Crime

Israel – myths and realities

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You’ll never understand Israel until you visit it. Almost everything you read in the media is a falsehood. Nadav Tamir, former advisor to the late Prime Minister Shimon Peres, sarcastically quipped this week, “if Moses had possessed GPS there is no way he would have picked Israel as it is the only place in the Middle East without oil.” It might explain why this nation has had to work so hard to be innovative in order to survive. It has no natural resources. It had to invent drip irrigation so it could turn the arid chalky soil into fertile green pastures. Much of the technology inside your smart phone was designed in Israel. Household names Intel, Microsoft and Apple have all established their core R&D centers in the tiny nation state. Israelis are pragmatic and know too well that necessity is the mother of invention. Perhaps the great grandmother might be more apt.

It is perhaps one of the best kept secrets in the world. Sadly also one of the most misreported countries on the planet. Make that the most. Israel wants peace with its neighbors. Yet the mainstream media will not report the fact that Israeli hospitals are treating wounded Syrian troops of Assad as CM writes, The media won’t report that the local Druze population is livid that their fellow Israelis are doing this. Where are the media reporting the fact that hospitals not far from the Gaza Strip are caring for children who can’t get proper access to medical attention because Hamas is only concerned with spending on more rockets and building tunnels using the supplies given to it by the people supposedly oppressing it? Unfortunately the press seem to be stuck in the “if it bleeds, it leads” narrative.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has launched a program of soft force. PM Benjamin Netanyahu launched a website in Farsi with full details of how to overcome drought gripping Iran through drip irrigation for free. While Iran shouts “Death to Israel”, Israelis shout, “we want to give life to the Iranian people.” Who is the aggressor? The Foreign Ministry is also gaining huge traction with Iraqis with an Arabic Facebook page discussing Iraqi-Jewish history. It launched in May 2018 and has 34,000 followers. Israel believes that the ‘digital embassy’ is an impactful way to get around the hatred often espoused by the regimes.

Then people miss out on news of amazing people like Tanya Oziel,  CEO of the Trans Tasman Business Circle who led a delegation from Australia & NZ to investigate tech fusion in Israel. Tanya, a Sydney based Jew of Iraqi origin, is someone of such passion and foresight that she arranged for AFL legends like Ron Barrassi to come to Israel to train local and Palestinian kids to play a game with a ball they’d never seen in mixed teams. All of a sudden the noise of the two peoples supposedly at each other’s throats was replaced by a sense of common purpose. While some of the Palestinian kids have been pilloried by some quarters in their community they still remain actively engaged with Tanya. They look beyond the hateful rhetoric so often fueled by the media. She has every right to be proud. The idea that this is some sort of jackbooted police state is engaged in apartheid and genocide is patently untrue.

Apartheid is a strange word to be used in an Israeli context. In a tiny country of just under 8 million citizens, the country’s 1.5 million Arabs, whatever challenges they may face enjoy full freedoms, voting rights and serve in the Knesset and the Supreme Court. Ask yourself how many Jews serve in any capacity (much less live) in Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Algeria or many other countries? Egypt had 75,000 Jews once upon a time. Algeria 140,000, Iraq 135,000 Jews. Syria 30,000 Jews. Next to none now. Where is the apatheid? Where are their Jews?

Palestine is often a point of deep criticism. At the time of the State of Israel in 1948, 90% of Palestinian Arabs lived in Transjordan. A movement to create a Palestinian state never existed at the time. In fact it wasn’t until 1964 that the PLO was first established at a time the West Bank belonged to Jordan.

What is conveniently forgotten is that of the c.4mn refugees scattered across 60-odd refugee camps, the Palestinians have automatic rights to Jordanian citizenship yet they only covet Israel. Even though 21 Arab nations share a common language, they won’t offer asylum to Palestinian refugees which seems rather calculated. It provides a convenient excuse to maintain hostilities to Israel using the suffering of Palestinians as the bait.

Jordan doesn’t actively push Palestinians to take up citizenship which is their right to do so. While Israel remains an open, democratic and multi-ethnic society the PA has proven itself to be an intolerant, corrupt and self-serving dictatorship which has little interest in serving its constituents as the comptroller of its first ever audit revealed. International aid money lined the pockets of the leaders of the PLO. The French money laundering authorities discovered that Arafat’s wife’s bank account had amassed $3bn over 20 years. It is ironic that most of the original founders of the PLO didn’t live in the Palestinian Mandate when Israel was created. Arafat was born in Egypt. 

