Sunday, April 29, 2012

Whitewashing, laundering and retirement

It may come as a surprise to some that there is a policy of commandeering establishment figures to oversee uncomfortable inquiries, get these figures  to deliver the outcome required by the establishment, and then pension them off. Or in at least one case, ‘retire’ them even before they can preside.

When the weapons inspector who revealed that the famous ‘dodgy dossier’ had been ‘sexed up’, to use the epithet most widely applied to it,  was found dead in the countryside, Prime minister, Tony Blair, instructed the soon to be retiring Lord Brian Hutton to hold an Inquiry into Dr David Kelly’s death. There should have been an inquest. Indeed an inquest had been started but that was abandoned, the coroner was almost instructed to quickly find a verdict of suicide, and the Hutton Inquiry ‘whitewashed’ the case. Thames Valley Police have still not released photographic evidence in their possession, despite freedom of information requests. Having done his duty to the establishment that had supported him throughout his life Lord Hutton retired.

There was some very seedy stuff going on at the highest level when Liam Fox was forced to resign. The devious dealings were conducted through a bogus charity which Fox founded, Atlantic Bridge, through which neo-con/Zionist funds were being laundered, if that is the right word. This so-called charity, of which Margaret Thatcher was honorary president, included in its rank some of the old boy network at the very heart of government. Before the Charity Commision shut it down for malpractice other cabinet and government members as well as Liam Fox served on its advisory panel. Among these were George Osborne, William Hague and Michael Gove. Lord Astor of Hever, father-in-law to the prime minister, David Cameron, was a trustee of Atlantic Bridge and was himself involved in defence discussions which included Adam Werritty, a friend of Fox, and best man at Fox’s wedding.

Werritty’s involvement, and the whole seedy defence affair, was whitewashed with a big two-handed brush by Gus O’Donnell (commonly referred to as GOD because of his initials and not due to any divine gifts). Almost immediately after he cleared the guilty of any serious misdemeanour  Gus O’Donnell retired. However a rather more devious retirement took place connected as a result of the whitewash which was only discovered by response to a letter from Paul O’Flynn, a doughty M.P. representing Newport West. As well as questioning Gus O’Donnell’s ‘inquiry’ O’Flynn hinted ‘that the Prime Minister may have broken the ministerial code’ in not engaging Sir Philip Mawer to conduct the Inquiry presided over by Gus O’Donnell.
Sir Philip Mawer himself believed he should have led this Inquiry as he was the ‘sole enforcer of the code’. So why did GOD preside over it? The prime minister alone dictates who presides over an inquiry and O’Flynn suggests:

There is powerful evidence that using Sir Gus O'Donnell to carry out the swift investigation was a decision taken to hide the whole truth in order to satisfy political expediency and avoid political embarrassment to the Coalition.’ 

The whitewash was particularly sketchy about the number of meetings at which Werritty was present and sketchy too about the presence of other figures at many more meetings, including the Israeli ambassador Matthew Gould, substantially more than the O’Donnell Inquiry said had taken place − more than twice as many in fact. But the retirement of Sir Philip Mawer was done so surreptitiously that most people were unaware it had taken place, and it was only when a letter from Paul O’Flynn to Sir Philip was responded to by Sir Alex Allen that it was apparent that Sir Philip had been replaced. 

Another inquiry is being called because of the O’Donnell botch-up. A House of Commons public administration committee presided over by Mr Bernard Jenkin is asking for issues to be readdressed. Reading between the lines it looks like Sir Philip Mawer was ‘pushed’ and the cynical among us might consider the reason for this is to replace him with someone as compliant to the establishment as Gus himself.

