The duplicitous Foreign Office

On 16th September 2015, Tobias Ellwood , on behalf of the Foreign Office, gave this evidence to the Northern Ireland affairs Committee.

Q133 “if there is some assistance that I can provide for when there is a Libyan government to deal with”

Q134 “until there is a government in Libya for us to work with , we cannot pursue any of those aspects”

This same canard, that there is nobody at the helm in Libya is repeated ad nauseam by Cameron and other Tory ministers.

Unfortunately at least one member of the Committee believes this to be the state of affairs in Libya. This all in response to the question as to why compensation for terrorism has not been paid by Libya.

Let’s see what the FCO has been telling other Commons Committees.

“The UK’s [sic] provides significant political , security and economic support to a nascent democratic Libya on a cross- Whitehall basis, driven by the National Security Council (NSC) Strategy for Libya.”

“Total UK humanitarian support to the Libya Crisis was £17.2 million”

This does not take account of the £212 million spent by the UK on Operation Ellamay, the bombing of our former friend Gadafy.

Readers may recall that Libyan troops were being trained at Bassingbourn. A number committed crimes on the local populace and the contract was cancelled. Here is what the FCO said about the lost costs.

“Through the Libyan  Embassy in London we continue with efforts to secure reimbursement from the Libyan Government.”

WHAT! There is a Libyan Government after all?

It gets worse Dear Reader.

“UK ministers continue to speak to and meet their Libyan counterparts  and HMG is recognised by Libyan political , military and militia leadership as a trusted interlocutor.”  [Let’s just leave aside the chronology of the number of times HMG has changed sides in Libya recently]

“Since 2011 there has continued to be sustained and high level Ministerial engagement on Libya. The Foreign Secretary most recently met with the Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi on 21 August 2015.”

Then , interestingly, this passage.

“We also want to see a just solution for all the victims of Qadhafi-sponsored terrorism. HMG considers compensation claims by the victims to be private matters, best pursued directly with the Libyan Government.”

Now somewhat contradicted , you might think by Ellwood’s undertakings to the committee.

The bottom line is this. There is a Libyan Government, HMG and the FCO talk to it regularly. There is a Libyan Embassy in London. All that is missing is a willingness by HMG to act.

They acted for WPC Fletcher and the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. They are chasing up a debt with the Libyan Embassy.

Why do the victims of Libyan Semtex, supplied  to  PIRA not count? Has it something to do with  PIRA?

Paul Tweed and the Klondike Cases

Yesterday, Paul Tweed, solicitor, appeared before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, representing Michael Gallagher and others who were the victims of the Omagh bombing.

In his written submission he took the unusual step of expressing his personal views. Lawyers , by convention, leave their personal views at the door of the court.  Mr Tweed said that it was his personal view that it was morally and possibly legally wrong that a limited number of victims should be entitled to receive exemplary compensation “in total disregard for the sacrifice and entitlement of other victims”. I deal with the stupidity of this remark below.

In his oral evidence, under the protection  of privilege , he described such payments as “Klondike” and “football pools” awards.

Let’s stop and have a think about Mr Tweed’s expressed personal views on the matter.

He describes himself on LinkedIn as “an international media lawyer” in fact one of the “world’s highest profile media lawyers”. He lists the A-list Hollywood stars that are his clients.

He majors in defamation cases for them. [For non-lawyers, that is when someone hurts your feelings]

He secured for Barney Eastwood , a very rich man, an award from a Belfast jury of £450,000.

Recently he represented Louis Walsh, some sort of impresario, I believe, and got him an award of 500,000 Euros.

I wonder how Mr Tweed’s personal moral compass was set for those awards? Neither has been killed, shot, bombed, maimed or suffered PTSD.

Well, Dear Reader, some facts.

  1. Mr Tweed does not represent me or over a hundred other Claimants who took formal legal action in the American courts in April 2006.
  2. He has no idea what my pain suffering or loss is or more importantly the more serious suffering of others. Take Zaoui Berezag, left blind, paralysed and brain damaged after the 1996 Docklands bomb. I wonder if he is a Tweed Klondike Case?
  3. Mr Tweed spoke of a select group of victims getting all the attention. He failed to mention or perhaps he is ignorant of the attempts by Jason McCue and others , since April 2011 to secure an additional wider fund for other victims of Gadafy’s supply of Semtex.
  4. The fact that Mr Tweed was not even aware of this Parliamentary enquiry until recently speaks volumes about his attention to it. But when the A-lister calls….

