Category Archives: Crime

Are the Tories covering up political collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane?

Pat Finucane was shot dead in 1989. Isn’t that long enough ago that his surviving family deserve a little closure?

Isn’t it funny how highly sensitive and controversial issues like the deaths of 96 people at Hillsborough or the murder of Pat Finucane get kicked into the long grass when there’s a hint of political involvement?

No, not funny… convenient.

Finucane was a Northern Ireland solicitor who had become noted for representing republicans during the Troubles (although in fact he also represented loyalists).

In February 1989, while his family were enjoying Sunday lunch, loyalists burst into their home in north Belfast with a sledgehammer and shot him 14 times in front of his wife and three children.

Inquiries led by Sir John Stevens, a former Metropolitan Police commissioner, concluded that “the murder of Patrick Finucane could have been prevented” and that “there was collusion”.

In another inquiry, Judge Desmond de Silva found that “a series of positive actions by employees of the state actively furthered and facilitated his murder and … in the aftermath of the murder, there was a relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice”.

According to Rory Cormac in his book Disrupt and Deny,

Fingers pointed towards the FRU,

[Force Research Unit, a covert military intelligence body responsible for handling British agents inside paramilitary organisations. The book says, “although it also recruited republican informants, [it] is alleged to have been involved in a number of murders, often through providing intelligence files and weapons to loyalist terrorists]

which had used Brian Nelson, the intelligence chief of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), as an informant at the height of the Troubles. Nelson used this relationship to provide loyalist terrorists with intelligence to help them target their victims, including a dossier on Finucane, and served 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.

Cormac added,

Some commentators have alleged collusion at the highest levels of government, almost forming a state policy.

But he stated:

This is highly unlikely. There was no policy of collusion. De Silva found no evidence suggesting that ministers tasked intelligence agencies with assisting terrorist groups in any way. Briefed only at the strategic level, ministers had no involvement in tactical aspects or knowledge of the actions of specific agents. Neither is there any evidence that ministers knew about the plan to kill Finucane. Instead, they were kept unaware of intelligence leaks from security forces to loyalist para-militaries.

That said, he continued:

British propaganda enabled collusion. Prior to his murder, MI5 had spread information referring to Finucane amongst the loyalist community. De Silva found that MI5 material “effectively involved fanning the rumours and speculation linking him to the IRA.” The aim was to discredit and unnerve him rather than to incite violence, but it ensured that loyalists associated Finucane with the activity of his clients and could also have legitimised him as a target.

His conclusion?

Whitehall, unwittingly or otherwise, did preside over a system conducive to collusion.

Having read that, This Writer finds it very easy to believe that the system – if you can call it that – was wide open to abuse. It would have been very easy for someone with a grudge against Finucane to ensure that someone with a grudge against republicans eliminated him.

So I tend to sympathise with his family members. If it had happened to one of my relatives, I’d want to know for sure exactly who was responsible.

And Brandon Lewis’s decision not to hold a public inquiry “at this time” sets alarm bells ringing – especially when one remembers that the UK’s government committed itself to holding an inquiry 20 years ago.

Lewis says other review processes must run their course first. Do those processes refer to events that took place after this 1989 murder, or before? If before, shouldn’t the Finucane inquiry take precedence?

And it adds veracity to John Finucane’s words in the BBC article:

The British government, at every opportunity, will continue to make the wrong decision, and will put all of their efforts into ensuring that the truth as to what happened with the murder of my father – the full truth – will not see the light of day.

Source: Pat Finucane: No public inquiry into Belfast lawyer’s murder – BBC News

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Labour is now habitually leaking member suspensions to the press in violation of Data Protection law

These days, data is digital – and that makes it all-too-easy for unscrupulous people and organisations to leak personal information to third parties in breach of the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations. Labour has been doing it for years.

Look at this:

Yes, it’s a much more dignified statement than anything put out by the right-wingers responsible for the suspensions, but for This Writer, the really important part is in the very first paragraph.

Ms Regan stated: “I was deeply disappointed to learn from the press last Friday that I had been suspended from the Labour Party.”

It is against the law for an organisation such as the Labour Party to share personal information relating to any member with a third party without the member’s consent.

That’s in the UK’s Data Protection Act(s) and in the General Data Protection Regulations to which the UK subscribes.

However, as we all discovered from the verdict in my court case last week (didn’t we?), the law doesn’t count if the organisation (in this case, Labour) can say with a straight face that the leak was carried out by a party officer without the knowledge of their bosses, and they do not know who was responsible for the leak.

