Monday, 7 March 2011

Guernsey Watch

Another look at what's been happening in our sister Island. Some interesting stories.

SKELETONS from about 700 years ago have been discovered just inches below the surface during the building of a new church boiler house. States archaeologist Philip de Jersey was called in earlier this year to look at where the footings for the new boiler house at St Martin's Church were due to go in. No bones were registered as being buried on the site, but just inches below the surface three skeletons were discovered, as well as several other remains. 'Before the path was dug in the 19th century, the bodies would have been buried about a metre down,' said Dr de Jersey.

700 years ago puts it at around 1310. In  1300, the Bailiffs of Guernsey and Jersey are given separate seals of office, and in 1307 the market in Guernsey moves from Landes du Marche to Town. The Medieval Warm period had lasted from around 880-1050 AD, but the transition to the period known as the Little Ice Age would see fierce storms wreaking environmental havoc and severe coastal erosion.(1)

But from ancient history to the last war. You would think that most of the artifacts of World War II were removed from Alderney, but not so:

BOMB disposal officers blew up a Second World War hand grenade in Alderney yesterday. Guernsey Police's Bomb Disposal Unit was in action in the morning after a British Mills Type 36 hand grenade was found in David Storer's garden. A controlled explosion was carried out 50 metres from where the device was discovered in Fontaine David, off Braye Road. Mr Storer said: 'Chris Tozer, from the Wildlife Trust, found the hand grenade while he was digging out an earth bank. He was using a mattock and the grenade came away from the bank.' (3)

What intrigues me is how it got there. As far as I can see, there were no Commando Raids on Alderney:

There were seven Commando missions carried out on the Channel Islands. Operation Ambassador was the first and largest of these, employing 140 men from No. 3 Commando and No. 11 Independent Company in a night raid on 14 July 1940. Later raids were much smaller; only 12 men of No. 62 Commando took part in Operation Dryad in September 1942, when they captured seven prisoners and located several German codebooks. Operation Branford, a reconnaissance mission that aimed to identify a suitable gun position to support future raids on Alderney, followed only days later. In October of that year 12 men from No.s 12 and 62 Commandos took part in Operation Basalt, a raid on Sark that saw four Germans killed and one taken prisoner.

All the other Channel Islands raids were less successful. In January 1943, a raid on Herm Operation Huckabuck was a failure. After three attempts to scale the islands cliffs the Commandos finally reached the top, but there were no signs of any German occupation troops or of the island's population. The next raids were Operations Hardtack 28 and Hardtack 7 in December 1943. The Hardtack 28 raid on Jersey ended in failure when two men were killed and one wounded after they walked into a minefield. The exploding mines alerted the German garrison and the Commandos had to abandon the operation. In Hardtack 7 the Commandos had returned to Sark, but had to abandon the operation and return to England when they were unable to scale the island's cliffs (4)

Now the nearest of these is Operation Branford, but it didn't actually involve a raid on Alderney:

Operation Branford was a British Commando raid during the Second World War. The target of the raid was the island of Burhou in the Channel islands. The raiding force was supplied by No. 62 Commando also known as the Small Scale Raiding Force was commanded by Captain Ogden-Smith and consisted of 11 men. The raid took place a few days after the successful Operation Dryad over the night of 7/8 September 1942. Their objective was to establish whether the island was suitable as an artillery battery position to support an attack on Alderney (4)

So where did the grenade come from? Was it left by the British Forces after the Liberation of the Channel Islands? Unfortunately the Guernsey Press doesn't supply any answers.

