January Break

Dear Subscribers,

Thank you for following this blog in 2015. I hope you had a good year for 2015 and I wish you an even more successful 2016. I will take a break from this blog until February.

I will take January off to reconsider the blog, review my writing, and develop some new ideas for posts over the year.

Thanks for reading the blog and I hope you continue to follow it in 2016.

All the best,

Lawrence

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Rahm Emanuel’s Funeral Oration for Laquan McDonald: “I’m committed to reform.”

On 7 December 2015, Rahm Emanuel wrote an article, a funeral oration, to explain that Chicago would be reformed after Laquan McDonald’s death. The Mayor wrote that he is committed to reform.[1] On its own a call to reform is expected. After a traumatic event, especially one that draws national attention, the Mayor would want to make changes. All cities are always undergoing reform as no city is perfect. What makes this call to reform noteworthy is it has the semblance of a funeral oration. Like Pericles or Lincoln before him Emanuel tells the public that Laquan McDonald’s death is not in vain. The article is from a superbly talented politician at the height of his powers. His public speeches and deeds demonstrate his political virtuosity where he embodies much of modern American politics. Despite his often brusque manner, he is a masterful deal maker able to neutralize, if not defeat, his opponents. His success is due to his ability to master the political art’s protean nature. Politics is an ever shifting context which requires political leaders to adapt to changes as well as engage their allies and enemies to achieve a collective good. Politics protean nature is best expressed at the individual level by the art of wrestling. Like a wrestler, a political leader has to grapple with an issue or an opponent who seeks to impose their will or vision. A political actor has to set and shift positions as they grapple with an opponent or an issue. In wrestling, the goal is to impose your will on your opponent within the rules. Politics, although cooperative, requires rhetorical and, at times, physical coercion. The political art changes slightly at the highest level when a leader has responsibility for a community. At this level, the political art is like weaving. A leader has to weave together disparate, if not conflicting, groups through a web of policies and laws. The political web protects the community from disunity and external attacks. The external attacks are like economic shocks, environmental problems, or challenges from other political communities. A leader responds to these challenges, through speeches and deeds that encourage the public to rally in support. Thus, an analysis of this article, at time of crisis when the City is threatened by disunity and external attacks, provides an insight into Rahm Emanuel’s political leadership and Chicago politics.

The analysis reveals the Mayor’s political virtuosity and his political homecoming.

The shooting of Laquan McDonald was horrendous. His family deserves justice, and every Chicagoan deserves fundamental changes in how our police officers are held accountable for any abuses they commit.

The Mayor begins with a bold statement. He draws the audience’s attention to the obvious, yet he poses a curious parallel. He does not say that that the every Chicagoan deserves justice. Instead, he says they need a better system to hold the police to account for the abuse. He does not explain why the current system is flawed or who is responsible for those flaws. Nor does he say that the City must prevent or stop the abuse; instead he reassures the public the police will be accountable for their abuse of power. What this suggests is that they have not been accountable in the past, yet that raises the question of why. Why is it that under the Mayor’s term that the police have not been previously accountable? The Mayor does not raise political reform. Only the police seem to need reform even though they only act within a political system that is supposed to hold them to account. Neither the Mayor nor the public’s political representatives seem able to hold the police to account. Is the failure of accountability something that the Mayor now needs a political crisis to achieve? If so, it suggests that the Mayor is not letting a shooting go to waste.[2] One has to wonder, though, why this shooting, why now?

The systemic issues that this incident highlights will not be solved overnight, but I am fully committed to ensuring there is significant, real, and sustained, long-term reform.

The Mayor acknowledges the deep seated problem. What is not clear is why he has not included political reform. He knows that reform of the system will take time. He leaves unasked and unanswered why it has not been confronted before this event. What is also noticeable is the amount of emphasis he has to place on the term reform. It is not just “reform”, or “real reform”, or “significant reform”. He makes sure everyone understands that he is committed to reform that is “significant, real, sustained, and long term”. He uses four qualifiers to the word reform. It is almost as if by adding adjectives he will believe it and most importantly, the public will believe. Will the victims believe it? Perhaps the dead will ask “Why did you avoid the most important word—“effective” reform?”

What is particularly troubling by his claim is that for the past 10 years, the City of Chicago has spent over 500 million dollars for police abuse and killings.[3] Why Rahm has decided to conduct reform becomes a question in itself. What is strange is that the Mayor who decides the reform, which suggests that the reason why reform has not happened before is that the Mayor has not wanted it or could not deliver it. If that is the case, then we have to ask whether the current Mayor is going to reform the police or just ensure the appearance of reform or the appearance of attempted reform.

Within hours of the shooting, the City’s investigation began and within days, the City turned the video over to prosecutors to investigate and bring appropriate charges. Protecting the integrity of those investigations was critical. That is why the video was not made public. Nobody anticipated that they would take more than a year.

Here the Mayor provides a verifiable detail. The City knew about the video for a year. It is not as if the video became known to everyone at the same time. The City, including those who work for the Mayor, will have become aware of its content including its severity,[4] but that does not mean the Mayor saw the video. The Mayor knew the video was important. Many commentators believe that this is decisive. It is not decisive. The Mayor succeeded in Washington DC by an ability to leave no bureaucratic fingerprints when it suits his purpose. He would have his operatives find out what was on the video so he could be told so as to retain his plausible deniability.

What is of note is his claim that he was surprised it would take more than a year for it to be made public.[5] Here the Mayor makes a serious mistake. Even a cursory glance at the published police investigations statistics show that investigations on average take longer than a year. What is unexplained is why the prosecutor took so long to bring charges or what role the Mayor had in that process.[6] He will have known the City fought disclosure. He would have been involved in the decision to pay the family $5 Million. At the same time, his comment raises the claim that making the video public sooner would have prejudiced the investigation without explaining how as other cities have released videos sooner.[7] In what way would it have prejudiced an investigation for it suggests the investigation was completed before it was released? If the investigation was completed earlier, then disclosure could not prejudice it. Otherwise, it suggests that the investigation, or at least the part relying on it, was only completed just before the judge ordered the video’s release. Either way, the City played politics with the video. If they are willing to do that, they are willing to play politics with everything. Nothing can be trusted in such a City. The question is no longer “Who is corrupt?” The question is “Who has integrity?”[8]

When a judge ruled last month that the videotape should be made public, we complied. Shortly before the tape’s release, the state’s attorney brought charges of first-degree murder against police officer Jason Van Dyke.

Here the Mayor raises another point. The City did not have to wait for a judge to force disclosure. They could have disclosed earlier. Instead, they chose to fight the disclosure to force the people making the FOIA requests to file lawsuits for its disclosure. The City’s attitude to Freedom of Information is a common to those who want to avoid accountability. The politically powerful only want to be accountable on their terms, if at all. If the judge had to order disclosure, and the video was withheld to protect the investigation, then it undermines the Mayor’s claim. The video would not undermine the investigation because the investigation was already completed by the time the judge ordered the disclosure. Why would the Mayor make such an empty claim?

When the tape was released, people were outraged — and rightly so. There is no excuse for the actions of that officer. And, I understand people’s frustration that it took more than a year to bring charges.

Here the Mayor understands that people will be frustrated by the delay. Yet, he does not seem to understand why or how it could be delayed despite the published statistics on police investigations.[9] He understands the frustration but does not explain how he will change it or reform it. One can note that he has not said that the police reform will include the prosecutor’s office. Indeed one could note that he has left them out on purpose. If he did, then why mention the delay? It is as if he wants to give the appearance that he shares their frustration but is unwilling or unable to do anything about it even though he is the only one who has the authority to do something about it. What is also curious is that the Mayor misses the opportunity to personalise his outrage. He does not say “I was outraged.” Perhaps, such a statement would be more than a Mayor can say publicly. However, we have to consider he makes various statements about the outrage and his desire for reform, yet he does not personally condemn the shooting. He may have omitted simply because it is obvious or he believes it is unnecessary in such a context.

He does personalize the welcome to the Department of Justice investigation.

We welcome a U.S. Justice Department investigation of our police department. But fundamental change does not need to wait. Next year, police officers serving one-third of our City will be wearing body cameras, which should reduce incidents of excessive force as well as unfounded complaints.

He understands that a public rebuke or a public dispute with the federal government does not help him or the City at this stage. He has to defuse the public and federal attention. In the face of the external attack, he has to appear malleable or pliable. Later, after the people and the national media have moved to other issues, he can criticize the investigation. By then, his patron will be out of office. At this stage, he will welcome the DOJ investigation to gain political leverage to shape the Chicago Police Department (CPD), if not control it. The CPD will have to rely on him to defend them as well as to carry out the reform. It is unlikely that any reforms are going to be required that will be completely unpalatable to the Mayor, as Mayor, even though they will be unpalatable to the CPD. The CPD realize the Mayor has an advantage over them. He can offer them his political capital if they will cooperate, which gives them an incentive to cooperate rather than resist. To reinforce this point, the Mayor has created his own task force. He can create recommendations that will either reinforce or negate the DOJ investigation. Unlike the DOJ investigation, this one is within his control.

What is curious is that the Mayor has presented the police body cameras as an important innovation for accountability and reform. He is at pains to mention that it should (a strange qualification given his earlier insistence that he will have reform) reduce excessive force incidents. On the surface, that sounds plausible. Yet, the dashboard camera did not prevent the Laquan McDonald killing. The officer did not think twice about the camera, or anything else, before he shot an unarmed, defenceless, man 16 times even as he lay dying on the ground. It seems strange that the Mayor and Chicago have to rely on technology to reform police behaviour.

If we look closer at this decision, we face the same situation that emerged in the Laquan McDonald case. The video was not released for a year. Even though the prosecutors had it within hours, they did not file charges until just before the video was released. As the Mayor said earlier, the City resisted the legal request for information as they believed it would prejudice the investigation. The same would occur with the body camera videos. The process will be repeated. Unless the access process is reformed, which the Mayor has not said would be part of the reform, his claim is hollow. It is nice soundbite; it sounds good, full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing. The City will continue to resist requests for information and the investigations will be delayed, even with a promised protocol on disclosure, the fundamental problem of resistance to accountability has not been addressed. Even if there is better evidence from future videos, it will not change the procedural problems that delay justice. The Mayor knows this, which is why he has called for disclosure protocol only addresses one part of the problem.

What is particularly troubling is the last part of the sentence. The body cameras are not there simply to protect the citizens. They are there to protect the police from unfounded complaints. Yes, that is correct. In an article about the brutal police killing of an unarmed, defenceless man where the Mayor is outlining his commitment to reform to reassure the public, he has explained that the cameras will protect the police from unfounded complaints. Yes, that is correct. The police need to be protected from unfounded complaints in the same measure that citizens have to be protected from excessive force and being shot to death by the police. You have to hand it to the Mayor. He knows how to display chutzpah. The police dismiss 99% of all complaints from Blacks.[10] Thus, it seems strange to say that stopping complaints is going to be a benefit on par with stopping excessive force.

I’ve also appointed a Task Force on Police Accountability to push significant reform in our police department and discipline system. The task force will scrutinize everything from training and monitoring officers, to crafting a protocol for the timely release of police videotapes, to ensuring the integrity of our investigations. It is empowered to offer fundamental changes, and I am committed to implementing them.

Here we see Chicago politics (but really of any successfully run polity’s politics) at play. The Mayor has appointed his own Task Force[11] before the DOJ investigation was announced. As mentioned earlier, this gives the Mayor flexibility, which all political leaders desire, to manage the issue on his terms. He has appointed the task force so we can be certain there is no one on it that he does not want to be on it. As such, it is handpicked to reflect what he wants to achieve. Moreover, if the reforms do not work, he can claim that he wanted reforms. All that he needs is the appearance of the attempt at reforms. In other words, no mayor would openly resist the call to reform in the face of such an event. However, he also knows that he only needs to have the appearance of reforms to placate the demand for reforms.

Had the police wanted to resist this outcome, they would have had to disclose the video themselves so that he would be on the back foot. Such an approach would have required greater risk taking and political courage than the CPD have shown previously. They have succeeded and endured through the great Chicago political technique of waiting out the storm. Chicago has faced scandals in the past, even nationally televised beatings of defenceless protestors in 1968, which have been shrugged off the City’s broad shoulders.[12] The political establishment endures as all parts of the city establishment have a stake in the system’s survival. No part wants reform in any part which will affect their overall benefit. As a result, reform is nearly impossible. The police, though, are now on the back foot as Rahm’s talk of reform and the public spotlight have suggested reform might occur this time except it seems to be the same appearance of reform as all the other times the City claimed it would have police reform after a crisis.[13] The police may have to change the way they work and become accountable. However, the police have not endured as part of the Chicago political establishment by being unable to engage effectively in their own bureaucratic trench warfare. Even with such a public event, it would be surprising if the CPD simply accepted reform that they did not want to implement. In a few years as attention shifts to other issues, the Police and the Mayor will be locked in the political trench warfare to manage the appearance of reform let alone real reform.

The shooting of Laquan McDonald was indefensible. We cannot let anything like it ever happen again. As mayor, I am committed to fixing our broken system and holding our police and my administration to the highest standards. That way, Laquan’s death will not have been in vain.

The Mayor begins the final section of the article with a bold statement. He states that the shooting was indefensible. How can he know? The officer is entitled to trial so such claims could be considered prejudicial. The officer has not made his defence and should have his day in court to explain his behaviour. He then continues in that bold vein by claiming that we cannot let it happen again. How that is to be done is unclear as he does not explain what that will require. We may reduce abuse, but as he expressed earlier, at the middle of his article, the body cameras should reduce incidents, but will it prevent it? One could almost believe he has sandwiched his doubt, qualification, and uncertainty between his bold statements at the start and the end.

The Mayor continues with a commitment to fix the system, hold the police to account, and hold his administration to the highest standards. The obvious question, though, is: “If the administration and the police were not being held to the highest standards before, who will hold them to account now?” We know the City, the administration, and the police have had critics who have been calling for reform for decades.[14] The Mayor makes his statement as if it is the first time, or an innovation, to consider that the system is broken and standards have to be met. Will the Mayor fix a system that has condoned the police behaviour, and pay out over $500 million to settle claims of abuse and shootings by the police over the past 10 years? Can he reform such a system? The brutal truth is that the system is beyond reform. The Mayor cannot deliver what he claims; he can only hope to deliver the appearance of reform. The City knows this and the people know this. The only people who do not realize this are the people who continue to call for reform. The system has no desire to reform; it has shrugged off such reform because no part of the system gains more from reform than they will lose from reform.[15] To put it directly, the City knows that dishonesty, corruption, and silence pay better than honesty, integrity, and accountability.[16] The City’s factions, the powerful financial figures who do business within the city, benefit from this arrangement. So long as crime is kept within the black communities and away from the neighbourhoods where the powerful financial faction live, the City “works”. [17] The city is deeply segregated and as long as white cops shoot black men in black neighbourhoods, the City shrugs its broad shoulders.[18] That is the Chicago way. The task is too great. The divide is too deep. The Chicago political establishment thrives on this segregation and no one; in particular the establishment wants to change it.

The Mayor’s claim is simply empty rhetoric. He knows this which makes his claim so cynical. He cannot reform the system and he has no desire to reform for two main reasons. First, the system, as a system, is designed to work for the mayor. Even if he personally as a moral agent desires reform and abhors the corruption, segregation, and brutality he cannot change the system. His political power, the raison d’etre of the political system including the Mayor’s office, is based on the system. Second, he has nothing to gain from changing the system. What he has to do is deliver the appearance of change. As long as the City and the system continue to work for the powerful factions and the appearance of reform delivers that continuity, he will have succeeded. He cannot affect reform without the corrupt system. He cannot appeal to the people. He cannot appeal to the media. He cannot even appeal to the federal government. The Mayor is trapped in a corrupt system he cannot reform. At best, he can save himself but not save the city.

The Mayor closes the article with the second reference to Laquan McDonald. He invoked him at the start and here at the end to reinforce his call to reform. What is noteworthy is the way in which his language encourages us to believe that Laquan’s McDonald’s death will only have meaning should reform occur. One immediately has to ask whether the other the lives of the other police victims over the past 10 years, if not longer, have been in vain. We would like to believe that the Mayor wants to eulogize Laquan McDonald’s death as a call to remind the City that it needs to reform lest it to suffer his fate. Laquan McDonald’s death is in vain. The Mayor has ensured that it was by the swift financial settlement. His death is another political event to be exploited for short term political purposes that have no long term consequence for Chicago corruption. His death has meaning if it can serve the Mayor’s ambition, but it has no meaning for a city long inured to such deaths.

We end, where we began, the Mayor has set out his ambition for reform based on the opportunity that Laquan McDonald’s killing offers. The Mayor has revealed more than he realized, or perhaps intended, for we now can see that what matters most, what gives events meaning, is if an event or a person can serve the Mayor’s ambition. Yet, the deeper message, perhaps unintended by the Mayor is that his speech is a funeral oration for the City. The City cannot reform itself. It does not matter if he delivers on the reform. He has survived the tactical moment because he has promised the appearance of reform. What he does not realize, or perhaps he does, is that he cannot win the war. Reform is impossible. What we have been treated to a masterclass in political rhetoric, positioning, and political virtuosity as the Mayor shows he can use a crisis to effect and survive by tapping into the City’s enduring ability to resist reform. In that moment, the Mayor came home. He proved he is part of the system.

The brutal truth is that even if the voters oust the Mayor, the system will endure. That is the deeper message of his article. The eulogy is not for Laquan McDonald. The Eulogy is for Chicago’s fight against corruption for it is a fight against itself. Chicago, thy name is corruption.[19]

 

[1] http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/12/07/rahm-emanuel-laquan-mcdonald-chicago-police-editorials-debates/76941170/

[2] That Emanuel quote is: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” http://www.factcheck.org/2011/01/bum-rap-for-rahm/ source for the quotation is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mzcbXi1Tkk The video is insightful for what it says about the financial industry with transparency and accountability, which are two things lacking in Chicago politics and the Chicago Police Department.

[3] http://www.bettergov.org/news/beyond-burge The money over that time could have paid for: ”Nearly covers the $600 million contribution that state law requires Chicago to make next year to its underfunded police and fire pension funds. Or Could build five high schools like the state-of-the-art building the city recently developed in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The 212,000-square-foot school has space for 1,200 students and includes five computer labs, six science labs, a gymnasium and an indoor swimming pool. Or Could pay for the repaving of 500 miles of arterial streets, based on a city spokesman’s estimate of it costing $1 million per road mile. Or Could cover the cost of building 33 libraries like the one scheduled to open this summer in the Albany Park neighborhood. The 16,300-square-foot building includes a landscaped reading garden and 38 public computer terminals.

