Whiteness Is Still a Proxy for Being American – The Atlantic

Anyone can make a fool of himself. So it’s tempting to dismiss last Thursday’s mega-gaffe by Florida Representative Curt Clawson as indicative of nothing more than the fallibility of the human brain. 

But think about the nature of Clawson’s goof. Sitting across a congressional hearing room from Nisha Biswal, an official at the State Department, and Arun Kumar, who works at the Department of Commerce, Clawson addressed the two Indian-Americans as if they were representatives of the government of India. Which is to say: He had trouble recognizing that two Americans who trace their ancestry to the developing world are really American.

In today’s Republican Party, and beyond, a lot of people are having the same trouble. How else to explain the fact that, according to a 2011 New York Times/CBS poll, 45 percent of Republicans think President Obama was born outside the United States? Is it because they’re well versed in the details of which kind of birth certificate he released and when? Of course not. It’s because they see someone with his color skin and his kind of name and think: Doesn’t seem American to me.

In fact, Obama’s opponents, including Democrats, have been raising questions about his Americanness since he began seeking the presidency. In a March 2007 memo, Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign strategist, argued that she should attack Obama for “not [being] at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and his values.” Had Obama been white and named Joe Smith, Penn’s line of attack would have been inconceivable, since Obama’s thinking and values were typical of a liberal Democrat’s, and similar to Clinton’s own. Penn’s effort to question Obama’s Americanness was entirely a function of the fact that he traced his ancestry to the third world and had spent some of his childhood abroad.

Since Obama defeated Hillary Clinton, it has been the Republicans’ turn. Newt Gingrich has claimed Obama possesses a “Kenyan, anti-colonial worldview.” Dick Cheney has said, “I don’t think that Barack Obama believes in the U.S. as an exceptional nation.” Indeed, a major thrust of the GOP’s attack on Obama is that he doesn’t understand America, doesn’t believe in America and wants to turn it into something fundamentally different from what it has always been. Bill Clinton, by contrast, was attacked relentlessly for his supposed lack of personal integrity and failure to serve in Vietnam. But conservatives rarely questioned his connection to the United States.

It’s not just Obama. In various ways in recent years, conservatives have questioned the Americanness of American Muslims. Michele Bachmann suggested that Huma Abedin and other Muslim-Americans serving in the national-security bureaucracy might be more loyal to foreign Islamist movements than to the United States. Another former Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain, in 2011 said he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet because “Muslims in this country, some of them, try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.” A Public Religion Research Institute poll that same year found that 63 percent of Republicans believed Islam contradicts American values.

The link between the GOP’s tendency to question the Americanness of Muslim- Americans and Clawson’s assumption that the Indian-Americans sitting across from him were not American becomes clearer when you realize that in contemporary American discourse, “Muslim” is often seen as a race. Several of the most high-profile hate crimes committed in “retaliation” for 9/11 occurred not against Muslims but against South Asian Hindus or Sikhs. Representative Peter King has called for profiling suspected terrorists based upon their “religious background or ethnicity,” even though Islam is no more an ethnicity than is Christianity. The implication, of course, is that Muslims are brown.

One even sees traces of this tendency to un-Americanize immigrants from the developing world in the way some Americans see Hispanics. When Arizona in 2010 passed a law empowering law enforcement to detain anyone who presented a “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally, critics rightly wondered what criteria the police could possibly use to suspect someone of being undocumented other than the fact that they looked or sounded Hispanic. A 2012 poll by the National Hispanic Media Coalition found that one-third of Americans believed most Hispanics in the United States were undocumented. In other words, many Americans associate being Hispanic with not being legally American. That’s pretty similar to the assumption Congressman Clawson made about Biswal and Kumar.

There’s no point in continuing to ridicule Clawson. Everyone’s entitled to a dumb mistake. But it’s worth noting how unlikely it is that he would have mistaken an Irish-American for a representative of the government of Ireland or a German-American for a representative of the government of Germany. Throughout our nation’s history, whiteness (itself a shifting category) has been used as a proxy for Americanness. And as Clawson reminded us last Thursday, it still is.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/07/whiteness-is-still-a-proxy-for-being-american/375121/

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Proxy feud puts $1bn iron ore play in limbo – Business Spectator

The ownership of Koolyanobbing, the $1 billion-plus iron ore operation in Western Australia, is in limbo pending the outcome this week of a proxy battle at its US owner, Cliffs Natural Resources.