The statement doesn’t have to be true. All Labour has to do is fail to provide any information to the contrary. And as the organisation controlling all the information, you can be sure that it won’t be forthcoming.

So Ms Regan found out from the press.

Jeremy Corbyn found out about his suspension from a photographer.

Nadia Whittome found out she had been sacked as a PPS from the Guido Fawkes blog.

There have been many more, back through the years to the moment when…

I found out about my own suspension from a reporter working at the Western Mail, on May 3, 2017.

Labour has been leaking damaging private information about party members to the press for more than three and a half years.

It isn’t legal. But it is clearly de facto party policy.

Obviously the law has to change to close this loophole. I said the same in my article about my court case.

It’s going to be interesting watching Labour opposing the change (or will it?) in Parliament.

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Shocking verdict in Mike’s court case against Labour means NOBODY is safe

Anybody who hands their personal information to a third party – a company, a club, a political party, the government or whoever – may see that data handed out to others or made public, with no way of seeking legal redress, according to the finding of a court case today.

And Labour members going through the party’s complaints procedure are still unlikely to get justice, even after the party promised to follow recommendations by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

These are the inevitable conclusions drawn from the verdict in This Writer’s court case, in which I accused the Labour Party of breach of contract.

I had said that Labour had failed to follow its own procedures for investigating complaints against party members after an allegation of anti-Semitism was made against me in 2017.

And I had said that a party official – or several – had leaked information, including lies, about me to the press while I was going through that process, in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Both of those claims were found to be accurate.

But in the hearing this afternoon, Deputy District Judge Whiteley said he could not uphold my case against Labour because the party’s Rule Book does not say that it must follow the procedures it has created to investigate complaints, or that it must adhere to the DPA.

That’s right. Unless an organisation’s rules specifically state that it will adhere to the Data Protection Act, then there are loopholes in the law – large enough to drive a lorry through – that mean your personal information can be passed on to anybody at all, regardless of your own wishes.

In this case, I had said somebody within the Labour Party had passed information that I had been accused of anti-Semitism to the Western Mail in 2017, and a Labour employee (I don’t know whether it was the same person) had passed false information about the allegations against me to The Sunday Times in February 2018. I said this breached the Data Protection Act because information about me had been passed on without my permission.

But Labour said that the party itself had not authorised the leak and that it had been unable to identify that anybody within its system had caused it. The party could not deny that the leak came from within Labour because the information had been generated as part of its complaint process and could only, therefore, have come from Labour.

The law states that an unincorporated association (which is how Labour is defined for legal purposes) is responsible for prohibited conduct carried out by its employees and agents against members and prospective members. Breaching the DPA would count as such.

But it also states that an association would not be legally responsible for the act of an employee that was not carried out in the course of their employment – and the court deemed that leaking information was not an act carried out in the course of their employment.

This means that any organisation that has your personal information may pass it on indescriminately – to anybody it likes, no matter what the Data Protection Act says or how avidly it states it adheres to that law, because anybody working there can follow the actions of Labour’s employee(s) and know they will get away with it.

So if you have provided your information to any third party at all, it is not safe.

Nor will it be safe until our lawmakers find a way to close this loophole in the law. They will not even consider doing so unless they are pressured into it. That will be your responsibility.

The judge also said that Labour had not breached its contract with me by failing to investigate the complaint against me according to its own procedures, because those procedures were not enshrined in the party’s Rule Book and therefore it had no obligation to follow them.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has announced that the party will follow the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, whose report on anti-Semitism in the party contains a chapter on the failings of the process by which complaints are investigated.

The EHRC recommended that Labour should “publish a comprehensive policy and procedure, setting out how antisemitism complaints will be handled and how decisions on them will be made”.

It says the party should “develop and implement comprehensive internal guidance for all stages of the antisemitism complaints process”.

None of this means a damned thing because anybody challenging a failure by the party to follow its procedures will find that it has no obligation to do so; they are merely procedures, not rules.

Consider the way current complaints procedures have been flouted wholesale recently – not just over the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn but over complaints against allies of Starmer who have been accused of anti-Semitism – and against Starmer himself.

It seems clear that the Labour Party Rule Book is not worth the paper it is printed on – or the electricity required to put it on your screen.

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Is Priti Patel a bully or isn’t she? And is Boris Johnson covering up for her?

 

One man and his crony: Boris Johnson (right) and Priti Patel – who seems to be dressed up like a dog’s dinner for reasons unknown.

