Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Bent American Police & Federal Agents: How to Report Them

The first thing to say, is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of US Citizens who feel hemmed in and trapped between criminal gangs and corrupt or indolent police who will offer no legal relief or redress. They go searching for some way to report the fact that their local police, or someone if their local FBI field office, is in the pocket of the criminals who are persecuting them. They search the Internet.

Now, the official advice, which they desperately need to find, is remarkably dull, boring, unobtrusive and, having been last updated ten years ago, easily missed by most popular search engines. Try this link and see! The procedure outlined here is pretty involved, and requires sending a complaint and supporting documents by post. It is possible to discern from this page that there is a procedure, but also that it hasn't been given any love by those in power since the month before George W. Bush was elected president. That being said, it's the official way, and if you follow the official procedure and nothing happens, you do at least have grounds for complaint or legal action.

America is the land of Free Enterprise (so we're told, but not in the same way as Hong Kong or Dubai) and an entrepreneur has realized that desperate American citizens, their lives threatened by gangsters and corrupt policemen, even corrupt FBI and DEA agents, are looking for much more than a ten year old webpage telling them to write a letter. He has duly created something that looks just like the desperate people are hoping to find, see this link here!

Glossy, friendly, helpful, professional -and completely and utterly bogus. This is the welcoming portal of what amounts to an advance fee fraud at best, and blackmail and stalking at worst. For the would-be complainants, it is the equivalent of those businesses that offer to get your screenplay adopted by a major production company for £25,000 "development seed capital" or those "agencies" that will kickstart your pretty daughter's modeling career by compiling and distributing a "portfolio" for an advance fee somewhere between £250 and £800.

For any corrupt policeman or Federal Agent that the site's owner manages to identify from the complaint, this is the portal to help or hell, depending on how vulnerable they prove to be. If they are in a strong position and backed by frightening people, they will be tipped off about the complaint, and given all the complainant's personal details, gratis or for a very modest fee. If the corrupt officer or agent happens to be out on a limb, though, they will be blackmailed for everything they have, to the point where they might even wish they'd been brought to justice and put in jail.

This link is to a site set up to collate and air the woes of those would-be complainants, who have had their legitimate cases against corrupt law enforcement officials hijacked, their remaining wealth leached away, their phones bugged, their computers hacked -and everything they said about the corrupt officials -and all their private details- communicated directly to those they were trying to complain about. The site at http://policeabuse.com/ is utterly bogus, a mantrap, designed to bleed the victim white and to take perverse revenge against them by betraying them to their persecutors. It has been made possible by the fact that Federal officials and politicians have completely sidelined the issue of police and FBI corruption for a decade, till all the official avenues of redress are choked with dust and a whole new field of criminal endeavour has sprung up exploiting this.

For the record, policeabuse.com connects to the "Police Complaints Centre" website, which is not an official organization, and, though all its addresses and phone numbers give the impression of it being in Washington DC, the phones are answered (eventually), mail opened and cheques cashed, in Florida, by an unlicensed private investigator. The only honest way to describe a private investigator who cannot get licensed, even in Florida, is a conman.

So, what should people do about corrupt police in America?

Well, if you're a victim, steer clear of the policeabuse.com site, and anything else like it. The real thing is dismal and boring, the con sites are glossy, inviting, and just what you are desperately hoping to see. Look at the official DoJ webpage again, and try your best with the procedure there. You cannot complain about the procedure not working if you don't try, and if you do try and nothing is done immediately, at least your complaint will still be in the system when public pressure forces the politicians to shake the dust off it and make it work again. Also, see below, for another way to put American organised crime under pressure.

If you are not a victim, it's your public duty to bend the ear of your elected representatives on behalf of your fellow citizens who are victims of police corruption and misconduct. Until they either take effective action or their ears bleed, poor things. Make your Congressman and Senator look at the official page for reporting corruption and at the conpage for fleecing anyone who is trying to be a good citizen and report corruption. Make them ashamed that this is happening!

Meanwhile, there is another way.
Very little organised crime in America completely lacks an international dimension, and no matter how much corruption and indolence are choking America's response, any intelligence on large-scale criminal dealings and connections will be read with interest if communicated to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Pretty much regardless of what country is involved, because most of the world's money-laundering crosses one British jurisdiction or another at some point in its journey. If you've got something to say about drugs, arms, money or trafficked persons being moved around, say it there.

It is also worth knowing the following:
Any item of criminal intelligence placed on the UK's police national computer, the computers of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, or even MI5, has to be accompanied by a risk statement, which helps determine who can be allowed to see that intelligence and who cannot. Therefore, when reporting anything, even if you're doing it anonymously, and you know about a risk involved, say what the risk is. (This rectifies a major failing of most American criminal intelligence, and indeed, military intelligence, handling.) If you report criminal X, and you know that policeman Y is in his pocket, say that there is a risk if policeman Y knows that criminal X has been reported. And so on. Just list the risks. You're making it easier for the officer who reads your information to put that information on the system in the proper way.

And the HMRC page does allow you to leave information via the internet, on a secure server, that is outside all American jurisdiction and untouchable by corrupt American officials, whether they are in the Baldwin County Sheriff's Department, or the White House. It's not appropriate for everything, but it'll be interested in a lot of stuff and it's a start.

The official, but very long unmaintained, DOJ page on reporting police corruption, on the link above, has recently had all its content removed, although the link isn't totally dead.
This is probably a good thing, because it looks as if it were hacked several years ago, to include links to the bogus confidence trickster's site. A serious criminal offence was committed by whoever did that, although the DOJ was negligent in that it doesn't appear to have checked its own page between the last month of the Clinton Administration and the publication of this post, a decade later. It is unknown how many people have been conned in the meantime, or precisely when the DoJ page was hacked to include official-looking links to an entirely bogus site. Probably, some time after it became obvious to the conmen that nobody in the DoJ was maintaining the page.

However, the number "three hundred" tends to crop up in other cases involving pathological liars who are keeping a number of victims on a string, and it may be that this is the maximum number they can keep track of and string along at any one time. Scams with larger numbers of victims are done on a "fire and forget" basis.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Leader of Stalking Gangs is Not Always the Most Prominent Member

Just a link, really, to an article about Sarah Whitehead. Anyone who saw this group's own material and listened to its oral tradition, would have believed that Greg Avery and his (second) wife, Natasha, were the kingpins. They were jailed, everything carried on as before.

Let's just wait and see if it all really stops now that Sarah Whitehead has joined them inside. If it doesn't, then perhaps the police need to look for someone canny enough not to visit the frontline activists at all.

Someone more like Ronnie Lee, John Curtin, Andrew Mann, or Paul Richardson, perhaps?

David Kelly, No Drugs Overdose

An expert has done what the Hutton Inquiry and Home Office Pathologist very glaringly did not do, and calculated how much co-proxamol painkiller Dr Kelly had actually absorbed before he died: approximately two tablets, a normal therapeutic dose.

There is also a strong dislocation between a recently-released pathologist's report, claiming several "hesitation" wounds to his wrist, and the witnesses who found and first attended the body, including two very experienced paramedics, who did not mention multiple wounds and who all dispute that there was much blood spilt at the scene. The report filed by the paramedics is missing: Thames Valley Police requested that the Ambulance Trust send it to them, which they did, and now Thames Valley Police claim that it never arrived.

There still needs to be a proper inquest, to evaluate the glaring difference between the conclusions and observations of official witnesses and expert ones, especially the experts who actually saw the body as it was when discovered.

It's beginning to look as if the scene was being dressed a little more each time anyone turned their back, because the searchers who found the body reported it in a different posture and position from the first policemen and paramedics, and they in turn didn't see the multiple wounds and masses of blood that the pathologist saw a while later, when he examined the body in situ prior to authorizing its removal.