Shareholders in Cliffs are due to meet tomorrow to vote on supporting the board or to back the New York activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital, which has a 5.2 per cent stake in Cliffs.

Casablanca wants Cliffs — also a coal producer — to focus on its larger domestic market-focused US iron ore business. It wants the seaborne market-exposed Australian assets, and Cliff’s Canadian assets, sold.

Cliffs’ board was buoyed last week when three proxy advisory firms issued what the company said was “clear and unanimous’’ advice on one key point — that Casablanca nominees should not be handed a majority of board positions. Cliffs has taken the proxy firms’ recommendations and reduced its number of directors up for election to seven, which would open the way for Casablanca to win minority representation.

Cliffs president and chief executive Gary Halverson told investors last week that should Casablanca win board control it could set out on what “we believe is a short-term orientated plan to liquidate assets in this very low pricing environment”.

Casablanca argues that Cliffs is too small to compete head-to-head with the iron ore majors of Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Brazil’s Vale and should look to exist the seaborne markets in the most efficient way possible.

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Proxy war can have dangerous consequences – Washington Post (blog)

By Erica D. Borghard July 25 at 12:25 PM


A pro-Russian fighter stands near a destroyed Ukrainian army tank on the outskirts of Donetsk on July 22. Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine allowed the bodies of passengers killed in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet to begin their journeys home July 22 as Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to exert influence on the separatists amid mounting international pressure. (Igor Kovalenko/EPA)

Erica D. Borghard is an assistant professor and director of the Grand Strategy Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the United States government.

The shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, for which Ukrainian separatists are likely responsible, portends a potentially dangerous intensification of the conflict between the Ukrainian government and the rebels. Of particular concern is the role the Russian government has played in arming, supplying, and otherwise supporting the rebels — something Moscow has vehemently denied. This latest escalation dramatically highlights the potential dangers states face when they form proxy alliances with rebels or insurgents.

Proxy alliances typically involve the provision of money, arms, materiel and/or training by states to non-state groups in exchange for the latter fighting on behalf of the former’s interests. These alliances are particularly appealing to states because they are informal, covert, and operate in the shadows of the international system. This allows states to plausibly deny involvement in conflicts where the political or material costs of more direct intervention are perceived to be exceedingly high. Historically, a wide range of states — democratic and autocratic; more and less powerful — have formed proxy alliances and engaged in proxy warfare. For example, during the Cold War, the United States funded rebels in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua, and Iraqi Kurdistan; India supported militants in East Pakistan and Sri Lanka; Syria sponsored various Palestinian militant groups; and Libya used proxies to intervene in the Chadian civil war (to name just a few). Proxy warfare continues to be an important tool in states’ foreign policy toolkits. The current civil war in Syria, for instance, has involved proxies on both the regime and rebel side. Bashar al-Assad’s regime has received critical support from Hezbollah — a Syrian and Iranian proxy — while various Syrian rebel groups have received funding from several Gulf states.

Despite the obvious appeal of proxy alliances, there is considerable variation in states’ abilities to actually utilize proxies to their advantage. In fact, notwithstanding states’ incredible material and power advantage relative to their proxy allies, states have often found themselves unable to control their proxies or drawn into unwanted conflict escalation. Rajiv Gandhi’s administration in India had to intervene in the civil war in Sri Lanka to forcibly suppress its proxy, the Tamil Tigers, because the latter had become too powerful and refused to accept Indian attempts to achieve a negotiated settlement to the conflict. The Ba’athist regime in Syria (just prior to Hafez al-Assad’s coup) was drawn into a botched attempt to rescue its Palestinian proxies in Jordan in 1970, almost prompting a direct military confrontation between the two states. Indeed, research has found a strong correlation between external support to rebel groups and an increased risk of militarized interstate disputes.

Why is proxy warfare sometimes dangerous for states, and what can this tell us about the developing situation in eastern Ukraine? The very things that make proxy warfare attractive for states — their covert and informal nature — also make it difficult for governments to control and oversee their proxy allies. Specifically, the alliance management decisions leaders make in the interests of plausible deniability can create problems of command and control and undermine government authority over proxies. To ensure plausible deniability, political leaders have to establish distance between their government and a proxy. This often entails delegating significant authority within the state to secretive bureaucracies or organizations within the security sector (whose personnel may have interests that diverge from those of the political leadership), and entrusting intermediaries outside of the state to funnel resources to proxies (e.g., private contractors and other state and non-state allies). The extent to which political leaders care about plausible deniability shape how they decide to manage the tradeoffs between delegating authority and maintaining control of proxies.

