Melanie Shaw: Jury Finds that Woman Backed by Tommy Robinson and Gerard Batten Committed Arson in Prison

From news site ExaminerLive:

A jury has concluded that a prisoner repeatedly started fires in her cells in what she claimed was a protest at ‘abuse of her human rights’.

A two-day trial at Leeds Crown Court heard how Melanie Shaw, who was unfit to stand trial, started three fires in her cells at HMP Foston Hall in Derbyshire and HMP New Hall in Flockton, near Wakefield.

At the conclusion of what is called a finding of fact trial [1] at Leeds Crown Court , a jury of seven women and five men spent less than an hour reaching the verdict that she committed three counts of arson being reckless as to whether property was damaged or destroyed.

Shaw had served just one month of a prison sentence at HMP Foston Hall for harassment and breach of a restraining order when she started the first fire.

The mother of one person harassed by Shaw gave her account in a 2016 video interview which can be seen here.

As I blogged just recently, Shaw is a cause célèbre among conspiracy theorists, and also now within the fringe-right: last month, Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll were seen waving “Free Melanie Shaw” placards outside the Old Bailey, while UKIP leader Gerard Batten used Twitter to promote a an article about her published by the website Politicalite, a self-described “independent populist news outlet read by thousands of readers per month” controlled by a man named Jordan James.

The Politicalite article announced a “World Exclusive”, in which it was suggested that Shaw is being held in prison as part of a cover up of VIP child sex abuse:

A VULNERABLE whistleblower of the horrific abuse of children which occurred at a county council-run home in Nottinghamshire in the late 1980s has been locked up, without a fair trial and has today been declared ‘Unwell’ to appear in court, Politicalite can reveal.

Melanie Shaw, who is a survivor of abuse at a children’s home in Nottingham remains in a high-security prison with no substantive evidence against her in a suspected “Cover-Up” by the Establishment.

…She says she is not being given her Valium. If so, this is of grave concern, as it will at best cause discomfort, and at worst cause seizures which could be fatal.

In fact, however, and as I noted previously, allegations relating to Beechwood Community House in Nottingham were first investigated by police as Operation Daybreak in 2010, which was followed by a wider investigation in 2015 called Operation Xeres and then Operation Equinox. Local media report that hundreds of statements have been taken (including one from the actress Samantha Morton), and the subject is currently being considered by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (despite Batten’s false claim in his Tweet that the inquiry “Seems to have gone quiet”). Further, Shaw is apparently still able to communicate with the outside world via her supporters. None of this would be the case if there were a “cover-up” going on.

As expected, the Examiner Live article – which also refers to support Shaw received from Robinson – has not been universally appreciated. Its author, court reporter Stephanie Finnegin (2), is currently being accused on Twitter of producing “fake news”, and she has fielded aggressive questioning from an account called @cupcake25831762 – Hoaxstead has screenshots. The account was created last month and has Tweeted just 61 times: it is obviously the creation of a troll farm (the same avatar appears on at least one other troll account), demonstrating that someone is deliberately trying to stir things up.

Footnote

1. A “trial of the facts” is a mechanism used in limited circumstances. As Matthew Scott explained in 2015:

There are, of course, circumstances in which the justice system has to wrestle with defendants who are too ill to participate in a normal trial, but too dangerous to be ignored. When that is necessary the law has no choice but to adopt an uneasy compromise between the defendant’s rights and the public need for protection.

There is no reasonable doubt that Shaw is mentally ill, and a risk to public safety.

2. UPDATE: Hoaxstead reminds us that Finnegan was the journalist who challenged reporting restrictions about Robinson’s imprisonment for contempt of court at Leeds Crown Court in May. Her reporting on the subject angered Robinson’s supporters, who in particular complained that she had referred to the street in which Robinson lives – a detail that LeedsLive has explained is included as standard practice in court reporting (“This information is given in open court for the media to publish, and is designed to ensure identification of the correct defendant in a case”). In an odd twist, however, it was afterwards discovered that Robinson had given the court an old address rather than his present home anyway. Some of Robinson’s supporters reportedly resorted to making threats against Finnegan, some of a sexual nature.

The Hampstead Satanic Ritual Abuse Hoax: To the USA and Back

In early 2015, a Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in London prompted a bizarre protest outside a church in Hampstead. As expected, the crowd included evangelical Christians, but they were also joined by some “alternative media” conspiracy types: those present included a former police officer turned New Ager named Ray Savage, and “Freeman of the Land” ideologues such as Neelu Berry and Mark Ceylon.

The panic had been engineered by a woman and her partner as part of a custody dispute: they coached her two children to make gruesome and sexually explicit allegations online, including extravagant claims about how their father was supposedly part of a cult that ate babies and made shoes out of baby skin. The whole thing fell apart very quickly, and some of those involved in promoting the hoax have since faced police and court action.

