Monthly Archives: July 2017

A Great Warrior. The “Legendary Tony Poe” and his “Secret Army”

Tony Poe

The Department of State has declassified documents confirming the activities of Tony Poe, aka Anthony Poshepny, a CIA officer (cryptonym allegedly “UPIN,” cover allegedly “Air Operations Officer, Continental Air Services”) who conducted field operations in Thailand, Cambodia, and most prominently Laos from the 1950s to 1974.

Poe is frequently cited as a basis for Colonel Kurtz, Marlon Brando’s character in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, a CIA operative who –far removed from western influence– had “gone native” and was running his own army deep into the jungle of Indochina.  Though both Poe and Coppola denied that he was the basis for Kurtz,  the similarities are pronounced –and Poe was certainly one of the most remarkable, flamboyant, and grizzly operators employed by the CIA during American’s war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

According to John Prados’s must-read biography of Poe for Unredacted, Poe went to Laos in March 1961 to train the Hmong  to fight against the Vietnamese Communists.

Hating paperwork and preferring the field, Po was content that a younger officer, Vincent Lawrence, served as base chief with himself as underling. He ran field missions with the Hmong partisans. After the Geneva Accords of 1962, which was to have removed all U.S. field operatives from the country, Lawrence and Po remained at Long Tieng anyway to coordinate with Vang Pao. Poshepny is said to have had shifting relations with Vang Pao and there were reportedly multiple incidents where the two almost came to blows or even drawn guns. Lawrence remained the head CIA man.

Poshepny had a checkered reputation with senior CIA officers for a number of reasons. One was that during the period of post-Geneva fictive neutrality, he reportedly continued to go out on field missions. During his career Po would be wounded about a dozen times, including losing some fingers to a booby-trap that killed a fellow officer. On another occasion he shouldered a wounded Hmong fighter and carried him about 30 km back to camp for the doctors to see him. His difficulties with Vang Pao gradually increased and created a second problem. His drinking also did not help.

With April 1964, when the Laotian operation went back into gear, came reports of Po paying bounties for severed heads and ears of alleged Pathet Lao guerrillas. When the CIA Station questioned his body counts, he told the partisans to cut off the ears of dead enemies, which he kept in a plastic bag. When Poshepny considered he had enough he forwarded them to Embassy Vientiane. “I used to staple them to the reports,” Po joked. “There were bushels of ears at headquarters.” He admits to “distributing” at least two. Another time a village that had shot at Po’s aircraft was threatened by the airdrop of a severed head. The outraged headman managed to get the tail number of the Air America aircraft and complained to Embassy Vientiane. The ambassador was forced to apologize to the villagers. “if you do everything according to the orders, you’d be in a straightjacket. You have to break the monotony sometimes,” Po is quoted as saying.

…More than CIA has released.

The recently declassified State Department cables rarely mention Poe, but they do provide official government corroboration of his activities.  One 2003 cable describing a Laotian government relocation program describes the northern “Nam Yeu valley between Muang Meung and Huasai” as “a valley that during the Vietnam war era was the base of the ethnic Mien ‘secret army’ advised by the legendary Tony Poe[.]”

A second cable from December 1988 describes a visit to the U.S. embassy in Vientaiane by “a re-education camp releasee [after] nearly 13 years of detention in Sam Neua.”  The walk-in reported rumors of U.S. prisoners –including airmen captured in Laos– being imprisoned in Vietnam as late as 1978.  Before reporting this information about potential POWs to official US channels, the source first “sent this information by letter” to Tony Poe.

This is plausible.  Tony Poe returned to Laos after retiring from the CIA in 1974.  There, according to Prados’s account, he married a Laotian woman and worked “as a gentleman farmer for many years.”

A final document from 1976 makes brief mention of Poe as a reference for a Lao refugee attempting to immigrate to America.  This is also plausible.  After returning to California in the 1990s, Tony Poe continued to maintain deep ties with the Laotian community.  According to the Wall Street Journal:

[Tony Poe] lived with the hill tribes, drank with them, fought with them, nearly died with them. Most important, the Laotians say: Long after American street gangs replaced CIA commando units as the proving ground for tough hill-tribe youths, Mr. Poshepny still cares. He counsels Laotian kids on joining the Marines, helps finance Laotian weddings and plots strategy for winning official recognition in Washington for Laotian veterans.

