UK Needs A Permanent Commission of Truth
A recent article, “Hillsborough families' lawyer calls for permanent 'commission of truth'”, provides compelling reasons for such a commission, as the following extracts show:
A new "commission of truth" that can hold state institutions to account is required to prevent further cover-ups like Hillsborough....Michael Mansfield QC said the success of the Hillsborough Independent Panel in uncovering the truth behind the death of 96 football fans and the ensuing cover-up has provided a template for a permanent body. He added that although the panel's findings were the latest proof that the state could not be trusted to investigate itself, its conclusions also showed how a historical pattern of "institutional denial followed by institutional deceit" could finally be challenged. "If the authorities from now on knew that there was an independent body, a standing body not always with the same people – they need to be changed regularly so they don't become corrupted – but a body with the facility to move in and demand all the documents and do a proper inquiry would benefit us all," said Mansfield...."The only logical outcome now is if people are held accountable," says Coleman [spokeswoman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC)]. "... it's about people involved in the cover-up being subject to the same rules as you or I."
Former Justice Minister Lord Falconer stated that the justice system had failed the Hillsborough victims' families at every level. A senior defence lawyer, Alun Jones QC, stated the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had detailed analysis of the police cover-up 14 years earlier but decided to take no action against any officers involved. One government after another, both Conservative and Labour, stood by and did nothing. The authorities spread vicious and vile lies such as the fans pick-pocketed the dead and urinated on officers. The national newspaper The Sun published this lies. What sort of behaviour is this? It's unforgivable.
It's telling that only the relentless efforts of the victims' families over 23 years and an e petition signed by 140,000 members of the public forced the truth out of the Establishment. The conclusions are obvious: the state can't be trusted to deliver justice when it is involved in wrongdoing against the public.
Unfortunately, Hillsborough is not a one off. There are other cases of state cover-ups and injustices. The Catholic Church child abuse went on for decades. Even today, those involved in the cover-up have not faced prosecution in the UK although they have in other countries. But the Catholic Church were not alone.
Then we have the alleged mass abuse, torture and possible murder of children on the island of Jersey: "I met the frightened policeman....He had uncovered a vicious child sex ring, with victims in both Britain and the Channel Islands, and he wanted me to get his information to police abuse specialists in London. Incredibly, he claimed that his superiors had barred him from alerting them. He feared a cover-up: many ring members were powerful and wealthy. But I did not think him paranoid: I specialised in exposing child abuse scandals and knew, from separate sources, of men apparently linked to this ring.They included an aristocrat, clerics and a social services chief. Their friends included senior police officers. Repeatedly, inquiries by junior detectives were closed down, so I, a journalist, was asked to convey confidential information from one police officer to others. It seemed surreal." Naturally enough, the British Crown Dependency authorities have covered it up and even banned a journalist. Is this because it was indeed a sexual cafeteria for the rich and privileged as hundreds of victims contended? Given the recent Savile allegations which include the Jersey orphanage, this cover-up is even more disturbing. The journalist's account corroborates to some extent rumours on social media sites. If these are true, then it goes right to the top.
The recent Operation Fernbridge police investigation corroborates those rumours too: "New evidence suggests that Dickens stumbled upon an Establishment paedophile ring in the early 1980s – and that his efforts to expose a cover-up left him in fear of his life....Two years later, in 1983, he warned a paedophile network involved “big, big names – people in positions of power, influence and responsibility” and threatened to expose them in Parliament....Scotland Yard officers kept their new investigation [Fernbridge] secret for weeks, fearful that it would be closed down like earlier inquiries. In a blog on his website, the Labour MP Tom Watson – whose claims of a powerful paedophile network prompted the new inquiry – said that he had been advised by childcare experts who have tried to expose the scandal to be careful about his personal security. He has asked the Home Office for the dossier presented by Dickens to [the then Home Secretary] Sir Leon, but it has not yet been found."
Like Sir Leon's memory it seems the dossier has gone missing.
