Saturday, December 21, 2013

Who killed Bernt Carlsson and 269 other people from the Lockerbie mid-air explosion aboard Pan Am flight 103?

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi died from prostate cancer on 20 May 2012. He had wrongly been convicted of being responsible for planting the bomb that caused the mid-air destruction of Pan Am flight 103, the wreckage of which plunged into the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Including flight staff, and residents of Lockerbie, 270 people died from this act of sabotage on 21 December 1988. Al-Megrahi was convicted alone of having committed this crime. The only witness against al-Megrahi was a Maltese shopkeeper, Tony Gauci, who failed to identify al-Megrahi as a suspected customer, and was later, it is said, paid 2 million dollars by the US to keep his mouth shut. Gauci’s first statement was allegedly changed and Megrahi’s defence team were not allowed to see it together with other key evidence which would undoubtedly have exonerated their client. Instead he spent years in prison. Anybody doubting al-Megrahi’s innocence only needs to read chapter 4 of Francis A. Boyle’s “Destroying Libya and World Order (2013). Boyle is an international law lecturer at the University of Illinois. 

After al-Megrahi’s death Prime Minister David Cameron, to whom I would recommend the above cited book, was asked if there could now be a full public inquiry into the sabotage of Pan Am flight 103. Not only did Cameron refuse to consider an inquiry he got the endorsement of Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition − if the Labour Party can be called an opposition any more. He also said that in his opinion al-Megrahi should have remained in prison and not been released on compassionate grounds. Although Conservatives are not noted for compassion, Cameron might have very sound other reasons not to want an inquiry. UK prime ministers who have refused requests from bereaved families for a full public inquiry into the Lockerbie disaster are Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. That is all of the UK prime ministers from the time of the Lockerbie disaster. Why? 

On board Pan Am flight 103 was the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson. He was by far the most likely assassination target and if he was that target unfortunately all the other passengers became victims of the phrase so glibly used today in untargeted deaths: ‘collateral damage’. There was extremely big money at stake and Carlsson, a fearless man, hinted in Granada TV’s ‘World In Action’ documentary ‘The Case of the Disappearing Diamonds’ he was about to expose those corporations exploiting minerals, and miners, in Namibia as Namibia was due to be granted its independence. These companies included De Beers, the company which relieved Namibia of perhaps as much of its precious gemstones as the British Empire extracted from India. Another of the UN commission’s target companies was the Rössing Uranium Mine, alsoin Namibia.  Mention of the Rössing Uranium Minemight jog David Cameron’s memory, since it could ultimately prove to be his undoing. Three months after the Lockerbie bombing the current PM escorted the Prime Minister of the day, Margaret Thatcher, on a visit to this Namibian mine, a visit which filled Mrs Thatcher with immense pride that she had been born British.  Cameron was a Conservative Party researcher at the time but it is quite clear that he was being groomed as a potential future prime minister when Margaret Thatcher’s time at the helm came to an end. URENCO, a joint British/Dutch/West German-owned uranium-enrichment company, was exporting uranium ore from the Rössing mine, but shady manifests made it difficult to trace where the uranium they purchased was coming  from, and URENCO claimed it did not know from where it got its uranium, so when court proceedings were started by the United Nations Council for Namibia (UNCN) in 1985 it took 15 months to get to court and in July 1987 the United Nations finally began action against URENCO.  There is no logical reason but the UN case against URENCO was dropped after Carlsson was murdered on Pan Am flight 103 and has never been restarted. 
In April 2013, David Cameron announced that the UK would be selling off its interest in URENCO. The UK share amounts to a third. Though the price of uranium is falling on world markets it is thought this privatisation might also serve the dual purpose of covering up the misappropriations and illegal activities that Bernt Carlsson had discovered and was presenting to court on behalf of the UN at the time of his murder.  No wonder David Cameron wanted Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to take the blame for this act of sabotage. Cameron must be concerned in case some doughty investigative journalist has the courage of Bernt Carlsson to reveal just what the Lockerbie bombing was all about. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing except it took away the last years of his life. 
Prof. Francis Boyle says it was clear that the United States and United Kingdom did not want the trial that convicted Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and acquitted his co-accused, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, to take place in a neutral country “because they had no evidence that would stand up in a neutral court of law” (119). Instead it was investigated by Scottish Police, the CIA and FBI, who hardly looked into the possibility that Bernt Carlsson might have been the target, and the excuse for a trial took place in Holland overseen by Scottish Judges while the prosecution case was presented by Scottish prosecutors on the advice of Scottish Police, the FBI and CIA.   

As Paul Foot pointed out in 2004, the year Foot died, to have released Lamin Khalifah Fhimah and to have convicted Abdelbaset al-Megrahi when the prosecution case rested on the joint activities of the two men to blow up Pan Am flight 103, was ludicrous. Gareth Peirce, who John Pilger has described as the best human rights’ lawyer in England, totally dismantled the Scottish prosecution case in 2010 in the London Review of Books. The only way the families of victims of Pan Am 103 will get justice is through an independent public inquiry. Every time a public inquiry is mentioned, as Gareth Peirce pointed out three years ago, some high-ranking politician blows his top. Huge amounts of money were paid to a prosecution witness (Tony Gauci) at the trial of al-Megrahi. Paul Foot mentioned three prime ministers who refused the families’ requests for public inquiries. David Cameron, after the death of al-Megrahi, when asked if there could now be a public inquiry into the Lockerbie sabotage, was content for an innocent man to have his life wasted in prison. He was supported by Ed Miliband. Dr Hans Koechler, an international observer at the Lockerbie trial wrote to Miliband’s brother David in 2008 about the delaying tactics. There is no public inquiry because the governments of the United Kingdom and United States know more about the murder of a good man, Bernt Carlsson, than they are prepared to admit.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The shame of Shaker Aamer's wrongful incarceration for 12 years.