However, the story lingers on within the conspiracy milieu: the blog Hoaxstead Research has continued to chronicle the ongoing afterlife of the conspiracy theory, and the further adventures of those promoting it and their associates. In the past week, the site has been drawing attention to one Tom Dunn, an American Christian who has a line of Hampstead-related merchandise and who makes YouTube videos from a room festooned with a “We Demand Hampstead Justice Now” banner. It seems that the story was brought to Dunn’s attention some time ago by Angela Power-Disney, a British conspiracy theorist who recently withdrew from promoting the story after dwelling on the plight one of its prime movers, Sabine McNeil, who is currently in prison.  (1)

Dunn and his associate Jared Chrestman are the makers of a DVD entitled Detestable: The Realities of Satanic Ritual Abuse, and of a follow-up called This is a War, on the subject of spiritual warfare. Neither work is likely to make its way into mainstream evangelical retail outlets, but these are the products of a Christian alt-fundamentalist “underground” that communicates via podcasts and hang-outs: this is also reflected in Dunn’s personal appearance, which is that of a biker rather than a clean-cut televangelist. Their YouTube channel “Through the Black” can be seen here; views of their various videos range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand.

There is, however, some trickle-up, and Dunn and Chrestman were just last month interviewed by Derek Gilbert on his View from the Bunker podcast. Gilbert has featured on this blog previously: he and his wife Sharon are in turn associated with Thomas Horn and Horn’s Defender Publishing, and while their mix of end-times teachings and science-fiction conspiracy mongering may also seem somewhat marginal to evangelicalism, Horn and the Gilberts have been mainstreamed to the extent that they have appeared on The Jim Bakker Show.

Other recent interviewees on Derek Gilbert’s podcast include Pastor Carl Gallups, a one-time Sandy Hook truther (although he later denied being such) who controversially led the prayers at an election rally in 2016, and Rabbi Zev Porat (previously blogged here, and a favourite of WND‘s Joseph Farah). According to the interview with Dunn and Chrestman, they met Gilbert earlier this year at a conference in Dallas called “Hear the Watchmen”; this is a yearly event established by Mike Kerr and Jeannie Moore.

Dunn’s videos are now being used to keep the Hampstead hoax alive back in the UK; thus one item has recently been re-uploaded to the channel of Eddie Isok, an alt-right activist whose Twitter avatar shows him posing with Anne-Marie Waters; according the blurb he has added to the YouTube upload (dots in original), “Just a little video for the child murdering protector trolls on youtube….God is digging a pit for the wicked so enjoy the madness while you can…Love eddieisok.”

Footnote

1. Another key Hampstead promoter, Belinda McKenzie, was very recently seen at the Democrats and Veterans Party conference, where she spoke about the Nephilim of the Book of Genesis and the effects of child abuse on the “umbilic region of the brain”. Self-described “police whistleblower” Jon Wedger took to the stage after her.

Some Notes on the Democratic Football Lads Alliance London March

Complaints include “Dickens dossier on the establishments paedophile ring”

A Facebook event announcement for yesterday’s Democratic Football Lads Alliance march in central London:

THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING.

From the establishment the Media and the far left

returning jihadists.
veterans treated like traitors.
thousands of AWOL migrants.
Dickens dossier on the establishments paedophile ring.
rape gangs and groomers.
paedos given weak sentences .
epideminc of gang and knife crime.
police cuts when we need more.
cover ups and political injustices.
the constant threat of terror but we still let strangers in.

THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING.

SO WE MARCH IN SILENCE

LONDON OCT 13TH

OUR SILENCE WILL SPEAK VOLUMES

WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY

DFLA ARE HERE TO STAY

A “silent march” would have had the advantages of dignity and of keeping demonstrators on-message, but from media reports and YouTube uploads it appears that the chants of counter-protestors proved too much of a provocation, leading to clashes with police. Mail Online reports:

Violent scenes have erupted in central London as supporters of the right-wing Democratic Football Lads Alliance clashed with police and rival demonstrators during a march and one told officers: ‘I’ll kill you’.  

Hundreds of Football Lads protesters marched from Park Lane to Whitehall – with one of them seen making a Nazi salute – before some of them began to push through police escorts and chaos ensued. 

Many could be heard chanting ‘Whose streets? Our streets?’, as the group marched down Pall Mall on Saturday afternoon in one of their largest demonstrations so far.

However, despite a headline reference to “Nazi salutes” in the plural, only one example was reported and photographed, and as such should probably be seen as an outlier.

The DFLA’s list of grievances in its Facebook event blurb for the most part have in fact been reported in the media, despite the allegation of “silence” – and this includes “establishment paedophile ring” claims, which have also been heavily promoted on some left-wing websites, such as The Canary (as blogged here). The much mythologised “Dickens dossier” referred to above not long ago gave the Labour MP John Mann an opportunity to grandstand, as I discussed here.

The spectacle of a demonstration that turned into a “clash” seems to have been more interesting to most news hacks than explaining who the DFLA actually are and taking note of which groups and causes were associated with the event. The DFLA itself began as a split from John Meighan’s FLA earlier this year, and judging from the size of Saturday’s crowd it seems that its claim to be “true FLA” accurately reflects its position.