Here’s another crony of Boris Johnson who seems to get preferential treatment despite an ever-lengthening series of blunders: Priti Patel.

She was faced with serious allegations of bullying civil service staff at three different government departments in March, including claims from a former Permanent Secretary at the Home Office.

The Cabinet Office launched an inquiry and said that it would be for Johnson – as prime minister – to decide whether to publicise its conclusions.

Well, that inquiry ended some time ago and Johnson has shown no sign of telling us what it decided.

Should we draw our own conclusions?

One person who thinks it would be better if we were just told is Lord Evans of Weardale, the former head of MI5 and now adviser on standards in public life. He said:

When you have got these allegations that have not really been put to bed then it’s easy to say they’ve just been brushed over and I don’t think that’s ideal for public trust and public standards.

The Cabinet Office has done some form of investigation. It has not been published so it is very difficult to know whether there was something here or whether there wasn’t.

And still the uncertainty drags on.

Meanwhile, Patel has legislated to remove our ability to move freely from the UK to other countries. She has tried to have asylum-seeking migrants sent to concentration camps on St Helena or Ascension Island. She allegedly encouraged attacks on “activist lawyers” who stand up for such asylum-seekers’ legal rights. The list of her lunacies lengthens every day.

And Johnson stands by her.

Another of his little cronies.

Source: Boris Johnson under pressure to publish Priti Patel bullying report – Mirror Online

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Tory Covid-19 blunder opens opportunity for Universal Credit scammers

Loadsamoney: but if you are approached by someone claiming to get it for you by exploiting a loophole in the Universal Credit claim system, say no. YOU will be caught and they will get away with cash you’ll have to repay.

An old scam has been given a new lease of life after a glitch was discovered in the application process for Covid-19-related Universal Credit advance payments.

It seems some families looking for extra cash during the coronavirus pandemic have been able to obtain advance payments of £1,500 on up to three separate occasions.

Enter the fraudsters.

Posing as Job Centre staff or personal loan advisers, they have been offering to help UC claimants input false information into the online claim system.

Then, when the payments come through, the scammers have been taking a cut of £500 – one-third of the payments.

It’s terrific for these criminals because the money is in the name of the claimant – so the claimant will take the rap when the Department for Work and Pensions catches up with them.

And mark my words: the DWP will catch up with anybody submitting a fraudulent claim.

It’s an old scam that has been given a new lease of life by the Tory government, because their ramshackle online Universal Credit system can’t cope with a simple change to accommodate a contingency fund.

So if you’ve been contacted by someone claiming they can help you make thousands of pounds from Universal Credit, and asking you to provide the information they need to get it, my advice is this:

Don’t. You will be caught, and you will be fined. And the scammers will move on to their next victim, taking with them the money you’ll have to pay back.

Source: Universal Credit £1500 cash boost loophole – DWP issues warning to fraudsters – Birmingham Live

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EU to begin court action after Johnson misses deadline to explain international law breach

Self-satisfied: Boris Johnson sat speechless but smirking when Ed Miliband ripped apart his justifications for breaking his own treaty. Johnson doesn’t care about the law. He doesn’t care about what breaking it will cost because he won’t pay. You will.

The fact that he couldn’t even be bothered to respond to a ‘letter before action’ from the European Union demonstrates Boris Johnson’s contempt for the law – and the reason he should not be a member of Parliament.

Johnson’s Internal Market Bill (which is still not yet a law) breaches his own EU Withdrawal Agreement, that he signed in January.

If made law, the Bill would overrule the withdrawal agreement Johnson signed, by banning border checks on goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain which are set to commence under the agreement from 31 December.

Johnson had signed up to the union’s customs code to get a deal, but now says Britain should be exempt from parts of it.

The European Commission confirmed on Tuesday that the deadline to respond to the letter has now come and gone without a UK response, meaning the court action against the UK will move to the next phase.

Tory government ministers have already admitted in parliament that the bill will break international law, but say the policy is justified because the law would only be broken in a “limited and specific” way.

We’ll see how that argument plays out in court. Badly, This Writer would expect. After all, a burglar breaks the law only in a “limited and specific” way, by breaking into people’s houses and stealing their belongings. If he’s prosecuted for it, he’ll still end up in prison.

To UK readers: how does it feel to be living in a rogue, outlaw state?

Source: Brexit: Boris Johnson misses EU deadline to explain breach of international law | The Independent

Starmer and Rayner want to link Corbyn with something unacceptable. How about this?

