Jack Straw’s Bum

Jack Straw’s bottom loomed large  [figuratively] at the House of Commons last week. Ten lines into his evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee he revealed that he had “suffered a small shard of glass in my behind” as the Old Bailey bomb exploded in 1973. In  a reversal of the Black Knight’s assurance “tis but a scratch ” Straw made much of his experience at the hands of Gerry Kelly MLA and others. [see also answer to question 490]

Some interesting evidence emerged.

He said that the issue of compensation for Semtex attacks had not been raised with the Libyans. He went on to speculate as to what the Libyan reply would have been. They would have said “we have owned up to  supplying Semtex but it was not we who planted it at the Old Bailey [that scratch again] or used it in different ways.”

He used the British lawyer’s remoteness of damage argument on behalf of an imaginary Libyan lawyer.

He said that as early as 1995 Libya had provided information to the UK about the material and financial support it had provided PIRA.

Therefore , twenty one years ago HMG was in possession of the quantities supplied and could calculate whether or not PIRA had really decommissioned. Further, no doubt the Libyans gave the names of the terrorists involved in the deals.

The real explanation for the failure of HMG to support victims of Libyan supplied Semtex is that, if asked the Libyans would have said “we supplied the Semtex, your MI6 knew that. They also knew who was picking it up and using it and many of them were British agents. So don’t blame us.” So over twenty years ago , the issue of compensation was binned, for the greater good of oil and the lesser good of the peace process.

The mildly scarred Straw’s mission was to come to the committee and waffle away the victims’ rights. Hinting that it was really all the fault of their political representatives.

A glimmer of hope was raised when he said that if it were up to him, he would try to implement any recommendation made by the committee. But then again he is retired , so he would say that.

The real flaw in his arguments is that if the Libyans are so opposed to paying compensation to the victims  of Libyan Semtex, why did they pay compensation to the non British victims, several years ago?

It’s over a year since this enquiry started and the consistent message from the Establishment is that HMG will not practically help the victims.

It’s time that the NIAC got a report out.

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Moussa Koussa  and Andrew MacKinlay

You may remember, Dear Reader, the somewhat sensational evidence given by Andrew MacKinlay, retired MP, to the NI Affairs Committee, on 14th October 2015.

Here is  an example of what he said, in giving evidence about MK:

Kate Hoey: Do you think it was anything to do with a fear that , if he talked too much–all the contacts with people in Sinn Fein, IRA , for example –it might bring down the peace process?

Andrew MacKinlay: He would have known about the Semtex and the supplying of arms to the IRA over many years—and probably authorised it.

He went on to state that MK was a key member of Gadafy’s regime and he just could not understand why he was never questioned by British police.

I asked the PSNI about, inter alia, the alleged supply of Semtex and the allegation that , in effect MK conspired with Sinn Fein/IRA to murder.

The PSNI made contact with MacKinlay and here is what they told me:

“Mr MacKinlay has confirmed that he has no further information to add to his evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on 14 October 2015. Mr MacKinlay has also confirmed that he is not in possession of any evidence to suggest that Moussa Moussa committed a criminal offence”

Contrast this with the statement by our hero “this was a bad fellow, but I do not believe that the normal law enforcement agencies were given access to him”

One wonders how much other guff has been presented to the NIAC as “evidence”.

 

 

 

 

Gavin Robinson’s lost afternoon

On 24th March I attended a meeting, addressed by Tobias Ellwood and attended by , seemingly , a wide range of people , including victims of Libyan supplied Semtex.

Elwood, he who told the Commons that on a salary of almost £90,000, he was having to watch the pennies, tried to establish his bona fides with us by telling how his brother was killed in the Bali bombing and how he , Tobias, had served as a soldier in Northern Ireland and was almost shot.

The big message which his masters in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had given him to deliver was that HMG had no intention of making any effort to access £9.4 billion of Libyan assets, held in the UK.

