Tag Archives: international

Police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’. What about the Tories – and Murdoch?

The disgrace – no, the word ‘disgrace’ isn’t strong enough: this is the Sun story that mentally scarred survivors of the Hillsborough disaster and the families of those who died. It wasn’t ‘The Truth’ at all; it was a pack of lies.

More than five years after a jury ruled that 96 people were killed unlawfully in the Hillsborough disaster – and that their behaviour did not contribute to the situation – police forces have agreed to pay compensation to more than 600 people for mental distress caused by the attempted cover-up.

I have two questions.

Firstly: why did it take so long for South Yorkshire and West Midlands police to agree to pay up?

Secondly: Why aren’t the Conservative Party and Rupert Murdoch’s News International paying compensation, too?

Let’s go into the circumstances:

We all know that the Hillsborough Disaster was a fatal human crush at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, hosted at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989.

It happened due to gross negligence by match commander David Duckenfield of South Yorkshire Police.

The police service then attempted to hide the fact that its failures caused 96 deaths and 766 injuries – the worst disaster in UK sporting history – by trying to blame it on the fans who were injured and died, saying those people caused the tragedy by being drunk and misbehaving.

West Midlands was the force appointed to investigate the disaster, but has since been accused of malpractices and failures that have been subject to a long-running investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Not only that, though: the prime minister of the day, the Conservative Margaret Thatcher, refused to release information that made the police look bad.

And The Sun, a newspaper published by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, published a story headlined The Truth that was nothing but a pack of lies, supporting the fantasy created by the police.

This Writer believes a strong argument could be made that the newspaper story – which led to The Sun being boycotted in Liverpool ever since – caused more distress, more anguish, to survivors, and to relatives and friends of the deceased, than the police cover-up on which it was based (although I know it could not have been written if the police and the Tory prime minister had not lied in the first place).

Civil claims for compensation due to malfeasance in public office by the two police forces were submitted in 2015, during inquests into the reasons the 96 died.

The claimants said the lies had caused them to suffer trauma and psychiatric damage, and the compensation is to cover not only those injuries but also the cost of treatment and counselling.

Those claims were made nearly six years ago and the payments haven’t been made yet (at the time of writing). So I repeat: why not?

And how much are these people getting, to make one of the claimants describe the payout as “insulting” in The Guardian‘s news article about it?

The behaviour of the police was shocking, and undermines public faith in the reliability of our law enforcement officers across the UK – not just in the forces concerned.

But – as mentioned above – they weren’t the only organisations caught lying; they weren’t the only people who deliberately caused further distress over Hillsborough.

Margaret Thatcher withheld information – which was as bad as lying because it presented a false impression that the police were blameless.

She was able to do so because she was prime minister at the time – and she was prime minister because she was leader of the Conservative Party that had formed the then-current government.

She died in 2013 but it seems perfectly reasonable to hold the Tories responsible for putting her in a position where she could distort the facts.  Why has the Conservative Party avoided compensating these people?

And that Sun headline has gone down in the history of journalistic infamy. The disgust of the city of Liverpool – in perpetuity – is not enough. Why has News International not offered compensation as well?

All three of these organisations should have offered payouts voluntarily, considering the enormity of the harm they have done, but they didn’t.

The police are only paying up because they were forced to.

Perhaps that aspect of this tragedy is the most damning of all.

Source: South Yorkshire and West Midlands police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’ | Hillsborough disaster | The Guardian

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Fury as Patel interferes with independence of report into private detective’s murder

Daniel Morgan: Priti Patel wants to interfere with a report into the murder of a man who had been investigating police corruption. Now, why would she want to do that?

Nothing screams “cover up” quite so loudly as a Home Secretary interfering in the publication of an independent report – especially when it is on the murder of a detective investigating police corruption.

This Writer has been reporting on the murder of Daniel Morgan, practically since I started working on newspapers, and the lack of progress in his case indicates either a monumental failure – or monumental obstruction.

His body was found in a south London car park with an axe embedded in its head in 1987.

The motive for the murder has not been established. Some believe it resulted from a business dispute but following a fresh investigation the Met announced in 2007 that the motive for the murder was probably that Morgan “was about to expose a south London drugs network possibly involving corrupt police officers”.