How is it that the army of Jordan’s King Hussein murdered thousands of PLO militants in 1970 yet the PLO has never called for the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy? How is that even with the Oslo peace process coming into effect in 1993 that the PLO carried out 4,000 attacks till 1999. The Israelis so desperate (under Ehud Barak of all people) for peace gave the PLO 95% of their territorial demands yet they still kept up the attacks killing more than 1,000 Israelis, a total exceeding the previous 25 years combined. 

Arafat was presented with an outcome he did not want – peace with the State of Israel. Despite this serious peace offering Arafat accelerated the intifada. These are sad truths.

We need only look at the siege of Masada, the tale of the final revolt of the Jews against the Romans in 73CE. It truly points to the stoic nature we see today. Despite burning the citadel atop Masada and the killing of their families to evade capture, the Jews left the grain and food stores untouched as a way to tell the invaders that they were never at risk of starving but preferred death to being bonded in slavery. It typifies their pride and refusal to submit to persecution.

Jerusalem, the nation’s capitol, holds deep significance as it has been for millennia. CM’s grandfather stood by the Western Wall in 1940. The Jewish people who saw his picture felt a sense of deep gratitude that he helped defend her. The walls were built around the summit of Mount Moriah, where biblically, Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. In 1948, the Jordanians took control of the wall and it was only in 1967 that Jews were able to pray at the foot of the Temple Mount again. To witness prayers on the Sabbath is something powerful. There is not one whiff of hatred. The chants, songs and prayers resonate throughout the walls. There is nothing but love in what they do. There is no extrapolation of the ancient texts to take extreme measures to murder in the name of their religion.

To witness Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the one city, one can honestly sense and feel similarities than differences. Think of the prophets. Abraham to the Jews was known as Ibrahim to the Muslims. Same for David/Daoud, Mary/Miriam and so on. Indeed if the Jews were as intolerant, racist and deranged as made out surely they would use the pretext to flatten the Al Aqsa mosque built over the Temple Mount ruins and restore it to its former glory.

Modern day history has been tough for Jews. The horrors of the Holocaust are documented at Yad Vashem. Trans Tasman Business Circle leader Johnny Weiss told the tale of how one of the guides showed a series of pictures of supposedly murdered Jews. One of them was his mother who is still alive at the ripe age of 94. What is more amazing is that she cut the guide off to say that “You are wrong. I know that girl is still alive. She is me!” After revealing her tattoo the entire tour group were floored by the revelation. Powerful beyond words. Living history as it were.

So when people wonder why the Jewish state take such measures against those that threaten to “drive them all into the sea” forgive them for doing their best to protect themselves. The last time they did not push back, 6 million died. It has taken 70 years to replenish those stocks. 70 years!

CM could go through the depths of innovation that was the key tenet of this tour. The sheer intelligence of those kids who learn advanced computer coding from age 7. We could discuss a 35 year old university doctor who has over 20 patents to his name but there is so much more to Israel. Its history has forced it to be the most advanced nation on earth. The start up nation is exactly that. When PM Benjamin Netanyahu says “we want your business” at a cyber conference speaking of the $50bn sunk cost in critical cyber infrastructure in the Negev Desert, he means it!

To sum up two weeks in Israel with this simplistic blog doesn’t do it justice. Israel is a proud country. Often brutally direct. Israelis will argue that if you think you’re the smartest in the room then it is time to change rooms. They are confident in their future because they back themselves explicitly. Failure is a good thing. Failing big is even better. Israelis think that experience is a hard teacher: they get the test first and the lesson afterwards. They believe that hard work, persistence and thinking outside the box is what counts. The education ecosystem breeds brilliance. There is no other word for it. This is deeply cultural and exceptionally hard to master.

Perhaps the highlight (there were too many to count) from the trip came on the final day. A photographer at a Tel Aviv flea market showed a picture (above) he took which chronicled a security checkpoint in 1990. The Israeli soldier and Palestinian female look tired of the situation. Things are not like that today. It feels no different to Japan. Not for one second has there been a nervous feeling about personal safety and security. Everyone who visits Israel for the first time will leave with the opposite preconceptions that they came with. It is by no means perfect but name a country that is.