[4] “The city said the dashboard camera video could not be released while the FBI and the U.S. Attorney investigated the shooting. Take our word for it, they said. The video was described to Brookins as “horrific.”” http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/01/us/chicago-police-shooting-explainer/

The tape was not shown to the City Council when they voted to pay the family $5 million to settle their claims in April 2015. “The Chicago City Council approves a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family before they even file a lawsuit. Aldermen are not shown the video of the incident before approving the settlement, even though city Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton said the footage influenced the city’s decision to settle before a lawsuit.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chicago-laquan-mcdonald-video_565603e0e4b079b2818a06f6

[5] For an analysis of the Freedom of Information request process see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chicago-laquan-mcdonald-video_565603e0e4b079b2818a06f6

[6] “The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and a freelance journalist all filed FOIA requests for its release.” http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/clarence-page/2015/12/02/page-chicago-police-shooting-video-points-cover/76706552/

[7] http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/cincinnati/Police-release-suspect-sketches-in-North-College-Hill-robbery-shooting/19686652

[8] http://www.chicago-bureau.org/op-ed-laquans-brutal-death-and-a-massive-cowardly-cover-up/

[9] See for example the quarterly reports by the City of Chicago Independent Police Review Authority http://iprachicago.org/2015-04-15QuarterlyReport.pdf

[10] http://data.huffingtonpost.com/2015/12/chicago-officer-misconduct-allegations One wonders if the City needs the cameras to try to reduce the legal costs. The police brutality is so bad that if someone does bring a lawsuit the city is likely to settle or lose because the police have a reputation for brutality, covering up, and lying.( http://abcnews.go.com/US/chicago-police-found-guilty-covering-bartender-beating/story?id=17716840 ) ”But many complaints dismissed by investigators later resulted in settlements after the accusers pursued lawsuits, according to a Chicago Tribune investigation.” On the problem of police corruption and the blue wall of silence see http://pols.uic.edu/docs/default-source/chicago_politics/anti-corruption_reports/policecorruption.pdf?sfvrsn=2

[11] “Former Massachusetts governor and Chicago native Deval Patrick will serve as a senior adviser to the task force, the mayor’s office announced. Patrick also previously served as an assistant attorney general for the civil-rights division under President Bill Clinton.

The task force will be made up of five members, including:

  • Sergio Acosta, former federal prosecutor
  • Joe Ferguson, former federal prosecutor and Chicago’s inspector general
  • Hiram Grau, former director of the Illinois State Police and former deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department
  • Lori Lightfoot, president of the Chicago Police Board and a former federal prosecutor
  • Randolph Stone, director of the University of Chicago’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project Clinic and a former public defender”

https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20151201/downtown/rahm-announce-police-accountability-task-force-tuesday What is noteworthy is that these are all a “safe pair of hands” as the panel does not contain any police critics or victims’ rights campaigners.

[12] http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/tu_chicago7_doc_13.html

[13] http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33913-new-police-reform-task-force-triggers-feeling-of-deja-vu

[14] See for example the work of Craig Futterman at the University of Chicago Law School. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/theadvocate/craig-futterman-laquan-mcdonald-shooting-video

[15] Even the judges have been caught in corruption probes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Greylord

[16] See for example this website dedicated to chronicling the City’s corruption. http://pols.uic.edu/political-science/chicago-politics/anti-corruption-reports The 8 reports, the most recent published in May 2015 outline the scale, depth, and scope of the public corruption. From corrupt cops to ghost crews of non-existent workers on the public payroll, the city lives by corruption. Everyone condemns it even as they benefit from it or participate in it. Only the most egregiously corrupt are convicted and usually of a lesser offence.

[17] “While detractors point out that he did nothing to integrate what had then become known as the most segregated city in the nation, others argue that he was acting on behalf of his constituency, who did not want an integrated Chicago.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_J._Daley

[18] http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/chicago-politics-segregation-african-american-black-white-hispanic-latino-population-census-community/Content?oid=3221712

[19] Word Origin and History for Chicago

n.

town founded in 1833, named from a Canadian French form of an Algonquian word, either Fox /sheka:ko:heki “place of the wild onion,” or Ojibwa shika:konk “at the skunk place” (sometimes rendered “place of the bad smell”). The Ojibwa “skunk” word is distantly related to the New England Algonquian word that yielded Modern English skunk (n.). Related: Chicagoan. chicago. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved December 27, 2015 from Dictionary.com website http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chicago

Posted in corruption, FOIA, Government, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Did Cicero writing in 44AD predict the rise of libertarianism and Donald Trump?

Did Cicero writing in 44AD predict the rise of libertarianism and Donald Trump?

In his dialogue De Re Publica (The Republic) Cicero wrote an eerily prescient description of the libertarian movement. In this passage, the character of Scipio quotes from Plato’s Republic. The context is a private gathering where the group try to understand the best form of government. Scipio describes what happens when the people have complete power.

“Therefore, he concludes, “the final result of this boundless licence is that the minds of the citizens become so squeamish and sensitive that, if the authority of government is exercised in the smallest degree, they become angry and cannot bear it. On this account they begin to neglect the laws as well and so finally are utterly without master of any kind.” (De Re Publica Book 1 XLIII 67)[1]

The desire for licence leads the multitude to shake off the rule of law.[2] They will follow their appetites and passions, whatever the mob wants they get no matter the consequence. The consequence from such licence is not more freedom, it leads to tyranny.

We want to be free so let’s elect a tyrant to protect our freedom

Scipio departs from Plato for his own understanding of the situation. He describes how a tyrant emerges from this excessive licence. The passage could easily describe Donald Trump or even Vladimir Putin.

“This extreme liberty gives birth to a tyrant and the utterly unjust and cruel servitude of the tyranny. For out of such an ungoverned, or rather, untamed, populace someone is usually chosen leader against those leading citizens who have already been subjected to persecution and cast down from their leadership—some bold and depraved man, who shamelessly harasses often times even those who have deserved well of the State, and curries favour with the people by bestowing on them the property of others as well as his own.” (De Re Publica Book 1 XLIV 68)

The situation he describes in 44 AD seems to resemble what is happening in both Russia and the United States. What is striking is the way that bold and depraved men emerged in Russia and America.

A bodyguard as a sign of a love of tyranny

In all cases, the leading men who sought tyranny, or praised tyranny, were also surrounded by armed guards. What Cicero suggests is that leading figures that have bodyguards do so to the extent that they desire tyranny.

“To such a man, because he has reason to be afraid if he remains a private citizen, official power is given and continually renewed; he is also surrounded by armed guards[3], as was Pisistratus at Athens; and finally he emerges as a tyrant over the very people who have raised him to power.” (De Re Publica Book 1 XLIV 68)

What is consistent is that leaders like Trump or Putin emerges when one political faction wants to have revenge against another. Such leaders exploit anger, resentment, and fear, by promising their followers they will punish those who create their problems. In the United States, Trump claims that he will make America Great Again. To do this, he will stop those who undermined America’s greatness. Yet, Americans ought to be suspicious of his claims.

Voters may want revenge, but at the cost of their own freedom?

The fable of the horse and the stag is a salutary tale for today’s voters. If you want to punish your political opponents [insert the faction you despise] be careful it is not at the cost of your own freedom.

“The horse agreed to the terms and the man mounted him, but instead of obtaining vengeance on the stag, the horse from that time became the man’s slave. So then,” said he, “do you take care lest, in your desire to avenge yourselves on the enemy, you be treated like the horse. You already have the bit, since you have chosen a dictator; if you give him a body-guard and allow him to mount you, you will at once be the slaves of Phalaris.”[4]

As Cicero explained, a fearful people intoxicated by licence will turn to a tyrant. They will accept his promises of protection to ensure their continued licence.

Will America turn to Trump?

[1] Cicero Volume XVI Loeb Classical Library 213 On the Republic. On the Laws Translated by Clinton W. Keyes 1928 DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-de_re_publica.1928

[2] Lincoln warned America that it had to remain faithful to its civil religion, obedience to the laws, or it would be destroyed from within. In its zeal for freedom, the Libertarian movement encourages a disdain for government and the laws which encourages political licentiousness. http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/lyceum.htm

[3] It is worth noting that Roger Ailes goes with an armed security detail and his home is protected by armed guards. One wonders if the need for armed guards reflects his sympathy if not desire for tyranny.

“Ailes begins each workday buffered by the elaborate private security detail that News Corp. pays to usher him from his $1.6 million home in New Jersey to his office in Manhattan. (His country home – in the aptly named village of Garrison – is phalanxed by empty homes that Ailes bought up to create a wider security perimeter.) Traveling with the Chairman is like a scene straight out of 24. A friend recalls hitching a ride with Ailes after a power lunch: “We come out of the building and there’s an SUV filled with big guys, who jump out of the car when they see him. A cordon is formed around us. We’re ushered into the SUV, and we drive the few blocks to Fox’s offices, where another set of guys come out of the building to receive ‘the package.’ The package is taken in, and I’m taken on to my destination. ”Ailes is certain that he’s a top target of Al Qaeda terrorists. “You know, they’re coming to get me,” he tells friends. “I’m fully prepared. I’ve taken care of it.” (Ailes, who was once arrested for carrying an illegal handgun in Central Park, now carries a licensed weapon.) Inside his blast-resistant office at Fox News headquarters, Ailes keeps a monitor on his desk that allows him to view any activity outside his closed door. Once, after observing a dark-skinned man in what Ailes perceived to be Muslim garb, he put Fox News on lockdown. “What the hell!” Ailes shouted. “This guy could be bombing me!” The suspected terrorist turned out to be a janitor. “Roger tore up the whole floor,” recalls a source close to Ailes. “He has a personal paranoia about people who are Muslim – which is consistent with the ideology of his network.””

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-roger-ailes-built-the-fox-news-fear-factory-20110525?page=11

For a counter argument consider

Allegation: “Ailes had two bodyguards escorting him into the building.”

Ailes: “I don’t have two bodyguards, I have one part-time bodyguard.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/behind-the-curtain-ailes-unplugged-92386_Page2.html

However, FOX appears to attract special NYPD attention depending on threat information.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/01/nypd-gives-fox-news-special-protection.html

[4] Aristotle. Rhetoric Book 2 Chapter 20 section 5 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0060:book=2:chapter=20&highlight=body%2Cguard

Posted in corruption, justice, republicanism, statesmanship | Tagged , , , , , ,

In the UK, political philosophy is a pre-crime

Soldiers of the United States Army Criminal In...

Soldiers of the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division inspecting a crime scene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only a brave self-confident community can tolerate a man uncompromisingly dedicated to the open quest for truth. –Harry Neumann

On the surface, the idea seems to be ludicrous like something Philip K. Dick might write. He coined the term “pre-crime”[1] to refer to criminalizing thoughts or behaviour before the crime is committed. The idea, better suited to a fervid imaginary world, is now a reality in the United Kingdom (UK). The police and the counter terrorism forces rely on the idea of pre-crime in their work. They call the time and space before a crime occurs as the pre-criminal space, which they want to manage or influence to prevent the crime.[2] It is not enough to punish the crime after it occurs, they want to prevent the crime.

The UK, like the United States, faces terrorist threats. To counter these threats, which they classify as threats to national security, they have developed counter terrorism strategies. The strategies combine law enforcement and national security in a way that requires the existence of a pre-criminal space. Traditionally, law enforcement was what occurred within a state and international politics outside of it. Thus, many states have laws against using their own foreign intelligence agencies for domestic purposes. Moreover, many states will not recognize the authority of law enforcement officers who come inside their borders.

The pre criminal space is a common term in counter terrorism work with the focus on preventing something from happening. It exists before an event which would be a crime under domestic legislation or an act of war in the international realm. However, the goal is not to reduce the opportunities to commit crimes or change the context in which crimes are committed as it in in law enforcement. However, the duality of domestic and international becomes blurred as law enforcement becomes national security.

In the Counter Terrorism Act 2015[3] (CTA2015), which is part of the UK’s Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST), public sector organisations have a duty to prevent terrorism. The PREVENT pillar of CONTEST explains how they will discharge that duty.[4] To help public sector organisations, the government issued guidance and training called “Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent” (WRAP). In the workshop guidance, the government says that terrorism begins in the pre-criminal space.

The government wants to manage the pre-criminal space as it believes this to be the only way to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. With the PREVENT strategy, the government wants public sector organization to identify and support vulnerable individuals at risk of being groomed in to terrorist activity. They want to prevent these individuals from being radicalized. The strategy says that radicalisation is comparable to other forms of exploitation; it is therefore a safeguarding issue staff working in the health sector must be aware of.[5]

Formally, only a court can determine who is a criminal as they are space in which verdicts are reached. The court does not label someone ‘terrorist’. [6]  By contrast, counter terrorism exists within a political sphere that seeks to identify future terrorists so they can be punished, if necessary, without charge, prosecution or conviction. [7] In the pre-crime space, a person’s behaviour, speech, or thought is enough for the state to act. In particular, the state will act to prevent radicalisation that convinces and encourages people to carry out terrorist acts. As the pre criminal space is where the pre-crime of the radicalisation process begins, the PREVENT strategy focuses on it. However, the criminalisation of potential behaviour is not limited to radicalisation that leads to terrorism.

The potential consequences of your actions can make you a criminal

In the UK, various counter terrorism legislation criminalizes activity based on potential consequences even though no crime or event occurs. For example, if you sell something to a terrorist, even if you do not know they are a terrorist, you can be prosecuted for the sale.[8] The CTA2015 continues the pre-emptive trajectory so that if you speak and thus think about radicalisation or extremism you can be charged with a crime. As mentioned earlier, the goal is to prevent or stop radicalisation. To fulfil this duty, the government created the CHANNEL duty for all public authorities which is a police coordinated multi-agency programme, to identify and provide support to people at risk of radicalisation, the vulnerable person.[9] As radicalisation manifests itself in a variety of ways such as changed behaviour and changed language, the CHANNEL process reminds its members to be vigilant and report *any* concerns. When a person is radicalised, they are encouraged to see violence and breaking the law as a way to solve their problem.[10] Even though many people who are radicalized are not violent, they are encouraged to see violence as a possible if not *the* solution.[11] At its root, what the strategy seeks to prevent is someone going from words to deeds. The public believe that the law only applies to extremists with extremists only those who advocate violence. However, everyone seems to miss the fact that the laws apply to everyone. Everyone, by definition, is a potential terrorist awaiting radicalisation in the pre criminal space. Everyone lives within a pre criminal space according to the strategy. We are all pre criminals awaiting the opportunity to act.

How does this relate to political philosophy?

The short answer is everything. The process by which radicalisation occurs is the same process by which someone is awakened to philosophy with the same potential outcome.[12] When the government literature describes the radicalisation process they also describe how Socrates behaved. He taught his students to question authority. He also suggested that Athens was not the ideal society and that its gods were not worth following. Moreover, one of his followers, Alcibiades was know for genocidal talk when he said “The un-examined life is not worth living.”  If Socrates were alive in the UK today, he would be considered a radicaliser. Even though he never encouraged violence for political change his writings showed dissatisfaction with the existing political regime and he was known to have tyrants and potential tyrants as his students. He would be immediately suspect under the Prevent strategy. He tried to replace opinion about the best way of life with knowledge of the best way of life. Such activity is by its nature designed to challenge if not change opinion about the current way to life. Leo Strauss described philosophy’s threat.

“In studying certain earlier thinkers, I became aware of this way of conceiving the relation between the quest for truth (philosophy or science) and society: Philosophy or science, the highest activity of man, is the attempt to replace opinion about “all things” by knowledge of “all things”; but opinion is the element of society; philosophy or science is therefore the attempt to dissolve the element in which society breathes, and thus it endangers society.”[13]

At the best of time, even in a regime as tolerant of inquiry as Athens was, the activity is dangerous. We know that Athens killed Socrates for they could no longer tolerate his threat to their way of life. His inquiry was too extreme for the city.[14] They had to close off some ideas from inquiry for he was corrupting the youth and did not believe in the city’s gods. In its own way, the Prevent strategy closes off some thought as criminal. Socrates understood that by suppressing him, Athens was hurt itself more than it hurt him.

According to Socrates, the suppression of free inquiry for any reason necessarily corrupts its victims.[15]

Yet, the society cannot exist if it does not suppress those opinions which threaten it. The tension between society and the individual is what makes philosophy a dangerous activity.

Political philosophy is reportable activity under the Counter Terrorism Act 2015

In the UK, such philosophical activity would have to be reported to the police as it would be considered pre-crime.[16] Anyone who discusses the best life, a life that did not conform to the orthodoxy, would be considered to have attempted to radicalize their listeners. You will have encouraged them to think that the regime may not be just, beneficent, or legitimate.[17] As Strauss explained in The Argument and the Action of Plato’s Laws

The quest for the best laws seems to compel the Athenians to transcend the laws of Athens and to become the pupils of an enemy of Athens—to act in a way which could appear to be unpatriotic. p.1

Socrates teaching implied that the basis for ruling was either wisdom or pure consent. Both of these would challenge any regime’s legitimacy. Even though Socrates never sought political office, we know that many of his followers were tyrants or would be tyrants. As a result, he was considered disreputable for he was accused of teaching the tyrannical art. In today’s language, he would be charged with having radicalized his students.

Philosophers used to be able to protect themselves, now there is no place or way to hide.

Philosophers[18] usually protect themselves by philosophizing in private.[19] We note that Plato’s Republic, which discusses the best city, occurred in private household at night and Plato’s Laws occurred during a secluded walk to a cave. Yet, if such behaviour was discovered, it would need to be reported to the police. Another way the philosopher might be able to avoid the charges against him would be to write esoterically. In this the philosopher would avoid talking directly about the topic so as to avoid upsetting the censors. The problem is that under the Counter Terrorism Act, the censor is no longer the government, it is the public. Everyone has a duty to report such behaviour for the failure to report it would make the person an accessory to a pre-crime. Philosophy is now impossible. One can only talk of the orthodoxy for to discuss heterodox views is to be reported to the police. Philosophy that conforms to or confirms the orthodoxy becomes ideology. What is surprising is that all of this has occurred without even a whimper from the country’s leading thinkers. In a sense, it suggests that philosophy, in particular political philosophy, has ended. Philosophy’s end, though, is not because history has ended or we have reached a liberal democratic future, it because as Leo Strauss argued in On Tyranny, all societies seek to tyrannize thought.[20]

Why do people obey the law or do we educate the young to be citizens?

The public who find the political order benefits them see no reason to challenge it or question it. The laws work for them. The political system listens to them, gives them a voice, and delivers for them. They obey the laws as they appear legitimate. They are educated, in a sense, to see the system as legitimate. The laws appear legitimate for the benefits they provide. As part of the education, the citizen is encouraged to believe the regime, which creates the laws, exists by consent and thus serves their interests. As people see Parliament elected, they believe the appearance backed by the laws, which creates a powerful barrier to challenge or change it. Even civil disobedience or an attack on the regime through speech if not by deed, would require someone to overcome the regime’s appearance of legitimacy before change could occur. Such an education, one counter to the regime’s, is now impossible. The terrorism policy, guidance, and training reinforce the status quo by indicating any other education is radicalism. As a result, any inequality political, economic, or social is permanent or nearly permanent as pre-crime can stifle any dissent. It is only enough to show that such thought or speech threatens the regime with the potential that it could lead to terrorist activity to be sanctioned. Even though the policy, the guidance, and the government are at pains to deny or at least downplay that possible outcome, it exists.[21] They will, rightly, point to the guidance that says that some discussion or debate is tolerated. They avoid the obvious point, though, that it can be used to identify would be radicals. Moreover, such discussion can only occur with the understanding the speakers were either authorised by the state or acting as criminals.[22] However, the law creates its own perversity, which undermines the idea of free inquiry which is supposed to support the state.

