Jeffrey Donaldson’s new car

Following on from my last blog on this, I have test driven the new model, that Jeffrey recommends.

This is the one that the populace are asked to buy,  by way of a “consultation”.

The draft Bill  is 68 clauses long, and it has 19 schedules. It runs to 120 pages. The section on the HIU has 38 clauses and 16 schedules.

Jeffrey,  is the DUP’s spokesman on victims’ issues, so we might assume that he knows what he is talking about.

Lets look at some of the things he has said in Parliament about the establishment of the HIU.

“At present, in fairness to the victims and families who have waited a long time, the proposal is that the historical investigations unit would pick up where the historical inquiries team left off in chronological order. It would be wrong to go back to the beginning and start again, leaving the people who have already waited many years having to wait even longer.”

What does the draft legislation say? Clause 8; deaths must be investigated in chronological order [unless there are exceptional circumstances] . So nul points for that statement.

“It is important that the Government now proceed with the Stormont House agreement and get on with publishing the draft legislation to give innocent victims and others the opportunity to comment on the proposals, so that at last we can begin the process of implementing what has been agreed and the focus will no longer be solely on what the state did.”

This is a consultation, not an opportunity to comment on proposals. Here is a brief summary of what that means:

(1) consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage (2) the proposer must give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit of intelligent consideration and response, and (3) adequate time must be given for consideration and response and (4) that the product of consultation must be conscientiously taken into account in finalising any statutory proposals.

So its not just as simple as Jeffrey would like it to be. What if citizens reject the proposal? Jeffrey asserts that it has been agreed. So is this consultation a sham and a waste of time?

“We endorse the institutions proposed under the agreement, including a new historical investigations unit that would have full police powers, and would take over the work of the PSNI’s legacy investigation branch and the responsibility for reinvestigating the unsolved murders linked to the troubles in Northern Ireland.”

“Two years ago, we reached an agreement in Stormont about the legacy issues and several new institutions were proposed, including an historical investigations unit that would have full police powers to revisit the unsolved murders. The main impact of the establishment of that unit would be that the murders committed by the terrorists would finally be subjected to proper scrutiny and reinvestigation, and the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice.”

It’s important to couple these statements, representing a bright shining JeffreyLand and compare them against reality. Here is what the Bill proposes:

Not all troubles related deaths are to be investigated. A time frame has been specified.

Only those which are currently on the books of the PSNI or the PONI will be considered. So if you relative’s case is not with either of these bodies, generally speaking you will not qualify.

Each of these bodies must certify to the HIU that the death requires further investigation. Many will not be so certified and will therefore not be investigated.

HIU is only  to investigate any of these deaths it takes on  if there is “new evidence”

This means evidence that PSNI/RUC or PONI or HIU  did not know of or knew of but was not aware of the relationship between the evidence and the death.

But. The new evidence is to be assessed for credibility and the evidence is to be taken into account with all other relevant information.

So if the HIU thinks the evidence is weak or it is leaned upon by the Spooks , you case will also fall by the wayside.

The Shawcross test is certainly present in Clause 7, where the HIU must not do anything which might prejudice the national security interests of the UK, put at risk the life or safety of any person. This is the get-out to protect informers, who were present or participated in many of the murders.

The suggested presence of informers is a feature of many troubles murders. Some also may involve participating informants. To date these cases have not been solved because of the State’s activity in hiding these persons. The State will continue to hide them.

There seems to be no mechanism for a relative or interested person to make a fresh complaint to the HIU.

The HIU is forbidden from duplicating work. So the HIU could read the papers from the PSNI or the PONI, decide that it will not duplicate the work, that there is no new evidence and bin the case.

Let’s assume that the HIU considers that maybe there is an agent or informer or some State actor. It has no access to the Spooks’ warehouses. It has to ask for information. If you don’t know what the Spooks have got then it’s hard to ask for it. On the other hand the Spooks are under no obligation to hand over information, no matter how relevant it might be.

This could have been [partially] resolved by giving HIU unlimited access to the warehouses. How likely is that?

Worse, the Secretary of State  and the Department of Justice  can both make regulations limiting the use of secrets.

As a general weapon, the HIU director can bin cases under clause 9 if he feels that they will hinder the completion of his task in five years.

