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Christopher Steele, David Kelly, and the Hutton Inquiry

Not this again: the media have one image of Steele, and yes, he's wearing a tuxedo.

Not this again: the media have one image of Steele, and yes, he’s wearing a tuxedo.

My last post expressed concern about the possibility our intelligence services might seek to unduly influence British elections, and since then it has transpired that a former SIS officer, and a few of his former SIS colleagues, sought to do precisely that to the last US Presidential election. Months before the vote, Christopher Steele was privately touting a now notorious dossier of entirely fictional Trump allegations supplied to him (so Steele claimed) by impeccable sources in Russian intelligence. The finer details of this episode are unclear to me, but what I find particularly interesting is the light it casts on an aspect of the Hutton Inquiry, which was held (14 years ago now) to examine “the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly”.

I have no idea if Christopher Steele and David Kelly ever met, although considering Steele was working under diplomatic cover in Moscow while Kelly toured the country as part of a secret biowarfare inspection team, I think it’s safe to say they may well have done. Although they both relied on obviously unreliable humint to draft dodgy dossiers, no working relationship suggests itself. What I am more interested in is Christopher Steele’s current whereabouts.

After Steele was named as the originator of this dossier the press were at his family home within hours. The exact process by which he was identified, and his home tracked down, is also unclear, but by the time the journalists arrived, he had gone. According to reports, Steele and his family had left the night before. They had dropped their three cats off with a neighbour for safekeeping, and without saying where they were going, they disappeared in such a hurry that they left all their lights on. Where they are now, nobody knows. Every single mainstream media outlet has it that Steele’s family are in a safe house some where, and “security sources” (whoever they might be) are briefing journos to this effect.

When David Kelly first came to the attention of the world’s media, when he was “blown”, he too, together with his wife Janice, very suddenly disappeared from their family home. Nobody knew where they went. To this day, we – the public – do not know where the Kellys were between the 9th and 12th of July 2003. Without providing actual addresses (or being asked for them), Janice Kelly told the Inquiry they stayed at a hotel in Weston-Super-Mare and a friend’s house in Cornwall.  The problem with this is that eyewitnesses saw them at other locations during this period. Rod Godfrey, a fellow weapons inspector living near Swindon, told the Inquiry he was visited by Kelly at his home on the morning of the 10th. And a few locals in Kelly’s village told me (and plenty of other people) that Kelly still attended the cribbage night in the Hind’s Head as usual.

As I maintain in Kelly’s biography, Dark Actors, the couple were almost certainly accommodated in a government safe house during this period. It is, after all, exactly what is happening to the Steeles. It is standard procedure for anyone who maintains and utilises covert human sources for SIS. The holy, unbreakable bond between source and handler can never be broken: this is perhaps the only cardinal rule of intelligence work, and it is obeyed even when the sources feed the handlers nothing but rubbish. Even rubbish has its uses, as long as it’s the right kind of rubbish, and it isn’t hard for sources to guess at what is required. The point is that to keep these relationships secure, both source and handler must be protected.

Now that he has gone to ground, Steele may never publicly surface ever again. Kelly, in comparison, was shoved back into the media limelight by his own government within days. He was never allowed back into Iraq, and shortly after his televised appearance before the Select Committee, he killed himself. Kelly’s sources were rounded up by the Americans, put into orange jump suits, and repatriated into other countries under false identities. Those who are still alive experience very close supervision by their new host governments and by the US. Steele’s sources, on the other hand, are still out there, and still selling. To say this situation opens a can of worms is an understatement. But the point I wanted to raise is this:

Steele’s safe house reminds us that Janice Kelly’s testimony to Hutton was deliberately stripped of any SIS content. The same went for any other “witness” appearing at Hutton who depended in any way on a civil service pension. These witnesses had to secure permission from the government before they appeared, and their testimony was vetted in advance by Treasury solicitors. The late Brian Jones relates all this in his book. Those witnesses who couldn’t be cowed in this way weren’t called. And Hutton, of course, agreed to it all, his deference to national security being absolutely typical of the British judiciary.

Anyone who thinks you can hold a satisfactory inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly while allowing the government to omit any detail its deems pertinent to national security is deeply deluded, or stridently dishonest.

It’s worse than Denning in ’63.