On Saturday I joined other protesters in London in concern for the shameful, illegal and immoral imprisonment of Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo Bay. Shaker has been tortured and considering the gravity of the offence of human-torture in this age of enlightenment from western states which peddle a myth that we live in a free society, it was rather surprising there were not more people present to mark the twelve years of this total injustice. There again, few spoke out about the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.

Protesters pass the mosque where Shaker used to worship

Shaker's imprisonment is a total injustice because he is innocent of any crime, has been cleared for release twice by two separate US investigations, the first six years ago, the second four years ago, the latter during Obama's term of office. Obama himself has confirmed that it is an injustice to keep him in Guantanamo concentration camp. Barrack Obama is president of the United States, yet it seems he is answerable to some higher authority, because although he has approved Shaker's release, he has not acted on that approval. Likewise in the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have called for Shaker's return. As one of the speakers, Guardian journalist Victoria Brittain, pointed out there is a likely conflict between the security services and government, because the UK security services are allegedly complicit in his torture when Shaker was first arrested. Anyway the UK is just a pawn in the US middle game, subservient and dispensable.

Also on the platform was independent journalist Andy Worthington who wrote The Guantanamo Files (Pluto Press 2007) and has been a doughty campaigner on human rights' abuses for many years. He made an impassioned delivery regarding the injustice and how frustrated we all feel that the best Cameron and Hague can do is write to Shaker in Guantanamo. Shaker remains in prison because the UK secret services are party to the torture of an innocent man, as is former Home Secretary Jack Straw, who must have approved this torture. So to protect the guilty an innocent man is made to suffer. He suggested, tongue-in-cheek that we should occupy William Hague's office. That is how frustrating it is becoming. What do we need to do to make our leaders do the right thing?

Hamja Ahsan speaking about his brother's imprisonment in a US Supermax prison

The brother of Talha Ahsan told of another injustice emanating from the desk of current Home Secretary, Theresa May, the extradition of Talha to the US together with Babar Ahmad. These wrongly-served men cannot see their families, have collectively spent 16 years in prison without trial, and are currently being held 23 hours every day in solitary confinement. I have covered their plights in previous blog-posts and with every passing day it is another day of injustice and torture for them and their families. One day justice might be seen to be done. The so-called 'war on terror' has been a turning point in the UK legal system because the anti-terrorism acts the 'war on terror' has spawned have led to breaches in the first principle of habeas corpus. These terrorist acts have not been committed by men with weapons but by the US and UK governments themselves. Shame on them!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Where has all the blogging gone

It occurs to me that I have not written a blog piece for some time. There is plenty to write about but so little time. My last piece for News Junkie Post was written the day I went down to London to protest against the the extradition of Talha Ahsan, who has just spent another Eid in prison without face to face contact with his family.

Today another article was published concerned with the politicising of art. Tomorrow a new BBC 2 series, a comedy by all accounts, will be screened.

I'm working on something else of a larger nature in my spare time.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One hundred years of prisoner-of-war 'reform'

Ruhleben Camp was situated on the outskirts of Berlin at the outbreak of the First World War. It was a converted racecourse which housed foreigners in its buildings. Prisoners had some difficulties getting certain products especially food, but it was a civilised and thriving community, which though monitored by sentries gave prisoners a degree of interned freedom and self-respect. There were all kinds of activities like chess-clubs, a theatrical society, a debating society, an orchestra, tennis-club and other sports clubs. They even had their own elections and prison magazine called "In Ruhleben Camp"..

Compare that with Guantanamo Bay, a similar type of internment camp for untried prisoners, a century later and the regression in prisoner rights is diabolical. They have no rights (or very few) and no hope. It is a disgrace to the reputation of the United States. At the beginning of its existence when men and boys were first rendered there the torture was even worse than it is today. But conditions are so severe that those held there even today are on hunger-strike against them. Some are still being detained, and force-fed, a torture in itself, although they have been cleared for release for six years, like Shaker Aamer, the last remaining UK citizen. To them it must seem like they are never going to be released. Nearly 800 men and boys have been held there at one time or another, 8 have died there, and all kinds of accusations have been levelled at the authorities including sexual abuse. To my knowledge there has only been one conviction.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vladimir Putin, George Galloway, John Pilger cannot all be wrong

Some serious thinkers are questioning what the US sees as its inalienable right to dictate world foreign policy. The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, raises some fundamental questions by speculating among other pronouncements that the United Nations could go the same way as the League of Nations, and diplomatically challenges Obama to be less belligerent in his words and actions. John Pilger in Tuesday's Guardian believes the Pentagon dictates what happens in the White House due to the weakness of Obama. Talking to Abby Martin George Galloway warns of the dangers of further military involvement in the Middle East and the long-term dangers of supporting al Qaeda in Syria.

Meanwhile my latest article for News Junkie Post offers a chance for everyone to do his or her bit in preventing war. We showed in the UK that people have power. People have power all over the world. Follow the UK example.And please share the article.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Did the United States deliberately sponsor a chemical attack on Syria?