If this was a "text-book case" of suicide, was someone in the woods, with a place-marked textbook, popping out of the trees as people came and went, calmly making sure that the evidence was going to tick all the boxes?

Sounds absurd, yes, but there's not merely a lot of contradictions between successive witnesses: there is a clear and steady progression in all their testimonies, from an ambiguous scene and body, that might have represented murder or even natural death, to one that was "textbook suicide."

It's that progression that seems most peculiar to Medawar. It needs an inquest, with a jury, and most importantly, cross-examination of witnesses under oath, to shake out what they really saw from what they were expected to say.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Judit Nadal, Another of Britain's Experts Falls.

Dr Judit Nadal, who was leading some very important biochemical research at Imperial College, London, has been killed in a car crash. Although news reports make much of the frailty of the "G Wiz" electric car that she was driving (more on that below), it doesn't look as if the other vehicle can possibly have been driven at a speed, or in a fashion, that was legal for that urban road, approaching a junction. So, the police investigation really serves to determine exactly how unlawful her death was; it almost certainly was not an accident unadulterated by criminal action, though it remains to be seen if there was any element of aggression in it, targeted or otherwise. (There are groups in the UK who constantly threaten, plot and occasionally even manage to execute, deliberate harm to researchers in almost any sort of biomedical discipline. Some of them are up for sentencing at Winchester Crown Court this very week.)

But one way or the other, Britain loses an awful lot of its best experts, scientists, economists and, yes, bankers, and yet the only members of society to merit special protection and care, seem to be politicians and "celebrities", some of whom, Peter Doherty, for example, are far more likely to commit violent crime than be a victim of it. More than a dozen armed men guard Antony Charles Lynton Blair (a former prime minister) twenty-four hours a day, lest he strike his foot against a stone. Can't we employ a handful to see our best scientific brains safely home at the end of the working day? When it comes to their relative value to our society, there's no contest at all between Dr Nadal's research and Mr Blair's endless self promotion and "fundraising".

As for the ability of the G Wiz car to withstand a high speed collision:
The problem is not that the G Wiz is very light: so is a Formula One Racing Car, and the drivers of those walk, however unsteadily, away from some quite horrendous crashes. No, the problem with the G Wiz is that the battery pack weighs more than the rest of the car put together, and it forms an immensely strong and incompressible cell just behind the driver's seat.

This means that there's a huge concentration of inertia, and strength, just behind the driver's spine. So any high energy collision sends the rest of the car flying, while the battery pack has the inertia to stay put, cutting the car neatly in half, close to the driver's spine.

Very lightweight electric vehicles may never be especially safe until battery technology, whether nickel-hydride, lithium, or more exotic, such as poly-acetylene, gives way to super-capacitor technology, as being developed at the Universities of Cranfield and Cambridge, that can be integrated into the whole structure of the vehicle. Then, in the absence of any built-in inertial chopping block, it should be possible to build an affordable electric car with crash-worthiness as good, if not better, than a Formula One Racing Car. The power storage device would add strength, rather than provide an instant mechanism for compromising it. You would have a car that bounced, not one that sliced easily in half, executing its occupants.

Inquest has now been held, and some fairly shallow conclusions drawn abotu what is wrong with the Gee Whiz car. See new post on this subject.
Medawar has ntoiced that most reader searches for "Judit Nadal" are taking them to this post and not the latest one, for whatever reason.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Beauty Behind the Hedgerow

For once, an echo of Richard Jefferies rather than George Orwell.
The photograph is of a wild rose (or "Dog Rose") in an English rural hedgerow. It's not a rare thing, nobody specially planted it and it might one day be hacked back by a tractor-mounted hedge flail or make a meal for a Roe Deer. (NB: Given the choice, Roe Deer will take carefully bred and nurtured garden roses over wild ones, every time.)

It is, however, a little bit of beauty, sitting there waiting to be noticed. But this kind of thing is only noticed by those with an interest in the world as it is, the world around them, what's really there. People blinded by ideology, greed, material things, fear and aggression, can pass this kind of ordinary beauty by a million times and never notice once. That's not the only thing they never notice, either.

Those who cannot perceive plain, ordinary beauty in the world around them, are usually quite incapable of perceiving ugliness, especially in their own actions. Those who are not interested in what might behind the hedgerow, or further down the lane, cannot be custodians of lane and hedgerow. If they are disinterested, they have no stake in England.

Some extreme right groups have latched onto June Tabor's rendition of the alternative national anthem, "A Place Called England", which proves Medawar's argument twice over, because not only does that song define the English as "anyone who loves the English Earth" but they used the song, completely oblivious, never noticing that line or thinking about what it meant. They see and see, but cannot perceive.

The stunning, all pervading absence of perception of what England is, what matters about it, what it stands for, disqualifies the British National Party and the English Defence League from any claim to be English other than by the limited virtue of a dog-eared birth certificate for some members.

But if we are to disqualify from Englishness, anyone who is ignorant and unperceptive of what matters about this place, huge swathes of our mainstream politicians are out on their ear, too.

Antony Charles Lynton Blair, who isn't even legally entitled to the dog-eared birth certificate, having been born in Scotland. This was no shame, but it's not what he told the electors in his constituency and certainly not what his parents told the Durham Cathedral Chorister's School when they got him his place. Many a proud Scotsman has loved England more than Blair does, so why the very peculiar lie?

David Cameron, so ignorant of England that he thought that Great Britain was America's junior partner in the fight against NAZIsm in 1940 (when America's great and good were debating which side they were on, with a near-majority including Henry Ford and Joe Kennedy in favour of siding with Hitler).

William Hague and George Osborne, who think that if we have a sufficiently unfastidious foreign policy, we need spend little or nothing on defence.

Nick Clegg, whose hope and ambition is that England one day will become "A little bit of Spain or France", just like one of Elizabeth the First's less successful advisors.

They are not English, or capable of becoming English, anymore than the shaven-headed thugs of the BNP and EDL are. They are a foreign power, utterly alien in heart and mind to this country.

Everyone who has ever taken a quiet thrill in looking behind the hedge to see what's there, has already come to loathe Antony Charles Lynton Blair and all his works. Sooner or later, these others will give them equal cause for loathing, because they just cannot perceive what it is about this country that we value.

Elizabeth the First inherited a kingdom brought to the brink of ruin by her sister's ideology and extreme violence against free speech and tolerance, the life-blood of the country.
Rather than bend with the many fierce winds of European politics, which was the only course of action the materialists were able to perceive, she stood against them, and risked her own life and that of the nation to stand against what she knew was wrong and for what she believed to be right. She did not lead the nation to ruin by this reckless stubbornness, her reign became known as the golden age. She increased the military power of the realm, not to bully the world, but simply so that nobody could force her to do wrong.

If you glance behind the hedgerow, out of interest to see what's there, you are, or can be, English. If you look beyond the hedge only to dream how you can impose, by force, some memorial to yourself upon the landscape, you cannot be, however cunningly Mummy and Daddy spoke to the Durham registrar to persuade him to make a false entry.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Obvious, The Smear and the Ecological Evidence

Contrast today's article in The Daily Telegraph about the unexplained death of Gareth Williams, with this one, in the Mail on Sunday. The former dares to face the possibility that Mr Williams was murdered by a foreign government (or a drugs cartel?) the latter tries to concoct a way in which the death could have been both innocent and grossly demeaning at the same time.

The Mail article is rather odd, but the "death by auto-eroticism" line has been peddled before, not only with regard to the MP Stephen Milligan and Jonathan Moyles, the air defence expert, but also with the veteran intelligence courier, James Rusbridger, who publicly questioned this as a cause of Mr Moyle's death, only to be found dead in grossly demeaning circumstances himself. Mr Moyles definitely was murdered, and Mr Rusbridger might well have been, because there were unexplained movements of strangers to and from his (extremely remote) cottage shortly before his body was found.

