CHAMPION OF ABUSE VICTIMS.
The rich and powerful try to smear him.
The Jersey police response to Daily Mail:
Read it below this post.
And give Mr. Harper your support.
Before going onto serious matters – remember Frank Walker. You can cast your vote in my poll. The question is just on the right here. It’s attracted over 300 votes so far.
Keep them coming.
Moving onto decidedly non-entertaining matters – you may have read in today’s Daily Mail – a Right-wing United Kingdom tabloid newspaper – an article which attempts to undermine and smear the Police Officer leading the Jersey child abuse enquiry, Lenny Harper.
In response to the publication of that article, the States of Jersey Police Force have issued a statement to all media.
I reproduce that statement in its entirety below this post.
It speaks for itself, so I won’t repeat its contents. Read it carefully – and compare and contrast it with the Daily Mail article.
Instead I would like us to have a think about why some individuals and organisations are clearly so indecently desperate to rubbish the investigation.
Jersey is, essentially, a single-party state. Imagine, if you will, a fiefdom – an extraordinarily wealthy place; an environment which serves extremely well as a piece of money-making apparatus for both its entrenched elites – and those who use Jersey.
Broadly, in fact, the kind of place which serves Daily Mail readers. The Mail, if not the most widely read national newspaper in Jersey, is certainly very close to being so.
The Mail has always been a Right-wing publication – indeed, at certain points in its history – extremely Right-wing – as I will explain later.
The Jersey establishment – for all that it’s a small grouping – is extraordinarily well-connected with the British establishment and the resultant levers of power. Indeed, the influence the Jersey oligarchy appears to wield seems – almost – inexplicable.
For example, the official representative of the United Kingdom authorities in Jersey is the “Lieutenant Governor” – ostensibly sent down here to represent the Crown – but in practice, reporting to the government in London.
Yet rather than do what they’re supposed to be doing – protecting the good name of the Crown by keeping a sceptical watching eye on the local oligarchs and shysters – they seem to arrive here as though their job description simply read: –
“To be immediately co-opted by the local spivs – and do all you can to enable and support them in maintaining their oppressions, exploitations and abuse of the great unwashed in Jersey.”
A former Lieutenant Governor, back in the 1990’s even infamously boasted of the fact, as he put it, that “Jersey has friends at Court at Whitehall.”
Of course – what he was actually saying was that the Jersey oligarchy “has friends at Court at Whitehall.”
Actually – the very opposite arrangement to the ordinary people of Jersey having such allies.
The present Lieutenant Governor – General Andrew Ridgway, CB, CBE – has been pro-actively supporting the Jersey establishment throughout the child abuse episode.
Even to the point of pro-actively attempting to smear me to third parties by saying words to the effect – “don’t have anything to do with Syvret; he’s merely emotionally abusing the victims for his own political ends.”
This is, of course, a brazen lie – but sadly the kind of thing I long grew used to in Jersey politics. But I wonder if Her Majesty knows what he and the Jersey Crown appointees are doing and saying in the name of the Crown?
You may recollect I wrote some time ago to Jack Straw, MP – the UK Justice Secretary – asking him to use his undoubted constitutional powers to require the good administration of justice in Jersey – it being as-plain-as-day that the entire Jersey prosecutory and judicial apparatus is hopelessly conflicted as far as the Jersey child abuse disaster is concerned.
But Ridgway & Co – and, naturally, the “Friends at Court at Whitehall” – have ridden to the rescue of the Jersey oligarchy – again – just like the 7th Cavalry. All I’ve had are absurd missives from one of Straw’s minions.
It is clear that Straw is not going to intervene – in which case the clear breakdown in the objective administration of justice in Jersey will continue unchecked.
Which is why we’re hoping to launch a legal action against him in London for a Judicial Review of his handling of the Jersey crisis. With luck we’ll get this off the ground in the next few weeks.
I don’t know – but I could hazard a pretty good guess – as to why the political authorities in the UK never dare to really get tough with the Jersey oligarchy.
No doubt more than a few senior political figures in the UK have made use of the island’s finance industry.
Let’s face it – there has to be some rational explanation as to why they would prefer to tolerate a justice system down here which is so conflicted and stagnant that a 15 year-old could point out its failings.
