Monday, 20 December 2010
He painted a most unassuming picture. Together with his softly spoken Yorkshire dialect, it would be very easy to deem him a bit ‘wimpish’.
But he epitomised the reason for the adage about looks being deceptive.
For Nigel was a REAL tough cookie; an Investigations Producer at the BBC, with a sharp mind and an even sharper wit.
A great journalist, he had worked as Associate Producer to John Pilger in a BAFTA winning documentary and had other award nominations for his BBC work.
I had known him for a few years but I didn’t get to know him well until earlier this year when I worked with him. He needed someone big, brash and ugly to work undercover in South London and he charmingly thought me perfect for the task.
Not that he couldn’t have done the job himself. Nige had trodden the deserts and dusty roads of IRAQ for a BBC documentary at great risk to his personal safety. There was certainly nothing and no-one by way of London’s’ unsavoury characters that fazed him too much, as many of the ‘victims’ of his stings and exposés had discovered, to their cost.
In fact, it was always a matter of some consternation on MY part that he would insist on being dropped off in the less than salubrious areas of London, often at night time, whilst I went on to attend to the investigation at hand. I would then often have to drive around in darkness, looking for him when it came to collecting him, losing him on MORE than one occasion.
His wife, Marie, was a beautiful Mauritian, and I joked to him that his children, two girls, had clearly inherited their Mother’s good looks.
But the truth was that, Nige was a man of great warmth, character, charm, humour and honesty, and it was impossible for anyone who knew him not to love him.
His unimposing frame and appearance also belied another factor; he was a good athlete and an accomplished MARATHON runner.
In April of this year, he ran the London Marathon in an impressive time, collecting funds for his favourite charity, “War Child”. His experiences in Iraq had shown him the lost and blighted lives of the youngest victims of war.
Ironically, it was shortly after this Marathon that Nigel began to feel unwell.
He thought he might have had a bit of a stomach ulcer and went for a check up.
He was diagnosed with Stomach cancer. A large tumour.
I learned of his illness through a close mutual friend and colleague and I was quick to offer whatever help or support I could.
I found him in resilient mood, as I expected. The doctor’s were optimistic, he said. They had caught the cancer reasonably early and tests suggested that it hadn’t spread.
He was prescribed bouts of Chemotherapy in order to shrink the tumour, to be followed up by surgery in late 2010 to remove his stomach.
We kept in fairly regular contact, via email and telephone. There were a couple of brief periods where I didn’t hear from him, but I expected this and knew that this was when the worst periods of his treatment were taking place and he was either too ill to speak or write, or he simply wanted to be left alone with his wife and children.
Whenever he DID communicate, he was always optimistic, 'though realistic. He wrote:-
“I have so many fences to jump. Some days every fence seems like Beecher's Brook on others not so high”.
I know that his worst moments were when he “drifted off” as he called it, and he thought about his girls “too much”.
Finally, ‘though, I was delighted to receive a ‘phone call from him. He reported that the tumour had shrunk “dramatically”, that his appetite had increased greatly and that he was starting to eat more and more.
His surgery had now been postponed until the New Year. He still knew that the removal of his stomach was no small task, and that he would have to dramatically change how often and how much he ate afterwards, but that was a surmountable problem in his eyes.
He was starting his third bout of Chemotherapy and he was now genuinely hopeful for the future. The author, explorer and ex-SAS soldier, Mike Asher, with whom Nige had worked with in Iraq, had booked him in for a 14 day camel trek in the Sudan/Khartoum in 2011, and he was more than confident that he would fulfil it.
His relief was tangible and he sounded almost elated. We made plans to catch up, within the following couple of weeks, for a drink or perhaps lunch.
The last words I said to him was that it was going to be a truly great Christmas in his family home.
I didn’t hear from him over the subsequent few weeks. I DID have a couple of ‘Missed Calls’ from him, on my mobile. HIS ‘phone, likewise, rang before going through to voicemail when I tried to return them. I wasn't unduly concerned for this was pretty much how our telephone conversations had always transpired, each missing each others' calls and leaving messages for the other.
By the time I heard from the same mutual close friend that he had deteriorated, he was already in a Hospice.
The cancer had spread to his liver, and had assumed its most aggressive form.
I hurriedly made arrangements to visit him on the following Friday.
He died on the Wednesday.
It would be wrong and presumptuous of me to assert that Nigel was a really “close” friend. Our paths never crossed in sufficient enough numbers, nor for a long enough period of time, for that.
But it is a testament to the degree of respect, admiration and love that I obviously had for the man that his passing has hit me harder than I could ever have imagined.
Frustratingly, (and painfully), I also find myself wondering if those missed calls were his way of saying the goodbye's I, myself, was too late in making.
I DO derive some comfort from the fact that I know our friendship, together with my words of support and encouragement, DID mean a lot to him. I shall forever retain the emails where he states so.
Nige was just 44 years old. His little girls aged perhaps 5 and 7.
I truly hope that the immense pride that they will surely feel for their father will eventually override the pain and sense of loss that they will undoubtedly have, each and every Christmas that they spend on this earth.
For me, I shall forever feel honoured and immensely grateful for the all too short period of time that he was in my life.
It isn’t true that only the good die young. But Nige was way too young and way too good to go so soon.
Goodnight, Godbless, Nige wherever you may be.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Kate McCann is quoted as saying "My reason for writing is simple -- to give an account of the truth."
However, given that the book was the subject of a “fierce bidding war”, (trade-speak for ridiculous sums of money offered, together with a big advance), I would suggest the REAL reason for the book is rather self-evident.
It was written with a “very heavy heart”, says Kate, but adds that "Every penny we raise through its sales will be spent on our search for Madeleine. Nothing is more important to us than finding our little girl."
On a PERSONAL level, I welcome the publication of this book most avidly.
One of the reasons why the McCanns have escaped so much criticism from some quarters of the Press and Media, (barring the direct interference from high placed ‘friends’ who have thus far managed to dictate the Editorial policy of MANY publications, programmes, and documentaries), is because they have been so RETICENT in explaining much of their own actions, observations and involvement in the judicial procedures surrounding the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance.
Indeed, what little they HAVE stated, on camera, (and by way of Gerry’s infamous, now defunct ‘blog’), has been rather obscure and ambiguous at best; bizarre, contrived and lacking credibility at worst. Perhaps their account of the investigation into their missing daughter will cast new light on what is a rather inexplicable case?
However, I fear that they have been rather ill-advised to state that the book will “Chart Kate and Gerry McCann's desperate search for their daughter”.
For, as I have stated on MORE than one occasion, it is a complete LACK of any evidence supporting their search for their daughter which has created much unease in my personal assimilation of the whole affair.
They created a MULTI-Million pound business/fund/website/engine/charity/, entitled “Looking for Madeleine”, yet LOOKING is the very thing I have never known them do.
Not even on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance, do any documents, statements or witnesses refer to any ‘searching’ or ‘looking’.
Lots of contradictory statements exist amongst the McCanns and their Tapas friends, regarding their movements, actions and observations leading up to, during and AFTER Madeleine’s disappearance, but nothing that seems to suggest any actual LOOKING. At ANY time.
With the inexorable complicity of Clarence Mitchell, (not to mention Government Ministers, including Gordon Brown), the McCanns were afforded audiences with the POPE, together with Political leaders from around the world.
They even were instrumental in being consulted in the formulation of possible new LAWS, designed to improve the processes of finding missing children. But of any actual LOOKING for Madeleine, there was none.
Whistle-stop tours took in Europe and the US, including the WHITE HOUSE, no less, for publicity and fund-raising stunts. But no actual searching.
The Internet is awash with a whole plethora of conspiracy theories surrounding the case of Madeleine McCann. From the ridiculous to the preposterous, they are all there. Some, perhaps, more than others having an element or modicum of truth.
I have often been asked, what the most important factor is in my unease over the case of Madeleine McCann.
What is it, I am pressed, that makes me so uncomfortable about their demeanour, their behaviour and their actions? Why, in the absence of any conclusive or irrefutable evidence, should I so be critical of them?