There are claims that corruption in Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire is also linked to the case.

The independent Morgan panel was set up in 2013 to investigate “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the former News of the World and other parts of the media, and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them.”

Its terms of reference included “police involvement in the murder; the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder … and the failure to confront that corruption”.

And now Priti Patel, the government minister responsible for the police, is refusing to allow the report of an independent inquiry into his murder to be published until she has vetted it, despite not having the right to do so.

It seems she wants to black out any part of the report she says might affect national security or human rights obligations.

The Morgan panel, responsible for the report, has issued a statement attacking the intervention in the strongest possible terms.

It said it had been told the report would not be made public until it agreed to the pre-publication review by government, which breaches the understanding it has about its independence.

The panel claimed the Home Office wanted the right to black out any part of the report it considered may breach “national security” or human rights obligations.

“The Panel was informed yesterday (Monday 17 May) that a publication date will not be agreed until the home secretary and Home Office officials and lawyers have reviewed the contents of the Panel’s Report,” its statement said.

“A review of this nature has not been raised previously in the eight years since the panel was established in 2013.”

It added: “The panel believes that this last-minute requirement is unnecessary and is not consistent with the panel’s independence.”

It said: “The panel is disappointed with this position and hopes the matter can be resolved in adequate time for its report to still be published in May while parliament is sitting.”

And it said a senior team from the Metropolitan police had already checked to ensure there was nothing in the final report that jeopardised security.

The Home Office statement on the matter is contradictory.

It states: “The home secretary … has an obligation to make sure the report complies with human rights and national security considerations. This has nothing to do with the independence of the report and the Home Office is not seeking to make edits to it.”

But if Patel is planning to alter the report – in any way – before the public can see it, then she is seeking to edit it.

Daniel Morgan’s brother Alistair has said the panel should take a case to the High Court, to protect its independence.

Let’s hope it does. This case has been going on for long enough that another slight delay won’t make much difference – and resisting Patel’s interference could make the difference between finally having a conclusion and suffering another grubby cover-up.

Source: Anger as Patel delays publication of report into private detective’s murder | Police | The Guardian

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Jeremy Corbyn has trumped his Labour Party haters – this is what happens when you try to knock a good man down

Peace and Justice: Jeremy Corbyn announces his new project in a video clip on Facebook.

Keir Starmer must be feeling sick.

After everything Starmer has done to sideline Jeremy Corbyn, to discredit his politics and to remove both him and socialists like him from the Labour Party, the former Labour leader has come back with an ambitious project to link like-minded people internationally.

He is not only lighting a new way forward; he is leading it.

And he was working on this, we see, from the moment he relinquished his role as Labour leader – possibly from even earlier.

But don’t take it from me – here’s the absolute boy himself:

Already, established (but probably not Establishment) figures have been lining up to support the new project:

This Writer has signed up to take part in the launch event because it touches on a large number of ideas that interest me deeply. I was only recently discussing on the social media the possibility of linking up with like-minded people internationally to share information on how to cope with universal challenges.

Of course, there are likely to be some detractors. I saw this, already:

The replies seem to be overwhelmingly spitting hate at Corbyn, indicating that they haven’t cottoned on to the fact that it is the association with Tony Blair that should be considered toxic.

(I wonder if Peston realised this when he wrote it?)

No doubt much more will be said to put this idea down.

But I intend to keep an open mind and I urge you to do the same.

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Looking after their chums: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s business partner gets senior trade role

Rees-Mogg: one of his business chums just landed a job in the government, for no very good reason.

Isn’t it strange how Tories say they hate socialism – but practise it all the time, albeit limited to just themselves and their chums.

We’ve got seriously straitened times coming, and the Tory response has been to hand billions of pounds, that was intended to cope with Coronavirus, to their friends under false pretences.

And those chums to whom they couldn’t hand over massive gobbets of public cash got public jobs instead – like this one:

Abusiness partner of Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is also a former vice-chair of the Conservative Party, has been appointed to a senior role at the Department for International Trade.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss announced that Dominic Johnson, CEO of Somerset Capital Management, will be joining the DIT non-executive board, and will chair the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.

It seems this Johnson’s qualification for the job is knowing Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Can you imagine the fuss they would make if anybody else adopted these corrupt practices?