A few years ago, he fought a deportation order for one of his men convicted of opium possession in Sacramento, Calif. The man’s military contributions, Mr. Poshepny testified in court, should outweigh his opium rap. The judge agreed.

Tony Poe died on June 27, 2003.  According to his funeral announcement he was awarded two CIA stars, the agency’s highest honor, and two Purple Hearts.

The official U.S. record of one of its most prominent paramilitary officers remains extremely attenuated, primarily hidden by the CIA’s abused and enveloping Operational Files Exemption.1  The Department of State’s acknowledgement, however, of the “legendary Tony Poe” and his “secret army” will likely make it more difficult to continue to hide documents about his actions from the public.

by Nate Jones

  1. A search of the CIA, State, and FBI FOIA reading rooms turned up no additional information on Poshepny.  The CIA’s Study in Intelligence’s Undercover Armies: CIA and Surrogate Warfare in Laosprovides good context of the Agency’s operations but is highly redacted.  It is possible some of the redactions hide Poe’s activities.

Real Fearless Women

Real Fearless Women

In this age of controversy, a fresh reason for social justice warriors to unite has arisen on Wall Street in New York City. The statue “Fearless Girl” was installed within sight of “Charging Bull” to bring attention to International Women’s Day. Having served its purpose—whatever that was—it is now time for its scheduled removal. After the images of the statue went viral, the sculptor and others want the statue to stay as a commemoration of the fearlessness of women.

True fearlessness is silently represented around this country daily, and not in the form of an iron statue.

What a load of unadulterated poppycock! Not only is the statue a poor representation of a lack of fear, it utilizes another artist’s work without permission in an attempt to make the point.

True fearlessness is silently represented around this country daily, and not in the form of an iron statue. The “silent representation” of this is exemplified in the media’s coverage of famous women who have been attacked. Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow and Taylor Swift have all received expansive media coverage of their battles to protect their homes and families from invasion by dangerous stalkers intent on bodily harm. Each woman has suffered home invasion and had to endure (sometimes unsatisfying) judicial resolutions. Fortunately, none of these women were physically harmed in the altercations. Many American women who undergo similar experiences are not so lucky.

Renowned criminologist Gary Kleck estimates that firearms are used in self-defense approximately 2.5 million times per year in the United States. But in cases of women using firearms for self-defense, it is surprising how few of them garner any national attention: So-called “mainstream” media outlets tend to largely ignore them since they don’t fit their “guns are bad” narrative.

To illustrate the point, try running an internet search of “woman shoots assailant.” Based on national media reports, one would expect to see only four or five instances over the past several years. Instead, there are thousands of hits. Similar searches for “woman shoots robber” and “woman shoots invader” provide even more local news stories of women using guns defensively. Then, to get an idea of the true scope of the phenomenon, consider that in most instances of defensive gun use, a shot is never fired and doesn’t get reported on.

Fearless Women Are Survivors

These attacks happen across the country, at any time of day, in any locale. A woman out running errands in Jacksonville, Fla., returned home unaware that she had been followed. Just before 10 a.m., the assailant forced his way into the victim’s home attempting to rob her. She shot him twice instead. The man survived the shooting and was able to flee the scene, only to be apprehended by police a short time later.

In another morning incident—this one in Chattanooga, Tenn.—Latisha Hinton used her gun to shoot her assailant after they argued and, as Hinton stated, he assaulted her. She feared for her own safety and that of others, which prompted her lawful use of her firearm. Her assailant was arrested on outstanding warrants in addition to being charged with five counts of reckless endangerment.

In February of this year, Naou Mor Khantha was working the night shift in a laundromat in Upper Darby, Pa. An armed man entered her workplace, and she fought back. She recounted that the criminal entered the facility armed with a handgun and trapped Khantha in the restroom, where, Khantha said, the criminal attempted to rape her. Khantha managed to shoot the criminal with his own gun and flee to a nearby 7-Eleven, where she called the police. Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood marveled at her bravery: “She fought for her life. She won. She’s a lucky young lady.”