It is this one, single solitary factor..........
In early August, 2007, a Child Therapist saw a young girl of whom she stated that she was “100% sure”, was Madeleine McCann, in a restaurant in the town of Tongerin near the Dutch border.
Of course, there had been many “sightings” of Madeleine since her disappearance. It is not unusual to receive such witness sightings in a missing person case, and it would be ridiculous, counter-productive and, indeed, inadvisable to pursue every apparent sighting.
But this was different.
This was a RELIABLE, sound, lucid witness of a high professional standing, giving a detailed, credible and accurate witness testimony.
It was considered important enough by the authorities to seal off the entire area, create several APB's and road-blocks for Madeleine and her apparent 'captors', and to dispatch a specialist Forensics team to the location. There, they procured a GLASS, believed to have been used and drunk out of by ‘Madeleine’, in order to undertake in-depth DNA and fingerprint analysis.
I have spoken to many people, mainly parents, about their opinions on this particular instance.
ALL were unanimous in their conclusions.
That had THEY received such credible, likely and STRONG evidence that their missing daughter had been seen, then nothing, but NOTHING would have stopped them from IMMEDIATELY going to that location, no matter HOW remote.
In actual fact, it was a mere couple of hours flight away from Praia de Luz.
The McCanns, instead, chose to drive to HUELVA, in Spain, to “hand out leaflets”, even though it was a BANK Holiday and barely no-one was around..............................
For me, the only possible explanation as to why they DIDN’T rush to that little Belgium town, where the eyes of the whole WORLD were concentrated, awaiting some news that the little girl might be safe and sound................................was because they KNEW it couldn’t be Madeleine.
So I shall be READING the McCann book with great interest, as I am sure, will a LOT of other people. I have a LOT of questions that I need answering. A lot of obfuscation that perhaps their book can make clear.
Of course, the McCanns and their supporters might argue that given the enormous amount of heartbreak, pressure and pain that they have suffered, not to mention the length of time that has elapsed since Madeleine’s disappearance; it won’t be easy recalling everything that has passed.
For me, I prefer to concur with an old adage once penned by Mark Twain:-
That if you tell the TRUTH, you don’t have to remember...............
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Height:5' 10" (25 May 2007)/5' 8" or 5' 9" (05 June 2007)/5' 7" to 5' 11" (09 June 2007)/5' 8" to 5' 10" (26 October 2007)/5' 9" (28 October 2007)/5' 6" (16 November 2007)/“Probably 5ft 8in tall, he was taller than me but not 6ft and so between those two” (19 November 2007)
Hair that was short on top (25 May 2007)/Dark hair, parted to one side, slightly longer at the back (05 June 2007)/Dark hair (26 October 2007)/Black hair (28 October 2007)/
“ the one thing that I remember a lot is the hair. He did seem to have quite a lot of dark, reasonably-long-to-the-neck hair' (19 November 2007)
White (25 May 2007)/Caucasian (09 June 2007)/Caucasian with southernEuropean/Mediterranean appearance (26 October 2007)/
“More local or Mediterranean looking'/'swarthy skin” (19 November 2007)
Dark jacket (25 May 2007)/Dark jacket, slightly longer than a suit jacket (05 June 2007)/Wearing a maroon shirt (28 October 2007)/Heavy dark coat (19 November 2007)
Beige or golden long trousers (25 May 2007)/Light coloured trousers which may have been beige or mustard coloured (05 June 2007)/Camel-coloured trousers (28 October 2007)/
“He was wearing quite a lot of clothes and that's one thing in hindsight again I think was quite odd because tourists when they're abroad, Brits abroad would always have cropped trousers or shorts or something, and he had a sort of a big heavy jacket and trousers on” (19 November 2007)/
Medium (25 May 2007)/Slim (26 October 2007)
Dark shoes (25 May 2007)/Black or brown shoes (28 October 2007)
“The man was carrying a bundle, possibly blankets or clothes”
“I could tell it was a child, and I could see the feet and the bottom of the pyjamas, and I just thought that child's not got any shoes on because you could see the feet.” (19 November 2007)
“the pyjamas had a pinky aspect to them so you presume a girl.”
Got that? All Clear?
Now let's FIND him.
And leave no stone unturned......................
Saturday, 6 November 2010
How else to explain this morning's Sunday Express story, "Madeleine McCann: Did the Camera Hold Vital Clue?"
Of course, ostensibly, to the uninitiated, it rather reads like the "Disgraced Porto Plod", (Goncalo Amaral), is apologising for his department apparently having WIPED a CCTV tape which may have shown Madeleine's "abductor".
Of course, this would be quite normal fayre for the British Media, given their predilections when reporting on this case; to sympathise with the poor parents and to remind everyone just how useless the Portuguese are.
For Martin Smith, apparently, witnessed someone carrying a child on the night of Madeleine's disappearance. The most interesting aspect of his STATEMENT, made to the Portuguese Authorities however, came some time after the sighting.
"Reported that he passed a male carrying a child in Praia da Luz the night Maddie went missing. Went and made a statement to Portugal police in Portimao on 26th of May and returned to the U.K. Is saying that after seeing McCANNS on the news on 9th of September when they returned to the U.K. He has not slept and is worried sick. He states he was watching the 10 pm news on BBC and saw the McCANNS getting off the plane and coming down the steps. He states it was like watching an action replay of the night he saw the male carrying the child back in Portugal. He states the way Gerry was carrying his twin triggered something in his head. It was exactly the same way and look of the other male seen the night Maddy went missing. He also watched ITV news and SKY news and inferred it looked like the same person both times carrying the children"
Now, Mr. Amaral made direct reference to this in his Book, " Maddie - A Verdade da Mentira" - 'The Truth of the Lie" a book which the McCanns were originally successful in BANNING, until recently where the Lisbon Appeal Court overturned that ruling.
What we have to consider is whether or not Goncalo would have omitted to share Mr. Smith's assertions with the JOURNALIST, James Murray, in the EXPRESS story.
EXTREMELY unlikely, unless Mr. Amaral now wishes to detract that part from his book.
More SALIENTLY, I am sure that the Journo is MORE than conversant with Goncalo's book, and almost CERTAINLY aware of who Martin Smith is and what he purports to have seen.
So what is going on???
I have already BLOGGED about how Richard Desmond, perhaps the most vociferous and aggressive man in the Media world, meekly apologised and ended up forking out well over a MILLION to the McCanns and their Tapas friends in an "out of Court" Libel settlement, for doing no more than what every other periodical and newspaper had done already, which was to reprint the stories appearing in the Portuguese Media.
I have also alluded to the fact that I considered such payments to be made by way of "favours", due to certain Government friends of Richard's.
HOWEVER, this new twist is CATEGORICALLY guaranteed to set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons!! Sure to replicate the excrement hitting the fan and open up that infamous can or worms!!
FORGET that a few seconds checking with the name Martin Smith/Madeleine McCann on GOOGLE will result in stories certain to turn Clarence Mitchell several shades of grey, but I can not possibly SEE how ANY of the mainstream media can allude to this story, and the name of Martin Smith, without reference to his apparent belief:
That the man he saw carrying Madeleine McCann was ...........
As the EXPRESS points out, Mr Amaral concludes that any new investigation should fully consider the statement of Mr Smith.:
“I hope this is seriously examined because it is an important aspect of the case,” he said.
Richard. You naughty boy.
Trick or Treat, anyone?
Saturday, 30 October 2010
For those who DO know "Dirty Des", however, this course of action simply beggared belief!
He is alleged to have once locked a senior Executive in a cupboard. He denies throwing a chair at the head of one of his own senior executives but admits, "I pushed the chair."
According to ‘Private Eye’, just within this past week, in a meeting with executives with ‘Endemol’, designed to negotiate a deal to screen the now defunct ‘Big Brother’ Reality show, he offered them a “pittance” for permission to screen it on Channel 5.
He violently smashed his glass down on the table and called them “Fucking Wankers” when they refused his offer. (Funnily enough, exactly the same terms he used on Executives when trying to negotiate a purchase of the ‘Telegraph’ newspaper some years ago).
