STATES OF JERSEY POLICE:
BACK TO BUSINESS-AS-USUAL
FOLLOWING RETIREMENT OF HARPER.
Replacement Cops Join Jersey Oligarchy
And Try to Put the Lid Back On
Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.
Well – it had to happen, didn’t it?
Leopards don’t change their spots – and so it is with the Jersey Police.
Following decades upon decades of appalling child abuse – during which the Jersey Police were plainly a significant part of the problem – to the extent that they went beyond merely perverting the course of justice by covering things up, to actually having amongst their number several child abusers – Danny Wherry, for example - it looked as though things had changed.
For a few brief months, maybe a year or so – it looked as though the culture of concealment had been broken by the decency and commitment of Lenny Harper.
But Lenny’s retirement date arrived, and he departed Jersey’s shores.
A very substantial number of the survivors, whistle-blowers and campaigners like me were filed with trepidation at the prospect of Lenny leaving – fearing that things would rapidly revert to the Bad Old Days.
But, nevertheless, hope remained; perhaps the changes initiated by Lenny had been so great that there was no reversing them. So the replacements were given a chance.
Sadly – yet, I guess, predictably – the co-ordinated back-peddling being displayed could have won for Britain a gold medal in going-in-reverse cycling, had the Olympics had such an event.
Notwithstanding the clear impossibility of the task – the Police and their customary Jersey oligarchy friends and allies – who they’ve kissed-and-made-up-with – are attempting to get the djinn back in the bottle.
Such a vast, carefully co-ordinated and heavily media-managed attempted cover-up is a wonder to behold.
I’ll try and explain some of what’s going on.
Truly – you just couldn’t make it up.
Firstly – the States of Jersey Police Force are holding a major press-conference tomorrow.
This will be followed by a wonderfully choreographed second press-conference which will be given by Jersey’s Chief Minister and the Home Affairs Minister at 2.00.
I’m going to be available at about 3.15 in the Royal Square if any journalists (not the local hacks, obviously dur!) wants to get my take on things.
A little quiz for regular readers of my blog:
Why do you think these two press conferences are happening tomorrow?
Why the sudden panic?
Why the burning need to manufacture a hi-profile story right at this particular moment?
You don’t need to be a senior player in Burson Marsteller to figure it out – do you?
The Jersey oligarchy need – desperately – really, really need - a big diversionary storm to marginalise and distract attention away from the publication of the independent report of the Howard League for Penal Reform – which, it just so happens, is to be launched by the Howard League at a press-conference in Jersey this coming Friday.
No – actually; pretty thick. This kind of spin-doctoring works, of course, with the Jersey hacks – who will fall for it hook, line and sinker.
But so crassly obvious is this stunt that some UK journalists who have contacted me are already falling about laughing at it.
Why the need to marginalise and distract attention from the Howard League report?
The Howard League has undertaken a detailed, independent investigation into youth justice and child custody issues in Jersey. A study which has examined the evidence, looked at the law, spoken with victims and whistle-blowers – and – particularly problematically for the Jersey oligarchy – the era they’ve been examining is comparatively recent.
The late 1980’s, 1990’s and up until 2006 and the present day.
An era, in fact, which is so recent that many of the key figures involved – for example many senior civil servants – are still in post.
But even more problematically for the jersey oligarchy – amongst the issues the Howard League have examined are the concerns raised by Simon Bellwood and me – which were the central feature of the Jersey child abuse controversy when it first erupted early in the summer of 2007.
From those days – up until the present – people like Frank Walker, the senior civil servants and his oligarchy colleagues have repeatedly – rabidly – asserted that the victims of the punitive and coercive solitary confinement regimes, and people like Bellwood and I were wrong.
And that the so-called Grand Prix policy - and even worse practices which preceded it - were perfectly acceptable – and not, in fact, criminal acts.
Even though this stance was manifestly ignorant, immoral, bloody stupid and ethically bankrupt – nevertheless, the Jersey oligarchy carried on asserting that black was white – because they always get away with that approach in Jersey.
Unquestioning and uncritical deference is all they’re ever offered by the local media – which they “own”, in any event.
