother, Mrs Rashid, unlocks the front door. Five weeks ago, she came home one evening to find the door ajar. The downstairs floor of her house was relatively untouched but upstairs the bedrooms had been ransacked – drawers opened, wardrobes emptied, clothes and belongings scattered everywhere. "It was such a huge shock," she says, sitting on the sofa, her voice breaking slightly. Her husband, Mr Rashid (neither want to give their full names), a big man sitting across the room, shakes his head. "They took it all," he says. The thieves who broke into this semi-detached house in Earley, near Reading, stole around £70,000-worth of gold jewellery. To those who are not from a south Asian family, it might seem remarkable to own so much valuable jewellery, but families such as the Rashids (Mr Rashid runs a small business) live in ordinary houses and are not particularly wealthy. Their gold collection – elaborate necklaces, rings, earrings and bangles – is treasure that has been handed down from generations of their families in Pakistan or bought as wedding gifts. It's our savings, our security, says Mrs Rashid, visibly upset. If, in future, the family needed money, they would have sold some pieces. "It's like paying a mortgage for 20 years and then having a house worth thousands of pounds afterwards – it's the same thing with gold," she says. "Our parents gave it to us, we would have given it to our children, they would have given it to their children," says her husband. They tried to put their gold in the bank, but "there were no lockers available. Everyone is looking for one." With other investments looking distinctly shaky in the economic crisis, last year gold prices reached record levels. In the autumn, an ounce reached a peak price of £1,194; today it is worth around £1,100 and analysts predict it could reach a new peak later this year or early next, as people seek safer investments, and demand for gold jewellery rises with the growing middle-classes in India. Asian gold (sometimes called Indian gold) is a broad term that covers jewellery bought and held by south Asian families, and often passed down through the generations. It tends to be the highest quality – often 24 carats, the purest gold – and it has vastly increased in value, sometimes to the point where a family can't afford to insure it. Thieves know that some south Asian families may have a large collection of gold at home, and it is these houses they target. There are no figures for the number of gold thefts, let alone the theft of Asian gold, but everyone I speak to believes the number of robberies is increasing. Last year, several police forces in areas where there is a large Asian community, such as Leicester and Slough, ran awareness campaigns after a spate of opportunistic robberies – there have been several reports of women who have had their gold jewellery snatched in the street – and burglaries. For a while, an attempted gold theft was a line of inquiry in the murders of Carole and Avtar Kolar in Birmingham in January, though the police later ruled this out. Mr Rashid shows me the window in the downstairs bathroom that was broken, and where the thieves must have got in. He thinks the house was being watched, because he noticed a silver car outside the front some days before. "My family is so frightened," he says. "My kids won't go upstairs on their own, it's a completely different life since it happened." They feel the police have not been very supportive, and they have little hope the perpetrators will be caught. "I was already upset, and a policeman said: 'Your gold must have been melted down by now,'" says Mrs Rashid. "I was even more upset when he said that." The Rashids know of several other families in the area who have been burgled. "A few watches and a BlackBerry were taken, but they were looking for gold," says Vikas Tandon, whose house in the area was broken into in September. "They seemed to know where to look – I am confident they used metal detectors. There were bowls of jewellery in one of the rooms, with real gold and artificial jewellery mixed in together. They only took the gold, so they knew what they were looking for." Tandon has now installed CCTV cameras "to give the family more confidence. The loss of the gold itself is bad, but the psychological after-effects of being burgled are worse. Everyone is scared." A local councillor, Tahir Maher, says: "A lot of residents have been very badly affected. It started in the summer. It is very much Asian families who are being targeted." In one day, he says, five homes in the area were burgled and gold stolen. He went door-to-door warning families to keep their gold in safes, or put it in the bank, "although banks have started to stop giving people safe deposit boxes, so people are keeping their gold at home". It isn't just homes that are targeted. This month, in Bradford, two men wearing balaclavas stole bagfuls of gold worth up to £100,000 – a third man had driven a 4x4 into the back of a jewellers as it was closing up. The terrified staff fled. In areas of Birmingham where there are a large number of Asian jewellers, several shops have been robbed. In the Handsworth area, where many south Asian people come to buy jewellery, there are numerous jewellers. Wedding sets – an elaborate necklace and earrings in 22-carat gold – can cost upwards of £5,000 for a fairly basic design, though the sets I see on display in many of the shops are much cheaper, lesser