In other words, bravery is more than a statue. Sounds about right. But those stories are only the tip of the iceberg. In February of this year, in Rising Sun, Ind., a conservation officer was attacked after responding to a report of a suspicious person. A woman ran from a nearby home and, upon seeing the officer being overwhelmed by an attacker, shot the attacker once in the torso to save the officer. The attacker later died at the hospital.

An Ohio woman was visiting the home of her elderly parents when she was assaulted. Kim Sinnott was enjoying a family party for her father’s 75th birthday when the family’s alarm system sounded. After grabbing her father’s handgun, she and her twin sister went to take a look and found an intruder in the garage. Sinnott warned the intruder that she had a gun and would use it. She repeatedly stated that the police were on the way and not to come out of the garage or she would shoot. Instead, the intruder allegedly lunged at Sinnott, tackling her in an attempt to take the gun. The intruder was reportedly on top of Sinnott when she shot him. His injuries were not life-threatening; he fled down the street and was later apprehended by police.

In Mobile, Ala., a woman in her vehicle shot a man brandishing a bat. Fortunately for him, his injuries weren’t life-threatening, either. But you may be noticing a theme here: Women who are attacked by unknown assailants have virtually zero chance of surviving unscathed, save for their possession of a firearm. In the case of the twin daughters home with their elderly parents, the gun was their equalizer in an altercation with an individual bent on mayhem.

Fearless Woman Stops Domestic Violence Attack       

While anti-gun activists claim that a gun makes domestic violence situations more dangerous for women, in truth a gun can turn the tables on an attack that might otherwise prove deadly.

When a Mound View, Minn., woman had told her boyfriend their relationship was over, he had moved out of the house they had previously shared. However, one night about midnight the man returned demanding he be let in.

Fearing the man because he had repeatedly threatened her in the past, the woman took her gun to the door with her. When told he could not enter, the man broke into the home, tackled the woman and began assaulting her. The woman then shot her attacker once in the chest, ending the attack.

More recently, in June, an Indiana woman fatally shot a home intruder to defend herself and her children. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department reported that the mother heard someone breaking into her apartment—and, when investigating, came face to face with a strange man holding a gun. However, the mother was also carrying a firearm, and she fired first.

The shooting was the second in two days where an Indianapolis parent was forced to fire in self-defense.

In Glendale, Ariz., a woman at a Circle K showed her attacker that a gun to your victim’s head doesn’t necessarily mean you possess the upper hand. It was 1 a.m., and Carole Miracle was walking toward the store when she allegedly felt a gun pressed to her head and heard a man demand her money. Instead of complying, Miracle pulled her own gun from its holster and shot the man, killing him. Eyewitness accounts reportedly corroborate Miracle’s account of the events that night.

A surveillance camera recorded a man following a woman into an elevator at a parking garage in Louisville, Ky. As the woman left the elevator, he trailed closely behind her. When she unlocked and entered her vehicle, the man allegedly got in behind her and covered her mouth with one hand, while holding a knife in the other. The woman fought back, and as they wrestled, the windshield was cracked. The woman pulled a gun from her purse and shot the man in the neck. He fled, but was later arrested and charged with attempted murder, criminal mischief and kidnapping. The woman suffered multiple injuries, but her bravery and preparation in carrying a firearm saved her life.

This is a story that would be very good for millions of American women to hear. It illustrates how quickly an assailant can escalate an attack to a level that is impossible to win unarmed.

Of course, a parking garage isn’t the only place a concealed firearm can be a lifesaver. One mom was in her Indianapolis home with her family when she heard breaking glass. After alerting her husband to the unexpected noise, she emerged from her bedroom, pistol in hand, to see an intruder come out of her baby’s room. The intruder shot at her, and she returned fire, hitting him multiple times. The man was later found to have zip ties and a walkie-talkie in his possession. Of note is the sign on the porch of the home, reading, “We don’t call 911,” with a pistol hanging beneath. Great call on the mom’s part. Even though the baby was home during the break-in, none of the residents were harmed in the incident.

