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« Diary dates: sceptic edition | Main | CCC - the write-up »
Tuesday
Jan142014

Having a laugh

Readers may remember my post about ecoactivists discussing the firing of a flare at a police helicopter. The conversation on the Indymedia website is still ongoing, but it looks to me as if there is a bit of spoofing going on now.

If you recall, I noted the thread at the point at which Rachel Thompson, the group's spokesman, asked everyone on the thread to stop dicussing the firing of the flare. Since that time we've had a notice from an administrator saying that "Rachel" was a troll pretending to be Rachel Thompson and now the following:

Rachel Thompson has been doing inspiring and dedicated work as the press liasion person for for the Frack Free Manchester campaign but following a period of intense stress has decided following a meeting yesterday evening to step down from the role.

We wish her and partner the very best of luck for the future as they have decided to take a step back from the campaign and spend some time at a Vegan contemplative retreat in France to re-energise.

This looks like someone having a laugh to me, although in fairness it's sometimes hard to say with people like this.

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Reader Comments (40)

What do these people do to pay the bills?

Off for some "reenergisation" at a vegan contemplative retreat?

Please tell me they are pranking.

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

It's got to be a wind-up surely?
It's a bit cold for staying in a yurt at the moment!

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

Sherlock would've suspected the flare got inadvertently launched by Rachel's partner.

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Poor Yoga Slaves?

Since its opening in 2005, Les Passeroses near Angoulême in south-west France has gradually become the retreat centre of choice for an eclectic mix of yoga teachings, ranging from Iyengar to freestyle. Accommodation is boutique – all wooden oak floors, lush fabrics and stone fireplaces. Perfect if throwing yourself into the sparse side of yoga doesn't appeal just yet. While the yoga is taken seriously – a typical retreat will include two yoga sessions a day plus a two-hour meditation session – there is also time to enjoy relaxing by the pool, long walks and tucking into the vegetarian food. With wine!
Typical price for seven days start from around £550 to £700, including accommodation, teaching and food.

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012/jan/12/top-10-yoga-retreats-holidays

http://www.passeroses.com/index.html

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterHumbug

I have always wondered where these people get their money from:
Quote:
We wish her and partner the very best of luck for the future as they have decided to take a step back from the campaign and spend some time at a Vegan contemplative retreat in France to re-energise.

I suppose be a 'professional protestor' must pay quite well. Who is financing this lot?

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

I hope the peace and quite of the vegan retreat is not disturbed by protesting French farmers. They can be a troublesome lot.

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

A later comment (14.01.2014 10:51) at the site:-

".....It's easy to be critical because she made a mistake and lied but that can sometimes seem the right tactic...." [My bold.]

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

"it's sometimes hard to say with people like this"

Indeed. I recall Lord Deben's improbable Twitter stream being nicely summed up as appearing like a spoof to anyone who didn't know him, but looking entirely real to anyone who did!

Jan 14, 2014 at 1:06 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Jack, you ask who helps fund them. Certain unions have provided facilities staff and funds. I think it was Unison. Lush cosmetics also funds them.

Jan 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

IT does not take a genius to work out that the majority of these protesters have private means. Listen to their accents and it is quite plain. The green movement is peppered with the bien pendant middle and upper classes. Beware, they are your future rulers, but they will have conveniently forgotten their activism by then!

Jan 14, 2014 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

"A Vegan contemplative retreat in France"?
My first reaction was "good luck with that!" but since it seems that such a place exists perhaps I should be a bit less cynical.
I would have thought that calling Angoulême 'south-west France' was pushing it a bit though I suppose to the Guardian everything south of the péripherique is 'here there be dragons' country (apart from the Dordogne, of course!).
It looks as is Ms Thompson is learning the hard way that it's the cover-up wot does the damage, not the original offence.
I wish her a speedy recovery.

Jan 14, 2014 at 1:22 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I'm stealing 'bien pendant'. Thanks.
==================

Jan 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Years ago I was doing business with a guy in France (lovely man, btw). A vegetarian friend was going to SW France and wanted tips on where to eat, so I passed the request on. Bernard's response? "Vegetarian restaurants? In France! Pah! They will die"

Times must have changed.

Jan 14, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Weetabix

It almost sounds like she's trying to avoid contact with Greater Manchester Police!

Give it six months, and the GMP might close the case to massage the numbers. OTOH, GMP might be treating it as "attempted murder of a cop", in which case, they might pursue the issue to the end of time.

Could they issue a European arrest warrant for a material witness?