But, disastrously for the Jersey oligarchy – real journalists have been involved in covering this story – who never swallowed the spin and lies.
So the publication of the report of the Howard League this coming Friday represents a terrifying and profoundly damaging prospect for the Jersey oligarchy.
Because the Howard League have concluded that people like me and Bellwood were right – and, axiomatically, it follows that – all of the tirades of lying assertions made by Jersey establishment politicians and civil servants over the last 20 months were wrong.
Oh dear! Crises and disaster! What do we do about this?
First trick in the spin-doctors’ manual – create a bigger, diversionary story.
Damage-limit the consequences of the Howard League’s findings by making sure they get lost in a blizzard of other controversies.
That’s why the two press conferences are being held tomorrow.
And being held extraordinarily prematurely – as I will explain later.
So – having established that – we then have to ask:
“What could the Jersey Cops and their Friends Reunited – the Jersey oligarchy politicians - do to manufacture a sufficiently significant media-storm to divert attention away from something so fundamentally crushing of the Jersey oligarchy position as the Howard League report?
Another little quiz:
Who does the Jersey oligarchy hate the most (apart from me, obviously)– and what major issue has that person been involved in?
Again – it ain’t difficult, is t?
Lenny Harper – and the Haute de la Garenne investigation.
Controversial figure – and a controversial issue.
What could be a better spin-doctors’ diversion?
So then we come to the content of tomorrow’s press-conferences.
The obvious purpose of both carefully co-ordinated conferences is to smear Lenny Harper – and attempt to dismiss and marginalise the investigations into the possibility of child killings at Haut de la Garenne, and to pour doubt on victim witness testimony in respect of some of the serious abuse claims.
But that isn’t the only purpose.
This strategy delivers the Jersey oligarchy two birds for the proverbial one stone.
They divert and distract attention away from the Howard League report – published this Friday, remember?
And they can rubbish and marginalise the whole Haute de le Garenne investigation and their nemesis – Lenny Harper.
But what is the Jersey oligarchy going to say?
Well – I don’t know for sure – but I very strongly suspect it will be something along the following lines.
Firstly – a guess at what the Police are going to say:
The Police have spent weeks briefing against Harper – doing all they can to rubbish him and his methods in the most aggressive of ways.
As this approach filtered back to me, it became clear that UK journalists were simply not swallowing it; the new Police approach simply screamed “cover-up!”
So the SOJP have rowed-back from many of the ludicrous assertions they’ve been making – and toned down their “message” for tomorrow’s press-conference.
But – being a bit thick – they appear to have forgotten that the extreme and hostile briefings they’ve been giving against Harper are firmly noted and lodged with the national – that’s real – journalists they spoke to.
So – somehow – I just get the impression it’s the original recent Police smear campaign – in all its ugly extremity – and the motivations for it - which the nationals are going to bear in mind.
Nevertheless – the States of Jersey Police “message” to be delivered tomorrow – although dramatically toned-down – will still be fully capable of being interpreted as a condemnation of Harper.
You see – that way – the Jersey Police can appear to have moderately clean hands – and leave the real battering of Harper - and the crowing over the “inconsequential” HDLG investigation - to politicians like Frank Walker when he gives his press conference in the afternoon.
But returning to the Police, they will criticise Harper’s approach, his methodology, his transparency in being too open with the media – all will be criticised by the States of Jersey Police – but in a gentlemanly “professional” manner – if you get my drift?
The Jersey establishment have always been desperate to find excuses for not extraditing, charging and prosecuting many of the significant suspects – so they’ll blame Harper’s media strategy for making trials “impossible” – though such pre-charge publicity rarely ever interferes with charging and prosecution in the UK.
They’ll assert that the forensics were never clear enough to make comment about the putative human remains.
They’ll assert that the voids under the floors at HDLG – because they weren’t high enough for an adult to stand up in – could not have been used to imprison or abuse children.
They’ll assert that items recovered – such as the shackles – had “innocent” uses.
They’ll assert that the HDLG investigation was ‘badly flawed’.
They’ll assert that the serious and historical Haute de la Garenne allegations are insubstantial, unclear and/or insufficiently evidenced to be taken seriously – so, conveniently, that part of the enquiry is being shelved.
