Socialist Worker

Opening the door on open and shut cases

| Fingerprints | Bigots | Daily Express | Who Says? |

Issue No. 1887

FINGERPRINT evidence is often considered to be watertight evidence by courts and juries. But is it as safe as we think? The New Scientist magazine has discovered that the only piece of research ever done to validate fingerprinting is 'based on flawed assumptions and an incorrect use of statistics'.

The research has also never been 'peer reviewed'- that is, examined by other scientists, as happens with other studies. David Kaye, a statistician at Arizona State University, has looked at the official study that showed the chances of making a mistake over fingerprinting are virtually zero.

David Kaye found that in fact 'it revealed that prints from the same person seemed quite different'. He criticised the scientists who conducted the first study saying, 'They falsified the premise they were trying to prove.' The US government is ruling out funding for further studies into whether fingerprint are actually as reliable as people think.

The government has also vetoed further investigation into other forensic techniques. Another institution blocking further studies is Lockheed Martin. The giant arms manufacturer has the contract for providing the machines and software used to compare fingerprints electronically.


IN THIS WEEK 30 YEARS AGO 1974

On 9 February 1974 around 250,000 miners went on strike against the Tories. The miners defeated the Tory government's wage freeze in 1972, and they were determined to do it again. Mass pickets and flying pickets closed down pits across the country. Prime minister Heath brought in the three-day week to preserve coal and create panic.

When he asked the electorate to choose between him and the miners, the voters booted him out.


Bigots bottom of the class

A News of the World 'investigation' last Sunday revealed how 'hordes of immigrants posing as scholars are flooding into the UK'. The rag named six colleges in London's East End offering 'no questions asked' study visas. Now four of the six colleges are threatening to sue. Two said they were never contacted by the paper. One college described as 'ramshackle' is undergoing renovations costing £100,000.

Another college director said the paper had only spoken to a cleaner working at the college.


Iraq media mogul blasted

THE Harris Corporation is the latest US multinational to make a killing out of the occupation of Iraq. It has just been awarded a $96 million contract to run radio stations, two TV channels and a paper.

Harris also made the electronics for bombs used during the war. The US occupation regime did not even tell Haider Abadi about the contract-he's only the communications minister, after all.


Give slap minister stick

IT WAS an all-new democratic Indonesia that backed George Bush's war, we were told. That news doesn't seem to have reached labour minister Jacob Nuwa Wea. He recently told a visiting delegation from the International Labour Organisation, which is supposed to oversee employment standards, 'If workers are out of order, it's OK for the police to slap them around a little bit. 'We often slap our children at home if they are naughty, don't we?'


Expressing their own views

NOT EVERYONE is prepared to put up with the vicious witch-hunting filth pumped out by the Daily Express. Journalists working on the rag are up in arms over a series of anti-Gypsy stories printed over the last few weeks.

A 70-strong NUJ meeting two weeks ago passed a stinging attack on the management. The resolution described how the union group 'is concerned that Express journalists are coming under pressure to write anti-Gypsy articles. 'We call for a letter to be sent to the Press Complaints Commission reminding it of the need to protect journalists who are unwilling to write racist articles which are contrary to the NUJ's code of conduct.'

Journalists believe that pressure is coming from Express owner and porn baron Richard Desmond. In August 2001 Express journalists also took a stand over the 'sustained campaign against asylum seekers in pursuit of circulation'.


Port passed to the left

LAST WEEK'S strike by civil servants got some support in odd places. Among those striking were court staff. In Plymouth, barristers at one court donated their fees for the day to the strikers. Not to be outdone, a judge in Leeds walked out of court to deliver a bottle of port to strikers on the picket line.

A judge in Reading bought coffee for pickets. Inside the System has been unable to discover if Lord Justice Hutton showed solidarity.


Figure it out 140%

That's the rise in the number of women held in British jails in the last decade. The number of male prisoners has rocketed to 74,000, making Britain the jail capital of Europe. The number of prisoners is proportionately higher in Britain than in Saudi Arabia, China or Libya.


Maid to be royally sexist

JUST WHEN we were told the royal family was being slimmed down and modernised... Edward and Sophie Wessex have placed an advert in society magazine The Lady for another servant to add to their retinue. This time they are after a 'clothes maid'. Apparently it is a full time job organising the parasites' clothes collections, and obviously one that only a woman could do.


Who says?

'Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing. The intelligence picture is extensive, detailed and authoritative.'

Tony Blair, 24 September 2002

'Not only do we know Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, we also know he is capable of using them.'

Tony Blair, 30 November 2002

'The biological agents we believe Iraq can now produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin.'

Tony Blair, 25 February 2003,

'We are now asked to accept that in the last few years, contrary to all intelligence, Saddam decided to destroy these weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd.'

Tony Blair, 18 March 2003

'Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, I suggest they wait a bit. I remain confident they will be found.'

Tony Blair, 28 April 2003

'I am convinced and confident about the case on weapons of mass destruction. You and others will be eating your words.'

Tony Blair, 30 April 2003


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 7 Feb 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1887
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