Similarly, fresh allegations about abuse in North Wales children's homes go right to the top as well: "the North Wales children’s homes case, in which up to 650 children in 40 homes were sexually, physically and emotionally abused over 20 years." A recent account by victims is harrowing:"One particular night that I always recall is when I was basically raped, tied down, and abused by nine different men.” For the public inquiry, victims' statements were taken by former police officers. One victim said "I don't understand why on Earth we had an inquiry when we had to leave out 30% of the abusers. And basically I was told to do that. I was told I couldn't go into detail about these people, I couldn't name them and they wouldn't question me on them." Another said the police crossed out the names of those he accused. In the inquiry, questions were picked from those statements. For some reason, the inquiry's terms of reference were restricted to allegations in N. Wales only. Another recent article shows just how bad the allegations were handled: "in March 1994 Clwyd County Council commissioned an independent inquiry....However, the inquiry's report was never published and the copies were pulped to ensure that the local authority was able to maintain its insurance cover.... [In] 1996 the-then Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, ordered an [subsequent public] inquiry....Counsel for the inquiry mentioned the existence of a shadowy figure of high public standing, but said that there was no substantial evidence to support the allegations. An investigation...at the time of the report's publication revealed allegations of a much wider circle of abuse than that uncovered by the inquiry. He [BBC Reporter] uncovered allegations of widespread physical and sexual abuse of children not just by care system staff, but that children were being lent to paedophiles from all walks of life including businessmen, police, and a senior public figure in a paedophile ring stretching beyond the borders of north Wales, to Chester, London, Brighton and beyond."
And then there is the Holly Greig case. If there is any truth in such allegations one thing is for sure: the authorities will never reveal it themseleves and will fight every inch of the way to stop a permanent commission of truth. But the truth will come out one day, and it will be far better if that is done in an organised manner
Then there are deaths involving the Police. The death of Ian Tomlinson is a cause for concern. Why did the CPS not prosecute at all initially? Mr Tomlinson's son described the decision as “outrageous” and said: “The CPS are clearly admitting the police officer assaulted our dad. We feel like it wasn't a full investigation from the beginning. It's been a big cover-up and they're incompetent. Why isn't there an assault charge?” Indeed, the CPS allowed 6 months to elapse which meant the officer couldn't even be charged with common assault. The Code for Crown Prosecutors, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on such cases. It doesn't look as if they followed them in the Tomlinson case; the DPP has a number of questions to answer here.
The Daniel Morgan case, a brutal murder 25 years ago, reeks of corruption, cover-up and injustice. An extract from a recent article, “Scotland Yard admits Daniel Morgan's killers shielded by corruption”, says it all: “The family of a man found murdered 24 years ago with an axe embedded in his head has damned the entire criminal justice system as "not fit for purpose" after Scotland Yard admitted the killers had been shielded by police corruption....The dead man's brother, Alastair, who spearheaded the family's 24-year campaign, said: "For much of this time, we have encountered stubborn obstruction and worse at the highest levels of the Metropolitan police. We have found an impotent police complaints system."And we have met with inertia or worse on the part of successive governments. We have been failed utterly by all of the institutions designed to protect us."
Then there are the cases of 1,433 people who have died either in police custody or following other contact with the police, since 1990. Apparently, deaths in custody totalled 950. No officers were prosecuted. Are we to believe that these people all commited suicide or died of natural causes? The same article shows again, as with Hillsborough, "the media is often complicit in putting out stories that work to damn the victim – so we heard that Mark Duggan was a "gangster", that he "shot first", just as Jean Charles de Menezes was wearing a "bulky jacket" and "jumped over the barriers"; none of these things are true but, when released in the first few hours of a story, they can significantly alter the perception of the victim, even if this misinformation is later corrected."
There are also child abduction cases such as TheKeyAuthor's case. This time the initial mistake was made by a judge in a routine family court case. That sparked a hoax Hague Convention on Child Abduction application involving notorious elements (“kidnapping office") that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Foreign Office in particular knew all about but did nothing to stop. During the subsequent hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) that the victim wasn't aware of, a key document was handed up by a barrister to the judge that was never disclosed. The judge didn't even disclose that fact when asked two years later. Basically, the justice system traded his child to pay for the judge's mistake. Then, when he found out what had happened, a cover-up ensued involving judges, police, MPs, lawyers, and legal and parliamentary regulators that was facilitated by a total media blackout. Senior politicians underhandedly changed the law that forced anonymity on his family by pushing through a MoJ supported bill. The way the authorities engineered the removal of his child was so slick it can't be a one off, which means a trade in British parents' children takes place. Of his experience, TheKeyAuthor wrote: “the real conclusion is that the British authorities are dysfunctional, corrupt, sinister and at times evil, that the official good guys are in fact the bad guys and the Establishment still dominates at the expense of the public: democracy demeaned.”
There are no doubt many other cases of state injustices and cover-ups that are not known about. The recent Sir Savile allegations have shown that victims are too easily silenced. A commission of truth is needed for many reasons, but one of them is to provide such victims with a means to make an effective complaint. The more cases found, the greater the exposure of state corruption, and that will pressure the state to change its ways.