They’ll assert that they want to do this – so they can – oh-so considerately – focus attention, time and resources on covering up the recent abuses and conspiracies to pervert the course of justice – err – no - sorry – I meant spend the next 12 months prevaricating in their attempts to bring the guilty to justice – before finding that that’s all a bit too difficult as well.
And senior Officers will get their Jersey ‘Housing Qualifications’, their full pensions, won’t have their wives told about the affairs they’re having – and who knows – maybe a big “performance bonus” as well?
Then we turn to what Big Frank and his various troglodyte Jersey political allies will be asserting in the afternoon.
They’ll be crowing about how Lenny Harper cocked it all up.
How useless he was.
How there never – ever – were any realistic grounds for believing that child killings may have occurred at HDLG.
That they were “right all along”.
How this isn’t even their view – “It’s actually the States of Jersey Police who say the whole thing was a mess”.
Though quite how this assertion can be made without the summary dismissal of the Chief Officer Graham Power remains a total mystery – as it was his Force – and Harper worked under his direction and oversight.
They’ll assert how “all of the denigration of Jersey and her people has been “proven” to be rubbish”. (That's the "patriotism" card, you see.)
For appearances sake – they’ll make a few sympathetic noises towards the “genuine” victims of abuse – though almost certainly forgetting that they shouted-down my Christmas speech of empathy for the victims at the end of last year.
They’ll assert that “now all this “erroneous” and “distracting” HDLG stuff is out of the way, the Police can now concentrate on dealing with the “real” cases” – err – except, obviously, Lundy, Wherry, McKeon etc, etc, etc; well – it goes without saying, yeah?
And – there you go!
“Harper’s a useless bastard.”
“Never any possibility of child killings at Haute de la Garenne.”
“The Jersey oligarchy are wonderful.”
“The national media are peddlers of fiction.”
“And a nice big juicy political and media storm to distract and divert everyone’s attention away from that oh so pesky and inconvenient Howard League report.”
Do you reckon Burson Marsteller will give me a job?
Look – I know it would mean working amongst scum – but I kind of get the impression the last 18 years has prepared me for that.
But – But – But - ?
There are, at least, one or two serious flaws in the above described co-ordinated spin campaign.
I’ve all ready mentioned the very determined efforts made to discredit Harper by the Police in secret briefings to journalists – and how some of it was so transparently dishonest and absurd as to have journalists falling off their chairs laughing.
I’ll come back to an example of that absurdity when I conclude – just to give you a flavour of the “you couldn’t make it up” syndrome.
Michael Gradwell and David Warcup were already setting about trying to rubbish Harper and his work from the instant they got involved in their new jobs with the States of Jersey Police.
Indeed – so quickly – it cannot be viewed as anything other than a pre-meditated plan.
But – there are two hugely inconvenient and deeply problematic obstacles to their objective.
Firstly – as already referred to – the Chief Officer Graham Power.
It simply is not remotely credible to condemn such a major and deeply significant investigation – without looking at the man who was in charge of the Police Force whilst the enquiry was in full-swing – who Harper was working to, and was under the direction of - his boss, Graham Power.
Significant problems with the Haute de la Garenne investigation?
Then Power has to go.
His position as Commanding Officer is simply untenable.
Secondly – and of far greater importance – the three ACPO reports.
ACPO is the Association of Chief Police Officers – and amongst other functions, it acts as a kind of peer reviewing mechanism for major investigations.
I have not seen those ACPO reports – though I have asked the Jersey Police for copies, but they won’t give them to me.
But the impression conveyed was that ACPO – and Lenny’s boss, Power – were satisfied with the quality of the investigation.
Not once – but three times in the case of ACPO.
Hmmm......Big problem for Gradwell & Warcup. Thinking caps on!
They alight upon the idea of going to some friends of theirs in the London Metropolitan Police in order to get the HDLG investigation “reviewed” by them.
As is well-known amongst journalists, the “findings” of this “review” by the Met are already “written”.
However, two problems remain. Firstly, how do the Met produce the goods needed to stamp on the credibility of the HDLG investigation - without going flatly against ACPO – and attempting to overturn the three previous reports?