Videos of the stage erected by the DFLA at Speakers’ Corner featured the banners of two groups: Justice for Our Boys (blogged here) and Justice 4 the 21 (var. Justice for the 21, justice4the21), which campaigns on behalf of those killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombing. Links between Justice 4 the 21 and the DFLA apparently go back several months.

Also participating was Justice for the Women and Children (var.  Justice for the Women & Children, Justice for Women and Children), which appears to have emerged out of Justice for Women Of Sunderland; the Sunderland Echo describes the “Wearside-based” group as having been “formed following a series of rape inquiries launched in Sunderland earlier this year”, and notes support from the DFLA. The co-organiser, Sharon Binks, very recently spoke at the UKIP conference; in May, she was herself the subject of a “Justice for…” campaign after she was arrested for allegedly ignoring a dispersal order at a Manchester protest. The group is also making links with the Democrats and Veterans Party.

A DFLA video promoting the march on Facebook also refers to Melanie Shaw (blogged here).

Tommy Robinson and “Free Melanie Shaw”

An unexpected detail from Tommy Robinson’s preliminary court appearance at the Old Bailey yesterday was the sight of Robinson and Kevin Carroll holding “Free Melanie Shaw” posters outside the court building; Robinson also posted a photo of himself posing with the poster at a Tube station shortly beforehand.

Here, Robinson is presumably associating his own current legal predicament with other claims regarding “establishment” cover ups of organised child sex abuse: Shaw apparently spent her early years within the Nottinghamshire care system, and her supporters claim that she has been imprisoned on false charges and even held in solitary confinement to prevent her from speaking out about abuse she experienced and witnessed, and even about instances of child murder that she saw. Robinson presumably believes that this lends credence to his own assertions that his current charge for contempt of court (which comes after his earlier summary conviction in May was quashed) is also an abuse of process, orchestrated by the same “establishment” that does not want him “exposing” Muslim grooming gangs.

However, just as Robinson’s claim of suppression is difficult to credit given the extensive media coverage of grooming cases involving men of Pakistani heritage, it is hard to see why there would be a conspiracy to silence Shaw – in recent years, allegations regarding historical institutional abuse have been pursued vigorously by police forces, and even outlandish claims have formed the basis for extensive investigations (most notoriously, the case of Operation Midland). In Nottinghamshire, allegations relating to Beechwood Community House in Nottingham were first investigated by police as Operation Daybreak in 2010, which was followed by a wider investigation in 2015 called Operation Xeres and then Operation Equinox. Local media report that hundreds of statements have been taken (including one from the actress Samantha Morton), and also that a “major inquiry” is due to start on Monday, as it happens. This does not seem to be consistent with an attempted cover-up.

In Shaw’s case, it seems that there is something of an information void: a report about her in the Nottingham Post was removed at some point, which may indicate a reporting restriction; as such, I won’t go into details here. However, it can be said that the “Free Melanie Shaw” slogan goes back to 2014, and that her case has been heavily promoted on conspiracy websites – most notably, by Brian Gerrish at UK Column. Robinson’s support can perhaps be seen as further evidence of an increasing convergence between the British fringe-right and the wider conspiracy milieu.

Jon Wedger Speaks at Democrats and Veterans Party Conference

Implies Mike Penning MP was “removed from post” as minister for supporting him

Introduced by conspiracy theorist Belinda McKenzie

The fringe-right Democrats and Veterans Party has uploaded several videos of its recent party conference, which took place in Barnsley on 14-15 September: speakers shown include UKIP’s Godfrey Bloom and Bill Etheridge, Sir WIlliam Jaffray (misspelt as “William Jaffrey”) and Jon Wedger, a former police officer who styles himself as a “whistleblower” and who claims to have been persecuted and forced out of his job for attempting to expose VIP paedophile conspiracies.

Also present, although only visible for a moment as she introduced Wedger onto the stage, was Belinda McKenzie, David Shayler’s former landlady and a well-known figure in conspiracy theorist circles ranging from 9/11 Truth activism through to the notorious Hampstead Satanism hoax. Wedger’s appearance followed an interview he gave to the DVP’s John Rees-Evans in June on “How we fight paedophilia in Britain”.

Wedger told the conference that senior officers had repeatedly warned him off exposing child exploitation while he was working in the Metropolitan Police’s Vice Squad, and that on several occasions there have been attempts to have him arrested and imprisoned on false charges. He also claimed that when he went to the Home Office with evidence, his paperwork was “seized” and they afterwards denied having had any contact with him, while the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) went to a judicial review in order to exclude him from core participant status.

Wedger further stated that a “Minister for Policing and Crime” had been “removed from his post” after supporting him – this is clearly a reference to Mike Penning, the MP for Hemel Hempstead, who was Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice from 2014 to 2016 – Penning published a statement in support of Wedger earlier this year, in which he stated that he has “supported him since day one for both exposing the horrendous child prostitution case that he believes was being covered up and also for his apparent appalling treatment since becoming a police whistleblower”. However, Penning has never implied that there was anything sinister about his being moved to Armed Forces Minister in the July 2016 government reshuffle, or his loss of ministerial duties after the 2017 general election.