When The 911 Operator Says To Shoot

What a scenario: It’s New Year’s Eve, your husband died of cancer just a few days before, and you’re home alone with your 3-month-old baby. The doorbell rings, and some guy who introduced himself at your husband’s funeral is at your door with his friend—only this time, he has a knife.

Fortunately, the 18-year-old mother recognized him from the week before, and refused to open the door. They worked to get inside the house while she dialed 911.

The young widow I just described is named Sarah McKinley. When McKinley asked the operator if she could shoot the assailants if they entered the home, the operator told her to do whatever she needed to protect her baby. Armed with a shotgun and a pistol, she opened fire when they allegedly broke in, killing one of the intruders. His friend fled and later turned himself into police.

In truth, there are thousands upon thousands of other fearless women out there with memories of attacks, and some with battle scars from their encounters with the criminal element. These women are alive today because they chose to arm themselves just in case there was ever a need.

Many never even had to fire a shot to successfully practice armed self-defense. Due to the newsworthiness of her sorrowful situation and her youth, McKinley’s story received widespread attention back in 2012 when it occurred, but other women who have survived because they had a gun and knew how to use it have done so with little fanfare or notoriety.

Every woman should be apprised of her likelihood of surviving an assault armed only with her wits. The more knowledge women have of the laws in their states and of their rights under the Second Amendment, the more lives will be saved.

Women owning firearms is the picture of fearlessness—and there’s no bull in that.

BY STACY WASHINGTON

Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality and host of nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” based in St. Louis.

OUTRAGEOUS! Dallas Co. Commissioner Votes Against Honoring Murdered Officers “They Brought It On Themselves”

Law enforcement agencies have condemned some recent remarks made by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

At last week’s meeting, commissioners voted on a resolution to make July 7th a day to honor all fallen officers. Price voted no and said there is a framed narrative regarding people who have lost their lives at the hand of law enforcement.

He said any loss of life is bad. Mitch Slaymaker, with the Texas Municipal Police Association, said Price’s comments came at the wrong time.

“I believe that it was poor timing. I don’t believe that that’s the place to do it to bring those types of political discussions up,” he said.

Several associations have demanded an apology from Price.

“That’s going to be up to Mr. Price whether he does that and what he feels but we believe there was a time and a place for that dialogue. The time and place is not when you’re honoring five officers who died protecting the freedoms that those people were marching on,” he said.

Price stands by his comments.

(WBAP/KLIF News)

A Non Political Understanding Of Why The Transgender Ban Is Good For The U.S. Military

Chelsea Manning transgender

First, I did not vote for Trump or Hillary I voted Libertarian. Sad that I have to state this.

The recent ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is in my professional opinion a correct decision by POTUS.

When you strip away the political clap trap the scientific evidence paints a picture of people who are mentally ill and emotionally unstable.

Let’s look at the facts:

1.     Chromosomes make us male or female. Biological fact.

NOTE: Klinefelter’s syndrome, Turner syndrome, XX gonadal dysgenesis are well studied however these do not change the biological sex of the person.

2.     A report finds scarce scientific evidence to conclude that gay and transgender people are “born that way.”

The 143-page paper, published in The New Atlantis journal, combs through hundreds of studies in search of a causal, biological explanation for gender identity, but comes up empty.

“Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex — so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or a ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence,” the report states.

3.     The only long-term study of transgender outcomes concluded that “Male to Female” transsexuals retain male-pattern criminality, including crimes against women.

NOTE: Their biological based aggression does not change.

[Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885]

4.     The DSM-5 changed the listing of transgender to “gender dysphoria,” in 2013, it remains classified as a mental illness today.

NOTE: A politically driven attempt to change this is underway ignoring science for the sake of a political agenda.

5.     The Statements Of International Experts:

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry states that Transgenderism is a mental disorder that merits treatment, that sex change is biologically impossible, and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

Dr. Joseph Berger, has issued a statement saying that from a medical and scientific perspective there is no such thing as a “transgendered” person, and that terms such as “gender expression” and “gender identity” used in the bill are at the very least ambiguous, and are more an emotional appeal than a statement of scientific fact.

