Tagged: Government

THE POLICE – WHEN MORALS AND DUTY COLLIDE PART 2

In part one of this blog (you can read it here) I looked at some of the jobs Police Officers deal with which they are legally obligated to do but which often clash with their own personal beliefs and morals. I used real examples given to me by serving Police Officers.

In this blog I want to look at the consequences of the Police Officer going against a lawful order and standing by their morals rather than their lawful order as defined by Government.

A lawful order is an instruction from a supervising officer that is not unlawful and pertains to your duties as a Constable

When a senior officers gives a Police Officer a “lawful order” they are as you might expect LEGALLY obliged to fulfil it without question. I believe the only order that can not be given by a senior officer is to take somebodies life, that is at the sole discretion of the officer behind the trigger. If I am wrong there than I am happy to be corrected.

If a senior officer tells a Constable to move kids from a street, then the Constable must move the kids from the street or have a reasonable explanation as to why he/she did not. If a senior officer tells a Constable to arrest an individual then again, unless there is a lawful, reasonable reason to do the opposite the Constable must obey.

So if the Constable in my previous blog who didn’t want to police the fox hunt had told his supervisor “Actually Sergeant, I don’t agree with hunting foxes and quite support the people wanting to stop the hunt so I’d rather not do that”, that Constable would have been left without any doubt that he will conduct the required duty with impartiality as sworn to in his attestation

The Police Attestation sworn by all Police Officers upon recruitment.

The Police Attestation sworn by all Police Officers upon recruitment.

If an officer deliberately goes against a lawful order he can expect anything from a bollocking or being picked for some not so pleasant jobs in future to dismissal for neglect of duty.

Twice in my career I refused to follow a lawful order because it went against my morals and each one ended differently but thankfully did not end with me being sacked.

The first time I was still in my probation period and my eldest daughter was only 8 months old. I was told to go to custody and babysit a prisoner who was a suicide risk. This filthy creature had sexually abused a baby and killed her. I didn’t give a damn what he did to himself and certainly didn’t want to spend 8 hours sitting in his company. I asked my Sergeant if somebody else could do it as I could not guarantee that I would keep my cool, the victim was the same age as my daughter. I know this was a selfish thing to do but it struck close to home with the age of the victim and being a new dad and I personally would have handed the bastard a noose. I was pushed into the Sergeant’s office and told to get a grip of myself and do my job and warned never to question orders again.

The second occasion happened towards the end of my career when I was told to go and move a homeless man from a secluded spot under a bridge in some woods because an affluent member of the community had been walking her dog and was “horrified” to see a “grubby tramp” sitting by a fire and insisted he be moved so she can walk her dog there again. I asked why we were moving him on. I was told “because we have to”. I refused and suggested I conduct a welfare check on him instead but was told that I would “do as I was told” and move him in. I refused and headed out on patrol. I was “advised” and faced a few weeks of hard labour dealing with all the tedious jobs, sent out on foot patrol in crap weather etc but I didn’t care because I had stood by my morals and that was more important than some antiquated oath.

There have however been incidents where officers have gone against their duty and subsequently been sacked, demoted, faced disciplinary action and sometimes even charged with neglect of duty. An Officer got in touch with me recently who has asked to remain anonymous and told me how he had refused to Police a march against our troops because he was ex Army and he was told he had no choice and so he told his boss he did have a choice and went off sick. He was suspended, investigated by professional standards and barely kept his job.

The fact is, Police Officers face loosing their career, their pensions, their life and health insurance, their financial security that of their family and so it is not as simple as just refusing to do something they don’t agree with. I was a lucky one as I had something to fall back on and so when I realised my personal beliefs and morals clashed to much with my expected duty as a constable I was able to jump ship and be safe. However, for most they don’t have that luxury. With very little transferable skills acquired in the Police and very little job availability out their putting up and shutting up is quite often the much easier option.

But a question I have often heard asked and pondered over is where would a Police Officer draw the line at “just following orders”? Obviously a an order can only be followed if it is LAWFUL. But the Police do not make the laws as I have already mentioned in Part 1, they simply enforce them. The laws are written by Parliament, by people right at the very top of the hierarchical tower. So what would happen if those in charge decided to make it LAWFUL for the Police to use lethal force on protesters and for senior officers to ORDER a constable to do it, for example? Would they blindly follow orders or would their morals come into play and make them refuse to follow orders regardless of the risk of being sacked?

It is of course a hypothetical question but one that I feel needs considering. If Police Officers are expected to put their morals and beliefs to one side and follow lawful orders with impartiality, at one point does moral right and wrong supersede the lawful duty of a constable?

right-and-wrong

THE POLICE – Common myths, beliefs and misconceptions

lights

I want to take a moment to look at and address some of the commonly held myths, beliefs and misconceptions held by the public, perpetuated by the media and ingrained within society today in relation to the Police. The idea isn’t to defend the Police and it isn’t to patronise or “prove you wrong”. It is to raise awareness of REAL Policing. To help people see and realise that the Policing you see in the media both the negative stories in papers like the Daily Mail and the action packed scenes in TV shows like Cops With Cameras is NOT a true reflection of the work and duties of Police Officers today. Nor are the many rumours, beliefs and misconceptions you see on social media, hear down the pub or talk about amongst friends. I want to look at how the term “The Police” is used by the media as a cover-all term and how that can have impact upon public opinion. I also am going to look at some of the beliefs the public hold regarding the Police. Comments I have heard time and time again and opinions people have kindly expressed upon request to help me write this blog.