Speaker after speaker criticised this position and HMG’s lack of activity. Not one politician joined in the criticism, neither Robinson, Paisley, Elliott or Kinahan. Voters should be aware of that. At the end of the meeting they fell over themselves to thank Ellwood and have their photograph taken with him. [Organised by Frazer]

I asked Ellwood to go to the UN Security Council and have the resolution , freezing assets, amended. Toby is practising the Big Tory Putdown. He scoffed and asked me did I think that Russia and China would support that. Why not? Why not try?

The mood of the meeting was summed up by Jim Allister MLA who told Ellwood that he had no plan for victims and that his purpose in addressing us was to keep us under control in case we rocked the diplomatic boat and big business in the UK did not get lucrative contracts in the new Libya.

So where did Gav get his impression of “positive ministerial engagement” Assuming that Gav was not able to make up his own mind or was perhaps asleep throughout the meeting, he was relying on none other than Willie Frazer. Willie, who never misses an opportunity to witter, except when Martin McGuinness is in the room, told the meeting that he had had a private meeting with Ellwood and that it was the first meeting with a minister that he had not been thrown out of. This is classic Willie. Establish your credentials as a no nonsense man of the people. A rabble rouser who is a thorn in the side of the establishment. Do you remember Paisley doing that , while all the while negotiating behind backs?

It’s interesting that a man with terrorist connections can be afforded a private meeting with a British Government minister. Times have not changed. I wonder what was discussed?

Perhaps Robinson would like to tell us what he thought was positive. The suggestion that once a new UN backed, unelected government is imposed in Libya and all the militias are bribed or killed, a committee of the Libyan government will have a think about compensating us? How likely is that in the lifetime of any existing victim?

Perhaps it’s another example of the Unionists cosying up to the Tories. Perhaps some have aspirations to do business in Libya or have mates who want to do so. Perhaps Jeffrey, Her Majesty’s Trade Envoy to Egypt, has a hand in it. Who knows?

Will big Gav tell us or even make a really angry speech about it?

Tony Blair and history

Blair once felt the hand of history on his shoulder. [Psychopaths often have such hallucinations]

That same hand has continued to re-write Tony’s role in Northern Ireland.

Last week he issued a statement from his opulent offices, paid for by nefarious world wide deals. It dealt with his role in the failure of victims of Libyan supplied Semtex to obtain compensation. Despite kissing Gadafy in a tent in the desert, he has denied that he had any role or influence over the settlement which Bush concluded with Gadafy. He is subject to the scrutiny of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, who have indicated that, if he does not be transparent with them , they may go to Washington D.C. to investigate further.

One ‘fact’ that Blair repeats , ad nauseum, is that we were not entitled , by law, to receive compensation.

Here is a recent example of this. “The decision by the US not to include British victims was , I believe , because they were precluded legally from such an action.”

We are used to weasel words from Blair, after all , he was the architect of the Good Friday Agreement, the biggest con of the twentieth century. He structured  the ‘on the runs’ arrangement and he established immunity from prosecution for Adams, McGuinness and Slab Murphy.

The fact is that the 160 claimants were able to sue Gadafy and others from the regime, under US Federal law. Lawyers were appointed in the UK and the USA. The non-US claimants were  legally “aliens” under the legislation. Proceedings were taken and responded to by the defendants in the US Federal Court. Each side was shaping up for a trial. What happened  next was that Bush intervened and passed an Act preventing Britons from obtaining compensation but facilitating payment to US citizens. The decision by Bush , to exclude Britons, came after the court hearings , the Act followed later. In that sense , we were legally  precluded from compensation.

Where was Blair in all of this? Out of office but in the desert. He has never been able to properly explain what  deal he was doing with Gadafy, which benefitted Americans but not Britons.

The answer could be , of course, that the UK had much to hide. After all, the Libyan deal for Semtex and arms was concluded between Gadafy , Moussa Koussa and other Libyans on the one hand and Slab Murphy, Gerry Adams , Martin McGuiness and other members of the Army council, on the other. Given Blair’s close connection with Sinn Fein/IRA and given the number of IRA  informants being run by the State, any probing into how it was that Libya admitted liability for its actions towards Americans but not Britons had the potential to be embarrassing.  One could hear Gadafy saying to Blair, in the tent after the snog , “I have given you the list of arms and explosives we gave Sinn Fein/IRA. I have told you how much money we gave them. I have told you who we did the deal with. Martin did the Enniskillen bomb as a thank you and revenge for the Yanks killing my daughter. What more do you need to know? Shall I tell who was an agent and what was the role of MI6?” This position is borne out by British Ministers telling the House of Commons that Gadafy had come in from the cold and had helped Britain in respect of the IRA . As far as the Foreign Office was concerned, the matter was closed.