It is also worth noting what Wedger didn’t say: in particular, he did not refer to his long-term close association with Bill Maloney, an activist known for extravagant allegations of sex abuse, child murder and Satanism against politicians. Wedger has been urged to reconsider his links with Maloney by the former pop-singer Brian Harvey, who presented as evidence a video in which Maloney appears to coax and bully a vulnerable man into making abuse allegations. Wedger, however, has rebuffed these attempts, claiming that they amount to “trolling” against him.

I discussed the Democrats and Veterans Party in my previous blog entry, in relation to its role in a “Brexit Alliance” alongside other groups that included the People’s Revolution Party. This latter party identifies strongly with the American “QAnon” conspiracy theory.

UPDATE: A newer upload shows that McKenzie also gave a speech, in which she referred to such esoteric mysteries as the Nephilim “mixing their genes with ours”, and explained the significance of “the umbilic region of the brain”. Hoaxtead provides a transcript here.

Fringe-Right “Brexit Alliance” Announced

British “QAnon” Enthusiasts Involved

On the website of the Democrats and Veterans Party website, a new political alliance is announced:

The purpose of the Brexit Alliance is strictly that of being a temporary strategic alliance exclusively for the purpose of uniting with other pro-Brexit small parties and independent candidates for the sake of removing pro-Remain members of Parliament, and working to get as many pro-Leave candidates elected as possible – in the event that another snap General Election is called next year as a means of attempting to thwart our genuine exit from the European Union.

The post is tagged “messages from the leader”; this would be John Rees-Evans, a former UKIP leadership candidate who in 2017 suggested that dual-national British citizens (particularly those with Indian citizenship) should be offered money to leave the country. He is also known for responding to a comment about how “some homosexuals prefer sex with animals” with an anecdote about how a “homosexual donkey” had attempted to “rape” his horse – Metro had some fun with this in February, when the party unveiled its logo, which features a donkey holding a Union Flag. In 2015 he was profiled by Vice, which described how he lives in a secure compound in Bulgaria.

Although Rees-Evans is the DVP leader (1), the party was founded the month before by one Gavin Felton, as was reported in the Sun at the time:

ARMED forces veterans will declare all-out war on mainstream politicians next month – by launching their own party. Five ex-squaddies aim to field 87 candidates at the next election on a mission to topple “morally deficient” and “self-serving careerist” MPs.

Former Army sergeant major Gavin Felton has joined forces with other ex-servicemen and like-minded activists to set up the Democrats and Veterans Party.

Not all members, though, seem pleased with the latest development, with one commentator complaining that

I demand to know exactly who we are aligning our party with im not waiting for Tom Parsons to decide when i can know this , your allegiance is with your party members not Tom Parsons and The Peoples Revolution Party

This refers to another lesser-known group, which had been promising a “massive announcement” on its website for some days. This was eventually revealed to be the same “Brexit Alliance” announced by Rees-Evans:

For the next 14 days the members of this Alliance called “The Brexit Alliance” will be put out piece by piece on our twitter page @TPRParty.

You will find the list here updated daily so you have one list of which to view this from.

The impression seemed to be that the TPRP and its leader Parsons were in some way in charge of the alliance (also described on the page as a “coalition”), which seems odd given Rees-Evan’s higher media profile. However, the webpage has now been removed, and TPRP has apparently deactivated its Twitter account.

One version of the page is currently preserved on Google Cache, and fragments are viewable in search results on Yahoo and Bing. The page was also discussed on 15 September by Far Right Watch, which wrote that

They do not list what ‘Parties’ make up their ‘Coalition’. So far the only ‘Parties’ we see are ‘British Fight‘, ‘Aslans Army‘ and ‘QAnon

Enthusiasm for the American “QAnon” conspiracy theory was also evident on TPRP’s Twitter feed. Cached remnants and a screenshot from Twitter, however, instead refer to

Parties:

1. The People’s Revolution Party
2. Democrats & Veterans Party

Political Organisations/Non-Political Organisations/Pressure Groups/Media Support:

New Chartists
The White Pendragons
Bruges Group
Fish 4 Leave
Redpillphil

And also later:

3. The English Democrats
4. The Populist Party
5. British Union & Sovereignty Party
6. The Christian People’s Alliance

Along with:

Great Awakening
UK Unity
Ezra Lewis
Kim Rose
RightUnity
Campaign for an English Parliament
A1R.TV
BEN TV

There’s no evidence of anyone contradicting this list, and “Red Pill Phil”, a fringe-right activist I recently noted here, interviewed Parsons earlier this month. Oddly, however, Far Right Watch also notes that TPRP have also stated that “Ukip will be exposed, AMD [Anne-Marie Waters, of For Britain] will be given a choice. We will grow in power far quicker than them both combined.”

