IMAGINE THE outcry if the Home Office gave residency to a Muslim political activist wanted by Interpol in connection with the murder of a policeman. Imagine if that person was found living in luxury and working with children. Now imagine if that person was a racist member of South Africa’s fascist Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), which used extreme violence to oppose black majority rule.
When such a man was given leave to stay in Britain there were no lurid headlines. The ‘outcry’ was limited to a story on page 24 of the Mail on Sunday. The man in question, Leonard Veenendaal, was found in a £175,000 home in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, where he coaches the town’s under-13s rugby team.
During the apartheid years, he was a bodyguard to South African Nazi leader Eugene Terre Blanche. Terre Blanche called Veenendaal ‘my little fanatic’ because he was so extreme and violent.
Veenendaal supported the fantasy of a Boer homeland achieved by driving out the black population. He led a right wing military organisation called Kontra 435 which was behind an attack on a UN base in 1989. He is also alleged to have been part of a later bombing campaign.
The AWB hoped its violence would preserve white minority rule and stop Nelson Mandela becoming president. When reporters tried to question Veenendaal about his past he replied, ‘You’re going to find yourself in a negative position.’
HAYLEY WILLIAMS was found dead in prison just 24 hours after her defence solicitor told a court that she could not cope with a prison sentence. Williams, who was 41, had drug problems and was convicted of burglary. She feared she would be bullied in prison. But despite her fears and the arguments by her solicitor, she was denied bail. Hours later she was found hanging in her cell.
Her death brings the number of suicides at Styal women’s prison to five in just ten months. Just two months ago 24 year old Jolene Willis was found dead in her cell. She had been sentenced to four months in prison for theft. The prison, which houses women on remand as well as those convicted, is chronically overcrowded and under-resourced.
Claire McCarthy, policy and campaigns officer at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said, ‘There should be an independent inquiry, not just into the individual deaths, but into Styal generally – and what is going on there. When there is a massive spate of deaths, you have to start asking questions.’
David Blunkett’s proposed bill on criminal justice will mean thousands more vulnerable people with drug and mental health problems being left to rot in Britain’s jails.
HE IS Tony Blair’s ex-flatmate. He failed to be selected as a Labour candidate because his kids go to public schools. He was appointed tsar of the disastrous Millennium Dome and nearly had to resign. Now this unelected lord is in charge of modernising the British constitution.
‘WE ARE being treated like medieval peasants,’ said the wife of a gamekeeper last week. Mrs Nudds went on, ‘Our lives have become a nightmare. ‘We have become the victims of a feudal system.’ Gamekeeper Christopher Nudds was injured at work when he fell from a rotten ladder.
Nudds’ employer, Henry Birkbeck, was fined £5,000 for failing to ensure his employees’ safety. Nudds is unable to work and has not yet received a penny in compensation. Now Nudds has been sacked and they will be kicked out of their home, a tied cottage on the Birkbeck estate.
PINK IS now perkier, says the Financial Times’s latest ad. But red faced might be a better colour for executives at the paper. Their new correspondent in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, is Francisco Toro. Toro was forced to resign from the New York Times just six months ago because of his self acknowledged right wing bias.
IF YOU want to protest, don’t go to Sefton council’s patch on Merseyside. The council have drawn a five metre square box on a pavement and stuck a sign up next to it saying, ‘This area is designated for public protest’. The move is aimed at demonstrations against conditions in a zoo.
SHAUN ‘EVEN my butler has a butler’ Woodward has just added a few million to his fortune. The ex-Tory MP joined New Labour in 1999. He was then parachuted in to the St Helens constituency. Woodward has just flogged his London townhouse for £6.5 million.
Woodward and his millionaire wife own four flats in London, a £3.2 million penthouse, an £8 million country mansion, and a retreat in Mustique. He rarely visits the house in his St Helens constituency.
184 – trade unionists were assassinated or ‘disappeared’ as a result of their activities in Colombia last year. Not a single person was successfully prosecuted for this appalling toll of murder.
US GOVERNMENT officials should have smelt a rat when a dog trainer claimed his super sniffer dogs could identify the drugs and explosives they smelt by pointing to plastic letters. The clever canines were immediately put to work guarding top US facilities. But when suspicious detectives drove vehicles packed with explosives to buildings under guard, the dogs didn’t so much as whimper.
‘In the event, of course, no one needed to use WMD protection and there is now a huge amount of scepticism about the whole issue among the forces.’
Ministry of defence official
‘They’re shooting themselves in the foot if they are still standing by this document.’
Ibrahim Al Marashi PhD student on news that Blair’s dodgy dossier (that was lifted from his essay) is still on the Downing Street website.
‘They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were – facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons.’
British biological weapons expert on the two ‘suspect’ Iraqi trucks
‘This, astonishingly, puts him in the same camp as bleeding-heart liberals and radical anti-globalisers.’
Financial Times throws a fit at calls from US hawk Richard Perle to cancel Iraq’s debt
‘Iraq’s leading creditors are the Gulf states, Russia, Japan. The bigger the cut in debt the more they will be punished. Mr Perle is dressing up US self interest in the garb of morality.’
The US defence department announced last week that a satellite positioning device had been found in an Afghan cave. They said the equipment was lost in Somalia in 1993. The discovery, they proclaimed, was concrete evidence at last that Bin Laden's Al Qaida network was behind the deaths of 18 US soldiers in the disastrous raid on Mogadishu.