The government approves all change to maintain the status quo.

The government never asks “Why do people obey”. They take it for granted that people will obey and the order is legitimate. The government acts on the belief that the political system is open to peaceful change where the public domain allows ideas to be discussed even those that might challenge the limits of orthodoxy. In this fashion, they believe that the system is tolerant. They cannot truly understand why people disobey or want to change the political system by persuasion or by violence if necessary. Yet to discuss such an issue, reveals pre-crime’s perverse paradox. To ask why people obey and what makes the political system legitimate or good is to engage in political philosophy. Such an activity, especially outside of an academic setting such as this blog, would be to engage in pre-crime. It raises questions about the regime that could be described as the process to radicalization. The constraints mean that we cannot question the status quo as legitimate and just *even if* we know that it is not. Moreover, we cannot discuss why it is just or what makes it just.[23] The public must not question authority or the status quo for that is to engage in pre-crime.

In the UK 2015, we now have a law that forbids philosophy. You may wish to ask how we came to this point, but if you do, though, you can be charged with a crime.

[1] In his short story, The Minority Report, Dick named the criminal justice agency “Precrime”. The agency worked to identify and eliminate those who will commit crimes in the future. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precrime In a sense Dick was following an earlier tradition that believed that some people were born criminals and those criminal traits could be identified and therefore predicted, criminals would have children who were criminals, and thus prevented. Today, counter terrorism agencies try to prevent events from occurring so they seek to anticipate the threats which leads them to view any temporal or physical realm as a pre-crime space. In effect, anything before a crime occurs is a pre-crime space, which allows counter terrorism, in its effort to prevent an event, to combine law enforcement and national security without reconciling the tension between the two. As McCulloch and Pickering point out, there is a tension between the two as law enforcement relies on the idea of impartial criminal justice while national security is partisan and politically charged. Jude McCulloch and Sharon Pickering Pre-Crime and Counter Terrorism: Imagining Future Crime in the “War on Terror” British Journal of Criminology 2009 49 (5) 628-645

[2] See ACPO guidance for the management of extremist speakers 2015 http://www.preventforfeandtraining.org.uk/sites/default/files/National%20Guidance%20for%20the%20Managament%20of%20Extremist%20Speakers%20-%20Final%20Pilot%20Version%20-%2012-03-15_0.doc

[3] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/6/contents/enacted

[4] 1.12. Our counter-terrorism strategy will continue to be organised around four work streams, each comprising a number of key objectives• Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks;• Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism;• Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack; and• Prepare: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack.

[5] NHS England – Prevent Training and Competencies Framework p. 5 https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/train-competnc-frmwrk.pdf

[6] McCulloch and Pickering p. 630

[7] See McCulloch and Pickering 2009 p. 629-630

[8] See for example section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/11/section/5 as described by Lucia Zedner (2010) Pre-crime and pre-punishment: a health warning, Criminal Justice Matters, 81:1, 24-25, DOI: 10.1080/09627251.2010.505409

[9] The language always stresses that the person who is radicalised is vulnerable. Often times, it is suggested that if they are a potential target they are impaired in some way. It suggests that radicalisation is a pathology which needs a medical response. The question that the government cannot answer is what to do with someone like Martin Heidegger who was radicalised into an extremist ideology? Would he be a vulnerable person under this system? How would the CHANNEL and PREVENT system deal with him? Would he be banned from teaching?

[10] There are a variety of models on the radicalisation process. Most agree that it is a process with debate over the stages, whether the states are distinct, whether one stage is more important than another and whether the right stages are identified.

The UK Prevent Strategy describes it as “Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.”

[11] See for example Alex Schmid’s work http://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Schmid-Radicalisation-De-Radicalisation-Counter-Radicalisation-March-2013.pdf

[12] We only need to note that Socrates was accused of teaching the tyrannical art (Strauss On Tyranny p.32) and one of his most famous students Alcibiades was known for his tyrannical aspirations as well as well as the tyrannical consequence of a belief that the unexamined life was not worth living.

[13] Leo Strauss “On a forgotten kind of writing” pp 221-232 What is Political Philosophy and other studies University of Chicago Press 1959

[14] The Athenians, like all societies, had a limit set by their fear for self-preservation. Socrates wanted the rule of the wise which would mean that Athens would have to relinquish its rule. The individual would rule the city. In the 21st century, though, political society suppresses speech not for fear of self-preservation but simply out of safety for any citizen. Whereas Athens faced an existential threat before it suppressed Socrates, the UK and the United States have lowered the threat to the death of any citizen from terrorism. We have gone beyond what Hobbes created where man feared violent death, it is now just the potential fear, let alone the reality of such fear or the actual death, that justifies suppressing free speech.

[15] Socrates and the Tragedy of Athens Harry Neumann Social Research, Vol. 35, No. 3 (AUTUMN 1968), pp. 426-444 http://www.jstor.org/stable/40969919 . P.428

[16] Even though the legislation says that universities have to promote freedom of thought, it does not exempt them from the legislation. Thus, anyone teaching political philosophy or even philosophy would be committing a pre-crime under the legislation as they could be consider to be radicalizing their listener. Under section 31 of the CTA2015, the speaker could have a defence of academic freedom of freedom of speech in an academic setting. However, that does not cover anyone outside that setting. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/6/section/31/enacted

[17] In particular, if you point out that the regime is not based in consent but that the Queen rules through force of arms, all coercive power within the regime swear a personal oath of allegiance to her, then you indicate that the regime is flawed form a Xenophon’s Socratic perspective. Xenophon’s Memorabilia (I, 2.41-46),

[18] People who teach political philosophy or philosophy are not philosophers.

[19] One could argue that this is nearly impossible with Internet of Things and the myriad forms of surveillance now possible through platforms like Vine, Periscope.

[20] On Tyranny p. 27.

[21] The legislation states that Universities will be required to protect academic freedom. Yet that immediately raises the question of what happens when that teaching threatens the regime? How far will the regime tolerate such teaching?

[22] The government, it would appear, would like to lull the public into believing that the laws, strategy, and guidance only apply to “extremists” and anyone else has nothing to fear so long as they obey the law and do not speak up.

[23]Parliament is exempted from the legislation but as they already exist beyond the law and the system exists to serve them, there is no chance they would challenge or change the system. They resist the rule of law so why should they want to do something even more radical such as question their legitimacy? Lord Neuberger recognized this point when he quoted Lord Justice Laws,

“It may be that my perceptive and far-thinking colleague , Lord Justice Laws, will one day turn out to be right when he argued that, through judicial development of the common law, ‘a gradual reordering of our constitutional priorities [may] bring alive the nascent idea that a democratic legislature cannot be above the law.61 ’ But we are not there yet.” (the footnote is from: Laws, Illegality and the Problem of Jurisdiction, in Supperstone & Goudie (eds), Judicial Review, (Butterworths) (1997) 4.17 cited in Goldworthy, The Myth of the Common Law Constitution in Edlin (ed), Common Law Theory (CUP) (2007) at 204) http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20131202164909/http://judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Speeches/mr-speech-weedon-lecture-110406.pdf

Posted in censorship, justice, philosophy | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Daniel Morgan’s Murder, police corruption, and the health of the UK regime

Daniel Morgan was brutally murdered with an axe. In the days before his murder, he had claimed to have information about a network of corrupt police officers. Despite, 6 investigations and two failed prosecutions, his killers have never been brought to justice. They have escaped justice in part because of police corruption. Police corruption during the initial investigation has made it unlikely that his murder will ever lead to a prosecution. The Metropolitan Police Service failed him and his family. They failed to bring his killers to justice. They failed to address police corruption. They failed to resist and unhealthy relationship with the UK media, in particular News International. The corruption coupled with the corrupt media relationship makes his case notable as it challenges the United Kingdom as a decent society. If Daniel Morgan cannot get justice, who can? When the police and the press are corrupted, who is safe? In response to the corruption, failures, and denial a relentless campaign has forced the government to hold a public inquiry.

The public inquiry[1] set up in May 2013 to explore the evidence from the police and others sources has the following terms of reference.

  • Police involvement in the murder
  • The role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice and the failure to confront that corruption
  • The incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media and corruption involved in the linkages between them.

A previous post covered the first item on police involvement in the murder. It suggested that the relationships needed to be mapped to see their effect.

The paper focuses on the second point. It defines political corruption and explores the failure to confront corruption on three interrelated levels—the individual, institution, and the regime.

Daniel_Morgan_s_murder_police_corruption

At the institutional level, the police had a corrupt relationship with News International. The company subverted police objectives. At the regime level, the police were corrupted by the regime’s demands.

The analysis will interest to anyone researching corruption. The institutional corruption can also apply to corporations who can be subverted by a powerful patron. The regime level will interest scholars in political philosophy as it connects the regime level to a particular problem. Most importantly, I hope it will be of interest and use to anyone who has followed the Daniel Morgan case. Police corruption threatens the citizen’s safety by weakening their access to public justice. Without a secure access to public justice, a decent society or decent politics is tenuous. When a citizen lacks access to public justice, they appeal to force or power as justice through consent to the laws is impossible. For the UK regime, this threat is particularly problematic.

I welcome your comments on this paper. I encourage you find out about Daniel Morgan’s murder.[2] It exemplifies the problem of justice when the police are corrupt. If Daniel Morgan cannot get justice, who can?

 

[1] The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (DMIP) home page is here: https://www.danielmorganpanel.independent.gov.uk/

[2] The following are a list of sites, in no particular order, that contain useful information about Daniel Morgan, his life, his death, and the long, strange, frustrating case.

http://www.justice4daniel.org/index.shtml The Morgan family’s campaign to get justice for Daniel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Morgan_%28private_investigator%29#Murder The Wikipedia entry about his murder

http://jackofkent.com/2012/02/daniel-morgan/ A well known legal blogger’s material on the case.

http://www.murdermap.co.uk/pages/cases/case.asp?CID=492610746 A blog with a good history of the case.

https://inforrm.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/hackgate-issues-for-the-burnton-inquiry-into-the-murder-of-daniel-morgan/ A blog that covers the police issues including relevance for the phone hacking cases and police corruption

http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/hackgate-for-beginners-murder-of-daniel.html A good resource on police corruption and the Daniel Morgan case.

Posted in corruption, justice | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Initial analytical thoughts on Paris Attacks.

English: Hideout of Osama bin Laden, the locat...

English: Hideout of Osama bin Laden, the location of his death, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following are some initial thoughts on the Paris attacks. The analysis relies on information in the public domain and includes what is known about previous attacks of a similar nature. I hope the following helps others to understand the questions that will need to be answered over the coming months. The goal is to inform the general public about the attacks.

The attackers

As the authorities continue to identify the attackers, we need to analyse the attacks. The attacks were coordinated which raises the questions of how, where, and when were they planned. Were they planned abroad and executed locally? If this is the main operating assumption, then several more questions emerge.

If the attackers coordinated their efforts, how did they communicate? If they relied on an external network for support what was the system they used to communicate? Did they rely on encrypted phones? Or, did they rely on less technological systems such as coded letters, face to face meetings, and pre-set plans? If they relied on encryption, was the French intelligence unable to track them? If the attackers were using less technically sophisticated systems, how can the intelligence services adapt? In particular, will this be a template for future attacks in US or UK?

The targets

The authorities will need to consider why the targets were chosen. The threat model will help them to protect against future attacks. However, we do not know why they chose these targets except for their availability and vulnerability. Many commentators have suggested that they were chosen as they were less guarded or “softer” than higher profile sites such as the Eiffel Tower. If they were, then we need to look at ways to protect those targets, which may need short term changes, such as identity checks, increased surveillance on known networks, changed security patrols in such areas.

Was President Holland a target for the attack on the football match? It is unlikely as the attackers will know he would be heavily guarded. The stadium may have been a target as it would contain a large crowd as well as a large television audience. If the President was the target, how did the attackers know he would be at the match? Although the President may not have been the target, the French authorities will need to check their security rules as well as publicity around the President’s travel itinerary.

The attackers would have chosen a specific time and date. However, we do not know why they chose this date or time so they may not be symbolic as they are opportunistic. If the date is symbolic or is connected to something else, future threat profiles will need to cross reference dates in the future.

Weapons

The recovered weapons will help the authorities understand the network that supported the attack. The weapons will have been purchased abroad. Where and when they were purchased will provide details about the attackers’ logistics. The same questions will be asked about the grenades and other explosives. Many times these are bought separately and provided to a pre-arranged drop. The weapons will also show the level of training and experience the attackers had. They may have travelled abroad for weapons training or may even be ex-military. Even though the weapons are not advanced, the user needs some training and experience to use them effectively.

If the explosives are homemade, then it indicates they could not buy them. The weapons seem to be ones that are relatively easy to get and traffic without raising as much attention. More exotic weapon such as chemical weapons or a fertilizer bomb will attract more attention. At the time of writing, we do not know the type of explosives or their make. If a network supplied the attackers, the weapons may have been purchased by a different group so it would not seem linked to the group or their plan.

Intelligence.

It is too soon to call this an intelligence failure. The phrase is now used as a sloppy short cut to say the authorities failed if an attack succeeds. It creates a false image of intelligence and how the security services detect, disrupt and prevent such attacks. Often times, the intelligence exists but no one can see the pattern until after the missing details emerge. We do not know what intelligence was available and how the warning signals were shown from the noise. We have to remember that intelligence is about connecting the dots quickly *backwards* to prevent something. No one can connect the dots going forward as contingencies can always disrupt or delay plans.

The French intelligence services may have seen signals and were in the midst of unravelling them when the attacks occurred. If we consider the following scenario, we can see the difficulty with intelligence and surveillance. The French could have received intelligence that an attack was planned this week in Paris. What exactly would they do? They could increase security or awareness, but where do they focus? The main targets? As they know neither the date nor the time nor the place, it is hard to prevent such an attack even if you pick up signals.

As we know from the 7/7 attacks in the UK or the Lee Rigby attack, it matters little if an attacker is “known to the police” as they do not have the resources to track everyone constantly in real time and know their motives. They face limited resources; especially the natural issue of what is a “threat”, against variable threats which means they have to manage the current risk against an expected risk.

If the plan was set up several months ago and applied over 48 hours, then it is harder to prevent. How can the French police intervene even if they have real time intelligence that an attack is due the week of 9 November? The French would be unlikely to know the quality of a plan designed 6 months ago and be able to connect it to events that might or might not unfold over the next 48 hours.

Counter Intelligence

To disrupt or prevent attacks or plots, the authorities need to penetrate those networks. To penetrate a network, though, the authorities need more than electronic surveillance. They need to have human intelligence that can provide reliable intelligence. The intelligence agencies have to be able to decide whether the source is legitimate or trying to spread false information.

As we know from the attempt to track down Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda can conduct counter intelligence. They killed a number of CIA officers after they were enticed with plausible intelligence on Bin Laden. All intelligence agencies have to sift the valid signal from the noise and the false signals.

Was there a cost to responding to Charlie Hebdo?

The French authorities may have disrupted their own intelligence networks to capture the Hebdo attackers, which left them vulnerable to the latest attack. We have to consider that the intelligence effort to find the Hebdo attackers, such as squeezing assets for information could reveal those assets. It may have reduced their use as an asset. Once others are aware of people in a neighbourhood or a community are involved with the security service, they might be killed or avoided in the future, which reduces their effectiveness as an asset. The Charlie Hebdo attack may have been a practice for this attack or as a cover for this to distract the French from the other plots. We have to consider the possibility that there could be sleeper cells that can be activated to plans prepared months earlier.

A further problem is that the attackers may have coordinated their attacks from abroad. The local networks that the French monitor would be unaware of the attack. If the attackers arrived recently, it would be too late to warn the authorities. For example, someone hears something on Thursday but does not know its significance. They might tell their French intelligence handler but the urgency or importance of the information is not understood. Moreover, it may need to be connected to information not yet known.

The counter intelligence and anti-terrorist work is designed as much to stop attacks as to make it more difficult to prepare. Security is always layered and works from the most extreme or abstract (nuclear war) to the very basic (police on the beat). The whole system has to work together for an attack to be prevented. The more security layers and the types of security both soft, or passive, a legitimate government that creates a shared identity, and the most aggressive, drone strikes on senior leaders in Syria, are needed to deter, prevent, and stop attacks. It is rare that all systems work or can work perfectly. The attacker only has to succeed once the defender has to always win. Much will depend on luck or accident to prevent attacks.

I hope that this analysis helps readers understand the attacks and the difficulties associated with preventing them. The questions it raises will need to be answered to respond effectively. There are no easy solutions only a lot of questions to be answered.

 

 

 

Posted in Government, justice, public sector, statesmanship, strategy | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scott vs. Watson what does Matthew Scott’s attack on Tom Watson tell us?

English: Tom Watson speaking at the 5th COMMUN...

English: Tom Watson speaking at the 5th COMMUNIA Workshop at London School of Economics, 26th March 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his Telegraph article of 21 October 2015, [1]Matthew Scott argues that Tom Watson’s behaviour has damaged the various Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) investigations. He makes several interrelated arguments. The first is that Mr. Watson’s intervention has diverted police resources from other cases.

“The Labour MP’s interfering in cases like that of Leon Brittan means resources have been diverted from far more pressing investigations.”

The claim sounds very bold and could have some validity. However, Mr. Scott never backs this statement up with any evidence about police capacity and what he means by resources. The police do have finite resources, yet we have not heard that their resources are stretched. Moreover, the police are experienced in dealing with multiple operations. Perhaps, Mr. Scott could substantiate his claim with evidence so that it can be tested.

Did Watson derail a possible criminal trial? Why do we argue the counterfactual?

We turn to his particular concern within the article. He argues that the Watson’s focus on Leon Brittan, especially under parliamentary privilege*** (clarification), would have derailed any case should one have emerged. On the surface, such a view is compelling. Yet, if we consider the argument in depth, we start to find it is not as robust as it appears. Moreover, it raises the question of why Mr. Scott is so keen to defend a dead man when the living victims remain without justice.

What is the purpose of Mr. Scott’s article?

We begin with Mr. Scott’s opening statement. He argues that Mr. Watson’s responses to the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) would have had no effect on those who oppose him or support him. If that is the case, then what is the point of the article? Who is it that Mr. Scott wants to convince and what is it the case that he wants to make?

He appears to want to make the case that Mr. Watson’s transgression appears to be that he has

“not given enough thought to the way his interference might have derailed any criminal trial, if there had in fact been any evidence resulting in a trial.”