The TPRP leadership team is not particularly recognisable, although Far Right Watch identifies one member as “ex National Front, ex BNP”. Another member of the team, Party Spokesman Duncan Campbell (not the well-known journalist), can be heard here discussing the “Road To The Illuminati New World Order” with a conspiricist radio host named Kev Baker – Rothschilds feature prominently. Parsons has also been interviewed for a video put online by the Bases Project, which bills itself as “derived from the early pioneering Irish UFO Research Centre” (2). Parsons explained to his interviewer – Caroline Stephens, a UKIP activist who was also Campaign Manager for Leave.Eu – that while at primary school he had experienced “an overwhelming energy” and a sense that he would “change the world in some way”.

At this point, it is difficult to tell if the “QAnon” element noted above is an outlier. However, as I noted recently, a close associate of Tommy Robinson was cheered at a “Free Tommy” rally  when he expressed the view that the country is run by an elite of “Satanic paedophiles”, and in June Rees-Evans interviewed none other than Jon Wedger (in the back of a car, for some reason) on the subject of “How we fight paedophilia in Britain”; I previously looked at Wedger and the conspiracy milieu here.

UPDATE: Parsons has now disappeared from the People’s Revolution Party website, replaced by Campbell as “interim leader”.

Footnotes

1. The DVP deputy leader was formerly one Trevor Coult, who quit in May and made a statement that “I will never have my integrity in question by supporting issues I don’t believe in!” When asked to explain further, he said that issue in question was “Tommy Robinson”. This was several months after Coult had promoted the party on The Richie Allen Show, a conspiracy podcast associated with David Icke.

2. The Bases Project’s logo consists of a human hand combined with the eyes and facial shape of an alien “Grey”. The organisation believes that “IVF treatment was created to make humans into a cyborg slave race, so called Greys and other cyborg hive controlled trans-humans.”

Investigation Finds Chief Constable Mike Veale Gave “Inaccurate Account” of How He Broke Phone

(Updated and amended a couple of times)

From the Independent Office for Police Conduct (and widely reported elsewhere):

An Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation has found that Cleveland Chief Constable Mike Veale has a case to answer for alleged misconduct for providing and maintaining an inaccurate account of how damage to his work mobile phone was caused while heading up Wiltshire Police.

We found that Mr Veale had a case to answer in respect of his explanation to colleagues that the phone had been dropped in a golf club car park and inadvertently run over by a vehicle. Mr Veale subsequently explained to our investigators that the damage was in fact caused when he swung a club at his golf bag in frustration after playing a poor shot.

We began an investigation in January this year after anonymous allegations were received that Chief Constable Veale deliberately damaged his mobile phone to hide contact with various parties over Wiltshire Police’s investigation into Sir Edward Heath (Operation Conifer).

It was previously reported in January that Veale, who has now moved on from Wiltshire to Cleveland, was under investigation for breaking a phone. He has now been put on an “ongoing programme of professional development”, during which it will be explained to the chief constable that police officers ought not to tell lies.

The IPOC press release also links to the full report, which has further details:

On 23 November 2017, the IOPC received an anonymous typed letter dated 25 October 2017. This letter alleged that Chief Constable Veale and a Conservative MP had collaborated in leaking information about Operation Conifer, an investigation into alleged child abuse by Sir Edward Heath, in an attempt to boost public opinion of Chief Constable Veale.

The letter alleged that Chief Constable Veale had spoken directly to one journalist on a number of occasions, and had told the MP that “he was going to cover his tracks by destroying his phone so records of contact between him and [name redacted] could not be traced.”

The journalist mentioned here was very probably Simon Walters, the Mail on Sunday’s political editor; during Operation Conifer, Walters ran a number of articles on the subject, the most sensational being “Police Chief: Heath Was a Paedophile“, which famously introduced the suggestion – attributed to “a source” – that Veale believed the claims against Heath were “120% genuine”. Veale always denied having expressed an opinion about Heath’s guilt or leaking, but when the police investigation ended in fiasco without having discovered anything of substance he went to Walters to give his first interview, despite his former complaints that he had been misrepresented. (1)

The IPOC report includes the detail that Assistant Chief Constable Paul Mills recalled that “on the morning of 23 September 2017, the force media team made him aware that there had been a significant leak of information from the Operation Conifer report”; Mills attempted to contact Veale about it, but was unable to do so until Veale emailed him the next day with his false account of how his phone had been run over by a car. We are also told by the IPOC that Veale had told investigators “that during the game [of golf] he received several calls about an article that was due to be published in the Sunday Times the following day, which was highly personal and questioned his integrity and the integrity of Operation Conifer”. I wrote about this Sunday Times article at the time; it drew attention to links between Veale and a conspiracy theorist named Robert Green, but it was derived from an exchange that Green had published on his own website rather than a “leak”.