We are also required to believe that one of the score of sonar experts to die during the Stingray and Spearfish torpedo programmes, committed suicide by placing a noose around his neck, with the other end of the rope tied to a tree, sitting in his car and driving it at speed towards the Avon Gorge. Some of his colleagues supposedly committed suicide nearby in cars soaked in petrol, and so on and so on. Spectacular, but all of them rather easily murder, too.

The article on Mr Rusbridger's death is very, very pertinent to the death of Gareth Williams, even though Mr Williams was an unusually young university student at the time, because Mr Rusbridger had been publicly concerned about the birth of the GSM-tapping technology which Mr Williams was to perfect a generation later.Link

And it's an apposite coincidence that all of these issues should revisit the headlines again when the new Downing Street Director of Communications, Mr Andrew Coulson, is under investigation by both police and parliamentary committees over mobile phone hacking, carried out when he was the editor of the News of the World and thus an employee of Mr Rupert Murdoch.

The convergence of these two stories tells us that phone tapping technology is one thing, but what really matters is who uses it, and whether they do so with good or evil intent. Nobody is suggesting that Mr Coulson was trying to save the world, although Mr Williams evidently was.

Meanwhile, the "official" line, that Dr David Kelly bled to death from a small wound, now depends on the concept that all the blood soaked into the ground before experienced paramedics arrived at the scene and immediately remarked on the absence of blood and other things which seemed strange to them, such as the water bottle by Dr Kelly's hand being neatly upright. In their experience, dying people make involuntary movements and knock nearby objects over.

It's been seven years. If several pints of human blood soaked into the ground from a single wound, then the soil at the spot where Dr Kelly's body was found, will display a quite different mineral and nutrient balance to a soil sample taken from under any neighbouring tree. (To eliminate variables, on the equivalent side, getting pretty much the same amount of sun and rain, as this was on the edge of reasonably dense woodland.) If there is no appreciable difference between the two samples, it's extremely unlikely that pints of blood entered the ground and decomposed at that spot. The soil in and around Roman Gladiatorial Arenas still shows the nutritional benefit of all the spilt blood, after eighteen centuries.

If the official explanation were true, Medawar would expect to see differences in ground level herbiage each spring by now. If it's too dark for wildflowers, even in the spring when the woodland canopy is still open, then, by definition, the soil will be part of an underground fungal network extending across the woodland (always the case with established broad-leaved woodland in England.) The underground threads of fungi will reflect what happened. If there's enough light for grass to grow, it will be lusher, greener and probably broader-bladed than other grass getting the same amount of sun nearby.

"The Earth shall reveal the blood shed upon her face, and make all murders plain." Especially if they happened somewhere else.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Another Expert Falls

An awful lot of what has been published in the press about the murder of Gareth Williams, has not been theory, speculation or valid comment: it has been a downright lie, utterly unfounded in any fact. Much has been suggested, by "intelligence sources" to journalists who really ought to have known better than to believe, still less print, most of it.

Medawar will ignore anything to do with Mr Williams' personal life, still less his hypothetical sex life, as irrelevant, and the suggestion that he "might have been suicidal" is a vicious mockery in light of the fact that his body was found locked inside a large sports holdall, in a bath, filled with an unknown fluid. Although libel and slander actions cannot be undertaken on behalf of the deceased, any attempt to conceal or alter the circumstances in which a body has been found, prior to a coroner's jury returning a verdict, can be prosecuted as perverting the course of justice.

This doesn't mean that the case cannot be discussed (if criminal charges were laid, that might be a different matter) -and it's unlikely that anyone could be prosecuted for speculation. But "security sources" have told the press, with the intention of their telling the public, things which they know to be untrue, with the deliberate intention of changing how the circumstances of Mr Williams's death will be perceived, by press, public and any jury, as yet to be empaneled. The sources in question most definitely can be prosecuted for that, and jailed for a significant amount of time.

Here, then, is Medawar's analysis, sticking strictly to well tested facts from the public domain, and what has been said by the police investigating the case, rather than any third party.

Gareth Williams was a mathematician and encryption expert, working for MI6 and GCHQ, to intercept and analyse the communications of some of the world's most dangerous governments, criminal organisations and individuals. The probability that he might be murdered for any personal reason is certainly no higher than that for any other member of the public, and given that he was of above average intelligence, extremely self-disciplined, and apparently content with wholesome pleasures such as cycling in competition and, more recreationally, with his father, the probability that he would be murdered for any reason to do with his personal life is almost certainly lower than average. Most ordinary citizens in the UK don't get murdered in their whole lives, not even once.

It may be a truism (but not rigorously true) that when the average citizen is murdered, it's something to do with their personal life, but Mr Williams was not an average citizen in that respect. In fact, even most personal murders have something to do with the victim's work, because that's such a large part of what the person does.

The only semi-rational reason for supposing that there might be something "personal" about the murder of Mr Williams, would be if there was something extreme about the level of cruelty involved in his death. But serial killers can be cruel, too -and it's an unfounded myth that professional killers are not. Sometimes, extreme cruelty may be part of the client's specification for the murder, in which case third party sadism will be applied with clinical efficiency, as in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, using roughly $3M worth of industrial polonium. The killers may have been professionals, but the client's specification was both psychotically cruel and financially extravagant.

Professionals may also apply extreme cruelty because the reason they became professional killers in the first place, was that they had psychotic tendencies which could safely be given full rein. It's another myth that such people would somehow never be employed by an intelligence agency: psychotic sadists are almost always pathological liars and they can get in anywhere, social or professional. Indeed, if intelligence agencies are selecting candidates for their skill in infiltration, as well as physical violence, the odds that they will find themselves selecting pathological liars, who tend strongly towards sadism, are pretty high.

What was particularly sadistic about this murder?

The published facts, suggest three possible ways in which Mr Williams might actually have died, all of which would have been painful and distressing:

1/ He was found packed into a sports holdall, which was padlocked shut. No need, other than superstition, to padlock a man who is already dead. Even a large sports holdall, would not allow a man of his stature much room to breathe, and it's not just a question of whether the bag would allow air in or not. Suffocation from excess carbon dioxide and insufficient oxygen isn't pleasant, but it's not agonising. But suffocation because one is forced into, and kept in, a position where it takes inordinate effort just to move the chest far enough to respire a bit less than enough air to keep on living, is tantamount to crucifixion: the posture may be compressed rather than extended, but one dies slowly, in the same way. The pathology would be very similar to a classic crucifixion. Medawar believes that this resembles methods of execution in some ancient cultures: more research is needed, though.

2/ When found by the police, the body in the bag was immersed in "fluid" so that it is possible that Mr Williams drowned, inside the bag. He might have been unconscious due to some sedative or muscle relaxant to get him into the bag, but the padlock, again, suggests that he was then expected to regain consciousness. This would also mean that any drug or poison would be fully metabolised before death actually occurred. This factor might be overplayed: the murderer has no particular need to fear identification of the drug unless it corroborates some other link to the killing. Many of the likely candidates are widely available and would hardly narrow down the field of suspects. Whatever killed him, he was expected to be conscious when it happened, and the bag would ensure that he could struggle much more than if he had been bound, perhaps making an entertaining video for the murderer's client, but that struggle would have been futile.

3/ If the "fluid" was intended, as police suggest, to accelerate the decay of Mr Williams' body, then it is likely that it was scalding hot when he was first put into it. (More on this below.) It may also have been kept hot, or warm, if the bath was a luxury model, so equipped, or if the murderers had recourse to portable immersion heaters, available for a variety of catering and animal husbandry applications. Scalding is not a gentle way to go, and again, classic methods of execution spring to mind.