I missed a Daily Mail article which forecast exactly how the false flag in Syria appears to have been spun and acted upon. Apparently the Louise Boyle's article published at the end of January has since been taken down. Thanks to the internet, and those who keep an eye on such things, a stub has been preserved. Here again, for others who may have missed it, as I did, is the Mail link.
Her report is based on a Paul Joseph Watson article published the day before in INFOWARS. Other reports of the last week tend to confirm that the US plan was acted upon. And this is how it panned out if the reports are correct. They certainly seem to have more authentic information than the silly dossier presented to parliament by the intelligence services. So I’ll say it again: there is no intelligence in intelligence.
These false flags created by the modern United States of America are appalling. It is historically crucial that both Parliament and Congress were in recess when this false flag event took place because they were hoping to take military action without proper debate. There is even a report that Reuters and Al Jazeera published photographs of the dead and injured in the chemical attack the day before the actual attack is alleged to have taken place. If the leaked emails are true, and Britam Defence has not denied them being true, then Britam and the United States government should be taken to task. The BBC again has given no coverage of this alternative news. It is left to bloggers.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Don't get on a plane with somebody famous!

The number of famous people who die in plane crashes is alarming. After making a comment on Craig Murray's blog, based simply on the huge number of famous people who have died in crashes, I was challenged to provide figures. My comment related to the death of Michael Hastings the American investigative journalist whose car exploded and who was working on some sensitive revelations at the time. I wrote:

"As to deaths in crashes public figures are much more likely to die than ordinary individuals. It does need some thorough research but Hastings’ death was convenient, to say the least, for those he was investigating. Likewise Bob Cryer’s death was convenient for the US military at Menwith Hill. How dare Bob Cryer, an English MP, criticise the US for having a base on English soil without parliamentary approval?"

Although I was convinced I was right, and thought there must be some research to support my opinion, I was unable to find any significant study into the subject, which of course does not mean that no study exists. So I set about researching it myself, admittedly in a non-academic way. Because of the well-advertised safety record of aircraft companies I thought it was a good place to start. What I found was not that there was, say twice as much a chance of a famous person dying in a plane crash but an alarming 27 times the probability, and most likely even higher than that. The figures cover the decade 2001-2010. Column 1 gives the year and column two the number of famous deaths, while column 3, after the colon, gives the total number of deaths for the year. Accumulated totals are given below the line.

2001 = 13 : 4140
2002 = 05 : 1413

2003 = 02 : 1230
2004 = 05 :   771
2005 = 03 : 1459
2006 = 06 : 1294
2007 = 06 :   971
2008 = 03 :   884
2009 = 08 : 1103
2010 = 03 : 1115
Total = 54 : 14,380

According to the National Safety Council the lifetime odds of death from a plane or space incident in 2008 was a 1 in 7178 chance. Using this as a mean figure it can be seen that the expected total deaths from plane crashes for the decade based on the deaths of famous personalities should be somewhere in the region of 387, 612 (that is 54 x 7178) but actual total deaths amount to 14,380, making it virtually 27 times more dangerous if you are famous. Admittedly this unfunded and inadequate study is not rocket science and more serious research should be embarked upon to corroborate the assumption, or disprove it. Also I do not know how the National Safety Council arrived at its figure of 1 in 7178 but presumed that it was based on the total number of passengers divided by those killed in air-disasters.

The figures may be even more alarming because the famous deaths' column only includes incidents where somebody famous has died in an air-disaster, whereas some incidents involved multiple deaths, for example, in 2010 the crash which killed the president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, also killed the first lady, Maria Kaczynski, and at least five other high-profile Polish politicians. Being famous appears to seriously heighten the chances of a premature death. Don't get on a plane with somebody famous.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nanna Babba and the common girl

(A bedtime story for baby George)

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful young girl, Dafne, who had a wicked step-grandmother, Nanna Babba.

Nanna Babba lived in a world of fantasy. To pass the weary hours she wrote, or her magic pen wrote, grisly and non-grisly fairy stories about common girls falling in love with princes, and living in turreted palaces beyond the wildest hopes and dreams of most schoolgirls. The palaces all had wide carpeted staircases with ornate banisters which led to ballrooms in which crystal chandeliers sparkled brightly from the ceiling. These were ideal settings for a young common girl to make her entrance into the world. Because Nanny Babba believed in fantasy she could wield her magic pen it seemed and the dreams would all come true. This worried Dafne.

Among the 700 grisly fairy stories there were tales of young common girls who found themselves in woods pursued by wolves. Other girls were made to sweep the dusty floors, wash clothes, hang them out to dry, look after other people's children, and menial tasks which befall many families of less wealthy origins while their sisters went to the ball. Dafne did not mind these menial tasks because they kept her away from Nanna Babba. However she found one of her step-grandmother's stories rather frightening because the plot was of a young princess bedecked in jewels, dressed up to the nines and seated in a royal coach which was suddenly driven right into a rabbit warren in a foreign land - the land of frogs and toads. Deep, deep it went into the tunnel, and never came out again. This caused recurring nightmares.

Dafne was made to read all these rags to riches fairy stories, which sometimes had a happy ending, and sometimes sad, but she made little effort to conceal that she did not like Nanna Babba, nor her stories. You see when Dafne was only eight years old, following the divorce of her parents, Nanna Babba had come into her life as a result of the old dear's daughter marrying Dafne's father. In the early years when the flame of perpetual love glowed so strongly in her father's eyes it looked like it would last forever Dafne saw less and less of him and his new wife and more and more of Nanna Babba. The nightmares continued.