While it is difficult to access reliable information on ongoing covert Russian operations in eastern Ukraine, most observers agree that Moscow is not only arming and supplying the pro-Russian separatists, but also exerts more direct control of rebel forces through embedding Russian officers in eastern Ukraine to command rebel units. In other words, Putin has limited ability to plausibly deny Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine. The events surrounding the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane is consistent with this idea. A weapons system capable of taking out a commercial aircraft flying at 30,000 feet is difficult to operate without extensive training (unlike the MANPADs the United States has considered providing to the Syrian rebels). Thus, it is unlikely that Moscow simply turned over an SA-11 missile to the rebels. Indeed, Ukrainian intelligence officials claim to have intercepted conversations between rebels and Russian officers concerning the downing of the aircraft, indicating that the issue quickly made its way up the chain of command. All of this points in the direction of relatively robust Russian command of rebel forces.

As of this writing, media reports indicate that Ukrainian separatists targeted what they erroneously believed to be a military transport plane. The fact that this occurred despite Putin’s ostensible decision to choose greater control at the expense of some measure of plausible deniability illustrates the instability of these alliances even when states make “good” alliance management decisions. The events in eastern Ukraine should make policymakers circumspect about being seduced by the siren call of proxy warfare.

Prior posts from the Monkey Cage on the Ukraine crisis can be found here.  Recent posts include:

Elizabeth A. Wood: Putin in July (or the fight for Russia’s soul)

Heidi Hardt: Is there a role for NATO in Ukraine?

Paul D’Anieri: Why the MH-17 tragedy won’t moderate the Russia-Ukraine conflict

James Goldgeier: MH17 is a tragedy, not a game-changer

Stephen Biddle and Ivan Oelrich: Why the Ukraine separatists screwed up

Joshua Rovner: Putin’s Grand Strategy is Failing

Ivan Katchanovski: What do citizens of Ukraine actually think about secession?

Oxana Shevel: Will the Malaysia Airlines tragedy change the trajectory of events in Ukraine?

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A US-Russia proxy war in Ukraine would be an unwelcome echo of the Cold War – Los Angeles Times

International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. On Wednesday, the separatists apparently shot down two Ukrainian warplanes flying near the border with Russia. On Thursday, the U.S. accused Russia of firing artillery from its territory into Ukraine.

If Russia continues to abet the Ukrainian armed resistance, it must pay a price, as even European nations previously reluctant to impose significant sanctions are beginning to realize. This week the Europeans moved toward expanding sanctions directed at Russian officials and organizations linked to the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, and they are considering following the lead of the U.S. and imposing sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy, including defense and energy.

But some American politicians and policymakers would go beyond economic and diplomatic efforts and provide the Ukrainian government with military support. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has implored the Obama administration “to give the Ukrainians weapons with which to defend themselves.” That would be a mistake.

It’s not clear that the Obama administration is seriously considering McCain’s advice. The U.S. has provided food, body armor and uniforms to Ukraine and has promised to deliver medical supplies and night-vision goggles as well. This week the Washington Times quoted a Pentagon spokesman as saying that the U.S. also planned “to support the Ukrainian military through subject-matter expert teams and long-term advisors.”

If by “advisors” the administration means computer experts and payroll managers, that’s one thing. But deploying “advisors” who are military strategists or uniformed soldiers would be reckless and provocative. So would providing Ukraine with lethal weapons.

A proxy war between the United States and Russia would be dangerous even if it didn’t lead to a direct military confrontation between the two nuclear powers. It also would undermine President Obama’s insistence that the U.S., while it supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, doesn’t regard it as part of a Cold War chess game with Russia.