Unless the client or commissioning party was physically present, the existence of video of Mr Williams' last moments, or quite possibly, last few hours, is a very good bet.

What Might the "Fluid" Have Been?

A grown man, immersed, in a bath. This requires rather more fluid than another man could easily carry up to a top floor flat, and more than even a team of men could carry without attracting some attention. So, even if the fluid was "not water" then either it was water based, or diluted with water from bathroom taps (and the hot tap is likely) -or some considerable effort or artifice was used to get fifteen gallons or quite possibly more of it, all the way up to the flat. It is hard to be exact when estimating how much fluid was involved, but an imperial gallon of water weighs ten pounds.

The police say that the fluid appeared to accelerate decay, they do not say that it was a strong organic solvent, an acid, or a strong alkali. (In the course of a week, these might have found their way through the bath, or the plumbing, into the flat below. An organic solvent might also have evaporated and caused a toxic fume hazard, or an almighty explosion. ) The probable candidate is surprising: biological detergent for a washing machine. A saturated solution (as much dissolved in water as will dissolve) of biological detergent, will, by enzyme action, completely strip flesh from bone on a human corpse in a week to ten days, but only if the solution is kept at something like blood heat (thirty-five to forty degrees centigrade) for several days. Whether and how this could be done, would depend on what sort of a bath it was and whether the murderers were able to operate in the flat for some time after the murder, perhaps revisiting it to remove any heating.

One hesitates to hand Fleet Street a catch phrase, but "Persil Bath Murder" probably does describe what was done.

Who Else From the Intelligence Community Was Murdered Around the Same Time?

GRU General Yuri Ivanov disappeared several days before Mr Williams appears to have died (the "fluid" means that the police don't know exactly when this was) and his dead body was discovered on a beach and reported to the Turkish police around the 15th of August. It took several days for the General's body to be identified: he had last been seen alive in Syria in the first week of August (?no-one outside Syria seems completely sure of the date?) having inspected a Russian naval base being built in that country and, reportedly, being on his way to meet his colleagues in Syrian intelligence later in the day. It seems most likely that General Ivanov died on the day he disappeared, or soon after, and his body drifted to Turkey, propelled only by wind and tide. Mr Williams may have died at more or less the same time that the General's body was found, but it's also possible that he died several days later and that the advanced state of decay was the result of the "fluid" and what may have been an optimal temperature for its enzymatic action.

Mr Williams did apparently tell his superiors that he was being followed, before he took leave to cover his intended move from London back to Cheltenham. There's no information about his actually travelling to Cheltenham in this period, but it would be strange not to, unless his London flat contained almost no possessions that needed to be transferred back to his Cheltenham flat. Indeed, sorting out his domestic arrangement for the move seems to be the purpose of the period of leave that he took. If there was no trip to Cheltenham, then it may be that his movements were already constrained by some factor, several days before his apparent time of death. This means that any timeline linking Mr Williams and General Ivanov, must start from the date the General was first missed by the GRU, rather than the date his body was found by the Turks, who didn't know who it was for another couple of weeks. The GRU may have known that he was dead, long before they knew where his body was, though.

It is possible that one death was retaliation for the other, but it's also possible that both men were targeted by some third party, or that it was just a bad month for top intelligence experts. Although General Ivanov seems to have been a much more brutal man than Mr Williams, he does seem to have been the top expert in what he did. In fact, he was the top expert in the world in the sort of thing that was done to Mr Williams. This could link them in four ways:

1/ The General might have ordered the murder of Mr Williams, or someone in MI6 or the CIA might have thought so, strongly enough to retaliate.

2/ Mr Williams may have been killed as retaliation for the murder of the General, the timelines are not clear enough to say which, if either.

3/ Someone planning to murder General Ivanov, may have feared that Mr Williams, with unknown technology and expertise at his disposal, could determine who had done it, which wouldn't be healthy for the murderer and his client if this was ever communicated to the GRU, FSB or SVR. Equally, General Ivanov must have known a lot about the world's best professional killers, and anyone planning to murder Mr Williams, might have thought that the General was the man most likely to suss them.

4/ Both of them independently posed a danger, through their differing expertise, to the same third party, and that the coincidence of timing of both murders, is due to that third party being about to make a move that they cannot afford to have compromised before D-day. This may not be the most likely possibility of the four, but, for obvious reasons, it's the one that requires the most urgent attention from the authorities in both London and Moscow.

Possible Suspects

Russian Intelligence and Security services are always suspect when someone valuable to the British Intelligence Community is found not to be alive anymore. Either for immediate operational reasons, or something more subtle.

The "something more subtle" is that, for at least three decades past, significant numbers of leading experts from or in the United Kingdom have died in strange or suspicious circumstances. Sometimes, as in the case of Timothy Hampton, David Kelly and no less than twenty-five people who worked on the Stingray and Spearfish torpedo projects, we're supposed to believe it's all suicide, sometimes, as in the case of Jonathan Moyles, we're supposed to believe in a tragic auto-erotic suffocation accident.

Mr Moyles is usually described by the press as an investigative journalist, and that's what he was doing when he died. However, as a post-graduate research student, sponsored by the MoD, he wrote a thesis "Soviet Air Attack on the United Kingdom" which basically proved, in excruciating detail, that UK air defences (since cut by about two thirds, about to be cut again) would only survive for a matter of hours against a sustained onslaught. Since nobody else had ever researched the subject as thoroughly and unemotionally as Mr Moyles, he was in fact the pre-eminent expert on UK air defences and most especially how they needed to be improved.

The net effect of all these deaths, however they happened, is that the United Kingdom is weaker for the loss of its best minds, and that the UK government, as a rule composed of people with no hard technical knowledge of any kind whatsoever, has no genuinely expert advice on which to base major decisions, and is at the mercy of vested interests offering partial advice, and predatory foreign powers.

In the past year, it has emerged that France, too, is losing swarms of experts in the same way, especially in telecommunications at the moment. Though, if the UK pattern is repeated, the cull of French experts will wander from one technical field to another as the party ordering the killings, literally turns the page. These people are not being killed for any specific thing they know, or anything they have done: they are being killed to make their countries weaker in the face of what someone else intends to do. They don't have to kill every expert in most fields, just weed out some of the best ones.

If the killings are linked to something more specific, and both Mr Williams and General Ivanov were killed because of the same thing, then it would have to be something that would be compromised by both GRU and Russian military involvement in Syria, and by the highly advanced signals interception technology being developed by Mr Williams and the MI6/GCHQ "cell" that he was part of, or perhaps leading. An invasion of Syria, by a third party, might fit the bill.

If Mr Williams was killed for something specific, rather just to reduce the pool of expertise available to the British as a nation, and this had nothing to do with General Ivanov, then the party that has actually suffered most damage at the hands of British code-breakers in the past year or two, are the American (North and South) Cocaine-trafficking cartels. Recent successes by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, have involved officers walking into factories in West Africa with local police, pointing out exactly where false walls are concealing hidden rooms, which turn out to be full of cocaine, or computers involved with the multi-million dollars transactions essential to the trade. This is dramatic evidence that SOCA and HMRC know everything that the druggies say to each other, and can probably now backtrack on what they said a decade ago, too.

Yes, the Taliban are losing commanders because of British code-breaking, but this is something they are used to and there is no obvious way that the Taliban would blame a single person for this, and be able to identify him and find his address. One would expect any Taliban murder of a leading intelligence officer to be somewhat publicised by them, too.