The above is a screenshot of a tweet sent by John Stevens, deputy political editor of the Daily Mail, responding to a message of gratitude by Jeremy Corbyn’s wife, Laura Alvarez, for the many floral gifts he has received from supporters since the suspension of his Labour Party membership.

The suggestion that the flowers should be fashioned into a wreath is appalling and unacceptable, as it could be construed as wishing death on Corbyn.

Stevens claims it isn’t. He says it refers to one of the incidents in which it was alleged that Corbyn displayed anti-Semitism – laying a wreath at a graveyard where anti-Semite terrorists were buried. This in itself is a perversion of the facts as the terrorists were buried elsewhere.

In any event, the tweet was sent to Corbyn’s wife, and may therefore be considered threatening no matter what excuse this hack tries to use. That’s certainly how most of Twitter sees it:

Considering that the apparent incitement of violence against Corbyn resulted from Labour’s decision to suspend his party membership, one would expect current party leader Keir Starmer to leap into action, denouncing Stevens and demanding action by the appropriate law guardians (and Twitter).

Ah, but Starmer has just spent the last seven months courting the right-wing press in a vain attempt to get some positive coverage of his pathetic innings as Labour leader.

He hasn’t lifted a finger, even to type an angry tweet.

And, Labour members, you can be sure that he wouldn’t help you, either. It’s one of the reasons he must be rooted out of Labour as soon as possible; he’s only in it for himself.

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‘Spycops’ law will be used to spy on Labour, its MPs and trade unions. Why did 167 Labour MPs support it?

Another blunder: Keir Starmer’s insistence on allowing a law that would allow the government to undermine his party has created a rift between him and an ever-increasing number of his MPs.

It is already being labelled as a major rebellion against Keir Starmer’s leadership: 34 Labour MPs defying the party whip to vote against the controversial so-called ‘Spycops’ Bill that would allow government agents to commit crimes.

The real question about it, though, is: why so few?

Labour has been targeted by the so-called Establishment in the UK – probably from its beginnings as a political party. This includes espionage by the nation’s intelligence agencies.

We all know about famous incidents such as the Zinoviev Letter, which contributed to the fall of Ramsay MacDonald’s first Labour government. It was a forged communique allegedly between the government and the Communist government of Russia, written by people whose identities remain uncertain…

… but it was published by the Conservative Daily Mail, and it is widely believed that this was on the urging of the SIS – the intelligence service of the day.

Another famous issue is the MI5 file on Harold Wilson, which was opened when he first entered Parliament in 1945 and recorded his contacts with communists, KGB officers and other Russians.

It was opened because of concerns about his relationships with Eastern European businessmen. Can you imagine MI5 opening a file on Boris Johnson, over his relationships with oligarches from Russia?

Ultimately, none of the information in the file can have amounted to anything because MI5 never tried to use it to undermine him – despite his own paranoia about this in his later years.

Clearly there is a precedent for the security services – which are predominantly staffed by right-wingers – using every resource within their power to find ways of undermining the Labour Party.

And by abstaining on a Bill that allows government agents to commit crimes in order to achieve their aims, 167 Labour MPs including the party’s leader, Keir Starmer, have just handed them another such resource.

It’s undemocratic and dangerous – the kind of legislation created by a dictatorship in order to ensure, by fair means or foul, that no rival organisation can ever topple it.

But some good may come of it accidentally – the possible removal of Starmer as party leader.

Around 20 of his MPs rebelled against his demand to abstain on the Bill’s second reading. Yesterday (October 15), 34 defied his whip – including eight who resigned from front bench roles to do so:

 

Much of this can be attributed to Starmer’s own attitude, which suggests that he actually supports the Bill’s demand that government agents be allowed to commit any crime without fear of prosecution for it later – any crime at all, including the murder of the Tories’ political opponents:

Discontent with his lack of opposition to the worst Tory government in history is growing, and already there are rumours of a leadership challenge in 2021:

Political developments are strange; they don’t happen the way anybody expects – unless that person is very far-sighted indeed.

The Zinoviev Letter led to the fall of a Labour government – but only in a roundabout way. Labour’s vote increased in the general election; it was the collapse of the Liberal vote that allowed the Conservatives their victory.

It would be ironic if now, nearly a century after that attempt to end a socialist government, a piece of legislation that legalises espionage against the party that formed that government actually led to its re-founding as a socialist organisation once again.

That is the only comforting thought I can raise from what is, in all other respects, a disaster for democracy.