It is with deep regret CM must board a flight tomorrow and leave a country that surprised on pretty much every level. It really is that amazing. Forget what you read in the papers. It is seriously fake news. See it with your own eyes and be prepared to blow your mind. Do it,

Priorities, priorities…

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Maryland (MD) – 2018

  • High school graduation rate: 87.6% (12th highest)
  • Public school spending: $13,075 per pupil (19th highest)
  • 8th grade NAEP proficiency: 34.7% (math), 37.4% (reading) (11th highest).
  • Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 39.3% (3rd highest)
  • Adults 25-64 with incomes at or above national median: 61.6% (2nd highest)
  • Violent crime 4.72/1000 residents (national average 4.0/1000) (9th highest)
  • Crimes per square mile 57 (national average 31.9)
  • Baltimore, MD most dangerous city (out of biggest 50) in America.
  • Opioid death rate 29.7/100,000 (3rd highest) – national average 13.3/100,000

Good to see where things are ranked among the worst, Democrats wish to put the least focus and vice versa. Rather telling. Where is the focus on healthcare and climate change? Even more telling.

20 fast facts on UK Prisons – sorry, No Vacancy

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Easy enough to find. Not enough space. Some fast facts on the state of prisons.

  1. UK prisons are at 96% (83,430) capacity (86,555) as of Friday, 25th May 2018. There are 3,125 available spaces left but 3,214 cases of home detention. 95% of inmates are male.
  2. A year ago (May 2017), capacity was 98.4% and 95% male population with around 2,100 in home detention.
  3. A prison is classified as overcrowded if the number of prisoners held exceeds the establishments Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA). As at the 30 December 2016, 69% (80) of prison establishments were overcrowded, 23 just over 10,000 more prisoners than the total in use CNA.
  4. Prison guards in the UK over the last decade have shrunk 30% from 25,000 to 17,500. The UK government announced in November 2016 that it plans to recruit 2,500 new front-line officers by 2018.
  5. In the 12 months to March 2017, there were 40,414 reported incidents of self-harm (a rate of 474 per 1,000 prisoners), up 17% on the previous year. The number of self-harm incidents requiring hospital attendance increased by 13% on the previous year to 2,771 while the proportion of incidents that required hospital attendance remains broadly similar at 6.9%.
  6. Self-harm trends differ considerably by gender, with a rate of 409 incidents per 1,000 in male establishments (with incidents up 24% on the previous year) compared to a rate of 1,835 per 1,000 in female establishments (a reduction of 8% in number of incidents from the previous year).
  7. Assaults continued to increase, reaching a record high of 26,643 assault incidents in the 12 months to March 2017, up 4,461 (20%) from the previous year. Of these, 3,606 were serious assaults, up 22% from the previous year.
  8. There were 19,361 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in the 12 months to March 2017 (a rate of 227 per 1,000 prisoners), up 16% on the previous year. Of these, 2,825 were serious assaults, up 21% on the previous year.
  9. There were 7,159 assaults on staff in the 12 months to March 2017 (a rate of 84 per 1,000 prisoners), up 32% on the previous year. Of these, 805 were serious assaults, up 25% on the previous year.
  10. Deaths in prison have risen sharply in the last decade. Deaths per prisoner numbers are up 76%.  Other deaths (where cause has yet to be determined) up 833%. Absolute numbers are only 3.7 per 1,000 prisoners up from 2.1 a decade ago.
  11.  The National Tactical Response Group (NTRG) which is called under extreme levels of incidents has grown from 120 in 2010 to over 420 in the year to August 2016. Annualized that number would be close to 630. So almost 6-fold in only 6 years. In prison. Gold Command and Tornado teams are those where prison guards have specialist training.
  12. 25% of prison inmates are in for violence against others. 17% are in for sexual offences and 15% for theft and drug offences.
  13. The proportion of 30-39 year olds has increased by 4 percentage points to 30% since 2010. At the end of 2016 it was the most numerous age group of prisoners with over 25,000 in this age bracket. The proportion of prisoners aged over 40 has increased from 22% in 2005 to 33% in 2016.
  14. It is interesting to note that as of the 31 December 2016, there was one prisoner over the age of 100.
  15. At the end of 2016 just over a quarter of the prison population was from a non-white ethnic group – this figure has stayed relatively constant since 2005. Whites make up 87% of the UK population and 73% of inmates. Asian/Asian British make up 6.9% of the population and 8.0% of the inmates. Black/Black British make up 3% of the population and 12% of inmates.
  16. In June 2005, the largest ethnic groups in prison for British nationals were White (82%), Black/Black British (10%) and Asian/Asian British (4%).
  17. At the end of 2016 just under half the prison population was of a Christian faith (48.5%) – a decrease of 9.5% compared to June 2002. The proportion of Muslim prisoners has increased from 8% in 2002 to 15% in 2016. The proportion of prisoners with no religion in 2016 (31.5%) was down 0.9% compared to 2002. Hindu’s and Jews make up 0.5% each, Sikh 0.9% and Buddhist 1.8% of inmates. 
  18. At the end of 2016 there were just under 10,000 foreign nationals (FNP) within the prison population (c.12%). Foreign nationals from Europe accounted for the greatest proportion of all foreign nationals within the prison population (51%), those from Africa (19%) and Asia (16%) contributed the second and third largest proportion respectively.
  19. At the end of 2016, foreign nationals originating from the EU (excluding the UK) accounted for 43% of all foreign nationals in prison and just under 5% of the total prison population. Men accounted for 96% of all FNPs within the prison population.
  20. The available data for European countries in 2014 shows that Sweden
    and Norway spent £439/day per prisoner and £432/day per prisoner respectively. Figures for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all around £150 a day. Croatia spends a little over £9/day per prisoner.