Finally, although it obviously continues to encounter resistance, Ukraine is gradually gaining military control of rebel-held areas on its own. Russia could help end the fighting if it stopped its interference and incitement. As long as it refuses to do so, the U.S. and its allies should keep up the pressure — but stay off the battlefield.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Proxy Punishment in the West Bank – National Review Online (blog)

The Washington Post reports that the Israeli military has revived a policy of demolishing the family homes of West Bank Palestinians who have committed acts of terrorism. I think this is wrong, even repugnant. Since its target is the entire family of such individuals, it amounts to a kind of proxy punishment. Deterrence — if this is an effective deterrent — is no excuse. Deterrence is a legitimate purpose of punishment, but it must be subordinated to the elementary principle of justice that one should not be punished for a crime one did not commit. (If we instead think of such a reprisal within the context of warfare, it amounts to the targeting of noncombatants.)

I hope I will not be accused of having “sided with the terrorists” and indulged in “moral equivalence” and so on. This is not like choosing which basketball team to cheer for. Of course it is a viler thing to kill innocent civilians than to demolish their homes. But acknowledging Israel’s right to exist, and to defend itself and its people, does not mean one must countenance its every tactic, and indeed part of what troubles me about this tactic is its inconsistency with all that I admire about Israel.

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Proxy advisory firm flays Cairn India on loan disclosure issue – Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Cairn India extending $ 1.25 billion loan to Vedanta Group and not making proper disclosures about this related party transaction shows “disregard for fair disclosures”, according to a proxy advisory firm.

Besides, InGovern Research Services in a report today said capital market watchdog Sebi should look into the matter.

“That the company chooses to disclose the related party transaction at an earnings call shows disregard for fair disclosure on the company, and merits a full-fledged investigation by Sebi,” it said.

InGovern said Cairn India has not made a formal disclosure of this related party transaction to stock exchanges.

Cairn, which has already disbursed $ 800 million out of the total loan of $ 1.25 billion, made the loan disclosure after analysts raised doubts on utilisation of cash reserves.

Vedanta Group holds 59.90 per cent stake in Cairn India. Under the new Companies Act which came into effect from April 1, companies need to take shareholder nod for related party transactions.

Cairn India yesterday held its annual general meeting of shareholders in Mumbai but did not make any disclosures of the loan.

“The Board of Directors seems to have been mute spectators of such a related party transaction.

“In the interest of good governance, the Board of Directors should have insisted that the company take shareholders’ approval for the related party transaction with one shareholder,” the report said.

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Reforming the Proxy Advisory Racket – Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal
Reforming the Proxy Advisory Racket
Wall Street Journal
Last summer we told you about SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher’s campaign to reform the proxy advisory racket. A 2003 SEC rule, combined with misguided advice from SEC staff, had all but required many investment fund managers to hand off voting …

and more »

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McKesson CEO's $292 Million Golden Parachute Faces a Proxy Fight – Businessweek

If McKesson (MCK) were sold tomorrow and Chief Executive Officer John Hammergren were fired, he’d be eligible to walk away from the medical-products company with $292 million in severance pay—almost half of it in restricted stock and option awards that were intended as incentives to keep him on the job.

His tenure has been good for McKesson shareholders. Since Hammergren took the CEO post in early 2001, the company’s shares have soared by 541.4 percent, compared with a 59.4 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index through last week.

McKesson’s board has rewarded him, in part, with a golden parachute that’s one of the largest among current CEOs, says Aaron Boyd, director of governance research at Equilar, which tracks executive compensation. Corporate goodbye gifts for CEOs have drawn increasing scrutiny since former General Electric (GE) CEO Jack Welch stirred outrage with a $417 million retirement payout more than a decade ago. Since the 2008 financial crisis, shareholders have more frequently taken action to challenge such packages, Boyd says.

McKesson is no exception; its so-called change-in-control plan is the subject of a proxy fight set to culminate at the San Francisco-based company’s annual meeting on July 30.

Hammergren’s potential payout under a change in control would include equity awards worth $140.6 million that were set up to vest only over time. They’d be his right away, though, if he were terminated after a sale. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which calls that kind of pay “unearned compensation for top executives on their way out the door,” has proposed a ballot measure urging McKesson’s board to reduce the accelerated vesting.

While it’s not unusual for unions to challenge CEO pay provisions, the Teamsters’ proposal is endorsed by proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services. It has also drawn support from CtW Investment Group, which represents investors with $250 billion in retirement assets under management, and the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which oversees $160.7 billion in retirement money, according to officials at both organizations.