Victims and survivors were only legally barred from payouts after Blair did the deal for Bush.

What was in it for Blair? Money, enough to impress Wendi Deng.  Contacts with states around the world. Adviser to many dubious regimes.

I hear someone saying “how can he sleep at night?”

Psychopaths sleep well.

 

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.

 

 

Politicians, what are they good for?

Without any notice and without the active consent of any elected representative the United Kingdom has re-enacted legislation , freezing the assets of the terrorist state of Libya and its gangsters.

See The Libya (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2016, made on 19th January 2016. The day before Nigel Dodds’ jingoistic defence of the Falkland Islands.

Despite much criticism , legal action and lobbying by victims’ groups and despite an inquiry being carried on by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, the new legislation, never voted on in the House of Commons but passed through as secondary legislation, makes no provision for the unfreezing of assets in order to make reparations for those killed or injured by Semtex supplied by Libya to Sinn Fein/IRA.

This also , despite UN Rapporteur, Pablo de Grief’s criticism of the lack of reparations for victims.

Despite much posturing by Unionist politicians and grandstanding in the Commons about terrorism and the Falklands, nothing has been achieved for the victims.

What a disgrace.

Why Blair should not fear the NI Affairs Committee

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee announced in July of 2105 that it was minded to enquire into the failure of HMG to secure compensation from Libya for the supply of Semtex to Sinn Fein/IRA.

Allegations have frequently been made that Tony Blair was instrumental in brokering a deal with USA and Libya and failing to secure the rights of UK citizens , when other nationalities were compensated.

The taking of evidence began in September. The weight of evidence so far points to discrimination towards UK citizens.

In October 2015 the chairman of the Committee , Laurence Robertson, wrote to Blair ,inviting him to submit written evidence. Blair replied on 11th December 2015 admitting, as far as he was aware, that he never raised the case of Semtex victims with Gadafy. You might find that in itself surprising, Dear Reader but worse is to come.

He said that the needs of the victims were being addressed through existing structures. For those of us used to Blair whoppers this was a mega whopper.

He followed this up by saying that we were precluded from legal action in the USA. Another lie.

On 11 December Blair appeared before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

On 6th January 2016 Robertson wrote again to Blair and invited him to give oral evidence. In an undated letter from the Office of Tony Blair, he replied saying “these continued attempts to implicate me in deliberately trying to stop IRA victims receiving compensation are, as I have made very clear, without foundation”

The Committee must now decide what to do.

Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice is the authoritative work on Parliament. Let’s take a look…

“when a select committee has the power to send for persons, that power is unqualified, except to the extent that it conflicts with the privileges of the Crown and of Members of the House of Lords, or with the rights of Commons”

[see Erskine May Parliamentary Practice 24th ED  p820]

So what if the person does not attend by invitation?

The witness is formally summoned to attend as a witness by order signed by the Chairman. On the face of the summons, unlike such issued by courts on occasions. there is no penal provision.

If he neglects to appear , he will be dealt with as in other cases of disobedience.

[ibid p820]

I know that now Dear Reader , those not well disposed to Tony will have visions of Blair in chains. Not so fast!

There is no power of arrest and imprisonment.The power of committal for contempt has not been used in modern times. It was last used in 1880.

There is power, held by the House of Commons, not the committee, to punish in other ways for contempt. Nobody has been fined since 1666.  The House has not punished a non member since 1978 and the tide of opinion is against sanctions.

So if he  does not appear , members of the Committee may gnash their teeth , rend their garments,  even wear sackcloth and ashes but Tone ain’t comin!

So much for the Mother of Parliaments.