As the Eye pointed out, he notoriously exhibits “tight-fistedness” and “foul-mouthed thuggery”.
Now try and align these traits and characteristics with someone who, without a single Court appearance, threw up his hands, took out his wallet and coughed up well over a MILLION Sterling for doing no more, (and in some cases, much LESS), than what many other Newspapers, magazines and media outlets had ALSO already done, which was to merely report on the allegations that were emanating out of Portugal.
("I think this is an amazing stand-down, a U-turn, by the Express newspapers,") he said.)??
But there ARE a few pointers, and a few issues which bother me.
Richard Desmond promptly gave the Labour Party a £100,000 donation.
Perhaps more importantly for New Labour, Desmond, (an obviously blatant Capitalist), suddenly declared himself a ‘Socialist’, and faithfully printed Blair and Brown propaganda in his newspapers.
I guess that’s the way business and politics work.
But it has always confounded and perplexed me as to WHY, the most resilient, independent, vociferous, FEARLESS publisher, a man who has frequently been referred to as an ‘OUTSIDER’ and as a man who apparently cows down to NO-ONE, should so quietly, almost reverently, bow down under very little, if ANY tangible pressure.
It worked spectacularly. It was inevitable that Associated Newspapers, owners of the Daily Mail, would object to such a flagrant misappropriation of their trade name.
Even though it was a Joke, and no such title, (or indeed nightly NEWSPAPER), would ever have existed, Desmond went to Court and FOUGHT the case!!.
Because that’s exactly the kind of guy he is.
"A number of articles in the newspaper have suggested that the couple caused the death of their missing daughter Madeleine and then covered it up. We acknowledge that there is no evidence whatsoever to support this theory and that Kate and Gerry are completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter's disappearance."
About as Clarence Mitchell-esque as one could get. (No doubt Clarenece got to actually write it himself).
And if the UK is to allow the publication of Goncalo’s book, based on the LISBON Court findings who,( as well as re-establishing Amaral’s right to freedom of speech), declared that as the book was based on Police records, it was essentially a TRUE account!!; then where does that leave Richard Desmond?
Surely, if Amaral’s book can be deemed to be an accurate and TRUE account, then not only is Desmond free to RE-PUBLISH his assertions and accusations relating to the McCanns, copied from the Portuguese Press, but he could technically SUE the McCanns and the Tapas group for his MONEY BACK, based on them PERJURING themselves, could he not?
After all, the News of the World are clearly rubbing their hands in expectation over Tommy Sherridan and his wife, who have GONE ON TRIAL over allegations that they LIED in their £200,000 LIBEL Victory over the Newspaper a few years ago.
Because underneath all this murky subterfuge, staged propaganda and fabricated garbage put out by the so called ‘Media’, lays an unknown secret.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
My response is to the many posters, supporters and well wishers who share a unified determination that Madeleine McCann shall have a judicious retribution and atonement for what they believe to be the cessation of her short life. It is essential that YOU maintain your resolve not to let this case be forgotten, (although given the McCanns predilection for publicity and litigation, it currently shows no sign of going away just yet).
This case is so much more than a tale of a missing girl, tragic enough in itself as that is. This is a very intricate and interwoven cornucopia of lies, deception and subterfuge, seemingly extending, (to a degree at least), to the very echelons of British Government.
That a Government and its Media are willing to manipulate, engineer and propagate a certain line has far reaching and very grave consequences for EVERY Democratic establishment in the World, and it is truly beyond all logical reason why that manipulation is taking place, but it IS inarguable that it is.
Conversely, it is equally essential that we ALL maintain focus and commitment to establishing the TRUTH.
Sadly, none of us know exactly what happened in Praia de Luz that night, and as interesting, fascinating and entertaining as it can be to discuss, argue or suppose the chain of events, it serves NO-ONE to deliberate them.
Discussing the merits of Gerry's involvement with Knights Templar or Operation Ore, or the sexual peccadilloes of the Tapas group, or theories about body disposal, Masonic rites, body language experts, voice analysis experts etc....... does absolutely NOTHING except to safely compartmentalise us all EXACTLY where the McCanns and their supporters, (ESPECIALLY the PRESS), WANT us:- in the moronic corridors of those internet forums that provide so much angst and purpose for Clarence Mitchell, and so much material for his Media lackeys.
No. Our weapons of choice HAVE to be the truth. The pen is mightier than the sword ONLY when its words are razor sharp with the blades of truth. And the truth really IS, out there.
Had people taken it upon themselves to do but just a MODICUM of research back in 2003, when Tony Blair’s plagiarised dissertation on Iraq’s weapons and military capabilities was been presented to the British public as FACTUAL ANALYSIS; it would have meant that the population would have REALISED LONG BEFORE we invaded Iraq, that we were being taken into war on a LIE!. The truth was clearly there to see long before the Americans and their allies rolled into Kuwait to prepare for the Massacre, (sorry, 'War on Terror').
Had anyone ever bothered to grasp the REAL significance of the fact that the American company HALLIBURTON’S was to take control of the production and movement of the OIL coming out of Iraq when the invasion first took place, then I would suggest the REAL reason for that war would have been blindingly obvious to even the most gullible. (The big clue was always in the NAME of HALLIBURTON’S former Chairman and still major shareholder DICK CHENEY.
Name ring any bells?
But of course, most people never bothered to look beyond their cornflake bowl and the abusive headlines levelled at the Portuguese, much preferring to keep tabs on who was winning the ‘X – Factor’ or ‘Big Brother’.
As I have stated previously, Herman Goering once said:-
“It's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy”
Goering understood the power of the Media and the ease with which people would believe what they were told. What he never knew, however, was that one day the INTERNET would come along and provide the population with the means of ascertaining what the REST of the world thought.
For, (thanks to the Internet), it is abundantly obvious that the rest of the World has rather differing views on the Madeleine McCann case than does most of BRITAIN.
That is NOT because the British people are uniquely different, but rather because it is densely populated with people who are accustomed to being indoctrinated by its newspapers, its Media broadcasts and its 'Celebrity' non-entities, on whose every word it too often relies.
In fact, the very people to whom Goering was referring when pointing out the ease with which they could be “brought to the bidding of the leaders”.
But there IS a WEALTH of TRUTH already out there. Irrefutable and inarguable FACTS, that ensures that there are questions to be ASKED.
Questions about specialist dogs who say that the McCanns, their clothes, their apartment and their hire car had traces of CADAVERINE and/or blood.
Questions about one of the world’s foremost Forensic Specialist Services, (Birmingham FSS), initially reporting a 100% DNA Match to Madeleine on some of the samples that it tested.
On why key detectives from Leicestershire Police concluded that Madeleine died in the apartment.
On why every single one of the McCanns AND their ‘Tapas’ friends’ initial statements and assertions ALL contradict each other.
On why Jane Tanner purports to have seen an abductor, for whom she has given THREE different descriptions, in THREE different interviews and statements.
On why the statements and declarations made by the McCanns and their Tapas friends regarding their movements and actions do not stand up to scrutiny and logic.
And on why, amongst ALL the HUNDREDS of potential witnesses in Praia da Luz, Jane Tanner, Fiona Payne, Rachel Oldfield and Russell O’Brien were the ONLY people who allege to have seen Robert Murat outside Madeleine’s window on the night of her disappearance, allegations that were eventually DISMISSED by the Portuguese authorities.
And the most compelling and important question of all?
Why NO-ONE in the British Media has so far dared to ask ANY of the questions above?.
(Of course, on a personal level, I’d ALSO love to know why the Express Newspapers paid the McCanns AND the Tapas members HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF POUNDS in LIBEL payments, after reprinting allegations made in the Portuguese Press, allegations based on the PJ FILES!! Doesn’t Richard Desmond KNOW that the simple and inarguable defence to Libel is when the allegations are, in fact, TRUE!! After all, just this week, the Lisbon Courts declared what many already knew. That the main thrust of Amaral’s book is based on FACTS!!)