Kris Fortney, a McKesson spokeswoman, declined to comment. In the company’s latest proxy filing on June 19, McKesson’s board opposed the Teamsters’ proposal, telling investors that accelerated vesting is “an important tool for motivating our executives in the face of a potential change in control transaction.”

The Teamsters’ measure favors a plan that would pay executives only a prorated portion of their unvested awards. All told, Hammergren and other top executives stand to get $283 million or more in such awards if they’re fired after a change in control, according to the Teamsters.

The July 30 vote will echo McKesson’s 2012 annual meeting, at which the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers offered a similar proposal. It lost, getting just 44 percent of the votes cast.

Hammergren’s pay has drawn attention previously. Last year, 78 percent of the shareholders who cast ballots opposed the company’s executive compensation plan in a non-binding vote. Earlier this year, Hammergren agreed to reduce his own eventual pension payout, from $159 million to $114 million, amid investor complaints.

Still, he’s doing reasonably well. His $292 million change-in-control severance package, combined with $289 million more in company stock and options he already owns, would bring his total kitty in the event of a termination to $581 million on paper—a figure based on valuations as of March 31. Factor in an 8.8 percent increase in share price since then, and it would come to roughly $616.6 million, according to calculations by Equilar.

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Social media fuels Munchausen by proxy, experts say – CBS News

Experts say the case of a mother accused of poisoning her 5-year-old son to death with salt appears be an example of how social media feeds into Munchausen by proxy, a disorder in which caretakers purposely harm children and then bask in the attention and sympathy.

Lacey Spears, 26, has pleaded not guilty to charges of depraved murder and manslaughter in the January death of her son, Garnett-Paul Spears, whose sodium levels rose to an extremely dangerous level with no medical explanation.

The little boy was taken to Westchester Medical Center, in the New York suburbs, on Jan. 19, and doctors there reported their concerns about him to the state Office of Children and Family Services, CBS New York reported. The department had already launched an investigation into whether Spears was harming her son before Garnett died Jan. 23, prosecutors said.

As Spears, of Scottsville, Kentucky, moved around the country – to Alabama, Florida and eventually New York – she kept friends updated on her son’s frequent hospitalizations with photos and musings on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a blog.

“My sweet angel is in the hospital for the 23rd time,” she tweeted in 2009. A series of reports on the case by The Journal News, which covers the New York suburbs, found she kept it up right through her son’s death, with 28 posts in the last 11 days of Garnett’s life, including, “Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 a.m.”

Dr. Marc Feldman, a psychiatrist and forensic consultant in Birmingham, Alabama, who wrote the book “Playing Sick,” said he believes the Internet has contributed to the number of Munchausen by proxy cases, estimated from one study to be more than 600 a year in the U.S.

In a case exposed in 2011 in Great Britain, a childless 21-year-old woman joined an Internet forum for parents, claiming to have five children and chronicling her nonexistent baby’s battle with celiac disease and bacterial meningitis. Doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital found three cases of mothers who falsely blogged that their children were near death and were rewarded with support.

“There are instantly accessible and endlessly supportive groups out there that will pray with you and cry with you if you purport your child to be ill,” Feldman said.

Mark Sirkin, director of the mental health counseling program at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, said that with social media, “you can expand your circle from the people you know to strangers who you’ve never met — you’re just getting that much more attention.”

While prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Spears case have yet to mention Munchausen in court papers or hearings, experts say the disorder could play a role because Spears fits the pattern of caregivers who invent, exaggerate or cause a health problem in someone in their care and then seek to portray themselves as a hero.

Spears, who was living in suburban New York when her son died, is accused of administering sodium through a feeding tube he had in his stomach while he was hospitalized at Westchester Medical Center. Prosecutors say she did it in the bathroom, where there were no surveillance cameras.

“This mother was intentionally feeding her child salt at toxic levels,” Westchester County prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said at Spears’ arraignment. She also alleged that Spears had done Internet research on the effects of sodium and that Spears had tried to dispose of a bag tainted with sodium by asking a friend to “get rid of it and don’t tell anybody.”

According to court documents, Spears told police she used only “a pinch of salt” for flavor when feeding her son fruits and vegetables through his tube.

Spears said the feeding tube was necessary because Garnett couldn’t keep food down. Some friends told The Journal News they saw no sign of that. They were also confused by her claims that Garnett’s father was killed in a car accident. A man who says he’s the father lives in Alabama.