Firstly and most importantly I think it may be best to look at just some of the duties your average Police Constable is expected to deal with. I refer here to the “patrol bobby” you see (or you may argue DON’T see) on a daily basis. A Police Constable is the lowest rank in the service but is also the foundation of the service. As a PC you can move into almost any role within “The Police” providing you have completed two years probation and have the competencies needed for the role. For example, a PC upon completing their probation on patrol/Neighbourhood team (the default position for all Police Constables) can move into the dog section, mounted, roads policing, drugs team, Firearms, CID… The list is very long. Many people think if you work in one of those other roles you must be a different rank from the uniformed bobby. That is not the case. The role of the PC is very diverse but Patrol or Neighbourhood Policing is their default position.

So let’s look now at the duties of a PC on a patrol/Neighbourhood team. The list is below is just a fraction of the duties and jobs a PC is expected to deal with at any given time. They are the first responders to pretty much all 999 calls, non emergency calls and simple public enquiries.

Burglaries both ongoing and historic
Robberies both ongoing and historic
Assaults both new and old, minor (push or slap) and serious (ABH, GBH)
Stabbings
Shootings
Theft both ongoing and historic
Neighbour disputes of varying degrees
Sudden deaths both suspicious and expected
Suicides
Murders
Pub Fights
Anti-Social Behaviour
Nuisance Youths (anything from knocking on doors, being loud, playing football)
Frauds and deceptions
Criminal Damage
Vehicle Crime
Drink/Drug Driving
Road Traffic Collisions
Audible Alarms
Poachers and Wildlife crimes
Drug dealing
Prison crimes (Crimes actually inside prison!)
Found property
Lost property
Missing persons
Death warnings (telling people a loved one is dead)
Preventing breaches of the peace
Harassment warnings
Assessing a scene for CSI
Guarding a crime scene
Protests
Domestic violence both ongoing and historic
Rape
Child Sexual Offences
Racism
Public Order
Shoplifting
Football matches
Music events
Carnivals
Noise Nuisance
Immigration
Assisting ambulance
Transporting for ambulance
Assisting mental health workers
Assisting Doctors
Assisting other law enforcement agencies
Assisting other policing teams (CID, Roads Policing etc)
Assisting door supervisors
Taking alcohol off children
Dealing with public nuisances
Guarding suspects at hospital
Protecting victims at hospital
“Suicide Watch” of suspects in Police custody
Working in the Custody Suit
Bullying
School fights and other school related incidents
Facebook name calling and bullying
Civil disputes (even just to inform people it’s not a police issue)
Ebay purchase disputes
Parenting kids (“My son is refusing to do homework” = true call)
Stray dogs
Aggressive dogs
Stray livestock
Loose Horses
Loose Peacock!! (actual call I attended)
Parking disputes
Forcing entry to property for other agencies (ambulance)
Taking statements
Compiling case files
Speak with CPS
Arrange solicitors to attend
Arrange for an interpretor
Interviewing suspects
Attending court
Seizing property
Completing stop and searches
Gathering intelligence
Submitting intelligence
Attending community meetings
Foot patrol
Youth work
Community involvement
School inputs and talks
Training courses
Control Room duty
Front Desk duty
Vehicle checks prior to mobile patrol
Reporting faults with patrol vehicles
Transporting paperwork, exhibits and colleagues to court

Like I said, this is just a fraction of the jobs a PC is expected to deal with. They are a slave their radio, to the orders of the higher ranks, the demands of the public and anything else they come across in the course of their shift. A lot of these jobs take up a lot of time. For example, it is not uncommon for an Officer to arrest a suspect for a simple offence such as shoplifting (simple in complexity, not seriousness) at the beginning of an 8 hour shift and for that officer to then be tied up dealing with that job for the entire 8 hours. Waiting to get into the custody area, recording the crime, writing a statement for the arrest, obtaining a statement from the victim, seizing property, possibly a house search, arranging CCTV, waiting for a solicitor, possibly arranging an interpreter, interviewing, obtaining charging advice, possibly speaking to CPS, charging, bailing or releasing the suspect, completing a file…. Bet you didn’t realise how much goes into one simple arrest for a straight forward offence did you?

Attending a sudden death can often take several hours as the officer has to wait for life to be pronounced extinct, await the undertakers, possible arrange for the door the officer has forced open to be repaired, replaced or boarded.  Even reassurance call to an vulnerable victim of a crime which occurred weeks previously can take an hour or so if the victim is afraid, upset or simply wants some company for a brew.