An inquiry into Steele is equally important, given that it would touch not just on the subversion of democratic processes but also, critically, the toxic interplay between private sector money and intelligence community sources. Kelly got crucified, Steele gets to sneak off into the shadows a wealthy man. Why? Both of them peddled rubbish. But only one of them ever briefed truthfully against his own government.

Steele's house in Farnham. Wonder what a land registry search would show. An offshore holding company in the Caribbean, perhaps?

Steele’s house in Farnham. I wonder what a land registry search would show. An offshore holding company in the Caribbean, perhaps?


The Constitutional Threat Posed By The Intelligence World

According to America's Director of National Intelligence, this man is a Russian agent.

According to America’s Director of National Intelligence, this man is a Russian agent.

The Iraq war saw British and American intelligence agencies fabricate and misrepresent evidence to justify an invasion in a process in which British and American governments were complicit. It worked perfectly well. Politicians and spooks reached into the magic hat called “intelligence” and pulled out whatever claims they needed. No one else was allowed to see into the hat, and those few people who had seen inside it would go to prison if they told you what was really in there.

None of that is honestly disputed by serious and sensible people. It has been the subject of much concern. However, most of this concern has been outward facing. That is to say, it has focused on the war’s disastrous and criminal effects upon the Middle East. Focused internally, this concern never developed much beyond a hatred of neoconservatives and corporate media. People never examined the constitutional impact of this “magic hat”, perhaps because it was felt the episode was a one-off. Sadly, as manifestly egregious as this process was, it was not a singular event. It is a built-in feature of the Western world. It’s an intrinsic capacity which cannot be removed without fundamentally altering the country we live in. Given what is currently happening in the US, it is absolutely vital that the constitutional impact of this system is considered as soon as possible.

The Hillary Clinton camp spent much of her doomed campaign blaming Vladimir Putin for Trump’s electoral successes, a deception which intensified once the election was decided. This dishonest Russia-bashing reflects terribly on the sort of President Hillary would have been, and in truth I am glad that she lost.But the important point is this: the intended effect of claiming Russia somehow rigged the election is not to vilify Putin. It is to de-legitimize a domestic democratic election. And like Blair and Bush, Hillary has been able to count on spooks in high places to back up fanciful claims.

The Director Of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper issued an official statement this Friday that Russia somehow hacked the US election result. Here is the statement.  Clapper was the same DNI who lied to the US Congress in order to conceal America’s mass surveillance programme (it was Clapper’s false testimony which prompted Edward Snowden to leak the truth). Like all politically helpful spooks in high places, Clapper has gone entirely without punishment for his crime, because that is simply what happens.

The system, or mechanism, which facilitated the Iraq War is not just alive and well. Its resources and powers have grown phenomenally. It is to Britain’s credit that the same thing has not happened here – yet. But it will. The political class tried to de-legitimize  the last two leadership elections of the Labour Party in a way that is broadly similar to the way the political class in America are trying to defeat the President Elect. Those hundreds of thousands of incoming Labour members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn were hailed as anti-Semitic Trotskyist infiltrators, and while I am relieved that our own intelligence agencies were not a driving force in this, they did leave a footprint or two.

Any political party that wants to earn the trust of the electorate needs to make the politicisation of the intelligence services an urgent matter of reform. Western intelligence services have been influencing elections abroad for generations. It is only a matter of time until the chickens come home to roost.






Parliament’s failure to investigate Tony Blair

Montesquieu: as naive as any other anglophile.

Montesquieu: as naive as any other anglophile.

Every single mainstream media outlet has today reported that a Parliamentary motion to investigate Tony Blair for misleading Parliament in order to win support for the invasion of Iraq has been defeated by 439 votes to 70.

In reality the motion put forward by the SNP was, contrary to all media reports, modest in the extreme. You may read all 145 words of it here: it is fourth on the prayers list. It amounts to little more than an appeal for the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which is currently examining the “lessons learned” from the Chilcot Inquiry, to pay particular attention to the misleading information Tony Blair gave to Parliament. That is all.

Some commentators have argued the thumping defeat of this motion by both Labour and the Conservatives reflects nothing more than the animosity both share towards the SNP. That argument could be true, which I very much doubt, and it would still reflect appallingly on the British Parliament. Probably it is no more then the reflexive apologia emitted by the mainstream media whenever a story demands they condemn the establishment.