So, how more effective will the HIU be, compared to PSNI/LIB or PONI?

The answer is , not a lot. The Bill is State sponsored sleight of hand. All the faults of the HET , the LIB and the PONI HID are present here. Worse, the State has tightened up the control of State secrets, so informers and agents are better protected than ever. How many cases will be investigated? Nobody knows  but it certainly will not be Jeffrey’s assertion that:

“the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice.”

If I were guessing the number would be in the hundreds, not thousands.

Jeffrey, as the DUP victims’ expert,   is knowingly  selling the same old model of car [HET/LIB/HID] , with a new paint job, a radio and go-faster stripes. It still handles badly, takes ages to get anywhere and lets you down at the vital moment.

Don’t buy it!

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Would you buy a used car from Jeffrey Donaldson?

In the sixties , cars were pretty basic. The standard model had no radio, no heater and no carpets. For those you had to buy the “de luxe” model.

Neither were there many improvements or innovations.

So, in order to sell more models , the company would advertise the “new 1967 model” , which would just be like the 1966 model , except that it would have a different paint job, a new grille and go-faster stripes.

The Historical Enquiries Team was dreamt up by the Brits to make the citizen think that the State was somehow interested in solving the murders of their loved ones. It was a sop, which Sinn Fein IRA were happy  to go along with because they had been assured that it would also be a flop. Its modus operandi was to obtain the box containing the investigation file and associated items, dump them onto a desk, read them and put them back in the box. They then used a boiler plate template to produce a “report”. Those of us who objected to this charade were given the privilege of a “focussed report” where the team got off its ass and interviewed a few superannuated RUC men , who could remember nothing.

It was the basic model of investigation.

But now, a new model is in the showroom. The “de Luxe HIU”.

It has those go faster stripes, paint job and grille. But no heater or radio.

And its being sold by this man, your friendly knight of the showroom, Jeffrey Donaldson.

Jeffrey Donaldson

Here’s what he had to say about the HIU and all its works at a Westminster hall debate on 10 January 2017.

 

“Two years ago, we reached an agreement in Stormont about the legacy issues and several new institutions were proposed, including an historical investigations unit that would have full police powers to revisit the unsolved murders. The main impact of the establishment of that unit would be that the murders committed by the terrorists would finally be subjected to proper scrutiny and reinvestigation, and the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice. I accept the point that the hon. Member for South Antrim made about getting evidence for cases from so long ago.

The Stormont House agreement is there. There is currently an impasse between Sinn Féin and the Government on national security. Sinn Féin are demanding that this Government fully disclose in the public domain everything that happened, which would mean that if the Special Air Service had carried out an operation in Loughgall and shot members of the Provisional IRA who were exploding a bomb outside a police station, all that the SAS did—all the rationale, all its modus operandi and all the military planning that went into that operation—would be out in the public domain. How could we ever counter terrorism again if we put in the public domain the very methods that we use to detect what is happening and safeguard life? It is a nonsense that a former terrorist organisation should have the right to demand that a lawful Government put that information in the public domain.

The Government must hold the line on national security; further, they should act now. They need to proceed with the Stormont House agreement.”

Like most car salesmen, Dear Reader , this one is prone to exaggeration and not to be trusted.

His sales patter is a farrago of lies.

What are they?

In the next episode I will kick the tyres, open the bonnet and take Jeffrey’s de luxe model for a spin. Let’s see how it handles, compared to the old model, shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trouble with god

It is indoors, the immediate scene is dark but in the background there are two spot lights.

A grey haired man is on his knees, his head down. His face is obscured. Two old men, both still wearing overcoats , despite the heat, are arched over him. They have their hands on his shoulders.

The viewer is immediately alarmed. Who are these men, why is one on his knees? What has he done? In the background is a large , heavy man, watching proceedings. Is he a godfather of crime? Are these old men his lieutenants?

Behind the fat man, a fit young man looks on. Is he a minder?

Does someone have a gun?

The man in the big overcoat speaks. His diction is ponderous, like a godfather. Is he going to tell us of the grey haired man’s crime?