The Esther Baker case sums up how deeply vile and corrupt the justice system is: Esther Baker, 32, said the politician was in a group whose influential members routinely abused young girls in Cannock Chase as uniformed police officers stood guard....She says she believes a lord and a judge were also involved because their titles would be mentioned while the attacks were taking place....A small group of police officers, some uniformed, stood guard while the abuse was taking place, she said, and other times they would join in.
And in the same article it was stated: Police last week revealed the enormous scale of alleged child abuse they are investigating. Ch Const Simon Bailey said 1,433 men – including 76 politicians, 43 music stars and 135 TV, film or radio entertainers – have been identified by abuse survivors.
Mansfield's views on a commission of truth were discussed in the UK Parliament on 18 September 2012 (Column 860): Michael Mansfield has suggested that the country needs a “commission of truth” to discover cover-ups. My response, in part, is that we already have a body that can do more on this. That body is Parliament. Parliament needs to be willing—collectively, through a Committee—to consider a limited number of individual cases, to work out whether there is evidence of a cover-up.
Unfortunately, Parliament cannot be trusted to be such a body. TheKeyAuthor's case provides solid grounds for that assessment. His MP, a lawyer, happened to know one of the RCJ judges investigated by the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC). As his MP proved to be very unsupportive, TheKeyAuthor asked other MPs from all the main parties for help but all refused due to parliamentary convention. When he contacted the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Abduction, they did nothing. When he complained about his MP to the leader of his MP's political party, the Leader of the Opposition did nothing. When he complained to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, they similarly did nothing. Eventually, after questioning the legality of his MP's delaying tactics, access to the Parliamentary Ombudsman was granted. The subsequent investigation must have upheld TheKeyAuthor's complaint against the MoJ because the draft report was challenged for nearly two years by government lawyers. After 3 years, the final report was published; it didn't uphold the complaint. On asking a senior investigator why, the response implied the MoJ had threatened the Parliamentary Ombudsman with the High Court (the RCJ). When reports can't be agreed upon with the body complained about, the Ombudsman is supposed to bring the matter before Parliament. But that would have been a huge embarrassment for the government because Parliament knew all about the UK's most famous case which involved the very same notorious elements and in which the MoJ were found guilty of essentially the same type of offences by the subsequent Ombudsman's investigation just a year before TheKeyAuthor's nightmare began. TheKeyAuthor's case shows access to Parliament can be blocked by MPs, and government lawyers, departments and regulators with ease.
The UK Parliament is literally out of control: its convention limits the public to one MP; its privilege rules allow MPs to escape police investigations; its standards commissioner is ineffectual; its All Party Groups are irresponsible; its wash-up gags public criticism unhindered by due process; its Ombudsman capitulates to government bullying; its Ombudsman's findings are ignored by government departments found guilty of failing the public.
The Hillsborough and N. Wales children's homes cases show how judicial processes are corrupted. Police or former police manage the statements for the subsequent inquiries. Witnesses are often bullied or intimdated in the process. Those statements are effectively filtered at source or altered to protect authority figures. The remit of inquiries are unnecessarily reduced for the same purpose. The barristers and judges are accommodating of these arrangements, but claim the inquiries are fair and far reaching.
Analyses of all the cases shows there is a problem with the Police in general and the Metropolitan Force in particular. And that the justice system, CPS, legal and parliamentary regulators, and Parliament are not fit for purpose. In addition, that the media publish pro-state stories that shift blame onto innocent victims. Mansfield is right, the state cannot be trusted to investigate itself and its historical pattern of "institutional denial followed by institutional deceit" must be challenged by a commission of truth. Whichever way you look at it, the UK authorities are corrupt, the justice system dysfunctional and the state can't be trusted: the UK needs a commission of truth!
In addition to fact finding and truth reporting, such a commission should have the power to override any obstacles to justice when state corruption and cover-up is a factor. That should include the power to nominate judges, overrule the CPS and bring problem cases before a jury. Those that engage in obstructing justice must be prosecuted, even if they are MPs, clergy, regulators, senior police, judges, lawyers, public prosecutors, ombudsmen, attorney generals, lord chancellors or ministers. There are several misconduct in public office and perverting (obstructing) the course of justice type offences, so why aren't they being applied to the authorities? Are they not subject to the same rule of law as the public? Prosecuting such taxpayer-funded criminals will stop state cover-ups and injustices perpetrated against the public more than anything else.
Signing the petition will help the victims of state cover-ups and injustices, but in the long term, it will also help all members of the public, including yourself and your family. Please sign and spread the word.
Note: If you are a victim of state injustice and cover-up, and want your case added to the list of shame, please email (brief) details to TruthComUK@gmail.com