Source: Chumocracy: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Business Partner Appointed to Senior Trade Role – Byline Times

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Johnson told to drop parts of plan to break international law – after Lords defeat

It seems Boris Johnson is living up to his new nickname as a #ShapeShiftingCreep once again.

He has just suffered a major defeat in his plan to break international law – contradicting his own EU Withdrawal Agreement, signed in January – after the House of Lords carved huge chunks out of his Internal Markets Bill before sending it back to him:

According to the Huffington Post:

Peers voted by 433 to 165 to strip out clauses in the Internal Market Bill which would allow the UK to renege on its obligations in the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU.

The defeat, one of the largest of any government in the Lords since hereditary peers were slimmed down in the 1990s, means that Johnson will have to weigh up whether to reinsert the clause in the House of Commons next month.

In another overwhelming show of strength, the Lords also voted by 407 to 148 to remove any breach of the northern Ireland protocol in the EU withdrawal treaty.

Senior Tories went on to tell Johnson his best course of action is to “quietly drop” those parts of the Bill that the Lords have excised.

The Evening Standard said Tories including Theresa May’s ex-chief of staff Gavin Barwell, former chancellor Ken Clarke and former Conservative Party leaders William Hague and Michael Howard all voted against Johnson’s government:

Lord Barwell told the Standard: “I don’t see any positives that come from those clauses.

He said the clauses were affecting the UK’s ability to get a trade deal with the EU and “rule out” any possible trade deal with the US while “damaging relations” with the new Joe Biden administration [in the United States].

After the vote, Johnson’s government insisted it would not back down and would re-table the clauses when the bill returns to the Commons in December.

Ah… but then there was the issue of Joe Biden. The new US president, who claims Irish ancestry, has said he will take an extremely dim view of any UK legislation that harms the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

And it seems certain that he would have made that clear when Johnson telephoned to congratulate him on his win in the presidential election:

Johnson now faces a hard choice: reinstate the controversial – illegal – clauses and face the wrath of Biden, or quietly let them drop and face ridicule here in the UK.

He is a weak prime minister – who allows public perception to sway his decisions. I think we all know how this will end.

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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

Tory Hoare branded a ‘coward’ for plan to abstain on Bill that threatens peace in Northern Ireland

Should it say or should it go? “Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, and the Good Friday Agreement demands that its border with the Republic of Ireland be kept open. Brexit would make that impossible without the conditions in the EU Withdrawal Agreement that provide the province with a special status. But the Internal Market Bill illegally overwrites those conditions.” Isn’t Boris Johnson pushing NI towards re-integration with the Republic?

The Conservative chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland select committee is currently taking a drubbing on Twitter after he announced he will abstain on the Third Reading of the Internal Market Bill that threatens the peace there, rather than opposing it outright.

Simon Hoare tweeted that information from the US Congress that its members would not permit any free trade agreements with the United Kingdom. He seemed to believe that this was justification for him to abstain, rather than oppose the Bill that breaks international law by overruling the EU Withdrawal Agreement on trade borders around NI.

Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, and the Good Friday Agreement demands that its border with the Republic of Ireland be kept open. Brexit would make that impossible without the conditions in the EU Withdrawal Agreement that provide the province with a special status. But the Internal Market Bill illegally overwrites those conditions.

In abstaining on the Bill, Hoare is effectively saying that he does not want to express an opinion on it – even though he knows it will be harmful to peace in Northern Ireland, and to the Union. It is the position of a coward who is afraid to take a stand when his bosses do the wrong thing.

Even if he really didn’t know that, he is being told it in no uncertain terms:

If he does abstain, Spineless Simon should be ashamed to call himself a human being.

I wonder how many Conservatives will follow his example – doing just enough to salve their miniscule consciences without actually stopping the Bill?

Abstention means allowing Boris Johnson to break international law.

And it means an end to peace in Northern Ireland.

When violence breaks out again, after Johnson does whatever he’s planning to do to the Northern Ireland border, Simon Hoare and all other Tory abstainers will be responsible.

But then we know from past experience that Tories are perfectly comfortable to sit in Parliament with blood dripping from their hands.

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How long until Gove’s ‘safety net’ that breaks international law becomes ‘the right thing to do’?

Michael Gove: This Site has better pictures but the Spitting Image dummy reflects his shifty personality so well that it is hard to find an excuse not to use it.

