British government’s child abuse inquirer resigns


This video from Britain says about itself:

Former Home Secretary faces new questions over paedophiles in Westminster in the [19]80s

2 July 2014

One of the most senior ministers in Margaret Thatcher’s government has admitted that he was given a dossier, which contained allegations about a paedophile ring in Westminster in the 1980s.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Child abuse inquiry: Theresa May under fire over Lady Butler-Sloss

Home secretary accused of failing to do her homework after resignation of woman appointed to chair child-abuse inquiry

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

Monday 14 July 2014 14.43 BST

Theresa May has come under fire from MPs on both sides of the House of Commons after Lady Butler-Sloss announced that she would resign as chair of the child-abuse panel after admitting that she had failed to take into account a family conflict of interest.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, criticised May for placing Butler-Sloss in an unfair position after “the last-minute nature” of her decision to appoint the panel last week.

The Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith echoed Cooper’s criticisms as he said the home secretary had taken too long to set up the panel and then appointed Butler-Sloss too quickly.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee who raised concerns about Butler-Sloss’s appointment last week, said the inquiry was becoming “shambolic”.

The MPs spoke out after Butler-Sloss resigned after admitting that she had failed to take into account the fact that her brother, the late Sir Michael Havers, served as attorney general in the 1980s when reports of child abuse were allegedly not examined properly.

Butler-Sloss said she had been honoured to be invited to chair the inquiry. But she added: “It has become apparent over the last few days, however, that there is a widespread perception, particularly among victim and survivor groups, that I am not the right person to chair the inquiry. It has also become clear to me that I did not sufficiently consider whether my background and the fact my brother had been attorney general would cause difficulties.”

Hours before her announcement, the former solicitor general Vera Baird had called on Butler-Sloss to stand down because her brother was attorney general between 1979 and 1987 – the period due be examined by the panel.

Butler-Sloss informed May of her decision over the weekend. May, who appointed Butler-Sloss last week, had strongly defended her as the criticism mounted.

Butler-Sloss added in her statement: “This is a victim-orientated inquiry and those who wish to be heard must have confidence that the members of the panel will pay proper regard to their concerns and give appropriate advice to government.

“Nor should media attention be allowed to be diverted from the extremely important issues at stake, namely whether enough has been done to protect children from sexual abuse and hold to account those who commit these appalling crimes.

“Having listened to the concerns of victim and survivor groups and the criticisms of MPs and the media, I have come to the conclusion that I should not chair this inquiry and have so informed the home secretary.

Butler-Sloss’s decision to stand down is a blow to the government, which appeared to have rushed into appointing her. On Sunday last week Michael Gove said there would be no public inquiry. Within 24 hours the home secretary announced a wide-ranging inquiry that will examine how public institutions responded to allegations of child abuse.

There were suggestions that the Home Office overlooked Butler-Sloss’s family links. Government sources insisted last week that it was well known that Butler-Sloss was the sister of Havers.

Cooper criticised the home secretary for rushing the appointment of Butler-Sloss after stalling on holding an inquiry. The shadow home secretary said: “We have called for this inquiry for over 18 months. It is very unfortunate that the last-minute nature of the home secretary’s response means that proper consideration was not given to the perception of conflict of interest and Lady Butler-Sloss was placed in an unfair position by the Home Office.

Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park who organised a letter by 140 MPs calling for an inquiry, told The World at One on BBC Radio 4: “The Home Office spent too long thinking about whether or not the inquiry should happen. We were battering the Home Office to make this thing happen. They took a snap decision, it was the right decision, to do this inquiry – a Hillsborough-style all-encompassing enquiry. But then, having taken too long, they went too fast and I think the simply failed to do their homework [on appointing Butler-Sloss].”

Vaz, who raised concerns about the appointment with the Home Office permanent secretary, Mark Sedwill, last week, said: “I am not surprised by this decision; it is the right one. As I pointed out to Mr Sedwill the public would be concerned that a member of parliament, no matter how distinguished, had been appointed to head this important panel. The whole inquiry process is becoming shambolic: missing files, ministers refusing to read reports and now the chair resigning before the inquiry is has even commenced.”

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP who has been campaigning to highlight historical cases of child abuse, praised Butler-Sloss as an “outstanding judge” but said it was right for her to stand down. He called for her to be replaced with a figure from outside the judiciary.

Danczuk told The World at One: “It doesn’t have to be somebody from the judiciary. It can be somebody from the third sector. The bishop of Liverpool chaired the Hillsborough inquiry very effectively. I am sure it is not beyond the wit of man to find somebody more appropriate to do this job.”

Downing Street indicated that the government would take its time to appoint a new chair.

Alison Millar, a solicitor for victims of child abuse, welcomed Butler-Sloss’s announcement. Millar said: “Our clients are pleased and we are relieved that Lady Butler-Sloss has taken this decision to stand down. This was the only sensible decision to ensure that survivors and the public could feel confident that the inquiry was not going to be jeopardised by accusations of bias.”