Here we find a curious situation. Mr. Watson is to be criticized for not knowing the future. I am not sure anyone knows the future. How could they know the possible consequences of their behaviour beyond an immediate impact? Furthermore, we do not know if a criminal trial would even have occurred. Thus, we are to be convinced by Mr. Scott that Mr. Watson should not have spoken up as he did not know the future, did not know how this might influence a future criminal case, and did not know whether the evidence would have led to a trial.[2]

Mr. Scott wants to argue about a situation that never happened? Why?

Here is the curious issue. Why is Mr. Scott concerned about something that did not happen and even if it did happen, the criminal trial, how can he know what evidence, if any would be admissible or prejudicial? It appears that the sins he wishes to condemn in Mr. Watson are exactly what he is practicing.

He then focuses on how Mr. Watson may have dealt with “Jane” the person who has made the rape allegation. He focuses on how xxxx questioned Mr. Watson over this issue. However, Mr. Watson is not a police officer and his role as an MP is not to conduct investigations or to interview constituents under caution. If this is what MPs are supposed to do, it seems a rather extreme way to deal with constituents. If MPs are to deal with constituents under police caution, how many people would want to talk to their MPs?

Everyday constituents contact their MPs about issues. Mr. Scott in referring to Victoria Atkins seems to suggest that every interaction needs to be considered on whether it might prejudice a criminal trial. How an MP is to do this when they do not know if a criminal trial is pending, or is even viable, seems unclear. Neither Mr. Scott nor Victoria Atkins explains how anyone can know whether a criminal trial might be prejudiced except the judge and the Crown Prosecution Service. In particular, if the statements are made within the privacy of the MP’s surgery, how will they create a prejudice as the only people involved are the MP and the constituent?

The five points to Mr. Scott’s case, do they bear scrutiny if they were applied to him?

Then Mr. Scott makes a rather curious statement.

“At every stage, Watson was implicated in driving on a police investigation that otherwise would never have happened.”

First, Mr. Watson is an MP he does not work for the police. Second, how does Mr. Scott know whether the investigation would have occurred or not regardless of Mr. Watson’s involvement? As the testimony before the HASC by the police stated, they have a duty to investigate rape allegations. Third, how does Mr. Scott know that Mr. Watson has such authority over the police and can direct their investigations *at every stage*? His evidence seems strangely circumstantial.

“First he introduced Jane to the police.”

If Mr. Watson as MP passed the allegation to the police what else was he to do? Was he not to do this? If not, why not? Surely, as a barrister Mr. Scott would want allegations of a crime reported. Unless, he is suggesting that MPs do not pass allegations to the police. If so, why?

Second he refers to the letter Mr. Watson wrote

“When the experienced DCI Settle, the officer in charge of the case, decided any further investigation would amount – in his words – to a “baseless witch-hunt”, Watson then wrote an inflammatory letter over the officer’s head, to the DPP herself, in effect demanding that Brittan be interviewed.”

When we look at the letter, we realize quickly and clearly it demands nothing. The language is banal and seeks to find out what is happening. It does not make a demand nor does it state that something must happen.[3]

Third, Mr. Scott concludes that what he asked for was a witch hunt

“In other words, he was asking the DPP to perform what the officer in charge of the investigation actually did regard as a “witch-hunt”.

Yet, we look at what prompted the letter and it was the statement that the suspect was not interviewed *which is contrary to ACPO/CPS guidance* [emphasis added]. Thus, Mr. Watson is wondering why the procedures he would have expected to be followed were not followed. Yet, this is claimed to be a witch hunt. Surely, Mr. Scott as a practicing barrister is not suggesting that anytime a police officer interviews a suspect they are conducting a witch hunt. By his logic, this appears to be the case.

He then turns to the fact that the letter was made public.

“The letter – although not at that stage Brittan’s identity – was made public on the Exaro News website, and shortly afterwards a new police team was brought in to review the inquiry.”

What we know, though, is that Mr. Watson did not send the letter to Exaro. He had no control over that disclosure. However, that the press became involved and that had an effect is the accepted way of doing business in the UK. Surely, Mr. Scott knows that other Murdoch papers such as NOTW and the Sun put and continue to put extensive pressure on the Police, the DPP, and the CPS to influence their work. He seems upset that someone other than a Murdoch paper has done what the Murdoch papers have done for years. Why?

He then turns to the issue at the heart of the letter—Brittan was interviewed.

“Brittan was interviewed, although, it seems, to very little purpose, except to reinforce the impression that there was no credible evidence against him.”

What is curious is that Mr. Scott knows exactly what was asked and that the police had nothing useful from the interview. How does he know what the police asked and what Mr. Brittan answered?

What type of MP would Mr. Scott’s criticisms create? We already know: consider Mr. Martin

If we consider the above in a wider context, Mr. Scott’s thesis appears strange and contradictory. Based on the points he has made against Mr. Watson, we would have to conclude that Mr. Scott would not want an MP to listen to his constituents. If he were to listen to his constituents, it should only be under police caution and the meeting should be recorded. Further, the MP is not to bring any of these concerns to the police unless he knows them to be true and they would not prejudice a possible case. In many ways, it appears from his criticism of Mr. Watson he would want him to act as another MP, Mr. Martin, MP for Consett, behaved about Medomsley Detention Centre for young offenders.

I raised the issue for you and they said it was nothing, what else do you want me to do?

When Mr. Martin was an MP he received repeated claims of abuse at the Medomsley detention centre in his constituency. The first was in 1967, the next was in 1981 following the deaths of two inmates aged 17. At each stage, the MP Mr. Martin took the government’s response at face value. At each stage, the government reassured him that there was nothing to the allegations. What we now know is that there was a regime of brutality and abuse over decades so horrific that hardened police officers were shocked by it. For decades, the young inmates were beaten, brutalized and raped. When Neil Husband was active at Medomsley he raped and brutalized young men on a regular basis and it is now revealed a paedophile ring operated at the centre.[4] Despite many investigations, his abuse was never discovered. Most telling when Mr. Leon Brittan visited in March 1985, as Home Secretary, he praised it for the positive impact it was having! [5]

No one ever apologises for the horrors during their time in office, why?

Whitelaw, Brittan, and Thatcher never apologised for the abuse that flourished for decades The Crown has never apologised to any of the victims.

Mr. Scott seems to want to have more MPs like Mr. Martin and not like Mr. Watson. Why?

Is this the type of MP that Mr. Scott wants to encourage? Is this the type of approach he would take on behalf of one of his clients if they came to him with an allegation of abuse?

Mr. Scott continues with his claims. He suggests, indirectly, that DCI Settle was moved from the case because of Mr. Watson.

DCI Settle was removed from his duties – even though, as events have shown, he was clearly right – and as we now know from his evidence he has done “very little” since. The Met can ill afford to lose officers like him on to extended gardening duty.

Here we have a deeper issue. Mr Scott praises DCI Settle’s approach as he assumes that post hoc ergo proctor hoc that the outcome was known before the question was asked of Mr. Brittan. Moreover, Mr. Scott appears to endorse DCI’s Settle’s initial decision not to interview Mr Brittan after a rape allegation *even though it is ACPO guidance that the suspect is interviewed following a rape allegation*. Perhaps Mr. Scott would explain why he believes police procedures should not be followed for Mr. Brittan. Why is it that Mr. Brittan should be exempted from the rule of law? Would Mr. Scott endorse this behaviour if “Jane” were his client?

Is the real issue that Mr. Brittan was inconvenienced by the rule of law?

We now turn to the underlying issue within Mr. Scott’s article. How Mr. Brittan was treated by the police and the CPS.

Meanwhile, a dying man was left in limbo as the police refused to accept the CPS view that the case didn’t begin to justify their involvement.

We are not told how Mr. Watson was at fault for the delay between the police and the CPS. However, it would appear that somehow he is to blame. As Mr. Scott continues:

It was a scandal and a disgrace. Yet even as Brittan was hardly dead, in January 2015 Watson was penning a diatribe against him in the Mirror, something for which he finally issued an apology.

What was a scandal and a disgrace we are not told. We are left to infer, from what Mr. Scott has implied, is that Mr. Brittan being left in limbo was the scandal and disgrace. Yet, the real scandal and disgrace is that Mr. Brittan could have been interviewed earlier, if DCI Settle had decided to do it, and the issue would have been resolved without requiring Mr. Watson to pursue the issue on behalf of his client.

Mr. Scott describes a catastrophe but for whom? Mr. Watson or Mr. Brittan?

Mr. Scott continues to claim that Mr. Watson’s involvement has been catastrophic without explaining how or why. He simply asserts this claim with no evidence.

But Watson’s campaign over the Lord Brittan rape investigation has been little short of catastrophic. Because of Watson’s intervention, Brittan died without being told that he was regarded as innocent of rape.

We are left to infer that what was catastrophic was that Brittan died without being told he was regarded as innocent of rape. Yet, is that a catastrophe? Every day there are people left uncertain of their fate before the police, the prosecutors, the Courts and the government. Someone in this case, it is a catastrophe. More importantly, it would appear we are to infer this catastrophe was Mr. Watson’s fault as he initiated what the police should have done from the start. The cost is now explained.

It may not approach the suffering of the Brittans but a decent and conscientious policeman has also been left swinging in the wind. Resources have been diverted from far more pressing investigations.

The issue is now the suffering of the Brittans and the police man. We can appreciate and sympathize with the Brittans that their family member has had to face these allegations. They have had to live with this media circus. Yet, they would also appreciate that the law is to be followed, that the police are to act appropriately, and the investigations are to be done correctly. Surely, Mr. Scott would agree that the law stands above any individual’s suffering as that is the basis of the law since at least Sophocles’ Antigone. Unless, for some reason, Mr Scott believes that Leon Brittan should be exempt from the law and police procedure.

This case may never have reached court? The other might but Mr. Scott never mentions them. Why?

Mr. Scott closes as he started making a claim about the potential impact on a possible criminal case should one have even reached the stage where a trial would have begun.

And it is doubly fortunate that there was no substance in Jane’s allegations. If there had been, as Victoria Atkins’s questioning demonstrated, Tom Watson’s bungling interference might well have led to any real case falling apart.

We have to consider why Mr. Scott even wrote this article. What purpose did it serve? At best, it was an attack on Mr. Watson using the victims, the innocent, as a shield and justification thus, the indirect concern over resources and a possible criminal trial. What is it that Mr. Watson had done? He had acted on behalf of a constituent. He did his job. We know that the law and the police procedures had not been followed correctly. On all of these issues, why is Mr. Scott opposed to Mr. Watson? Is Mr. Scott against an MP acting on behalf of his client? Is Mr. Scott willing to accept at face value what is said about his clients? Does Mr. Scott want the law and the police procedure to be suspended when it involves powerful figures, especially dead ones? He needs to explain why the powerful dead need such a vigorous, vociferous defence and the weak living victims languish without a voice to hold the powerful to account.

What we write and what we defend or attack reveals something of our character.

We can judge a man’s character by what ideas he decided to believe, what causes he would defend, and what injustices he would attack. I know what Mr. Watson has chosen. What has Mr. Scott chosen?

 

***Clarification 28 October 2015. I have been contacted about the phrasing of this sentence. Mr. Watson did not name Mr. Brittan in Parliament. It was referring to his response in Parliament to a request that he apologise for an article he wrote about Leon Brittan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1Cg-OciRdY&spfreload=10

In 2012 when Mr. Watson raised his question in Parliament at the Prime Minister Question Time about the pedophile ring (see 9 seconds)  in Westminister he did not name anyone but did raise a question about a powerful pedophile network linked to Parliament and No. 10 (see 38-38 seconds)

My apologies if the passage reads as if Mr. Watson had named Mr. Brittan in Parliament or that Mr. Scott was referring to Mr. Watson naming Mr. Brittan. Neither of those is a correct reading of the passage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6sTCIJLEKI

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tom-watson/11946373/tom-watson-case-against-leon-brittan.html

[2] As someone pointed out last year the case was unlikely to get to trial, let alone be prejudiced by a public statement, given its circumstantial nature.

“At the end of the day, if the CPS had agreed to pursue charges against Mr X, it would have been Jane’s word against Mr X. After 47 years there would have been no forensic evidence and there were no witnesses to the rape. Even if Mr X could be placed at the ‘crime scene’ the prosecution would still have to have proven that Jane did not consent and all of this ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ for a jury to find Mr X guilty of rape.” https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/why-did-police-fail-to-pursue-rape-allegation-against-former-cabinet-minister/

Surely, as a trained Barrister, Mr. Scott would be aware of these issues. It seems passing strange he is certain that a criminal trial would have followed and that Mr. Watson’s involvement would have prejudiced it.

[3] http://www.channel4.com/news/tom-watson-dpp-correspondence-letters-with-alison-saunders

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/28/durham-police-uncover-paedophile-ring-500-potential-victims

[5] http://www.jordanssolicitors.co.uk/child-abuse/2014/04/the-history-of-abuse-at-medomsley-detention-centre/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Is the Prime Minister’s Office institutionally corrupted by Murdoch’s influence?

The PM Puppet Master Cartoon by Ploppi

The PM Puppet Master
Cartoon by Ploppi

In politics, politicians succeed to the extent that they can gain support for their policies. In particular, they need public support or at least to avoid public resistance. They need public support to defend their policies against those who oppose what they want to do. If they fail to deliver their policies, then they could lose their office. Without public support, their policies fail and they could lose the next election. One of the ways they gain public support is through public speeches. The public hear or read these directly or the media reports them. The media can either support or oppose the policies and the politician. In some cases, part of the media will support and part will oppose. In that role, the media can interpret or distort that message. For example, a newspaper can make claims, on the politician’s behalf, to further the policy. In exchange, the media, even unsympathetic media, gain access to the politician. The media want an exclusives as well as influence, which helps them succeed against their rivals. At the same time, the politician wants to tell their story or at least influence those who might not support them. The media’s power to broadcast and access provides the opportunity to influence legislation, in particular any legislation that may affect them. The relationship is the same for any constituent. The difference, though, is the media provide a desired service and have greater ability to punish a politician than a voter does.

Politics as a transaction is legal as long as it serves the public interest.

In any political relationship, the politician acts for a constituent. In turn, the politician expects their support. The political exchange is the nature of politics. The exchange may involve a vote, a donation, or an endorsement. The exchange is legal and proper so long as the promised outcome does not depend on the favour or payment. The benefactor’s influence is corrupt if it undermines the democratic process. These include, but are not limited to, political competition and citizen representation. As Denis Thompson explains, some political behaviour may appear corrupt but is not because it does not undermine the democratic process.

It is not corrupt if the practice promotes (or at least does not damage) political competition, citizen representation, or other core processes of the institution. But it is corrupt if it is of a type that tends to undermine such processes (as indicated by the violation of legitimate procedures), and thereby frustrates the primary purposes of the institution.[1]

If the exchange were financial, like cash for questions, it would be both corrupt and illegal. An elected politician cannot use the office for financial gain at the expense of his core responsibility. Instead, the politician offers their service without a guarantee of the outcome. They may have to hedge their commitment against other issues, which is why they cannot guarantee an outcome. They may have to do as their party requires or what the larger public interest requires. If the politician only served their benefactor and not their constituency, then they would be corrupt.

When the benefactors is in charge, the relationship is corrupt.

Institutions often rely on benefactors. The relationship can be healthy or it can be corrupt. The more the benefactor dominates the relationship, the less healthy the institution. The institution is not following its purpose, it is following the benefactor’s purpose. One writer who has explored this problem is Denis Thompson. He argues that when the procedures and purposes needed the institution to fulfil its purpose no longer work properly, it is corrupt.[2]

What does this have to do with Rupert Murdoch? Everything.

Rupert Murdoch has had an enduring relationship with UK Prime Minister. The relationship started with Margaret Thatcher. She betrayed her duty to the public, and to her office, when she met with Rupert Murdoch in 1981. In exchange for looking favourably on his plan to break the print unions and expand his control of UK media, she received his media support. She made this exchange so she could stay in office.[3] She needed a political bodyguard. She needed an outsider, as anyone within the UK would allow rivals to emerge.[4] She agreed to benefit Rupert Murdoch in return for good press coverage. With the good press could support her policies and influence voters. She could make sure her message was supported and those opposed were muted or savaged by Murdoch’s press. Despite her claims to defend liberty, she acted tyrannically through her relationship with Murdoch. As she said in 1996, perhaps not reflecting on her use of a media bodyguard:

“It has been the guiding sentiment of tyrants in every age who believe that if you can control what people read and thereby what they think then you can control them.”[5]

With Murdoch as her media bodyguard, she was able to punish her political opponents. In her decision to favour Murdoch, she put her interests first. She put her interests before the common good.[6] She behaved, as she believed. There is no such thing as society, or a common good, as there are only individuals and individual goods.[7] Her corrupt behaviour made Murdoch into the PM’s bodyguard. No PM could, or can, succeed without his help or with his hindrance.

Once established, the relationship became the test for all future Prime Ministers.[8] Without it, they found it hard to succeed. Thatcher’s willingness to create it and Blair’s enthusiasm for a media bodyguard has been to the country’s detriment. Murdoch’s influence has had a baleful effect on UK politics and the public domain. In his role as media bodyguard, Murdoch has ensured his editors and reports are enthusiastic captains and foot soldiers. Since he became the bodyguard, his editors and reporters have behaved with appalling viciousness and cruelty in the public domain. They have monstered those who opposed their own interests and the interests of their nominal patron. They have always been careful to target the weak and vulnerable and rarely attacking those able to defend themselves. Even though the relationship appear unseemly, how is corrupt?

A corrupt organisation no longer serves its original purpose.

The organisation loses its way when its core purposes serve someone else. The institution’s purpose is diverted for or by someone else usually the benefactor. Even if the politician has a good motive, the conditions that allow for the improper influences are what corrupt the institution.[9] The Prime Minister wants to have a good reputation so they can be effective. A Prime Minister knows that the Murdoch papers have the largest circulation. Even though the tabloids can create the bad press, the politicians seek their favour. The politicians are not the only ones who want good press or a good relationship with the media. The price of such a relationship can be very high for the organisation even if the individual benefits. The cautionary tale is the fate of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). In 2000, Lord then Commissioner Stevens wanted good press relationships. He started a media relationship that undermined the Metropolitan Police Service.[10] In time, the newspaper dominates the relationship.

The conditions just as content can make the relationship corrupt.

Institutional corruption can be hard to spot. It is hard to spot because it occurs when legitimate processes are distorted. What is corrupt behaviour can appear useful to the institution and may serve some benefits. For example, the Prime Minister benefits from the positive news stories. They will have a relationship with the media. What is problematic is that the service that is provided undermines his office. The government has exclusive meetings with Murdoch.[11] These help him disproportionately. This undermines the institution’s role to govern in the public interest.

Institutional corruption occurs when an institution or its agent receives a benefit that is directly useful to performing an institutional function, and systematically provides a service to the benefactor under conditions that tend to undermine legitimate procedures of the institution.