The drugs cartels, though, probably know anything that American Intelligence agencies know. It's a staple Hollywood and airport thriller scenario, that renegade (or loyal, depends how paranoid the story is) agents run drugs and are involved with the cartels. What actually seems to happen and is quite evident, in fact, is that some ex-CIA agents are busy developing commercial and residential property in the very parts of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Kentucky, where the cartels and their US distributors, are buying commercial and residential property in order to launder and invest their profits. This makes it almost impossible for the former federal agents, and they may have FBI and Homeland Security people onboard as well as CIA, to be charged with any crime or conspiracy. They are building houses for sale, anyone can buy them. It's not their fault if the druggies are the only ones who can afford to do so at the moment! If a non-druggie has the money, they won't hesitate to sell him a condo or a mansion. But on balance, 80% of their profits are due to the drug-fueled property boom, in states whose real economies are weakened and made to totter by the same drugs racket.

These people may very well have been able to identify Mr Williams, who seems to have travelled to visit the NSA at Fort Meade around four times a year on average. The flat he was killed in, belongs to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, and that's long been a favourite banking spot for the druggies and their attendant/dependent property developers.

It is possible to see how ex-CIA agents with contacts still active in US Intelligence and a compelling financial interest in the success of the cocaine trade, could have identified Mr Williams as a threat, or as the cause of grief and loss they had already suffered, and tracked him down. Whereas it's stretching credulity to the limit to suggest the Taliban or other Islamist terrorists doing the same.

The Iranian Intelligence services might have been able to do it, but it's not obvious that they ever had any reason to single Mr Williams out as an individual, or felt threatened by his work.

So the suspects have to boil down to:

1/ The Russians, for a variety of possible reasons.

2/ Someone planning to invade Syria, fairly imminently, or something very similar to that.

3/ Former American Intelligence Officers and Federal Agents who are profiting, directly or more probably indirectly, through property transactions, from the cocaine trafficking rackets which SOCA and HMRC have been busting with considerable help from GCHQ code-breakers.

Police now say:
Gareth Williams was seen out and about until the 15th of August. (Day before General Ivanov's body was found, but still some time before the Turkish Police knew who it was.)

He had been to the USA, on Holiday, up to the 11th of August. (This explains why no trip to Cheltenham. He apparently had an official second passport in a different name to ensure his personal safety when travelling.)

It begins to look more and more as if whatever comprised his personal security, happened from the United States end.

The police spokesman says he was found in an empty bath, the first officer on the scene reportedly said the bath was filled with fluid. Baths have plugs: this discrepancy may well sort itself out in the wash.

A man and woman, of "Mediterranean" appearance were seen to enter his flat some weeks before his murder. NB: this description often applies to any tanned or olive-skinned person with straight black hair and it mustn't be taken as a precise geographical origin. It could easily mean a South American person, given that many Argentinians have Italian (as well as Spanish) ancestors and many Brazilians have Portuguese ancestors.

When police entered the flat, they got the lettings agent to come with a spare key, so talk of iris recognition systems are far fetched. This means, though, that it's possible that someone could have copied the agent's key. If someone had been in while he was away before, they might have been able to enter while he was asleep and drug or overpower him. Given his physical strength, this might have been the only viable plan.

Nothing of substance in the above article is really changed by this, except that it's clearer why, if he was planning to move back to Cheltenham, he hadn't actually been there earlier in his leave.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The New Jackals: Identity Farmers

A generation ago, Frederick Forsyth's fictional assassin, The Jackal, showed the world how easy it was, in the sixties and seventies, to obtain passports and open bank accounts in the name of someone who had died in infancy. These days, it is unlikely that an identity obtained by the methods in that novel would stand scrutiny for very long, although it might still get someone through an airport on a one-way trip, or allow them to fleece a bank or supplier of a few thousand pounds.

Even in the nineteen sixties, when information technology was in its infancy, The Jackal's methods wouldn't have produced an identity that would stand up to any serious cross checking. If a person was vetted to work on a military installation, or even a County Court (in England, at any rate) it would soon be discovered that the birth certificate the identity was based on, matched a death certificate, somewhere, or that there was a gap or discontinuity in the person's documented history. Indeed, supplying equipment to carry out this kind of check used to help secure the computing businesses of both ICL and Ferranti, in the time before we heard of Microsoft.

The change that more advanced, and affordable, information technology has wrought on the false identity racket, is that false identities for many everyday criminal purposes need to be better crafted than those which the SOE created for agents infiltrating Nazi-occupied Europe. The modern criminal needs a false identity to match the standards of those produced by the GRU and KGB during the height of the cold war, but organised crime is big business and the number of such "legends" that a gang will consume is greater than that which the KGB was able to crank out, back in the day.

A cold war legend would probably be based on someone who either wasn't dead, or wasn't known to be dead by the country which issued their birth certificate. British subjects born outside the UK would be one favourite, UK-born globe-trotting adventurers another. If a US passport was required, things might be easier because two thirds of the American population never applies for one. Pick someone who is unlikely to travel abroad, but who now lives in a different State to where they were born, clone their identity, fill in the forms.

But it is becoming less and less possible to be sure that an ordinary US citizen won't suddenly apply for passport in their own name, which you may have quietly borrowed, and in the current security climate it is guaranteed that no-one will see this as an innocent mix up or other bureaucratic anomaly. Alarm bells will ring the moment the same individual appears to be in two places at once, and different national immigration computers talk to each other about this the whole time.

Another twist is required: the false identity must be a true identity, of someone who is not dead or whose death is a total secret (or utterly unnoticed) and that individual's life must be known in intimate detail by the gang exploiting their identity. The client using the identity must be assured that there is a very low risk that his alter-ego will do something untoward that reveals the theft, and he will need a guarantee that he will hear about it before the local police if this does happen or looks as if it might be about to happen. The client's use of the identity must also blend pretty seamlessly with the real person's use of their own persona.

None of this can be achieved merely with an unwitting owner of the real identity. They must be controlled and monitored, for a period of time before their identity is stolen, and for as long as it is being used, and probably for long enough thereafter for any trail to grow stone cold. Control is necessary, because whilst the criminals need the real person to be responsible for a normal level of traceable activity up to the point where the client starts to use their identity, the real person must then be stopped from travelling abroad, or applying for a mortgage, whilst their identity is in use.

When it was a case of the KGB needing a couple of dozen such identities, it was not impossible that the real people could be abducted, or murdered and their bodies disposed of without trace, but this would be fraught with difficulties, and cost, if done on the scale required by modern crime. Unless someone is homeless and living rough, it is actually quite difficult to "disappear" them without someone trying to report them as missing. But where people who are already homeless are concerned, it can be hell's own job establishing what their true identity is, before it can be stolen! And then it would be a challenge to create a suitable legend to explain their sudden rise from sleeping under Hammersmith Arches to a seat in business class.

However, if there is a market for false economies on an industrial scale, there is bound to be an industrial-scale solution, and it goes somewhat as follows:

Existing criminal networks are utilised: this process needs to be invisible if it can be, mistaken for something else if it is detected. It cannot be just any criminal network: it must be one that can be controlled with precision and authority. Drugs, or the harder side of the sex industry, means a dependence on ongoing supplies of dope or trafficked girls from international gangs. Internet banking fraud means a dependence on sources of "lists" of data. Any criminal network that's dependent on ongoing supplies from territory outside their control, can be controlled with some authority by whoever sources those supplies. In some countries, security and intelligence services may resort to the same basic methods as organised crime, in which case policemen and other officials will be found performing the same role as minor local gangsters. In the United States, expect to find both involved together.

People will be selected to have their identities used. This process is very much not to their benefit, it can be Hell on Earth, so there will always be an element of malice or revenge in the choices: it might work better if it were random, but it's always going to be malicious.

Those victims must first be studied: if the victim notices this at all, and most will not, it will resemble stalking by an unknown lunatic, or someone in petty authority, rather than a great conspiracy.