Her attorney Stephen Riebling said last week that the defense would focus “on the relevant facts, not fiction.”

Spears’ lawyers won’t comment on whether a psychiatric defense is planned.

But by using a “depraved murder” charge, the district attorney seems to be taking a disorder like Munchausen into consideration.

The charge alleges “extreme recklessness” and “depraved indifference to human life” rather than an intentional killing, so prosecutors don’t have to prove that Spears meant to kill her son.

Feldman said it’s difficult for jurors to believe a mother would purposely hurt her child just to get attention.

“These mothers tend to be psychopathic,” he said. “They don’t experience guilt and they lack empathy.”

Louisa Lasher, an Atlanta-area consultant in child abuse cases, said parents who have the syndrome “do not love children in the way that most people do.”

Munchausen by proxy has been suspected in several court cases over the years. In 1979, a California woman was convicted of murder for slowly poisoning one child; the case was cracked when a second baby came down with similar symptoms. In 2010, a Tennessee woman pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges she injected saltwater into her infant son’s feeding tube. A woman in Minnesota is accused of smothering her son; she said she wanted more attention from doctors.

Most cases rarely end in death because the child “is the goose that lays the golden egg for somebody who’s so needy of attention,” Sirkin said. “It would defeat the purpose to kill the child.” Often when a death occurs, it’s because of a miscalculation, Feldman said.

As for treatment, Sirkin said long-term psychotherapy is required.

“It’s not like a snake phobia where you can take somebody through some behavioral training and they’ll be over it,” he said. “This is a personality type that takes years in the making, and I think it probably involves psychotherapeutic treatment that would also take years.”

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London Gangs Draw Up Rape Lists In Proxy Attacks On Rival Gangs – Breitbart News

by Andre Walker 21 Jul 2014, 2:49 AM PDT post a comment


Gangs in London are passing around lists of teenage girls to be raped, as a punishment to rivals. The so-called “sket lists” are made up of young girls considered legitimate targets and have led to a whole raft of brazen attacks, according to the Guardian.

Youth workers have said that ‘sket’ is street slang for ‘slut’, and that sexual violence is an increasing part of gang life in the capital. The traditional stigma around sex crime does not seem to exist for these gangs, and some attacks have involved girls being dragged from school buses and sexually assaulted in broad daylight. 

Scotland Yard confirmed they are so concerned about the rise in gang related sex crime that the issue is now “at the top of our agenda”. They have already been forced to launch major initiatives to deal with both gang related gun and knife crime in the capital. 

Det Supt Tim Champion of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Trident gang crime command, said: “The first thing we had to do is stop people killing each other. The focus now clearly is on women. It’s as prevalent as carrying a knife or a gun – raping a girl in a gang.”

In some cases the sisters and girlfriends of gang members have been targeted in attacks that include revenge rape. Claire Hubberstey, interim chief executive of Safer London Foundation, a charity working with young people to reduce crime, warns that gangs are using sexual violence in the same way that they use dangerous dogs to parade their masculinity.

Hubberstey believes that low conviction rates for rape are a big motivating factor, and many now see sex crime as a good way to spread fear with minimum risk. She said: “Criminals are clever, they know if they are caught carrying weapons they face a lengthy sentence; it’s risky carrying a gun. 

“The use of sexual violence is the same sort of thing as having a dangerous dog; it creates fear, it’s non-traceable, and they are also taking advantage of low rape conviction rates even when there are witnesses.”

Gangs are believed to use systems like Blackberry Messenger to circulate list of targets. Some of these systems can be hard to track and many of the victims are from communities that have poor relationships with the Police so they are often reluctant to report crime.

The problem of sket lists comes on the back of a number of major sex crime investigations in Britain’s inner cities. As previously reported on Breitbart, police and social services were slow to act when they discovered Asian grooming gangs abusing teenage girls from working class white communities in Northern cities.

Campaigners have claimed that public bodies had been traditionally reticent to investigate sex crimes committed by ethnic minorities as exposure of them might damage community relations. However, in the case of sket lists, which are thought to be used in afro-Caribbean communities, the authorities appear to have taken swift action.

This is likely to be cited as evidence that the police and social services are no-longer willing to turn a blind eye to these crimes fro the sake of community relations.

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