“The medical treatment of delusions, psychosis or emotional happiness is not surgery.”

Moreover, Dr. Berger stated that the arguments put forward by those advocating for special rights for gender confused people have no scientific value and are subjective and emotional appeals with no objective scientific basis.

Dr. Kenneth Zucker, long acknowledged as a foremost authority on gender identity issues in children, has also been a lifelong advocate for gay and transgender rights.

However, much to the consternation of adult transgender activists, Zucker believes that gender-dysphoric pre-pubertal children are best served by helping them align their gender identity with their anatomic sex. This view ultimately cost him his 30-year directorship of the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

6.     While approximately 6.7 percent of the general United States population suffers from depression and 18 percent grapple with some iteration of an anxiety disorder, nearly half of all individuals who identify as transgender experience these issues.

What’s more, over 41 percent of trans men and women are estimated to have attempted suicide — a rate that’s nearly nine times as high as the rate of cisgender Americans.

NOTE: Social stigma has been shown to NOT be a factor in this.

7.     A 2011 Swedish study, it looked at mortality and morbidity after gender reassignment surgery and found that people who changed genders had a higher risk of suicide.

In this study, all the sex-reassigned persons in Sweden from 1973–2003 (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males) were compared to a comparable random control group. The sex-reassigned persons had substantially higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease and suicide, and substantially higher rates of attempted suicide….Gender surgery is not effective treatment for depression, anxiety or mental disorders.

Transgender people have extremely high suicide rates, aggression, depression and anxiety disorder.  Does it make any logical senses to allow these people to serve in an organization filled with weapons, high stress and national secrets?

The military mission is always about readiness and lethality. Put your politics aside and look at this decision dispassionately and logically.

 

TRAVEL ALERT: Aviation Enhanced Security Measures for All Commercial Flights to the United States

Travel Dale Yeager Blog

The United States and the global aviation community face an adaptive and agile enemy. Terrorist groups continue to target passenger aircraft, and we have seen a “spider web” of threats to commercial aviation as terrorist pursue new attack methods.  Based on these concerns, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working to raise the baseline of global aviation security to keep the traveling public safe, in coordination with our international partners.

Change to Global Aviation Security Requirements

In light of evaluated intelligence, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has determined it is necessary to implement enhanced security measures for all commercial flights to the United States.  These measures, both seen and unseen, include enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices as well as heightened security standards for aircraft and airports.

  • Countries: 105
  • Airports: 280 (approximate number as it will vary based on seasonal airports)
  • Total airlines: 180
  • Average daily flights: 2,100
  • Passengers: 325,000 average daily passengers

Enhanced Security Measures and Timeline

The enhanced security measures include but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing overall passenger screening;
  • Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
  • Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
  • Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening, and establishing additional preclearance locations.

Over the course of the next several weeks and months, DHS/TSA will work with aviation stakeholders to ensure these enhanced security measures are fully implemented.  Those stakeholders who fail to adopt these requirements with certain timeframes run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.

International Flights Bound for the United States

These enhanced security measures will help to secure all commercial flights departing from 280 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States.

Baby Boomers Are Cheaters & Millennials Are Faithful

Adultery

Culture critic: Having an Affair Is Going Out of Style

Extramarital sex “is changing before our very eyes,” says Megan McArdle at Bloomberg: “While the overall rate of people reporting extramarital flings is the same, the demographics of the people who report the adultery are changing dramatically.

And not necessarily in the direction you might think.” It’s the baby boomers, who came of age in the Sexual Revolution, not millennials, who are driving the trend.

In fact, younger people are having “markedly less extramarital sex than people in that age group did in the 1990s. But people over the age of 55 are busy making up for their missed action.”

With sex, “the past really is another country, and the future a land unknown.”

The ‘Holy Grail’ Of The American Civil War Found!

Glory sword found

The sword that belonged to the commanding officer of the first all-black regiment raised in the North during the Civil War has been recovered after being lost for more than 150 years.