As the popular, unattributed adage goes, “The ability to ask questions is the greatest resource in learning the truth”.
Personally, I prefer the words of Confucius:-
THREE things cannot forever be hidden. The Sun, the Moon.........................
And the TRUTH.
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Then again, I never understood how or why the Injunction was granted in the FIRST place. After all, Amaral’s book was effectively no more than a synopsis of some of the key investigation points carried out by the Portuguese Authorities, information which was, (and still is), already in the public domain.
In my own country, (here in the UK), there is currently NO news of the lifting of the ban. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the BRITISH media to report the matter, and then even more interesting to see which newspaper first chalks it up as a scandalous victory for the “disgraced former Maddie Cop”.
For herein lies the rub. Ostensibly, this little procedure in a Portuguese Court is fairly inconsequential in relation to the material that was the subject of the ban in the first place. For the book was, and still is, freely available online, in many languages.
But it is a HUGE victory, (not just for Amaral who was ALSO facing the consequences of losing his HOME to another action been brought by the McCanns), but for the Portuguese authorities, the Police, their press, and most of all, their PEOPLE.
Whatever happened to Madeleine McCann in May of 2007 may forever be a mystery. Whatever crimes took place may never be solved. But the crimes that have since been perpetrated against PORTUGAL, the country with whom the UK has held one of the longest alliances in the World, must not only be solved, but atoned for. Not least, the crimes perpetrated against it by its own Government, or at least factions of it.
Rumours of political skulduggery and interference have been circulating in Portugal pretty much since Madeleine was first reported missing. Key decisions, both in the case itself and on how it was conducted, can be traced back to direct interference from UK Government Ministers, including the then Premier, (and fellow former Glaswegian), Gordon Brown. Reports of spooks, British Intelligence, and senior Special Branch officer’s presence and involvement have been recorded in the Portuguese press since the early days of the enquiry.
Even Portuguese judges dealing with the investigation and court proceedings in the early stages would appear to have acted completely out of character and seemingly against the legal Statutes, procedures and practises that govern them, (especially where Kate and Gerry McCann were allowed to flee Portugal, 72 Hours after having asserted they would never leave Portugal without their daughter, and a mere 48 hours after being made Arguidos).
Such BRITISH influence and involvement can NOT have occurred without the complicity, (and DUPLICITY), of at least some senior Portuguese Office.
Whatever deal was struck, I hope the Office thinks it was worth it.
It would not be the first time, of course, that a Nation has been let down by its Government. However, such occasions generally benefit from a judicious, fearless, accurate and observant PRESS, bringing to the attention to the rest of the world the injustice and deceit that is ensuing. If the Portuguese had hoped that their oldest allies, the BRITISH, would use their Press to highlight their cause, then they were about to be disappointed.
I have recorded elsewhere the catalogue of journals, newspapers, television documentaries, news programmes, British Government Ministers, ‘B’ list Celebrities, Gossip Columnists and bulletins that have all not only perpetrated and propagated the ABDUCTION story, but have ridiculed, abused and vilified the Portuguese people in the process.
“Up Yours, Senor”, “Useless Porto Plod” and “keep your stupid, sardine munching mouth shut”, were just some of the more fragrant lines written by the UK’s finest scribes.
“Pigs” and “Filth”, were how one Tabloid luminary described the Portuguese Police.
“Bumpkins” was how he referred to the Portuguese people of the area where Madeleine went missing. Presumably he meant those who took time off from their work places and normal lives to search the ground, for HOURS, on their hands on knees, looking for clues as to the little girl’s whereabouts.
Just in case there was any doubts as to the integrity or calibre of the Portuguese people, Piers Merchant, assistant to Member of the European Parliament Roger Knapmann, clarified the situation regarding the British perspective on our oldest ally.
In November 2007, I wrote a letter to the former leader and Home Secretary of the UK Conservative Party, Michael Howard. In the letter, I explained that I was concerned that conflict and potentially irreparable damage was being caused between the two countries concerned, Britain and Portugal, much of which appears to have been caused by the Press and Government of this country. I further questioned the use of the British Government Media Monitoring Unit Director, Clarence Mitchell, as not only a spokesman but as an apparent MENTOR of sorts; resigning from his Government job and allying himself with the McCann's when they were made Arguidos. I suggested this to be somewhat an unprecedented and unusual state of affairs.
I also explained my concerns that Gordon Brown had not only personally intervened in the case by persuading the Portuguese authorities to permit the McCann's to make an appeal for information concerning the 'abductor', as 'witnessed' by Jane Tanner, (even though the Portuguese placed NO significance or, more likely, credibility in this sighting'), but that some factions of the credible Portuguese Press were suggesting that Government Pressure was being brought to bear on the case.
Certainly, I considered it inappropriate and unusual for Gordon Brown to have made the personal communications and offered the assistance that he did to the McCann's.
Clarence Mitchell himself had already confirmed that he, via the Prime Minister, had been instrumental in not only co-ordinating the visit to the Vatican, but also visits to other world leaders and dignitaries. My letter concluded that I felt it essential that the Prime Minister clarified his position and involvement with regards to the McCann's case.
The response I received was a standard, if not unexpected one, advising me that the letter would be forwarded to the Prime Minister for his comments, which would be communicated to me if and when he made them. (He never did).
I published my original letter on an Internet Forum, inviting any like minded individuals to either use it as a template or to modify it for their own purposes and forward it to their own local, Members of Parliament. A lady from Bristol did just that, and the response that it elicited made headline news, both here and in Portugal.
Piers Merchant wrote an astonishing and lengthy response that firstly warned the author to be 'careful' of what she writes, referring to the laws of Libel. It then went on to state, somewhat pompously, that
'‘One of the first duties of the British government is to support its citizens abroad. It is therefore entirely correct that the government should do this in the case of Kate and Gerry McCann".
He then sensationally declared,
'The Portuguese police and judicial system is known to be suspect. Elements of the police are corrupt and indeed in this case the senior detective involved has been charged with corruption? "
''The Portuguese judicial system does not assume innocence before guilt in the way the British system does and operates an interrogatory process in which people are denounced as suspects without any proof?."
Merchant explains why this shocking state of affairs is so:
"It is important to realise that Portugal has no real history of citizen's rights and liberties or democracy. From the 1920s to the mid 1970's Portugal was ruled by a fascist dictatorship, first under Salazar and then Caetano. Political opposition was repressed and the police and judicial system was used to achieve this. A stable multi-party democracy only came into existence in the late 1970's and is still very young. Many of the police were trained under fascism and the institutions still bear the impact of this long period of dictatorship".
The letter concludes by stating,
''In all the circumstances it is entirely right that British citizens should be protected against an unreliable foreign system. In any event I think you can rest assured that the British police and intelligence services have long had a better grip on the facts of this case than the Portuguese police".
Merchant later tried to deny that he had written this, protesting that his letter had been ‘altered’. However, I STILL have the original source file, and can assert that it is entirely as it was created. Additionally, he refused an invitation to submit his WEB based email system to cursory examination.
Some three years after this particular response, I am still intrigued as to how much of that inexplicable retort was Merchant’s own work, and whether he genuinely wrote it of his own volition.
Piers Merchant died, in September 2009, taking the answers with him.
So today, Tuesday the 19th October, 2010, IS a victor for Portugal.
It is a victory for the Policia Judiciaria, who conducted themselves throughout with professionalism and determination, despite the horrendous, abusive labels and accusations of incompetence, (completely unfounded), which still plague them to this day. Their ‘crime’?. To assert that Madeleine McCann is dead and that her parents are at least complicit in her disappearance. Presumably for reasons of space, the same newspapers were unable to repeat and reserve the same criticisms for the BRITISH factions who shared that self-same opinion:-
a/The Leicestershire Police Constabulary who, (according to PJ files), were instrumental in proposing that Maddie had died at the apartment. Clearly they saw no point, either, in lambasting:
b/ the specialist South Yorkshire Police ‘enhanced victim recovery dogs’, Eddie & Keela, instrumental in solving DOZENS of cases across 17 Police Forces across the UK, who signalled the scent of Cadavarine and other body fluids, in the McCanns apartment and in a vehicle hired by the McCanns, as well as on other personal items belonging to the McCanns.
c/So too, the Birmingham Forensic Science Services, (who have built a “global reputation for excellence in forensic solutions”), who, according to many sources, including SKY NEWS, reported that DNA extracted from a sample taken from the McCanns Hire Car was a “100% MATCH” to Madeleine McCann.