Oddly, IPOC makes no mention of another article that was published on the same day: “Police: If Ted Heath Was Alive Today We’d Quiz him under Caution on Child Abuse Claims” (discussed here), once again from Simon Walters at the Mail on Sunday. The article cited “Whitehall sources”, and it looks much more like it was based on a “significant leak from the Operation Conifer report” than the Sunday Times article. Yet this article is not mentioned anywhere in the IPOC report.

The whole thing is a bit of a mystery. Whoever sent the letter knew that Veale had broken his phone, but if the sender’s purpose was malicious (as Veale maintains) it seems remarkably good luck for this person that it turned out that Veale had told a lie to explain the damage – which just happened to have occurred the day before leaks from within Operation Conifer provided the basis for new story in the Mail on Sunday (whereas the IPOC report instead focuses on the Sunday Times article).

On the other hand, though, if the damage was inflicted “accidentally on purpose” by hitting his golf bag in front of witnesses, why then afterwards resort to a different story to explain what had happened? And there is corroboration that Veale sought out data recovery, which is not consistent with wanting to “cover tracks” – although there is slippage in the IPOC report between one witness saying “he asked her to try to arrange the recovery of all of the data stored on the phone”, and an IT consultant who says Veale “asked him to recover some information that was stored on the device”.

The MP, meanwhile, is almost certainly Andrew Bridgen, who was bizarrely described by Veale as a “stakeholder” in the investigation. Bridgen was given advance access to the Operation Conifer report, which he commended to be media before the public were allowed to see it for themselves, and his involvement perhaps explains why a crime investigation was being channelled to the Mail on Sunday via a political hack (as suggested by Private Eye magazine last year – issue 1454, p. 10). Characteristically, Bridgen has now provided a media quote for the Daily Mail, stating:

‘This investigation, based on spurious and vexatious allegations carried out at huge cost to the taxpayer, has been nothing more than an attempt to smear the reputation of an honest policeman.’

However, Bridgen did not make any reference to the alleged conversation mentioned in the anonymous letter that led to the IPOC investigation. Bridgen’s statement here is hard to take given the huge sums that were wasted in Veale’s crusade to find evidence that Heath – who died in 2005 – was a child-sex abuser.

On the same day as Veale’s interview with Walters at the end of Operation Conifer, Veale also chose to be interviewed by Mark Watts, formerly of Exaro News. This was an odd decision, given how Watts had heavily promoted the discredited “Operation Midland” complainant. Watts’s explanation for the investigation into the broken phone is that this is “the establishment” taking “revenge” for Operation Conifer, although he covers both bases by referring to the story of Veale talking to the MP: “If true, who could have been listening in to a chief constable’s private comms?”

Meanwhile, self-described “police whistleblower” Jon Wedger has said on social media that he has today spoken with Veale, and that he (Wedger) believes that the investigation indicates “the vile paedophilic cover ups at the heart of the British establishment.” Wedger, who has previously been promoted by the Daily Express, maintains some mainstream links while being fully immersed in an “alternative media” conspiracy milieu that has seen him discussing Satanic Ritual Abuse with Bill Maloney and speaking at the International Tribunal for Natural Justice.

Footnote

1. The Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, has issued a statement expressing his support for Veale. It includes a detail about the second aspect of the letter:

A second part of the referral, concerning allegations Mr Veale had disclosed confidential information relating to ‘Operation Conifer’, was returned to the Wiltshire PCC in January to deal with in any manner he deemed appropriate, which was to take no further action.

Despite a recent report that chief constables have disparaged PCCs as “not that bright” and “absolutely bleeding hopeless”, the impression one gets is that they are usually compliant and do not in fact hold chief constables to account.

A Note on Former MP Patrick Mercer and Russia

With the announcement of two suspects in the Salisbury Novichok incident, I am reminded of commentary article about the subject from March in the Yorkshire Post, by the disgraced (1) former MP Patrick Mercer:

Russia was condemned almost immediately, though, condemned by a fragile government and a Prime Minister who was under pressure from a shrieking media to talk tough and damn the niceties.

…But what has Mr Putin to gain from such behaviour?… Mr Skripal… was exchanged – he didn’t run – and has lived in silence ever since. Why would Mr Putin bring international condemnation on himself just before a vital election?

…my Russian friends have 
other theories… whilst an attack on the traitor Segei might be acceptable, Yulia is off limits. Some may see her as unfortunate collateral damage, but Mr Putin’s electoral chances would suffer the same if accusations stuck.

…They also point out that the former, main Soviet Novichok facility was in Uzbekistan which is now under the insecure control of that country and that the formula for these weapons is publicly available. It could be made in advanced laboratories such as those in the US, UK Israel or… Ukraine. Ah, Ukraine – aren’t they in the middle of a dirty, bitter war with Russia at the moment and wouldn’t Mr Putin’s embarrassment at the polls be a great advantage to them?

This analysis is weak, and it is troubling to read coming from the pen of a former Chairman of the House of Commons Counter-Terrorism Sub-Committee. Of course there is nothing wrong in itself with raising alternative theories about the poisoning, but this defence of Russia fails due to a number of glaring difficulties:

1. The notion that Putin’s re-election was dependent on “electoral chances” is naive to the extreme.

2. Skripal may be “living in silence” in so far as he had not made any public statements, but he may have been in a position to provide further assistance to British intelligence agencies, and killing him would have the obvious gain of deterring other potential double-agents.