Paul Tweed’s remarks do not wound me in the way that some rich sensitive client of his might be hurt. He has a greater opinion of himself than I do of him. The likelihood is , though , that someone far worse off than me will be distressed by his insensitive remarks.

I wonder would he seize an opportunity to retract them? Or make them again without the protection of Parliamentary privilege?

Villiers’ rubber stamp

So the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland wants an assessment of paramilitary activity.

Where to turn?

To MI5/PSNI of course, silly girl.

But no. Let’s have three Wise Persons. They will compile a report and all will be happy.

So.

MI5/PSNI compile a report.

It is given to the Wise Persons, only one of whom has any experience of terrorism, crime or naughty people.

They read it, meet the authors, probe the authors, ask them for a bit more info and declare themselves happy.

Et voila! The report of the experts, the PSNI/MI5 is deemed good and accepted lock , stock and [missing]barrels.

Not a mention of Semtex.

Am I mad?

Answers on a postcard…

QUB Human Rights Centre

For as long as I have been a lawyer, QUB lawyers have displayed bias against the unionist and Protestant community.

No surprise then that Brice Dickson and Luke Moffett’s submission to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee urges them not to allow me to have access to the compensation I have sought for twenty five years , without any assistance from them. Read paragraph 14 of their submission.

Is it any wonder that people like Dickson are despised by loyalists?

In thirty years at the Bar I displayed more respect for human rights than Dickson and his sidekick could ever command.

Unsurprisingly , nobody from this taxpayer funded ‘centre’ ever contacted me to discuss the issues.

Libya, Semtex , PIRA and the duplicitous British Government

The regular readers of my blog will know that I have a personal interest in the craven behaviour of the British Government in relation to compensation for the PIRA use of Semtex.

There will be more of this in the coming weeks because the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has promised to conduct an investigation into why every other nationality received compensation except holders of a United Kingdom passport.

It might interest readers, in the meantime, to ponder this statement.

On 11th September 2008, Gordon Brown [surely the worst prime minister since Spencer Perceval] said, in a letter to my lawyers; “Libya has answered questions about its involvement with the IRA to the satisfaction of the UK government”.

So there you have it. Libya supplied tons of arms, ammunition and explosives to the IRA. Hundreds of people were killed but the UK Government is satisfied.

Of course, at this point Blair had done his deals and UK firms were flocking to Libya. So much for the Paddies…..

Human rights in the summer

There is a cartoon of a young lawyer , being interviewed by three American heavyweight partners.

“We practise law for the money, Gene, if you can think of a better reason, let us know”, says the chairman.

It may well be the purest of motives but, having heard little about access to justice from the profession these last six weeks, I wondered how citizens were coping.

Were they able to plead that the fat cats were in their second homes [Banus, Portugal, Donegal or the Port] and would be back soon?

It strikes me, as a retired Non-Human-Rights-Lawyer, that the access to justice argument only surfaces in times of Legal National Emergency. That is to say , a further reduction in fees.

Perhaps I’m unduly sceptical. Well, let me quote from an article written by Professor Kieran McEvoy in 2011.

“Internment suspects were entitled to be represented by a solicitor and counsel of choice… the remuneration was quite substantial for the time – a joint fee of £250-£300 for solicitor and counsel.Although groups of lawyers periodically threatened to withdraw their services, in practice the Northern Irish legal profession cooperated in the system of hearings…It is hard to quibble with the conclusion of Boyle et al [in 1975]  that the legal profession’s decision to continue to provide legal services was in part due to the lawyers’ genuine desire to assist their clients and …also in part due to the very substantial remuneration which had been provided.”

As clients on the Shankill and Falls often observe about lawyers: ‘plus ca change’.

Derry INLA parade, an update

Detectives from the Serious Crime Branch have taken time out from investigating murders to review video evidence form the O’Hara funeral.