For whatever reasons, these 3 facets of the investigation, the Leicestershire Police, The specialist dogs and the Birmingham FSS results all made obvious significant contributions to the Portuguese Authorities conclusions regarding the case, yet they have thus far avoided the same derogatory attention afforded to them.
BUT most of all, it is a VICTORY for the Portuguese PEOPLE. Those who gave their time, energy, money, resources and heartfelt support, love and wishes to a “nice” British couple in their quest to find their missing daughter. Those whose lives were blighted, (and some who still ARE), and turned upside down by a tidal wave of media vileness , together with a Government who abandoned them and stood by while this character assassination on a NATIONAL level unfolded.
It is for THEM, that this little bit of Court decision making will go a little way towards restoring their faith in the Democracy, spirit and traditional values of their homeland.
As for the McCanns themselves? Who knows? It may well be that they will manage to overturn, yet again this current state of affairs. No doubt they will embark on ANOTHER course of legal action, certainly against Amaral and possibly someone else as well as, no doubt, several Newspapers, Media Outlets or anyone else who repeats the Books' words.
Some might suggest that they will NEED to.
For they have spent MILLIONS of pounds in donations, pledges and personal backing, in convincing the world that Madeleine McCann was abducted; Either by one of several infamous characters as described by Jane Tanner, or by one of the MANY bizarre, colourful and ludicrous suspects that inhabit various corners of the globe as reported widely in the British Press, (courtesy of the McCanns own private police force, Metodo 3 and Clarence Mitchell).
Or by one of the many faceless, nameless and shameless paedophiles that apparently walk the streets of every Portuguese village, (courtesy of a seemingly innumerable number of High Ranking British ‘EX’ Police Officers/Experts, some of which have financially benefited quite nicely from the McCann Gravy Train) .
But, as has always been the case in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, there are more QUESTIONS than answers. And as I have been wont to say on more than one occasion, unless those questions are firstly ASKED, they can never be answered.
And today, in a Court room in Lisbon, at least the asking has started again...................
God bless Madeleine Beth McCann, wherever you are.................
Friday, 27 August 2010
What I AM certain of, however, is that his poor family are going to have to try and come to terms with his death, at the same time as having to try and ignore the reported hurtful GARBAGE, masquerading as news, simply because Mr. Williams worked in an organisation generally referred to as a ‘Secret Service’.
This permits scurrilous hacks and editors to concoct a whole plethora of salacious conjecture which they then justify by asserting that because he was a “spy”, perhaps there is some real terrorist link or other security threat to us all.
The truth is that, HAD Mr. Williams been involved in activity of a SPECIFIC, National importance, or had his demise genuinely been suspected by the Security services as being caused my miscreants that pose a threat to our National Security, you can rest assured that we wouldn’t KNOW about it. Its circumstances, details and facts would have been suitably obscured from the public by the same means and methods that they, (and the Government), employ every time one of our spies DOES meet an unfortunate end at the hands of an enemy. (Or there is another ‘newsworthy’ item that the powers that be don’t want released).
Had Mr. Williams been a milkman, for instance, then he would briefly have been a National news bulletin item before being confined to the list of all the other unfortunates in this Country who meet a strange, unpleasant or unusual end.
But NOT before his poor family, (especially his parents who are currently said to be, naturally, “inconsolable”), have to read countless articles speculating about his sexual orientation and practises, having his name included in the same sentence as ‘gay’, ‘transvestite’ and ‘rent boys’.
All because he elected to genuinely serve his country in an organisation that the gutter press sees as an excuse to concoct lurid and unrelenting column inches that serve to achieve nothing but heartbreak for the people to whom Mr. Williams meant something.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
I don’t know how Dr. David Kelly died. I wasn’t there. The mild mannered weapons expert simply took his afternoon walk, as he did every day, and didn’t return. He was found the following morning, dead.
Such tragic deaths do not normally become the targets of conspiracy theorists, generally because the proper processes and methods of investigation are employed and their findings tend to be fairly unequivocal. It is why we have CORONERS, and why they have been practising in this country for at least a Millennia.
Alas, for reasons kept only to themselves, the British Government elected to dispense with a Coroner in the case of Doctor Kelly and instead appoint, erm......Lord Hutton, a proven Establishment lackey.
So whereas a Coroner will assiduously subpoena witnesses and cross examine them thoroughly, under OATH, in an effort to uncover the facts, Lord Hutton erm, did no such thing. He was NOT empowered to ask such questions or to cross examine anyone, (then again, as he wasn’t a Coroner anyway, he couldn’t possibly have grasped the significance or merits of the answers he would have received).
So whilst I would NEVER wish to personally reach any conclusions or verdicts surrounding the death of Dr. Kelly, not least because of the pain it would cause to his family, I WOULD love to know the answers to a few questions. In fact, I'd be much happier if they were even ASKED:-
1. Why was the Forensic ‘specialist’, who initially investigated Kelly’s death and on whose testimony so much rested, a NEWBIE who had never previously worked in the field?
2. Why is the PATHOLOGIST who examined Kelly after his death currently the subject of investigations into “astonishing blunders” made in other cases?
3. Why are these 2 obvious inadequates permitted precedence over the hoards of other medical experts and doctors who have voiced concerns that Kelly couldn’t have bled to death?
4. Why were the Paramedics who attended Kelly, and who had witnessed “very many” suicides involving slashed wrists, not permitted to give evidence to any inquiry? According to Dave Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt, there was virtually no blood present on Kelly or at the scene:-“‘there just wasn't a lot of blood... When somebody cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally, the blood pumps everywhere. I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he died from the wrist wound we saw,’' says Hunt.
5. Why did the knife, supposedly the weapon used to slash Kelly’s wrists, have NO FINGERPRINTS, even though Kelly wore NO gloves, a fact only discovered after a statement released under the Freedom of Information Act?
6. How could a man who had a seriously weakened elbow, cut an artery for which there is NO known record of it resulting in the bleeding to death of the victim, (the Ulner Artery),a cut NEVER having previously being recorded in any suicide attempt?
7. Why would Kelly, a scientist, doctor and man of much knowledge, use a BLUNT pruning knife?
8. How could a man, with a known predilection, (almost a PHOBIA), of swallowing pills, consume TWENTY NINE Copraxamol tablets, (even though that amount represents just a THIRD of what would have been required to kill him?)
9. Why did the first person to come across the deceased Dr. Kelly, Louise Holmes find him resting against a tree; a fact borne out by Hutton who confirmed having seen photographs of Kelly in situ; yet by the time Paramedics Bartlett and Hunt arrived, Kelly had been moved “some distance” away from the tree?. Detectives on the scene have already testified that Kelly’s body had not been moved or touched.
Michael Powers QC, is a barrister and former doctor who is one of Britain's leading experts in coroner law. He states:-
'For an inquest to conclude that suicide is the cause of death, it has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt,' he said. 'In this case, there are a lot of gaps. The evidence of the paramedics, who are professionals, is significant. There appears to be no accurate measure of how much blood Kelly lost and a very real question, backed up by witnesses, that it was insufficient to lead to his death.
'The toxicological evidence is very poor. There are questions over where the pills came from and how many he took.'
Of course, there may well be entirely logical and wholly innocent answers to these, as well as other questions surrounding David Kelly’s death. It is very likely that many of the answers are in the evidence, documentation and Post Mortem results that were presented to Lord Hutton. Which leads me to my final question:-
10. Why would the Post Mortem results relating to the suspicious and controversial death of a man and scientist, associated with, and knowledgeable about, some of the UK Governments secret operations, be ordered to be LOCKED AWAY FOR 70 YEARS!!???