Jan 14, 2014 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDead Dog Bounce

@ trefjon 1:18pm

"...they are your future rulers, but they will have conveniently forgotten their activism by then!"

Indeed, and it always has been so. Think Jack Straw and what a nasty piece of work he was in his "student" leader days, for example.

Jan 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

"in his "student" leader days"? Surely he can't have been worse?

Jan 14, 2014 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

> Give it six months, and the GMP might close the case to massage the numbers.

If she has committed any offences that can be tried and sentenced by a magistrate then the CPS have six months in which to bring a prosecution (remember why the ICO couldn't/wouldn't prosecute a certain email deleter). As for European arrest warrants there are probably limits as to what you can issue them for. I expect she will re-appear about the 10th of June.

Jan 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

LOL!!

Jan 14, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

@ trefjon 1:18pm

"...they are your future rulers, but they will have conveniently forgotten their activism by then!"

Indeed, and it always has been so. Think Jack Straw and what a nasty piece of work he was in his "student" leader days, for example.

Jan 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM | david Chappell
==================================================
Not just during his student politico days, but ever after. Jack blew with the wind, and whichever way the wind blew, there was Jack. Something he wrote in his Autobiography is interesting, and points out that Labour are first and foremost, tribal, and put the Labour Party before the country. Straw wrote that he knew that Brown was not fit to be PM, but decided to say and do nothing about it. The reason he did this is that he thought that if he did, it might harm the Labour Party.

So in Straw's mind, it is better to damage the country than the Labour Party. Arsehole.

Jan 14, 2014 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

TerryS:

As for European arrest warrants there are probably limits as to what you can issue them for.
Not sure about that. Though I cannot remember the details, but there was a fairly (i.e. within the last couple of years) case of a Kent man summarily arrested under an EAW for a murder in Portugal, while the victim was out playing golf in Germany, which does suggest that what limits there are might be rather free and easy.

Jan 14, 2014 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Re: Radical Rodent

By limits I meant lower limits. Issuing an EAW for murder is one thing, but would an EAW be issued for parking fines?

It doesn't have to be a legal limitation, it can be a financial one. I imagine an EAW isn't cheap (lawyers will see to that) so would it be cost effective to issue one for a minor offence?

Jan 14, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Think Jack Straw and what a nasty piece of work he was in his "student" leader days, for example.

In some quarters Jack Straw is thought to have obtained Norman Scott's social security files in order to obtain information against Jeremy Thorpe. This was to prevent any possible deal between Thorpe and Heath. In any event Thorpe's and Scott's affair became public rendering any blackmail material useless. Several years later Thorpe and 3 others were charged with the attempted murder of Norman Scott. The chief witness was Peter Bessell was said he was present when the murder plot was discussed within the Liberal Party. Who would have thought that Liberals approved of the death penalty.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/archive/2333595.stm

Jan 14, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Sebastian Weetabix
My middle son who is now thirty is a vegetarian, not from ethical grounds he's never like the taste of meat or its texture, when we went on family camping holidays it was a nightmare eating out in France. Pizza, crepes and omelettes were his stable. I'd be willing to have a bet that the establishment is run by British ex-pats, the majority of vegetarian places here seem to have some kind of anglo-saxon connection, British/American/Canadian normally.

Jan 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS
The place is run by Alex and Adrian (No further information given) so you're probably right.
Most of the course tutors (though not all) appear to be Anglophone.

Jan 14, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Sorry, bien <pensant>, I have been struggling to get use to a new phone and kindle!!!

Jan 14, 2014 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

TerryS: Well, if a warrant for murder while the victim is still alive is okay, then creating a more heinous interpretation of parking fine must be possible.

Jan 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

The best are often accidental, Trefor.
=======

Jan 14, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Oops. Never read you comment properly! Sorry!

Jan 14, 2014 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Jeremy Poynton; that attitude is alive and well in the current mob. Not long ago Labour were said to be keeping their policy ideas under wraps for now in case the government stole the good ones and got the credit.
In other words, they see things which are not going well and have ideas on how to improve them. But they keep those ideas to themselves - while the country suffers - to try and gain political advantage from them closer to the election.
No surprise, I suppose, and I'm sure the rest of the parties play be the same rules.

Jan 14, 2014 at 6:46 PM | Registered Commentermikeh

This may be a misprint. I suspect that it is really a Vogon retreat, poetry readings and all.

Jan 14, 2014 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

Flare today gone tommorow

Jan 14, 2014 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

bien pendant

Is that French for "well hung"?