Inviting or inciting violence?

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As a father of two daughters the idea of child grooming gangs is a chilling prospect. One of my children was sexually molested on a Tokyo subway aged only 13. Nationality doesn’t matter. Religion doesn’t matter. I took time off work every morning for months trying to find the perpetrator. Had I caught him, care for what happened to me mattered not. Vigilante justice? Call it what you will. It doesn’t get more personal when your own blood, especially a child, is the innocent victim. Any parent who loves their kids would contemplate such sacrifice. When people realise that the authorities are willfully turning a blind eye to obvious crimes, law makers should not be surprised if vigilantism and chaos become the by-product. The arrest of Tommy Robinson has all of the hallmarks of the judiciary inviting the ‘hellfire‘ on themselves. CM often gets criticized for defending free speech as if it is some gross distortion of the facts. That the looming Orwellian dystopia CM describes doesn’t exist.

Whether one agrees with Tommy Robinson’s views or not, one cannot fault his passion to bring to light the problems of child rape gangs in Britain and the political correctness to hide the predominantly ‘Asian’ nature of the perpetrators. Millions (and growing) have seen his 75 minute live-stream video outside Leeds Court where he was summarily arrested for ‘suspicion of breaching the peace‘. Despite having the alleged defendants and spectators scream obscenities like “go f*ck your mother!” or “your wife is a prostitute” or “I’m here to see your mum” and others push him in front of the police, nothing happened to them. Why the sexual references? The police officers claimed they didn’t see him being physically assaulted but suggested they’d get a warning if they did witness.

Robinson did absolutely nothing violent, obscene or provocative to warrant an arrest. Disturbing the peace? The amount of people that came up to him unsolicited congratulating his work, asking to go on future marches and take selfies was apparent. The fact he has two best selling books on Amazon is testament to him being far from a lone voice. Is it any wonder the authorities want to gag him? Should those that support him be dragged in front of the courts too?

He made numerous references about being aware of his restrictions the day he was arrested last week. He spoke to nearby police to ensure and confirm he wasn’t crossing lines. He made the reference on his video that the police were likely monitoring it to try to nab him on any remote technicality. Well they did. He was aware of the risks. He may well have violated his court order on a “legal” technicality. CM isn’t a lawyer but the video didn’t appear to show disorder. He was jailed for 13 months and on top of that a media gag was placed by the court on discussing details of his trial. Should we be surprised that 1,000s marched on Downing St?