This ‘deliver and retire’ policy applies not just to inquiries. High Court cases which are seen to be of detriment to the establishment are dealt with similarly. One such case is that of Babar Ahmed. He has been held in prison without trial for 8 years and now faces extradition to the United States thanks to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. Ahmed was beaten by police and in a civil case awarded £60,000 damages for his injuries. A criminal case was brought before the courts and those policemen who beat Ahmed up walked free. The jury had not been informed of the damages award and the Judge, Geoffrey Rivlin QC, retired the month after this verdict was announced. Draw your own conclusions,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Dominic Grieve should resign (II)

In December last year I raised an Epetition calling for the resignation of Dominic Grieve because he took it upon himself to investigate the death of Dr David Kelly, the arms inspector who brought attention to the 'dodgy dossier' which took us into an illegal war with Iraq. There was never a proper inquest into Dr Kelly’s death. In fact Dominic Grieve, at the behest of Michael Howard, had himself backed an inquest into Dr Kelly’s death in 2010 providing sufficient evidence warranted such an inquest. But instead he looked into the death himself and concluded that on the ‘evidence’ he had seen there was nothing which led him to believe anything but the Hutton Inquiry’s conclusion that Dr Kelly took his own life.

To begin with the Hutton Inquiry, or any other inquiry, has no legal authority to establish the death of any person dying from unnatural causes. That is the role of a coroner. The Hutton Inquiry was further hampered by the fact that witnesses were not sworn in, and were only marginally cross-examined – if at all. Likewise the Attorney General’s legal background relates to occupational and safety law, and in fact he is rather a career politician than a lawyer. Coroners have profession-specific training and qualifications which it is unlikely either Dominic Grieve or Lord Hutton possess, leaving neither of them in a position to replace a coroner, but which both of them appear to have done. 

·         Coroners have to be available 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
·         Coroners need to have medical-training and very often possess forensic knowledge.
·         Coroners need to keep up to date with changes in Coronial Law – a discipline on its own.

The Attorney General is advisor to the government and the highest legal authority in England and Wales. The last three Attorney Generals, Peter Goldsmith, Patricia Scotland and the current one, Dominic Grieve, have each exceeded their authority. In an email to the Attorney General’s office on 18 May 2011, Christopher Stephen Frost, a specialist in diagnostic radiology, sought reassurance that due process would take place in establishing an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly. As I've mentioned before, in his email he pointed out that due process had not ensued with both Grieve’s predecessors, “Lord Goldsmith over his twice changed Iraq War legal advice and Baroness Scotland over the twice cancelled Serious Fraud Office investigation of British Aerospace”.

On 19 December 2011 Justice Nicol attempted to bring to an end any chance of an inquest into the death of Dr Kelly, which is alarming since there never was a proper inquest. Instead the findings of the Hutton Inquiry, which dealt with this unnatural event clumsily, was allowed to stand. To add to the lack of justice from what was more correctly labelled “a whitewash” Hutton prohibited papers and photographs related to Kelly’s death from public scrutiny for 70 years, a decision subsequently upheld by Dominic Grieve, and Justice Nicol. Some details of the police investigation and post mortem reports have been released but the all-important photographs, which, in conjunction with an inquest would help establish the truth, are still being withheld.

By not releasing photographs of Dr Kelly’s body and the position where it lay does nothing to allay suspicions that the body was moved at some time between being found and the arrival of the paramedics. There are conflicting reports as to where the body lay when it was discovered and a short time afterwards. Paramedics, David Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt, on their arrival at the police-scene, applied electrodes to the body while the police took photographs. The body at this time was lying flat on the ground far enough away from the tree for a person to walk between the tree and body. The paramedics pronounced Dr Kelly dead at 10.07 a.m. Earlier Ms Holmes and Paul Chapman, who were searching the area found Dr Kelly slumped back against the tree, where the police-dog-team also mentioned they had seen the body. These discrepancies were ignored by the Hutton Inquiry. No coroner in the land would have ignored such a conflict of evidence without cross-examining the witnesses.

A group of dedicated medical experts, who have long questioned Hutton’s finding of suicide in Dr Kelly’s death continue to call for an inquest. Their latest request, made a few days ago, raises the issue about the moving of the body. A proper inquest, when it is granted, will almost certainly establish that the body was moved. Who moved it? When? Why? Those are likely to be the more important additional questions.