Every single qualifying law degree in the UK has a public law module, and as far as I am aware, every single one of these public law modules teaches the importance of the separation of powers in maintaining any constitutional system. The executive, the legislature, and the judiciary must be independent. Indeed, their independence has been accepted since the days of Montesquieu. Well, it is about time this error was corrected.

Our legislature does not hold our executive to account. This mechanism, it it ever worked at all, has by now comprehensively failed. One may argue about the precise importance and validity of the reasons why it has failed, but its failure is incontestable. One could talk about party politics, and the payroll vote, and so on. Much has been said about these matters by commentators far more expert than I. But since the candidacy of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour has possessed the biggest membership of any political party in Europe, and I am sure this membership is, for the largest part, adamant that Blair receives the fullest possible condemnation for his singular role in the invasion of Iraq. Despite this, they cannot convince their parliamentary members, including Corbyn himself, to vote accordingly.

It is about time the textbooks were rewritten, otherwise law will become an academic subject as untrustworthy as economics. Parliament does not hold the government to account. Far from it. Parliament is a kind of public theatre where parties compete to appear equally credible to a corporate media. Peter Oborne was correct to write that there is now a political class. For those of us outside this class, our chief task lies in removing it, and the system that upholds it. Whatever we may individually believe, whether we are left-wing or right-wing, Brexit or remain, Sanders or Trump: we have to rescue our representative democracies from the fatal grip of the political class.


2016 Hamlyn Lectures: Dame Sian Elias and the origins of our criminal justice system

Tonight at Cardiff Law School I attended the first of Dame Sian Elias’ three Hamlyn Lectures. The second will be in Exeter, home of the Hamlyn Trust, and the third will be in Lincoln’s Inn. Elias is Chief Justice of New Zealand, and she was accompanied by our own Lord Chief Justice, John Thomas having agreed to act as a kind of senior judicial chaperone.

Elias reminded us that much of our criminal justice system is relatively modern. The right to silence, the privilege against self-incrimination, the right to legal representation, the availability of trial by jury and the requirement for jury unanimity, and the respective role of judge and jury were not firmly established as basic principles until the Victorian era. This is an interesting observation for lawyers from the former outposts of British Empire, because it means that in many colonial jurisdictions, the heavy weight of England’s legal history did not really press upon the development of criminal law as it did in other areas, like equity. As regards criminal law, we all grew up together.

Elias dwelled on 1842 trial of Wiremu Maketu, a young Maroi who would ultimately be the first person executed in New Zealand under British rule. It was the first major criminal trial to follow the Treaty of Waitangi, by which the Maori chiefs acceded to Britain’s declaration of sovereignty over the islands, and thus the trial was seen as a kind of show case for British justice. Whilst far from perfect (Maori apparently only secured legal counsel an hour before trial) it resembled in most aspects the sort of murder trial we would see today.

It is not apparent from the outset precisely what Elias may ultimately conclude in her upcoming lectures. However, I struck by her response to a question from the floor. A functional criminal justice system is, of course, essential to the rule of law, and one attendee wondered if it wasn’t the case that poorer countries, with societies of great material inequality, simply couldn’t sustain rule of law as we Westerners might conceive of it. Elias replied that it was precisely those sorts of countries where the rule of law was most needed. And this caused me to reflect on New Zealand.

At the time of Maketu’s trial, New Zealand’s ruling class were an ethnic minority, and they were as far from their homeland as they could possibly get (arguably, this has not much changed). The Maori chiefs were easily capable of hostile insurrection. The need for a reliable criminal justice system that could be seen to be fair to all was paramount. British sovereignty couldn’t function otherwise.

Is it not the case that the United Kingdom may owe much of its criminal justice system to its nineteenth century imperial responsibilities? I have no idea how Elias’ lectures will ultimately conclude, but it seems to me that Britain’s global presence that may have necessitated the dramatic improvement of its criminal law. These reforms certainly can’t be attributed to popular demand. The British public were as authoritarian then as they are today. Hangings were massively popular.

By this token, is it a complete coincidence that Britain’s criminal justice system is declining just as our responsibilities abroad evaporate? There is some significant overlap, is there not, between those who would withdraw from the EU and the ECHR, and those who want harsher prisons, heavier sentences, the further curtailment of legal aid, the admissibility of all prosecutorial evidence, etc?