quality versions. Most of the jewellers have CCTV cameras and metal shutters. One of the jewellers I go into is protected by cameras, a metal grille, bulletproof glass and two time-lock doors. Another jewellers across the road was robbed last year during the day by three armed men. "There were customers in the shop," says the owner, who does not want to be named and is reluctant to go into details. He says there is an increased level of fear among jewellers specialising in Asian gold. "There is a fear daily. This is what we are living with now." Nigel Blackburn is chairman of Lois Jewellery, one of the biggest gold buyers in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. The staff behind the counters are busy dealing with a steady stream of customers bringing everything from random old bits of broken chains and odd earrings, to cases full of gold jewellery. It is weighed, the quality gauged, and cash is handed over. I watch some people leave with bundles of notes – one man, who has brought in several kilos of gold, walks out on to the street with nearly £75,000 in £50 notes stuffed into a plastic carrier bag. Blackburn's company buys £4-5m worth of gold every week, and about £500,000 of that is Asian gold. Much of it comes from jewellers wanting to get rid of stock, from owners selling pieces and from smaller dealers selling it on. He shows me a tub of bangles ready for smelting (once molten, they are poured into a mould and come out as gold bars). The prices have rocketed. Six years ago a kilo of Asian gold jewellery would have fetched £6,000; now it is worth £30,000. How much of it is stolen? Hopefully none of it, he says. His staff do what they can – sellers fill out a form before their gold can be bought – but he says: "ID means nothing these days – criminals can forge anything." Mainly his staff rely on judgment. "If someone brings in a gold chain that has been snapped, it could have been pulled off someone's neck," he says. "If someone is out there" – he points to the timelock door where people can be seen before they are admitted – "and they look nervous or they just don't look 'right', that will raise alarm bells. We will not buy from anybody we're not sure of. There are unscrupulous [dealers] round here. They buy it, they melt it and then you can't prove anything." Many of the dealers have smelting equipment, and it can be done in a matter of minutes. Inevitably, sometimes stolen gold "slips through the net. But we've got the CCTV to give the police. We have cameras trained on the scales, so we film everything we buy, and the people who sell it." He works closely with the police and they are called any time he is suspicious of somebody; he was responsible for 14 arrests one week. If there's a robbery, especially in the Midlands, he will be alerted, "so we know what to look out for". Another jeweller in the area who buys gold says she knows of dealers who don't care if they buy stolen gold. She thinks she has been offered stolen Asian gold in the past, "but I refused to buy it. I don't want to make my money in a dishonest way." But there are numerous ways to easily sell gold with few questions asked. "There are places in shopping centres that will buy gold and pay good prices. Even Tesco now buys it," says one jeweller. There is also a wealth of online scrap gold dealers who will pay upwards of £800 an ounce for the finest quality (usually Asian) gold – simply send the jewellery off in an envelope and wait for money to be sent back. "One of the issues is that gold jewellery is often not traceable," says Paul Uppal, MP for Wolverhampton South West, who has taken an interest in the issue of gold theft. "Constituents had spoken about it, and also coming from an Asian family it was word-of-mouth as well. At the moment, it's easy to smelt the gold down and sell it off." Gold sales aren't covered under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, which requires dealers to keep detailed records of metal received; many think the act is inadequate. It could be updated later this year if a current six-month pilot scheme is a success, but it isn't clear if precious metals will be included. "Anyone can walk into a jewellers and the gold can be smelted down within 20 minutes," says Uppal. "There needs to be some sort of audit trail. I've mentioned it to ministers whenever I can but the problem is, it seems to be viewed in the grand scheme of metal theft. This is quite nuanced, and very specific to the Asian community as well." In Earley, councillor Maher has helped set up a neighbourhood watch-style group aimed at the Asian community worried about gold burglaries. It is still a new scheme, but he says it is growing. "People are looking out for each other," he says. He is working with the police closely because he says his big fear is that "people may take matters into their own hands in a bad way". The way he talks makes it sound like a community under attack – Maher knows of families who have lost tens of thousands of pounds' worth of gold, including elderly people, a single mother and another woman who miscarried after discovering her house had been broken into. "People are living in fear. Mothers were scared to be at home with their children in the day, and older people were frightened of being attacked in the street or followed home," he says. "There is a lot of mistrust. This has cost the community a lot."


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