The British-made sword carried into battle by Col. Robert Gould Shaw was stolen after he was killed during the 54th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry’s doomed attack on Fort Wagner, SC, in 1863, a battle portrayed in the 1989 movie “Glory.”

It was found recently in the home of one of Shaw’s distant relatives and is scheduled to go on display at the Massachusetts Historical Society on Tuesday, the 154th anniversary of his death.

“I got goosebumps when I saw it,” said Anne Bentley, the organization’s curator of artifacts.

Society President Dennis Fiori called it the “holy grail of Civil War swords.”

After Shaw — who, like all officers in black units, was white — was killed, his body was stripped of clothing and belongings by Confederate soldiers.

The sword was recovered about two years later from a Confederate officer shortly after the war ended and returned to Shaw’s parents in Boston. Shaw had no children of his own, so the sword ended up with his sister, Susanna Minturn.

The sword was found in the attic of a home north of Boston by the sister’s great-grandchildren late last year as they were cleaning out the house following the death of their mother.

Glory Sword

Southern Poverty Law Center and ABC News Label Christians ‘Hate Group’

ADF

ABC News’ Pete Madden and Erin Galloway “smeared Christians who believe the Bill of Rights secures religious liberty as a ‘hate group,’ ” reports Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist.

The story concerned a recent speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Alliance Defending Freedom, which is “not a hate group at all, but a civil liberties organization that battles for religious liberty.”

But try telling that to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which goes after “reasonable groups it merely disagrees with politically but labels as hate groups” and whose analysis ABC swallowed whole.

Says Hemingway: “ABC News can certainly quote the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extreme views, but it shouldn’t build a story around the wholesale acceptance of their flawed premises.

That turns journalism into anti-religious propaganda on behalf of a partisan group.”

Acid Attacks In The UK And London Dramatically Increase. Why?

Acid Attacks UK London

The latest acid attacks in north-east London on Thursday, which saw five people being sprayed with a corrosive liquid, add to a growing number of cases being reported in the UK.

 

Last month cousins Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar were left with life-changing injuries after a corrosive liquid was thrown at them through a car window.

 

And in April clubbers in east London were caught up in an attack involving acid, which left 20 people injured.

 

Assaults involving corrosive substances have more than doubled in England since 2012, police figures show.

 

The vast majority of cases were in London.

 

It is legal to purchase strong acid but there have been growing calls for regulations to be tightened in the wake of recent incidents.

 

The National Police Chiefs Council lead for corrosive attacks, Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton, told the BBC Asian Network that reported acid attacks had seen a significant rise in percentage terms, but that compared with knife crime the number of incidents were “tiny”.

Takeaway restaurant owner Imran Khan was attacked while out delivering food in Barking, east London, in November.

 

He was confronted by a group of youths who demanded money and food while hurling racist abuse at him. When he got back into his vehicle they squirted a corrosive liquid in his face.

Mr Khan says the pain “overtook everything” and he feared he would be left completely blind.

He was saved from long-term damage by a quick thinking shopkeeper who washed his face with clean water at the scene of the attack.

 

He says the attack affected him “big time” leaving him feeling unsafe in public, especially after dark.

 

Weapon of choice

Attacks in London in 2016-17

Crimes using “corrosive substances”

 

208

Violence against the person

 

38

caused serious injuries, 1 was fatal

 

118 robberies

 

10 of which left victims with serious injuries

 

2 sexual offences, including 1 rape

Source: Metropolitan Police

Getty Images

Metropolitan Police figures obtained by the BBC show men are twice as likely to be victims of acid attacks in London than women after being linked to a number of gang crimes.

The vast majority of cases never reach trial.

 

Dr Simon Harding, a criminologist and expert on gangs at Middlesex University, says acid is becoming “a weapon of first choice”.

 

“Acid throwing is a way of showing dominance, power and control, building enormous fear among gang peer groups,” he says.

 

Gang members know there are advantages in using acid to hurt someone rather than a knife because “the charges are more serious if you are caught with a knife and the tariff for prison sentences are much higher”.