Full Circle: MANPADS, Mi-8s and Muslim fundamentalists

During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan the CIA helped fund and train Islamist guerillas. Despite the fact they were totalitarian religious fanatics and terrorists to boot, the US gave them money and material, including personal, portable, surface-to-air rockets known as Stingers, enabling them to take down Russian helicopters like the Mi-8.

Islamists down Mi-8 in Afghanistan, 1988.

Islamists down Russian Mi-8 in Afghanistan with US rockets, 1988.

It didn’t turn out too well.

During the Syrian Civil War, the CIA are helping to fund and train Islamist guerillas. Despite the fact they are totalitarian religious fanatics and terrorists to boot, the US are giving them money and material, including personal, portable, surface-to-air rockets known as MANPADS, enabling them to take down Russian helicopters like the Mi-8.

Islamists down Russian MI-8 in Syria with US rockets, 2016

Islamists down Russian Mi-8 in Syria with US rockets, 2016

There is no reason at all to think this will work out any better than it did last time.

Sadly the policy is supported by not just the current US President, but by his likely Democrat successor Hillary Clinton, the UK government and – at the time of blogging – most of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, as Talleyrand said.

Mythology as Propaganda: lessons from the Ring of Brodgar

I rarely watch broadcast television. When I do I tend to watch documentaries from the previous century, all of which seem more intelligent and civil than the tosh we put out today (thank god for the iPlayer archives). However, I recently caught the Sacred Wonders of Britain on repeat, which was presented by Neil Oliver and originally broadcast in 2014. It really wasn’t too bad. In fact, Oliver’s passion for neolithic Orkney is intellectually contagious.

It is a very welcome passion, because our culture and identity has never been able to fathom the henges, monoliths and barrows which still dot our landscape. Our prehistory might be self-evident but it is indigestible. One may glimpse its ruins from almost any A-road, but they remain eternally exotic and foreign and alien. Our failure to make sense of the neolithic – to draw some meaningful, human line from the people of these monuments to us – parallels a centuries-old inability to accept the landscape around us. Hence the ultimate failure of the romantics, who, heads stuffed full of pastoral nonsense, could never accept modernity any more than Wordsworth could accept the liberté, égalité, fraternité of the French Revolution. It echoes too the Marxist notion of capitalist alienation, a palpable sensation for any sentient being who has ever spent any time at all in an out-of-town retail centre or industrial estate. Behind all this stand the stones, saying something we cannot understand.

The mystery of Orkney's perfect circle

The mystery of Orkney’s perfect circle

Neolithic Orkney saw continuous occupation and development between 3000BC and 2000BC. Its most famous site may be the amazing ruins of Skara Brae, but the Ring of Brodgar, less than seven miles away, is generally regarded as the finest stone circle in the British Isles, as well as one of the oldest. Oliver explained that the stones which formed the Ring came from many different parts of the island. Individual slabs were probably brought to the Ring by every extended family who formed part of the island community, from each stead of land. Like every other neolithic monument, its purpose remains unknown, but its curious composition suggests an essential element. From what I understand of Oliver’s theory, the Ring has to be understood as a polity made physical. It was the construction of a symbol of community, and in that act of construction an actual community was forged. Generations would speak of the travails of the stones, of which stone was theirs, of how arduous or comical or tragic its transport, and so on. Therein lies the true meaning of the Ring of Brodgar, although people are also inclined to add on additional and hypothetical elements.

This meaning, however, has been eclipsed. It has been hidden for centuries until it was revealed by modern technology. In its place sprung mythology, the first of which apparently originated with the vikings, or some early precursor of the viking peoples. From this period comes the tale that the Ring was a circle of dancing giants, turned to stone by the sunrise. This sort of nonsense is common to most of Europe if not the world. One wonders if anyone ever really believed it. What really was its purpose? The Ring of Brogdar offers a clue.

Invaders from Scandinavia arrived in the ninth century and promptly projected their own theology onto the neolithic monuments of Orkney. But they also had to explain how such monuments had come into existence in the first place, and they could hardly admit to what the stones really signified – that they were the symbolic and literal fruition of an earlier and more advanced micro-civilisation, which the parasitic and less advanced vikings had helped to destroy. This was a reality that could not be admitted. An alternative explanation had to be found, and its plausibility was not important. What mattered was that it wasn’t the truth, because the truth would have destroyed the self-image of the people who now walked the land.