Dafne had an elder sister, Sissy, and brother, Brer, who seemed to settle better into the new life than Dafne had done. She had difficulty understanding why her mother and father had gone their separate ways. She moped and cried and wept and sobbed until it got on people's nerves. Nanna Babba had a solution for every problem. It was agreed Dafne was to be sent to a girls' boarding school where the mistresses could comfort her in her sadness. The school was called "The Bowels of Hell" by those who boarded there at Dante's. Dafne did not perform well in Hell. It made her even more miserable.  She moped and cried and wept and sobbed until it got on the mistresses' nerves. They did not comfort her.

She got through "The Bowels of Hell" with some of the worst grades Dante's had ever seen. From time to time she would return to the rented home where Nanna Babba would add to her misery by making her read the latest fantasies from her magic pen, fantasies which appeared to be writing themselves even when Nanna Babba was sitting with Sissy and feeding her face on Royal Jelly. Royal Jelly is the preserve of Queen Bees, and young girls who sample it, according to Nanna Babba, are destined to marry a prince, with the one condition that they remain virtuous. Dafne had seen how other stories by Nanna Babba had come true. So she believed this one too.

Dafne's family rented property in the grounds of a palace and one day the rich prince came by inspecting his great expectations. He was heir to the palace in which grounds Dafne, Sissy and Brer rented, together with many other palaces which the growing children had only seen in books. The Prince was wearing a Polo-necked sweater and jodhpurs tucked into his boots as he rode on his favourite chestnut horse, Polo. His favourite sport happened to be polo which gave rise to the horse's name.

Princes are not always all they are cracked up to be and some need licking into shape, while others need kissing by a beautiful young lady on their amphibious lips to make something more appealing about them. So Sissy, emboldened by royal jelly, popped a polo mint into the royal gob, plucked up all her courage and kissed the prince full on his lips. She stepped back and looked for a change in his countenance, while Dafne did the washing up, and Brer looked on in total bewilderment as to what was going on. Sissy perceived no change in the prince's looks. Nanna Babba had been careful to mention that those who fed on royal jelly would not necessarily marry a handsome prince, just one of royal stock. Sissy had got her fantasies a little mixed up. But her prince was rich and ladies learnt at finishing school that once they had ensnared their quarry they must be content if the meat might be a little old and the skin as tough as riding boots.

With the royal jelly easing Sissy's future prospects Dafne had been sent to a finishing school in the Alps where she moped and cried and wept and sobbed until it got on the mistresses' nerves. They did not comfort her. She could, however dance, although a little tall to become a professional, she danced herself into the full bloom of womanhood and emerged, if not a butterfly, a very pretty thing in her own right.

Meanwhile Sissy had taken a flat not too far from one of the prince's palaces in the main city, and Dafne kept house for her sister. She washed up, did the laundry, swept the carpets, cleaned the toilets, emptied the waste bins, threw away the empty cartons of royal jelly and generally kept the place spick and span. The prince was a frequent visitor but hardly seemed to notice Dafne, who left almost as soon as he arrived. He did occasionally comment on how tidy the flat was to Sissy. What happened in that flat is not for the ears or eyes of children. Dafne had noticed a thing or two. Those who have done laundry and emptied waste bins will need no further explanation.

Months went by and all expectations from the Nanna Babba household were for Sissy's royal engagement announcement: any time now. But it never came. It could only mean one thing. The condition of feeding on royal jelly was that the lady remained virtuous and Nanna Babba suspected there had been a premature submission to pre-marital gallantry. Nobody knows for certain. Dafne however was about to throw away some more empty cartons of royal jelly when she noticed that one of the cartons was not empty. Honey she had tasted, but royal jelly was the preserve of queen bees. Dafne, on a whim, decided to try this exotic food and thought it was nothing special.

Princes, kings, princesses, queens, dukes and duchesses and in fact almost all people, find themselves dissatisfied with what is already theirs, and once the novelty has worn off, they look for new sources of stimulation. So it was with the prince who explained this rather clumsily to Sissy. She immediately felt an impulse to smack him across his amphibious mouth, but refrained. It soon dawned on her that she had fallen too easily, and only when she weighed up the pros and cons of life with an unattractive prince, did she realise that perhaps she had got away lightly. Dafne however was saddened for Sissy's loss and she moped and cried and wept and sobbed in her sister's arms, until the unattractive but extremely rich prince, moved by the young maid's passion, suddenly started to take notice of her for the first time. This, he swore to himself, would be his latest conquest.

His courtship of Dafne was not quite what he had expected. Princes are used to having whatever they want, whenever they want it. Arriving on Polo in a polo-necked sweater and jodhpurs had worked a treat for Sissy. So he tried this approach on Dafne and even brought a polo stick along with him to endorse the image. He moved towards her with his mouth wide open. She popped a polo mint into the toad-hole and stepped deftly out of harm's way. Her education might not have been up to much but she was not stupid. She had seen what had happened to Sissy. Was it not she who had cleaned Sissy's flat? The more the shy and unsullied Dafne resisted his approaches the more the prince desired her. He was getting no younger and there was pressure on him to marry before his ardour died. He tried pin-stripes though he was not a typical English gentleman, a kilt though he was not a typical Scottish laird, and lederhosen. Nothing seemed to work and the magic he had come to expect was absent.

For her engagement he bought her the biggest cluster of diamonds and sapphires imaginable and it is reputed that 20,000 black Namibians had died in the mining of these lumps of carbon rock. She thought it was almost immoral to wear it, because Dafne did have some morals, and there was a lot of superstition that the ring could never bring her good luck. The royal jelly had done its work and Dafne had kept her virtue. Her reward was a state wedding to which all the country was invited. Let this be a lesson to all boys and girls that virtue, if that's what children want, can bring its rewards, because Dafne did get to marry her prince. Although it is fair to note she did not invite her wicked step-grandmother to the wedding.