David Cameron and previous Prime Ministers have received the benefit of good press. They use it as part of their institutional function. They cannot govern without media support to shape the public opinion. At the same time, the policies also ensure his party stay in power. An additional benefit is that the good press helps him retain his leadership. Most importantly, though, is that Murdoch gives the PM the ability to punish his political opponents. Murdoch’s papers attacked David Cameron’s opponents during the campaign.[12] The same power helps him to maintain discipline within his own party.[13] In return, Cameron provided a service to his benefactor. The service he provided was access, information, and influence over the policies that will affect News Corp’s competitors. In particular, David Cameron has accepted Murdoch’s views on the BBC.[14] Even though this benefits David Cameron, it undermines the office and its purpose. The relationship between the Prime Minister and Rupert Murdoch is institutionally corrupt. He is providing a service to his benefactor, Murdoch, under conditions that undermine his office in its public interest role. It is serving Rupert Murdoch’s interest. It corrupts the PM as it serves Murdoch’s personal interest. It only serves the public secondarily, if at all. The PM’s behaviour and decisions serve his benefactor at the expense of his responsibility to the public interest.

Institutional corruption is harder to identify than individual corruption.

It can be hard to see institutional corruption. What occurs is legitimate behaviour is used in a way that harms the institution. Politicians need to work with the press. The press have an interest in what the politicians do. The problem occurs when it is a systematic service. Like individual corruption, institutional corruption also means that the position is abused for a benefit. In the PM’s case, the benefit was good press and the ability to attack political opponents as well as obtain information on rivals.

When legislators accept a campaign contribution, even if they do a favor for the contributor, the political benefit may or may not be corrupt. Whether it is corrupt depends in part on whether it undermines or promotes the legislative process or the democratic process more generally

When Murdoch courted Thatcher, he gained a benefit. The PM will insist that the exchange was fair. They had better press. However, they forget how and why the relationship began. They forget its wider effects. Margaret Thatcher may have received better media coverage end ensured she ruled for a long time. However, the price has been steep. She betrayed her office as she made it dependent on Murdoch.

A pattern of behaviour is what reveals institutional corruption.

Corruption is rarely a single event. Institutional corruption is a pattern of behaviour. The corrupt behaviour becomes systematic. The benefactor expects the institution to respond in the same way each time. The institution responds in the same way to each request. In effect, the corrupt behaviour becomes a habit. In time, an overall culture of influence develops.

The distinguishing feature of institutional corruption with respect to service is that it is systematic in this sense: the service is provided through a persistent pattern of relationships, rather than in episodic or one-time interactions.

But when the service is provided in a continuing relationship or regular practice, especially when the recipient itself is an institution, habits and routines are established, expectations generated, and a culture of influence developed.

The relationship between the Murdoch and the PM fits this definition. In the relationship, he, and his editors, *expect* to have access and to have influence. They set up a culture of influence within the politicians. Moreover, they arranged for politicians to be routinely and regularly introduced to the News Corp through dinners and event. The best example of the overall culture of influence is the relationship between News International and the MPS. Neil Wallis, then working for the Sun, developed the Police Bravery Awards.[15] The awards created a place where such meeting could happen informally. Neither the police nor the press could be held to account. Unlike a formal setting where notes might be taken and attendance is noted, an awards dinner has neither. The Sun, a News International paper, created a perfect vehicle to influence the police. In a sense, it was no different from the Friday Morning Coffee sessions that Jimmy Savile organised. What made it so effective is that it was designed to honour the police for bravery. The press were seen publicly as their institutional benefactor and the relationship appeared legitimate.

If we blame the system, we avoid the problem we do not solve it.

One excuse that is often used to deflect claims of institution corruption is to say the system is corrupt. When people blame the system, they want to say “nothing can be done”. They will say it is only down to a few “rotten apples”. Thompson calls this “corruption conversion”. If we want to understand the phrase, look at the News of the World. The phrase describes News Corp’s strategy during the phone hacking trials. They succeeded by a strategy of downplaying the corrupt institution. If anyone was corrupt, it was rogue reporters.

The interaction between individual and institutional corruption gives rise to a phenomenon that may be called “corruption conversion,” a tendency of agents to try to turn each type of corruption into the other. Violations of one tend to be assimilated to the other, and vice versa. In both cases, the conversion leads to overlooking or obscuring the significance of institutional corruption. This is clear enough in the first case—the tendency to individualize misconduct. The charges are brought against the few “bad apples” who misbehaved, even if the conduct in less egregious form is widespread and cultivated by the institution. To the extent that the accusers succeed in this individualizing strategy, the wrongdoing is contained, and the institution and its other officials are exonerated.

The goal of such an approach is to downplay any institutional corruption as the result of individuals. The individuals are corrupt. The organisation is secure so long as the individuals are dismissed or punished. Once they have been removed, the threat of institutional corruption is removed. The strategy has worked for News Corp and the MPS. Both have used this strategy to mitigate the political and legal sanctions and to confuse the ethical context. Their respective strategies worked.

The corrupt behaviour is a choice.

A second excuse is to say that the whole press industry is corrupt. Thompson warns that the corruption is excused when it is seen as institutionalised. In this view, everyone is slightly corrupt, by the nature of the work or the system. If everyone is slightly tainted, then the actions of a few are not as bad. The corrupt behaviour is behaviour that is endorsed by the colleagues. The system is corrupt so you cannot consider the organisation as bad.

[A]ccused officials and their defenders are the ones typically disposed to emphasize the institutional aspects of alleged misconduct. Either they try to excuse the conduct as an institutional fault (it is not so bad because most of their colleagues do it) or they try to justify the conduct as an institutional privilege (it is not wrong at all because their colleagues endorse it). To the extent that the accused officials are successful in their defense, they manage to show not only that their own conduct but also the institutional practices in question are less corrupt than they seemed at first. Both of these tendencies of conversion thus reinforce the belief that institutional corruption is not as serious a wrong as individual corruption.

The behaviour describes much of what passed within The News of the World. The phone hacking was so widespread that no one saw it as problem. Alternatively, politicians have justified the corruption as the flaws of the system. They were not at fault; it was the system. The common refrain is: “I do not make the rules of the game, I just play by the same rules”. Yet, if the PM had good press from the News of the World, or the Sun (or any paper) then junior politicians follow their lead. They see the price of disobedience. They do not want to be “monstered.” However, we must remember that each person is responsible for his or her decisions.

The choices individual make create or avoid corruption

The focus on institutions can make it appear that the system is to blame which means everyone is corrupt or no individual is to blame. Instead, as Thompson points out we need to focus on the whole institution. Most importantly, we have to look at the institution within a wider context. The behaviour patterns within the organisation reflect how the institution behaves. The idea leads us to consider the system within which the relationship exists.

One of the great advantages of the idea of institutional corruption is that it directs our attention to the whole institution, and to the system in which the institution operates. It tells us to look for patterns and interconnected effects, and therefore to look for reforms that change structures and incentives rather than increase punishments and denunciations of individuals.

Thompson’s idea of institutional corruption helps us understand the way the Prime Minster, as an institution, has been corrupted. Margaret Thatcher needed a media bodyguard. The bodyguard has become a Praetorian Guard. The media bodyguard has corrupted the PM’s office in two ways. First, no PM can succeed without their help. Second, Murdoch receives a disproportionate benefit at the public’s expense. Margaret Thatcher and her successors have allowed a normal and legitimate relationship between politicians and the press to become a corrupt relationship. The Prime Minister’s Office lost its organisational way in a desire for “good press”. Thatcher’s success was at the price of the Office’s organisational soul and the public has suffered from her political tyranny ever since.

Can British politics shake off this tyranny?

The only way for the UK to recover its freedom is to wait for Murdoch to leave the political scene. He is trying to ensure his company’s dominates UK media after his death. The question is whether he will succeed. If he does, then he will have installed his influence within the UK PM’s office permanently. The relationship will be what the politicians and the public expect and endorse. The PMs who have allowed this and supported this change will need to consider whether they legitimately govern in the public interest or a private interest.

[1] All quoted material, unless credited otherwise, is from Thompson, Dennis F., Two Concepts of Corruption (August 1, 2013). Edmond J. Safra Working Papers, No. 16. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2304419 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2304419

[2] “More generally, to determine whether a dependency is improper we usually have to refer to the procedures necessary for the institution to fulfill its purposes. Understanding those procedures and purposes is where the critical work is to be done.”

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/apr/28/how-margaret-thatcher-and-rupert-murdoch-made-secret-deal “She was trailing in the polls, caught in a recession she had inherited, eager for an assured cheerleader at a difficult time.”

[4] “For he [the despot] has no pleasure in seeing that the citizens are stout-hearted and well armed; rather he delights to make the foreigners more formidable than the citizens, and these he employs as a body-guard.” Xenophon Hiero Chapter 5 section 3. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0210%3Atext%3DHiero%3Achapter%3D5%3Asection%3D2

[5] http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/108364

[6] This is not surprising at all. In all of her public statements from 1945 she only mentions the term “The common good” 16 times. In nearly 60 years of public statements this seems surprising. Rupert Murdoch is mentioned 19 times (although in some cases he is mentioned by her interlocutor)

This is found at this site http://www.margaretthatcher.org/

With this search http://www.margaretthatcher.org/speeches/results.asp?dt=4&btn=Search&w=%22Common+Good%22&searchtype=and&t=0&starty=&startm=&startd=&endy=&endm=&endd=&onedayy=&onedaym=&onedayd

However, this should not come as a surprise given her antipathy to the idea of the common good. She believed in the individual and the individual good. She believed that if the individual pursued their own good, then the public would benefit as it would be automatic that they would act for the common good to achieve their personal good. Yet, this seems to ignore or forget the famous book by Mandeville The Fable of the Bees: Or, Private Vices create Public Virtues http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/846 She knew that individuals have unequal talents and unequal access to opportunities so her proposals would privilege the few at the expense of the many. Her approach would undermine the common good upon which justice depends. Like a classical tyrant, she pursued her individual good at the expense of the common good and justice.

[7]http://www.margaretthatcher.org/speeches/displaydocument.asp?docid=106689

so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and[fo 29] there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation and it is, I think, one of the tragedies in which many of the benefits we give, which were meant to reassure people that if they were sick or ill there was a safety net and there was help, that many of the benefits which were meant to help people who were unfortunate—“It is all right. We joined together and we have these insurance schemes to look after it”. That was the objective, but somehow there are some people who have been manipulating the system and so some of those help and benefits that were meant to say to people: “All right, if you cannot get a job, you shall have a basic standard of living!” but when people come and say: “But what is the point of working? I can get as much on the dole!” You say: “Look” It is not from the dole. It is your neighbour who is supplying it and if you can earn your own living then really you have a duty to do it and you will feel very much better!

[8] Consider the following Aesop Fable of the horse and the stage as quoted by Aristotle. Rhetoric Book 2 Chapter 20 section 5 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0060:book=2:chapter=20&highlight=body%2Cguard

“The horse agreed to the terms and the man mounted him, but instead of obtaining vengeance on the stag, the horse from that time became the man’s slave. So then,” said he, “do you take care lest, in your desire to avenge yourselves on the enemy, you be treated like the horse. You already have the bit, since you have chosen a dictator; if you give him a body-guard and allow him to mount you, you will at once be the slaves of Phalaris.”

[9] “But in the case of institutional corruption, the fact that an official acts under conditions that tend to create improper influence is sufficient to establish corruption, whatever the official’s motive.” Thompson

[10] Lord Stevens, then Commissioner Stevens, courted the press as a conscious strategy from 2000 See Elizabeth Filkin ‘The ethical issues arising from the relationship between police and media. 2012 p. 11 citing MPS Special Notice 19-00, September 2000: A new policy for relations with the media. http://content.met.police.uk/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Type&blobheadername2=Content-Disposition&blobheadervalue1=application%2Fpdf&blobheadervalue2=inline%3B+filename%3D%22944%2F933%2FFINAL+REPORT+-+ALL.pdf%22&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1283540988465&ssbinary=true

[11] See for example, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/30/george-osborne-challenged-over-bbc-cuts-murdoch-meeting_n_7908196.html

[12] For example see this article http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/rupert-murdoch-berated-sun-journalists-for-not-doing-enough-to-attack-ed-miliband-10191005.html and this analysis of the coverage http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/05/06/general-election-front-pages_n_7219736.html

[13] Or do you say that a ruler, once he becomes popular, will have no further need of a bodyguard?” [2]

“No, no, he will need them, of course,” said Simonides. “For I know that some human beings are like horses—the more they get what they want, the more unruly they are apt to become. [3] The way to manage men like that is to put the fear of the bodyguard into them.

Hiero Chapter 10 section 1-3. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0210%3Atext%3DHiero%3Achapter%3D10

[14] http://theconversation.com/how-the-murdoch-press-has-waged-a-relentless-campaign-against-the-bbc-and-why-its-worked-45523

[15] “While at The Sun I conceived the idea and brought into existence, in conjunction with the Police Federation, the still-running and highly respected National Police Bravery Awards. Working together with The Executive of the Police Federation and with the active assistance of senior ACPO-rank officers, both around the country and at Scotland Yard, we inaugurated an Awards ceremony which is still highly acclaimed today.”

Neil Wallis, Witness Statement Leveson Inquiry http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140122145147/http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Witness-Statement-of-Neil-Wallis.pdf page 4 See also http://leveson.sayit.mysociety.org/speech/14724

Posted in corruption, justice, public opinion, public sector | 1 Comment

An initial analysis of the Proctor Statement

On 25 August, Keith Harvey Proctor made his second statement about private and public allegations about his involvement in historical child sexual abuse. He spoke to refute what he believed were unfair disclosures by the police and the media. Although he has not been charged at this point, the police have questioned him twice, once at length.

He spoke to rebut and refute what he perceived as the attack on his character and the character of dead colleagues. The following is a partial, or tentative, analysis of his statement. I say partial or tentative as it is only based on a few hours of research and writing time. However, as it is a public statement about a public event of great public interest, I thought it worthy of study. After the safety of the community, justice is the government’s highest duty to its citizens. Moreover, justice or protection for the most vulnerable, in particular, children, is perhaps the highest obligation.

He has spoken to influence the public debate so his statement will be of interest to those who want to understand the way public statements influence the public debate. The analysis is not an attempt to determine Mr. Proctor’s guilt. He is presumed innocent. The essay is an attempt to understand his statement, what it means, and consider its potential effect on the public debate regarding this issue.

[Please note that the following material contains some very disturbing information about child abuse and readers who may be affected by the material are encouraged to avoid paragraphs 9-10.]

STATEMENT BY MR KEITH HARVEY PROCTOR

MADE IN THE MARLBOROUGH ROOM, ST.ERMIN’S HOTEL, LONDON

NOT FOR RELEASE BEFORE 2PM ON TUESDAY 25th AUGUST 2015

I am a private citizen. I have not held public office and I have not sought public office since May 1987. As such, I am entitled to be regarded as a private citizen. Since the General Election of 1987 I have sought a private life. I have been enjoying a full life, gainfully employed and personally happy.

What defines or determines whether someone is a public or private citizen? As a former MP, he is hardly an ordinary citizen. He may be a private citizen, but he is hardly an average or ordinary citizen. As someone active in politics and well connected politically, if not socially, the statement that he is a private citizen misses out important caveats and considerations. For example, he lives (lived) in a grace and favour cottage on the Belvoir Castle estate.[1]

This all came to an abrupt end on 4th March 2015. What now follows is a statement on my present predicament created by an unidentified person making totally untrue claims against my name.

The public domain can make extraordinary demands on a private citizen. In the UK this is particular noteworthy as the press are vociferous and vigorous in their pursuit of stories. One would not be overstating it by much to say that they patrol the public domain and viciously attack anyone they dislike or they find disagreeable. However, to enter the public domain, even at the hands of the media or the state, does not end one’s life as a private citizen. Unless one is incarcerated, one retains a private life as set by law and custom. It may be a life that is temporarily inconvenienced by the media, but it exists.

The claim that the allegations that have been made are untrue is only an assertion. This is Mr. Proctor’s view. If the allegations are taken to court, they can be tested. His statement that he is innocent is different from a claim that the allegations are false. He is innocent until proven guilty. However, we cannot know if the allegations are false until they are investigated and tested. As we will see below, the allegations are only what Mr. Proctor has reported. His statement about the allegations, how they were phrased and who they referred to, have not been verified.

At the same time, his claim that they are not untrue is not the same as saying they are false or baseless. His word choice does suggest that he chose the word for a purpose. An untrue statement is not the same as a false or baseless statement. Moreover, would we really expect someone to say, “The claims are true.”

Before going any further I wish to make it clear that the genuine victims of child sexual abuse have my fullest sympathy and support and I would expect the full weight of the law to be used against anyone, be he ‘ever so high, or ever so low’, committing such odious offences. Nobody and I repeat, nobody is above the law.

Mr. Proctor shows his sympathy if not empathy for the “genuine” victims of child sexual abuse, which suggests, as we will see later, is that there are false victims of child sexual abuse. Here the language is important. We see a subtle sign where he indicates that some victims of child sexual abuse are not genuine. One point to clarify though is the Monarch is above the law. The Queen is not subject to all laws. She cannot be sued and she only obeys the laws voluntarily. Parliament is not in a position to enforce the law and although she obeys the law, it is an important constitutional point that she is above the law. Thus, his claim that nobody is above the law is not accurate. It is a nice sentiment and belief, but it is not constitutionally correct in the UK.

  1. However, I attach equal weight to justice for innocent people wrongly accused of child sexual abuse, especially when it is done anonymously.

Mr. Proctor criticizes the decision to grant his accuser anonymity. Yet, he must realize that the anonymity exists for a particular reason in these cases and in this case in particular. In the UK, someone is innocent until proven guilty. The judicial system, which sustains that idea, requires the police to investigate allegations of criminal activity. They are required to gather evidence to determine whether someone is wrongly accused. The process can take time and it is not one that either the alleged perpetrator or the alleged victim would want to be rushed.

We also note for a second time Mr. Proctor’s language. He says that there should be “justice for innocent people wrongly accused”. Earlier he said there were “untrue claims” and now refers to those “wrongly accused”. Yet, we cannot determine whether he is wrongly accused until the evidence is gathered and tested to confirm or disconfirm the allegations. It would appear he would like us to accept his claims to innocence based on his word and not test them in court or against the standards of evidence. It would appear he would like to argue his case in the court of public opinion if not in the judicial court, which he refers to later.

This is what is happening to me and many high profile figures, many of whom are dead and cannot answer back.

Here we note a common theme that has appeared in commentary on the issue. The commentary is critical of claims about powerful paedophile predators. The commentators want to protect the dead who cannot defend themselves. Yet, what remains unanswered is why the dead, especially those with no living children, require a defence. It would appear that the commentators, especially those with a national newspaper platform, have decided that the dead are to be protected over the living.

Mr Proctor suggests his experience is the same as other high profile figures. However, he seems to overlook how many high profile figures have been convicted of child sexual abuse (Rolf Harris[2]) and (Max Clifford)[3] or suspected.[4] Further, he seems to overlook the deceased figures where the police dropped the investigation despite years of allegations, extensive evidence, and witnesses willing to give testimony (Peter Jaconelli,[5] Jimmy Savile,[6] and Cyril Smith[7])

This statement is necessarily lengthy and detailed and at times complicated. Please bear with me and at the end I will be prepared to answer your questions.