I don’t know how deliberately this mythology was crafted to serve that purpose, but there can’t be much doubt that this is exactly what the new story of the stones served to do. Was there some Machiavellian skald behind it all? I doubt that. Humanity’s collective need for delusion and denial probably surpasses its individual genius.

History, if done properly, should be strange. I agree with Patrick Kellier on this. I disagree with the safe, anodyne interpretation that the historic should essentially be like today but different. The frontiers of history always rest upon the profoundly unknown. That which makes history something other than alien is, more often than not, something other than the truth. This is the lesson of the Ring Of Brodgar.

It also causes me to reflect a little on “conspiracy theory”. The term has little value other than as a term of abuse, and anyone who is critical of British foreign policy or the work of our intelligence community will inevitably be labelled a conspiracy theorist. Since 9/11 much cultural capital and public money has been spent elucidating the dangers of “conspiracy theory”. Naturally, such voices feel compelled to advance the idea the term “conspiracy theory” has some intrinsic currency, that it is a concept capable of definition, beyond that of simply doubting establishment narratives. Conspiracy theory, they commonly offer, is “history for losers”. Well. Perhaps such voices might like to consider that the very fabric of history is itself “history for losers”. History is a deep grave made of loss and defeat, of the forgotten, the dead, the disappeared. That sheening gloss which the victors weave over it never lasts for long, and, as each winning generation succumbs to the next, only adds to the strata. Anyone who might offer that “conspiracy theory” is “history for losers” is a political animal who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near history. Or politics, for that matter.


Corbyn, Len McCluskey, conspiracy theory, and Omar Wahid

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Britain’s biggest trade union, Unite, raised eyebrows this week when he speculated that MI5 might be conspiring to tarnish the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. This was news to me. Admittedly, I don’t bother with Twitter, but as far as I could see, these slurs were entirely the work the Parliamentary Labour Party and their supporters. Anything that has been construed as vaguely threatening was instantly reported as death threat, and blamed on Corbyn, such is the authoritarian crybullying of Labour’s professional political class. The hand of the deep state, as far as I could see, was neither needed nor apparent… until this Sunday.

Firstly it must be said, because McCluskey’s comments have roused scorn in certain quarters, that anybody with the least knowledge of the trade union movement (or the intelligence services, for that matter) will know there is absolutely no question that during the Cold War it was infiltrated by police and the security service, working either as informants, agents, undercover officers, and agent provocateurs. This infiltration occurred over many, many years and sometimes at the highest levels. For example: Brian Nicholson, the former president of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, and a close ally of Neil Kinnock, was an MI5 informant. And Roger Windsor, the NUM’s chief executive during the miner’s strike, was regularly seeing a young woman called Stella Rimington. Len McCluskey spoke from institutional experience.

On the other hand, the PLP, in their effort to force Corbyn out, have really revealed their true colours. Accounts of death threats, hostility, aggression, violence, anti-Semitism, and Islamism have been fabricated in order to accuse the rank and file of their own party. Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire, who, when tweeted by a Bristol University student to “get in the sea”, reported it as a death threat – because “this person has just told me to drown and I believe that is a threat to kill”. Angela Eagle’s stalking-horse leadership bid had its launch meeting cancelled by the venue when the hotel she booked discovered who she was: her team blamed the change of venue on death threats from Corbyn supporters. She claimed Corbyn supporters bricked her office window: one window in the block her office occupied was broken in the middle of the night. It opened onto a communal stairway. Naturally, as New Labour do to everything, they turned it into a photo op.

"No, use the Vote Remain poster, it sends a better message."

“Use the Vote Remain poster, it sends a better message.”

Many politicians do this sort of thing nowadays, of course, it’s not just confined to Labour. After the vote on bombing Syria, the Tory MP for Telford, Lucy Allen, personally altered a Facebook message she’d received so she could tell everyone she’d been sent a death threat too. They’re all at it. Really we should be very worried that in an age of mass surveillance, detention without trial, and restricted speech our political class have decided that their biggest enemy is the electorate, but I digress. Can the deep state smear the Labour membership more malevolently than Labour MPs are? And why would they want to?