Traditionally fairy-stories and love stories like those written by Nanna Babba have a happy ending and are neatly rounded off with a phrase like "and they lived happily ever after". But there are stories in the genre where the big bad wolf pretends to be a nice old granny and gobbles up a little girl in red. And the one that Nanna Babba wrote about the princess who went in a royal carriage into the rabbit warren of a foreign country. In real life to be a princess might not be everybody's dream. Dafne's marriage was a sad affair. Her prince did not love her but they had children: heirs to the throne. Soon she was so unhappy and for the prince the novelty had worn off, so she moped and cried and wept and sobbed sometimes for hours on end. But nobody listened. She threw herself into charity work trying to help less fortunate children in lands far away.

After a while Dafne met another man with whom she was truly in love, a rich man who loved her too. At last she was happy. However there was a lot of dissatisfaction in the royal household at this match, and even though the prince himself had taken a new lover, there were plots to have Dafne and her rich lover, who was of foreign extraction and a different religion, put to death. A few hundred years earlier and it would just have needed a royal decree to execute this act. But in the time of Princess Dafne all eyes were upon the royal household which had impoverished its subjects to increase its own wealth. Princess Dafne was aware of the plot. She had read the story by Nanna Babba. She wrote a letter to show there was a plot and how it would happen to a young princess bedecked in jewels, dressed up to the nines and seated in a royal coach which was suddenly driven right into a rabbit warren in a foreign land - the land of frogs and toads. Deep, deep it went into the tunnel, and never came out again. Fairy stories can come true.


Disclaimer: any likeness to any person in this story is coincidental as in all fiction, good or bad.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My country's shameful and disgraceful treatment of Syed Talha Ahsan

For seven long years Syed Talha Ahsan has had his freedom taken from him in one of the most diabolical miscarriages of justice ever. For more than six years he was held in custody in UK prisons without there ever having been a charge against him. As with Babar Ahmad, who has been imprisoned for even longer, such cases bring shame upon my country, and therefore upon me. This is not the way British justice used to be done. Over a month ago I raised a Freedom of Information request on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office seeking information connected with the extradition of Syed Talha Ahsan. By law they should have responded by 9 July 2013 but have not done, so I have asked for an internal review.

There are so many unanswered questions in this case. The most alarming is the fact that Talha Ahsan's case should have been heard in a US court in October this year, and if there was a clear-cut case against him there was no reason why it should not since there has been a decade in which to prepare a case, yet it has been put off until March 2014. All this time Talha Ahsan spends 23 hours a day, every day, in solitary confinement in a Supermax prison. My heart grieves for him and his family. Here is my request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The questions are straightforward.

Extradition of Talha Ahsan

John Goss made this Freedom of Information request to Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Waiting for an internal review by Foreign and Commonwealth Office of their handling of this request.

From: John Goss

11 June 2013

Dear Foreign and Commonwealth Office,

This is a freedom of information request concerning the extradition
of Syed Talha Ahsan, a UK citizen, to the USA

Syed Talha Ahsan lost an appeal in the European Court of Human
Rights and was very quickly, the same day in fact, flown to the
United States of America.

1) Was any contact made with United States representatives of any
description to arrange the deportation of Syed Talha Ahsan before
the appeal verdict of the European Court of Human Rights had been

2) If the answer to question 1) is yes, which department of the FCO
and which personnel of that department had contact with which
personnel of which US department?

3) Can I have copies of any correspondence between the UK and USA
concerning the extradition of Syed Talha Ahsan please?

4) Was the FCO aware that two of the European judges, Lech Garlicki
and Nicolas Bratza, who sat in judgement on Syed Talha Ahsan, had
been at a 'closed-door' conference with US Supreme Court judges
Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor
in a conference called: 'Judicial Process and the Protection of
Rights: the U.S. Supreme Court and the European Court of Human

5) Does the FCO have any documents relating to the revelation in
question 4) and can I have copies please?

6) Was the FCO aware that also at the conference mentioned in
question 4) were "Derek Walton, who was representing the UK in
Ahsan’s European Court case, and the vastly influential Harold Koh,
who was serving as Obama’s appointed Legal Advisor to the State
Department." (New Statesman 21 February 2013).

7) Does the FCO have any documents relating to the revelation in
question 6) and can I have copies please?

8) Presumably the FCO would have had to be absolutely certain that
the case against Syed Talha Ahsan was a cast-iron copper-bottomed
guilty case to send a UK citizen to a country which has a
'concentration camp' at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where only 13 people
(out of 779) have ever been charged with a crime, and where 9 men
have died while in captivity. Would you not agree that given these
appalling figures the FCO would have to be certain that Syed Talha
Ahsan was guilty before sending him to the United States?

9) Considering our special relationship with the United States of
America has the FCO seen all the evidence held by the US in the
case of Syed Talha Ahsan?

10) Can I have copies of any correspondence regarding evidence of
the guilt of Syed Talha Ahsan held by the FCO please?

11) Is from the evidence that the FCO has seen there even the
slightest chance that Syed Talha Ahsan might be innocent?

12) If the answer is yes, on what grounds was Syed Talha Ahsan
extradited considering the uneven extradition treaty we have with
the United States?

13) Syed Talha Ahsan, had before being extradited been held in UK
prisons for six years without charge. Was the FCO notified of this?

14) If yes, can I have copies of the notification(s) please?