 

Dr Harding added that “acid is likely to attract a ‘GBH with intent’ charge while using a knife is more likely to lead to the attacker being charged with attempted murder”

 

“There’s no specific offence of throwing acid. It’s a harder offence to prove because there is rarely any DNA evidence and its much easier to dispose of a plastic bottle than it is a knife.”

Dr Harding says the government needs to attack the problem on three fronts.

 

He says acid is too easily available, sentencing needs to be brought into line with knife crime and a programme of education is required.

 

“Gang members do respond when they realise a victim of an acid attack may never work again or may need 15 or 20 plastic surgery operations.”

 

Physical and emotional damage.

 

“This is a horrendous crime, it maims, it disfigures,” ACC Kearton explains.

 

“What particularly disgusts me about this crime is that it’s premeditated, no-one carries acid around on the streets for any other reason than using it for this reason.

 

“The intention behind this is for someone to live with this for the rest of their lives.

 

“That is lasting physical and emotional damage, its sometimes why some people choose this as a form of attack.”

 

Asked what can be done to stop it she says: “To have an acid in a different bottle to the one it was purchased in can be an offence, we can also regulate volumes of sale, we can regulate ages at which people can buy it.”

 

Jaf Shah, from the London charity Acid Survivors Trust International says the phenomenon isn’t new and dates back to the Victorian times in Britain, but says the recent figures are shocking.

“The recent spike in attacks means the UK has the highest number of reported acid attacks per capita in the world.”

 

He is among those calling for regulations on the sale of acid to be tightened.

 

What does the law say?

 

There are no age restrictions on buying household bleach or drain cleaning products containing acid in the UK.

 

There are rules which limit the sale of certain substances under the explosives precursors and poisons (EPP) rules aimed at businesses who sell or supply such chemicals in bulk.

The Met said it was working with retailers to raise awareness that people might be buying corrosive substances to use as weapons.

 

But Jaf Shah wants the government to make it compulsory when purchasing corrosive chemicals to pay by card that is traceable to an individual and to make acid available only under licence.

 

Labour MP for East Ham Stephen Timms has tabled an adjournment debate for Monday in the House of Commons on the rise in the number of acid attacks.

 

About a third of last year’s acid attacks in the capital took place in the London borough of Newham, which is in his constituency.

 

Mr Timms says he is “most concerned about sulphuric acid” and that carrying a bottle without justification should be treated as an offence, like carrying a knife.

 

George Mann BBC News

UK Travel Alert: Terror advice video for holidaymakers shows hotel attack

UK terror-threat-levels

A video advising UK holidaymakers what to do in the event of a terror attack abroad has been released by police.

The four-minute film depicts a firearms attack unfolding at a hotel and uses the “run, hide, tell” safety message.

Thirty British tourists were among 38 people killed when a gunman attacked a Tunisian beach resort in June 2015.

Counter terrorism police said there is no specific intelligence Britons will be targeted this summer and the film is part of a general awareness campaign.

But Det Ch Supt Scott Wilson told the BBC it was “only right” to offer advice following the terror attacks in London and in Sousse, Tunisia.

“These people are not there to steal a mobile phone or steal your watch, they are there to kill you, you have to get yourself out of that danger zone,” Mr Wilson told the BBC.

“It’s very unlikely [that you will be caught up in a terror attack].

“It’s very much like the safety briefing you get on an aeroplane before it takes off – it’s very unlikely that plane is going to crash, but it’s very important you are given that knowledge of what you should and what you shouldn’t do.”

The video has been produced with the Foreign Office and travel association Abta.

Mr Wilson said 23,000 representatives from major UK holiday companies at resorts all over the world had been trained in what to do in the event of a terror attack as well as how to spot suspicious items and activity.

Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “While there is no specific information that British holidaymakers will be targeted this summer, it sets out some simple steps we can all take to minimise the impact of an attack if one does take place.”

The run, hide, tell message was first introduced by police in December 2015.

 Run

  • If there is a safe route run
  • Insist others go with you, but do not let their indecision slow you down
  • Leave belongings behind

Hide

  • If you cannot run, hide
  • Be aware of your exits
  • Find cover from gunfire
  • Try not to get trapped

Tell

  • Call the police when it is safe (112 for the EU)