The alarmism of Labour MPs, no matter how dishonest and self-serving it is, forces the Security Service to do something. A few of these MPs are privy councillors. The defence of the realm comes into play. I realised the line had been crossed when I discovered that Omar Wahid had been pulled from his jihadi beat at the Mail on Sunday.

Wahid has filed nineteen pieces for the Mail since July 2015, although he has clearly written them for the MOD, SIS and MI5, who provide almost all of his sources and material. His output until now has been the usual propaganda about the dangers of Islamic extremism and how we’re defeating it both at home and in Middle East. Well not any more. Today the Mail printed two articles by Omar Wahid about Jeremy Corbyn supporters, whom Wahid described as another form of domestic extremism. You can read them here and here. The latter claims that Momentum is “described as Corbyn’s Praetorian Guard” (it doesn’t say by who); that it is “a hardline left-wing group” which has “secret links” with extremist Islamist organisations to “promote anti-Semitism” and “boost his support among Muslims.” It describes Momentum as a “cult-like cadre” having an “armed police” division and “a militant wing”. I have been to the odd Momentum meeting. Any Corbyn supporter – and there are a lot of them – knows that these articles are a disgrace. Yes, the Mail is a terrible right-wing paper, but what you must bear in mind is that Wahid is a client journalist of the intelligence community. This story comes from the same place as all his other stuff.

I don’t know how effective or widespread their efforts will be, but as regards the battle to take-down Corbyn, it’s clear the spooks now have some skin in the game.

*          *          *

On a similar note, I see that our state broadcaster has been rather selective of the footage it chose to use when reporting Corbyn’s leadership rally in Salford today. They used a shot which portrayed his audience at about twentieth of its actual size. Come to think of it they did the same thing when he spoke at Cardiff last year. I was reminded of what they did to the footage of the Battle of Orgreave. Labour’s problems today are far different to those it faced in the early eighties, contrary to what people might try and tell you, but the deep state has grown exponentially since then.









Chilcot’s out

And it is very long. I intend to read it all, in a thorough and critical manner, as is appropriate. The report is, quite explicitly, not a document that lends itself to the bitesize, instantaneous communications of social media. The mainstream media, whose categorical and inherent failures have only worsened since the drums of the Iraq war began beating, has no resources nor inclination to mount a meaningful appreciation (I understand the Guardian has put out an appeal for help, of all things).

The Chilcot Report is politics, politics of the most immense and important scale, disguised as history. To process it on its own terms is an academic project.

The executive summary alone is 150 pages. I have already spotted a couple of errors, which are worrying things to find in a frontispiece. I’m not 100% sure about Chilcot’s opening statement either, his confident assertion that “Saddam” was in breach of a UN resolution specifically.

I have said for some years that criticism of the Inquiry must be suspended until its report was published. Well, that time has come. But it must be read first. It would be ironic to rush to judgement.

Naturally, those who seek to wield and mould public opinion will not wait to project their decided viewpoint onto the airwaves and column inches. That endeavour is already underway, as part of the general daily thrum of the west’s cultural hegemony. Distrust anything or anybody pretending to offer you the findings at a glance. Those journalists at the pre-publication lock-in had two and a half hours, at most, to digest over two and a half million words and Chilcot has been careful not to offer up any headline conclusions. Whatever meat there is in this lies under the skin.

That only real battle we can fight now is the right to ensure the coming generations understand what really happened here. The establishment aleady know. They knew at the time, and they have been spinning ever since.

The loudest voices are the least honest.

Only a mounting civic activism can counter them.