  1. On 18th June, 2015, at my request, I was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad “Operation Midland”. This interview lasted over 6 hours. At the very outset I had to help the Police with my full name which they appeared not to know. It may surprise you that it was over 3 and an half months after my home was searched for 15 hours and more than 7 months after the most serious allegations were made against me that I was interviewed. I went on to cooperate fully with the Police with their investigation.

What is unclear is why Mr. Proctor agreed to be interviewed voluntarily. This is not explained in his statement and is the first of many claims within his statement that give pause for thought or at least warrant further discussion.

We do not know if Mr. Proctor cooperated fully with the investigation. He has claimed it and the initial evidence he provides suggests that he has cooperated fully. However, we have only his statement about his cooperation.

  1. The allegations have been made by a person who the Police have dubbed with a pseudonym – “NICK”. He appears on television with a blacked out face and an actor’s voice. All of this is connected with alleged historical child sexual abuse in the 1970ies and 1980ies. “NICK” was interviewed by the Police in the presence of a reporter from Exaro – an odd internet news agency.

Mr Proctor refers to Exaro, describes it as “odd”, but does not elaborate or explain why it is “odd” or what makes it “odd”. His claim that “Nick” was interviewed with an Exaro reporter present have ben refuted by Exaro.

  1. As a Member of Parliament I always spoke in favour of the police. I believe in law and order and I believe in equipping the police to do their job and , with my track record, it will come as a surprise that I have grave and growing concerns about the Police generally and more specifically “Operation Midland”.

Here we see a second statement that is curious. Mr. Proctor supported the police, law, and order without ever bothering to consider whether they are corrupt or even competent. He blindly followed them and supported. Yet, when he is subject to their power, he finds them questionable and objectionable. Even though thousands of people have claimed and complained about police behaviour for the past 50 year, he only takes an interest when it relates to him. His statement reminds of the old joke. A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged and a liberal is a conservative that has spent a night in the cells.

I have decided to share these concerns with you. I believe I am not speaking just for myself today. I hope I am not being presumptuous when I say I feel I am speaking for those who have no voice whatsoever including the dead to whom I referred moments ago.

Here is the third curious statement, and one that becomes strange when considered against later claims. The powerful people he seeks to defend are not defenceless. On the contrary, the voices that defend the dead have been vociferous in their defence. They are not on the fringe of the public domain. Politicians and media commentators who have a global platform have defended the dead. Far from being left defenceless, the dead have been protected and championed by the establishment. We can see a national columnist from the Telegraph defending Brittan and Heath. Although other papers have defended the dead politicians, the Telegraph has been the paper leading the defence.[8]

  1. Two days before my interview with the Police, my Solicitors – Sakhi Solicitors of Leicester – were sent a “disclosure” document. It set out the matters the Police wished to discuss with me. It was the first time I had known of what I had been accused. On the day of my interview I was not arrested, nor placed on Police bail, I was told I could leave the Police Station at any time and that it was a voluntary interview. I and my Solicitors had previously been told I was not a suspect.

Mr. Proctor does not provide a copy of the “disclosure” document, although he does appear to quote from it, we do not know its exact contents or any caveats it may contain. We cannot yet judge what the police wanted to know. We do know that Mr. Proctor was able to afford legal counsel so he is not as disadvantaged as he would make it seem.

  1. At the end of the interview I was given no information as to how much longer the Police investigation would take to bring the matter to a conclusion. I think you will understand I cannot allow this matter to rest.

Here is the fourth curious statement. Who is told when an investigation is going to end? Why does Mr. Proctor believe that he, a person of interest, would be told when an investigation would end? It is as if Mr. Proctor, a life long defender of the police, never bothered to find out how they worked or what they did. This is even more puzzling given his arrest and conviction for sexual offences. He had been in custody previously so should be aware of the police process.

  1. So you can gauge how angry I am and in an attempt to stop the “drip, drip, drip” of allegations by the police into the media , I now wish to share with you in detail the uncorroborated and untrue allegations that have been made against me by “NICK”.

Mr. Proctor appears less concerned with policing than with the way the police handle the media. In light of his experience, he may support the Leveson Inquiry and its sequel. His case reminds us of the ongoing relationship between the media, the police and politicians. His concern about the public domain shows that the constant drip of allegations into the media has corrosive power. Yet, the public seem to accept the media’s power until it is directed at them. Unlike others, though, Mr. Proctor has taken the opportunity to present his side of the case.

Anyone of a delicate or a nervous disposition should leave the room now.

  1. The following is taken from the Police disclosure document given to my Solicitors two days before my first interview with the Police under the headings “Circumstances”, “Homicides” and “Sexual abuse”.

Mr. Proctor is only quoting from part of the statement. If the document were provided in total he would have explained that it was. As we only have a part, we are unable to assess the full document.

I QUOTE:-

“ Circumstances

The victim in this investigation is identified under the pseudonym “Nick”. He made allegations to the Metropolitan Police Service in late 2014. Due to the nature of the offences alleged, “Nick” is entitled to have his identity withheld.

The police have explained to Mr. Proctor why “Nick”’s identity has been withheld. He continues to argue that such an entitlement is unwarranted or unnecessary without explaining why.

“Nick” stated he was the victim of systematic and serious sexual abuse by a group of adult males over a period between 1975 and 1984. The abuse was often carried out whilst in company with other boys whom were also abused by the group.

These dates provide the context for the statement and the abuse. It also narrows down, or brings into focus the time frame for Nick’s experiences.

“Nick” provided names of several individuals involved in these acts including Mr HARVEY PROCTOR. He states MR PROCTOR abused him on a number of occasions which included sexual assault, buggery and torturous assault. He also states MR PROCTOR was present when he was assaulted by other adult males. Furthermore, “Nick” states he witnessed the murder of three young boys on separate occasions. He states MR PROCTOR was directly responsible for two of the allegations and implicated in the third.

Here we have an important issue to resolve the relationship between abuse, torture, and murder. Even if one or more are ruled out, the underlying issue of sexual abuse remains. We have to guard against assuming that if one part is false or disproven that all parts are disproven or false.

The dates and locations relevant to MR PROCTOR are as follows:-

Homicides

The issue of homicide in child abuse cases often attracts disbelief. Many people find that such claims are likely far fetched if not simply incredible. Sadly, though, the reality is otherwise. Child sexual abuse by paedophiles can, and does, escalate into murder.[9]

1980 – at a residential house in central London. “Nick” was driven by car to an address in the Pimlico/Belgravia area where a second boy (the victim) was also collected in the same vehicle. Both boys, aged approximately 12-years-old, were driven to another similar central London address. MR PROCTOR was present with another male. Both boys were led to the back of the house. MR PROCTOR then stripped the victim, and tied him to a table. He then produced a large kitchen knife and stabbed the child through the arm and other parts of the body over a period of 40 minutes. A short time later MR PROCTOR untied the victim and anally raped him on the table. The other male stripped “Nick” and anally raped him over the table. MR PROCTOR then strangled the victim with his hands until the boy’s body went limp. Both males then left the room. Later, MR PROCTOR returned and led “Nick” out of the house and into a waiting car.

Here is a second important point. If a child was killed, then there would be a missing person or a potential murder report. Here is a detail that can be checked and researched. We do not know if there is a child murder from that time in that rea. IF the body was disposed at sea or by other means, then we would not now. If there is a missing child report from that time. However, we do know from other confirmed police trials that children have been trafficked in and out of the UK for such activity.[10]

1981-82 – at a residential address in central London. “Nick” was collected from Kingston train station and taken to a “party” at a residential address. The witness was among four young boys. Several men were present including MR PROCTOR. One of the men told the boys one of them would die that night and they had to choose who. When the boys wouldn’t decide, the men selected one of the boys (the victim). Each of the four boys including “Nick” were taken to separate rooms for “private time”. When they all returned to the same room, Nick was anally raped by MR PROCTOR and another male as “punishment”. The other males also anally raped the remaining boys. MR PROCTOR and two other males then began beating the chosen victim by punching and kicking. The attack continued until the boy collapsed on the floor and stopped moving. All of the men left the room. The remaining boys attempted to revive the victim but he was not breathing. They were left for some time before being taken out of the house and returned to their homes.

Here is a further detail that can be researched and confirmed or disproven. If a child was murdered in this period, then a missing child report, an unidentified body, or an unsolved murder would be relevant evidence to consider. However, the same caveats or constraints, as mentioned above, would need to be considered.

Between May and July 1979 – in a street in Coombe Hill, Kingston. Nick was walking in this area with another boy (the victim) when he heard the sound of a car engine revving. A dark-coloured car drove into the victim knocking him down. “Nick” could see the boy covered in blood and his leg bent backwards. A car pulled up and “Nick” was grabbed and placed in the car. He felt a sharp pain in his arm and next remembered being dropped off at home. He was warned not to have friends in future. “Nick” never saw the other boy again. “Nick” does not identify MR PROCTOR as being directly involved in this allegation. However, he states MR PROCTOR was part of the group responsible for the systematic sexual abuse he suffered. Furthermore, he believes the group were responsible for the homicide.

Here is a further detail that can be researched to either confirm or disprove. Was there an accident or a patient admitted to hospital for these injuries or this incident.

Sexual Abuse

1978-1984 – Dolphin Square, Pimlico. “Nick” was at the venue and with at least one other young boy. MR PROCTOR was present with other males.MR PROCTOR told “Nick” to pick up a wooden baton and hit the other boy. When “Nick” refused he was punished by MR PROCTOR and the other males. He was held down and felt pain in his feet. He fell unconscious. When he awoke he was raped by several males including MR PROCTOR.

We have been given a location where Mr. Proctor and Nick appeared to intersect. We are aware that Dolphin Square is a place where abuse is confirmed to have occurred. In a later interview, Mr. Proctor confirms that he has attended Dolphin Square in the company of a general and a secretary. It places him in the location. However, that does not discount the possibility that he was there at other times for a different, less benign, purpose.

1978-1981 – Carlton Club, central London, “Nick” was driven to the Carlton Club and dropped off outside. MR PROCTOR opened the door. Inside the premises were several other males. “Nick” was sexually assaulted by another male (not by MR PROCTOR on this occasion ).

What could be confirmed is whether young males were ever seen present at Carlton Club at this time or at any other time.

1978-1981 – swimming pool in central London. “Nick” was taken to numerous ‘pool parties’ where he and other boys were made to undress, and perform sexual acts on one another. He and other boys were then anally raped and sexually abused by several men including MR PROCTOR.

The swimming pool is not identified so we cannot know if the location or the context can be proven or disproven.

1981-1982 – Large town house in London. “Nick” was taken to the venue on numerous occasions where MR PROCTOR and one other male were present. He was forced to perform oral sex on MR PROCTOR who also put his hands around “Nick’’’s throat to prevent him breathing. On another occasion at the same location, MR PROCTOR sexually assaulted “Nick” before producing a pen-knife and threatening to cut “Nick’’’s genitals.MR PROCTOR was prevented from doing so by the other male present.

1979-1984 – residential address in central London.”Nick” was taken to the venue. MR PROCTOR was present with one other male. MR PROCTOR forced “Nick” to perform oral sex on him before beating him with punches.

1978-1984 – numerous locations including Carlton Club,Dolphin Square and a central London townhouse. “Nick” described attending several ‘Christmas parties’ where other boys were present together with numerous males including MR PROCTOR. “Nick” was given whiskey to drink before being forced to perform oral sex on several men including MR PROCTOR.

MR PROCTOR will be interviewed about the matters described above and given the opportunity to provide an account.”

  1. I denied all and each of the allegations in turn and in detail and categorised them as false and untrue and, in whole, an heinous calumny. They amount to just about the worst allegations anyone can make against another person including, as they do, multiple murder of children, their torture, grievous bodily harm, rape and sexual child abuse.

Mr. Proctor provides a robust and categorical denial of the charges. He does not provide the details for his denials or explain how they are wrong. For example, being able to demonstrate he was out of the country at the time of one or more of the alleged incidents. However, we have to accept that people are innocent until proven guilty.

  1. I am completely innocent of all these allegations.
  2. I am an homosexual. I am not a murderer. I am not a paedophile or pederast. Let me be frank, I pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency in 1987 relating to the then age of consent for homosexual activity. Those offences are no longer offences as the age of consent has dropped from 21 to 18 to 16. What I am being accused of now is a million miles away from that consensual activity.

Here we face a difficult point within any situation where someone wishes to defend their reputation or defend themselves against charges. We would be surprised if someone were to admit that they were guilty. In any case, we have to take his statement as true until proven otherwise or evidence suggests that the claim has to be tested in court.

  1. At the start of the interview, I was told that although the interview would be recorded by the Police both for vision and sound, I would not receive a copy of the tapes. I asked to record the interview for sound myself but my request was refused. During the interview, to ensure that “Nick” had not identified the wrong person, I asked if I could see photographs purporting to be me which had been shown to him. My request was refused. At the end of the interview I was asked if I knew my 8 alleged co conspirators whose homes it was alleged I had visited. I believe I have a good recollection and the list comprised a number of people I knew, some who I had heard of but not met and some I did not know. None of the allegations were alleged to have taken place at my home and I have not visited the homes of any of the “gang”.

Here is another point that can be verified or disconfirmed. Either he has or has not visited any of these homes.

  1. The list included the names of the late Leon Brittan and the late Edward Heath.
  2. If it was not so serious, it would be laughable.
  3. Edward Heath sacked me from the Conservative Party’s parliamentary candidates’ list in 1974. Mrs Thatcher restored me to the list 18 months later. Edward Heath despised me and he disliked my views particularly on limiting immigration from the New Commonwealth and Pakistan and my opposition to our entry into and continued membership of what is now know as the E.U. ; I opposed his corporate statist views on the Economy. I despised him too… He had sacked the late Enoch Powell, my political “hero” from the Shadow Cabinet when I was Chairman of the University of York Conservative Association. I regarded Enoch as an intellectual giant in comparison with Heath.
  4. The same Edward Heath, not surprisingly, would never speak to me in the House of Commons but would snort at me as he passed me by in a Commons corridor. The feeling was entirely mutual.
  5. Now I am accused of doing some of these dreadful things in his London house as well; a house to which I was never invited and to which Heath would never have invited me and to which I would have declined his invitation.

Here we face a difficulty. Earlier, Mr. Proctor claimed he had to defend his dead colleagues. If he hated Heath with such a passion, why would he now defend him after death? If he held no loyalty to him at all, why speak up on his behalf?

  1. The same Edward Heath’s home with CCTV, housekeeper, private secretary, chauffeur, police and private detectives – all the trappings of a former Prime Minister – in the security conscious days of the IRA’s assault on London.

We know that public officials often have private lives that appear to escape scrutiny. We also know that security officers and personal employees will display a loyalty to their employer or patron at the law’s expense. We know that John F Kennedy had extramarital affairs despite having Secret Service protection. In the UK, we know that security forces intervened to thwart the potential expose of Cyril Smith. The security services also seemed unable or unwilling to confront powerful people over allegations of child sexual behaviour. We know that Lord Armstrong justified his failure to confront Leon Brittan over the allegations of child sexual abuse as it would be “bad for the government”.[11] He put the party loyalty before the safety of a child. Thus, it seems strange to insist that people who depended on Heath for their livelihood would risk everything on the possibility of raising a concern, a concern that would be unlikely to be believed? Even in the United States we know of Jerry Sandusky escaped punishment *when he was caught in the shower with a child*.[12] Mr Proctor’s claim seems questionable at best and extremely naïve, if not disingenuous, at worst. It is eminently possible for Mr. Heath to act as alleged. The allegation, therefore, has to be investigated before it can be disconfirmed.

  1. It is so farfetched as to be unbelievable. It is unbelievable because it is not true. My situation has transformed from Kafka- esque bewilderment to black farce incredulity.

The claims do not seem far-fetched from what we already know. We know from other investigations, such as those reported by Nick Davies, that child sexual abuse could culminate in murder. We do know that various senior public officials have had repeated allegations made about them. Cyril Smith, for example, was not charged with crimes even though the evidence presented to the police indicated that he should be charged. We know that Peter Morrison escaped serious charges as the police reduced the charges against him.

  1. I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. I appeal to any witness who truthfully can place me at any of the former homes of Edward Heath or Leon Brittan at any time to come forward now. I appeal to any witness who can truthfully say I committed any of these horrible crimes to come forward now.

Mr Proctor makes a robust defence by pointing to the central difficulty of a single accuser. If no one else can corroborate the charges or come forward as a witness to the events, then the case against him does not appear as strong.

  1. The “gang” is also alleged to have included Lord Janner ( a former Labour M.P.), Lord Bramall (Former Chief of the General Staff) , the late Maurice Oldfield (Former Head of Secret Intelligence Service – MI6), the late Sir Michael Hanley ( Director General of the Internal Security Service – MI5), General Sir Hugh Beach (Master-General of the Ordnance) and a man named – Ray Beech. I did not move in such circles. As an ex Secondary Modern School boy from Yorkshire, I was not a part of the Establishment. I had no interest being part of it. I cannot believe that these other 8 people conspired to do these monstrous things. I certainly did not.

Mr. Proctor uses the term “gang” to describe the organised activity. However, we do not know if the policed that term or whether it is accurate to describe it in that way. People may be organised in their activities without being a gang. The term gang suggests something criminal in a way that “set” or “group” does not. However, what is important is that Mr. Proctor has released a list of names, which the police have not released. However, the issue that Mr. Proctor raises, The Establishment, is curious. He immediately makes the argument that these men were (are) part of the establishment. He does not clarify whether the police described them in that way or whether this is his view of these men. Moreover, he does not explain what makes them part of the “Establishment”.

What is also curious is that Mr. Proctor elides Lord Janner upcoming trial. We know that at least one of the people within the “gang” is facing a court trial and two others (Heath and Brittan) have had allegations made against them previously (Brittan) and recently (Heath).

  1. Yesterday I was interviewed again by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad for 1 hour 40 minutes. It was a voluntary interview. I was free to go at any time. I was not arrested. I am not on bail. Unhelpfully, the second disclosure document was given to me some 20 minutes after yesterday’s  interview was supposed to have started rather than last Friday as had been promised.  My Solicitors were told by the Police it was ready but had to be signed off by superior officers on Friday.  The Metropolitan Police are either inefficient or doing it by design. Whatever else, it is  inept and an unjust way to treat anyone.

Mr. Proctor expresses his displeasure at the way that his interview was organised. It would appear he believes that the police are inefficient as they are not as organised as he would like. As someone who professed a deep belief in the police, he seems ignorant of how policing works or how a modern bureaucracy works. It would appear he expects the police to be able to manage their interviews, despite their contingent nature and political context, in the way that a GP or the DWP organise their appointments. What he does not consider is how the police treat other people and that he has likely received better treatment than most people whom the police interview.