A proportion of the victims who are studied, will be selected for preparation: this basically consists of making it difficult for them to do anything that would spoil exploitation of their identity. Nearly all of the things they could do, which would create problems for someone else using their authority, require money. So, sabotage of career and finances are a prerequisite of anyone becoming a steer on the identity farm.

It is important that no-one really notices when the victim's difficulties become extreme. So their social circle needs to be whittled down as much as possible, and relatives driven off to a distance. But ties must not be broken so abruptly that anyone goes to the police, asking for a well-being check on the victim!

This has to be done with patience, and there will be dropouts and failures. Therefore, it has to be done to a large number of victims, that number constantly refreshed, in order to be economically viable. However, the more people who are being harassed and controlled, the fewer criminals or officials it takes per victim to keep all of this on the boil, and the more viable and profitable it becomes.

When the victim's identity is actively being exploited, the pressure on them must either be intense, or their life circumstances must make it all but impossible for them to do any of things which a normal person would do without thinking. One victim of this has likened the experience to the Robin Cook's novel (and Michael Crichton's film) "Coma" in which abductees and people supposedly having died during routine medical procedures, are stored, in a warehouse, in an induced coma, until such time as their organs are required for transplant. It is a telling simile.

Making a victim homeless, rather than starting with a homeless person from the off, is a good way of obtaining an exploitable identity long-term. But homeless people are apt to die, or suffer violence, and no-one can guarantee that their identity won't rise to official attention and clash with whatever scam is being worked by the alter ego.

The victim must go on living an ordinary life, but under paralysing pressure.

The most troubling question is this: what happens when their identity is no longer required, and when there's no ongoing income stream from a criminal client to pay for keeping them under paralysing pressure? Is that the point at which it might even be convenient for that identity to generate a death certificate? Because then, if a search for the criminal who'd exploited that identity did start, investigators would find all the loose ends tied in neat bundle at a graveside, somewhere.

Is there anything that can be done about it?

Well, the United States government requires travellers to that country, to complete a special clearance form on the internet at least 72 hours in advance. They are also going to charge $14 for doing this. But you can do it in advance, and you don't actually have to go to America if you get the clearance. Going through this tiresome procedure is bad enough, and paying $14 to do so sounds like madness. But it might just alert the American authorities to the fact that someone else was travelling on your identity, and if you're the one who cannot travel, and your alter-ego is the one living the life of Riley and breezing through US Immigration and Customs in your name, the bad things will be concentrated on them. And if you are approached by American officials, wherever you might be, that is your chance to say "I think my identity has been, not just stolen, but actively farmed, by criminals or an intelligence agency wanting covert entry to your fine country." They may not react very effectively the first time, but somewhere around the eighth or ninth times, the penny will drop.

Identity farming has another, even more sinister twist:
In the former Yugoslavia, when thousands of people went into mass graves amidst the chaos of civil war, it was normal practice to harvest identity documents from the victims. This wasn't just to stop the bodies being identified: the identities of people who are definitely dead, but whose deaths are undocumented by any lawful authority, have a considerable black market value. Given the connections between Serbian militias and Russian Organised Crime, and between Kosovan Freedom Fighters and Albanian Organised Crime, Medawar thinks that nearly all of the mass killings made a healthy profit. Yes, the UN and EU forensic scientists have identified a lot of the bodies, but it has taken ten years, and who knows what adventures the identities of the murdered had in that time?

Saturday, 31 July 2010

DOS Attacks, one of the Guilty IPs

The following IP seems to be closely associated with denial of service attacks:

Domain Name netvision.net.il ? (Israel)
IP Address 212.143.134.# (NV1378-RIPE)
ISP NetVision
Location Continent : Asia
Country : Israel (Fac ts)
State/Region : Hefa
City : Haifa
Lat/Long : 32.8156, 34.9892 (Map)

Should there now be a DOS attack against blogspot, Google's anti-hacking crew will know exactly where to start looking, as will NETCU and SOCA.

Deepwater Horizon: Medawar's Last Word

Now that it seems as if the "greatest ecological disaster in American history" was largely politically-motivated hype, see link, then one must return to Medawar's comment at the outset of the saga, which was that the real tragedy was the eleven men who died, and that it was amazing that American public and political opinion was outraged about something else.

And it has to be said, that actions by Transocean, particularly turning alarms off to keep things nice and quiet at night, and disabling automatic mechanisms that closed vents to stop explosive gases getting inside inhabited and control modules, will have contributed, hugely, to the death toll. And none of the lessons learned by British authorities from the Piper Alpha disaster, were paid any heed at all either by Transocean or by the American regulating authority, the MMS (see post below!)

And, yes, the governor of Mississippi was completely right to say that the political reaction to the "disaster" was doing more economic harm than the oil spill itself. And it's not just economic damage: the hype, hysteria and witch-hunting has completely degraded America's reputation in the United Kingdom and caused pure rage and fury in other countries where American firms have been the author of huge and genuine disasters, such as Bhopal, from which American culprits have walked, or run, away with the active assistance of the American government.

Richard Silverstein: Censorship by DOS Attack

The following is reproduced from Richard Silverstein's blog, "Tikun Olam" simply because it would appear to be the trigger for a sustained denial of service attack against his site. Reproduction shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of all of Mr Silverstein's views and actions (Lord knows: he might have done all sorts of bad stuff that Medawar doesn't know about.) But DOS attacks, particularly when it seems as if Israeli police computers may have been hacked or infected in order to launch it, are as threatening to modern society as piracy on the High Seas and Cash in Transit Robberies. Medawar hasn't reproduced any of the comments that were on the blog, because it is impossible to assume the commentator's permission and some of them were obscene.

The article was headed by a picture of an alleged Israeli torturer, which was obtained by Mr Silverstein in the pixellated condition you see below. A lot of the embedded links below seem to work now: presumably the URL information got copied across with them? Medawar is a bit surprised, but not complaining!

Identity of Former IDF Torturer Exposed, ‘Captain George’ is Doron Zahavi

doron zahavi captain george

Alleged Arab torturer Doron Zahavi aka 'Captain George' (Haaretz)

Yesterday, I reported here on a Haaretz story about the notorious “Captain George,” an IDF military intelligence interrogator accused in 2004 of sodomizing a Lebanese kidnap victim in order to secure information about the location of IDF officer, Ron Arad. Among the things I wrote was my complaint that Haaretz was protecting the real identity of George even though he no longer served in military intelligence.

With the help of a diligent Israeli researcher, I can now expose George’s real identity. He is Doron Zahavi, currently the Arab affairs liaison for the Jerusalem police. His job, as I noted yesterday, is to direct community relations and liaison efforts between the police and Jerusalem’s Arab residents.

In discussing the parameters of Zahavi’s job, a police spokesperson told Haaretz:

“The adviser must be an accepted and welcome figure in the Arab community, with excellent interpersonal skills – someone they feel they can trust, otherwise he cannot succeed in the job,” a senior police officer said.

doron zahavi exposed

ACRI complaint identifies Doron Zahavi by name

Apparently, Zahavi has performed his job so well he’s garnering rave reviews right and left from his Arab interlocutors. One, Jouad Siam, complained that in a February, 2010 interrogation, Zahavi threatened to destroy his home (Hebrew source) unless he disbanded a Silwan information center Siam had founded to counter the building efforts of settlers in his neigborhood. Here is how the ex-torturer now conducts himself. I’ll let you be the judge whether the leopard has changed his spots:

He [Zahavi] told us we were making problems and we had to close the center. I told him: “I thought we are in a democracy.” This raised the ire of ‘George,’ who said: “We Jews are fools. We treat you too well. I thought you would behave yourself.” ’George’ threatened that he would draw up a demolition order for his home if he refused to close the center.

According to Siam, “The entire conversation was conducted in shouts. He didn’t let me speak. He would ask and answer his own questions [without allowing Siam to respond]. At the end of the discussion, he told me to go home and behave myself.