15) Did the foreign office seek assurances in this clear-cut and
convincingly-guilty case that Syed Talha Ahsan would be quickly
brought to trial?

16) Can I have a copy of any document relating to an expeditious
trial or any other documents in which the FCO has attempted to
protect the human rights of Syed Talha Ahsan in this case please?

17) US legal prosecution teams in a clear-cut and convincingly
guilty case have deferred the trial-date from October 2013 to March
2014 increasing the suffering of Syed Talha Ahsan. Did they notify
the FCO of this?

18) Can I have a copy of any such notification please?

19) Why did the Foreign and Commonwealth Office extradite Syed
Talha Ahsan to be held in a maximum security prison 23 hours a day
in a case in which the prosecution has not been able to gather
enough evidence in over a decade to bring Syed Talha Ahsan swiftly
to justice when his prison record in the UK shows that an ordinary
prison would have been adequate and better for Syed Talha Ahsan’s
health and welfare?

20) Was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office aware that Talha Ahsan,
a prize-winning poet, suffers from Asberger Syndrome?

21) Have any special provisions been made to cater for his illness?

22) Can I see any correspondence relating to this pleas?

23) Was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office aware that Gary
McKinnon, another UK citizen, was spared extradition because he
suffers from Asperger Syndrome?

24) Does the FCO operate a policy of racism towards Muslims?

25) Can you let me have any figures that show how many people
extradited at US requests, including those rendered abroad during
the Iraq War, over the last thirteen years, were Muslims, and how
many were not?

26) Did the UK try to get Syed Talha Ahsan into a more humane
prison instead of prisons which have been described as torture
chambers where more than 90% plea bargain (even confessing to
crimes they did not commit to avoid further torture)?

27) Can I see what correspondence took place regarding the type of
penal institution Syed Talha Ahsan was to be held in?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

John Goss

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dr David Kelly and the need for an inquest (100th blogpost)

A group of dedicated and informed individuals simmered in London temperatures, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, to bring attention to the fact that it has been ten years without an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly. Among television companies covering the event Press TV was there as well as TV Spain. Then along came Jushua with bottles of mineral water which he distributed among the protesters. It was most welcome and refreshing. By that time people were starting to find shade round the side of the building but those passing by stopped to find out what it is all about.

It was a well-attended event with between 50 and 75 people silently protesting in the course of the afternoon. I found it is not an easy place to get to by public transport especially when the coach from Birmingham was delayed by more that an hour due to a motorway accident, but it was a great credit to those who worked behind the scenes, Margaret, co-organising the event, getting leaflets printed and sewing up (by hand) some twenty gags, Jayne and Lyndsey for their inputs with posters and design, and lots of others who made a special effort to make it a special and memorable day. There was an impressive large black cloth poster laid out on the paving stones at the entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice, which could not be missed, but I wasn't sure who produced it.

Gags were worn to demonstrate that in this instance the truth had been gagged by Lord Hutton's Inquiry, more often referred to as a "whitewash". The time has come to make public the details of photographs which might determine if the body was moved. The time has come to investigate the original post-mortem conducted by Dr Nicholas Hunt. People are working behind the scenes, some who were on the demonstration, others who prefer alternative methods, to bring this unresolved affair before the public eye. Thank you everybody who attended and those who were supporting us from home.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Good Samaritan

On Sunday Anglican, Roman Catholic and other churches heard the parable of the Good Samaritan read as the gospel (Luke 10: 25-37) message. It relates to advice given to a lawyer who wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. He refers himself the old Jewish scripture "you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself." This the lawyer already knew but wanted clarification as to who his neighbour was. The answer was illustrated by a man who "fell into the hands of brigands" who took all he had and left him for dead.

First a priest arrived but passed by on the other side when he saw the man who had been mugged and was near to death. Similarly another priest, this time a Levite, passed by without going to the aid of the badly injured man. A Samaritan (a man from Samaria) came along and bandaged up the injured man, put him on the Samaritan's beast of burden and took him to an inn where he stayed with the mugged man till the following morning. He then paid the landlord to care for the man saying that he would settle any outstanding debt when he returned.

You can be the Archbishop of Canterbury and not do the right thing in cases where your neighbour has been injured. It might even be harder for the Archbishop of Canterbury because he is so steeped in pomp and jewels it is hardly possible for him to see what is actually needed at a basic level. Unless he chooses to ignore these problems in which case he is no different from the priests in the parable who pass by on the other side. His silence on matters of international concern is undignified. Today the brigands are the US and UK and other NATO countries who vilify and persecute Muslims and steal the oil and other resources from predominantly Muslim countries by portraying them as enemies.

Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad, and others, are victims of the creation of an imaginary enemy to justify invasion to steal. The Bush and Blair 'war on terror' created a new enemy similar to the Soviet Union in the cold war years. Talha and Babar have been imprisoned without charge and without trial for years on end. Not having a case against them Theresa May thought the best option was to extradite them to the United States, to high-security prisons called Supermax prisons. John Pilger has written how 90% of prisoners in Supermax prisons plead guilty regardless of whether they have committed a crime just to be free from 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. The US probably has no case against them.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has made no effort to seek the release of these men, and others like them. One can only assume he is a tool of government, a priest who walks by on the other side.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Edward Snowden and the interception of communications

Edward Snowden has revealed what most people know, what Bob Cryer fought over up to his untimely death in 1994 in a car-crash. Telecommunications' interceptions have been going on for decades. Surprisingly to my mind this Epetion has been published. At first I thought it might have been published by mistake. Despite the spelling error on Edward Snowden's name, which cannot be changed, it should be endorsed by every UK citizen who believes that our freedoms are being eroded and we can no longer talk to one another, over the phone, via email, through chat-lines, over social networking sites and other ways we communicate without someone monitoring it.