A further concern is Mr. Proctor’s attitude given the seriousness of the allegations and his alleged potential involvement in or knowledge of horrific events including murder. He appears to believe that he should be treated differently. He does not state it directly but his statement makes the implicit point.

   During yesterday’s interview,  I was shown a photograph of “Nick” aged about 12. I did not recognise him. I was shown computer generated e fit images of 2 of the alleged murder victims created by “Nick”.  They looked remarkably similar  to each other but one with blonde hair and one dark brown. I did not recognise either image. I was asked if I knew Jimmy Saville. I told them I did not. “Nick” alleges – surprise surprise – that Saville attended the sex “parties”. I was asked if I knew a number of people including Leslie Goddard and Peter Heyman. I did not these two. I was asked if I knew well, a doctor – unnamed. Apparently “Nick” alleges the doctor was a friend of mine and allegedly he turned up to repair the damage done to the boys when they were abused at these “parties”.

Here we have a further point to consider. The mention of a doctor suggests another line of enquiry if doctors were made available or were willing to provide care for the children who had been abused. If the claim is true, it reinforces the argument for law requiring abuse being reported. Further it raises the concern that a medical professional is willing to support and enable the abuse of children.

What we do have, though, are clear denials by Mr. Proctor of specific details such as the identity of alleged victims as well as someone who is alleged to have enabled the abuse. Both of these lines of enquiry can be explored as the other e-fit picture either suggests another witness or another victim. In either case, they are a line to be explored.

I could not help there . I was asked if I could recognise images of the pen knife mentioned earlier. It was suggested it was Edward Heath who persuaded me not to castrate “Nick” with it.

Here we have a further point that is uncertain or unclear. Mr. Proctor has indicated, “it was suggested it was Edward Heath”. He does not clarify how it was suggested. We do not have a way to verify the statement or what it means. It would appear, from what he has said that Edward Heath was present at the party and intervened to protect “Nick” from Mr. Proctor. What is not clear is how that was conveyed or what that meant.

I was obviously so persuaded by Mr Heath’s intervention that I placed the pen knife in “Nick’s” pocket ready for him to present it to the Metropolitan police over 30 years later as “evidence”. I could not identify the knife. I have never had a pen knife.

The pen knife does provide another reference point. It suggests a tangible item that could be researched or investigated. It is another point that might intersects with any of the participants or locations.

I was asked if I visited Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, Barnes. I wondered when that elephant in the room would be mentioned by the Metropolitan police. I am sorry to have to disappoint the fantasists on the internet but I did not visit Elm Guest House. I was unaware of its existence.  The so called “guest list” which makes its appearance on the net must be a fake.

Mr. Proctor provides a clear rebuttal of a reference to Elm Guest House. Several points emerge from this reference. First, it would have been odd if the police had not referred to Elm Guest House as it has been mentioned in other accounts and many of the same people involved with Nick appear to have visited or attended Elm Guest House. Second, as Mr. Proctor acknowledges his name appears to have been mentioned on a “guest list”. Third, Mr. Proctor confirms his awareness of “fantasists on the internet”. Such awareness is also a point of interest. Just as someone may allege crimes based on what they have read so too can someone cloud or confuse an investigation based on what they have read.

  1. During my first interview I was told that the Police were investigating to seek out the truth. I reminded them on a number of occasions that their Head of “Operation Midland”, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald had said on television some months ago “ I believe what “NICK” is saying as credible and true “. This statement is constantly used and manipulated by Exaro and other Media to justify their position.

Here we begin to see Mr. Proctor’s concern with the way the investigation has been managed. However, he seems to ignore the way investigations are conducted. There are two related, but separate issues to consider. The first is the method by which the police investigate. The second is how they manage the media or publicity around the investigation. On the first point, the police are entitled to say whether the allegations provide credible so that they can continue to investigate. The police are experienced so will be able to determine relatively quickly whether the witness and their claims are credible based on either internal consistency of their story, the evidence they have provided, or both. So far, Mr. Proctor’s has not provided anything, aside from his displeasure and disbelief in the claims, to undermine or refute the claims. Thus, we are at the point where the different versions of events and evidence have to be tested.

The second issue is the way the police have handled the publicity associated with the investigation. Here there is an ongoing, and ultimately unresolvable, debate. The police have to provide enough information to reassure the public about the investigation, as what has been alleged is of great importance, and to maintain a balance to protect the investigation’s integrity. When the police make a statement, they cannot control how the media use it. What we do not have, interestingly, is Mr. Proctor’s concerns about the Fake Sheik or the way the press have handled other cases. He is concerned with the way his case has been handled as it has not handled in the way he would like it to be handled.

  1. This remark is very prejudicial to the police inquiry and its outcome.

Mr. Proctor is entitled to his view. What we face though is the following issue. If the police investigate without mentioning that they believe that, the witness is credible then their behaviour would implicitly make the same point as their public statement. Why would the police investigate if the witness were not credible? Unless Mr. Proctor wishes to suggest that the police undertake frivolous investigations or should not interview witnesses who allege crimes that involve people in the public domain or formerly in the public domain. What he has not demonstrated or even suggested is how the police statement is prejudicial.

It is not justice and breaches my United Kingdom and Human Rights.

Mr. Proctor has not explained which UK or Human Rights it has breached. Although he is certain they have been breached, he does not explain which ones or how they have been breached. As he has taken legal advice, taken some time, and thought in preparing this statement, one would have expected him to explain or sustain this claim.

This whole catalogue of events has wrecked my life, lost me my job and demolished 28 years of my rehabilitation since 1987.

Here Mr. Proctor shows us the human cost of the allegations. The way crimes are investigated and the publicity that surrounds them places a heavy burden on all that are involved. Any contact with the criminal justice system, even a minor one, leaves a mark on a person. What is particularly problematic are the delays and uncertainty with the process for both a victim and an alleged perpetrator. However, the criminal justice system cannot alter the way in which society reacts to those involved in such cases. The issue is beyond what the police can control or even influence.

  1. The Police involved in “Operation Midland” are in a cleft stick of their own making. They are in a quandary. Support the “victim” however ludicrous his allegations or own up that they got it disastrously wrong but risk the charge of a cover up. What do I think should happen now?

Here Mr. Proctor continues is assertion that the allegations are ludicrous. It leaves unanswered and unasked why they should be dismissed. If they are not to be investigated surely society can ask why the police should take his word that they are without merit and therefore ludicrous. We would expect the police to investigate such claims especially if they have a credible witness who provides a consistent story and describes plausible incidents that are to be investigated. Should investigations be dropped when people find them inconvenient without gathering evidence or testing claims? How else can claims be dismissed if they are not tested?

A second concern is that if the police find that the case is without merit that they will be charged with a cover up. Mr. Proctor alleges only one possible outcome. When the police abandon an investigation, the case can be reviewed and investigated again if there is evidence to suggest it should not have been dropped. When an investigation is dropped a cover up is not always alleged or even a direct consequence. It is curious that Mr. Proctor proposes this dichotomy. His dichotomy shapes the discussion in much the same way that someone says, “My cause is just and if you oppose it you are against justice.”

Either:-

I should be arrested, charged and prosecuted for murder and these awful crimes immediately so I can start the process of ridiculing these preposterous allegations in open court

Mr. Proctor recommendation appears brave and determined yet it seems empty of meaning. At this stage, he is not a suspect. If he were a suspect, the police would have treated him as one. As it stands, he has been interviewed to test the allegations. At this stage, how can he, or anyone, be clear that an arrest is required? If the police are to do their job, they have to complete their investigation. It would appear that Mr. Proctor has made this claim for his purposes. One of which may be to put pressure on the police. Another purpose may be to prepare his own potential defence should be involved in a future trial. However, only Mr. Proctor knows why he has made this claim.

Or

“NICK” should be stripped of his anonymity and prosecuted for wasting police time and money, making the most foul of false allegations and seeking to pervert the course of justice. Those who have aided and abetted him should also be prosecuted. “NICK” should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.

What is not clear is why this has to be the other alternative. Mr. Proctor seems intent on exposing “Nick’s” identity. He also seems to be certain that all the allegations, not simply those involving himself, are without merit. He seems to have ignored the possibility that “Nick” could be mistaken about his identity or his full involvement yet certain, or certain enough, to warrant the other claims being investigated. Further, he seems certain that anyone who has helped “Nick” should be persecuted.

  1. Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald should resign from his position as Head of “Operation Midland”. He should resign or be sacked. But as the Metropolitan Police is a bureaucratic “organisation” I suggest, to save face, he is slid sideways to be placed in control of Metropolitan London parking, traffic, jay walking or crime prevention. He too should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.

Here Mr. Proctor seems to revert to the standard response when someone is dissatisfied with the state or with a bureaucracy. “Someone ought to be sacked.” His claim suggests that people are “slid sideways” if they cannot be sacked if they make a mistake or fail in their duty. However, his displeasure at Detective Superintendent McDonald seems misplaced. We cannot know if Detective Superintendent McDonald has mishandled the case until we know more about the case and the investigation continues. It would appear that the only criteria for removing Detective Superintendent McDonald is that Mr. Proctor is dissatisfied with his handling and blames him for the secondary events that have engulfed his life.

What is curious is that Mr. Proctor believes that both “Nick” and Detective Superintendent McDonald should be psychologically assessed. Again, we do not have criteria except that the claims or allegations appear unreasonable to Mr. Proctor. One could suggest that he has made these claims as a way to change the balance in the public domain. A less generous view would be to suggest that he has done this purposefully to prejudice the investigation by making it appear that either “Nick” or Detective Superintendent McDonald will skew their statements or the investigation to respond to his claims.

  1. An investigation should be launched into “Operation Midland” and its costs. Detectives’ expense claims should be analysed and a full audit carried out by independent auditors.

Here we have another standard refrain when someone is dissatisfied with a bureaucrat or a police officer. Their expenses should be checked. The implied meaning is that if it is not a waste of money, it is likely that the officers, or bureaucrats, are doing it to enrich themselves.

  1. Those Labour Members of Parliament who have misused parliamentary privilege and their special position on these matters should apologise. They have behaved disgracefully, especially attacking dead parliamentarians who cannot defend themselves and others and they should make amends. They are welcome to sue me for libel. In particular, Mr Tom Watson, M.P. should state, outside the protection of the House of Commons, the names of ex Ministers and ex M.P.s who he feels are part of the so called alleged Westminster rent boy ring.

Here some further issues need to be addressed. First, Mr. Proctor seems certain that Tom Watson brought the issue to Parliament’s, and the public’s, attention for political gain.[13] Yet, the record is clear that Mr. Watson had cross party support for his claims. Further, he never publicly named Mr. Proctor. It seems that Mr. Proctor’s view is closely related to Dominic Lawson’s claims in the Sunday Times mentioned in footnote 7. The allegations are an attack on the Thatcher and Mr. Watson and other Labour Parliamentarians, have done it for political purposes. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the inquiry and Tom Waton’s PMQ question are not about “rent-boys”. The inquiry is about a predatory paedophiles operating within Westminster with access to if not protection from senior politicians. To refer to “rent-boys” (a legal activity)[14] with a criminal activity based on an abuse of power that destroys children, seems a curious choice of phrase.

  1. Lady Goddard’s Inquiry should examine “Operation Midland’s” methods to sift genuine historical child sexual abuse from the spurious.

Here Mr. Proctor seems to confuse the remit of Lady Goddard’s Inquiry as including the power to investigate police investigations. The normal approach would be to file a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

  1. “Operation Midland” should be wound up by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who should also apologise at the earliest opportunity. On the 6thAugust 2015, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe shed crocodile tears criticising the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Wiltshire Police for naming Edward Heath as a suspect. He said it was not “fair” and his own force would not do such a thing. This is very disingenuous. When his Police officers were searching my Home and before they had left, the Press were ringing me asking for comment. I was identified. They had told “Nick” of the search who passed on the information to his press friends. The Metropolitan police have also told the press that they were investigating Heath, Brittan, and others.

Mr. Proctor seems to confuse a couple of issues. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe criticism was more a contrast with how the MPS would have handled it.[15] Second, that information about the search was leaked does not mean that it was known or sanctioned by Sir Bernard. Third, he does not explain how he knew that “Nick” had been told and how he knew that “Nick” had passed it on to others.

Sir Bernard should resign for the sin of hypocrisy. If he does not, it will not be long before he establishes “Operation Plantagenet” to determine Richard III’s involvement in the murder of the Princes in the Tower of London.

If everyone had to resign from hypocrisy there would be no one left to govern or police Britain. However, the statement does reflect Mr. Proctor’s emotional response to what he perceives to be an injustice by the MPS.

  1. Superintendent Sean Memory of Wiltshire Police should explain why he made a statement about Edward Heath in front of his former home in Salisbury and who advised him to select that venue. He should also resign.

Here we find the curious case of Edward Heath’s defence returning. Mr Proctor has explained that he hated Edward Heath. Yet, this is the third time that he has defended him and questioned the way he has been treated. What is curious is why Mr. Proctor hated him while he was alive yet wants to defend him so vigorously and so publicly when he is dead. No one else is as mentioned as frequently as Mr. Heath despite Mr. Proctor claiming he hated him. Only “Nick” is mentioned more frequently.”

  1. Leon Brittan was driven to his death by police action. They already knew for 6 months before his death, on the advice of the DPP, that he would not face prosecution for the alleged rape of a young woman. But they did not tell him. They just hoped he would die without having to tell him. The Superintendent in charge of his investigation should resign.

Here Mr. Proctor makes a bold claim concerning Mr Brittan. We have been told that Mr. Brittan died from cancer, which he had been battling for years. How Mr. Proctor knows that he was “driven to his death” is unclear. Especially as Mr. Proctor said, he was not in the Establishment and did not mix with Mr. Brittan socially or politically.

  1. The Police should stop referring automatically to people who make statements of alleged Historic child sexual abuse as “victims”. They should refer to them as “complainants” from the French “to lament” which would be more appropriate. Parliament should pass laws to better balance the right to anonymity of “victims” and the “accused”. Parliament should reinstate in law the English tradition of “innocence before being found guilty” which has been trashed in recent months by certain sections of the Police, the DPP, MPs, Magistrates and the Courts themselves.

Curiously, no one has said he was guilty or that he had been charged. The issue is not what the police are doing. Instead, it is the way society, in particular the media, deal with these issues. With social media the public domain has changed irrevocably. Institutions, and individuals, find it difficult to protect and contain information especially information that has a high public interest.

  1. I have not just come here with a complaint. I have come with the intention of showing my face in public as an innocent man. I have come to raise my voice as an aggrieved subject now deeply concerned about the administration of Justice. What has become increasingly clear about Police investigations into historical child sexual abuse is that it has been bungled in years gone by and is being bungled again NOW. The moment has come to ask ourselves if the Police are up to the task of investigating the apparent complexities of such an enquiry ? These allegations merit the most detailed and intellectually rigorous application.

Aside from doing it better, Mr. Proctor does not offer a way to improve the investigation process. He only knows that it does not work as it has involved him. Moreover, he is certain that it is bungled now because it has asked him questions. We have to remember that he has only been interviewed, once at his own request, which does not suggest the investigation is flawed nor does it suggest that it could be improved by his suggested approach that he be arrested.

  1. What is clear from the last few years of police activity driven by the media, fearful of the power of the internet and the odd M.P. here and there is that the overhaul of the Police service up and down the country is now urgently required. We need “Super cops” who have been University educated and drawn from the professions. Such people could be of semi retirement status with a background in the supervision of complex, criminal investigations. These people could be drawn from the law, accountancy and insolvency practices. Former Justices of the Peace could chair some of these investigations. Adequate incentives should be provided to recruit them.

Mr. Proctor’s claim that the Police have only recently begun to fear the press seems to overlook the whole point of Leveson. The insidious relationship between the police and the media started long before the Internet. Social media has revealed it. It has made explicit what was only implicit. However, what has not changed and the press have not influenced are the fundamentals of a police investigations. The basic approach will always require claims to be investigated and people to be questioned to determine the validity and truth of such claims.

As for his claims about reorganising the police and creating “super cops”, they appear to reflect someone who is simply out of touch with current police reforms or the government’s approach to policing.[16]

  1. I speak for myself and, as a former Tory M.P. with an impeccable record in defending the Police, I have now come to believe that that blind trust in them was totally misplaced. What has happened to me could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.

Mr. Proctor’s statement seems almost innocent in its earnestness. “It could happen to you”. Where has Mr. Proctor been for the past 30 years? It seems as if he has been living in an isolated world where there is never a concern with an abuse of authority or the way the police, and the government, conduct themselves. If he police were doing such a good job and the public had confidence in their work, then the government would not need to have a radical packages of reforms with *integrity* as a key concern?

  1. In summary, the paranoid Police have pursued an homosexual witch hunt on this issue egged on by a motley crew of certain sections of the media and press and a number of Labour Members of Parliament and a ragbag of internet fantasists.

The concern with a homosexual witch hunt seems to refer to a historical era that is now closed. It is rapidly becoming a memory rather than a reality. The police are uninterested in his sexuality as they are interested in the allegations of child sexual abuse and murder.

There are questions to ask about what kind of Police Force do we have in Britain today. How can it be right for the Police to act in  consort with the press with routine  tip offs of House raids, impending arrests and the like.

Mr. Proctor apparently has never heard of Rupert Murdoch or the way that the News International, or even all of Fleet Street, does their work. He seems unaware of the Leveson Inquiry as well since that as the topic it covered.

Anonymity is given to anyone prepared to make untruthful accusations of child sexual abuse whilst the alleged accused are routinely fingered publicly without any credible evidence first being found. This is not justice. It is an abuse of power and authority.

Here we find a curious parallel. Child sexual abuse is an abuse of power. Mr. Proctor is claiming an abuse of power. He claims he is a victim and is being victimised by “alleged” victims. Why he believes an investigation is an abuse of power is not clear. More to the point, given that he requested one of the police interviews, it seems strange that he would categorize a heretofore-voluntary process as “an abuse of power.” He has not been arrested; he has not been detained. Yet, the investigation of allegations is an abuse of power.

  1. In conclusion, I wish to thank my Solicitors Mr Raza Sakhi and Mr Nabeel Gatrad and my family and friends for their support without which I would not have been able to survive this onslaught on my character and on my life.

Mr. Proctor closes with a heartfelt statement about the effect the investigation has had on him and his family.

I am prepared to take questions.

END

===

Issues to consider from the statement

Several issues emerge from this statement that need to be considered.

First, Mr. Proctor has offered no tangible evidence, except for his assertions, that disprove or undermine the allegations. He contests them, which is his right, and he asserts his innocence.

Second, he seems intent on speeding up the investigation and forcing it to a decision point. One might expect an innocent person, especially one who believes in law and order, to have faith in the judicial system to work its course and deliver the right outcome. Further, we would expect someone with previous experience of the criminal justice system to know that the process takes time.