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Celebs, columnists and anyone who likes the sound of their own voice, (or the size of their column inches), have been waxing lyrical about the state of our ‘sick’ society, where people would want to canonise a murderer.
Even the Prime Minister himself was quick to declare, in the House of Commons, that Moat was NOT deserving of any sympathy; rather such sentiments should be reserved purely for his victims.
I am sure that quite a few sighs of relief would have resonated along the relevant corridors of power when the tribute page’s creator voluntarily closed the site down; especially so, given that Facebook itself refused to bow under Prime Ministerial pressure to censure 'RIP Raoul Moat you Legend'.
However, I rather believe, and fear, that many of those who ostensibly appeared to be SUPPORTING Moat, were, in fact, actually making a statement about, and demonstrating against, what many perceive to be an increasingly hostile POLICE state, where officers can act improperly and unprofessionally without impunity. I am NOT necessarily suggesting that this was the case in the Raoul Moat case, or in the circumstances relating to his demise. We shall have to wait ANOTHER eon, no doubt, before the full facts relating to THAT matter are ever fully realised, if at all.
No; if the powers that be want to know how or why so many people would wish to express such resentment and distrust of the authorities, police and law enforcers of this country, then they need look no further than the tragic case of Ian Tomlinson.
Mr. Tomlinson, you will remember, died on April 1st, 2009, collapsing in the street after having been beaten and pushed to the floor by a truncheon wielding police officer during the G20 summit protest. The incident, where Mr. Tomlinson was NOT taking part in the protest, having his hands in his pockets and walking away from the police line, was FILMED by several sources; most of them clearly showing what appears to be a completely unprovoked and uncalled for attack.
Moments after the incident, Ian Tomlinson was dead.
Over fifteen and a half Months later, the CPS has declared that NO charges will be brought against any officer in relation to Mr. Tomlinson’s death.
Mr. Tomlinson’s family have stated that the authorities have engineered a cover up.
The evidence available suggests they might be right.
PC Simon Harwood was the officer who was filmed striking and pushing Mr. Tomlinson to the ground. His policing methods, together with those of the unit in which he served, the Territorial Support Group, (TSG), appear to have some history of dubious activity.
According to reports, Harwood had previously served and RESIGNED from the Metropolitan Police, for using unnecessary force in a “road rage” incident. He left the Force on Medical grounds, receiving a pension and thus avoiding the Disciplinary hearing that he was due to face, together with any punitive measures for his actions.
He then, (somehow), REJOINED the police, where his previous behaviour appears to have been completely forgotten, before subsequently receiving an appointment back at the Met.
According to other Media reports at the time of the Tomlinson incident, Harwood is alleged to have removed his shoulder ID number and obscured his lower face with his balaclava just prior to him lashing out at Mr. Tomlinson.
Another newspaper investigation alleged that the TSG were known FREQUENTLY to swap ID numbers amongst themselves whilst on operations, enabling them to claim mistaken identity in the eventuality of any complaints or allegations of wrongdoing being levied.
If ever there was a case where the authorities had to make a stand for common decency and for the General Public, and to be SEEN to be administering justice for clear wrongdoing, this was it. Of course, it is inconceivable that PC Harwood intended to cause serious harm to Mr. Tomlinson, and I personally do not feel that a charge of Manslaughter should ever have been made.
However, to elect to NOT bring any charges whatsoever against Harwood, DESPITE the initial recommendations of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, is not only a most injurious and dangerous course of action to take by the Crown Prosecution Service but, in my opinion, potentially one that could cause a most corrosive and irreparable relationship between the Police Force and the authorities as a whole, and the public whom they are meant to serve and protect.
It must surely be a most unfortunate coincidence that the Deputy Director for the CPS who made the decision NOT to prosecute anyone in the Tomlinson case, Stephen O'Doherty, is the SAME Deputy Director who elected NOT to bring any prosecutions in the Jean Charles De Menezes case.
In that case, you may remember, Mr. O' Doherty absolved the armed police officers and their commanders in a botched operation that left an innocent Mr. De Menezes with seven bullets in his head.
Rather like the De Menezes case, the IPCC originally stated that there were NO CCTV cameras in the area that recorded the incident involving Mr. Tomlinson. When photographs of the SIX cameras available were published by newspapers, the IPCC reversed its position and said its investigators were looking at footage recovered from them.
I can think of no greater insult, nor example of rubbing salt in the wounds of Mr. Tomlinson’s family, than by citing the reasons not to prosecute anyone in this case because of the Medical evidence of Dr Mohmed Saeed Sulema Patel.
“Freddy” Patel, alleged that Mr. Tomlinson died of a heart attack. Natural causes. Nothing to do with any injuries.
Patel is currently facing disciplinary hearings relating to 26 charges of sub-standard practices, including incompetently carrying out a number of earlier autopsies where he failed to attribute any significance to obvious signs of injuries incurred as a result of violence.
For some reason best known to himself, Dr. Patel also disposed of three litres of bodily fluids taken from Mr. Tomlinson, said to be blood from an internal rupture.
Patel carried out his medical “examinations” of Mr. Tomlinson in the absence of any other Medical expert.
Patel is currently suspended from the Home Office register of accredited forensic pathologists and barred from carrying out postmortem examinations in suspicious death cases.
Despite the fact that two further, detailed and lengthy Post Mortem examinations suggested that Ian Tomlinson death was due to internal bleeding, as a result of blunt force trauma – an injury consistent with a fall or assault- Dr. Patel is the medical expert that was clearly more favoured by CPS Director Stephen O’Doherty, stating that the “irreconcilable conflict" between Patel and the other two doctors would undermine any prosecution against the police officer involved.
To summarise:- a clear and obvious assault, by a Police Officer who quite possibly shouldn’t have been serving in the capacity that he was in the first place, operating in a unit whose policing procedures have effectively been rewritten as a consequence of this case; resulting in the death of an innocent man, the true reasons for whose demise were almost certainly omitted by an incompetent and most inept Doctor.
All presided over by a Prosecutor with an unenviable track record of conducting investigations that absolve the police of any culpability.
It is quite possibly fortunate for us ALL, that Raoul Moat met his demise when he did. For if he was still at large, then his subsequent downfall, in the light of Ian Tomlinson’s CPS decision, might have created a tide of support and following for Mr. Moat that no amount of social vilification and comment could impede.
R.I.P. Mr. Tomlinson.................
Monday, 28 June 2010
The England football team were appalling...
"Overpaid.....underworked......weak.......disorganised......old......tired......outclassed......outplayed....SACK THEM ALL!!"
Or words to that effect. Along with other, similar words, epithets and conclusions.
They are probably right, in the main. For whatever reason, this World Cup squad spectacularly failed to perform, individually or as a team. I certainly don't know the reasons why. Perhaps no-one, not even the players themselves know.
However, in my humble estimation, the newspapers are WRONG, in one respect:-
they are wrong in asserting that Frank Lampard's disallowed equalising goal wouldn't have made any difference; that Germany would still have won anyway and that in no WAY should the most ridiculous refereeing decision EVER be used to mitigate the circumstances of England's failure.
For the problem with THAT conclusion is that we can never know.
Perhaps England WOULD, still, have lost anyway. Perhaps Germany WOULD still have scored four goals. Or five. Or even six.
Or perhaps less.
Because if Lampard's goal, (and it WAS a goal, of course), had been allowed to stand, then the second half would have started all level at 2-2. And whilst it's no excuse for them wallowing in self-pity, perhaps with such a scoreline England may have fared much better, without having to battle a strong sense of injustice as well as a strong German attack.
Perhaps GERMANY may have faltered, knowing that despite an unforeseen and unexpected soar into the lead, England had somehow managed to level the game. Perhaps THEY would have succumbed to some pressure.
Perhaps, even if Germany DID still get a third goal, then England would have fought MUCH harder for a 3-3 equaliser, instead of crumbling in the face of a crushing 3-1 defeat.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
What I DO know, for sure, is that Germany would have started that second half, KNOWING full well that England had levelled the game and that the officials had declined to register it. They surely must have known, and FELT that the gods were in their favour; this couldn't be anything other than their day.