Are you a UK resident? Please sign and spread if you really believe in freedom. Thanks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Professor de Noli and letters to a Swedish lawyer

Yesterday I cycled over to Alcester for the Folk Festival (about 35 miles there and back). I used to do that every working day 19 years ago (48 minutes for one half of the journey was the fastest I ever did it but that was with a tail wind) and it was largely the same route I went yesterday, except I used to cycle up to Headless Cross, where I worked, instead of straight on down the Alcester Road. I use my bike in Birmingham for short journeys but it soon comes home to you when you are not as fit as you used to be, proving there has to be some correlation between age and fitness, as no doubt others have observed.  Cycling everyday keeps you fit, and occasional stretches like yesterday, just show you what wicked tricks time can play on lazy people. On the way home in the evening I stopped for a pee, and got bitten by mosquitoes on my bare legs. Only the females bite. It was Kipling, not me, who said "the female of the species is more deadly than the male." My thoughts turn to poor Julian Assange.

I've been taking a bit of a break from writing blog-posts and articles in order to recharge my batteries and attend to a few neglected jobs about the house and garden. Although I have not been writing articles, blogs or poems, I have been writing letters and raising FOI (Freedom of Information) requests. Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli I am very proud to say published copies of my letters to the new Swedish prosecution counsel, Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who is acting for Sofia Wilen, one of Assange's accusers. The letters and the reason I wrote them are presented on his Professors Blogg.

Professor de Noli is an esteemed academic who has made a substantial contribution to medicine with his research into increased suicidal behaviour in the immigrant communities across Sweden's cross-cultural society, together with other research of a similar nature. His personal history is fascinating. He was imprisoned under Pinochet as a political anti-Fascist opponent. Valued intellectual friends of his were killed during the Pinochet dictatorship, and he later called for Pinochet to face trial for murders and other crimes against humanity. People who oppress others seem to attract one another and Margaret Thatcher opposed the extradition of her good friend Pinochet and saved what was left of his evil life. What is perhaps not as well-known is Professor Noli's accomplishment as an artist and painter. The portrait below is one he did of his fellow-prisoner and friend in Quiriquina Island Prison Camp. Reading details of this period of his life is disturbing but adds an important chapter to the history of anti-Fascism.

"Portrait of political prisoner Armando Popa. Marcello Ferrada-Noli. Drawing on paper. Quiriquina Island Prisoners Camp, 1974. Armando Popa was at the time medical student and a fellow prisoner at Quiriquina Island. The drawing was made in November 30th 1973, while we were in captivity at the camp. Armando Popa and his brother Ricardo survived and became physicians in exile, working respectively in Singapore and Stockholm, Sweden."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sofia Wilén - Assange's other accuser

Over the last week or so the focus has moved away from Anna Ardin, who everybody thought was the main  accuser in the Assange sexual allegation case, towards Sofia Wilén the other accuser who went along with Anna to the police station. In a shrewd move by the mass media both women have alternatively been referred to as witness 'A' which is confusing. Shortly after it was announced that one of the women had sacked her lawyer and got a new one an article appeared in the Independent on Sunday by Kevin Rawlinson about the sufferings of one of the accusers. It was easy to identify this person as the much discredited Anna Ardin, who has removed tweets to cover up her tracks, especially the ones saying how much she had enjoyed the company of Julian Assange. She also removed her blogpost and her seven steps to revenge against men who dump their girlfriends. It was her blog to which the Rawlinson article referred.

Both these items were removed by Anna after she had made allegations that Julian Assange had raped her. Rape in Sweden can take several forms - and need not involve forced penetration (it would seem). Anna would not likely make a good witness because as well as her deleted tweets she has an attachment to CIA organisations. A lot less is known about Sofia Wilén although it is known she did a fine arts degree in Wales at the University of Newport specialising in camera work. She recently changed her lawyer to Elisabeth Massi Fritz. Lawyers of this ilk do not come cheap. Fritz is the family lawyer of the Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. It is a legitimate question to ask where an art-graduate has suddenly got enough money to afford one of Sweden's top lawyers. 

Here is Sofia Wilén on the Saatchi list of artists. Now wasn't it the Saatchi and Saatchi group which promoted public relations for Margaret Thatcher? Anyone can join the Saatchi site to promote his or her art-work for free. Sofia Wilén's photography, unlike most of the other photography, is not for sale. Not yet anyway. I have to ask the question because it is niggling me. Is this the way they intend to reward Sofia Wilén so she can pay her legal bills by buying her photographs at some outrageous price? That's how big business appears to work. Delivering Julian Assange would be worth any amount of expenditure to some people. If I were her I would drop the case, apologise to Julian Assange for all the upset and hurt she and Anna have caused him, and try to get on with her life honestly.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Decadent golf and decadent government

Today for the first time in almost twenty years I went for a round of golf at Cocks Moor Woods golf course. This golf course has happy memories for me, since it is the only course where I have ever holed in one (on the tenth). I was rubbish. I only got two pars in eighteen holes. My best ever score in a round of golf was 81 but that was a long time ago. My golf has gone downhill but the exercise was good.