Third, the statement is a long way of saying “I am innocent of all these charges.” Mr. Proctor has made a special effort to bring the allegations into the public domain and the names of the other people with whom the police have an interest. Although he does refer to why he has done this, it seems insufficient to explain the possible effect this will have on the public domain and the way it may influence the rest of the police investigation as well as any future court case should one emerge.

Fourth, Mr. Proctor has made an effort to personalize the issue and focus on the character of the police and the anonymous witness. He has attacked their integrity and suggested that they may be corrupt in that the expenses may be manipulated. Most importantly, he has asked that both the anonymous witness and the lead officer have their mental capacity checked. For an innocent man, he seem intent on taking issue with the police and the process and making his views as public as possible with the widest impact. He has explained this by the effect it has had on his character and his life. However, he has not addressed whether there are any other motives to his decisions.

Fifth, Mr. Proctor’s statement contains a number of points that require further investigation by the police. He has referred to possible points of intersection and further lines of enquiry.

How does this affect the public debate?

Mr. Proctor’s statements raise the troubling spectre of Lord McAlpine. He was wrongly accused of being a paedophile on Twitter. We have to be careful not to assume Mr Proctor’s guilt. He has been questioned because an alleged victim named him. His case raises the increasing threat of trial by social media. What underpins this threat is the unresolved problem of the relationship between the police and the media.

A second issue to consider is whether Mr. Proctor’s strategy will be one that others will emulate. Many individuals face trial by public opinion. They will issue public statements to defend when they are brought into public view in these circumstances. What is unusual is his focus. He has described the police lines of enquiry, which is unusual. He has attacked the integrity of: the officers, the witness, and the investigation. In such a strategy, there is an implicit, if not explicit, attempt to influence, if not direct, public opinion and the public mind on the matter. By contrast, one only need to note the success by which Rebekah Brooks managed the public domain through short speeches. She relied on the court to protect her from questions. If anyone had questioned her too closely, they risked prejudicing the then pending trial. Mr. Proctor has not been charged and a trial is not looming, the same concern exists. In this way, we see that the freedom of speech or even the freedom of press is less expansive than we imagine. Moreover, it also shows the gap between those who are able to command the media’s attention, and by extension, the public’s attention and those who are at the mercy of the the media’s attention.

Whatever the outcome of the investigation and any subsequent trial, if one occurs, Mr. Proctor has been given an ample opportunity to declare his innocence.

 

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11832548/Harvey-Proctor-child-sex-ring-claims-I-cant-live-in-Britain-any-more.html

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10915195/Rolf-Harris-guilty-of-child-sex-abuse.html

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/apr/28/max-clifford-lured-victims-promises-stardom

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/20/1400-suspects-operation-hydrant-politician-and-celebrity-child-sex-abuse-inquiry

[5] http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/jimmy-savile-peter-jaconelli-dangers-misguided-loyalty/

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jimmy-savile-nhs-investigations

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-20522408

[8] For reasons only known to the Telegraph, its editor and proprietor, it has referred to witch hunts at each stage of the case. On the issue of mandatory reporting of child abuse was raised, the Telegraph cautioned against a “witch hunt”. See for example, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10956642/Witch-hunts-thrive-in-a-climate-of-fear.html See also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11784844/The-Edward-Heath-witch-hunt-is-the-stuff-of-Hitlers-dreams.html. and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11788936/Heath-should-not-have-been-named-as-suspect-says-Met-police-chief.html The powerful have been protected by their friends and supporters, see the defence of Leon Brittan described by David Hencke’s article on Dominic Lawson’s defence https://davidhencke.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/leon-brittan-why-lawson-is-wrong-and-there-is-a-real-case-to-answer/ Here is Lawson’s article http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/columns/dominiclawson/article1513628.ece Here is Dan Hodges’ defence http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/11365314/Leon-Brittans-accusers-must-now-show-us-their-evidence.html

[9] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/nov/27/childprotection.uk

[10] http://www.nickdavies.net/1998/04/01/the-sheer-scale-of-child-sexual-abuse-in-britain/ and http://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/nov/27/childprotection.uk

[11] See Lord Armstrong’s statement here: He added: ‘At the present stage… the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3172775/I-won-t-child-abuse-MP-Fury-Mrs-T-s-Cabinet-chief-defends-failure-act-senior-Tory.html

[12] Jerry Sandusky was eventually arrested, tried, and convicted for sexually abusing children. However, the incident in the shower did not immediately trigger his suspension or arrest. (It occurred in 2001, he was not arrested until 2011.) His status within the Penn State football programme and the standing of the Penn State football programme within the University and within the community protected him. Surely an ex-PM would garner the same if not more protection. http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/03/25/jerry-sandusky-i-was-just-fooling-around-when-caught-boy-in-shower/ For an overview of the case consider: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Sandusky

[13] Mr. Watson’s statement does not name anyone. http://labourlist.org/2012/10/tom-watsons-pmqs-question-on-powerful-paedophile-network-linked-to-parliament-and-number-10/

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_the_United_Kingdom

[15] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11788936/Heath-should-not-have-been-named-as-suspect-says-Met-police-chief.html

[16] http://www.ifsecglobal.com/home-office-commitment-to-police-reform-outlined-by-theresa-may/ and https://www.gov.uk/government/news/radical-package-of-police-reforms-announced

Posted in Uncategorized

Public inquiries and the silence of a decent interval

English: French undercover law enforcement veh...

English: French undercover law enforcement vehicle, photographed in Monaco Nederlands: Anoniem dienstvoertuig van de Franse overheid, gefotografeerd in Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Silence is the ultimate weapon of power –Charles de Gaulle

In the UK today, there are many different public inquiries under way. Some have only finished recently while others are still to report. A full list of inquiries, inquests and royal commissions are found at this link.[1] The three most high profile reviews are the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, which is looking at the police corruption and Daniel Morgan’s murder, the Goddard Inquiry, which is the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and the Pitchford Inquiry, which is the Independent Public Inquiry into Under Cover Policing.

The reviews are an important part of the UK justice system, yet they reveal the way justice is either denied or rendered nugatory. Reviews only occur after a long struggle where other methods have failed to deliver a just outcome. As the cases are already several years old, it is harder to hold individuals to account. The organisation assures the public and the inquiry that lessons have been learned and things have changed. In the end of many reviews, no one is held to account. However, the public review process has a deeper problem: the decent interval. The decent interval refers to a phrase, often ascribed to Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger that describes their endgame strategy in Vietnam. They wanted a decent interval between America’s withdrawal from South Vietnam and its defeat. In this way, South Vietnam’s eventual collapse would not appear to be America’s fault and Nixon would avoid or reduce any political criticisms for it. In terms of public inquiries, the same principle would appear to exist. The public inquiries demonstrate this in two related ways. First, a decent interval passes before the inquiry takes place. Second, the reviews take several years to complete, so the organisation can clean house. However, the Pitchford Inquiry faces the problem of the decent interval differently in three particular ways.

The decent interval and the death of due process

First, the decent interval means the normal due process is unable to deliver justice. The government and the organisation are unable to resolve the issue. The due process failure provides a decent interval. The organisation can prepare for it. As the review usually occurs after extensive legal or political struggles, the issues are already known. At the same time, the review can be scheduled at time convenient for the organisation. To be sure, this is the nature of politics. The delay and timing show the organisation power over the individual. The disparity is reinforced by the political regime. The laws and procedures encourage and sustain the disparity.[2] The Pitchford Review is about events that happened nearly 10 years ago and relate to undercover operations dating back to 1968.

If you delay something long enough, the complainant will die.

Second, the decent interval allows the review to extend to the point it is no longer viable. All organisations rely on the same bureaucratic technique. They grind down the applicant by a variety of techniques. The most widely used is delays. All complaints have a half-life. After a month, most people give up. After 3 months, 90% of the remaining group have given up. Within a year, 99% of those have given up. With an investigation, most people will give up at the first response. They try to get on with their lives. They resign themselves to the outcome and try to find something positive from the negative experience.[3] Although the idea of a complaint half-life is simply an illustration of the problem, it does occur in other areas. Consider the way the Cabinet Office delays FOIA requests with impunity.[4] In some cases, the public inquiry is needed because the delay in resolving the original issue satisfactorily. Police reviews in particular, seem to either peter out into recriminations and allegations or they simply act as a pause before the cycle of scandal and reform starts again.[5] The Daniel Morgan case exemplifies this issue. The family have suffered through five investigations, two failed trials, and a review of the investigations.[6] They have waited over 28 years and still no justice. Even though the police have admitted that corruption thwarted the investigation, neither the family nor the Crown is near the end.

The decent interval and public reviews as public entertainment

The reviews start to become a bureaucratic game that is played within the Crown for the public’s benefit. On the surface, it is almost funny. The various parties are like characters in the Thick of It or Game of Thrones. Unlike the television show, the victims and their loved ones are left without justice. Everyone congratulates themselves about the performance and the overall “satisfaction” encouraged by the politicians and the press helps to dampen and quiet the voices of those left dissatisfied. They are told they “expected too much”, this is “the best result they could obtain” given the constraints, and “there are other priorities”. When the next scandal emerges, the cycle starts again for the next family and the next victim. They are placed under surveillance as the Police and the Crown need to do reputation damage control. They will believe the victims just want money. At some point, someone has to realize that if you actually police with integrity, especially at the senior officer level, they would need less reputation damage control.

A decent interval gives you time to organize your affairs

The decent interval means the underlying policing reality remains unchanged. In part because the decent interval is a way to allow the “bad apples” to leave quietly, resign, or be transferred to other work or be fired. Once they are removed, the organisation can congratulate itself on having “cleaned up” so that it can say that it has done something. Yet, nothing really changes as the culture does not change. Operation Alice (Plebgate) revealed the practices or culture within the police.[7] The organisation has yet to confront its organisational culture. Where it does create the necessity for change, it is usually used for ulterior motives. The Daniel Morgan review and the Pitchford Review will both allow the police to remove officers and change some practices that they could not change without such necessity. However, that shows organisational culture’s weakness, as they cannot reform themselves. Alternatively, they can defer or delay the action plan the review requires. The review found X but we are going to ignore it or do Y as that is what we really want to do and it is just like X except easier for us as we have already done it.

Technology does more than most undercover officers ever could.

Third, the decent interval refers to the topic of undercover policing. Technology has reduced the need for undercover police if it has not rendered them impossible to employ[8]. If we consider how much information the police can obtain through overt means or by technologically aided observations[9], we see how little there is that cannot be done.[10] By the time the review is completed, the technology will have moved on even further.[11] With technology the police can find more about a group and its participants than most undercover officers can. As soon as the police know your name, they can find your car registration; they can track you through CCTV with facial recognition and track your telephone through GPS systems. None of these requires a warrant. They can and are done as a matter of course. They can also map your known associates through similar records to map your network in real time if necessary.

Undercover policing is a small part of a wider culture that is indifferent to citizens

If you drive on a motorway, for example, your registration details are logged and your movements, and as long as you remain on the ANPR system your whereabouts are known. If you move off the motorway system, then your phone can be tracked and traced. Even without a warrant, many online systems allow you to track and trace a person. A small amount of subterfuge could easily obtain access to those systems. The review comes at a time when undercover police are less likely to be used and if they are used, it is in a different way than what the review will consider.[12] Here the decent interval helps the police. In effect, the review is looking at knife crime even as the threat is gun crime. The review will ask the wrong questions to know what is happening now or what is planned, but will be asking the right questions for the past.

Through listening devices and remote sensors, the police can track and trace conversations.[13] They can use direct surveillance and passive surveillance to keep track of the groups that might be a public order threat.[14] At the same time, they can use informants within the groups. With the technological revolution, the police would mainly need an undercover officer in the group if they wanted to shape its behaviour directly. At that point, they stop being about policing and they start being about politics. If an undercover police officer encourages a group to act illegally, then they have stopped being a police officer and they have become a political actor. In a worst-case scenario, they have become an agent provocateur. At what point do they stop being a law enforcement body and become a secret police agency designed to disrupt, punish, and eliminate political opponents? Does such behaviour require political activists to take on counter measures that force them to appear as “extremists”? In other words, does a moderate have to become a radical simply to remain a moderate when the regime has become increasingly, albeit secretly, oppressive and repressive?[15]

The decent interval will only remind us what has not changed

The Pitchford Review will serve its purpose. In three years’ time, or whenever it reports, we will hear about the “lessons learned” and the “missed opportunities”. The Police will promise to learn lessons and ensure it does not happen again as the “rogue officers” have left the force. Even as it reports on the historical incidents, the digital surveillance capabilities make it meaningless[16]. For the government, they will have their headlines and the report becomes the official story, the official history.[17] However, the fundamental relationship between the individual and the state remains unresolved. To the extent it is resolved, the balance rests overwhelmingly with the state and individual has limited ability for oversight or control. What will remain unchanged is that the Crown will continue to use the Police to enforce order and undermine political opponents. The police’s political activity will continue. Their behaviour reminds us that the Crown rests on coercion and not consent. The method it uses betrays its illegitimacy as it can only control its political opponents by intimidation, coercion, blackmail[18] and subterfuge. It does not exist by consent and it remains in place by coercion. The decent interval will serve its purpose. The Crown and the Police remain unreformed and invulnerable to challenge and the Pitchford Inquiry will not change it.

[1] https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/webarchive/inquiries-inquests-royal-commissions.htm

[2] Consider the proposal to charge individuals to lodge an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. http://www.foi.directory/featured/goves-moj-looks-to-introduce-tribunal-fees-to-foi-process/

[3]We can see this at work with freedom of information requests. There, the public authority has 20 working days to respond from the day after the request is received. If the public authority refuses the request as vexatious on day 20, the applicant has to appeal. The appeal could take any where from 20-40 days, some organisations like the Home Office, automatically state the internal review will take 40 days. IF the review finds the exemption was incorrect, they can then provide other exemptions to the information. The process starts again and it is another 60 days before a response is made. Even then, if the public authority refuses at the internal review stage, the applicant has to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The process can stretch to 6 months or more from the time of the first request to the case getting to the ICO where there is usually a final response. The organisation could insist on its refusal, even at the ICO stage, and that would require a further hearing before the Upper Tier Tribunal. In time, it could be a year from the time of the first request before the applicant can expect a response to the first request. If the applicant were to make a subsequent request, after being refused initially as vexatious (even if the refusal is not upheld) they can be declared vexatious for having demonstrated a persistent pattern of behaviour.

[4] See Martin Rosenbaum’s experience with the Cabinet Office BBC article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents/martinrosenbaum

[5] See Tim Newburn Literature review Police integrity and corruption http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/wp-content/uploads/pic-literature-review.pdf

[6] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120229/halltext/120229h0002.htm#12022953000004

[7] http://content.met.police.uk/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Type&blobheadername2=Content-Disposition&blobheadervalue1=application%2Fpdf&blobheadervalue2=inline%3B+filename%3D%2260%2F241%2FOperation+Alice+Closing+Report.pdf%22&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1283788945794&ssbinary=true

[8] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-peter-wanless-and-richard-whittam-qc-review

[9] If we consider how easily the police were able to locate and track Michael McIntyre, it raises questions of what else they are tracking in the name of “policing priorities” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3162483/Met-Police-snooping-row-posting-aerial-picture-comedian-Michael-McIntyre-online-spotting-force-helicopter.html The behaviour wou appear to contravene the surveillance code of practice. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/204775/Surveillance_Camera_Code_of_Practice_WEB.pdf

[10] The police, using FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) which does not require a warrant or RIPA to use, was able to identify a flat that was “glowing” with heat that suggested it was growing drugs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQpM_JCajIQ   To be sure people can take counter measures, yet they are already on the defensive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sudf5xDIhmMHe See also operation. http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Illegal-immigrant-sent-jail-cannabis-farm-property/story-12058000-detail/story.html

[11] We only need to consider that the technology to see through walls, without worrying about heat signatures already exists and is in use. The UK police are already receiving advertisements for drones with the capacity to see through walls. See for example http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/01/19/police-radar-see-through-walls/22007615/

https://www.policeoracle.com/news/Police+IT+and+Technology/2014/Feb/12/The-UAV-that-can-see-through-walls-_78467.html/technology

http://www.policeoracle.com/product-insight/downloads/ppi12.pdf

The Metropolitan Police Service and the government are funding research in to this technology. https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/research/ref/uoa15-threat-detection-case-study/

[12] The terms of reference do not look at the current use or the future planned use of under cover police. The review will provide recommendations on how undercover policing should be used, but that is not the same as looking at its current and future use as well as its capabilities. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-announces-terms-of-reference-for-undercover-policing-inquiry

[13] Listening devices have become smaller and everyday objects are now designed with listening devices inside. http://www.spyemporium.com/hidden-audio-recorders-page-2.html Even the need for physical surveillance is reduced so that even if groups wanted to be secure, as this article suggests, http://325.nostate.net/library/security-countersurveillance.pdf, their efforts have to be so intense, consistent, and persistent, that only very few could sustain it.

[14] What is left unresolved is who determines when a political group becomes a public order threat. Is this a political decision or a police decision? Is the criteria mainly guided by the threat or use of force? Or is it guided by other factors that might undermine the regime? For example, a professor who teaches that republics are good and monarchies are bad might be consider a threat to the regime. Would they be targeted as a possible public order threat? The issue is not idle nor is it speculative. We have to remember that Socrates was killed as he threatened the Athenian regime and many of his students or followers were tyrants, became tyrants, or otherwise presented additional threats to the regime in a more immediate way than Socrates.

[15] Consider this publicly available manual for counter surveillance systems, techniques, and practices. http://325.nostate.net/library/security-countersurveillance.pdf

[16] As mentioned above, the technological ability to put individuals under surveillance, without the need for judicial or legal oversight expands. Consider the current research on t-wave or millimetre wave imagining. http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/9432/1/Through-The-Wall_Detection_Using_Ultra_Wide_Band_FMICW_Signals.pdf?DDD10+

[17] We need to recall the power of the official story is that it is broadcast widely and shapes the public opinion about the topic. The Hillsborough tragedy is the paradigm of the flawed “official story”. The police and press colluded to lie about the event and spent the next 30 years fighting vociferously to resist any attempt to question, challenge, or change the official story. The shameful, dishonourable, and immoral behaviour by the press, police, and politicians is the required context for the Pitchford review as it captures the political and organisational ethos that informs the decision to create the undercover unit.

[18] The term blackmail is not used lightly. The former chief whip admitted to blackmail as the work they did to extract MPs from difficulty, such as a scandal involving “little boys” would be used later when they wanted to control the person for life. The control would exist not just for the term in office, it exists for life.

“Michael Cockrell’s ‘Westminster’s Secret Service’ featured an interview with Tim Fortescue who was a senior Whip, in the Heath administration 1971-1973 – and so almost a decade before the period of greatest relevance to our review. He was prepared to say in an interview broadcast on national television:

“For anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, I’m in a jam, can you help? It might be debt, it might be… a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal in which, erm er, a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help and if we could, we did. And we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points… and if I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more.” [Emphasis added]

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-peter-wanless-and-richard-whittam-qc-review (Paragraph 10)

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