3. Even if it is true that ordinary Russians would have sympathised with Yulia (which is speculative) (2), if the threat to life and injury she suffered was unexpected “collateral damage” then it obviously would not have been a factor that would have been taken into consideration in advance of the decision to act.

4. Russia may well have been confident that the allegation would not in fact “stick” and that they would get away with it. This is usually the case when someone decides in cold blood to commit a crime.

5. For Ukraine, undertaking such a “false flag” terrorist action would be a massive gamble, disproportionate to the vague prize of “embarrassing” Putin.

These days, Mercer writes on military history, and in February 2017 he took part in a delegation of British academics to Crimea, with a view to “attracting foreign and Russian tourists” to archaeological sites relating to the Crimean War, in words attributed to Mercer by RIA-Novosti. The delegation was denounced by the Ukrainian Embassy in London as “an illegal visit… to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea occupied by the Russian Federation”, and another Ukrainian website, Human Rights in Ukraine, added that

Mercer is effectively recognizing the Ukrainian peninsula invaded by Russia and illegally annexed in 2014 as ‘Russian’, and promising to try to get others to also ignore international sanctions by doing the same.

Neither source appears to have been aware of Mercer’s former high-profile political career, and British media appears to have overlooked the oddness of a former Shadow Minister for Homeland Security getting mixed up in such a controversy.

Notes

(1) Mercer resigned following a BBC Panorama sting in 2013, in which he agreed to lobby in Parliament on behalf of Fiji’s sugar industry in return for money and – as a bonus scoop – he expressed the view that an Israeli soldier he had once met looked like “a bloody Jew”.

I have sometimes speculated about why he was targeted for this sting, and three possibilities come to mind: (a) contemptuous comments he had made about the Prime Minister, David Cameron; (b) he was a buffoonish liability due to a constant stream of sensationalising and false claims about terror threats that he would feed to tabloid newspapers, based on discreditable associates who were feeding him false information; (c) anger within the security services at his attempt to smear an ex-lover as mentally ill, given that the woman involved was at the time an assistant to the Shadow Security Minister, Baroness [Pauline] Neville-Jones.

(Incidentally, the “discreditable associates” included a British man who sometimes trolled online as “James Rosposol”, later amended to “James Osposol”. “Rosposol” is the first element in the email addresses of Russian embassies)

2. Mercer may be projecting here, due to his own fondness for Slavic females – at one time he was recorded after a few drinks discoursing on the subject of Ukrainian women: “Ooooh ahhh. They are extraordinary. They ARE extraordinary”.

Some Notes on a “Justice” Campaign

From RT, back in May:

The father of a 17-year-old teenager, who was killed by a drunk driver, is suing the police accusing them of cover up of what he said was either a terrorist or deliberate attack.

Ian Rice, whose son was killed along with another two teenage boys after the man crashed into them, slammed the police for failing to bring justice to the victims and their families.

…Rice claims [Jaynesh] Chudasama intended to hit the teenagers and that police were trying to “suppress” the case and “keep it out of the public eye” due to the driver’s background as a Muslim of Pakistani origin.

…”We are the victims, we are not the criminals,” Ian said while attending the Day of Freedom protest in London on Sunday. The protest was organized by a spectrum of activists and political figures – from those on far-right to free speech advocates.

Rice claims that Chudasama’s Twitter and Instagram accounts featured Jihadi propaganda, and that this demonstrates a terrorist motive.

It is not necessarily implausible that someone with an attraction to Jihadi propaganda might also have imbibed alcohol: human psychology is complex, and the romantic appeal of Jihadi “heroism” may be wider than just among committed Islamic fundamentalists. Such an attraction, combined with the inhibition-lowering effects of alcohol, might conceivably inspire a spontaneous act of violence that is afterwards regretted, which in this case would then explain why the perpetrator has not chosen to take the “credit” for a terror attack.

But this is somewhat speculative, and to have brought a murder charge that then failed because it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt would surely have been a worse outcome than Chudasama’s actual conviction on a lesser charge that has led to a substantial prison sentence. The mother of one of the other boys, Tracy Blackwell, appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in April; she argued that the sentences for the three deaths ought to have been consecutive rather than concurrent, but other than saying “I also think our case is different from death by dangerous driving, I just want to say that”, as written up in the Sun she did not go into Rice’s views about a terrorist motive or police cover-up.

The campaign, somewhat like the (now ended) “Justice for Chelsey” campaign, appears to be well-known within what we might call broad “alt-right” / “nationalist” trends, but it has not attracted much interest outside of this milieu; in July, Mail Online noted a man holding up a campaign pamphlet during an incident in which Tommy Robinson supporters abused a woman Muslim bus-driver in Trafalgar Square, but no further details were provided.