Perhaps. Who knows?.
Perhaps England, having achieved parity, would have executed a more effective rearguard defence action, rather than mounting a reckless attacking formation that left them woefully exposed to the counter attack.
And what if we had held them? Extra Time? Penalties? Ah, the possibilities. Imagine the dignified welcome home they would have been afforded had they managed to end up losing, (again), on penalties!.
But I DO believe that, whilst that disallowed goal in no way could ever excuse their ineffectual and sterile performances over 4 games, England WERE robbed.
Robbed of a chance to claw back some dignity and pride. Because whilst their gifts, skills and capabilities clearly failed them, they DID, more than anything, want to do well for their country. Just because they failed miserably cannot diminish that. And I DO believe that in robbing them of that one goal, it also robbed them of much more.
For if they had managed to lose just 3-2, then they would now not be facing the endless critiques, ridicule and lambasting that is going to haunt them for the rest of their careers.
Friday, 21 May 2010
Apparently, it was created to be awarded to those who had shown: -
(b) A specially distinguished record in administrative or detective service.
(c) Success in organizing Police Forces or Fire Brigades or Departments, or in maintaining their organization under special difficulties.
(d) Special services in dealing with serious or widespread outbreaks of crime or public disorder, or of fire.
(e) Valuable political and secret services.
(f) Special services to Royalty and Heads of States.
(g) Prolonged service; but only when distinguished by very exceptional ability and merit.
So when I read that CRESSIDA DICK, the officer in charge of proceedings on the fateful day which saw the shooting and killing of an innocent man, Jean Charles de Menezes, was to receive this prestigious medal, I naturally assumed that Ms. Dick had clearly committed a supreme act of heroism since that tragic event.
For there can surely be no other reason why a woman who presided over the most appalling series of misadventures, monumental cock-ups and downright police failings could ever redeem herself sufficiently to be deemed worthy of such a high award. Surely.
Because about the only unequivocal fact relating to the death of de Menezes on 22nd July 2005 is that there are very FEW, unequivocal facts!. Certainly, many of the official police lines, statements and assertions about the incident not only changed on MORE than one occasion, prior to the eventual hearings, investigations and enquiries, (the first of which was originally kept SECRET), but some of the facts as reported by key officers clearly contradicted those of some of their colleagues.
Indeed, one of the more remarkable assertions was noted in de Menezes POST MORTEM report, stating that Jean Charles had “vaulted over the ticket barriers” and that he “ran down the stairs of the tube station”. Dr Kenneth Shorrock later told the inquest that he had been given this information by police during a "walk-through" with officers at Stockwell Tube Station, the scene of the killing but, despite working in a profession where a supremely meticulous eye for detail is essential, he could not remember who had given him this information.
It then subsequently became apparent during the course of a ‘suppression of evidence’ investigation, that at least one officer had deleted, altered or modified their statements and contemporaneous notes relating to the incident.
Of course, given the fact that there were extensive CCTV cameras all over the station and on the train itself, it would surely be a simple matter to view that material and clarify all of the conflicting accounts. Alas, police reports were later to confirm that the relevant CCTV cameras both on the platform AND in the train carriage itself, (which would have shown a most ACCURATE portrayal of the events), had acquired “technical problems”, resulting in there being “no footage”.
And so, despite several Independent Police Complaint’s investigations, (the IPCC itself clashing with the Metropolitan Police amid claims of obstruction and non-co-operation); a Crown Prosecution Services review which saw the Met prosecuted and merely fined under ridiculous ‘Health and Safety at work’ legislation; together with other critical enquiries, investigations and reviews, NO-ONE has ever been deemed to be accountable or culpable for the one incontrovertible fact; that Jean Charles de Meneze's ended up lying in a subway train with eight bullets to his body, SEVEN of them to his head.
It is easy to cast aspersions and judgements when looking in from the outside. Ultimately, perhaps only those involved on that July day five years ago will ever know the full truth relating to the events that occurred. Only they will, individually, know the thoughts that raced through their heads, the actions that they personally effected. The decisions they elected to make.
But it is surely beyond, not just all rational logic and protocols, but also moral decency and respectability, to award the woman who has TWICE since been promoted, and is now the Highest Ranking female police officer in Scotland Yard, a MEDAL for “gallantry or distinguished service”.
I am tempted to suggest that the medal was awarded under section ‘e’ in the above original criteria: for ‘Valuable political and secret services.’
I am also tempted to suggest that, given the opportunity, the parents of Jean Charles de Menezes would know just where to pin it.
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
He may well want to babble on about referendums and proportional representation, but what I want to know is this:-
How can it be that a LOSING Labour Government clearly voted OUT by a democratic electoral process could, (and WOULD, had the Labour Cabinet been more accommodating to Clegg’s toadying), be voted back IN by a party who has been the laughing stock of British Politics for decades, and who finished with so few votes that they accrued nearly six time LESS seats than the party they eventually ended up sharing office with?
It’s the equivalent of Chelsea being usurped as the Premier League Champions on the basis of them not having quite accumulated enough points, and giving the Cup to Manchester United instead to be SHARED, equally, by bottom finishing Portsmouth.
Whatever intentions, aspirations or wild dreams Clegg entertained when he went into politics could NEVER, even remotely, have included walking the corridors of Whitehall with any position of power. I am perfectly sure that even today, he will still not quite believe that he is Deputy Prime Minister.
He may have momentarily had notions above his station when a bemused viewing audience decided he was the ‘winner’ in terms of his pre-Election TV showdowns with Cameron and Brown, but the truth and reality of his status was clearly etched on his pained face once he realised that he was to actually LOSE seats in the final reckoning.
So I find it somewhat astonishing, (as I am sure, did HE), that the current British Political voting system incorporates a means and procedure that enables the LEAST desirable, wanted and respected Political Party in the Country to effectively yield the GREATEST amount of power in those circumstances as we have just witnessed.
It is to Brown’s credit, and that of his Cabinet, that they clearly elected from the off not to indulge Clegg’s sycophancy and that of his Lib Dem colleagues, or we would be potentially looking at yet ANOTHER period of Labour, with a smattering of warring factions from Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Not to mention a ridiculous and, ultimately, impotent Clegg, posturing and preening in a position that even his most extreme dreams didn’t incorporate.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
I also don’t have the answers to the problems I’m going to highlight either, which probably makes me an even BIGGER hypocrite!
But I’m at an age where, for whatever reason, I am beginning to take notice of the planet and some of those that hold positions of power on it. Perhaps it is a natural process of the acknowledgement of one’s mortality, that one begins to look around oneself and takes stock of the world that they inhabit, perhaps even harbour a slight yearning to change it or make some kind of impact.
I don’t know.
Someone once said that a People, or a Nation, deserves the leaders it elects. I’m also of the opinion that a Nation can also be deserving of the leader it fails to STOP.
I don’t know much about politics; fiscal/monetary policies or Taxation. I know nothing of how to better the National Health Service or State Education. I don’t really know how to solve any of the major problems facing the World today. Equally, I don’t know which political Party, if any, is best equipped to do so either.
But what I DO know, in my heart of hearts, is this. That this current ‘Nu Labour’ Government will go down as the most corrupt, mendacious, scheming, manipulative and positively WICKED administration in British history, (providing that it allows such a history to be accurately recorded).
That all politicians lie is a given. That all political parties frequently fail to deliver what they promise at the election is another. I truly am not writing to advocate, encourage or promote a different political party, but merely seeking to deter continued support for the current reigning one. I simply want to raise a few issues of my own, which hopefully will play a part in the minds of those unsure of where to place the ‘X’ on Polling day.
I believe that man is essentially greedy and self-centred, caring little for events outside of his own immediate circle. That is not a misanthropist view, simply observable fact. It is natural and, to a degree, acceptable enough to want the best for our own families, our children and our own lives. Which is why we invariably listen to the pundits and the politicians and read the newspapers to try and figure out who is going to put more money in our pockets, who is going to give us the better Tax breaks, keep the interest rates down, build more hospitals, create better schools etc..... But the achievements and consequences created by this current Government makes me ashamed of my fellow Countryman, or at least those who have supported and advocated this Government for three terms.