CM documented the two decades of cover ups contained in the independent inquiry into the Rotherham child grooming scandal which was along the lines of what Robinson was reporting on in Leeds. In April we wrote:

“The details of the Rotherham grooming gang scandal was tabulated in an independent inquiry looking at the problem between 1997-2013 showing the extent of the cover up. The table above shows the actions taken after 157 complaints about child grooming in Rotherham were made to the South Yorkshire Police since 2013. The Inquiry tabulates a case of a father being arrested for trying to get his daughter out of a rape den. A 12yo girl was raped in a park then doused in gasoline and threatened with being lit if she said anything about what had happened. The sad thing is that these gangs are wide spread – Rotherham, Rochdale, Newcastle, Bristol, Aylesbury, Oxford, Peterborough, Keighley, Newham, Leeds, Bradford, Telford, Sheffield and London. The report discusses how the gangs transfer the children within the ‘safe houses; in the network to keep the industry clandestine.”

The gory details are all in the report. CM encourages people to read the contents to be aware of how terribly young kids have been groomed, threatened and undoubtedly psychologically damaged for life. Many have tried to commit suicide. It is a travesty. Even if you hate what Tommy Robinson stands for, at the very least open your eyes to the industrial level of this crime. Take this example:

Child F (2006) was a victim of serious sexual abuse when she was a young child. She was groomed for sexual exploitation by a 27-year-old male when she was 13. She was subjected to repeated rapes and sexual assaults by different perpetrators, none of whom were brought to justiceShe repeatedly threatened to kill herself and numerous instances of serious self-harm were recorded in the case file, including serious overdoses and trying to throw herself in front of cars...doctors were seriously concerned about her because of the number and seriousness of hospital admissions over such a short time, many associated with serious drug misuse and self-harm.”

This is what the Inquiry had to say about the Police:

We deal with the response of South Yorkshire Police at some length throughout this report. While there was close liaison between the Police, Risky Business and children’s social care from the early days of the Risky Business project, there were very many historic cases where the operational response of the Police fell far short of what could be expected. The reasons for this are not entirely clear. The Police had excellent procedures from 1998, but in practice these appear to have been widely disregarded….We were contacted by someone who worked at the Rotherham interchange in the early 2000s. He described how the Police refused to intervene when young girls who were thought to be victims of CSE (child sexual exploitation) were being beaten up and abused by perpetrators. According to him, the attitude of the Police at that time seemed to be that they were all ‘undesirables’ and the young women were not worthy of police protection.

The Council was no better:

In 2004-2005, a series of presentations on CSE were first made to councillors and then other relevant groups and agencies, led by the external manager of Risky Business, from Youth Services. The presentations were unambiguous about the nature and extent of the problem…In 2006, a Conservative councillor requested a meeting with the Council Leader at which he expressed his concerns about CSE. This had come to his attention via constituents. He told the Inquiry that the Council Leader advised him the matters were being dealt with by the Police and requested that he did not raise them publicly…

Interviews with senior members revealed that none could recall the issue ever being discussed in the Labour (Party) Group until 2012Given the seriousness of the subject, the evidence available, and the reputational damage to the Council, it is extraordinary that the Labour Group, which dominated the Council, failed to discuss CSE until then. Some senior members acknowledged that that was a mistake. Asked if they should have done things differently, they thought that as an administration they should have tackled the issues ‘head on’, including any concerns about ethnic issues.”

In any event, when Robinson was arrested there was no other media present covering what should be viewed as a highly contentious, topical and heinous crime against human rights. Anyone with a heartbeat should be repulsed by the systematic rape of 11 year olds. 12yo girls shouldn’t have their tongues nailed to tables nor raped by 30 men in one day nor have 6 pregnancies in 4 years. It would be fair to say that the majority of Brits (much less the world) would be appalled by what has been going on. Yet media blackouts are deemed a preferable response by the judiciary. The people who have been covering it up should be convicted  as accessories, not those trying to expose such a shameful episode. Look how well that worked for Angela Merkel after the Cologne New Year’s Eve assaults were eventually exposed several years back.

No-one in their right minds wants to invite vigilantism but the seemingly farcical arrest of Robinson would seem to be inviting it rather than his videos inciting it. It is clear people in Britain are fast realizing that freedoms are being removed. Reprehensible legislation is being introduced to silence the truth. Whether once can say with certainty that this is 1984, it would seem things are pointing toward it. Politically motivated violence in Germany is surging post legislation designed to gag the populace.