No. In a voice heavy with care, he invokes the holy spirit. [for non christians, this is part of the three part god that they believe in, see shamrock for an explanation] and asks that it influence , inter alia, the interviewer.

The grey haired man leaps to his feet. He either takes something from his mouth or wipes it. He is not to be executed.

All becomes clear.This is not a Cosa Nostra punishment hearing.

It’s the Nolan Show!

So began one of the most significant  political interviews in recent times. Essentially the interviewee said that everything he was going to say was  true because his god had okayed it.

Leaving aside the question as to whether or not the BBC should have pemitted such a display [perhaps the management thought it would make good tv] the viewer was invited by the interviewee, to go along with the evidence, because it had been sanctioned by god.

I’ve watched as , over twenty years, the NIO and now the Executive try to tell the people what a great wee country we live in.

The truth is that it is inhabited by a elite ,  a big house class that by and large escaped the troubles and continue to exert huge, unseen influence. Look at the brief clip of Arlene and Bell being spoken to by David Smyth and his wife. David is a retired judge and in the past a failed Unionist candidate. His wife is the daughter of  Colonel Hall Thompson. They haven’t gone away , you know.Below them is the political class, more of that in a moment. Then there is the largely supine and stultified middle class, who are pandered to over education and health care. As long as they can get to Ravenhill on a Friday night and their wives can shop on the Lisburn Road, they are happy.Next is the elite non -working class. They are the recipients of grants, money from community initiatives, and other state sources. This is improved by hacking Sky TV for a small fee , buying stuff at the illegal Crumlin Road market, jointly controlled by the UDA and PIRA and  fiddling the electricity meter.

There is another class. Honest decent people who are aghast at what is happening. They don’t count because of the political class. It has learned that HMG will put up with anything rather than a return to bombs in GB. Accordingly the political class extracts money and concessions from HMG at will. Cameron came and was outraged, as a good Tory Boy, at the attitude of this class. He is gone and May will be more pragmatic. This class , with their bloated expenses, their SpAds , and their misguided belief in their own abilities [fostered by HMG] considers that hardship is for the little people. The big money is for their supporters, in farming and  business.

But where is god in all of this?

Almost every DUP politician likes to tell us about their christian faith. Wee Jeffrey likes to tells us of it while trying to sell arms to a muslim regime that fails to protect Copts.

It’s OK to get  divorced, like Emma Aardvark Little Pengelly, despite biblical teaching, but don’t try the same trick with same sex marriage.

Arlene, in recent days has been filmed at church and at a nativity play [for non-believers this is a story about how a god impregnated a virgin]

The sad fact is that there are still sufficient people who have an imaginary friend that ensures  the DUP or/or  Bell will get away with this mumbo jumbo, which keeps poor people in their place.

So , who is god backing in this one?

I tried to get him to speak to me but without success.

St Peter referred me to Paul Tweed.

Jim Shannon and the wheel of death

DUP MP Jim Shannon represents a constituency with more than its fair share of victims of SF/IRA violence. His party paid scant attention to them in their recent election manifestos.

Fifty million pounds is going to be spent by the DUP along with their terrorist buddies in trying to pay off paramilitaries that should have gone years ago. That is on top of a similar amount spent over the last five years on victims’ organisations, like those associated with that bigot Willie Frazer.

I have lobbied Foster, Donaldson and Mrs Dodds in the past about the plight of victims and their legitimate expectations. All to no avail.

But Jim has a pressing issue. Funfairs. Yes, funfairs and amusement parks. He is concerned about their safety. Why has Jim such an interest?

Is Ards the funfair capital of Europe?

Was he once a clown in an amusement park?

Was he  once ejected from the wheel of death, on to his head? That’s possible I suppose.

Does he propose a DUP motion to ban funfairs because people are having too much fun?

He has learned that in 2014/2015, 489 members of the public reported injuries from these fun palaces. Soon the figures will rise and outstrip the 3,000 plus dead from the Troubles.

Jim believes that I should be shocked.

I am.

How did the people of Strangford get such a nitwit?

Wee Jeffrey and the arabs

Jeffrey Donaldson was appointed Her Majesty’s Trade envoy to Egypt in November 2015. According to the press reports at the time he was gushing about the opportunities for NI trade. He said ” I have already been in touch with Invest NI about taking a NI trade delegation to Egypt next year.”