Throw all of this in with the fact that despite what you may hear from politicians, frontline services are being massively cut. The number of Police Officers covering your home town, city or village each day and night would shock you if your force’s senior command allowed you to know the truth. The Police Officers know the true extent of the situation but they are ordered not to tell the public by the pseudo-politicians at the top of the command chain in order to “maintain public confidence”. If they disobey and reveal information which could undermine public confidence then the Officer would be disciplined at least, dismissed at worst.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean. I spoke to a friend still serving in one of our countries largest forces yesterday. He covers an area over 200 square miles in size. A rural area with a population of around 61,000 people. Normally there are 4 Police Officers covering this area. The “ward” as it is referred to, consists of miles of country side, forests, nature reserves etc and requires vehicles to be able to respond to emergencies in the many residential areas at any given moment. The 4 officers are banned from “double crewing”, that is they MUST work alone and not in pairs. They have 2 marked Police vehicles. The day I spoke to my friend he told me that of the 4 officers there was now only 2 covering the ward because the bosses had seen fit to take one of them to police a different part of force area. That left 3. Then one of the officers was sent to assist a GP gain access to a house. The Doctor was meant to be meeting a patient with mental health issues but was getting no reply to knocking. The Officer attended and was told to force entry on welfare grounds (to protect life and limb) and upon gaining entry found the man was just sleeping on the sofa. The Doctor took the patient to hospital for an assessment and the Officer was left behind to wait for the house to be secured by the council. He had been waiting over 3 hours at the time of my call which left my friend and his colleague with one vehicle and 200 square miles to cover. This meant that these 2 officers would have to prioritise any call that came in for their area. It meant longer response times. It meant 4 people’s work now split between 2. It meant that the public were not receiving the service they probably thought and expected they were. This isn’t a one off example. It is especially a problem for the rural forces or forces with rural areas. My home town is no different with contacts within telling me there are regularly not enough Officers to cover the area properly.

So a huge list of duties and expectations (some of which should not be dealt with by police officers such as ebay disputes, facebook issues, parenting difficulties, transporting people and things….) coupled with ever dwindling resources is the TRUE reason you do not see so many Police Officers on patrol anymore whether that is in a car or on foot. I will admit and agree that many Officers probably do not want to be patrolling on foot these days but that is not through laziness (although I admit there will be the odd one who is lazy) it is more because with such vast areas to cover and the enormous range of duties they are responsible for with such small numbers, walking around in one town is not practicable.

For example, when I used to walk around on foot in the town of Wetherby I was useless if a call came in at Boston Spa or if a colleague in Aberford, a 10minute drive away but part of my ward, needed assistance. If you want more foot patrols you need more police. If you want more police you need to get behind them, stand up for them and fight the Government. It is their austerity measures causing this problem. The 20% cuts to Police budgets with an impending 25-40% FURTHER CUTS to follow this November! It is not “The Police” that make the choice not to patrol or to take their time getting to your call, it is the GOVERNMENT forcing this problem onto society through drastic austerity measures. Forcing senior ranks to make difficult and possibly dangerous choices over policing priorities.

I blame the Government and the media for a lot of the myths and bad opinions of our bobbies. I agree those bad apples in the Police Service do not help in any way and if you read my other blogs you will see my opinion of those who disgrace the office of Constable. However, it seems to have become the norm now to just report negative Police stories and to link anything to do with law, order, legislation and everything crime related with the cover-all term “The Police”.

We see “The Police” and images of Police related items such as the blue and white Police tape, being used by mainstream media when reporting on things which if we were to be fair, are not the fault of the Police. For example, when a particularly horrible suspect is released from custody on bail or without charge it is reported that “THE POLICE HAVE LET DANGEROUS SUSPECT “JO BLOGS” WALK FREE TODAY…”. In actual fact, if a suspect has “walked free” on bail or without charge, that is down to the law and legal system, neither of which “The Police” wrote or has any control over. There are very strict rules regarding the bailing and remanding of suspects which the Police simply abide by, not write. The decision to charge a suspect is made by the CPS in most cases or a trained Crime Evaluator in other matters. Decisions are based on evidence, threat to victims, witnesses or even the suspect and other factors. Although it is a custody Sergeant who authorises the release of suspects, it is done by following very strict rules which leave no room for ifs or buts or any personal opinion or preference, so how can they be blamed? Unless of course the release has been caused by a failure, malpractice or mistake by “The Police”, in which case you could blame the Officer responsible, but not the entire Police Service of England and Wales, your entire force or “The Police”.

When the Government introduce controversial new laws such as their snooping charter, the media often state to the public that it is “The Police” who want to have these powers. It is NOT the Police who request these powers. It is the Security Service and the Government but because it will be the Police who are forced to enforce the laws whether they agree or not, it is “The Police” that get the blame.

When it was discovered that the national crime statistics were wrong, fiddled and manipulated it was blamed on “The Police”. That resulted in many people thinking the bobby they see patrolling, attending their calls etc is a liar and fiddles the crime stats. The Police all over the country were labelled as liars and trying to cover things up when in actual fact the crime stats were fiddled by the senior command, the pseudo-politicians and the Home Office. Why label and tarnish an entire section of society, a vital public service, based on the actions of people who are so far removed from real life and the daily good the Police do? My guess would be to keep the wedge between the public and the public servants firmly in place so that they are less likely to stand together, shoulder to shoulder against the Government. But that is just my opinion.

This desire to blame “The Police” for everything, even it is not the fault of the Police subsequently bleeds into society. We have all heard the criticisms, opinions and myths surrounding policing. Let me elaborate and start with this one…

It’s lunch time, you hear sirens in the distance, you see a Police car with blues and twos on heading into town in the direction of shops and you say/hear “There they go, off to get their lunch” or something similar along those lines. We have all heard it. The comment has been uttered since I was a young child and even before then I am sure. I can not comment on whether that actually ever happened back in the “olden days”. Perhaps in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when Policing and life was completely different from today. However, I can guarantee you that it does not happen today and if it ever did then the Officer(s) would be disciplined and most likely sacked along with charged with any traffic offences they committed.

The reason being is that in all Police vehicles these days there is a “black box” device. This device requires the Officer to either scan their warrant card or security pass or type in a unique code in order to start the car. So long as the engine is running this device records EVERYTHING that vehicle does. It records, speed, breaking, gear, mileage and every time the sirens or lights are turned on. So if an officer has a collision in the vehicle the data is automatically looked at. If he is found to have been speeding, didnt break, using lights and sirens when he shouldn’t have been etc, then the officer is facing one hell of a problem. The control room supervisors and senior management can and do conduct spot checks on the vehicles. They can check what speed Officers are driving, they can make sure light and siren use coincides with an emergency call or other relevant and permitted incident. They are notified if the car goes over a certain speed and Officers are often called in to account for it. They can even check how long a car has been parked up with the engine running to ensure Officers are not wasting time. So the myth that Police use blue lights to get home on time, get their meal or for anything other than a lawful and permitted reason is absolutely untrue.

Another common complaint and frustration as a member of the public is that “The Police” attended a burglary, damage, theft etc and “were useless, they did nothing at all”. When the Police attend any crime scene where the suspect(s) have left they have to look for clues or evidence. They will check if there is CCTV covering the scene. Were there any witnesses to the offence? Has the suspect left any items behind? Has the suspect left any forensic evidence such as fingerprints or blood etc. Unfortunately, criminals these days are switched on and quite often do not leave any evidence behind. So if the Police Officer is unable to investigate your crime further it is NOT because they are useless or can’t be arsed, it is because there is no evidence to lead to a suspect. You can not logically or fairly call “The Police” useless for not being able to magic evidence out of thin air I’m afraid…. And if you want to use the argument that if they were patrolling more they may deter these crimes, please read the beginning of this blog again then complain to our Government.

“I told ‘The Police’ that that bloke down the road was dealing drugs last week and they’ve done nothing about it!”… This is a common complaint I hear from people or see on social media. It is so frustrating for us as members of the public that criminals in our society seemingly get away with their crimes without any Police action being taken. It is very frustrating for Police Officers that they can’t just go and search a property or a person who has been pointed out as committing crime such as drug dealing. It is THE LAW that prohibits the Police taking quicker action against suspected drug dealers. If a member of the public tells a Police Officer that “Joe Bloggs” is dealing drugs from his home address they will take that information and submit it as intelligence. They will check the Police system and if there are other recent reports of the same nature then they can look at swearing out a warrant, organising a raid at a time when they have enough resources and then searching the address….If there are no other reports or only a couple then I am afraid the information will sit there until futher intelligence gathering can be done. The courts will NOT issue the Police a warrant on one or two intel reports. They will not issue a warrant until the Officer can satisfy them that the information is viable, reliable and they know as much as possible about the address and it’s residents. This all takes time. It takes Surveillance, intelligence gathering and an operational order. These all take time. Some operations can take months to put together, especially if the suspect is switched on and smart. A lot of this information will not be passed to the member of the public who reported it and so to the unaware it WILL seem like “The Police” are doing nothing. They are doing something, just have some patience. It is hard to do all of these essential things to get a warrant when they are also doing the duties in the huge list above.

“I TOLD “THE POLICE” THAT MY DAUGHTER WAS BEING LED ASTRAY BY A BOY AND THEY SAID THEY CAN’T DO ANYTHING”… The same applies to parents worrying about the friends their kids have. The Police do not have the legal powers to instruct people, including children, who they can and can’t associate with. The law allows people to socialise with whomever they wish. This boils down to simple parenting. So long as no criminal offences are being committed or there is no immediate risk or threat to life and limb, the Police will not and can not act. It is down to parents to handle their children and there are other services around to assist if they can not. The Police will be there to deal with any crime or risk to life and limb only.

“I SAW “THE POLICE” LOCK SOMEBODY UP JUST FOR WALKING DOWN THE STREET WITH A BRITISH FLAG”… Well that simply isn’t true. I’ve seen a recent video which starts just as the Police are arresting somebody carrying a Union Flag. You do not see any of the incident before this. The title of the video is purely designed to cause unrest as it claims the Police arrested the person because the flag offended somebody. There is no law against carrying the Union Flag or any other for that matter and so it is only possible that the person was arrested for their conduct. Words or actions used whilst walking down the street with the flag. The Police can only arrest for what the LAW allows them to and no law will allow them to arrest for this. Simple as that.

“THEY ARE POLICE OFFICERS THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTROL THEIR ANGER BETTER”… Sadly there are many reports of Police using excessive force and I will never try and justify it. I will however just try and explain why a Police officer is no more able to control their temper, adrenaline and reactions in a violent situation. It is believed and expected (and rightly so) that The Police are highly trained in dealing with violent situations. That they are trained in self defence and are skilled in controlling their adrenaline. They are not. A Police Officer will still suffer the same adrenaline rush, the “fight or flight”, reaction as anybody else. They are of course more like to choose the FIGHT reaction. This doesn’t mean they will scrap with somebody, it means they will stand their ground and deal with the situation. In training all role plays of violent situations are far too Health and Safety controlled and so they can never be realistic and officers can never really be trained for real life until they hit the streets and encounter live situations. The level of self defence training they receive is no more than a few strikes to “pressure points” on the forearm if somebody grabs you or your kit or to press the mandibular angle to try and “gain control” of a suspect. All of this impractical Unarmed Defensive Tactics training mixed with pushing back with their hand held infront of them saying “Get Back”. I studied martial arts throughout my childhood and teens and also read a lot of self defence books too. I learned more from those books than the Police taught me. There were always requests from Officers for more realistic training but it was never permitted due to “Health & Safety”. So when an Officer gets involved in a violent situation his/her natural animal instincts kick in and unless they have had sufficient training OUTSIDE of the service they simply do their very best to survive and control the situation. Unfortunately, that sometimes leads to excessive force being used or mistakes being made.

These are just a few of the gripes, misconceptions and opinions expressed to me from members of the public and friends. I am sure there will be more. I am not for one second trying to say that the Police are perfect, don’t make mistakes or that all issues are down to cuts and being under resourced. There are problems in the Police Service which are caused by individuals whether that be corruption, racism or other criminality or malpractice but on that issue I would add that again, the actions of these individuals is not reflecting or representative of “The Police”.

I hope this blog has gone some way to increase some awareness of the situation within the Police Service of England and Wales and has come across as intended.

 

**In my next blog I am going to look at some of the duties Police Officers deal with which clash with their morals and beliefs but which they are legally obliged to fulfil and ask where would that obligation to duty over personal morals would end.

 

 

A LOOK AT FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS

OPERATION NORTHWOODS

OPERATION NORTHWOODS

I think it is time we took a closer look at a term some of you may not have even heard before despite the fact they occur with an ever increasing frequency.

This report will no doubt attract unwanted attention, criticism, insult and maybe worse. It is however, I believe, an important subject to look at in this day and age when all the general public want from our Governments is honesty and fairness.

Many people throughout history have sought to highlight matters such as this one and unfortunately ended up being killed in “freak attacks” or “accidents”.

The subject I am talking about is FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS (FFO).

A FFO is a military and political operation, usually a terrorist attack or similar, which is perpetrated by the Government on their own soil or establishments abroad and subsequently made to look as though they have been committed by a foreign Government or extremist organisation.

Some well known alleged FFOs include;-

Lockerbie
9/11
7/7
Charlie Hebdo attack

When I say “well known” I do not mean that it is well known that these were FFOs, I simply mean that people all around the world are well aware that these attacks took place.

Many have alleged over the years that the western Governments were heavily involved in the 9/11 attacks, some even suggest that they were completely planned and orchestrated by the US Government or a joint operation by US and other Governments such as UK and/or Israel.

At this point you may already be switching off and thinking this is another “conspiracy theory” but please read on. I will be looking at each of the above incidents in a little more detail and pointing out some of the theories circulating about them but the idea behind this report is to look more at the FACTS and the aspects of each incident which make them less conspiracy THEORY and more of a plausible possibility.

For this who have no idea what a FFO is you may mistakingly think that they themsleves are conspiracy theories. However, they are unfortunately very real.

We are going to look at one below which was presented to President John F Kennedy in the 1960’s by the Department of Defence. Quite frighteningly this FFO was signed off on by all except the President which is the only reason it did not go ahead. When we look at it you will see why so many people believe that the incidents listed above could well have been FFOs.

OPERATION NORTHWOODS

Op Northwoods was put together by the US Department of Defence (DoD) in the 60’s to address a problem faced by the then Government.

Kennedy and his administration were becoming increasingly concerned about Fidel Castro and also his relationship to Russia. Kennedy was under increasing pressure from his Government to take action against Castro and Cuba, however they lacked the support from the American public to invade and go to war and also the rest of the world. Op Northwoods was the DoD’s answer to that problem.

(you can view the entire now declassified document here but I will be looking at the vital sections below)

It is described in it’s first paragraph as a description of “pretexts which could justify US military intervention in Cuba”. In otherwords, idea that would make the rest of the world and US public support a US invasion.

Throughout the document are recommendations that the document is kept away from certain aspects of US Government, military and the rest of the world, including the UN. This is because the suggestions put forward, if carried out and discovered to be a FFO, would no doubt trigger another world war and destroy the US.

The first page outlines the document contents and reasons for it and shows that it was signed off by the US Joint Chief of Staff.

Section 5 of the Operation states

“The suggested courses of action…are based on the premise that US military intervention will result from a period of hightened US-Cuba tensions which place the United States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances. World opinion and the United Nations forum should be favourably affected by developing the international image of the Cuban government being rash and irresponsible and as an alarming and unpredictable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere”

KENNEDY COULD NOT APPROVE NORTHWOODS

KENNEDY COULD NOT APPROVE NORTHWOODS

What we are hearing here is a plan for the US Government, through a series of events and incidents which we shall examine shortly, planning to falsify and concoct an image and opinion which misrepresents the Cuban government and it’s leader. They basically plan on “spreading rumours” and making the rest of the world believe Cuba is a huge threat not only to the US but to the rest of the UN too. Sound familiar yet?

Section 6 goes on to explain how it would need be rushed and a short time scale would be forced upon the rest of the world to agree by telling them that AT THE MOMENT there is no threat from Russia as there is no pact between Cuba and Russia BUT if they hold back that threat could become real.

The conclusion in Section 7 states that the plan is a suitable response to the problem of gaining and increasing public support for war with Cuba and should be carried forward to the planning stage.

It is also recommended that the overseeing of the operation, both overt and covert actions, should stay with the Joint Chief of Staffs.

The report then goes on to discuss how the Operation should be put together. It states;-

“…Such a plan would enable a logical build up of incidents to be combined with a number of other seemingly unrelated events to camoflage the ultimate objective and create the neccersary impression of rashness and irresponsibility on a large scale directed at other countries as well as the United States”

It talks of choosing plans from the attached list of suggestions which we will look at later and again emphasises the importance of making the rest of the world believe Cuba is a threat to national security of the entire western hemisphere.

So let us now look at the list of proposed actions the US Government put together to take to the President which if he had signed off on would have resulted in the US proceeding to lie to the world in order to invade another country and start a war all for their own means.

Suggestion number 1 starts by saying;-

“Since it would seem desirable to use legitimate provocation as the basis for US military intervention in Cuba, a cover a deception plan…could be executed as an initial effort to provoke Cuban response. Harassment plus deceptive actions to convince the Cubans of imminent invasion would be emphasized.”

So in a nutshell, because a “legitimate provocation” would be preferred, the US would try and orchestrate a provocation by harassing and provoking Cuba themselves until Cuba reacted.

However, knowing that suggestion 1 would most likely not work they move in quickly to the following suggestion.

“A series of well coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give the genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces”

The DoD then lists their proposed “well coordinated incidents” as

1) Start rumours (many). Use clandestine radio
2) Land friendly Cubans [those either on the CIA payroll or trained as guerilla fighters by the CIA] in uniform over the fence to stage attack on base.
3) Capture Cuban (friendly) saboteurs inside the base.
4) Start a riot near the base main gate (friendly Cubans)
5) Blow up ammunition on the base. Start fires.
6) Burn aircraft on airbase (sabotage)
7) Lob mortar shells from outside of base into base. Some damage to installations.
8) Capture assault teams approaching from the sea or direction of Guantanamo Bay.
9) Capture malitia group which storms the base
10) Sabotage ship in harbour. Start large fires – napthalene
11) Sink ship near harbour entrance. conduct funerals for mock victims (may be lieu of 10)

MOCK VICTIMS – this is something that will crop up again and we will look at closer later!

The DoD advise that in response to these incidents which would be conducted by the US and made to look like Cuba were responsible, the US military would then launch offensive operations against Cuba!

The 3rd suggestion was referred to as a “remember the Maine” operation. The Maine was a US battleship which funnily enough in the late 1890’s was sunk off of the coast of Havana following a huge explosion on board which tore a hole in the hull. There was, believe it or not, no evidence to suggest an attack but the incident was blamed on the Spanish and the US public, angry and upset at the death of 260 soldiers, demanded a declaration of war.

The following is an extract from the website ushistory.org;-

“REMEMBER THE MAINE, TO HELL WITH SPAIN!” was the cry. On April 11, 1898, McKinley asked the Congress for permission to use force in Cuba. To send a message to the rest of the world that the United States was interested in Cuban independence instead of American colonization, Congress passed the TELLER AMENDMENT, which promised that America would not annex the precious islands. After that conscience-clearing measure, American leaders threw caution to the wind and declared open warfare on the Spanish throne.”

Could this have been an early FFO?

So what would a “Remember the Maine” operation look like? Well the first suggestion by the DoD was…

“a) We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba”

part B of suggestion 3 is to blow up a drone vessel anywhere in Cuban waters, potentially close to Havana so that it was seen a would be a spectacle. When Cuban planes flew over to see what was happening footage would be used to emphasise that Cuba attacked the vessel. The US would then stage a rescue mission to “evacuate remaining members of a non-existent crew”

Again, MOCK VICTIMS being “rescued” from a faked attack!

Suggestion 4;-

“We could develop a communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, other Florida cities and even in Washington.The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cubans refugees in the United States, even to the extent of wounding in instances to be highly publicised….”

Here we see the US Government actually suggesting killing or wounding Cuban refugees in fabricated “terrorist attacks” in US cities! It continues…

“…exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government”

The US Government planned to paint the Cuban Government as “irresponsible” by acting irresponsible themselves.

Suggestion 5 was to cause tension between Cuba and other Caribbean nations by staging attacks on sugar cane fields and ensuring Soviet incendiaries were found along with the discovery of “Cuban” messages and weapons shipments on that nation’s beaches etc.

Suggestion 6 involved disguising a US plane as a Cuban plane and conducting attacks on US drone vessels and other US instillations.

Suggestion 7 was to stage hijackings of US “civil air and surface crafts” and make it appear to be backed by Cuba.

Suggestion number 8 is one that sets alarm bells ringing especially when you hold Lockerbie and 9/11 in mind.

“It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama or Venezuela. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers would be a group of “College students” [CIA officers] off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.

[This is where the plan gets crafty and alarm bells begin to ring]

a) An air craft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA propriety organisation in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all loaded under carefully selected aliases. The actual registered air craft would be converted to a drone.

b) Take off times of the drone air craft and the actual air craft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger [CIA] carrying air craft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into and auxilary field at Eglin AFB where arrangement will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to it’s original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the plane will begin transmitting on the international distress frequency a “MAY DAY” message stating he is under attack from a Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be disrupted by destruction of the air craft which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow ICAO radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to tell the US what has happened to the aircraft instead of the US trying to “sell” the incident.

Can you believe what you have just read? Read it again. An elaborate plan to stage the shooting down of a passenger aircraft which would then be broadcast to the entire world. Names and faces of the “passengers” would be released. Mock funerals as discussed above would take place and the world would condemn Cuba for an act actually conducted by the US government!

It has long been suggested that the planes involved in Lockerby and in the 9/11 attacks were simply drones and that the passengers and families of passengers were in fact US military and government personnel. This allegation is always understandably met with outrage and disgust but can we blame the “conspiracy theorists” for believing this when that is EXACTLY what the US government planned in 1962?

Suggestion 9 was a plan to have a CIA pilot posing as an Air Force pilot engaged on a training exercise with other legitimate fighters. He would be briefed to fly at the back of the formation, some distance behind the rest where he would then let out a distress call to say he had been attacked by Cuban MIG planes. He would then descend to low altitude and fly to Eglin AFB where the plane would be re-numbered and the CIA agent would return to his normal duty. The pilot would never be found and would be reported as shot down by Cubans. At the same time a submarine would be used to release plane parts including parachute which would then be recovered from the sea and the coast of Cuba. Presumably another mock funeral would take place.

So now we have seen just how devious, deceitful and manipulative the US Government can be and it was only due to the honesty (the US government called it “softness”) of President John F Kennedy that Operation Northwoods did not go ahead at that time.

It raises the legitimate question though of whether a Northwoods style plan was taken to Bush as a way of increasing public support for the Iraq invasion. It was no big secret that Bush wanted to go into Iraq and take down Sadam and we now know that the story of WMD was a load of rubbish. We know Iraq played no part in 9/11 but were lead to believe Sadam and Osama were both up to no good and posed a “potential risk to the western hemisphere”.

In actual fact is well known and documented that it was the Bush family who were close friends of the Bin Laden family. The presidents father was entertaining Osama’s brother the morning of the attacks!

Did Blair use a FFO on 7/7 due to the increasing demands from the pubic and others in Parliament to stop being America’s lap-dog and to withdraw our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan?

Did Cameron authorise a FFO in Paris to create support and understanding from Parliament, the EU and the public for his plans to increase surveillance and snooping laws in the UK? The same morning of the attacks in Paris the head of Mi5 was quoted in the media as saying they can not protect us from all terrorist attacks and that terrorists are using complicated communication methods such as Whatsapp, iMessage and Snapchat… by complicated he meant encrypted.

David Cameron jumped straight on the bandwagon with plans to push his already quashed plans for his “snoopers charter” and a promise to ban all encrypted communications because he states he does not think the public should be able to communicate in a way which the government can not listen in. He made sure he highlighted the fact that the Charlie Hebdo attacks MAY have been avoided if the Government had the ability and freedom to listen in to all communications.

The attacks in Paris were almost instantly examined and numerous discrepancies were discovered paving the way for more “conspiracy theories” and allegations it was a FFO. (see my previous blog the Charlie Hebdo attack for details of the discrepancies and theories)

Northwoods suggests using MOCK VICTIMS in their attacks. Using serving covert agents as pilots and civilians aswel as the “terrorists” themselves. One of the theories surrounding the Paris attack was that the attackers were agents and that the Police Officer shot was actually a serving agent from MOSAD. Hard to believe I know, until you look at Northwoods and see that it is not as outrageous as you may think.

Many aspects of Northwoods can be seen in these incidents and because we KNOW that Northwoods was a legitimate US government plan and that the DoD was more than willing to sacrifice US lives and fabricate evidence and cover up their actions people can not be blamed or criticised for believing that 9/11, 7/7, Lockerbie, Pearl HArbour and the Charlie Hebdo attacks were the works of Western Governments.