Last February, the Association for Civil Right in Israel registered a formal complaint against Zahavi for his outburst. Among the claims listed was that Zahavi called Siam a “criminal” and said that the latter would be held responsible for everything that happened in Silwan. The interrogator asked about the source of Siam’s income and told him he would intervene with his boss. At the end of the meeting, Zahavi attempted to enlist Siam as an informant.

The police replied formally to the complaint claiming laughably that Zahavi had merely invited Siam to a “get to know you” meeting in which the police advisor sought to discover what issues particularly troubled the local Arab population. In the course of the meeting, Zahavi felt it necessary to inform his Arab interlocutor about activities in which he was engaged that violated the law. No mention in the police reply how founding an information center was a violation of law.

The publicly available ACRI complaint lists Zahavi’s real name. In that case, why would Haaretz not be able to use it? The whole situation baffles me. At any rate, thank God we’re not bound by any such nonsense and we offer the real Doron Zahavi to the world in all his glory. If a reader has a picture of Zahavi, please let me know.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Minerals Management Service

Although as far as the oil industry is concerned, the Minerals Management Service performs the same safety regulation function in the United States as the Health and Safety Executive does in the United Kingdom, the two bodies are subtly different.

Without wishing to appear too moralistic, inspection and regulation of highly complex oil rigs undertaking drilling operations in very deep ocean waters, requires concentration, persistent attention to detail and good judgment. The consumption of copious quantities of Cocaine and Methamphetamine, albeit provided at no cost to either the inspector or the taxpayer, interferes with all of these mental functions in such a way as to entirely neutralize an inspector's value to industry and the wider society.

It is difficult to entirely suppress the suspicion that some of the blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster lies with the remarkably complete failure of the Federal Government to provide competent regulation of a complex and inherently hazardous industry subjected to strong competitive pressure. In such a business environment, it is much easier for companies to spend money, and more importantly, management time and effort, on safety, if they know that government will do its job and ensure that rivals do the same.

Medawar also has a little prediction: BP's much scorned initial estimate that the costs of the disaster would be somewhere around $3bn, will turn out to be pretty accurate once legal costs are stripped away and one counts only the money actually spent on the physical cleanup and compensation actually received by injured parties. What BP didn't realize, is that in America, for every dollar one pays to an injured party, the legal profession will take nine dollars for itself. And if one attempts to avoid this, by paying money straight out to the injured party so they don't even have to take one to court, an enraged legal profession, many of whose members have political posts and even Senate seats, will simply set up a whole slew of "inquiries" which will eventually cost nine times as much as the compensation paid out without the payment of Shystergelt.

Since Thatcher, successive UK governments have foolishly attempted to run an economy based almost entirely on the banking sector. This hasn't been too successful an idea in practice. America's folly is to try and make the legal profession the backbone of the economy as well as the controlling force in society. It is difficult not to prophesy a certain amount of doom at this point.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Improving Transocean

The UK's Health and Safety Executive has confirmed to Medawar that:

"In the UK Continental Shelf, the operator of a drilling rig has a general duty to control the risk of major accidents and comply with statutory provisions. It is most likely that the stated alarm systems will form part of a duty holders major hazard risk control measures. If these control measures are inhibited, in by-pass, or in silent logging modes during operations with risks of major accidents without other effective measures in place then it is likely they would be in breach of health and safety legislation."

Bad news for Transocean and the company's worldwide policy of turning safety alarms off at night to make things quieter in the control room! Deepwater Horizon had alarms that would automatically close vents to stop explosive gas mixtures penetrating to habitation and control modules of the rig. They turned them off. Mr Obama still thinks that BP is solely to blame for everything.

This link is to Transocean's Improvement Notices on the HSE website. They range from being told to make it possible for people to move around a rig without breaking their necks, to a more serious and pertinent issue regarding their failure to ensure that Blowout Preventers were correctly interacting with their control panels before installing them on the sea bed. (Some of the reported problems with the Deepwater Horizon BOP could have been in the control panel and they'd have looked the same. This is why it's so much better to test it thoroughly while you can still see both ends rather than having to make too many assumptions.)

The range of notices, too, indicates a progression from something major with a risk of wide-ranging catastrophe, to smaller (but potentially lethal to individuals) faults with walkways. This suggests that the regulator was regulating, and that his inspections were thorough and persistent enough to uncover the small details as well as the headline-grabbers. Even when the HSE found a headline-grabbing fault, they still went on looking for little faults as well. It would be a pity if the new Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, were, in his zeal to increase the frequency of oil rig inspections, to inadvertently force the inspectors to be less thorough and persistent.

The whole process, in the UK, is geared towards improvement rather than blame. It is not only more thorough than historical American regulation, but decidedly more constructive, too. Transocean shareholders might also note that they are almost certainly paying less compensation to widows from their North Sea operations than from their Gulf of Mexico operations, which is why only an idiot lobbies and bribes against reasonable regulation.

Meanwhile, it seems that BP, despite being "British", has stemmed the flow of oil in about half the time it took to cap the Ixtoc I oilspill which was in significantly shallower water.

The flow of oil continues, however, as an American tug has skillfully decapitated another well, abandoned two years ago by an American company. Something to spend BP's $20bn on now that "America's worst ever environmental disaster" seems to be petering out with a fraction of the predicted damage.

In fact, the amount of oil reaching the shore is less, so far, than the Amorco Cadiz disaster, which an American court eventually valued at $200M, Amorco paying nothing whatsoever in the twelve years it took to reach this decision. BP paid out ten times as much in the first month -and was fiercely condemned from every side of the American media and politics for its penny-pinching tardiness.

For the record, no oilspill in history has ever done anything like as much environmental harm as the US Department of Agriculture did when it told farmers in Oklahoma to plough their pastures, sow wheat and await prosperity. This resulted in a dustbowl which caused one of the biggest forced migrations of the 20th century, as American farming communities had to leave their now uninhabitable homes.

For all those who think this was a PR disaster for BP: America has done herself no favours whatsoever, not just in the UK, but worldwide, as the gulf between what America demands and what America does becomes ever more painfully apparent.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Gagging the Strasbourg Geese

This one is almost beyond belief: Transocean not only inhibited alarms on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, it would appear that all of its rigs, all around the world, are routinely operated in a similar state. This would imply that their rigs in UK waters are in breach of the law and that they should be prosecuted forthwith, regardless of what comes out of the current American Federal Blamestorming process. (President Obama said before it even started that the inquiry was going to find "British Petroleum" solely responsible for everything.)

It really is time we were told who owns Transocean's voting stock; BP's shareholdings and accounts are a matter of public record. (Although based in Houston, Texas, Transcoean is registered in Switzerland and this means that most investors will own what UK law would call debenture stock or preference shares, which do not come with a vote at board meetings, or even the right to attend these. Holders do, however, get paid before holders of voting shares if the company is liquidated -and the accounts are straight. It can be a criminal offence in Switzerland to even try and find out who the voting stock holders are, let alone what their holdings are worth and what their voting record on company policy has been. Swiss industrial equities are for investors who get a thrill out of wearing blindfolds.)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

More on Sheffield Forgemasters

This is interesting:
It seems that someone who wanted to force Sheffield Forgemasters to accept investment (ie: yield control of their company) from/to him, donated money to David Cameron's campaign and then "advised" the new Prime Minister that government loan guarantees to the firm were a breach of EU law. (Which doesn't appear to be true.)

This week, Mr Cameron has already shown himself to be profoundly ignorant of British history, claiming that the UK was a junior partner to the USA in 1940 in the fight against the Nazis.