SURVIVORS of alleged sexual abuse expressed “relief” yesterday after tainted Baroness Butler-Sloss resigned as chairwoman of the probe into claims of an Establishment paedophilia cover-up: here.

UK government sets up “overarching” inquiries into child sex abuse: here.

CIA torture flights to Diego Garcia update


This video from the USA is called CIA Lied About Torture To Justify Using It (Senate Report).

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’

Police given crucial logs about Diego Garcia‘s role in rendition programme when it was allegedly used as a secret prison

Jamie Doward and Ian Cobain

Saturday 12 July 2014 21.36 BST

Crucial logs revealing flights to a British overseas territory when it was allegedly used as a secret US prison are in the possession of the police, the Observer has learned.

The revelation has raised concerns about why, despite repeated demands, details of the flights have not been shared with lawyers and MPs, who for years have been investigating the role played by Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian ocean, in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme.

A Whitehall official was photographed last week carrying documents marked “sensitive” confirming that the logs recording details of planes landing and taking off at the atoll have been handed to detectives. The documents, a series of printed emails and handwritten notes made by the official, reveal internal Foreign Office discussions about the line to take in response to questions about the British territory raised by lawyers and MPs.

The Foreign Office has repeatedly stressed there is no evidence Diego Garcia was used in the rendition programme, with the exception of two occasions in 2002 when two planes, each carrying a detainee, landed to refuel. But in April leaked classified CIA documents from a forthcoming US Senate intelligence committee report revealed that the US had held “high value” detainees on Diego Garcia, which has been leased by Britain to the US since 1966, with the “full co-operation” of the British government. The Metropolitan police are currently investigating allegations that an opponent of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was rendered via Diego Garcia.

Attempts to obtain the logs, which would allow lawyers to check them against planes known to have been used for rendition, have met with stonewalling from ministers. When Andrew Tyrie, the Tory MP who is chair of the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, demanded to see the logs in 2008, he was told “a thorough review had been conducted which had found no such information”.

The Commons intelligence and security committee has also complained in its annual reports that a lack of access to such documents compromised its ability to carry out an effective investigation into rendition, resulting in the publication of an inaccurate and misleading report. Last week, in an astonishing new twist, the Foreign Office revealed in a parliamentary answer to Tyrie that the flight logs existed, but maintained some had been lost “due to water damage”. Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said: “Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.”

However, blowups of the photographed emails reveal that both “monthly log showing flight details” and “daily records [obscured] month of alleged rendition” exist and are in the possession of the police.

“All relevant treaties, UN mandates and an ever-increasing body of authoritative court rulings demand that investigations into suspected state involvement in the mechanisms of torture, including rendition, be speedy, transparent and far-reaching,” said Gareth Peirce, a lawyer for several Guantánamo detainees.

“If answers to Andrew Tyrie’s direct questions have contained no mention of highly relevant logs seemingly at all times in the possession of police, then the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] has marched this country into clear violation of its most fundamental legal obligations.”

“The FCO should immediately release all documents, including the water-damaged ones, so a proper assessment can be made of this material and what it means,” said Cori Crider of human rights group Reprieve. “Only this can begin to address the decade-long whitewash of Diego Garcia‘s position in the CIA secret prison system.”

An FCO spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on internal documents.”

British government’s child abuse inquirer accused of cover-up


This video from Britain is called Pretty Chilling: [child abuser] Jimmy Savile And His “Love” For Margaret Thatcher.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Home Office defends Butler-Sloss amid claims of abuse cover-up

Reports claim retired judge excluded victim’s account of alleged abuse by bishop in review because she ‘cared about the Church’

Shane Hickey and agencies

Saturday 12 July 2014 12.35 BST

The Home Office has again been forced to defend the appointment of Lady Butler-Sloss to run the inquiry into allegations of historical child abuse amid claims she refused to go public about a bishop implicated in a scandal.

The retired high court judge is reported to have told a victim of alleged abuse that she did not want to include some of his allegations in a review of how the Church of England dealt with two paedophile priests because she “cared about the Church” and “the press would love a bishop“.

The peer allegedly made the remarks to Phil Johnson, who was abused by priests when he was a choirboy, during a private meeting in the House of Lords in 2011, according to the Times.

The Home Office has again insisted it stands by the crossbench peer’s appointment “unreservedly”. Earlier this week it was forced to defend the appointment when critics pointed out that her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was attorney general from 1979 to 1987 when some of the controversy over the failure to prosecute child abuse cases could have arisen.

Butler-Sloss insisted in a statement that she had never put the reputation of an institution ahead of justice for victims.

“Throughout many years of public service I have always striven to be fair and compassionate, mindful of the very real suffering of those who have been victims of crime or other injustice. I have never put the reputation of any institution, including the Church of England, above the pursuit of justice for victims,” the statement said.

The Times reports that her comments came during a meeting with Johnson when she was in charge of an investigation into how the church handled allegations of abuse. He made allegations against Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and bishop of Gloucester, who was subsequently charged with two counts of indecent assault and one of misconduct in a public office. A trial is expected to take place in November.