Governments have also gone downhill as my latest article for NJP demonstrates.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A royal occasion - 60 years ago

60 years ago today Elizabeth II became Queen of England. There were street parties all over the country, with events, races and fancy dress affairs which kept the mums busy. We lived in the village of Harworth in North Nottinghamshire, but our side of Sandymount, at least number 18, were Yorkshire born and bred. Doncaster was the nearest town of any size. I've never been much of a royalist, though some members of my family are, but I was only eight years old when this photograph was taken and had not formed any political opinions.

I was (and still am to some) the wizard on the left. My brother Charles (9) is the Chinese mandarin standing next to me and my brother Philip (3) is dressed as a ladybird sitting at the front. These are the children of Sandymount and the Bull Ring. I recall there was a race for toddlers which Philip, bless him, won. All the children received a coronation new testament and a coronation crown coin.

The day had special significance from a family point of view. It was Auntie Gwen's birthday. She was my mother's sister. It was also cousin Pam's birthday. Auntie Gwen was the 'darling' of the family. On my mother's side there was an attachment to the theatre which is probably where all the money went, if my experience is anything to go by. This is a photograph of Gwen Dalton (later Methley) in study for 'Gas Light' by Patrick Hamilton.

Gwen, who had a wonderful soprano voice, left a blossoming career in theatre to get married and only after her husband, Maurice, died did she choose to make a living teaching the E. G. White method of elocution and voice-training. She trained lots of singers and actors to gold medal standard. One of her child students in Falmouth was Alex Parks who won Fame Academy when Gwen was in her nineties. Another of her students, gold medal winning actress and Gregory Award winning poet, Lorna Meehan, wrote a poem in her honour called Tea and Shakespeare.

Tea and Shakespeare
For Gwen Methley

Every week without fail,
I would come for tea in china cups and Shakespeare,
Noticing a different ornament each time,
As I chomped on posh biscuits.

We wouldn’t get started for at least fifteen minutes,
And speeches would hang in mid air,
As a board treading anecdote was revealed,
But I didn’t mind.
Cause I knew this was where true knowledge lay.

Stories of stage beds folding at inappropriate moments,
Declaring yourself a shameless sex goddess in a silver raincoat,
‘That’ line by Lady Bracknell.
Stories of your husband,
Who divorced another to be with you,
Served in Gallipoli,
Once threw a cigarette in the fire and said
‘I’ll never smoke another’,
And kept his word.

I came one afternoon to help you sort your sheet music collection,
You made me prawns on toast and stewed plums,
And at the end of the day,
The sorted pile remained a few sheets,
As you sang your memories,
And the lines around the eyes and the blankets of age over your hands,
Ceased to hold your light in,
And it spilled over.

You poured inspiration into me,
As we tackled iambic pentameter
Dissected John Donne,
And took Shakespeare and tea.
Tears of awe in your eyes as you described how,
A simple Stratford school boy could make the world fall in love with words.

You raced around the small sea-side town in a bright green Mini,
Your fiery red hair under a classic hat,
The quintessential eccentric old lady.
You told me I had a young Penelope Keith look about me,
I was flattered,
I showed you an awful poem about a boy who didn’t love me,
You were patient and kind.

I was wrapped up in cycle binds,
Lightened by your faith in me,
As I shook my head gravely at Ozymandias,
Reprimanded my foolish father King,
Said ‘that’ line by Lady Bracknell,
And got a distinction.

I drank tea from china cups in your honour,
When I found out I wouldn’t get a chance to say goodbye.
We play our many parts upon the stage,
We are such stuff as dreams are made of,
We fan our flushed cheeks as love seeps in uninvited,
We live without knowing our worth,
We die.
Lorna Meehan

Here Lorna reads the above poem.

Gwen's parents, my grandparents, were thespians too. The Daltons were an old Sheffield family of cutlers and, sad to say, ivory importers, but by the time my grandparents were appearing in 'The Gondoliers' times were as hard for them as most Sheffield families.

So back to June 3rd. As well as it being the anniversary of the coronation of our monarch, the birthday of Gwen, and cousin Pam, it is also the birthday of Philip's daughter, Gillian, a beautician who takes part in Gaiety Theatre productions in Douglas, Isle of Man. So three generations, all female, all sharing the same birthday. Somewhere there is a photograph of the three together. Anyway, Happy Birthday girls!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bilderberg Fringe and other things

I've been experiencing difficulties with computers and my mobile all together, all causing prolonged periods of wasted time trying to sort out the problems. Whether they are solved or not I need to wait and see to find out. Despite the difficulties I have managed to get myself onto the platform for the Bilderberg Fringe Festival. This is being staged at Watford and coinciding with the Bilderberg gathering of global murderers and banksters. It is the first time, as far as is known, that these 0.001% of the population who choose to try and dominate world opinion have come to the UK. In the past people like Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger and people of that ilk have been in attendance, allegedly sacrificing children and worshipping the false idol, Moloch, a kind of 30ft statue of an owl.

As well as having the honour of appearing at the first ever UK Bilderberg Fringe Festival, at which I intend to recite The Devil's Coach Horse, I've been protesting again against drones, this time at a largely Israeli-owned factory that produces drone engines. Naturally I wrote about it for News Junkie Post.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Two kinds of criminal - one Asian one white South African

The Home Secretary is fixated with Abu Qatada and has set herself the task of deporting him to Jordan at whatever cost to the country or even her own reputation. I cannot stay silent when real criminals and nasty people are walking the streets freely while Theresa May does everything within her power to aid the war on Islam in persecuting its followers. So I have written an article comparing the duplicitous nature of her attacks on Muslims, and her protection of the white criminal fraternity. Please share it widely. Thanks.