In 1940, the USA was not fighting the Nazis -and the State Department and many other very powerful people, were still trying to get the White House to join the war on Hitler's side. President Roosevelt was apparently very tempted, because he saw an end to "British Imperialism" as an essential goal of American policy. Britain's main American ally at the time was J. Edgar Hoover, whom many liberals might call a "Nazi" but he saw the Nazis as America's deadliest possible enemy when the Kennedys and Harrimans (and Bushes) saw Hitler as a GOOD THING.

If that's the proof of Cameron's hugely expensive and prestigious education, then it's possible that he really is too ignorant to know when a chancer is lying to him for his own ends. He has just completed important negotiations with President Obama.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Compassion and Appeal

It may help some US Senators to understand that one reason why the Scottish Executive was so keen to grant compassionate release to the Lockerbie Bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, was that this was the only certain way of stopping him from mounting an appeal against his conviction, which would almost certainly have succeeded due to the poverty of evidence left if two key pieces are challenged. The consequences of such a successful appeal would have been disastrous for the United States, as it would have made the US Government (and probably Scotland) an absolute pariah in Europe and the Middle East. It would have caused huge problems for the United Kingdom, as a whole, as any criminal, anywhere, would have been able to resist extradition on the grounds that he wouldn't receive a fair trial in the UK. Short of dropping a bomb on a Chinese Embassy somewhere, there's nothing worse that could happen, diplomatically speaking.

Pan Am 103 was more probably destroyed by Palestinians working freelance for the Quds militia unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Any Libyans caught in the net may simply have been conned into providing a suitcase full of clothes for someone they thought to be working undercover for Libyan intelligence, which apparently happened all the time with the Libyan mission in Malta. It's very easy to exploit a system where people are trained not to ask awkward questions! So, no, the Libyans still aren't telling the truth, but they didn't do it.

As for Tony Blair giving the appearance of lobbying Libya on behalf of BP, it would be typical of him if appearance was all this was, and in fact he was lobbying on behalf of a far less reputable oil company, Taci Oil, which was able to use a below-market-price supply deal with the Libyans to undercut its competitors and gain a complete retail and wholesale fuel monopoly in Albania, now set to spread to neighbouring countries. The people behind this one are very grateful to the Blairs indeed.

Monday, 12 July 2010

How to Trigger a Full Review of the David Kelly Case

There has been a lot of public pressure recently, attempting to "force" the new Coalition government of the United Kingdom into holding a review into the case of David Kelly.
There have even been some allegations that incoming ministers are somehow colluding with Tony Blair to keep everything secret.

From Medawar's own contacts with the Ministry of Justice, a subtly different picture emerges.

Relevant papers in the David Kelly were highly classified by the outgoing government, as, incidentally, was the report by a Sergeant Hughes, into why Scottish Authorities missed dozens of chances over twenty years to prosecute Thomas Hamilton prior to the Dunblane Massacre. When this level of classification is invoked by a given government, they have the option to seal all relevant papers from that government's successors. This would appear to be what has happened: incoming ministers wanted an inquiry, but the civil service simply cannot let them see the sealed papers until something in the legal situation changes to make it the official business of the new Coalition. Ministers are effectively stymied from even saying in public what their problem is. They are in a legal bear-trap of Tony Blair's devising, and this may not be the only matter on which papers which the new government really ought to see, are barred from it.

Here is a little hint:
Ministry of Justice Officials refer to "recent publicity" about a group of doctors having prepared a application to the Attorney General under section 13 of the Coroner's Act 1988, to reconsider the decision made by the coroner, to adjourn the inquest under section 17A of the same act. However, the ministry finds that the application has not been formally submitted.

The Daily Mail has also published evidence from Mai Pederson, about Dr Kelly's physical frailities which would have prevented him from committing suicide in the manner presumed by Lord Hutton. (Like Lord Cullen's inquiry into Dunblane, Hutton's official remit made it impossible for him to ask the relevant questions, so no blame can really attach to them for any omissions. In Cullen's case, the omissions are very largely made good by Sergeant Hughes' now highly classified investigation and report.) But Ms Pederson seems to have communicated her evidence, separately and informally, to the Attorney General, where it is probably trapped by Mr Blair having apparently given the Cabinet Secretary formal notice that this is a matter which he considers necessary to keep secret from the new government.

If Ms Pederson were to send her evidence to the group of doctors, and if they were to formally submit their application under section 13 of the Coroner's Act 1988, to the new Attorney General, then the matter would cease to be an historical case on which the Blair administration is given protection from its successors. The new Attorney General would see the papers which, currently, he probably has less chance of accessing than he did as an opposition MP!

That would remove the principle barrier to progress on this issue.

As for Timothy Hampton:
The Ministry says that it has been unable to determine whether or not his remains, (or any part thereof,) has been returned to England and Wales. If they have been (or if they were), then the presence of the body in his district must be reported to the relevant coroner and then, since Dr Hampton apparently died in a fall, an inquest would normally be held, in accordance to the appeal court decision of 1983 in the case of Helen Smith.

There may be an equivalent legal challenge in Scotland, that would have the same paper-releasing effect on Sergeant Hughes' report, but Medawar cannot at the moment say what this is, only that Mr Blair went to even more extraordinary lengths to keep something secret there, than he did over the death of David Kelly.

So, if this blog is read by any of the relevant personnel:
It's not a matter of a legal battle against the new government, merely a need for a formal legal initiative to make this their business in the eyes of a Cabinet Secretary who is obliged, by laws meant for somewhat higher purposes than Mr Blair's shenanigans, to respect the confidentiality of anything that Mr Blair chose to designate a private matter for his own government.

The ball is currently in your court. The Coalition Government need you to pass the ball into their court, before they have any power to do anything with it. Do this, and who knows what they might find!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Vocational Stalkers

Any UK and near-Continent victims of stalking, whether ostensibly Animal Rights related or not, should take a look at the faces in this Daily Mail Article. (Most stalking victims have no idea why they are being stalked, those stalking them are usually so deranged as to believe that the victims are so "knowingly evil" that they not only understand why they are being stalked, but secretly accept that they deserve it.)

Medawar would be interested to hear from anyone who's seen any of these faces in stalking incidents, regardless of what cause, if any, the stalking seems to be in aid of. Should it transpire that any of them are paid money for stalking, and this is not unknown, then, as far as the Unemployment Service are concerned, they have a job, and action could be taken against them. One is reminded of the hapless individual, described by George Orwell, in Wigan in the 1930s, who fed his neighbour's chickens when they were away and was reported to the dole office by another neighbour as "having a job feeding chickens". Medawar wants to avoid that kind of petty injustice, but if someone is using state benefits to sustain themselves whilst spending each and every day skipping along the edges of the criminal law to make someone's life hell, there's not a taxpayer in the land who wouldn't want to see them stopped.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Obama's Rhetoric Reaps an Inevitable Harvest.

Rather as Medawar expected, the Obama-led lynching of "British" Petroleum and its chief executive has not been lost on any of the very many countries around the world where all-American companies have caused far worse disasters and walked away, protected from repercussions by the US State Department.

Thing is, in 1984, when the Bhopal disaster killed thousands of people directly and shortened the lives of tens of thousands more, India was not a superpower able to kick the US President's "ass" in the way he has made such a point of doing himself in the past several weeks. India is much, much more powerful now than it was then, and Mr Obama, and especially Mr Weiner, have, through their own high blown rhetoric, made it politically impossible for the Indian government not to press for the extradition of Union Carbide executives to face criminal trial.

Perhaps American politicians will finally understand why British politicians made the Piper Alpha inquiry a rhetoric (and pomposity) free zone. Or perhaps not, in which case the next few months will be excruciating.

Update: No, American politicians and Obama in particular, do not get it, and India gets more furious. Medawar would advise Obama to avoid Brittany, too. And Nigeria, and Genoa.