She said she would “prefer not to refer to him”, according to the report, but would bring up the allegations in private correspondence to the archbishop of Canterbury. Johnson accepts she passed on his allegation.

The inquiry into paedophile allegations in Parliament has been designed to hide the truth, says STEVEN WALKER: here.

Questions over Labour peer’s letters to care home boy.’I miss you,’ Labour MP wrote to teenager who alleges he was abused in 1970s: here.

British Muslims condemn Isis


This video from Britain says about itself:

We didn’t stop the Iraq war, so was 15 February 2003 pointless?

15 February 2013

Four people, including novelist Ian McEwan, remember the biggest protest in British history, when two million people marched in London to stop Tony Blair taking Britain into an illegal war against Iraq. The marchers in London, and many millions more around the world who marched on 15 February, did not stop the war. So what was achieved by protests?

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Britain’s Muslim leaders condemn Isis

Saturday 12th July 2012

MUSLIM leaders in Britain have condemned the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), expressing their “grave concern” at continued violence in its name.

Representatives from both the Sunni and Shia groups in Britain relayed their message that the militant group did not represent the majority of Muslims.

Shuja Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion.

“It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction.”

An open letter signed by more than 100 imams from across major theological backgrounds and cultural groups urged British Muslims not to travel to the war-torn regions.

The letter called on communities “to continue the generous and tireless effort to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq,” but to do so “from the UK in a safe and responsible way.”

Justin Welby warns of hysteria over threat of Muslim radicalisation. Archbishop of Canterbury says number of young people travelling to Syria is ‘extraordinarily small’: here.

United States NSA role in censoring British daily Guardian


This video from Britain is called Revealed: the day the Guardian destroyed Snowden hard drives under watchful eye of GCHQ.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

NSA chief knew of Snowden file destruction by Guardian in UK

Revelation contrasts markedly with White House efforts to distance itself from UK government pressure to destroy disks

James Ball

Friday 11 July 2014 11.10 BST

General Keith Alexander, the then director of the NSA, was briefed that the Guardian was prepared to make a largely symbolic act of destroying documents from Edward Snowden last July, new documents reveal.

The revelation that Alexander and Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, were advised on the Guardian‘s destruction of several hard disks and laptops contrasts markedly with public White House statements that distanced the US from the decision.

White House and NSA emails obtained by Associated Press under freedom of information legislation demonstrate how pleased Alexander and his colleagues were with the developments. At times the correspondence takes a celebratory tone, with one official describing the anticipated destruction as “good news”.

On 20 July 2013, three Guardian editors destroyed all copies of the its Snowden material held in London (video), under the supervision of two GCHQ staff following a period of intense political pressure in the UK.

The decision to destroy the UK copies of the material was taken in a climate of advancing legal threats from Cabinet Office and intelligence officials. The Guardian and its publishing partners, which included the New York Times and the not-for-profit news organisation ProPublica, held other copies of the material in the US, and continued reporting revelations from the documents.

When the Guardian revealed it had destroyed several computers a month later in August, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest initially remarked it was hard to “evaluate the propriety of what they did based on incomplete knowledge of what happened” but said it would be hard to imagine the same events occurring in the US.

“That’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate,” he concluded.

However, heavily redacted email correspondence obtained by AP reporter Jack Gillum shows senior NSA officials celebrating the destruction of the material, even before it had occurred.

An email to Alexander from Rick Ledgett, now deputy director of the NSA, has the subject line “Guardian data being destroyed”, and is dated 19 July, a day before the destruction of the files. Most is heavily redacted, but Ledgett remarks: “Good news, at least on this front.”

A day later, hours after the material was destroyed, Alexander follows up with Ledgett, asking: “Can you confirm this actually occurred?”

Later that day, Clapper emails Alexander under the same subject line, saying: “Thanks Keith … appreciate the conversation today”.

The remainder of the emails are redacted, including the subject lines in many cases, meaning it is unclear who from the British government briefed the senior NSA and White House staff on the destruction, or whether US officials had any input to the decision to encourage destruction of journalistic material.

A spokeswoman for the Guardian said the revelation of the US-UK correspondence on the destruction was disappointing.

“We’re disappointed to learn that cross-Atlantic conversations were taking place at the very highest levels of government ahead of the bizarre destruction of journalistic material that took place in the Guardian‘s basement last July,” she said. “What’s perhaps most concerning is that the disclosure of these emails appears to contradict the White House’s comments about these events last year, when they questioned the appropriateness of the UK government’s intervention.”

The GCHQ declined to respond to AP’s requests for comment on the email exchange.

Also from the Guardian today:

The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that’s a ‘totalitarian mentality’

Emails obtained by the Associated Press show that top US intelligence officials were well aware of the British government’s plans to destroy hard drives containing evidence of massive state spying against the world’s population that were held by the Guardian newspaper last year. The emails show that US officials not only knew of the plans to destroy the material provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden while doing nothing to stop them, but also encouraged and celebrated the police state activities of the British government: here.