Looking at footage from a Landrover some thirty metres away , Sgt Andrew Windsor said “The guy in the third row , right, looks like someone I arrested five years ago. It’s his belly I recognise”

Constable Nelson Wellington said “many of these people appear to have a leg deformity, preventing them from marching properly. I shall be reviewing the DLA records in Londonderry to see if they have claimed.”

Meanwhile, in an astonishing development, it was revealed that a PSNI drone had been deployed at the march to look for tattoos. It captured twenty two tattoos [ not easy to say] and police are visiting parlours to see if tattooists can identify anyone who has had “FUCK THE PSNI” tattooed recently.

In another twist , Chief Inspector William Boyne said that a female marcher was wearing a size 22 white blouse and that he was confident that he could pin point this person as having bought it in Primark.

Asked if arrests were expected soon the Divisional commander smiled.

We asked retired prosecutor Peter Swiftone if there was a chance of convictions in the case. He said ” I haven’t seen a decent file come out of Derry since Martin McGuinness was prosecuted.”

We pointed out that he ultimately wasn’t.

Swiftone, took his glass of red wine from his lips and said “precisely”.

The Inquisition returns

Observers were astonished to discover that the Inquisition had been re-established in a quiet , leafy avenue in North Belfast.

Under the innocuous title of “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” the comings and goings at the large detached house on Somerton Road, owned by a lawyer, aroused local interest.

The arrival of a van which appeared to deliver gym equipment was noted by a neighbour.

“I asked the driver were my neighbours setting up a personal gym”, said Ben Avron.

“Not unless you liked to be stretched”, said Sammy of Sammy’s Removals.

Rachel Avron said , “my suspicions were aroused when I saw several members of the Alliance party going in but not Ford or the ginger girl”.

We attempted to contact the Congregation’s headquarters but nobody was available.Their website lists Torquemada and the last Pope among their Old Boys.

Our reporter finally managed to speak to Father Tom Beetroot. He said “It’s time the Holy Mother Church had a new hero. Someone who will die for the Church. A line has been crossed by these perverts.”

Ignoring the obvious retort, our intrepid reporter asked him , over the noise of torture, if he really wanted an Alliance MLA to die in opposition to same sex marriage.

“Yes”, he said, ” if it was good enough for someone in 1535, well before the Boyne, it’s good enough today.”

A spokesman for the Alliance party said that at present they were “mentally reserving”.

The Police Ombudsman –progress report II

Back in 2006, when I was an innocent sort of chap, who didn’t think that the state would be complicit in the murders of a retired policeman and his wife , I made a complaint to the Ombudsman about the standard of investigation into their murders.

In 2015, when the scales had fallen from my eyes, I made an entirely different complaint, naming each member of the bomb team and asserting that some, if not all of them were state agents. The Ombudsman, who I shall hereafter call the ‘Big O” has declined to investigate my complaint. The basis for the refusal is that the 2001 regulations “carves out a discretionary exception to these limitations”

I began studying law in 1967 and this phrase is new to me but perhaps I’m just not keeping up.

Nuala O’Loan has said that she came under pressure from the state to  refuse to investigate matters.

Maguire, the present Big O is of course a man who has been a state employee for some time and one wonders about his impartiality. Anyway, I have sought clarification from him.

Who made this decision and what is the precise statutory basis for it?

Students of law and others might be interested in looking at regulation 9 [2] of the 2001 regulations, which “carves out” , if this is the new legal argot, an exception if the new complaint is “not the same or substantially the same as a previous complaint”. My original complaint was that the investigation was inadequate. My new complaint is that the state was complicit. They are different complaints.

Of course, the list of state agents in my letter will have caused panic in the Establishment and has resulted in  a threat from at least one agent.

It’s disappointing that the Big O’s  refusal is so amateurish but that’s what you get in Norn Iron.

So, let’s see what the response is.

Aside from the stupidity of it all, how many people, less advantaged than I am, have been spoofed by the Big O?

The Police Ombudsman..progress report I

Over a month has passed since I lodged my detailed complaint and set out my allegations regarding the state agents who murdered my parents.

So far, all I’ve had is an acknowledgement.

Perhaps they are very busy, perhaps there is a fluttering in the coop. Who knows?

At least one suspect was so concerned with my blog on the matter, also published a month ago , that just yesterday he contacted me , threatening legal action.

Let’s see…..