“Eradicate Right-Wing Vermin” T-Shirt is NOT photoshopped by Right-Wing

*** EDIT: Error level analysis is not a sufficiently robust tool to reach the conclusion this image is photoshopped. There are other technical reasons which could produce the same result. I am withdrawing this claim. I believe I was wrong to make it. I leave the (angry) article below up as a record, and a warning. I intend to post on error level analysis in the near future. Apologies.***

***FURTHER EDIT: The sister of the man in the t-shirt has contacted me to verify the photo as genuine (see below). The man himself has given an interview with the Sqwawkbox Blog here. I’ve pulled the blog post because the photo has in any case been appropriated by professional political centrists who currently seek to portray half the electorate as a dangerous lynch mob. Indeed, Britain’s richest woman branded him a fascist. He’s actually a health and safety union rep.***


The Orlando shootings at Pulse nightclub

Four days have passed since the latest American massacre and I have been struck by the dearth of anything resembling proper reporting. The media appears to have been completely controlled by the Orlando Police Department. Journalistic efforts have thus amounted to little more then writing up official press releases, and a few dozen “death knocks” – approaching the traumatised survivors and asking them how they feel. These are never enlightening interviews. Consequently, the narrative is owned by the state, and it is consequently riven with a series of troubling holes.

Please note I’m not claiming this is a false flag, or some staged “fake crisis”. I am not endorsing any kind of conspiracy theory, but the current story is unbelievable, and the Orlando Police Department has contradicted itself numerous times. This is not unusual with shocking and violent events of this nature. Waco, for example, was serially misreported by the press and lied about by the state.

I find it incredible, given the number of deaths (49) and casualties (53?) that none were caused by parties other than the massacre’s perpatrator, Omar Mateen. There were, apparently, three seperate gun battles between Mateen and police over forty minutes or so. This happened in a crowded nightclub at closing time. According to the official story, every single bullet found its intended home. No accomplices, and no friendly fire or “blue on blue”. Every civilian victim was the result of one man’s murderous intent whilst every shot fired by the police was justified and accurate.  I doubt very much this can be true, but Western society and culture is now infantilised to the point where every armed official is automatically a hero.

Mateen himself remains a mystery – his methods, aims, motives and situation are relayed to us entirely by the Orlando Police department. I see no reason to believe any of their claims here any more than I would believe the Metropolitan Police when it claimed that Jean Charles de Menezes jumped a ticket barrier whilst wearing a big heavy coat, carrying a rucksack which had wires sticking out of it, that he refused to stop when challenged, and so was consequently shot. The Met then released a photo of de Menezes they had altered to make him look more like a Muslim, and when each of their claims was proven untrue, it then responded by labelling him a cocaine user and a rapist.

You are not a conspiracy theorist simply because you refuse to blindly believe everything you are told. As regards the shootings at Pulse, I would like to know what OPD officer Adam Gruler was really doing at the club when Mateen arrived, and what transpired between them. The Orlando Police Department has given a number of contradictory answers as to whether Gruler was in uniform or not, and whether he was on police time or working for the club, pulling “extra duty”. One source claimed Gruler was searching the club for an underage teenager who had entered using a false ID, others that he provided private security. Both of these mutually exclusive claims strike me as unlikely, and I don’t know why there is any confusion here at all. The Orlando Police Department certainly know the answers. But what appears certain is that Gruler was armed, and that the initial Pulse shootings involved a gunfight between himself and Mateen.

Officer Adam Gruler is a veteran of Orlando PD. In 2006, the Orlando Sentinel had this to say about him:

Adam Gruler is a hunter.

That’s one of the nicknames given inside the Orlando Police Department to the young, aggressive cops sent to patrol in and around Parramore, one of Orlando’s toughest and poorest neighborhoods. Their job: create a “no-tolerance zone” for crime of all kinds.

By police accounts, the 29-year-old Gruler is good at it. From 2003 to 2005, he averaged 156 arrests a year. He has won individual and unit citations. He has busted people for possession of everything from crack cocaine to an AK-47 assault rifle…Adam Gruler is on the hunt. In his Ford Crown Victoria cruiser, with a 12-gauge shotgun and an AR-15 assault rifle mounted beside him.

Gruler is as aggressive as any American cop. John Kurtz videotaped Gruler in 2011 as the officer repeatedly assaulted a suspect who was already handcuffed and prone. Gruler then arrested Kurtz for (incredibly) “resisting arrest without violence”. Surprise surprise, Kurtz’s video recording disappeared in the evidence locker. Kurtz himself was sentenced to 30 days in prison with a year on probation. This is how American police forces work. I have little difficulty in believing Mateen was a murderous lunatic, but what was Gruler doing there? What was the chronology and logic of the escalation?

The importance and significance of all these issues will soon become apparent. But they were apparent to the Orlando Police Department from the very start, and it is the OPD which is controlling the news.