And of course – “New Labour” are in a little difficulty right now. And the Daily Mail has made it plain it now supports the Jersey establishment and its culture-of-concealment.
Now, the Daily Mail is not well-disposed towards the Labour party at the best of times – but with Labour in the process of crashing and burning – what chance of that party’s government taking the opposite position to such an influential newspaper?
Nil – of course.
But one has to ask – as with the Jersey Evening Post – whether the Daily Mail is worth courting – in any respectable sense?
As explained in previous posts, the JEP – or The Rag as it is colloquially known down here – spent the years of Nazi occupation during World War II churning out – extremely profitably – orders, propaganda and diktats on behalf of the Nazis.
A past it has strenuously avoided confronting.
A bit like the Daily Mail, actually.
What – we must wonder – would the approach of the Daily Mail been had Nazi forces occupied Britain?
We don’t have to wonder too hard.
The Daily ‘Heil’.
Lord Harold Rothermere, who took control of the paper when his brother died in 1922, became an enthusiastic supporter of Nazis and fascists.
Rothermere wrote an article, titled “Hurrah for the Blackshirts”, in early 1934 in support of Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists.
Mosley’s fascism – apparently – displaying a “sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine”, according to Rothermere, who became a friend and supporter of both Hitler and Mussolini.
Rothemere even sent Hitler a telegram in October 1938 in support of Germany’s invasion of the Sudetenland in which he expressed the hope that “Adolf the Great” would become a popular figure in Britain.
The Daily Mail – or Daily ‘Heil’ as many Britains still call it – remained the only British newspaper to support Hitler and the Nazis. Quite extraordinarily – it maintained this stance right up until 1939 – only changing its allegiance when threatened with closure for treason.
These days, whilst preferring to keep silent about its embarrassing Nazi past, The Daily Heil still peddles a kind of low-grade crypto-fascism, with continuous attacks upon immigrants, gay people, gypsies and women.
Some things simply don’t require parody – the reality says it all.
In order to gauge where this paper is coming from – and just how seriously it can be taken – consider its contents.
Today’s edition of the Heil includes stories that peddle hatred against gay people who wish to reproduce, how to clone your dog – and a text-book example of the Daily Heil scare story. Did you know that women are going to simply re-produce “hybrids by the million”? And that men are to be “exterminated”?
No – I confess I hadn’t picked up on that either.
It also routinely includes a raft of undisguisedly misogynistic stories about women – including regular columns, the sole purpose of which appears to be the denigration of females – usually written by women, for appearances sake.
Turning to the article which attacks Lenny Harper, it contains a raft of inaccuracies.
Insofar as they concern Mr. Harper and the States of Jersey Police Force – I’ll let the Police statement below speak for itself.
But just to take a couple of the other inaccuracies. The article implies that people in Jersey are all pretty well-off, given that it has the second highest GDP per capita in Europe. What is not said is that distribution of this wealth is appalling, with 10% of the resident population living in relative poverty according to EU definitions.
The article goes on to say that the effect of the publicity has been “devastating” for the island’s economy. Err – no it hasn’t. There may have been some, very slight, impact on tourism – but the fact is that at least 80% of the island’s GDP comes from finance sector related activities. Not that the Jersey establishment will admit this degree of dependency.
The article, by Andrew Malone, is cleverly written. In fairness to the author – he does, at several points, emphasise that – even setting aside the possibility of murders – it is pretty clear that Jersey is, indeed, facing a child abuse scandal of profound seriousness and scale.
He correctly reports some of the details of the abuse disaster.
But there is no escaping from the fact that the over-arching purpose of the article – and certainly the manner in which it was sub-edited and headlined – was to expressly attempt to undermine Lenny Harper.
And knowing just how well-connected the Jersey establishment is – I don’t think we need wonder too long as to why the Daily Heil should have adopted this approach.
Let me explain the truth; the reason why the Jersey establishment and its UK allies have decided they have to attempt to bring down Harper.
As I have written in previous posts, I had concluded early last year – through my own investigations – that Jersey was concealing a catastrophic cultural failure in its child protection systems. No suggestions of child deaths had been made to me – but, frankly, they didn’t need to be.
It was plain, on the evidence, that the abuse disaster was horrifying enough in itself.
The ordinary people of Jersey form a very good community. It is a beautiful island, and – in the main – a good place to live. But we must not be blinded to the defects which the Jersey child abuse disaster has exposed.
I am a Jerseyman of very ancient pedigree. I know this island extremely well. I know what is good about it – but I also know what is not good about it.
What is not good is the near-total stagnation of the upper-reaches of public administration in the island; the profoundly unhealthy overlap between the legislature and the judiciary; the monopoly of power held by the local oligarchy – and the near-complete breakdown of effective checks and balances.
How bad is that breakdown?
It pains me to say this, being a Jerseyman, but the clear – and awful truth is this:
None of these investigations would be taking place if the present leadership of the Jersey police force was ‘indigenous’.
As the Mail article itself acknowledges – there have been decades of concealment of the most foul and monstrous child abuses.
Do we really need to pose the questions: “why have those atrocities been concealed for that huge period of time? Why are they being exposed only now – in the 21st century?”
If the Jersey establishment were capable of properly regulating itself – it would have done so – a long time ago.
Instead – it has taken brave men like Lenny Harper – men from outside of Jersey – to expose the truth.
The Jersey oligarchy knows this.
This is why they have to attempt to destroy him.
Anyone concerned with the welfare and protection of children – and exposing the abuses of the past – should fight back against these attacks.
Mr Harper deserves our support and gratitude.
Statement Issued by the States of Jersey Police Force.
“Lenny Harper, the Deputy Chief Officer of this force and the Senior Investigating Officer of the Historical Abuse Enquiry, does not want to enter into any exchange of allegations and counter allegations which would deflect attention from the investigation he is currently focused on and which involves allegations of horrific abuse against children in Jersey. It should also be emphasised that the enquiry is looking at much more that just Haut de la Garenne. However, the article by Andrew Malone in the Daily Mail of 24th May 2008 is so inaccurate, and misleading, even to the extent here it contains a number of alleged quotes which were simply never made by Mr Harper, that there is a need to respond.
The writer was given the full outline of what the police were told but has chosen not to use it. That information is summarised below and it will be for the public to make their minds up as to why the author of the report has ignored it and why he has included quotes from Mr Harper which were never made. The States of Jersey Police Press Officer made a full contemporaneous transcript of what Mr Harper said during the interview, (although not of Malone), and this is available for examination for anyone who wishes to check the accuracy of the quotes attributed to the DCO by Mr Malone.
The Anthropologist working with the enquiry team looked at the item when it was found on site and made a preliminary identification of it as a piece of a child’s skull. It was then sent to the Laboratory concerned and they took possession of it on 6th March.
On 14th March they informed the SOJP of their test results, and in particular the result of their test for nitrogen. It had 0.6% they said, whereas the cut-off for dating a bone was 0.76. They then reported, “This tells us something about the potential age of the specimen of bone since if it was very recent (50 Years) we ought to see a better degree of preservation.” They went on to say, “The fact that preservation is so poor leads us to conclude that there is a high probability that the bone is much older than it is suspected to be, perhaps much older than a century or two. That said, it is also possible (although the probability is much lower) that the bone is recent but simply very poorly preserved due to the depositional environment within which it has lain since interment. We cannot exclude this as a possible explanation.” They went on to say that there was not enough collagen to date the bone. (Collagen is a protein only found in mammals including humans, but not in wood etc.)
As can be seen – there is absolutely no indication despite laboratory tests that they disagreed with our Anthropologist. In fact they seemed to support what we were being told by experts with us that the fragment was in a context which placed it outside our enquiry.
On 20th March the lab contacted the SOJP again. They said they had made an error and that the collagen level was actually better than originally thought. There was enough to date it – in fact there was 1.6% and only 1% was needed. Remember, this substance is found in mammals including human but not in wood etc.
On the 28th March they contacted the SOJP again and said, “Here are the details of the Jersey skull as discussed on the phone.” They then described the nature of the acid wash they had given and said “The Jersey skull didn’t fizz at all which suggested that preservation was poor.” She went on to confirm that they had originally told us it was unlikely they could date it and that they had revised this when they found the levels of collagen described above. Now, she said, they were reverting to their original position that they could not date it because they now thought that it could not be collagen “unless it is extremely degraded.” She added, “So any date we get might not be an accurate date for the skull itself.” As can be seen, there was still no indication to contradict our information and indeed it corroborated what the archaeologists were telling us. As a result of the information about the Archaeological context, we had now eliminated the item from the investigation.
On 31 March they rang again. They now, for the first time, said they had some concern about what the item was “although it could well have been poorly preserved bone as I described it.” Over the next few days they continued to say that “we do not think this is bone unless it is very old bone.”
On Saturday 17th May they were asked if they were now saying it was definitively not bone. They said that they did not believe it to be bone but if we wanted a definitive answer then we should have it re-examined. To date, although the opinion is now less conclusive, the SOJ Police have not had a definitive contradiction of the original belief.
In respect of the article itself, there are a number of total inaccuracies, too many to contradict them all. Here however, are those which could be said to be the most significant.
The item found which is the subject of the controversy, is not “a smooth white object” as described by Mr Malone. That description could not be further from the truth.
Mr Harper has never, and all responsible media have acknowledged that he has not, said that six more bodies might be found. He described six areas of interest which had to be explored and which included the cellars now the focus of this aspect of the enquiry.
Mr Harper never moved to quell suggestions that shackles and a bath had been found in the cellar because quite simply, they had been. Furthermore, their find corroborated the evidence of a number of victims. The SOJ Police have never confirmed until now that shackles were found. We do now, and also for the first time, confirm that a second pair of what appear to be “home made” restraints were also discovered.
A number of other items were found which corroborated the stories of the victims. Again, whilst we do not want to elaborate, some of these items corroborate the fact that sexual activity took place in the area of interest. Further tests have obtained a DNA profile from one of these items, and enquiries have dated at least one of the articles as originating from the time of the enquiry.
Mr Harper has never, in spite of Mr Malone’s claims, “admitted” that he knew the fragment was a coconut shell. This is clearly because there is absolutely no scientific evidence to say that. Furthermore, the DCO never said he had made a mistake. He acknowledged that “some people think I got the decision wrong – it is something I can’t reverse now. Would my answer have been different? The honest answer is I really don’t know.”
Mr Harper has NEVER said “We don’t now think it is bone or skull.” He did not say it to Mr Malone or anyone else. As stated above, the transcript of exactly what Mr Harper said in this interview is available for anyone who would like to see it.
Mr Harper has NEVER said to Mr Malone at any time during the interview that he wanted “maximum publicity so that people here could not cover up what went on at this children’s home.” In fact, he did state that the people of Jersey had been “fantastic.” This comment by Mr Malone is a slur on all of those members of the public in Jersey who have encouraged the enquiry team and whose overwhelming support has meant so much.
The claim that Mr Harper has agreed to write a book and is actively engaged in that process is nonsense. This rumour was being spread by at least one politician in Jersey this week who stated that a deal had already been signed with publishers. This has led to one Jersey media outlet contacting what they described as a publisher this week and asking for details on the pretence that they wished to serialise the book. The position is simple. Mr Harper has been asked by a number of persons, journalists included, if he would be interested in writing a book on his career including the present. His answer has been the same to all. At this moment in time he is fully focussed and committed to the enquiry. He retires in September and will not even consider such a matter until then. He would also point out that it is not unusual for Police Officers and other public servants be approached in this fashion. Mr Harper has not instigated any contact of this type.
Mr Harper was not “forced to admit” that the fragments might be 500 years old. In any event he never said that. Examination of the media release will show that he said there was conflicting evidence from experts – some information was showing one of the fragments to be at the most recent end of the enquiry’s parameters, whilst other evidence was pointing to well before the enquiry began. We have always said we do not have evidence of murder.
From the perspective of the Enquiry Team the most disappointing aspect of this article is the total disregard for the welfare of the victims of the abuse. This week has seen them being labelled by certain politicians in Jersey as “people with criminal records.” Additionally, the article contains interesting similarities to the words used by some of those publicly trying to discredit the enquiry. The focus of the SOJ Police has always been, and will remain to be, those victims who have placed their trust in the force to try and obtain justice for them. These increasing inaccurate attacks will not deflect the investigation.
Mr Harper has drawn the attention of the editor of the Daily Mail to the inaccuracies and has mad a formal complaint to the Independent Press Complaints Commission.
States of Jersey Police
24th May 2008”