Robinson is no saint. He has a checkered past which he freely admits to in his book, Enemy of the State. Yet his arrest has caused outrage around the world. If the authorities thought banging him up would limit the damage they’ve made a grave mistake. Anything that is pulled or deleted finds a way of resurfacing and ballooning the awareness. Conversely some people have posted pictures of him having been assaulted and bashed in prison (this has not happened since this arrest) as a way to incite more anger. If his followers want to save him, misreporting facts, trying to scale the gates at 10 Downing St or threatening the judge that convicted him won’t help the cause. They can’t swing public opinion with the two wrongs argument.

Growing numbers of the British population are getting fed up and if more of this type of politically correct hand-wringing continues the problem is likely to get out of control. The government and judiciary may think limiting the actions of those deemed to ‘incite’ division by jailing them will quell further unrest. However they should beware the public reckoning they ‘invite’. Will cooler heads prevail? At this juncture, it would appear not.

We say again, while it is debatable as to whether Tommy Robinson was in violation of his court order on a legal technicality, the bigger issue is the thousands of children that have been permanently damaged by the deranged acts of sick people. No matter what their background, colour, race or religion they should be given the maximum penalty for raping children if found guilty. They may not have taken lives, but they have stolen the sanctity of it. To that end, Robinson should be congratulated for bringing it to light, not censured. It is not just Tommy that deserves the right of free speech but the voice given to those poor children silenced for decades while those who were supposed to protect them turned a blind eye. Perhaps even SJWs will find it in their hearts to see the virtue of Robinson’s actions to stand up for those that couldn’t defend themselves. His only weapon is free speech. If some want to call his actions ‘hate speech‘ then they only prove how little they truly care for real victims.

Red card your superiors

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News in the U.K. that a corporal training troops  went way too far with his treatment of a particular female recruit. The U.K. top brass has expressed its horror and anger, threatening to court martial the offending trainer. Didn’t Colonel Jessup answer the question of ordering a Code Red as, “you’re damn right I did!

Regardless of gender, isn’t the point of drill sergeants one that ensures that discipline is literally beaten into fighting forces? Isn’t the point of meeting minimum basic standards all about creating an effective fighting force?

If the cadet in question burst into tears after being berated for wimpishly bayoneting the sandbag should we feel sympathy? One can be sure the said corporal probably screams obscenities at all the people put in his charge, regardless of gender, religion or race. While it might not sound savory, will an enemy cut the opposing army some slack if they see tears? Will they roll over? Drop their weapons for the sake of equality?

While a leaked video is embarrassing, CM sincerely hopes those that join the armed forces are more than prepared to follow orders and accept the harsh discipline that is expected  of a soldier. The military is no place for social experiments. Yet more and more the army is pushing diversity ahead of capability. At least when the body count surges we can proudly posthumously award the dead with equality medals. The armed forces should strive for ability above all regardless of gender, sexual orientation or skin colour.

IOC, FIFA, Nobel Academy…#WETOO?

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The problem with private organizations such as the IOC, FIFA and Nobel is that they become so drugged by the power of the prestige they provide that they think rules don’t apply to them. FIFA’s Sepp Blatter and some other committee members were found guilty of money laundering and bribery. Blatter was given an 8 (later reduced to 6) year ban from FIFA after an independent ethic committee proposed it. In 2017 Blatter was accused of sexual harassing US soccer star, Hope Solo, at an awards ceremony in 2013. All class.

Now the Nobel Literature prize is being withheld over sexual harassment allegations made by 18 women against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault who is married to a Nobel Academy member. He has also been accused of leaking the winners of the literature prize to the media.

One doesn’t have to dig too deep to find allegations made against the IOC ahead of Olympic bids. Imagine if audits were conducted by the cities that bid, breaking down specific payments to specific accounts.

Why are we surprised by these scandals? The opacity and often ‘untouchable nature’ only makes it easier to conduct nefarious activity. Perhaps governments should have whistleblower protection for people working in these committees bidding millions of taxpayer dollars for such events. Then again the governments are up to their own eyeballs in greed and prestige that turning a blind eye is easier.