Michael Gove is living evidence that you can get further by talking nonsense constantly than by rational behaviour.

He has just said that talks on implementing the EU withdrawal agreement are at a “healthy stage”.

That’s odd, when the EU side is that the UK’s negotiating position is still “far apart from what the EU can accept”.

The issue is the Internal Markets Bill – or at least those parts of it that override the EU withdrawal agreement where it concerns customs borders in Northern Ireland.

The European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic… said there was a “window of opportunity” to come to an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol, but added that was “rapidly closing”.

And that’s what Gove calls a “healthy stage”!

Mr Sefcovic says the EU wants the UK to remove the “contentious parts” of the bill by the end of September – that’s Wednesday.

He said the EU would “not be shy” in using “legal remedies” written into the withdrawal agreement to address any “violations”.

What do you reckon the chances are that the EU will have to use those remedies – and that when it happens, Gove and the other Tories will say the EU is to blame for the failure of the Withdrawal Agreement?

Source: Michael Gove: Brexit provisions to stay in Internal Market Bill – BBC News

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Braverman’s disgrace is Johnson’s shame: attorney-general defends law-breaking with nationalistic nonsense

Suella Braverman: her latest appearance in the Commons made her look like a child showing off in front of her elders.

Suella Braverman has once again provided ample evidence to support her removal from the post of Attorney-General.

See if you can watch her ridiculous response to Labour’s shadow solicitor general Ellie Reeves without feeling the bile rise:

All Ms Reeves did was to ask what Braverman had done to defend the rule of law, considering that the Johnson government intends to break it – at an international level – with its Internal Markets Bill.

So why did Braverman start her answer by accusing Reeves of being “emotional”? Was she just throwing a dead cat on the table at the start, because she knew she didn’t have anything to say for herself?

Braverman went on to say that the Bill “protects our country and it safeguards the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, which is saying the same thing twice without explaining why.

Then she appealed to patriotism – the refuge of the jingoistic airhead. There is nothing patriotic about breaking the law. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“How can she call herself an MP,” demanded Braverman, “and at the same time vote against a Bill that defends the unity of our country…”

It doesn’t.

“… maintains peace in Northern Ireland…”

It won’t.

“… and enables the United Kingdom… to thrive.”

It can’t.

The breach of international law means other countries will not trust the UK and will not want to do business here. Already the US Congress has indicated that it will not support a free trade agreement with the UK if the Internal Markets Bill is approved.

And the body language defies belief. Methinks the lady doth protest too much, as Shakespeare once wrote.

Reeves’s response was restrained, under the circumstances.

Others have been less so:

The SNP’s justice spokesperson went further than Ellie Reeves – he called for Braverman’s resignation over the plan to breach international law.

In response, she actually said it was lawful to break the law. See for yourself:

It isn’t.

It might be possible to do it – to pass a law that makes a breach of international law inevitable – but that doesn’t mean that it is permissible to do so.

Stuart C McDonald is therefore entirely correct: Braverman should resign.

She won’t – but she should. The fact that she is in that post at all is a shows Boris Johnson’s contempt for the law.

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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#ToryLawBreakers: the 340 MPs who voted like sheep to turn the UK into a rogue state

It’s all about Brexit: Johnson’s Internal Market Bill will break international law by contradicting the Withdrawal Agreement he signed with the EU.

It is as This Writer predicted – despite the many contradictory justifications Boris Johnson provided for his international law-breaking Internal Market Bill, no fewer than 339 of the 363 other Conservative MPs voted with him to ruin the UK’s reputation for many years to come.

You can read some of the arguments against Johnson’s nonsense Bill here.

And Labour’s Ed Miliband made a spectacular speech trashing Johnson here.

But it was not enough to stop hundreds of Tory MPs following Johnson mindlessly through the “Aye” lobby. Clearly they had been told to do it and have no ability to think for themselves.

Voters should remember this when they finally return to the polls in four years’ time (if we’re lucky). To help you all out, there follows a list of the offenders, courtesy of Hansard.

If your MP is among these offenders, make sure everybody in your constituency knows about it, and what it means. They should be barred from government – of any kind – at the earliest opportunity.

Here’s the list of shame:

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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Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook