1st June 2014
For us it was the Icelandic volcano Eyjagjallajokull which erupted affecting air traffic, on Friday it was Sangeang Api in Indonesia. For the northern hemisphere the event occured on 14th April 2010, as I record in chapter seven of my book and about six weeks after I posted my 1st March notes to politicians, journalists and public figures in Britain and America. In our case all European air space was shut for eight days bringing disruption to millions of intending passengers. Today the effects are a lot weaker. Three airlines so far have cancelled some flights from central Singapore and Bali to Australia.
I have not heard of it before but after listening to the evening radio news last night I see Five Power Defence Arrangements were set up by the Commonwealth countries of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia in 1971. A meeting of the group is currently taking place in Singapore. Besides US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking to their Prime Minister, Philp Hammond and his counterparts are too.
There was a fatal shooting in Brussels on 24th May 2014 where 42,000 Jews live. It was at the Jewish Museum in the Belgium capital. Three people died, a Jewish couple and a volunteer worker. Today a French suspect, who has been fighting in Syria apparently, was arrested when he got off a bus in Marseille which had travelled from Brussels.
Viewing the world I feel is all about assessing the hidden power plays taking place under the surface. The Gang have been in charge for so long it is really refreshing to see them going onto the back foot. And I think it could be that force of positive emotion which is making the difference.
A sergeant in the US army, captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan nearly five years ago, has just been handed over by them to US Special Forces in the south east of the country. In return the Taliban have had five of their prisoners given back. It is a good news story for both sides. The swap has been brokered by Qatar where the Asian men will stay for the next year. The Taliban’s supreme leader had called it a victory. President Obama has tugged at the emotions of his citizens but in a totally appropriate way. He says the army man was not forgotten by his family, his community nor the US military. As far as America is concerned it never leaves it’s men and women in uniform behind. There will now be a political backlash no doubt. The Taliban prisoners have been taken from Guantanamo Bay without giving the required 30 day notice to Congress. The freedom fighters may well eventually find their way back to the battlefield. However Mr Obama is confident he can deal with the criticism of all comers.
I have just watched the video clip of the President and the two parents, Mr and Mrs Bergdahl, speak on the White House steps. It doesn’t happen to me too often I am pleased to say but tears have come down my cheeks. As Kenny Everett might once have said it was all done in the best possible taste. The parents’ words came from their own hearts, no one else’s. They were so composed and dignified. It would never have happened like that unless they had been treated in exactly the right way behind the scenes.
Qatar is a small coastal mainly Sunni Muslim kingdom of under 2 million people, the majority of whom are immigrants. It has immense reserves of oil and gas so can afford to be independent. The Taliban have official representation there. It is the base of al-Jazeera and backed Mohammed Morsi as Eyptian president. It is in the news today for two completely separate reasons.
After an expose in yesterday’s Sunday times it seems highly likely it received the nomination for the 2022 World Cup after paying out some £3 million in bribes to Fifa and other officials. The bandwagon of outrage about that is only just beginning but it seems quite likely there will be a re-run of the nomination process. Then it was the go between in facilitating the release of Bowe Bergdahl who, by all accounts, has been psychologically unwell abroad. I have heard that Barack Obama personally rang the Emir to thank him for his help in sorting that out. I don’t see there being any news manipulation there. It is a genuine coincidence.
As it was I didn’t need my car last Wednesday and today I booked in my windscreen replacement at home for next week. The normal cost would be £250. The excess on my insurance is £75 which I will have to meet with the my insurer covering the rest. When I was speaking to the chap he said I would have to pay my bit at the end of the call. Having been brought up to belive you pay for work when it has been done I thought he meant the visit. In fact he was referring to the telephone call. When the confusion was sorted out he asked me if that was alright. It immediately flashed up in my mind that if I refused the job wouldn’t be done. It was a bit of a pointless question. However I didn’t say anything.
I have just watched the Panorama programme on Jimmy Saville. In another context you might call him a lovable rouge. He was odd. If I could see that from the television as I grew up it is impossible to believe eyeryone else did not. He should have been protected from himself. It is a crying shame no one in authority ever took him to one side and told him to watch himself. That might be all he needed. As it was those who should have known better were in some form of group collective denial.
Jim Naughtie was being interviewed on Today this morning in his capacity as correspondent for the Scottish referendum. Conservatives are now saying more power should be devolved to the Scottish parliament, including the right to raise taxes. Jim made the point that the vote is about hearts and heads. Voters who have already decided are folowing their emotions. The parties are now fighting over those who have stronger cognitative qualities. That constituency need persuading by the arguments.
It seems likely that Nigel Farage will be standing as a parliamentary candidate for South Thanet, covering the towns of Sandwich, Broadstairs and Ramsgate next year. The programme sent a reporter down to speak to local people. Politics in the area is in a real state of flux at the moment. I wrote about the culture of the local council on 20th November 2013. Since then a peer review process has taken place involving officials from other councils. Members were told in April 2014 they needed to do something about their toxic, homophobic behaviour. A few weeks later the Labour leader of the council resigned saying he had had enough. It is hardly surprising then perhaps that in last year’s May county council elections Ukip won seven of the eight available seats. And that it is the sort of place Mr Farage feels he has a sporting chance of victory next May.
13 year old Genette Tate disappeared on her newspaper round in Aylesbeare, Devon in 1978. Her body has never been found and no one ever charged for her likely murder although Devon and Cornwall Constabulary do have a suspect. They are now reviewing the position to see if there is anything further they can do. Her father was on the edition. He said at one point in the investigations the police wanted a sample of Genette’s DNA but were having no luck obtaining it. Then a new lady Chief Constable took up her post. She got it within a fortnight. She came at the problem from a completely different direction and it worked immediately.
The radio news reported a man saying he had witnessed a group of three Muslim governors in 2007 working in a concerted way to undermine the head teacher in a Birmingham school. He believes they wanted to intoduce their own values in operation of the establishment. It was so bad the head decided to leave.
More than 1700 mental health beds have been removed from the NHS since 2011. The next item said the position has now been reached where some psychiatrists are using the powers of the Mental Health Act to legally detain a patient when that is not the appropriate treatment for them. It means they can then pressurise a hospital into providing accommodation for their charge. You can see why it happens but it is still wrong. I imagine some patients and relatives find the label extremely distressing. It is game playing interfering with a citizen’s human rights. A civilised society should not act like that.
The editorial of last Monday’s FT records that Narenda Modi, India’s new prime minister, has hit the ground running in reaching out to his region. He is obviously thinking how his country will develop in the world. Then on the opposite page Edward Luce mentions that Mr Modi is personally very resentful towards America for refusing him a visa in 2005. He is accused of encouraging the Hindu violence against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 when over 1000 people died, which he obviously feels is unfair. Something there, I think, for Mr Obama to work on.
3rd June 2014
Yesterday King Juan Carlos announced he has decided to abdicate the Spanish throne. A change in legislation will be needed to allow that which will probably take a couple of weeks. He will be acceded by his 45 year old son, Crown Prince Felipe. The Belgian King abdicated in July 2013 to let in new blood and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands did the same in April 2013. I hope our Queen doesn’t follow the lead. I suspect King Carlos’ motive was much the same as for the former Archbishop of Canterbury who left in December 2012 and the previous Pope who exited the stage in February 2013. They felt that perhaps they had made some less than perfect decisions in the past and thought it best to hand the baton on to someone new.
Voting is now taking place in about half of Syria for a new President. It was covered on Today this morning. Where the government is in control, in the large populated areas, polling is going well. Out in the countryside it is non existent. One such place is around the regional centre of Raqqa where radical Muslim rebels are totally in control. The progamme made a dinstinction between the leaders of the Syrian National Coalition, staying in Lebanese hotels, and those fighters actually on the ground in Syria with the people. Those men perhaps have the greatest legitimacy because residents see them as their protectors. Many in the Muslim Front are fundamentalist in their views but some will also hold political ambition. It seems to me those ones should be encouraged.
I wrote about the MQM Pakistani political party on 19th May 2013. A BBC webpage reports today that it’s leader, living in London since 1991, has been arrested on suspicion of money laundering. There was an angry reaction in his polical stronghold of Karachi where 12 vehicles were set alight.
I think it is really good that if President Obama wants to go off somewhere he makes a few phone calls, fills up Air Force One and away he goes. At the moment he is on an European trip with Belgium and France on the itinerary. Today he is in Poland where he has announced the European Reassurance Initiative. $100 billion of American money will be used to increase their military presence in Eupore, in response to Russia’s recent actions. He said the security of Nato allies on the continent is sacrosanct to his country.
There was a professor on the World at One at lunchtime who has written a letter to the Daily Telegraph with some 30 colleagues about the allocation of funding for academic research and ongoing projects. Apparently the bureaucratic system works pretty well, using a consensus of experts approach, except when a really unusual idea comes up. It means all the grant decisions end up being for sensible, conservative advancement. The trouble with that, the man said, was that great leaps forward in the understanding of our world, as for example when Max Planck thought of quantum theory, are highly unlikely to ever happen again. David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister, was also on. He didn’t think much of the argument at all.
None of us are perfect. It is always easy to be wise after the event. Yet I do agree with Brooks Newmark on the programme that we really didn’t help the ordinary citizens of Syria very well when their civil war started in March 2011. Mr Newmark is chair of the all party Friends of Syria Commons group. He says if we had given the moderate opposition our full support in the first 12 months of the uprising we wouldn’t be where we are now. We wanted to think they would win on their own and they didn’t. In the same section of the broadcast a journalist said the turning point came at the beginning of 2013. With some hidden strategic advice from the Gang in my view the regime decided to elicit the help of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and conserve their reasources on areas it was important for them to hold. The government now holds 40% of the land mass of the country. The only way forward I feel is political.
I hadn’t realised until I read last Tuesday’s FT today quite how well Mario Renzi’s Democratic Party did in last week’s EU elections. They won 41% of the Italian vote, with Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement obtaining 21% and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia 17%. In the past I have tended to think of Italy as a demoralised country. With that flush of success I hope Mr Renzi can push through some really positive reforms.
I see from Wikipedia that Levant is a word in existence for centuries. It refers to lands at the east of the Mediterranean sea. As such it includes Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. No doubt that is why the most extreme religous fighters in the region call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS. They don’t recognise the existing national boundaries. They want the whole lot for themselves. That is the Gang way I am afraid. They make you feel anything is possible. And if you can make all the national leaders around you tremble a little so much the better.
Borzou Daragahi wrote along that theme in the next day’s FT. His annotated map shows how fighting groups move across borders from Baghdad to Damascus, past Beirut to Aleppo. Shia go one way, Sunni the other. And the Kurds of course don’t recognise Turkish-Iraq border either.
4th June 2014
The Birminghan schools trojan horse letter story is already producing fallout even though the Ofsted reports aren’t due to be released until next week. The teaching centres themselves however have received them and leaks are occuring. Then there has been a disagreement, according to the BBC’s Nick Robinson, in a cabinet committee looking into the general subject of extremism. Mr Gove apparently, at the Education Department, thinks that sort of thing should be nipped in the bud. Mrs May, for the Home Office, believes there is no harm in taking a relaxed approach until radicalism in people is obvious. In the group private conversations Mrs May’s views prevailed I understand. Mr Gove, unwisely in my view if it is correct, decided to brief the media that he was not happy. He spoke to the Sunday Times. The Home Office, in typical Gang fashion, got wind of that and published a letter on their website which Mrs May had written to the Education Department asking why the Birmingham schools fiasco had reached the stage it has. That, she points out, is their problem not hers. In a way quite unedifying but I don’t feel any great harm has been done. Grown up people get passionate about things and disagree sometimes. None of us should be surprised by that.
I was quite critical of Angela Eagle on 13th May 2014. For balance I feel I should also record she appeared on Today this morning in relation to The Queen’s Speech being read later. She was in combative mood. She had not read any draft so she was not going to pre-judge. However her job is to point out flaws in government policy and that she will do.
A strange story has come up this evening about a forthcoming terrorist trial which the Crown Prosecution Service wants to keep secret on the grounds of national security. Thankfully sufficient of the media think that wrong, allowing a challenge to be raised in the Court of Appeal. The decision will be received later. It seems obvious the state are panicking about how the public will see things. It must either be who they are or what they were planning, or a combination of both. We do not live in a secret society. We deserve to be told.
Jean Claude Juncker, the former Luxembourg prime minister, has been in the news over the last couple of days. He is the establishment’s choice to be the next President of the European Commission. Mr Cameron wants someone else. Everyone agrees the choice is crucial because of the changes needed in the EU after the recent election results. Mrs Merkel is the key player. I suspect it was her personal decision to introduce the name of Christine Lagarde, the current IMF chief, into the frame. She would tick quite a few boxes. She is female, French and most importantly of all I believe, has a good appreciation of Gang influences.
5th June 2014
I last wrote about Ann Barnes on 20th May 2014. I also penned a later private diary note after I had watched her on the Channel 4 programme. She has been up before the beak today in the form of her Crime Panel. She says it was not her intention to upset anybody. She now wishes she hadn’t agreed to do the programme. It was a mistake. The chair said she needs to pull her socks up. They will see her again next month.
I wrote a note on 3rd April 2014 about PPI insurance and how some banks were getting out of paying full compenstaion by making dubious assumptions. The BBC report this morning that those practices, by such mainstream banks as Lloyds, Barclays and MBNA, are much more widespread than previously thought. The total sum being held back apparently could be in the region of £1 billion. The Financial Ombudsman Service is looking into the allegations.
I should probably have done a bit more research before writing my note about President Obama on Tuesday. Although it wasn’t a big error the BBC webpage I looked at did not give any reason why he had come over to Europe and I am trying to spend less time on my diary. Essentially though I don’t feel it is wise for me to significantly change a note once it has been written. The Gang will see I have done that and it could cause unforeseen consequences for people. I suspect the Gang Master would look upon any substantive alterations as acts of weakness.
Anyway it was always known the President would be here for the G7 Summit in Brussels this week and the ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy. Yesterday he met with the president elect of Ukraine in Warsaw. He will not be seeing President Putin at all but I heard on Today this morning that the Russian chief is already in Paris for tomorrow’s commemorations. He will be meeting with Francois Holland and David Cameron this evening.
The Justice Minister, Chris Grayling, was on the programme and I thought he spoke very wisely about the secret terror trial case. He confirmed that the government are not involved at all. No pressure is being put on our independent judiciary. He trusts the judges to come to the right decision, on behalf of us all, and expects the rest of us to see it like that as well. On the darker side I understand parts of the CPS have been suggesting they will not go ahead with the case unless they get the secrecy they desire. That is blackmail, pure and simple.
Professor Richard Dawkins in an ardent atheist. There is nothing wrong with that of course but he does seem to go around rubbing people up the wrong way. From the broadcast I understand he has been doing it at this week’s Cheltenham Science Festival. Apparently he has said we should not tell children fairy stories. They have no basis in reality. I think Professor Dawkins must have forgotten he was a child once. And how magically uplifting such whimsical tales should have been for him.
I found it extremely informative listening to Hazel Blears on the edition about the Muslim extremism story. She currently sits on the Intelligence and Security Committee and is leaving the Commons at the next election for family reasons. She says David Cameron set out clearly his views on the subject at his Munich Security Conference speech in February 2011. Extremism is not faith based. Just because many extremists are Muslims does not mean most Muslims are extremists. It is that false thought process which is leading many Muslims to feel victimised in Birmingham today. She wants young people who live there to learn the resiliance to be able to combat harsh ideology. She also mentioned that the cabinet committee, chaired by Mr Cameron and on which Mr Gove and Mrs May sit, is called the Extremism Task Force. The Prime Minister created it after the murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013.
Yesterday evening Mr Cameron asked for a full acount of the reported differences and actions between Mrs May and Mr Gove. I imagine he wants to find out what has been going on outside of his vision, away from the cabinet meeting room.
I hope she isn’t right but Gillian Tett was raising a red flag about the state of financial markets at the moment, in last Friday’s FT. It seems things are unusually quiet. There is no volatility as you would normally find at this stage in the economic cycle. Typically some are optimistic, others less so. Prices go up and down. But now we seem becalmed. That could be because people feel reassured about the future. Or it might be they have become paralysed. Central bankers have called the shots for so long risk takers just don’t know what they should be doing. Gillian says there are similarities to 2007. Once lemmings rush towards the cliff no one can stop them.
6th June 2014
A BBC webpage this morning is writing about the shooting dead of three police officers in Canada. There is a statistical table there. It shows the USA as top with 3.51 homocide firearms deaths every year per 100,000 of population. Switzerland is next with 0.52 and Canada third at 0.49. We have 0.06 nearly a sixtieth of America’s rate. The States have a real problem with their gun culture.
With everyone in Paris at the moment I have just heard Christine Lagarde say on the World at One she is not interested in the European Commission President job. She is happy at the IMF and wants to see her task there through.
The main contender, Claude Juncker, is apparently being staked out by the British Press. Paparazzi are on the pavement and sitting in trees outside his house with zoom cameras. Many over here say we don’t want to be part of the EU. With behaviour like that I am pretty surprised they still want us.
A premature baby has died, and several have become ill, after receiving contaminated intravenous feed in hospital. I am pleased to see the knives are not out for the small health manufacturer of the product. When the Gang do a horrible thing like that there is no point in blaming the proxies they choose to use. I saw the managing director of the company make a statement in front of the cameras. Obviously behind the scenes it was accepted all their quality control procedured were in order. She said she was extremely saddened by the situation. She will be meeting with the parents of the dead baby to express her condolences.
World leaders are keeping up the pressure on Vladimir Putin. He has been told that unless he gets his relations with Ukraine on track further economic sanctions are in the pipeline. There is a photo on a BBC webpage at the moment showing him speaking outside with Petro Poroshenk in the presence of Angela Merkel. I suspect it wasn’t as accidental as it looks. Russia and Ukraine have agreed to start talks for a ceasefire involving the countries.
Vodaphone has issued what they call a transparency report today. It says that in nine, out of 29, countries where it operates government security agencies have listened directly to calls over it’s network. The laws of the jurisdictions concerned make it legal for that to happen and equally they forbid Vodaphone from telling us who they are. Nevertheless I hope that information will come out in due course.
I see from last Saturday’s FT that the owner of the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, Australian Land Lease, is venturing into public sector projects. It is going to build a £151 million super prison on the site of an old tyre factory in Wrexham. It will open in late 2017.
In his article in the Life and Arts section Tyler Brule was writing about a business trip he has made to Germany. The whole place has a different feel to the UK. The term he uses is proper. When I shake hands with women I often find their hands are limp and seem to point downwards. I do not understand why that is. However Tyler was saying invariably German women give a firm handshake and look you in the eyes. I suspect one reason for it being so different there could be because the country has never been subject to any American Gang influence worth speaking of.
In a given population you will always get some people with the genetic makeup, in my view, which makes them want to do the right thing, irrespective of the consequnces. The Gang will always deal with them in the same way. The Magazine had a feature on three Wall Street whistleblowers. One was a former compliance officer with the bank JPMorgan Chase. In 2003 he noticed that his employer wasn’t giving the information to the authorities it should have been to assist them in a regulatory investigation. He raised his concerns and was demoted. He went higher up the tree within the bank. Still nothing, so he went to the regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission. One morning he went into work and could not access his computer applications. Then security men walked to his desk and melodramatically escourted him off the premises. The clear warning was given to all his colleagues of what to expect if they ever acted in the same way. It severely damaged his relationships with his family. He still finds it difficult talking to them about it to this day
There are several uncanny similarities there with my own story. On 12th July 2007 I gave Kent Police a used vacuum cleaner bag taken from a property which I owned but did not occupy. I asked them to test the contents. Deafening silence. I asked to see them again. We met on 26th October 2007 and they told me the bag contained traces of cocaine and cannabis. They told me I was extremely lucky not to be charged with the possession of illegal drugs. As far as I am aware they made no investigations into the name I gave them. They did not ask me to make any formal statement about what I had privately told them. I would have been very pleased to do so. On 29th October 2007 I wrote to my Parish Council to inform them I believed illegal drug running activity was taking place around my home. Deafening silence. On 4th November 2007 there was a motorbike accident fatality at the bottom of my road. And that is pretty much how it has continued ever since. My marriage effectively failed in August 2011, the day after the London summer riots started. I am trying my hardest at the moment to get those close to me to talk about the dark forces which affect their lives. It is an uphill task.
Then at the back of the Magazine Gillian Tett was writing about how behaviourism is such a large part of the Gang story. This website went live on 15th November 2012. On 14th December 2012 the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings took place. President Obama wept in public about it. I make no critiscism of him whatsoever. It was extraordinarily brave of him, in my view, to let the world see his emotions like that.
Gillian says the event has had an effect on the schooling of her young girls in New York. They now have Red Code drill days. A menacing man walks down the corridor banging on the classroom doors demanding to be let in. Her daughter says it is very realistic and scary. The children are told to hide under their desks or in the cupboards. Yet, according to FBI figures, the chance of a student dying in a violent incident at school is one in a million. Gillian wonders if there is a slight overreaction going on there. It is almost as if America wants to gratuitously scare it’s youngsters to death, in the most formative part of their lives, for absolutely no good reason at all. It is extremely sad.
The Archbishop of Canterbury was in the radio car for Today this morning on his return from Nigeria where there are 17 million Anglicans. He has had two meetings with President Goodluck Jonathan, one public and one private. As you would expect he has given no details of the latter. The killing in the country continues with perhaps 200 dying this week. Doctor Welby has obviously done what he can to help. He says the militants are meeting out death on whim and without mercy. He prayed with Goodluck Jonathan as the Pope will be on Sunday in Rome with Mr Abbas and Mr Peres. In the Archbishop’s view prayer is a powerful force. He is convinced it changes things. I hope he maybe right.
7th June 2014
Petro Poroshenko was sworn in as President today in the Ukrainian parliament attended by Joe Biden and other dignatories. As far as Mr Poroshenko is concerned Crimea will always be part of Ukraine’s territory. He said that former president Yanukovych was financing terrorism in the east of his country. He is fully responsible for the situation as it is seen today.
There is a a lovely human interest story around this morning about an 89 year old D-Day veteran who took himself off to France for the commemorations. He did not tell the staff at his care home in Hove before he left. The thing is nobody minds and scapegoats are not being sought. It is the sort of thing the gent does apparently. The police are relaxed they were called when he went missing and there is no suggestion the care home have been unkind to him in any way. That means no one is watching their back against criticism and all can let their positive, warm emotions flow. We are getting there. A story like that I believe does have a significant effect on the psychology of the our media following public.
It is good seeing people get on with each other. It does make a difference I believe. Francios Hollande was particularly generous towards the Queen when he made his toast at a Paris banquet last night. He said she epitomises our keep calm and carry on spirit. This morning she visted a Parisienne flower market which has just been named after her.
When I went supermarket shopping today there was a packet of fillets in the fish cabinet I fancied. The mature lady in front of me seemed to be taking a long time making up her mind on what she wanted. Rather than push in front of her I walked on to get a loaf of bread and went back. It was a mistake. Someone was watching me, probably on a store security camera. It was taken as an act of weakness. A few moments later I was at the meat cabinet. The lady suddenly was at my side. Her posh demeanour made me think she is a Gang member’s wife. This time I stood my ground. Eventually she made her decision and seemed to go. I started looking myself. Then, blow me down, she was back and started touching me up. She put her choice back. I asked if she had found it difficult to make up her mind. She agreed. I wondered if she was a bit of a ditherer. She agreed with that too. Then she slinked off.
Then after that I had the strange incident of the credit card. I quickly picked up that the lady at the checkout was unsettled about something. She made several mistakes. Then when I came to pay, the chap before me had left his credit card in the machine. Instinctively, by that stage, I was not prepared to touch it and lay my finger prints there. She had to take it out of the holder.
Justice Minister Chris Grayling has announced today that he will introduce legislation to prevent law firms from offering potential clients free gifts, such as cash or iPads, to make insurance claims. It obviously gives the impression it is all a bit of a game and encourages fraudulent applications. Mr Grayling said he has done his bit. He now expects insurance companies to do theirs. They must be more attentive of the claims they pay out. If they do that it will bring insurance premiums down for all of us.
Peter Hain has said he will not stand for re-election as the Labour MP for Neath at the next election. I heard him speak on the radio news this morning. He certainly didn’t sound as if he is intending to retire from politics. He says he will remain active in different ways. A BBC webpage reports he has been talking to Ed Miliband about his future.
8th June 2014
A BBC webpage reports today that an Australian businessman is behind a reward fund of $5 million which has been set up to pay for any information which leads to understanding of the loss of flight MH370. He hopes that some form of whistleblower will come forward. It seems various of the relatives are also in the fore of the initiative.
There has been a lot of focus today on a farming accident in Northern Ireland yesterday. A man and his eight year old son were mixing slurry on a neighbour’s farm when they were overcome by fumes. The boy has died and the father is critically ill. I supect there are interesting private aspects of the story it would not be appropriate to pass on. A Northern Ireland rugby player, his brother and father died in the same way in September 2012.
The results of the Prime Minister’s investigation into the May/Gove arguments came through in remarkably quick time last night. Mr Gove had to make apologies to the PM and a senior civil servant for being unministerial. Mrs May’s special adviser, who was briefing the press, has resigned. I think Mr Cameron will have been trying to draw a line under the spat before the Ofsted reports are published tomorrow. However Labour has pointed that that publication of Mrs May’s letter is ostensibly against the ministerial code of conduct. Such criticisms are supposed to be kept confidential. It seems as though Mrs May and her former special adviser will be called before the Commons Home Affairs select committee to explain thgemselves.
I have been out in the garden today. During the morning the was an interesting incident involving my neighbour. I heard the car go out at 9.30 which I think will have been the man going to work. The was no sign of anyone being in after that. I went to get something from my shed. As I walked back near their hedge there was a human roar from the strip of lawn between their property and the next neighbour up. I made the same noise back and shouted over the hedge asking if the person had something wrong with his throat. There was no response. As I walked along I stood by the corner and saw the lady of the house come out onto the balcony to see what it was all about. I moved a bit so she saw me and she immediately went back in without investigating the source of the noise.
My interpretation is that she did not know a strange man was standing in her garden who I suspect came from another property very near. It was at a time when it would have been known the next neighbour up was out. The lady I suspect was meant to think it was me, going out of my way to be horrible to her. I am pleased I shouted back. By doing so she knew I was not the instigator.
There is a programme on my TV at the moment about trying to save the rainforest in Peru. I have just heard Phillipa Forrester say that no matter where you are in the world, and no matter what the problem, people are always the answer. It is not possible to do things on your own.
Another programme I have had on while I have been typing is Tropic of Cancer. Dubai is one of the federation of seven emirates, formed in 1971, which make up the country we call the United Arab Emirates. I had never realised it is such a westernised society. There are bikinis galore on the beech. It is called the Las Vegas of the Arabian Peninsular. In Saudi Arabia you only see a woman’s eyes inside her black burka. Then Oman is a very traditional unspoilt country. Although it isn’t the size of Saudi Arabia Oman’s land mass is hugh in comparison with Dubai.
The former Canon of Coventry Cathedral was on Sunday this morning speaking from north eastern Nigeria. He is trying to mediate with Boko Haram. He thinks the girls have been split up into at least three separate groups in more than one country. He says a lot more have been captured that the 200 or so in the headlines. In his view the fate of the youngsters should not be separated from a peaceful solution to the insurrection. A lot of Boko Haram leaders are hoffified at what is being done in their name. Just like eastern Ukraine mercenaries are being borught in from outside to do the killing. But worse than that perhaps he believes there are people within the Nigerian state who wish to see the trouble continue beacuse they make money from gun running and the like. One of those impossible situations again.
I also heard there that, to emulate the Pope, the Archbishop of Westminster prayed in his official residence on Friday for Middle East peace. He did that with the Israeli ambassor and Palestinian representative in London. The Archbishop of Canterbury was also going but he didn’t make it at the last minute.
9th June 2014
Following my note last Tuesday it seems the Gang have really got upset, through their proxies the Pakistani Taliban, about the challenge being made to them in Karachi. Last night a team of ten militants attacked the old terminal building at Pakistan’s main international airport there. All were ultimately killed together with 18 civilians and members of the security forces. However it took several hours for the agents of law and order to regain control.
There was a meeting in Sweden today between Mr Cameron, Mrs Merkel, Mr Rutte of the Netherlands and Mr Reinfeldt of Sweden. We are told is was about the new European Commission President job but of course they could have been talking about absolutely anything. The all went for a ride in a rowing boat on a lake.
Evan Davis was co-hosting Today this norning from the roof of the British Counsul building in Sao Paulo. He was speaking to the BBC’s Wyre Davies who had been to dinner with three other foreign journalist as guests of the Brazilian president, Dilma Rouseff. Wyre was saying she is a left thinking, interventionist economist. She wishes to protect the poor.
Later our ambassador was on. I was interested to hear him say that the British were very involved in building the country in the 19th century. However we all left just before the first world war. That could be a sign I feel showing hidden global gang manipulation and warfare was already forming in the early 1900s. From the perspective in South America perhaps it was clear war clouds were gathering. And, it seems, for the Brits Brazil was not a sensible place to be.
Andy Murray has appointed a lady coach which was discussed. It is obviously a reflection of our society that comment is caused. I can’t see any rational reason why she shouldn’t be as good as a man. I hope the tennis player’s decision will be respected and not thrown back at him as soon as he gets a poor result.
With 100 days to go I heard a clip of Alex Salmond on the programme talking about what his side will do when they have won the Scottish referendum. It has always annoyed me intensely when politicians have used that form of words in the past. It still does. It is as if voters can’t make up their own minds so they have to be told what to do. In the same vein the Daily Mail reports the Scottish government have set up a transition planning division for when victory comes. The Scottish Lib Dem leader has called that breathtakingly arrogant.
Looking though my notes I see I have written about Ofsted quite a few times over the months. The impression is given that people have been looking at the organisation wondering if something could be wrong. I suspect my entry of 21st March 2014 might have been quite crucial in that regard. The culture and administration of the body perhaps has not been what it should have been. In short I believe it likely it had been infiltrated by the Gang. They will now be pushed out but it is proving to be a nasty business. When the Gang are strong in several interacting organistions they will always be tempted to plunge into one of their schemes. I feel it quite possible that the trojan horse letter itself was a Gang invention with the drama running all the way through to involve the final, ministerial, actors last week
Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of Ofsted since January 2012, has said today that an atmosphere of fear and intimidation has gripped some of the 21 schools inspected. Some head teachers had been marginalised or forced out of their jobs. Those remarks applied even to some schools which had had good reports just 12 months ago. It seems previously Ofsted had a tick box culture without even thinking about the pupils to see how they were reacting to their environment. They were saying on PM this afternoon that some governors have paid private investigators to sift through staff emails, unneccesarily paid £55,000 to a solicitor and put restaurant meals on school expenses.
By coincidence that history of a good report, followed by a disaster, is in the news elsewhere today. The privately run Orchard Care home in Crawley was shut by the Care Quality Commission in 2011 after 19 unexplained deaths of residents had occured. A serious case review has been published today about the history of the situation. In 2010 the CQC gave the home a good rating.
There was an article in last Monday’s FT suggesting that everyone in Northern Ireland, inside and outside politics, is inching towards a final settlement of their differences. There is too much at stake for them not to. It is suggested that the complicated Haass proposals, in a spirit of compromise, could ultimately be acceptable to the DUP and Sinn Fein.
I was pleased to hear Theresa May confirm in the Commons today that she did not authorise the publication of her letter to Michael Gove on the Home Office website. She obviously cannot know everything that goes on out of her hearing and sight but you do wonder how a whole office did not realise it was against Ministerial rules. A bit more discipline in the future, please.
10th June 2014
The strange thing for me about the meeting in Sweden, which is breaking up this morning, is that there are only four countries represented. France isn’t there for example. It can only be working like that I believe because everyone was asked at the Brussels meeting last week, or at the D-Day events, if they minded. With the knowledge which is now around they said they didn’t. Mrs Merkel has let it be known the Commissioner job was not the main topic of conversation. Presumably it was mostly about the future direction of the EU above that and how it can best be achieved.
When I came down for my tea this morning and turned the electricity on one of the light bulbs blew with a flash. It is momentarily quite scary until you realise what has happened. It makes you physically jump. Exactly the same thing occured about a week ago when I walked ino the garden office one morning.
On Today this morning Nick Clegg was talking about the Birmingham schools story. In his position he will know a lot more about it than I. He takes the original good Ofsted reports as accurate. He did express amazement therefore that the culture at some schools should have changed so dramatically in such a relatively short space of time. The Gang are experts at changing our behaviour I am afriad. They have had decades of experience in how to do it.
I wrote about the disturbance at Maidstone prison on 3rd November 2013. After watching the local news last night I understand we have Independent Monitoring Boards who look at such things in their annual reports. They are composed of unpaid volunteers from the general public. This document says the prison had been through a period of turbulance for both staff and prisoners which had led to unstable times.
The timing of events really puzzles me sometimes. I have just come across another example. I indicated yesterday that both Mrs May and Mr Gove could have been led up the garden path by an elaborate Gang scheme. Then blow me down I hear a gentleman on Today this morning tell me the significance of the term trojan horse in relation to that story. It is the name of a chapter in Mr Gove’s book Celsius 7/7 which he wrote soon after the 2005 London bombings. I have just looked at Wikipedia and the Birmingham schools Greek mythology phrase started to be used at the beginning of March 2014. Nobody is quite sure how it started.
It seems to me the conclusion is pretty inescapable. The Gang know the game is up but they want to go down fighting and with a laugh. I have no objection to that.
The man was also recounting that it is alleged four named Birmingham school parent governors in particular are behind the extremism conspiracy. However he has heard them all speak in public. It is absolute balderdash.
There was a discussion about whether it is appropriate for a block of flats to have been built in South London with some pyramid shaped spikes between it’s wall and the pavement to stop people lying down for the night. The picture on the BBC website shows them to be quite insignificant in my view, only about an inch high spaced at six inch intervals. But emotions have been raised, with critical comments made by the Mayor of London and several thousand objecting signatures obtained. It is picking on those less fortunate than ourselves. I feel it is the sort of thing we should be talking about. I believe the brutalistic architecture of the 1960s was a terrible, terrible mistake. It must have been one of those inward looking culture things. The architects themselves thought their concrete blocks were a super idea. However they forgot to ask anyone else. The 200 foot high council office block in Aylesbury is a good example I consider. It is the only high building in the town. Wherever you are in the surrounding vale it can be seen from miles away sticking out of the earth like a grey, stumpy plasticine rocket ready to take off.
Architects are influential people in our society I believe. They are not subject to prior public opinion but, unlike an art gallery which you visit, plonk stuctures in front of us without asking first whether that will raise or deflate our spirits. That sort of power is bound to be very attractive to the Gang.
Hilary Clinton has just published a new book. It is a natural opportunity for her to speak to the press. She says she will not decide whether to run for the 2016 US Presidency until after the end of this year. Everyone thinks she will. The Republican knives are out for her already. They will blacken her name in whatever way they can. The edition had a reporrt from America. The lady interviewed said that for America she hopes Mrs Clinton will be a candidate. Yet as her friend, and someone who cares for her, she almost wishes she walks away. You can only wish the former First Lady the best of luck.
Immediately after that was a piece on monkeys. The chair of the Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee was on. Authorities and other interested bodies simply do not know how many of us keep primates in our homes as pets. It might be hundreds or it could be thousands. The request is for some independent research to be carried out on the subject
When my marriage split up in 2011 I had a conversation with someone. The person said you never know what goes on behind the closed doors of a home. It is a question of privacy of course. Yet the deeper point I believe is that privacy and secrecy are mirror images. I am quite sure that secrecy is wrong. But the decision to let go of privacy is a much more difficult judgement, not only for yourself but for those around you as well.
There is a BBC webpage up this evening about a File on 4 programme being broadcast later. It confirms that before and after the Good Friday agreement some suspected terrorists were granted immunity from prosecution under royal perogative, sometimes on receipt of useful information. It seems records were not kept before 1998 but in the ten years afterwards agreements were reached in 16 cases. I imagine the practice stopped when Tony Blair left office. Theresa Villiers has said the same approach would not be used today.
Mosul, population 1.8 million, is Iraq’s second city up in the north, south of Kurdistan but near to Syria and Turkey. Apparently ISIS have been in effective control of that region for months. About a week ago they went on the offensive. After several days fighting the conurbation has fallen to them. When a government is not in control of it’s space like that it is obviously pretty serious. And ISIS does not recognise traditional country boundaries.
A four day summit on ending sexual violence as a tool of war, attended by representatives from over 140 nations, has opened in London today. William Hague talked about the subject on Channel 4 News this evening. He said it is weak and inadequate men who chose to abuse women. We should all understand that. They also transfer their negative emotions onto their victims so that somehow it is the women themselves who are perceived to be the problem. It is a tragic reversal of roles. Sexual grooming works in a very similar way I believe. Mr Hague says it is up to the young people of the world, untainted by their parents’ prejudice, to do something about it. They must get out onto their social media, not be afraid of the issues and discuss, and discuss and discuss. It is the only way entrenched attitudes will every be changed. The Foreign Secretary believes the social and economic empowerment of women is the pivotal issue of the 21st century.
11th June 2014
I wrote about Qatar and the 2022 World Cup on 1st June 2014. I also recall that Qatar was a key country in the 2008 private bailout of Barclays Bank. People have started digging their heels in at Fifa’s annual Congress in Sao Paulo at the moment just before this year’s competition starts. Greg Dyke, for the Fottball Association, has told Fifa president Sepp Blatter he must not seek re-election next year. Mr Blatter has responded that British racists are out to get him. That reply indicates to me that Mr Blatter is a manipulated pawn, in denial, in a much larger game. There is no way he can admit he has done things he shouldn’t, even to himself. And then you can multiply that many times over for lots of other delegates, I suspect, at the meeting. It seems to me quite similar to the circumstances in Nigeria which I mentioned on Sunday. If you are receiving money from a situation, in a way you hope no one knows about, you are not going to kill the goose which lays the golden egg for you.
Floating around on their lofty perch watching all that with amusement will be the Gang, just as they did with the Birmingham schools story. There is no way any sensible organisation can award a summer football competition to a country where seasonal temperatures reach 40 degrees centigrade, and still expect everyone to think there is nothing odd going on.
I sense a new feeling of confidence amongst our MPs. I suspect as a group they have worked out exactly what was going on through the Birmingham schools story and it is empowering them. I heard Keith Vaz say on Today this morning that there have been 500 complaints from MPs about delays in issuing travel authority by the Passport Office. That means they must all have been talking to each other in an organised way. They think they have hit upon something which has otherwise been kept hidden. The agency themselves deny there is any backlog. This is a busy time of the year, with lots of people going on holiday, and they are dealing with the seasonal surge adequately. Obviously they can’t both be right. The chief executive of the Passport Office has been asked to appear before Mr Vaz’s committee next week. I wrote about my experience of receiving a new passport on 21st March 2013.
Another story covered, where two sides are telling us exactly opposite things, was about statins which I last mentioned on 18th May 2014. A group of leading doctors and academics are saying it is silly to prescribe the tablets to five million people for uncertain benefit. A small number of people will experience side effects and with such a massive extra number it seems pointless to put extra strain on the NHS. Neither is it very nice for the patients who do experience unforeseen complications. The medicalisation of healthy people is not the correct approcah. NICE however say there is nothing to worry about.
For my part I would add I believe Gang induced contamination and defects in medical drugs is a problem in our society. One good thing though is that my bad people do have to conform to principles of probability. Otherwise we would be able to work out what they were doing. However with a number like five million that is hardly likely to be a constraint when certain individuals need to be targeted.
I found it quite refreshing to hear on the 8.10 slot an alternative view, from a retired British army general with experience in the Balkans and Iraq, about the nature of armed conflict in our world. In recent decades he feels we have underestimated the desire we hold within ourselves to retain our own identity. We will always fight, in an irrational way, to retain it. I think that is what is driving our immigration debate. He says it is the Sunni against Shia divide in the Middle East which is the essence of their troubles. There is nothing anyone can do about it. We must recognise it, respect it and work round it. It will take generations of learning for the people who live there to sort out.
And that led him to his more controversial point. Sometimes a strong, even tyranical, dictator can be the lesser of two evils. General Tito held Yugoslavia together, as did Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and Bashar al-Assad is trying to do in Syria. I am not sure the FT would agree with this but the hypothesis is that for the sake of the mass of the population our approach should be pragmatic and not ideological.
Last Thursday’s FT was saying that as many as 3,000 European civilians may have now travelled to Syria to fight for radical Islam. The man who killed at the Jewish museum in Brussels on 25th May 2014 was one. The others should all be returning one day and people are afraid about what they will then do. The Germans call the situation the greatest ever threat to their public safety and the French the biggest challenge they have ever faced. More foreign fighters have gone to Syria in three years than in the 10 years when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan. It is thought the latter insurgency led to the formation of al-Qaeda. The three groups security forces are currently keeping their eyes on are Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Nursa and ISIS. Even in the world of terrorism image is everything. It is thought one of those three will want to bring the world’s attention to something spectacular. It will show they have arrrived. The representatives of nine countries, us, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany Holland, Ireland, Spain and Sweden have met to see what we can do about it. Now I have that information I suspect this week’s Swedish meeting between the four leaders was aranged at that time.
An article on the same page suggests that extremism in Kenya is getting out of hand. Some young men attending Mosques now exclude those who do not have the same Jihadist views as them. Kenya’s tourism income is $1 billion a year, 10% of it’s GPD. They have a lot to lose. It is essential their security services deal with the situation sensitively.
Friday’s paper has one of it’s in depth pieces on Iran under Mr Ahmadi-Nejad. It seems it was a pretty corrupt place. The types who have got used to that way of life of course do not want Mr Rouhani to succeed.
In his article Philip Stephens suggests that when all the dust has settled over Ukraine Mr Putin and Mr Xi will not want to get on the single world order bus. He thinks their desire is very much to do their own thing, singly or together. I hope he is wrong.
12th June 2014
Mrs May has said in the Commons today that there is a problem over passports. Embarrassingly those in charge did not know. A bit worse, it has emerged that on Monday passport office staff were told to relax security checks on some applications to try and ease the backlog. Again those at the top knew nothing about it. The order has been rescinded. In the longer term The Home Secretary is going to undertake a review of how the passport office works under the her department. Ministers say that applications are running at a 12 year high with 150,000 little maroon books being sent out every week. If that is correct I would make a connection with our summer riots of 2011 when the police were overwhelmed for several days before they got on top of the situation. In this case I suspect the Gang have asked all their helpers to renew, or apply for, passports. If needs be they should book a foreign holiday as cover. At the first sign of delay they should swamp their MPs with complaints. Thankfully the junior House of Parliament knows exactly what is going on.
I wrote about the terrorism trial just about to start, on 4th June 2014. The Court of Appeal have today given their ruling. It has made me wonder if judges can be manipulated in almost exactly the same way as the rest of us. The reasoning, as I understand it, is that if the bench agree with the media the CPS might take umbrage and drop their prosecution. That would be against the interests of justice. The judges therefore decided to arbitrate bewteen the opposing sides. Some of the hearing will be in public and some in private. A few selected reporters will be allowed in for the whole time but we cannot be told what went on until the whole thing has finished. I think that will be okay. The two men, with foreign sounding names, are from London and were arrested last October. One is charged with being in possession of false documents. I heard on the World at One at lunchtime that the the media organisations who took the issue to court are the BBC, ITV, the Press Association, the Guardian, the Telegraph and Associated Newspapers.
I heard on a newspaper review on Today this morning that the Chinese prime minister is visiting us next week on a state visit primarily associated with trade. He has insisted on meeting the Queen whilst he is here. In order to prevent a fuss his request has been granted. The report was in The Times.
There was a discussion on Today this morning about future regulation of the Forex and other financial benchmark markets. A government review will start in the autumn with final decisions being made in a year’s time. Kamal Ahmed, the BBC’s business editor, was saying the Bank of England knew there was a problem as long ago as 2006 but it has taken all this time to do something about it. It seems such powerful voices were lobbying them they were afraid to act.
The lady Canon doing Thought for the Day was speaking about totalitarianism in relation to what is currently happening in Iraq. People of that trait have a clear vision of how things should be. They then impose that view on everyone else. The individual must succumb to the collective will. No discussion is allowed. Any deviation is brutally punished. However she said it simply is not a stable system. Eventually it will implode from within. I wonder if that is what is happening to the Gang today.
I feel it is quite noticeable from the situation in Syria and Iraq at the moment that America itself has been completely isolated from the return of terrorists threat which Europe is anticipating. I do think that is a bit strange. Just as many young men with potentially extreme views live in America as Europe but, as far as I am aware, the Gang Master hasn’t encouraged them to go away and fight. If I were a Gang member in Europe I would want to reflect why that is. It is almost as if someone over there is preparing for the future. The motherland must be protected at all costs. The rest can just look after themselves.
The big news of the day has been the ISIS advance in Syria. Frank Gardner said on the programme that they now control a third of the country. He suggested they have been given the word by the al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, I would say after signals from the Gang, that they should move their men and resources from Syria into Iraq. I see that there has been a US drone stike today, agreed by Islamabad, in the Pakistani tribal lands. I am sure that will be either connected to Iraq or the recent Karachi attacks. Then a retired American general, with experience of Iraq, also spoke on the programme. He said ISIS have obviously been trained to start acting like a conventional army. It is on that basis they will try and take over as much of Iraq, against demoralised government forces, as they can. President Obama spoke about the situation this evening. He said America are ready to help in any way they can. However he made it plain there will be conditions attached. Mr al-Maliki must stop being a divisive, sectarion leader. In future he must represent all his people, not just his own Shia clan.
Jeremy Paxman partly presented Newsnight from New York tonight. He went there to interview Hilary Clinton. She had a copy of her book on the table beside her and referred to it a lot. She was confident, relaxed, laughed frequently and gave detailed knowledgeable answers. It probably says more about me than her but the word which came to my mind was liberated. She was happy to answer each and every question whether it hinted at her husband’s past infidelity or the terrible dysfunctionality and petty mindedness of current American politics. She was also quite clear that women political leaders do have a different focus to men. They are more aware of the importance of the family. She was impressive.
13th June 2014
The World Cup opened last night with heavy rioting along Copacabana Beach. I look upon that as a genuine protest by ordinary people in the same way as the Arab Spring was. I have heard it argued that if Brazil do not do well, so people’s spirits drop, absolute bedlam will break out.
Following my note the day before yesterday last Saturday’s FT confirms the issue of militant Europeans returning from Syria is now the main security issue of the day. Turkey is becoming a key ally as it is the country of transit. The challenge is to get the security forces of different countries working as a team on the problem. The trouble is they are just not used to doing that sort of thing.
Last week the European Central Bank reduced it’s deposit rate of interest to below zero. That means banks pay it when placing their funds. It is not quite quantitative easing but is getting there. The idea is that banks will rather lend their money to businesses than to the EU. However John Authers was wondering in the paper why markets have not reacted in the way you would normally expect. I noted Gillian Tett writing in similar vein on 5th June 2014. There are various explanations but the jury is out.
In the magazine Simon Kuper was writing about the soothing effects of football, a sport he follows. He says that during a World Cup half a country’s population can watch their team play a big game. But it isn’t really about winning. The importance to most people is the sense of community and belonging they feel. A lot of us readily admit we don’t think England have much of a chance this time. But we are all looking forward to their games immensely.
In many ways I think we are prisoners of our own genes. You are as you are and must just get on with it. Unfortunately there will always be some who wish to criticise you no matter what you do. The important thing is that you do not criticise yourself.
That thought came to me as I read a piece by Richard McGregor in the edition on the Obama presidency. The consensus seems to be that, as he moves towards the end of his terms, Barack might feel it appropriate to take a few more risks. Richard relates an incident on the Presidential plane during the trip to Asia at the end of April 2014. I expect Mr Obama was feeling fed up about something. He walked to the back of the plane and let rip at the press corps for their negative reporting of his policies. He told them in no uncertain terms that it is his job to act responsibly and that is what he will do. Perhaps he is a man who normally holds his emotion tightly within him. If he chooses though he can show it to you to strong effect. I suppose the trick is to use that emotional power in calm, planned ways rather than sudden outburts of clear strength.
The financial pages noted that Uber, the four year old San Francisco based taxi app company, is now worth $18.2 billion, up from $10 billion a few weeks ago. Don’t ask me how that works. The writer said they want to conquer the world. The product they offer will obviously work anywhere so I suppose you have to say good luck to them. Aparently they provide each driver with a special mobile device which automatically takes about a 20% commission of what that person themself is paid. London cabbies are certainly worried. They went on strike over what they perceive is unfair competition on Wednesday. Besides the app being able to order a taxi from your mobile phone and telling you when it will arrive, in London apparently the driver’s device also works out the cost of the journey at a predetermined rate. The Licensensed Taxi Drivers Association say that is equivalent to a meter which only they are allowed to have in their vehicles. Transport for London are going to get a legal ruling on it.
In similar vein to my note yesterday about passports I would say, I read on a BBC website this morning that there are currently 90 prisoners who have been lost by Ford prison in West Sussex. The crucial piece of information is that it is of the open kind meaning inmates are trusted to go away on short trips during their sentences. When they have not returned it seems that mostly nothing was done. A murderer I think has been missing for four years. Finally it seems Sussex Police have taken responsibility for catching the men. They have set up a special task force. In reality the general problem is getting better all the time. Absconders overall are down 80% over the last 10 years. But I suspect funning things have been going on at Ford. It has become a Gang targeted institution.
I have just read David Cameron’s letter in today’s Irish Times about the European Commission Presidency job. It has also been published in French and German papers. It is concise and well argued. Essentially he is arguing, I feel, that the post is in danger of becoming politicised. If Mr Juncker gets the job he will be beholden to the political block of MEPs who put him there. That block will be able, if it wishes, to exercise great influence over him. The Prime Minister suggests I think that if European leaders chose the successful candidate they would not be so biased in who they picked. They would look at it taking into the account the best interests of citizens across the Union, not to pursue the self perpetuating aims of a relatively narrow base in Brussels. It would be nice to think Mr Juncker would take an independent high minded approach to the job in any event but, as my son would say, I can see where the PM is coming from.
There is a progamme being boadcast on the BBC World Service today about sexual exploitation within UK street gangs. A Corporation webpage covers it. Gangs are male dominanted and they fight each other. That is going to push any form of sensitive behaviour far out of reach. They use their girlfriends as tools in their wars. Sex with lots of girls, usually non consentual, is a sign of a leader’s power. Gang rape, which means it is public not private, is a useful form of discipline. Rape is a crime. Once you have induced your male gang members into it they are in. There is no getting out. And girls too are very useful in a proactive way for enticement activities against rival gangs and other subversive roles.
Everything I have written there of course is from the male perspective. Many girls in gangs do not realise they are victims. And if they do peer pressure means they can do absolutely nothing about it.
I wrote about Ford Open Prison earlier today. This afternoon a BBC webpage informs me that an unexpected surge has been taking place in our jail population. Swansea prison is designed to take 242 prisopners. It currently has 446. Governors have been told they must find an extra 440 spaces over the next two months. The head of their association says she struggles to recall when there have been so many issues and problems.
This time last month a 21 year old Ukip activist resigned from the party in acrimonious circumstances. Yesterday she was on Channel 4 News having been to Gravesend in Kent asking people in the street what they thought of Ukip. A lot of them said they would be voting that way next May.
I heard on the radio news this morning that Jamaica is loosening it’s drug laws. Subject to parliamentary approval, from the autumn possession of an amount of ganja, or marijuana, will be permitted. The condition is that it’s use must be for religious, medicinal or scientic purposes. I don’t think that wooliness would be approrpriate here but I expect their culture is different to ours.
14th June 2014
The Gang will never, ever give up I am afraid. A week last Friday President Putin spoke to President Porshenko at the D-Day commemoration events. On Thursday they spoke on the phone and discussed a possible peace plan. This morning an Ukrainian military transport plane was shot down by rebels coming into land near Luhansk. Shoulder held anti-aircraft weaponry was used. All 49 personnel on board were killed.
Motive is everything in life. It is the starting point from which you move forward. It was known Stephen Sutton would die. However those who arrange these things wanted him to know he was a special person. From Today this morning I understand the normal procedure for the Queen’s Birthday Honours is that you are privately offered one, you privately accept and then you receive it on her official birthday. The rules had to be bent for Stephen. He also received his MBE in private which he held unti he died. It was announced this morning. No one will mind about that because the motive was so obviously good. Stephen’s was an exceptional, hopefully unique case. Even the Gang will get nowhere trying to pick holes in it.
Nick Harwick, our chief inspector of prisons, was on the programme talking about overcrowding in them. He goes into jails a lot and says inmates and staff are under a great deal of pressure. In his view the current lack of resources available is a political and administrative failure by the government. Next came the Justice Minister, Chris Grayling. He does not have the same access on the ground but he said he had done just what the prison service have asked him to do. He has identified a possible pinch point in the near future so has taken protective measures. His temporary steps to prevent overcrowding simply mean two prisoners will be occupying a cell rather than one. Opposing but equally valid views I feel.
15th June 2014
Something a bit strange happened yesterday. I passed a neighbour as he was driving past his home. If I saw what I think I saw one of our criminal laws has been broken. It therefore seems possible my neighbour is involved in unlawful activity. I did the right thing. When I got back from my trip I phoned the police and gave them my information. So far so good. However I think it goes a bit deeper than that. I believe both of us have trackers on our vehicles. In addition, should my neighbour be part of a criminal gang he will be doings favours for others. If the incident had not been so second perfect it is unlikely I would have made the direct connection about my neighbour which I did. That is all a bit too much coincidental for me. As far as my neighbour is concerned I am afraid, we are all expendenable even those who think they may be elevated in a sercet heiracrchy.
I suspect it is a destabilisation tactic from an upper level, with me being portrayed as the aggressor. The man and his wife have recently had their first baby. A few weeks ago I was going out. As I drove up to their house she came out in front of me, in the same vehicle. I followed her for five miles. When we reached the motorway she turned left and I turned right.
I was going on my weekly shopping trip. After writing about my light bulbs again on Tuesday I needed to get a new supply. I am a creature of habit. I use Wilkinsons for them. The sign on the shelf said £1.29 but I noticed the till receipt recorded I had been charged £2 each for my boxes. I didn’t make a fuss but walked back to the lighting section to check what I had seen. I spoke to a young lady over there about it. The bulb display had been put out wrong. She apologised and corrected it. All very clever I suppose but also terribly, terribly small minded. Also quite sad that some people think that is what they should be doing with their lives.
A light aircraft crashed by the M1 yesterday between junctions 26 and 27 in Nottinghamshire. Both men on board were killed. An eye witness, as reported on a BBC webpage, said the plane dipped straight down but the pilot managed to swerve from the M1 into a field. I suspect the accident was arranged by the Gang. First a potentially fatal defect was built into the plane. Then that defect was activated by a switching device on the ground. I believe the Heathrow near air crash on 20th January 2008 was arranged in the same way.
I was awake early this morning and had Four Thought on on the radio. A man running a specialist travel company was giving a presentation. He asked his audience, and over 90% of those older than 45 had hitchhiked in their lives. It was less than 10% for the younger ones. The dividing line there is those who left their teenage years behind towards the end of the 1980s. That is a massive cultural change. I would put it entirely down to Gang influence. Today we are simply too afraid to do such an adventurous thing. You can see the same opposing forces today in the debate on whether it is sensible to ride a pedal bike in London.
Justin Welby is on a three day visit to Rome at the moment to converse with the Pope. They will primarily be talking about their support for the Global Freedom Network set up by an Australian billionaire in March. The purpose is to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. Apparently global profits from those activities are $150 billion of which $100 billion is sexually related through prostitution and the like. The aim is to enlist the support of 162 countries and receive assurances from 50 global companies that none of their supply chains allow such activities.
For today’s The World this Weekend Ed Sourton has travelled to Israel and spoken to delegates at the annual Herzliya Coference attended by all political parties. The views were wide ranging and radical.
We have not been told how close the recent negotiations between the Israelis and Palestians came to success. I shall assume there is no point trying again with American help. If the two sides wish to speak to each other again I hope they are quite grown up enough to arrange that between themselves.
One thing events in Syria and Iraq have definitely shown I believe is that the Gang simply don’t care what happens in Palestine. What they do is just habit and process. They will always try and destabilise but if two of you are certain what you want, and are determined, you will get there. Someone on the radio made the point that the Iraeli economy is now doing well. The last thing the country wants is continuation of a generational dispute with it’s neighbour. The Israeli public as a whole wants to look forward with hope and confidence not back to the unhappiness of the past.
But essentially I think the issue is one of fairness. The Palestinains deserve their own viable state. I sincerely believe every right thinking person in this world would agree with that view. If the parties really can’t resolve their own differences then the world must do it for them. Israel has no right of veto on the UN Security Council. Perceived wisdom is that America could never allow it’s smaller ally to be thown to the wolves. I wonder though if that is really the case. President Obama will not be seeking re-election again. That gives him total freedom of action. He is not a risk taker. But if our emotional strength is strong enough we can, actually, change the habits of a lifetime. A plan is required. Everything should be done in private. However I feel it is time for Barack to personally get his hands dirty. I understand his campaign theme for the 2008 presidential election was, Yes We Can. I entirely agree with that.
16th June 2014
Krishnan Guru-Murthy travelled to Paris today for this evening’s Channel 4 News to interview Lakhdar Brahimi who resigned as the UN special envoy on Syria in May 2014. Mr Brahimi said he believes the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 has directly led to the situation the Iraqis suffer from ISIS today.
Sir Malcome Rifkind was talking about Iraq on PM this afternoon. He said the state’s army is 100,000 strong, the ISIS force is 20,000 at the very most. Yet the mouse has beaten the lion. The one with the ferocious roar just ran away. It reminds me of Vietnam in the 1960s all over again.
As always though there is a reverse side to the coin. I am not sure you can entirely blame an individual for preserving their own life. We do only have one. The Gang certainly understand, in my view, how terror gives small numbers the power to conquer the many. It was ISIS themselves who publicised on social media yesterday their actions in the massacrce of up to 100 Shia government troops who had indicated their submission by changing into civilian clothers. They tied their captives’ hands and transported them in trucks to the pits where they would die. There they were told to lie down before the guns opened up. That is just like Bosnia.
And just in case we are blind to the message there has been the worst atrocity in Kenya today since the Nairobi shopping mall killings of September last year. At least 48 people have died in an al-Shabab attack on hotels and a police station in the coastal town of Mpeketoni. That will help to destroy Kenya’s tourist industry.
I see I wrote a pretty positive note about Venezuela on 19th September 2012. After reading a piece in last Monday’s FT I see the situation no longer applies. John-Paul Rathbone says it is beginning to sink under the weight of corruption and street violence. It has always been emotionally close to Cuba. In some ways America used to deal with Cuba, just off it’s southern coast, by just pretending it wasn’t there. I hope it doesn’t use the same mindset against Venezuela which is it’s fourth highest oil supplier. That would be real muddled thinking.
17th June 2014
The Chinese Prime Minister got his audience with the Queen this morning at Windsor Castle. Then he met David Cameron at Downing Street. Our Prime Minister says China thinks we are a good lot. They are currently investing more here, at an envisaged amount of $14 billion, than anywhere else in Europe. The amount concerned in the last 18 months has been more that during the previous 30 years. With their political system being as it is I think, the Chinese are also very long term thinkers. They hope to sign a 20 year deal with BP worth $20 billion.
I am grateful to Mr Hague for the information that John Kerry was in London at the weekend. I suspect that has got something to do with the Foreign Secretary’s announcement today that we are going to re-open our Tehran embassy after it was attacked by protestors in November 2011. I expect discreet conversations about Iraq will now take place with the Iranians in Geneva. However Lindsey Hilsum said on Channel 4 News this evening that we need to get things done in the right order. A nuclear deal should be struck first, then we can properly get down to other things. Our aspirations will be very different to Iran’s. We want an inclusive government to respect Sunni and Shia. It is likely Tehran will want Shia to be dominant. As always the important thing is for the sides to talk to each other about it.
I have watched a Horizon programme this evening on the loss of MH370. It was probably a lot simpler than I thought. It would have been quite plausible apparently for it to have been a lone person wishing to commit suicide with Gang help. A sudden depressurisation of the aircraft could have taken place leaving everyone unconscious except for that person using a small oxygen bottle and mask. Before the person also fell asleep he could have turned the aircraft round to it’s southward course and then put the autopilot on to take control until it ran out of fuel. New information for me indicating Gang involvement is that air traffic control told the plane to change it’s flight plan to Bejing a minute after take off from Kuala Lumpur. The transponder was turned off just as the plane was being transferred from Malaysian to Vietnamese controlled air space. Ho Chi Minh air traffic control took the incredibly long time of 17 minutes to say they had not made contact with the pilot in the handover. The reason we know it turned west to the Andaman Sea is because military radar tracked it. But the real heroes of the piece are Inmarsat. After the Air France 2009 crash one of their scientists decided to include timing data in their own satellite data when communicating with aircraft. Their calculations were on the limit of their ability but that added detail, with the Malaysian military information, allowed them to point to quite a specific area. The pings detected by Ocean Shield unfortunately were a false trail so full use was not made of the 35 day black box battery life period. However the good news is that the most likely resting place worked out by Inmarsat has not yet been searched. I understand the operation is currently halted while full mapping of the ocean bed in that area is carried out. I am hopeful the plane will eventually be found.
I have been visiting a client’s property in my surveying work today. They have global presence and thousands of employees. The nature of their manufacturing means that quality control, and provenance, is paramount. The Gang will inevitably be attracted to such a concern in the field I am afraid. I was told that if any defect is shown in paperwork, that particular batch has to be thrown away. I was given a desk in a general office to work at. As I have mentioned before people soon forget you are there. It is truly horrible to see how it all works. Niggly things go wrong all the time. People are under stress without realising why. A lady was cross because she is getting nuisance sales calls through the switchborad which aren’t being filtered out by her colleagues. Respect is not shown for managers who probably have even worse difficulties. An employee came into the room at one point. A lady remarked that he always seemed to be bringing bad news of one sort or another. I didn’t react the first time he crowded me a bit. When he virtually threw a rubber towards my chair though I thought that a bit over the top. I engaged with him as he left the room in pushy manner about his pointed side burns. They really did look a bit odd. He was genuinely shocked I had said anything to him. It was not in his script. He walked away without saying anything. He is being groomed to be a conceited, subversive bully. After a few horrible things have happened to him that is probably what he will become. It is such a shame because, once you know what is going on, it is quite easy to deal with. I do wish more people read this website.
In my view world leaders see to it that they get on better with each other nowadays. The benefit is greater mutual trade. That point came through again in last Tuesday’s FT about the Iranian president’s trip to Turkey which itself is a significant event after three years of tensions between the two countries. The presidents agreed they wanted to double their annual business to $30 billion as quickly as possible. It seems it was also accepted that something needs to be done about Sunni extremism in the region.
18th June 2014
Once the Gang have destabilised an individual so they can no longer think straight the person becomes a very useful tool for them. I have seen an example in my business life I believe this afternoon. I have been dealing with the man for years and have noticed sometimes that he can appear to be very stressed. Another party has acted unreasonably I consider towards my business and therefore the client I represent. The man has given me a reason for that behaviour, told to him by someone else no doubt, which I am sure he believes to be true. However it does not stack up. It means the third party have not read a document which they have been set up to process fairly in a quasi judicial process. Unwittingly my colleague has given them cover for their action. And because his thinking is fundamentally defective there is no point in me saying anything to him at all.
It is 6.15pm. I have just watched a Malteser advert on the E4 TV channel. I have seen it many times before and it always jars. It is the way the girl pleads with the chap to give her a sweet which he does in a condescending way. I think the full picture has suddenly dawned on me. They are snuggling up on the sofa. At her insistence he uses a straw in his mouth, sucks on it, lifts it out of the Malteser packet and puts it in her mouth. It is blissful for her. I think, in that silly Gang world, the straw and the Malteser is meant to be a circumcised penis. If I suggested that to the Advertising Standards Authority however I have no doubt I would be laughed out of court. I don’t think I will bother.
I heard an item on the radio news on Monday about Kate and Jerry McCann. They had travelled to Lisbon to give evidence in a legal case they have brought against the Portugese police chief who led the hunt for Madeline. He has alleged in a book they were involved in their daughter’s disapearance. Just before the hearing he sacked his legal team meaning a postponement was required. It is the fourth such delay. The McCanns have accused the defendant of deliberately trying to wear them down.
Hugh Sykes was explaining on PM yesterday that once upon a time Iraq and Iran were sworn enemies. More than one million people were killed in the eight year war between the countries in the 1980s. It was the arrival of the Shiite Nouri al-Maliki as Iraqi prime minister in 2006 which has brought the two sides together. Millions of Iranians now visit religious sites in Iraq every year to pray.
As far as the UK and America are concerned we got fed up with Iran in 1951 when the democratically elected prime minister nationalised the Anglo Iranian oil company, now called BP. Hugh says MI6 and the CIA arranged a coup two years later. The prime minister was held under house arrest for the remainder of his life. The Shah of Iran was reinstated to power but the seeds of destabilisation had been sown. The Iranian revolution took place in 1979. The moral of that story I feel is that you do not meddle, outside of legitimacy, in others people’s affairs.
When Iraqi government forces fled last week the Kurdistan Regional Government took control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk. The prime minister for the region was interviewed on Today yesterday morning. He said in his view Iraq should split into three autonomous parts, one for his Kurds, one for the Sunnis and one for the Shias. The Kurdish people of course also live in Turkey and Syria. It would not seem sensible to exclude those folk from any overall settlement.
I wrote about the nasty nature, and timing, of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, killing the Libyan American ambassador, on 13th Septemebr 2012. It really inflamed the emotions of some American politicians, out for revenge at any cost in my view. I hope that rawness will have been soothed by the American special forces operation in Benghazi on Sunday when one of the apparent ringleaders was captured. I heard on the radio news this morning that he is now being taken to a Washington DC federal court to face justice. I will assume the operation was carried out with the agreement of the Libyan authorities. It is obviously important that the man should now be treated correctly, in accordance with the law.
The head of the Passport Office appeared before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday to say sorry. It was covered on Yesterday in Parliament on Today this morning. Keith Vaz was quite determined with him, as it appears he had been on behalf of a constituent who needed their new passport urgently. Mr Vaz rang the passport office on a Saturday about it. They did not pick up the phone. Instead he texted the Home Secretary. Mrs May sorted it out for for the individual concerned. The committee hasn’t yet received some information it wanted. Mr Vaz has told the Passport Office he wants it by midday on Friday. If it hasn’t arrived by then the it’s head will be back in front of him next Tuesday to say why. I thoroughly approve of that approach. The Civil Servant does not have to put up with Mr Vaz’s harsh words if he does not want to. He can resign. But they are only words. Mr Vaz will not be messed about. And now the Passport Office understands that.
19th June 2014
There is either something wrong with my computer or the BBC website at the moment. I suspect it is the latter. They have had virtually the same most read webpages up now for three days with the highest being that silly Uruguay World Cup caramel spread story. Brazilian authorities have confiscated the paste off them for some reason. At least, I hope, once the technical hitch is sorted out it will not happen again.
The BBC webpage map shows that ISIS forces have operational presence encircling Baghdad. There is a fierce battle going on for control of the country’s main domestic oil refinery 130 miles north of Baghdad. At least all the workers have been safely evacuated. However it will inevitably mean that petrol supplies to the public will be severely affected, exactly as the Gang wanted. I have just heard it said on the World at One that a military stalemate has just about been reached. ISIS are now at the edge of the Sunni populated areas and it would be foolish for them to try and go further.
In America President Obama is still weighing up his options. He has told Congress he sees no need to take them with him. He will just do the right thing. The big decison I feel is over Prime Minister Maliki. He has been democratically elected and will have Shias solidly behind him. Yet he has badly let his country down over the last few years. The best outcome I think would be for him to be persuaded to go, possibly by the Iranians. If that doesn’t happen everyone will have to go into Plan B mode. The really positive thread though I consider is that he is there to be talked to. Unfortunately we were never in that position with President Assad.
Dementia, as I understand it, is degradation of the working of the brain. Brian cells stop functioning, and interacting with each other as they should, which affects our memory and cognitive function. It is thought it’s incidence will treble by 2050 so that 135 million individuals are affected. I suspect it can be caused by side effects of some drugs we commonly take, in ways we do not understand. Anyway there was an international conference in London last December to consider the disease. At a follow up meeting today, attended by 300 experts, David Cameron said dementia is one of the greatest enemies of humanity. Perhaps we are not as afraid of it as we should be. Just under £600 million a year is spent on cancer research, only £50 million is allocated for dementia. The plan is to focus on new projects so we can understand it’s proesses and stop it happening by 2015.
An Israeli minister was interviewed on Today this morning. He spoke sensibly I thought. Yet his distrust of Iran was palpable. He suspects their motive, in conjunction with Hezzbollah, is truly horrible.
The American Congressional elections take place in November. Currently primary elections have been taking place to decide who will stand for each party. Last week the second most senior Rebublican in the current House of Representatives, Eric Cantor, lost in his bid to be the Republican candidate in his Virginia district. He was beaten by a little known Tea Party candidate. Some commentators are calling it the biggest American political upset in modern times. The FT’s view, in it’s editorial last Friday, is that it will have a massive paralysing effect on the mainstream Republican Party. They thought they had their radical wing contained. They were wrong. In the election Mr Cantor was criticised as too establishment and out of touch with his voters. Any pragmatic, consensual approach with the Democrats will now be pulled.
20th June 2014
From Simon Kuper’s article in last Saturday’s FT Magazine I see the Argentinian Pope is the son of an Italian immigrant railway worker. I think Pope Francis will have more of an emotional attachment to the European country than I imagined.
On Iraq the paper suggests that when ISIS took Mosul they were able to just lift $400 million sitting in the accounts of banks sited there. They have also of course captured a lot of Iraqi military hardware. Apparently the Americans spent $30 billion on training the Iraqi army. Wikipedia says it is 250,000 strong with 500,000 reservists. And still they took their uniforms off in Mosul and ran away.
Elsewhere a member of an American think tank is quoted as saying that Sunni and Shia have now clearly been pitted to scratch each other’s eyes out. But he really can’t see the sense of it. We are at a point where forces have been unleashed which no one can control. I feel that describes the Gang very well. The are just a few principles and process. Divide and rule is always the game for them, irrespective of the consequences. As they seem incapable of working it out for themselves they need to be shown it does not necessarily work like that. Sufficient of them won’t change until they come to realise there are other means of achieving what you want. That is what hapened to the IRA in the 1990s.
An article also covers the defeat of Eric Cantor. The vote was another example of Gang manipulation in my view, where Americans live. With the money culture in the States being as it is, it seems Mr Cantor thought he could buy himself to victory. In some ways though the Gang understand us better than mainstream politicians. If someone comes along who touches a chord we vote for them. If that is surprising to anyone it shouldn’t be. The Tea Party candidate told local citizens what they already knew, their politicians were not looking after them properly. And just to show you that the candidate was picked by the Gang Master you only need to think about his name, David Brat. It says it all. Important people really do need to smell the coffee.
Christopher Caldwell writes there that Mr Brat’s victory was a landslide. He achieved over 55% of the vote. Yet everyone thought him such a long shot not even the Tea Party national association backed him. Sitting here in England I feel Mr Brat has performed a very useful function. He has exposed the massive fault lines which currently exist in American society. You cannot have pretensions to help the world when you are in chaos in your own back yard.
There is a piece there about Venice. Construction of the five billion euro Mose barrier scheme to prevent Venice flooding at times of high tides in the Adriatic, started in 2003. The consortium to carry out the work was formed in 1984. The project is now 80% complete. The city’s mayor has just resigned over a corruption scandal associated with it. The current regional governor is also implicated it seems. The allegation is that it has led to just about everyone in that area of Italy, involved in construction and procurement of it, having their snouts in the trough.
21st June 2014
There was a lady from the Royal Statistical Society on Today yesterday. In Scotland all deaths must be officially recorded within eight days of occurrance. Here there is no universal time limit. She said our system, which they have been asking to be changed for five years, is not fit for purpose. In my terms a long planned Gang health epidemic scheme could start, especially when the cause of deaths is unknown, and because of our coroner system we might not notice the sudden change in death patterns for months.
The ISIS army manoeuvres which started with their attack on Samarra on 5th June 2014 were a complete shock I believe to everyone in open society. The preparations must have been going on for months. Yet in spite of the $52 billion annual budget of the American intelligence machine no one outside of that secretive world thought it apropriate to tell their political leaders. I find that pretty shocking.
It was also the FT of the 5th June, recorded in my note of 11th June, which was very accurately briefed, no doubt completely out of the blue for them, on the likelihood of a terror group wanting to do something big. It seems quite possible now as well that the subject was a main feature of the four European leaders two day talks which took place in Sweden starting on 9th June.
The first American general in charge in Iraq after their 2003 invasion was interviewed later in the programme. He was saying this time we need to get ahead of the game. If the intelligence isn’t there for us we must think hard; put ourselves in the shoes of the Gang Master; imagine what he would plan next. The retired military man thought the state most at risk now is Jordan. We should be making sure it’s people are as safe and secure as we can manage.
Thought for the Day got us focusing on influence and power. The Pope wants to help in the Arab-Israeli peace process. But he has no power, he does not want any. He can only bring some good principles to bear. Rabbi Lord Sacks was saying that actually it is not rocket science. What is happening now in the world has occured many times before. You only have to look at the lessons of history to see what the answers are.
A BBC webpage reports this morning that one of the Guildford Four, Gerry Conlon, has died presumably in Northern Ireland, at the age of 60. No further details are given. I wrote about the Conlon family on 8th April 2014.
The radio news reported this morning that up to 200,000 people have fled their homes as a result of the Pakistani government’s current offensive against Taliban fighters in North Waziristan. The BBC man in the country was saying that although a refugee camp has been set up for them it is vitually empty because locals simply have no confidence that officialdom genuinely wishes to help them.
After a three month consultation Eric Pickles has announced that mobile CCTV vans used by councils to give motorists parking fines will be banned. Other measures will be introduced to make life easier for drivers. It seems the government suspect councils are using we motorists as cash cows. The man on Today this morning representing the Local Government Association did seem quite uptight about the whole thing. I suspect the timing of that story could have something to do with an email I sent yesterday to an administrative body with whom I am dealing in my private life.
22nd June 2014
On his way to Syria I think, John Kerry has been in Egypt today. The Americans are releasing the military aid they froze when President Morsi was ousted last year. I imagine some strong language has been used with President el-Sisi about what is expected of him. In April 2014 an Egyptian court sentenced 683 Muslim Bortherhood supporters to death after an attack in 2013 on a police station. Yesterday that sentence was confirmed for 183 of them. I see from the Los Angeles Times that Mr el-Sisi had a half hour meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in the monarch’s plane sitting on the tarmac at Cairo International Airport on Friday evening. It seems that Egypt is a piece of a jigsaw to be fitted in somewhere.
I am off on my holidays again today, this evening staying in Bruges. I drove down to Dover in the car and caught the Eurolines coach there. A lady and a separate man got on with me. The chap was the one supposed to make me feel uncomforatable. He was a foreign Gang member I think. He could have been Italian. But it was the man I sat behind on the coach, purely by coincidence I would say, who has increased my Gang knowledge a lot. I got worried when the bus left Dover Docks without going down to the ferry. I leant forward and asked him why. He said we would be using the Channel Tunnel. He got off at Bruges with me but we didn’t speak. After I had found my hotel I decided to go for a walk round the city centre. I was looking for a cafe with an outside table to stop for a beer. As I was strolling along the circular canal by the Katelijnestraat Bridge I came across just the place. I was fortunate a couple vacated a table as I came up otherwise there would have been no vacancies. After about ten minutes the couple on my left went. Then almost immediately I thought I saw my friend from the coach go into the bar. I must have been mistaken about it being Gang manufactured though, otherwise he would have sat at that table. But of course the inevitable happened. He bought his drink inside and plonked himself down at the adjoining seat facing towards me. He had been asked to sit there but not to say anything to me, proxy intimidation if you like. I thought it best to put him out of his misery. I started chatting to him. He assumed I was a frequent visitor to Bruges and that that cafe was a normal haunt for me. I told him the truth of how I had come to be resting on my seat. I made an apparently innocent remark about seeming to attract a lot of attention for reasons I couldn’t fathom out. Then he asked me a couple of questions to verify my authenticity, such as the name of the hotel where I was staying. That not only put him at his ease but opened the floodgates as well. He actively wanted to tell me what he was all about. He had caught the night coach down from Stockton on Tees on a ticket bought well in advance so as to get the best price. He makes the Bruges trip about once a month staying in a cheap hostel and goes back the next day. Belgium apparently is the cheapest place in Europe to buy cigarettes. They are half the price at home. He buys a few cartons which he takes back on the coach with him. He sells them in his home town. If the French customs ever ask him he says they are for his family and friends which they are always happy with. He would never dream of taking whole car loads back which he sees other people do around him. That would be dishonest which does not apply to him. He was a nice, friendly, tattooed chap about my age. As I left I made a remark about him being a very samll cog in a very big wheel. Whether he will be able to work anything out from that I have no idea.
I think I have got the hang of things now. You deal with your fear and you make a point of putting others at their ease. Amazingly it also worked like that in the five minute conversation I had with the chap on the Eurolines desk at Dover. He used to work in Belgium for his uncle. That man had come into some money and was mad on racing pigeons. Belgium apparently is also the racing pigeon capital of Europe so he went there to live. My companion just felt unconsciously uneasy about it. He wanted to unburden himself.
When I went out I stopped in the hotel lobby just inside the front door to browse the tourists leaflets. Otherwise I would have witnessed the minor accident outside. I stepped onto the pavement when I heard the breaking glass. A foreign, probably Belgium, registered landrover with several people on board had been negotiating the hairpin junction a few yards away. In doing do it mounted the pavement and hit an empty table outside the restaurant next door. It smashed it’s offside front light. When I looked it was reversing before it drove off. I also saw the staff come out. They were bewildered and amused. Amazingly there was no damage to the table at all. The driver knew why he did it but no one else, even his passengers I suspect, will understand; other than the local Gang director of course.
A few days ago ISIS released an entirely politically motivated video in my view. It was apparently recorded in a quite glade in Syria and showed a radicalised young man from South Wales, who had been training to be a doctor, calling for his fellow Muslims to go and help the cause. ACPO’s Sir Peter Fahy responded on Today yesterday saying that actually good people in Syria don’t want our youngsters to go and meddle in their affairs. Then Cressida Dick from Scotland Yard was speaking on the World this Weekend today. She suggests that when such extreme people do come back to this country they are going to threaten our security for many years to come.
There was a discussion on Sunday this morning about a speech the Pope has just made excommunicating the Calabrian and ‘NDrangheta Mafia. It was agreed it was quite a dramatic thing to do without warning. I suspect the Pontiff just feels a bit fed up generally.
Ukraine has been in the news for the last couple of days. It started with reports that Russia is building up forces again on the border. I’m not sure anyone fully understand why. Then yesterday a BBC webpage noted Vladimir Putin’s as saying he supports Ukraine’s peace plan provided it includes practical action to enable talks to start. Perhaps it is just that you have two strong forces pulling in diametrically opposite directions.
23rd June 2014
It is reported today that the the last quantity of known Syrian chemical weapons has now left the country by ship. You do have to keep up the pressure on the Gang to melt away into the shadows but you can normally get there in the end.
Further to my note written during the day on Saturday, in the evening I heard John Simpson speak on the TV news from Iraq. He said his sources tell him America’s intelligence machine only started seriously momitoring ISIS two weeks previously. That would make it after their attack on Samarra. It is hardly surprising no one in authority saw 9/11 coming.
Then a BBC webpage published yesterday suggests Ayatollah Khamenei is not happy with any American idea to replace Mr Maliki. He obviously looks upon that as a step too far. I feel that is the wrong decision but it seems John Kerry will now have to use his powers of persuasion to try and get the Iraqi Shia majority to be more inclusive in the future.
I left Bruges for the seaside town of Knokke this afternoon so I can catch the Belgian coast tram back towards Calais tomorrow. It is affluent with nice houses and large cars, somewhere the Belgians come themselves to sunbathe. Where there is money I believe, Organised Crime will always be close under the suface. Bruges has six million visitors a year I understand. There the Gang only operate in pockets of influence such as a small eating area I walked through, I think, south of The Burgh this morning. Here it is business as usual, but discreet due to the nature of the area. Something else I feel about Belgium is that the Gang are more relaxed and softer than at home. Those crowding for example don’t have to do very much. A relatively quick appearance is often quite sufficient. It is that top layer though who are the really horrible lot as I think I saw again this afternoon.
After going to the tourist office I had a coffee outside, just off the sea front. The senior person who came along, in his mid twenties, I suspect is an aspiring Gang director. He sat with his very attractive girlfriend, next to each other, about four tables away in a line along the cafe wall. The waiter knew him. He might have been the proprietor of the Brasserie. When they arrived they were comfortable for her to sit nearer me. Then he went inside. When he came back he asked her to change places with him. I believe that must have been on instructions, with the suggestion being she was in potential danger from me. That introduction of fear will have come from headquarters in America no doubt. Soon after, two posh elderly men sat at an intervening table. The young pair were warm and tactile with each other. They were actually a very nice couple. The trouble I expect was the man always did just as he was asked, in absolute trust, without questioning whether it made any sense or not. For example he turned up carrying a crash helmet. How anyone was expected to think his girlfiend would ride pillion in her short dress I have no idea. They left before me and I thought I would follow to see if they went to an expensive car. The way they were told about me doing that was extremely clever. Neither of them were holding mobiles but a black van passed them in the busy street, turned in the road and drove back past them in the opposite direction. It must have been a pre-arranged signal. They immediately both looked behind to try and see me. They didn’t as I was on the other side of the road. I turned away and carried on with my sightseeing.
Then the other funny thing at the brasserie was the reaction of the nice couple with a young child who were seated when I arrived. The first thing which happened was an elderly man stop his bike ouside the back of the tourist centre and, whilst still on it, stare at me. They both instantly knew what that meant. She changed her seat to look at the wall in protest. He started looking at me wondering who I was.
On Sunday a 15 year old civilian Arab Israeli was killed in the Golan heights when a missile landed from Syria. Yesterday Israel carried out retaliatory air strikes against Syrian military targets. Mr Netanyahu said Israel’s enemies do not differentiate between adults and children, Jews or non Jews.
Mr Poroshenko announced a week long unilateral truce last week to go with his peace plan. Talks arising from that have obviously been taking place as today the rebel leader in Donetsk has said his forces will also join the ceasefire.
George Osborne has announced today that he wants to create a third High Speed railway line, in the north of the country. It is only at the aspirational stage at the moment but the idea is to cut 20 minutes off existing jouney times, based on existing track, between such places as Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, York and Newcastle.
Wimbledon has just started and John Bercow, as a keen tennis fan,was asked on Today this morning for some thoughts. He said that Andy Murray has well and truly got to grips with his emotions now and is thriving as a result. Mr Bercow has played tennis with the Prime Minister. Mr Cameron is forever the gentleman towards his partners on the tennis court. However for himself he cannot bear the slightest error.
A Radio 4 series started today called Month of Madness which I have listened to this evening on iplayer. It is about the lead up to World War One. One of Professor Clark’s purposes I feel is to make connections with our surroundings today. He refers to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo on 28th June as the 9/11 moment for the world of 1914. Those terrorists were only interested in creating a Greater Serbia yet 37 days later the most deadly war the West has experienced had started. Another point the professor makes is that no one knew in June where it would all end. I feel we are seeing the same in Syria and Iraq today. The Gang know what they have unleashed but can predict no more than the rest of us what the full consequences will be. If we use the knowledge we have gained over the last few years hopefully we might be able to out outmanoeuvre them yet, even allowing for their agents within.
There is a lot to be learnt from history I believe. By chance I also read today a BBC webpage to go with an edition of From Our Own Correspondent. Until 15th June 1904 New York had a vibrant German community, probably the largest outside Europe. But on that day German speakers there suffered a blow from which they never recovered. A fire below decks started on the boat they had chartered for a day trip on the Hudson River. Over 1,000 people perished. I imagine after that everything seemed to go wrong for them.
Edward Luce was writing in last Monday’s FT that he senses President Obama is getting fed up with being the most powerful politician in the world. Power is relative of course and his strength seems to have slipped away in recent times. Military prowess abroad, in an age of true democracy, is rightly not an option and the Tea Party surge at home means that top Republicans have returned to their bunker. No deals will be done there. Edward says Barack is thinking about where to site his presidential library and a nice place for the Obamas to live after January 2017.
24th June 2014
Breakfast was a little different this morning. With it being Knokke I was in quite an expensive establishment. I suspect every larger hotel in the world has Gang presence. As it was Belgium though it was very subtle and low key. It revolved around the single lady in charge, with timing as always being of the essence. Three couples came down to be with me. One of them, very mismatched in normal circumstances, were told to ask her where to sit. Other than the signal to go to breakfast that was all they knew of the arrangement. Then as soon as a couple in there before me left, in my direct line of vision, the maitre d’ immediately reset the table. Another couple who had just come in were at the servery. Straight away the wife told the husband the table he should use. I gave the head woman a couple of hard looks. She knew I knew. It certainly made her feel uncomfortable.
This evening I am staying in De Panne at the end of the tram line. The shuttle is well used by the locals and offers a frequent, efficient service. However the line never quite gets to the beach side, always being some yards inland. I can see why it is not a favoured tourist attraction. My hotel is just down the street fron the local council offices and police station, in the same building. Parked in the landscaped forecourt are three big trailers you would normally see at a fun fair. They were all operating earlier. They really lower the tone of the place and undoubtedly, in my view, are there to boost the ego of the local Gang director. He doesn’t want the town to forget who is really in charge.
I had a mid morning walk on the promenade at Heist. It was quiet. Then all of a sudden I came across a cafe area just on the sand protected by glazed wind breaks. It was crammed full with about 50 customers at the tables. It looked very incongruous. They were all Gang helpers I suspect. Although I didn’t publish my note I saw a very similar thing in Settle coming back from the Lake District on 24th April 2014. The numbers were about the same but in that case people were more spread out.
Then as I got back to the tram stop a very interesting 20 minutes started. A fellow traveller by the track stood in my face holding his hand at a certain point on his body. It made me cross, whcih I let him know, and he soon turned away in discomfort. However it is the intelligence he had about me which is the really creepy thing. It made a connection in my mind, which if I were of a different character could be extremely psychologically damaging to me I believe. It is a private matter of which only I and one other person should be aware.
However this man in Belgium seemed to know what it was. I can only think therefore that the Gang keep a detailed personal file on me where they record absolutely everything I say and do, wherever I am, day and night. Not only that but it is readily available to anyone in the network who wishes to read it and think up a stupid prank over it. Some people have minds smaller than mice.
But of course there was also a bit more to come. At that point I was supposed to be in a state of deep shock. So on the busy tram I found myself surrounded by a few more Gang helpers. The key youngish man by me, with an absurd goatee beard, started taking photographs at random of some of the passengers; not the sort of thing you see happen on public transport every day of the week. My visual expression to him let it be known I thought he was mad. He stopped but did not like it. He leant towards me to try and encroach on my personal space, just as a Gang leader did on a London tube once, but it did not really work. The coach was not full enough for us to be that close. I got off a couple of stops later. As I often find with a flurry of activity like that, it was quiet for the rest of the day.
Buying tickets for the tram, not done on board, is very much an honesty thing. There are self validation machines in the coaches but very few people use them. No one ever checks your ticket so there is little point. It is a system asking for abuse. You almost feel sorry for the honest passenger. It would be the simplest of things to employ a few ticket inspectors. But I expect the Gang director around here wouldn’t like that.
Andy Coulson has been found guilty of ordering phone hacking today between 2000 and 2006. David Cameron has apologised for his decision to employ him as the Conservative Party’s director of communications on 9th July 2007, continuing in 2010 when he became Prime Minister. As Glenn Mulcaire and others have already admitted the offence and there is an email in existence written by Mr Coulson in which he tells a journalist working for him to ‘do’ a personality’s phone, I don’t personally feel any other conclusion could have been reached. The jury have found Rebekah Brooks to be innocent.
I had a conversation with my eldest son a fortnight ago about a family group member he does does know very well. I said I had recently come to believe she is willingly manipulated by the Gang. She knows how it works, in my view, but for her own reasons is happy to go along with the plans arranged for her, even if that is highly detrimental to some around her. She has lost her compassion for others I feel. Whether I am right about that though I will never know. From a conversation I had with the person in 2011 I an aware she realises only she knows the thoughts she holds within her mind and that is the way it will remain.
In my language therefore the jury have decided Mrs Brooks was an unwilling Gang helper. I heard her husband speak on PM this afternoon and I thought he was particularly generous and understanding to many, after what must have been an extremely distressing time for the couple. I also remember Mrs Brooks innocently saying before a Parliamentary committee in 2003 that her paper had paid police for information, before she was corrected by Mr Coulson sitting besides her. Equally I recall her seeming to make fun of Mr Cameron at the Leveson Inquiry because he did not know LOL in texting means laugh out loud and not lots of love. For those apearances she wore a very prim and proper black and white outfit. It made me think at the time she is a lady who likes to play games. It is with reluctance but overall I think I too must give her the benefit of the doubt.
The Queen is on a three day visit to Northern Ireland at the moment. I have just watched a clip of her walking through Crumlin Road jail in Belfast. She has Peter Robinson on her left and Martin McGuinness on her right both of whom have been held there in the past. In her luchtime speech the Monarch said those in Northern Ireland had turned the impossible into the possible. As the participants face the futute she asked them to remember that her thoughts and prayers will always be with them.
From a report on the Radio 4 6pm news I believe the talks I wrote about yesterday involved a former Ukrainian president, a senion Russian diplomat and a member of the OSCE. To increase the momentum I think, President Putin has announced today that he will be asking the Duma to revoke it’s resolution made in March 2014 to authorise the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine if necessary. Even so a goverment helicopter has been shot down near Sloviansk today killing nine.
In the second edition of Month of Madness Professor Clark presents the situation as essentially a clash of cultures. It is supposed that the hidden force behind the Sarajevo shootings was the group led by the head of the Serbian military intelligence, Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic. He was so powerful that the civilian government could not control him. His band was ambitious, determined and ruthless. He wanted to free all Bosnian Slavs from House of Habsburgh rule. The Austro-Hungarian empire was big, established and paternal. The only solution seemed to be to show the young upstart who was boss, to meet force with force. But that meant the various national alliances had to be worked through. Austria was worried how Russia would react if it attacked Serbia. It needed German support to reassure itself which was unconditionally granted. An ultimatum was given to Serbia. Belgrade rejected the harsh conditions. War between the two states was therefore declared on 28th July 1914.
Last Tuesday’s FT writes about Sri Lanka. It’s 20 million population is 90% Buddhist and 10% Muslim. Although the death toll isn’t high it has just had it’s worst sectarian violence against the minority, in an area south of Colombo, for at least 20 years.
25th June 2014
A lady said on Today this morning that we make 40 million more appointments to see our GP than we did five years ago. With the cutbacks the worry is that young doctors will no longer wish to take that specialisation. They would only experience hassle and little job satisfaction. Investment and resource allocation into our towns and villages is required.
Law enforcement needs evidence in order to bring criminals to book. Danny Shaw noted on the programme that Theresa May has suggested 20 investigations by the National Crime Agency over the last six months have had to be dropped because they were not able to obtain appropriate information, primarily I think from Internet Service Providers. Keith Bristow himself was on later. He recognises that a state should respect the confidentiality of communuications it’s citizens make. However not all of us use the interrnet with good motive. The baddies amongst us should be caught and stopped.
I had a quiet journey travelling back through northern France to Calais, and then home, today. Not that I wasn’t being intensely watched, as I noticed at the port and Boulogne, but at least it was discreet. It was my decison to show a bit of visual interest in the young lady who sat next to me on the bench in the shopping area of Boulogne. Immediately I did that she got her mobile phone out of her bag. She was a bit of an oddity. She had a stud just above her lip and a chihuahua on a lead.
I sat near the bow window on the boat. That is also where the Gang presence was I would say. I reckon there were four groups and two single individuals. All were independent of each other and I suspect travelling on the route for reasons they wouldn’t like to admit to others. The man on his own who reacted with me as a target, without realising my significance probably, I feel was an enforcer. The others didn’t necessarily know he was there but, if there had been an unexpected event, he would have taken control of the situation.
Robert Peston has presented a BBC 2 filmed Panorama special this evening on the phone hacking story. It seems Glenn Mulcaire, as a private detective, worked out for himself how to hack into private mobile phone messages by 1998. By 2001 he had entered into a five year contract with the News of the World. Throughout that period he was asked to consistently hack particular phones five days of every week. His total remuneration amounted to one million pounds. The most shocking instance of hacking was into Milly Dowler’s phone when she went missing in March 2002. The message listened to was from a small Shropshire employment agency inviting the recipent to an interview. Amazingly it transpires they phoned the wrong number. It wasn’t meant for Milly at all. The NoW editor, assuming Milly was alive, informed Surrey police of the information Glenn Mulcaire had obtained. The journalist who broke the story in July 2011, Nick Davies of the Guardian, says the shocking thing about that was the man seemed to presume the police would take no action about his newspaper’s criminal activity. He was absolutely right.
The jury today failed to reach verdicts on the outstanding charges and were discharged. The judge now has six sentences to pass, for Mr Coulson and five other defeandants, including Mr Mulcaire, who have pleaded guilty. The judge was cross with David Cameron for making public statements yesterday of apology before his team had finished all their deliberations. Milly’s sister has spoken of the incestuous relationship between politicians and the press. She criticises the Prime Minister for not introducing tighter press regulation as she thought he would. It is obviously a complicated subject but I fully support her right to tell it as she sees it.
When Barack Obama was briefed on the circumstances of the failed al-Qaeda bombing attack on a passenger airliner flying into Detroit airport on Christmas Day 2009 he chided his security forces for not joining up the dots. I imagine he feels much the same way about the apparently undetected rise of ISIS. Roula Khalaf writes in last Wednesday’s FT that the jihadists were by no means shy in telling those listening what they were about. In fact since 2012 they have published annual accounts, just like a commercial company would, to attract donors. Those record the number of bomb attacks, prisoners freed and converts collected. Just like the animal rights group who terrorised Huntingdon Life Sciences in the UK their organisation and politically minded strategy belies the people they appear to be.
The same paper records that campaigning groups wish to establish in the High Court the parameters under which our intelligence agenies can collect data about us, irrespective of whether traffic is entirely UK based or using servers situated abroad. In that case out three services, GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are being represented by the Office for Security and Counter Intelligence, a directorate of the Home Office formed in 2007.
26th June 2014
Things are getting clearer in Iraq. The power and competence of ISIS is not being underplayed in any way. I feel Ayatolla Homeni is biased towrds the Shia, not thinking about the interests of Sunni and Kurd, but his views must be taken into account. Mr Maliki is being stubborn. Anyway William Hague has been in Bahgdad today and in my opinion has played it just right. He is being supportive and not dogmatic. The important thing is to keep the lines of communication open. Everyone is also being given space to do their own thing. Iran has sent some troops into Iraq. Russia is supplying some second hand planes to the Iraqi government.
The FT on Saturday had a full page providing an overview of the three factions. Sunnis are predominant in all of Syria, eastern Jordan, northern Iraq, eastern Iran and southern Turkey. You can see why the idea of a Islamic Levant, ignoring borders, fits so well. Shias fill all of Iran, south eastern Iraq, parts of Turkey, eastern Syria and Lebanon. Kurds are spread in north eastern Iran, northern Iraq and southern Turkey. In contrast to it’s population the ruling Ba’ath Party in Syria are Alawite Shia Muslims.
I forgot to mention yesterday about the two British lady passport control officers in Calais. They were very friendly but hit me with a barrage of questions which I was unprepared for. Hopefully I din’t come over as too much of an idiot. They were genuinely interested and wanted to find out as much about me and my trip as possible in the short time available. They were alerted to me by paperwork giving my name, boat time and possibly a photograph I would say, but nothing verbal. I think they must have been aware I am a person in some form of protection programme.
There have been further revelations about the activities of Jimmy Saville today. It seems he boasted of taking an unhealthy sexual interest in corpses in hospital mortuaries. A lady psychiatric nurse appeared on Channel 4 News this evening. One of her patients spoke of being raped by Jimmy on a regular basis. She had no doubt that was true. But when she spoke out to her male superiors she was told that if she ever made such claims again she would likely be disciplined or sacked. From her training she said it was obvious Jimmy was a psychopath. Every woman he had contact with realised that. Male group think is a powerful thing.
Last Thursday’s FT had a piece noting that about a third of the Pakistani population is Shia. Apparently some of them have suffered violence from hardline Sunni groups for years. With recent develoments in Iraq it is feared that situation could get worse.
27th June 2014
Although I am not entirely sure whether America has put itself out about this I would like to think it has. Meriam Ibrahim, the apostasy lady, is currently staying at the American Sudanese embassy in Khartoum. She will come to no harn there. Her documentation is Sudanese but her husband has an American passport. On Tuesday she was arrested at Kartoum airport, for having incorrect papers, by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service. Wikipedia says NISS is an incredibly powerful body.
It is the Northern Ireland chief police constable’s final day in his job today. He says a new organisation should be set up to look into crimes in the province which occured before the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. His pragmatic motive I think is to protect the PSNI from the massive workload which it is currently experiencing in that area. It is also draining limited resources from a service which should be concentrating on current day events.
I mentioned about my County Court case on 22nd January 2014. I received the court order today. The hearing was on 4th June. I am currently writing on a Dell laptop and my action was over my order of a replacement battery for it. My retailer was Amazon who, significantly I now see, sold it to me under their marketplace fullfilled arrangements. That means, the judge explained to me, they were only acting as agents for my supplier, even though Amazon sent me the item. It was a Chinese company, I think, who have an English office in the West Country. I paid about a fifth of what I would have been charged by Dell. It was ridiculously low but I thought I would be protected by the Amazon name. I was not. When it arrived it did not work. I asked for a replacement. Both Amazon and the supplier said that would not be possible. The small company said they hadn’t got any left and I can only assume Amazon couldn’t find any in their warehouse. After various emails Amazon transferred about double what I paid into my account, without telling me beforehand. I sued both parties jointly. Even though Amazon were legally out of it, when I walked into the court room I found out they had sent the court a 30 page defence and counter claim, not copied to me. The pages were not stapled together and had become out of order. The judge was in a pretty exasperated mood as we got going. When we talked about it in the room later he said it is a common legal tactic. He referred to it as being a smokescreen. The court had not heard from the other defendant at all. The English in their emails was extremely poor so I was not surprised. The order says they must pay me about the same amount as Amazon’s ex gratia sum. The judge did not feel it appropriate to order a new battery to be sent out. I think he was worried that battery might not work either, meaning he could see me again and creating more work for the court system. He wanted to draw a line under the whole thing. As it is I am financially better off and can finally have another try at buying a battery that works. I do regret though that Amazon were not required to sort that out for me. I think the judge was quite puzzled by the whole thing so I thought it only fair to tell him about this website as I left. Whether he looked at it during his lunch hour I do not know.
I also gave the judge my opinion about it all. The supplier has a name which implies that anyone who uses them is extremely smart. Yet they only sell defective batteries which they obtain for next to nothing. They find that the complaint rate is sufficiently low for them to make a good profit. More than that though the Gang watch over it all to see who thinks they can, very nearly, get something for nothing. Those are likely to be the type of people who can be enticed into dishonest ways. And that is one small way Organised Crime grows to be so big and successful.
A contradiction I have noticed about the Gang is that although their religion is supposed to be secrecy, really they want to brag about how clever they are. The little tit bits of information keep on popping out. That just reinforces how horrible they are. But it all holds together because everyone is in the same game of making illicit money. Without that glue I suspect it would fall apart pretty quickly. I think David Gardner might have been thinking along similar lines when writing about ISIS in last Friday’s FT. He refers to all the al-Qaeda groups as essentially narcissistic. Their savagery just makes them fall out with ordinary people. We can’t all be terrorists as they are. They may think they can blend in and lead a local population in Iraq but their aims are so different to those they impose themselves on, it will never work. In reality, provided no one on the outside falls into any of their psychological traps, the whole enterprise is doomed to failure.
In a piece just below that, purpose is put to Mr Obama’s decision to send 300 American military advisers to Iraq. Besides giving strategic advice to the Iraqi army they will be able to send detailed, accurate intelligence back home about the positioning of ISIS forces. Drone stikes can then be used, on the request of the home goverment, to make specific attacks against the jihadists. President Obama sees that arrangement working apparently in much the same way as it has in Yemen.
28th June 2014
David Cameron lost his battle with the EU yesterday. At the leaders’ vote in Ypres Hungary voted with us, against Mr Yuncker’s appointment, the other 26 were for him. I think it was good the process worked in a transparent way. The European public could see exactly how the decision was made. I feel Mr Cameron’s initiative in arranging it that way was beneficial for all.
The analysis I have heard is that the Prime Minister was somewhat wrong footed by events. I think Mrs Merkel’s view has been that the post wasn’t Mr Juncker’s by right. Other names were mentioned. However the Chancellor is a very political lady. It seems she changed her mind on the same day an article appeared in the German mass circulation newspaper Bild. It was written by the owner of the publication. He appeared on Today yesterday. He lives in another country and looks at things differently than we do. Anyway Mrs Merkel does not go around upsetting people unless it is essential. With the situation changed in that way Mr Cameron then had to make the best of a bad job which I feel he did extremely well
In the third part of his series, Month of Madness, Professor Clark focused on Germany. As now, they were a power house of the continent. Russia and France had been in alliance since the 1890s. Also, at that time, monarchs held a lot of sway, although it was waning. The German King, Kaiser Wilhelm II, felt empathy for his counterpart in Austria-Hungary who had just lost his heir in horrible circumstances. Yet when war seemed to be coming he tried his best to prevent it. However he was not politically strong enough to stop the wishes of his military chiefs. They convinced themselves they could have a short sharp conflict and everything would be fine. Austria-Hungary were given a blank cheque of support irrespective of how Russia may react.
The next programme deals with France and Russia. By chance, just as things were coming to a head, a previously planned summit took place between the two countries’ leaders in St Petersburgh. The French, it seems, were remarkably blase‚ and belligerent. They were looking forward to war and certain victory. France of course were under no threat from what had taken place in Sarejevo but it made no difference. For Russia’s part it had traditional influence in the Balkans and trade channels through to Turkey. It was being pushed to be firm, to protect it’s interests and it went along with the idea. It mobilised it’s forces creating extra pressure all round.
Britain in all this, separated by the channel, was out of the loop. Germany didn’t want us to get involved, France did. Initially I expect we just wanted the whole situation to go away. The last programme concentrated on London. We were occupied with Home Rule issues in Ireland. As I see so much around me today we seemed to be paralysed from good decision making. We looked upon it as an impossible situation. Then our minds were made up for us when Germany moved across Belgium, against their wishes, in order to attack Paris. That was a breach of international law. The public were outraged. Even though the cabinet had taken the view at the end of July that a breach of Belgium’s neutrality would not warrant war, in the event it was used as legitimate cover for taking that step. On 4th August the cabinet voted amost unaminously to declare hostilities. Mr Clark suggests that by that time, literally in a matter of days, our leaders had come to see the action as being in our nation’s best interests, to side with France against Germany. They did not want to tell us the real reasons why though. We no doubt would have looked at it differently from they.
29th June 2014
Something which has puzzled me for a long time now is how the Gang manage to manipulate people who would never wish to cause harm or pain to another human being in any circumstances. We are not all like that of course but a good number are. I think I have found a way that could work which fits in with what I see around me. It is all based on the Gang Master having total intelligence available to him. A person has a challenge in their life, possibly Gang arranged, which they need to deal with. The big man looks at that situation and at his desk works out how best to cause destabilisation. However the person concerned must think they are acting in the way they do, all on there own. He will therefore use a friend or acquaintence, who is also a Gang helper, to speak in a particular way. The words said will have nothing to do with the problem the person has, indeed the friend will probably be chosen so as not to even know what the issue is, but their apparent view will present a plausible way forward to resolve the difficulty at hand. Because the person knows the problem is a secret within themself they will think they thought of the solution all on their own. So, when everything goes pear shaped a bit later, it is also a massive blow to their confidence and self esteem. They will perceive they caused the disaster all themselves.
The key words there perhaps are Gang helper. In a way I don’t think any of us can stop ourselves coming within that category sometimes. It is what terrorism produces. When you are frightened your behaviour is affected. The crucial thing though is that it is involuntary. Your unconscious emotions are controlling you. No one can be blamed for being an unwilling Gang helper. The people you want to watch out for are those who have worked out how it all works and quite happily do what is signalled to them, for their own selfish ends. If you are able to warn those people off from their manoeuvrings, it will help a lot.
There has been a lot going on in my private life recently. Something happened last Friday which has allowed me to close at least one consistent, open running sore. It has been going on since Christmas 2009. Now that is past I hope it will give me the emotional stength to do the right thing in other areas of my life. Those resolutions, if any, will not be up to me. The time is coming for others to finally make up their minds.
A BBC lady has written a report on how the Corporation covers rural affairs. With the exception of programmes like Country File and Farming Today she said the 12 million people who live in the English countryside feel generally misrepresented by the BBC. The rest of us don’t really understand how they live their lives and therefore have an unrealistic view of the issues which are important to them.
Slavery ended in the USA in 1865. However whites never got the hang of mixing with their former black servants. The man who finally managed to change that condescending, disrepectful culture was Lyndon B Johnson. I feel it was one of those accidents of history you get sometimes. He was no friend of John F Kennedy but, for purely political reasons, the presidential candidate asked him to be his running mate in 1960. When Mr Kennedy was shot in 1963 Mr Johnson found himself in a sequence of events no one ever dreamt would happen. But he had the ability to take advantage of the dice fate had thrown to him. The World This Weekend went through the story at lunchtime. Martin Luther King was involved in the start of the civil rights movement in 1955. The protestors disobeyed segregation but without violence. Mr King’s philosophy was that hate should be overcome by love. The new president decided to join forces with him. The Civil Rights Act was signed into law this week in 1964. Although Mr Johnson had never declared his hand before it seems he had always understood the intellectual bankruptcy of American apartheid. When the Gods gave him the chance to change things he took it. But it was a close shave. There was intense resistance and anger against his plan. However he was a consummate politician. People owed him favours. He managed to forge compromises which initially seemed impossible. It was only the start but prejudice on the grounds of race has gradually since dissapated. America elected it’s first black president in 2008.
Although this story has nothing to do with the Gang as such it does show, I believe, how easy it is to manipulate us if you have bad intent. The key I suggests is to see the truth and not let your emotion get the better of you.
On Tuesday Uruguay beat Italy in the World Cup. During the game Luis Suarez bit an Italian player on the back of his shoulder. I have seen a playback of the incident together with millions of other people. As a neutral observer I believe it is impossible not to conclude that Luis srtuck out in a moment of mad, unprovoked, childish behaviour. He should speak to a professional who will help him not to act in such a way again. Yet eveyone in Uruguay, from the president downwards, is in absolute denial that he did anything wrong. If you lived there and tried to disagree with that perceived wisdom I imagine you could be lynched. Going along with that perhaps Luis himself says he happened to trip and fell into the other player with his mouth open. I’m not really sure what else to say.
There was a discussion on Sunday this morning about hate crime. The founder of the research organisation Tell Mama set up in 2012 to look into the subject said that it will be several years yet before they have sufficient data to establish conclusive trends out in the community. However it was plain that after the killing of Lee Ribgy in May 2013 there was an upsurge of anti Muslim hate incidents. I believe I and my family are connected with the murder of Lee as I record in my notes of 22nd May, 29th May and 16th September 2013. The conversation concerned was in my lounge with my two sons.
I wrote yesterday about the likelihood of the Gang eventually imploding on itself. It seems that process could already be happening with Boko Haram in Nigeria. The former Canon of Coventry cathedral was on the programme again. My last note about him is dated 8th June 2014. He says the facade of the Boko Haram insurrection being about religion, is beginning to fall apart. There are now indications that it’s sponsors in fact wish to be behind a new president after next year’s election. Their new focus is to concentrate on supporting mad, cult groups whose only interest is in causing terror and death. People in Abuja are becoming really frightened. They are hardly likely to vote for Good Luck Jonathan in a state of mind like that. Meanwhile the men holding the girls in the forest feel isolated and out of it. Their ideals are misguided but more rational. Some of them now wish to do the right thing and let their captives go. But they are being terrorised with threats of death in the same way as everyone else.
30th June 2014
When I went to Maidstone a week last Thursday I parked in a two hour free slot on the road. I returned within that time and found a parking ticket under my wiper blade. It had been issued at the same location for a different car the afternoon before. I myself had done nothing wrong. I decided to act with total transparency. When I got homne I emailed Maidstone Borough Council. I gave them my address, vehicle and visit details. I explained what had happened and asked them to let me know if I could help further. I received a nice reply and didn’t expect to hear any more. Then last Thursday afternoon I received an email from the parking appeals department. It quoted the registration number of the other car, said they had considered what I had said and found there to be no mitigating circumstances. They will take me to court unless I pay the fine forthwith. I have decided not to provide them with the courtesy of a reply.
My most recent notes on Venezuela before this month are dated 22nd March and 22nd April 2014. Things are getting worse there all the time. Today reported this morning that kidnappings, robbery and murder are carried out in Caracus with virtual impunity. The city has the highest homocide rate in the world. Paramilitary groups roam the streets. I expect the police are as afraid as everyone else. My guess is the situation is similar to that in Nigeria. Everyone in authority is on the make. They are only interested in protecting their own intersests. If that means those you don’t like get killed so much the better. As always it is the ordinary people who suffer.
Later there was an academic giving us some analysis of the current situation amongst jihadist fighters. ISIS, who now wish to be called the Islamic State, do not like the the al-Nusra Front. In fact it is so bad they are fighting each other for overall superiority of the rebel forces in Syria and Iraq. As we can see ISIS are getting the better of things. The leader of al-Nusra, who are the official representatives of al-Qaeda, has retreated to Pakistan apparently where, no doubt, he feels safer.
The Preface of my book speaks of having been waylaid in my life. As I wrote those words in the autumn of 2011 I had no idea really how I could ever get it back on track. To be frank it has been a horrendus journey. However I should have a good few years left in me yet and I need to plan for the future. I am currently going around ticking off boxes, bringing closure where I can. There is still one massive issue in my life which is completely unresolved. However I shall work away at it.
I intend to make these my penultimate set of published diary notes. Although my book gives the full story this all started for me in a big way in July 2007. It is appropriate therefore I feel to bring this aspect of my life to a conclusion in a month’s time. Seven years is enough for anybody. Essentially I said all that needs to be said quite a long time ago. I have been repeating myself for long enough. I have given you the principles, all you need to do is put them into practice. If people want me to help further, I shall be more than happy to do so. I have sent off some emails in that connection today. But I am not going to continue to bang my head against a brick wall. I hope you will agree I have already done more than could reasonably be expected of a single person acting on their own.
Things are actually now going pretty well so, if I do feel pique, from here on I hope I shall be able to keep that to myself. This website and my book will be catalogued in the British Library. After my time I am asking my executors to make available all my private records for academic reasearch in a suitable publicly accessible library. If needs be it can be left like that. I shall provide one more final update next month.
I have not written about it before but on 12th June 2014 three Jewish Israeli teenagers were kidnapped as they hitchhiked home to the West Bank from their seminary for the weekend. Their bodies were found this evening hidden under some stones in a field. They were only three young men but their abduction had caused a massive amount of consternation in Israel. It has brought everyone’s hidden fears about their existence to the surface. Bulletins on the situation were given during World Cup games. The Israelis have a very efficient intelligence service. It seems members of Hamas were involved. The Hamas leadership deny knowing anything. We are all waiting to see how Israel reacts once the funerals have concluded.
I hope the approach is measured, as they see it, in their response. On 8th April 2014 I wrote, in relation to the Birmingham pub bombings, that generally the Gang observe our behaviour from the sidelines. But occasionally they plan what they see as a master stroke. In 1974 the British government were caught hook, line and sinker. I hope that does not happen this time. I could also give two specific examples in my private life. Because they involve other people however that would not be appropriate. Both were designed to make my family group disintigrate as far as possible. One concerned me so I know exactly how that worked. The subject of the other was one of my sons. He has chosen not to talk about it so I am not entirely sure I am right. It does not matter. The point is this fractional family worked through both instances in our normal imperfect way. Life always goes on but we do have a responsibility, in my view, to make it as easy for each other in that process as we can.
I believe some members in the Israeli government, and some in Hamas, are being tricked by the Gang. I suspect it is realised in both camps that is the case. Therefore everyone should openly and honestly explain, to friends and foe alike, how deeply upset they feel. In the general population emotions are so high it will be impossible to duck the issue. Top people must do, to an extent, what is expected of them. In that situation I request that the larger picture is not lost sight of over the next few days. Sometimes we do not understand ourselves what is best for us. It is then up to our leaders to work out the most advantageous strategy for all concerned.