Friday, April 20, 2012

JackStrawrdinary Rendition

Jack Straw was, and is, the faithful servant of Tony Blair. When Tony gave Gaddafi the Blair-hug it was a new phase in British politics.

A missile had been fired into the back garden of 10 Downing Street and Blair had learnt something, although not a lot, about being on the receiving end of the attacks of which he had been so proud to inflict on others. The semtex had come from Libya via Ireland and it was getting too close to home. There was a change in foreign policy. Before his war on Iraq Blair had explained his position.

“Let me just deal with this oil thing because…the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it. The fact is that, if the oil that Iraq has were our concern, I mean we could probably cut a deal with Saddam tomorrow in relation to the oil. It’s not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons…”

After the Iraq adventure much of the population had come to realise what a liar Blair was, though there were still people who had craniums too thick to penetrate. Blair was not thick. While he did not mind how many Iraqi children died abroad, semtex going off in the back garden was not cricket. So he quickly went to ‘cut a deal’ with Gaddafi. Part of that deal involved the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, rendering people wanted by Gaddafi to Libya to be tortured and imprisoned.

Over the years the position changed with Libya. The oil deals cut by Blair were not lucrative enough. So another war became inevitable to get oil at a more preferential rate, that is, free. This change in policy meant that NATO countries colluded to create a Libyan Spring which meant supporting rebels who had been former enemies of Muammur Gaddafi. One of these, who is now trying to prove that Jack Straw signed the illegal rendition papers for him and others is Abdel Hakim Belhadj.

Jack Straw, known by some in Lancashire as ‘Bungalow Jack’ because he’s ‘now’t up top’ denies having signed any such papers and is currently under investigation by the Metropolitan Police. Of course those of us who know how British justice in the 21st century works are under no delusions that justice will be seen to be done. 21st century justice is the kind administered by the Hutton Inquiry over the death of Dr David Kelly. Last year an inquiry was set up into torture and extraordinary rendition: the Gibson Inquiry. Former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, was due to give evidence. However, all allegations were going to be investigated in secret and the chances of the general public getting to know more than the basics were slim. In the end the Gibson Inquiry was cancelled. That is how British justice works today. The same with ‘Bungalow Jack’. There will be an out-of-court settlement. Abdel Hakim Belhadj will be bought off by blood-money, Jack Straw will walk free, and that will be the end of it. But it ought to be the start of it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Abu Qatada

While this blog has supported the rights of British citizens to face justice in Britain there are some people who have a reputation for inciting hatred. One of these is Abu Qatada. It is difficult to conjure up much sympathy for his plight since today Theresa May has just announced his arrest and deportation to Jordan, where he has already been sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labour for inciting terrorist attacks. My main reservation is that this sentence, passed in absentia, means Qatada did not present a defence, and while guarantees have been assured of a fair trial this time, as far as I can see there is nothing to stop them implementing the outstanding sentence. Qatada’s imprisonment in this country has been described as costly to the taxpayer.

So what is the difference between Qatada and Ahmed Chalabi? Chalabi is a proven war-criminal. He put together false evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which was used to take us into the illegal war which cost, and is costing, thousands of lives. Furthermore, he is wanted, in Jordan, for stealing investors’ money from the Petra Bank he set up there. So what is the difference between him and Abu Qatada? You don’t need to be on University Challenge to know the answer. The difference is Chalabi has money. Tories, Labour, Lib-Dems and other neo-cons court people with money, however they got their greedy hands on it. Perhaps we should lobby Theresa May to get Abu Qatada and Ahmed Chalabi both on the same plane!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gossip: Babar Ahmad – a shameful case of injustice

Gossip: Babar Ahmad – a shameful case of injustice: The disgusting case of the imprisonment of Babar Ahmad is a blight on the British judicial system. He has been held in prison for eight ...

Babar Ahmad – a shameful case of injustice

The disgusting case of the imprisonment of Babar Ahmad is a blight on the British judicial system. He has been held in prison for eight years without ever having been before a court on any charge. Not since the Treason Trials of the late eighteenth century has the principle of habeas corpus been suspended in this manner. Then too it was for unfounded fears – namely that the revolution in France would spread to England – and today it is because there are fears that any Muslim with an interest in current affairs and unjust wars, is a terrorist. The Americans, who have a one-sided extradition agreement with the UK, where suspected American terrorists are not sent here but suspected UK terrorists are sent from the UK to face trial in the United States, have a disgusting recent history of injustice towards suspected terrorists. And they do not have to provide evidence to have a UK citizen extradited.

Guantanamo Bay, the US gulag, or concentration camp, on Cuban soil, has been a prison to nearly 800 suspected terrorists since 2002. How many of these have been tried and convicted of any crime? One. Eight have died in custody. More than six-hundred have been repatriated without trial. Many have been subjected to US torture like water-boarding, often rendered to one of America’s many foreign-based torture facilities, which makes it impossible to have them tried in a US court, since accusations of information obtained under torture is not admissible in a US court. Six have been convicted by military commissions – military trials are not tribunals with any real basis in law but the same kind of kangaroo courts that tried, for example, Saddam Hussein, or soldiers shot for cowardice during the First World War. The latest edict from president Obama’s administration is for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be tried by one of these military kangaroo courts. It is suspected that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been tortured to extract a confession to having been the mastermind behind 9/11. If convicted, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and his alleged co-conspirators, will be executed. This is an easy way to exonerate the US from allegations of torture. Increasingly, however, many people suspect that 9/11 was a false-flag joint US/Israeli engineered destruction of the twin towers and other buildings to create an unnecessary ‘war on terror’ almost a euphemism for ‘annihilating, occupying and stealing from oil-rich countries’.

The United States is the country to which they want to extradite one of our UK citizens, a country where there is no justice for anyone except Americans; a country steeped in racism; a country despised by many who suffer its bases on their soils. Today is Good Friday. 2000 years ago a terrible injustice was perpetrated against an innocent man. Don’t be party to another. Protest on behalf of Babar Ahmad. He is British. Make sure the justice he faces is British too. And make sure he goes to court. As the King’s apologist against republicanism, Edmund Burke, ought to have said but didn’t: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing’.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gossip: Our New Police State

Gossip: Our New Police State: The biggest problem of the government’s new proposed measures to give security services the ability to intercept all our emails, phone cal...

Our New Police State

The biggest problem of the government’s new proposed measures to give security services the ability to intercept all our emails, phone calls, blogs and other forms of communication is how these security services exonerate themselves for their own illegal practices because of such measures. There was never an inquest into the death of weapons’ inspector, Dr David Kelly, a legal requirement. We don’t know why. Some of us are still fighting for justice into this unexplainable death. It appears that Thames Valley Police have already been illegally involved in tapping into a website concerned with getting an inquest into Dr Kelly’s death, without these new proposed measures.

More recently it has emerged that to evaluate what happened in the death of Mark Duggan, shot in the back of a taxi by an armed policeman, there may now be no inquest even though at the time of his death that was still a requirement by law. The argument of the security services is that it might throw light onto what surveillance measures were being used by the police at the time that they shot him. To extend the powers of the police and security services is a charter for special services’ cover-ups.

The death of Mark Duggan triggered the riots in Tottenham, not so much because a youth was shot by the police, but because the police lied by claiming he had pulled a gun on them first. Nobody in Tottenham believed the police version, according to the many online posts. Furthermore the riots, as we all know, spread in a copycat manner to many other parts of the country and all because of police ineptitude.

It was the same with the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, another unnecessary shooting of an unarmed man, and not even a suspect or a criminal. Imagine what kinds of cover-ups can be concocted if sworn evidence is no longer presented in court or is not available in the public domain because it might ‘jeopardise national security’. All the decisions are going to come from the Grand Lodge. It’s a frightening prospect. Those of us who remember the Soviet Union and its scrutiny and exploitation of individuals might well see some similarities in the new proposed measures. Protest for your rights.