Publicity for the campaign appears to have been mainly through public speeches at events such as the “Day for Freedom” protest noted above, along with follow-up on social media. For example, this video shows the activist Eddie Isok (blogged here) speaking at one such event (1).

However, there has also been some controversy; the suspended UKIP activist and leader of MBGA (Make Britain Great Again) Luke Nash-Jones (recently notorious for his “invasion” of the left-wing Bookmarks bookshop in central London) declined to take part if a Justice for Our Boys event on Sunday, alleging the involvement of the far-right. According to the blurb under Nash-Jones’s YouTube video announcement (links added):

As much as Make Britain Great Again have sympathy for the tragedy of the three boys and Tracy Blackwell fighting for justice, the Leader of MBGA, Luke Nash-Jones and Secretary Brian Calder can not attend the Justice for Our Boys march by James Goddard because they have invited Tim Timothy Scott, a member of the Liberty Defenders run by notorious anti-Semite Jack Sen. Timothy Scott and Glen Saffer have made aggressive threats to Luke Nash-Jones. Fighting for Justice can not be achieved by siding with Jack Sen who called himself a National Socialist, i.e. a Nazi. Justice for Our Boys needs to vet the backgrounds of speakers.

Goddard recently appeared in a Fox News report as someone who has “been involved in a number of rallies of support for [Tommy] Robinson”; at one “Free Tommy” rally he expressed the view that the country is run by an elite of “Satanic paedophiles”, to cheers from the crowd. Sen, meanwhile, was dropped by UKIP in 2015 after he claimed that Jews in public life were responsible for a “genocide” in western Europe (according to the Guardian,“Sen made the comments in an interview with the far-right South African website the European Knights Project (EKP) published on 12 April”).

Footnote

1. The podium also featured a banner for another campaign, “Justice for Jack Walker”. This refers to a man who died in prison in Indonesia a year ago after being convicted of drug smuggling in 2012; supporters argue that he was coerced into smuggling, and that he was tortured and murdered in prison.

Brian Harvey’s Court Appearance: A Note on Some Supporters

Last Friday, the former pop-singer Brian Harvey made a preliminary appearance at Highbury & Islington Magistrate’s court in relation to an allegation that he had harassed a man online named Ian Puddick. (1) The hearing was not reported in the media, despite coverage of Harvey’s arrest last November and more recent news stories – Harvey often posts uploads to YouTube that provide easy “celeb news” items for journalists, such as this example.

However, Harvey’s appearance in court was noted on social media, and a number of videos (some of which have since been deleted) show that a crowd of supporters turned up for the event. Some were perhaps simply 1990s pop-music fans, although it appears that there was a contingent of “alt-right”  and “sovereign citizen” enthusiasts.

The appearance of the latter may in part be explained by video uploaded in July, in which Harvey was interviewed by an activist named “Eddie Isok” (var. “Eddie Is OK”) – Isok has an “alt right” following, and his Twitter profile photo shows him with For Britain’s Anne-Marie Waters. As I have blogged previously, Harvey told his interviewer that he had previously been an associate of Bill Maloney, a film-maker who makes extravagant allegations of VIP sex abuse. In late 2013, Maloney and Harvey travelled together to record an interview with a man who accused a long list of celebrities of sex abuse, and Harvey believes (with good cause) that this man was coached and bullied by Maloney into making false allegations. Harvey’s interview also included an appeal for Jon Wedger, who describes himself as a “police whistleblower”, to break from Maloney; this appeal has been rebuffed by Wedger, although Maloney has not made any public statements for some time now.

The various videos uploaded after the hearing show Harvey making a short statement on the steps of the court, standing beside an older man wearing a long white wig in apparent parody of a High Court judge. He then shook hands with and posed with a number of those present.

One video was made by “Red Pill Phil”, an activist who was last year promoted by Caolan Robertson at Rebel Media after he was filmed arguing with Antifa activists (2); according to his account, he and other members of the public gallery refused to stand when the magistrate entered the courtroom, as an expression of their rejection of her authority – a typical “freeman of the land”-type antic. The crowd outside also included one Gordon Bowden, who describes himself as an “ex-RAF whistleblower”.

Harvey afterwards made a new video after he returned home (apparently since deleted), in which he asked for supporters not to attend at his next court appearance. He expressed irritation at some of those present who had positioned themselves so that they would appear in shot behind him when he was speaking, and he was particularly annoyed by the refusal-to-stand stunt in the courtroom, which he believes will only cause him problems.

Footnotes

1. Puddick previously featured on this blog in 2011, after he was himself accused and acquitted of harassment. In 2013 it was announced that none other than David Shayler “is now writing a book about Ian Puddick, who believes he was persecuted by the City of London Police”, although it has not yet been published.

1. Here is a photo of “Red Pill Phil” sitting alongside Robertson and Jack Buckby, who is also now with Rebel Media. The person behind, I’m told, is James Diamond (aka James Windsor) of Generation Identity, an associate of Anne-Marie Waters.