I’m really not sure just quite how they’re going to mange that.
But I’ve no doubt they’ll have a damn good try.
Secondly – and profoundly problematically for the Jersey Police and their Friends Reunited in the Jersey oligarchy – the Met – even though its “findings” have been very widely touted around national journalists – have not yet interviewed the key figure – Lenny Harper.
I’ll just repeat that – in case it’s just too extraordinary to sink in on first reading.
Lenny Harper has not yet been interviewed by the Met review team.
Indeed – he hasn’t even been interviewed by Gradwell or Warcup.
So let’s get this straight – a very carefully structured and co-ordinated campaign of media-manipulation, “official” smears, spin, lies and omissions – has been cobbled together for rushing out tomorrow – without any formal interview of Lenny Harper having been undertaken.
The national press-pack have been summoned to Jersey to listen firstly to the States of Jersey Police – and then Frank Walker and others – condemn Harper, his methodology, the investigation, the witness testimonies of victims – and bellow on about what rubbish it all was – and how Jersey’s oligarchy is the finest administration in the world – on the basis of a set of “conclusions” – for which no completed, prior report exists.
For no such report could be remotely taken seriously without full interviews with the key figures.
And they expect national – real – journalists to take this cobblers seriously?
Oh well – that’s the Jersey oligarchy for you.
Always were a bit thick.
And they get noticeably even more stupid – when the panic sets in.
It having been pointed out to the Jersey Police that if they expected to be taken even faintly seriously in their efforts to rubbish Harper via the Met review – they would at least have to go and interview him.
So – with great reluctance – a date has been set for one of the Met “review team” to go to Lenny’s home and interview him.
But – disaster!
That interview will not take place until around the 17th of November!
But that’s NO BLOODY USE!
The Jersey oligarchy need to manufacture their media storm NOW!
NOW! Do you hear!
They simply MUST have their diversionary and distracting spin delivered a day or two before the Howard League report is published!
How else would they divert attention away from it – and its conclusions?
Conclusions which show that people like Big Frank, Bill Ogley, Ozouf, Pollard, Baudains etc were totally wrong - and people like Simon Bellwood and me were totally right.
That the use of punitive and coercive solitary confinement regimes – which would see children held in cells in isolation for weeks - and months - at a stretch – was simply a corporate act of criminal child abuse.
An unlawful practice – which the Jersey oligarchy desperately tried to cover-up by firstly oppressing Bellwood – and when I believed him – oppressing me.
So – the Jersey oligarchy – in desperate need of one big, diversionary media storm – right now.
But - act in haste – repent at leisure.
Launching the attempts to rubbish Lenny and the HDLG investigation – disastrously prematurely - before the Met team have even interviewed Lenny Harper – in an act of simple and transparent desperation to keep attention away from the Howard League report – is the very height of folly.
You know – I just get the feeling that this could yet be the greatest PR cock-up by the Jersey establishment during this whole, wretched episode.
Oh, for sure – the Jersey media will all kiss Frank’s rear-end – and go along with the farrago; the oligarchy will have their couple of days hi-profile spin.
But somehow – I just don’t think this particular, brazen media-management stunt is going to prove to have been effective in the medium and long-term.
Like I said – thick.
I said I’d conclude with an example of the kind of remarks that have been made by the Jersey Police in recent weeks in their efforts to rubbish the investigation and Harper – and it really has been this absurd.
You couldn’t make it up.
You remember the 60 teeth found amongst the rubble in the voids beneath the floors at Haute de la Garenne?
“No killings” – remember – so that’s pretty weird – isn’t it?
How would all those kiddies teeth have ended up there?
It was the Tooth-Fairy.
No – really.
Amongst other garbage, the Police have been telling serious journalists that the teeth were largely milk teeth from other children – which kind-hearted parents donated to Haute de la Garenne – so if a kiddie needed cheering up – you know, maybe after something like getting punched in the teeth by one of the staff and loosing a few – this stock of teeth could be drawn upon so that they could be placed under the child’s pillow – and the Tooth-Fairy would visit in the night and place sixpence – or 5p – under the pillow.
So – you see!
No mystery at all!
It was the Tooth-Fairy what done it, Sarge.