Meanwhile, Guernsey school children are in trouble over pictures spreading on Facebook:

HUNDREDS of island school children are at potential risk of prosecution after an indecent paedophile image of a local teen was circulated on the internet. Education has warned all secondary school mothers and fathers not to let their children pass on the picture, which was posted on Facebook this week. 'All parents need to be aware that this image may now be on their child's computer, which may cause upset or perhaps open up the possibility of a criminal offence being committed if the image is copied, downloaded or passed on,' it said. The problem began when a pupil under the age of 16 took a photograph of themselves and sent it to another person. Another pupil then posted the image on Facebook. (5)

COMPUTERS, mobile phones and other devices with internet connectivity have been seized by police investigating the distribution of indecent images of a local teen. Officers said yesterday that the girl concerned, who is aged under 16, took the pictures of herself and sent them to someone whom she had accepted as a 'friend' on Facebook. Sergeant Sarah-Jane Snowdon said the recipient of the images had a profile on the site stating he was a teenage boy living in England. 'At this stage there is no evidence to confirm that the profile is genuine and the true identity of the recipient is being investigated.' (6)

The term for this is "sexting" and it is quite a new phenomena, only appearing in the last year:

The term "sexting" refers to the distribution of sexually explicit photos or messages using electronic media. The practice of teenagers taking enticing photos of themselves have become a common part of courtship. This might seem like a private token of love, but many teens experience problems after the relationship ends, as their former partner is in possession of a highly compromising image that can easily be distributed via mobile, e-mail or social networking sites. Modern technology enables anyone to send, copy, forward and publish revealing photos of themselves and others to be seen by huge audiences. When such photos are made public there is no way to stop the images spreading further. It becomes possible for anyone to see a child's most intimate self.

Inevitably, sexting involves forwarding images. Although receiving the messages is not an offence, keeping them counts as "possessing an indecent image". The longer the image remains on a phone, the more serious the offence. Anyone who then forwards a message with an image of a child is likely to be committing a further offence of "distributing indecent images of children". Any suggestion of malice - such as revealing images of a former boyfriend or girlfriend after a break-up - is likely to be seen as an aggravating factor.(7)

and the case of forwarding images and sharing images surfaced alarmingly last year:

The British ringleader of an international network who shared up to 100,000 indecent images of children on Facebook has been jailed for four years, reports the BBC. The man is a convicted sex offender who set up eleven Facebook accounts to share these images with other child sexual predators through private groups. It is important to note that these images were not publicly available on Facebook, they were shared privately in the same way this type of criminal content has been shared; through newsgroups, forums, peer-2-peer file sharing, and via other social sites. Access to the images was controlled and required newcomers to provide "credentials", usually in the form of sharing child-abuse images of their own. (6)

The article makes the following points:

That 100,000 images of child sexual exploitation were stored on Facebook's servers without their apparent knowledge is troublesome. Consumer facing websites that accept consumer generated content need to have automated and manual filtering processes in place to screen images and videos. While it is impossible to guarantee that every image of child exploitation will be caught, 100,000 images begs the question of who's managing the farm.

In the BBC article (9), Facebook said that people known to be on the sex offenders register were not permitted to use the site, but it relied on police forces to inform it of new offenders. They also said they  would investigate any suspicious activity or abuses reported to the site.(6)

Jersey has just recently passed legislation creating what is termed a sex offenders register. Given Facebook's stance on this matter, does the Jersey law permit the police to proactively pass on new offenders (on what is, after all a new register) to Facebook? If not, then Jersey is obviously wide open to the exploitation of Facebook by pedophiles, as it is clear Facebook relies on police forces to inform them about people on the register:

As stated in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, convicted sex offenders are prohibited from registering for our service. Once we are able to verify a user's status as a sex offender, we immediately disable their account. When an account is disabled, the profile and all information associated with it are immediately made inaccessible to other Facebook users. What this means is that the user effectively disappears from the Facebook service and will not be able to reactivate their account. We are only able to remove the accounts of convicted sex offenders if we are able to verify their status with valid documentation. We accept the following forms of documentation: a link to a listing in a national sex offender registry, a link to an online news article, or court document uploaded to this form. If you do not provide valid documentation, we may not be able to process your report. (10)

(2) Sorrel, P., Tessier, B., Demory, F., Baltzer, A., Bouaouina, F., Proust, J.-N., Menier, D. and Traini, C. 2010. Sedimentary archives of the French Atlantic coast (inner Bay of Vilaine, south Brittany): Depositional history and late Holocene climatic and environmental signals. Continental Shelf Research 30: 1250-1266.


Anonymous said...

Hello Tony
I love Guernsey

Anonymous said...

Tony your my hero

Anonymous said...

Tony your my hero