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Starmer’s whip cracks and his MPs start walking away from legalisation of crimes like rape by government agents

Bungler: perhaps Keir Starmer thought his decision to support a law that allows government agents to murder, torture and rape people with no fear of prosecution was a show of power. All it will do is turn more people away from the hollow shell he has made of the Labour Party.

Keir Starmer has gone too far and Labour MPs know it.

That’s how This Writer reads the groundbreaking resignation from the party’s frontbench team of rising star Dan Carden.

The now-former shadow chief secretary to the Treasury has only just distinguished himself in Parliament with this speech attacking Tory corruption and cronyism, taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to award themselves and their businesses huge wodges of public money in return for – well, nothing:

Now, after being told that Starmer is whipping Labour to abstain on the heinous Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, he has announced that he will vote with his conscience – and resigned his post as a shadow minister.

He is quite right to do so. Starmer has lied repeatedly about this – or he has been wildly mistaken about what he could achieve.

First he told Labour MPs to abstain on the second reading of the Bill – allowing it to progress through Parliament when a concerted effort by all Labour MPs could have stopped it on the spot.

He told his MPs that there would be a chance to change the Bill, tightening up controls on the kind of crimes that could be committed and the circumstances in which they would be allowed. That has not happened.

And he told his MPs that they would be able to vote against the Bill if attempts to amend it failed. We see now that he is not going to allow this after all.

So Mr Carden did the honourable thing:

Take note of the words in his letter. He states that Starmer has “settled” on his position on “legislation that sets dangerous new precedents on the rule of law and civil liberties in this country”.

He’s saying that, in effect, Starmer is supporting a law that will harm our freedom.

The letter also states that in supporting the harm that will be done to us, Starmer’s position is at odds with the vast majority of his party: “I share the deep concerns about this legislation from across the Labour Movement, human rights organisations, and so many who have suffered the abuse of state power, from blacklisted workers to the Hillsborough families and survivors.”

Mention of the Hillsborough tragedy is particularly telling: in supporting this Bill, then, Starmer is setting himself against the Hillsborough families and survivors – and everybody who supports them and their struggle for justice.

That is not a good look for a lawyer!

The Third Reading vote on the CHIS Bill is this evening (October 15).

Labour-voting members of the public will judge their MPs by whether they support Starmer, or if they choose to support justice instead.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Cummings council tax: a form letter for your local authority

Where he belongs: but Dominic Cummings (and his family) seem able to get away with anything because of his connection with Boris Johnson.

The family of Dominic Cummings has been allowed to avoid paying historical council tax on several properties built on their land without planning permission, it has been revealed.

What a great opportunity for the rest of us!

It seems clear that every other council taxpayer in the UK should write to their local authority’s council tax department, demanding appropriately similar treatment. The text could run something like this:

To whom it may concern,

I read with pleasure that a family in Durham has received an effective Council Tax rebate of £30,000. What a boost for them in these Covid-19-blighted times – and on properties without planning permission, too!

write to request delivery of my own council tax rebate. While I accept that this may be adjusted down according to the council tax band in which my dwelling falls, I expect I must be due a considerable amount more than the family in Durham – because my dwelling does have planning permission.

It has occurred to me that the rebate may not be applied to my area, but only to families in Durham – but that would make no sense, would it? Why would one area receive preferential treatment? We’re all in this together, after all – or at least, that’s what we’re told!

I look forward to your reply by return of post, stating the amount of rebate to which I am due for my property, along with notification of the transfer to my bank.

Alternatively, you’d better be able to explain why a wealthy family of lawbreakers is being rewarded, rather than punished, for breaking planning laws and hiding the fact for 18 years, when the rest of us have to pay.

With regards,

(And so on.)

The injustice is clear – just think about Melanie Woolcock, the single mother who defaulted on her council tax because she wasn’t well enough to work and the Tory benefit system paid so little that she could not afford to pay the amount outstanding and buy food.

She was arrested for non-payment of £4,742 in council tax – less than one-sixth of what Cummings’s family is said to have owed – and forced to serve an 81-day prison sentence.

Between her and the Cummings family, who do you think deserves leniency?

It’s not even up for question, is it? Yet in Boris Johnson’s Britain, his adviser’s rich family walk free while the sick woman went to jail for the crime of being poor.

This latest scandal has sparked a wave of outrage – and a few alternative proposals:

Source: Dominic Cummings allowed to avoid backdated council tax on second home | Politics | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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