Invest NI tell me that they have had no contact with the Egyptian authorities nor do they have any plans for a trade mission to Egypt.

Egypt is a country with dubious attitudes to FGM , homosexuality and other human rights

Subsequently, Cameron gave wee Jeff a knighthood  as well, probably for , as chief whip of the DUP, delivering the party to the Tories when it mattered.

The DUP general election manifesto had assured the faithful that the DUP would not align itself with any Westminster party.

It is said that the people get the politicians they deserve.

It is certainly true in Jeffrey’s case.

 

 

 

 

 

The Docklands bomb

On 9th February 1996 Slab Murphy’s South Armagh IRA gang bombed the Docklands. The bomb consisted of a fertiliser mix , accelerated by Semtex, supplied by Libya.

Readers of this blog will know of the history of British involvement with Gadafy and the current Parliamentary inquiries.

Victims and survivors of Semtex bombs still await reparation from Libya. Over 150 took legal action in April 2006 and were blocked by the unholy alliance of Bush,  Blair and Gadafy. Over 1,000 others have a moral claim to reparation.

The big issue is ‘from whence will the money come?’

The British Government says that we must await a stable Libyan government. There has been chaos in Libya since 2011. Given that there are currently three rival governments, stability seems a long way off.

Frozen in UK bank accounts is £9.4 billion , most of it the property of Gadafy, his family and  his henchmen. This would provide reparation  to thousands of victims all over the United Kingdom but presently, the government will not legislate to release it.

A campaign has been under way since the middle of 2015 to secure release.

McCue and Co , solicitors in London, have led this campaign and they and a number of other people have given evidence in support , to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. Further activity is planned for 2016.

Imagine my shock  to find that Diane Dodds MEP, told the European Parliament; “we must see a relative and sustainable peace in Libya in order to further our goal of negotiating a fair financial settlement for those innocent victims”. So the DUP’s MEP agrees with the British Government.

In fact in January 2016, and under her watch, the EU renewed its legislation for the freezing of funds and neither she nor any other unionist politician seemed to notice.

Jeffrey Donaldson is DUP Chief Whip. In the DUP 2015 election manifesto, the DUP  said ” the DUP is not beholden to any national party”. At that point they were in a fever of expectation that they would hold the balance of power. In November 2015 David Cameron appointed Donaldson Britain’s Trade Envoy to Egypt. Jeffrey gushed in the press about his appointment.

In  correspondence with me about Diane Dodds’ statement, where he was abusive and ill tempered, he said that he was elected to represent “ALL innocent victims”. So I thought that I would take a look at both the DUP’s 2015 election manifesto and its grandly entitled “Northern Ireland Plan”. Neither document mentions the securing of compensation or reparations for victims. If he were so elected, it seems to have happened by osmosis.

Jeffrey then referred to me as one of ‘the select few’. I’m not easily offended and I’m a big boy, well bigger that Jeffrey anyway; but I wonder if that is his view of victims and survivors generally, when they take legal action against a dictator?

Stung at my criticism of Diane,  the Egyptian Trade Envoy said;”I will be asking your legal team to reflect on the damage such unwarranted exchanges does [sic] to our combined efforts” An interesting idea. I wonder how often he approaches other lawyers about their clients? Perhaps it’s a DUP thing to try to intimidate victims and survivors. Any views, Arlene?

The fact is that neither he nor any other unionist has made a scrap of difference to the campaign for reparations for me or for the people hideously maimed.

Meanwhile , let’s think about someone more important.  Zaoui Berezag. He was injured in the Docklands bomb. In September 2015 his wife said “My Zaoui is blind , paralysed, brain damaged and has no leg’. He is very disabled and now he is in nappies.” Many other survivors of Libyan Semtex bombs are similarly afflicted.

James McArdle was convicted of conspiracy to cause the Docklands bombing and in June 1998 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

On 25 July 2000 the Queen granted McArdle  the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and he was released.

Zaoui remains imprisoned by his injuries and in dire financial straits.

Meanwhile Jeffrey , Her Britannic Majesty’s Trade Envoy, is spending this week in Egypt, where President Sisi has killed 2,500 political opponents and represses gays.