Jan 15, 2014 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Sure sounds like fleeing the country to avoid prosecution.

Odd, I thought firing a gun (flare is a description) at a helicopter would be severely frowned on by the police in England. why is it always the greens and eco-? who escape prosecution? As the gun proves, they're not harmless.

If it wasn't an actual gun, then it was still firing an incendiary rocket at the helicopter. Flare guns are usually 12 gauge or 25 mm (flare sizes).

Jan 15, 2014 at 2:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Rocket flares are readily available to the general public. They are not guns, and no license is required.
e.g.
http://www.jimmygreen.co.uk/products/safety/pains-wessex-flares

So the Greater Manchester Police might have (quite rightly) this is not a gun crime and given it a lower priority.

Jan 15, 2014 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

As I said in the other thread, very unlikely to be a gun - difficult to obtain and illegal just to possess.
Rocket flares - easily available, legal to possess. Surely they aren't that stupid.

Either way, offense against Air Navigation Order, endangering an aircraft, maximum of 5 years in jail.

Jan 15, 2014 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

It amuses me that the anti-frackers are not above firing flares at a police helicopter, but are such sensitive flowers that they prefer to delete critical comments from the (Indymedia) discussion, which had 14 responses a few days ago, including one from me, but now only has 4. Perhaps they all need a holiday in the South of France...

Jan 15, 2014 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"As I said in the other thread, very unlikely to be a gun - difficult to obtain and illegal just to possess.
Rocket flares - easily available, legal to possess. Surely they aren't that stupid.

Either way, offense against Air Navigation Order, endangering an aircraft, maximum of 5 years in jail."

Flare guns are not considered dangerous firearms and are freely ordered from marine supply units. Especially since firing a genuine 12 gauge shell in one would likely be a terminal mistake; technically, it can be done, but is not recommended. The main reason for handheld flares is that they're cheaper, individually, than the flare gun is. In the long run, flare guns are cheaper as flares are dated and expire and must be replaced for a ship/boat to be legally fit for sea or water duty.

Whether flare gun or rocket flare, it is an incendiary shell and can start a fire or seriously burn a person. It is hard to put a fire while the magnesium is happily burning a searing brightness and dripping flux. Likely the flare would bounce off of a helicopter... Still, it is not legal nor safe to do. In the states here, such actions are often rigorously investigated often by multi-agencies.

If England's authorities are letting it slide; well that kind of tells you who are considered criminally liable and who isn't.

Jan 16, 2014 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Flare guns are not considered dangerous firearms and are freely ordered from marine supply units.

In the UK they are considered firearms and are illegal to possess. The UK has a draconian complete ban on civilian handguns. Some years ago a manufacturer produced a device which was a set of mini flares in a plastic launcher. It was declared to legally be a firearm because the launcher was deemed to be a barrel and withdrawn from sale. Those who already owned them were left with the problem.

One of the rich kid protestors will have pinched a rocket flare from Daddy's yacht. Most leisure sailors have stacks of out of date pyrotechnics because they are ever more difficult to dispose of legitimately.

Jan 16, 2014 at 2:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

The Indymedia comments are now down to three!

Jan 16, 2014 at 1:14 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"In the UK they are considered firearms and are illegal to possess. The UK has a draconian complete ban on civilian handguns. Some years ago a manufacturer produced a device which was a set of mini flares in a plastic launcher. It was declared to legally be a firearm because the launcher was deemed to be a barrel and withdrawn from sale. Those who already owned them were left with the problem.

One of the rich kid protestors will have pinched a rocket flare from Daddy's yacht. Most leisure sailors have stacks of out of date pyrotechnics because they are ever more difficult to dispose of legitimately."

Ouch!

Somehow, I doubt the international ships and boats are disposing of their preferred 25mm flares (brighter, higher arc, longer burn). Just another thing to hide.

Yeah, the out of date stuff is difficult to get rid of easily. Firing red flares without a legitimate emergency is punishable by fines and potential jail time. One can fire off the white ones over water as 'practice', but multiple shots are frowned on. One metal trashcan (dustbin), enough wire mesh to cover (tied down) and you can fire them into the can. It's a little unsettling how many of the really cheap buggers fail to ignite easily.

Those cheap 12.5mm flare guns are not worth the trouble. But they are cheap. I carry them as backup in my little 17 foot craft. Having a motor fail (twice) with one time being 20+ miles from the dock, I like lots of flares on my boat.

Thanks for clarifying the situation for me.

Jan 17, 2014 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

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