It is ironic that Tony Blair’s main, (and perhaps ONLY), real message in his pre-Election speech in 1997 was to ask, rhetorically, whether we had enough of 17 years of Tory sleaze, before going on to preside over one of the most corrupt and sleaze ridden periods in British political history.
I am NO apologist for the Conservative party, but their misdemeanours, failings and ‘old boy’ network practises pale into insignificance when you examine the illustrious roll call of Labour’s scams:- Major police investigations into thefts of Millions of pounds of tax-payers money, and cash for questions; Hansard’s record of Blair’s blatant lies; Stephen Byers, Geoff Hoon’s and Patricia Hewitt’s ‘cash for favours’; the indestructible Peter Mandelson, resigned TWICE and effectively sacked at least ONCE before landing a most lucrative EU Commissioner position, and clearly still untouchable as a big shot in the Party.
Bernie Ecclestone, Lakshmi Mittal, BAE Systems, Powder Ject, just a tiny sample of the companies and benefactors of Labour’s Cronyism.
There cannot be a single major Labour politician or Front Bencher who has not been embroiled in some scandalous revelation over the years. You can even buy BOOKS from AMAZON.COM, documenting the better known episodes!
But these are small potatoes, minor asides and almost humorous inconsequentialities, when compared with the biggest and most serious charges that I feel should be placed at the feet of this Labour Government.:-
Its role in the massacre of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Iraqi men, women and children since the arrival of coalition forces there in 2003.
This was no “War on Terror”. This was, in every sense, a massacre. “Shock and awe” was never so apt. Massive Ariel bombardment with carpet and precision bombing and destruction. A rag-tag assortment of ill-equipped and incapable Iraqi soldiers against the most powerful military might in Global history. Slaughtered from 30,000 feet before Infantry Regiments move in on a massive burying and cleaning operation.
For what? American Imperialism? Definitely.
So that the infamous American company, Halliburton’s, could make BILLIONS of Dollars in Iraqi Oil? Documented and proven.
So that American companies could make fortunes in the rebuilding process? Inarguable.
I am no apologist for Saddam Hussein. He was a murderous, wicked man who killed many of his own people. But he certainly wouldn’t come out anywhere near the top in any list of evil dictators. The WMD’s story was clearly a facade and fabrication from the start. Not least when Blair tried to present, as evidence, ‘documentary proof’ of Iraq’s weapons capabilities which turned out to be a 12 year old plagiarised student’s Thesis taken from the internet, cobbled together with sections from ‘Jane’s Weekly’ and other military publications.
In my mind, to anyone with an IQ above 75 ,that should have set alarm bells ringing that skulduggery was afoot. More saliently, I believe that we probably KNEW EXACTLY what weapons Hussein did and didn’t possess, given that, along with the Americans, we had been SELLING them to him since the 1980’s!
And the so called ‘Dodgy Dossier’ is as laughable as it is lamentable:- Saddam Hussein eats babies for breakfast and any day soon, probably within twenty minutes, he’ll be here eating OUR babies. Penned by Alistair Campbell and his cohorts, this fabricated twaddle was agreed to and claimed ownership of by MI5 Chief John Scarlett, subsequently awarded a KNIGHTHOOD, by Blair, for his troubles.
Nor do I quite understand the ‘Regime change’ purpose. All that has resulted in is the production of MORE Saddam Husseins, probably THOUSANDS of them, hell bent on exacting revenge on the US and its Allies for decimating its nation and stealing its oil. Indeed, we have now coerced Al Qaeda to set up some cells in Iraq, a country where they never previously existed, despite the best efforts of Bush to convince the Americans otherwise.
More terryfyingly, according to British and American Intelligence services, Special Branch and senior Metropolitan Police figures, there are now ACTIVE terrorist cells HERE in the UK. I sometimes wonder if I am alone in contemplating the absolute madness of this apparent situation which is:-
that whilst British soldiers are losing their lives in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq, apparently fighting for our freedoms and democracy; HERE in our own Country we are producing terrorists in our Cities and Towns. In some Mosques, secular schools and madresses, Muslim children are apparently being taught and instructed to rise up against the ‘infidel’, the citizens of the Country which extended to them the hand of friendship and, in some cases, asylum.
The 2005 London bombings may well not prove to be an isolated incident, we are warned by authorities. Terror plots and cells are being constantly investigated and thwarted, we are told, on a regular basis. Many of the much reported terror incidents and activities abroad invariably involve protagonists living, educated or studying here in the UK. And such events and incidents will continue, because we are STRANGLED by political correctness and Human Rights Legislation, (two other great ‘Nu Labour’ inventions), thus deterring the authorities from implementing the tactics and methods needed to counter them.
It is ironic, indeed, that there may very well one day be a real, ‘War on Terror’, one in which we, along with the Americans, have initiated.
I have absolutely no idea what went through Blair’s mind when he agreed to hold the hand of the US in its invasion of Iraq. He clearly knew from the start that it was to be an invasion built on a lie. Otherwise he wouldn’t have had to fabricate the Thesis and dossiers detailed above. He wouldn’t have had to tour the Country, answering questions to innumerable panels and meetings and groups, telling them how much it pained him to commit British troops to war:-
” If only Saddam were to give up his weapons........”
Perhaps Blair thought Bush would reward him and the UK immeasurably for his support and efforts. He clearly thought that there was something of consequence to be gained because by refusing to listen to the voice of the United Nations who were suggesting that the war was illegal, he alienated the European powers that could, (and probably WOULD), have made him the European President, and more than ANYTHING Blair wanted to be the elected President of a United States of Europe.
More likely, Tony Blair was simply obsessed with wanting a greater word count in the annals of History than any other British Prime Minister. If there is any real justice, he will have his wish. But for reasons different to those that he envisaged.
But what does that say for the rest of the Cabinet? The remaining Labour Front Benchers and Government members who worked closely with Blair? They would clearly have had no doubts as to the veracity of the so called fabricated version of events being put out by Whitehall.
Indeed, it is obvious from the various inquiries, inquests and treatises held and written since the events that there was much doubt and consternation amongst the Cabinet over Blair's intentions and allegiance to Bush. Only Clare Short and the late Robin Cook made any kind of stance. Or rather, they made a stance and maintained it, forfeiting their careers in the process.
Because amongst the others, (and there were clearly many, Jack Straw and the current Prime Minister Gordon Brown included), their stance was ALSO taken and then, clearly, changed. Their positions threatened. Their compliance insisted upon. Their prices paid.
As for Gordon Brown, NO price was too high for him. He would have probably agreed to an American led invasion of his own Scotland so long as Blair kept his promise to step down and hand the Premiership to him, democratically elected or not.
As an immensely added bonus of Blair’s departure, (for the WHOLE remaining cabinet, not just for Brown), any subsequent uncomfortable revelations about the Labour Administration, including, (if not PARTICULARLY), the Iraq invasion, could be firmly blamed on Blair’s office.
And so, with yet another pre-election roadshow taking place, when Brown and the Labour Party members flit from Town to Town, promising a “brighter future......more secure Britain........stable economy..........fairness for all.” I am reminded only of two comments. The first, made by the former French President Jacques Chirac, (quaintly known in the US as that ‘Cheese eating Surrender Monkey’), spoken to Tony Blair during an Iraq summit in 2002:-
"How will you be able to look Leo in the face in 20 years' time if you are the one who unleashes this war?”
This remarkably frank and unequivocally cutting comment, relating to Blair’s youngest child, is one that I feel should be addressed to ALL of those politicians, with relevance to their own children, who allowed their doubts, concerns and fears to be brushed aside by whatever promises they were offered.
And the second comment relates to the quote which appeared earlier in this opinion. That if a People deserve the leaders it elects, then each and every one of us will truly deserve the consequences of yet another Labour term if we elect NOT to challenge it.