President John F Kennedy had the decency and integrity which no other leader prior or since had. He turned down Northwoods and was deemed “weak”. He made a speech about secrecy and lies at a Government level and higher and insisted that his administration would NOT tolerate such activity and behaviour and called upon the US media to help him advise and inform the American public whilst vowing to expose the sinister secrecy at the highest levels of power…. several days later JFK was shot and killed.

WORLD'S FIRST AND LAST HONEST LEADER?

WORLD’S FIRST AND LAST HONEST LEADER?

But that is another “Conspiracy Theory” altogether.

*In writing this blog I am not endorsing any theory about any incident which has taken place. I happen to hold my own opinions on each incident. I simply believe that more people should be aware of the existence of Operation Northwoods and the extent to which the US Government HISTORICALLY planned to take matters simply to fabricate public support for war. Read the document in full at the link I have supplied. Look deeper into attacks which have happened both historically and recently and make you own minds up. But don’t dismiss those who think outside the box and consider all possibilities rather than simply excepting what the media, controlled by the Government, tell us.

If anything happens to me any time soon after writing this then it’s no conspiracy theory, DIG DEEPER! 😉

conspiracy

METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS FEEL THEY ARE “DROWNING UNDER AN AVALANCHE”

METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS FEEL LIKE THEY “ARE DROWNING UNDER AN AVALANCHE” DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE, INCREASED WORKLOADS AND POLICE “REFORMS”

Avalanches-sfSpan

Front line Officers working within the Metropolitan Police Service feel like they are drowning with the immense pressure they facing on a daily basis due to “Police Reforms”.

Constables working in Neighbourhood Policing or “SAFER NEIGHBOURHOODS” as it used to be called once worked in teams of 6 covering a reasonably sized electoral ward or area.

The six person team would be made up of 1 Police Sergeant, 2 Police Constables and 3 Police Community Support Officers.

Now they have moved to a new system rebranded “LOCAL POLICING TEAMS” which now comprises 1 PC and 1 PCSO dedicated to the ward. Each pair then has as backup a team of 4 Police Constables and 1 Police Sergeant who [are supposed to] police a cluster of EIGHT wards.

From that little back up team however, one will be responsible for what they call “appointments car” whose role it is to attend those calls from the public which are not deemed as urgent and so they are allotted a time when a Police Officer will attend and speak to them regarding whatever it is they felt the need to call the Police about. This may or may not lead to recording crimes but never the less can be a time consuming roll for one Officer.

Another from the group will be responsible for investigating all Crime Reports handed to them at the start of the shift. Making contact with the victim as per the “Victims Code” which requires a Police Officer to make contact on a regular basis agreed to by the victim. Arranging a visit to the victim and/witness to obtain statements, gathering information and evidence perhaps missed out in the intitial report. Again, a very time consuming yet important role.

So that leaves just 2 PCs and a Sgt to patrol the 8 wards, conduct arrest enquiries and any other tasking the Senior Management requires. So in effect the work of the Neighbourhood Police Officer which used to be completed by 2 PCs and 4 PCSO which still caused the public to complain of a low Police presence, has now been chopped down to 1 PC and 1 PCSO!

My source within one such Policing team said

“Combined with the no recruitment for a number of years and the Local Policing team system we’ve just changed to, we feel like we’re drowning under an avalanche!”

External Police recruitment within the Metropolitan Police has been frozen for some time now for both PCs and PCSOs. There is a shortage of PCSOs on many teams due to them becoming PCs and the force not recruiting others to replace them.

Due to the increase in the responsibilities of a PCSO it often means the streets are left un-patrolled. PCSOs walking to calls and enquiries under pressure to get there and complete certain tasks is now the Met’s idea of patrolling.

The Police Community Support Officers are sent to “re-visit” burglary victims and conduct house to house enquiries along the street which itself can take several hours at times. They will also be deployed to make contact with “vulnerable victims” and spend time reassuring them. They have ward and council meetings to attend. Crime prevention leaflets to deliver. Targeted patrols of shopping centres to deter shop lifters and purse dippers. They deal with long term neighbour disputes acting as mediators and go betweens as well as referring people to external partner agencies…. All of this is expected on a daily basis and it does not take a genius to see that there is far too much work for the numbers deployed.

Another source has told me

I’m a dedicated ward PCSO. My work load just gets larger each day. I have to do an analyst’s job with figures for my Inspector as well as dealing with the normal PCSO duties of visiting burglary victims and neighbours and vulnerable victims etc. I stayed nearly two hours late last night doing figures and updating our website… Saying that I often stay an hour or two longer to try and keep up. But it’s never ending!

So where does it end? This isn’t an isolated case. This problem is reflected in almost every single force around the country yet the public are expected to swallow the lies that frontline policing is not being effected by the Governments excessive cuts.

The Police Service of England & Wales is on the verge of collapse. Morale is at the lowest it has EVER been. Numbers are at a 12year low. Crime stats (when reported correctly) are increasing. The public are NOT receiving the same high level of service they once were and still deserve.

Where this ends and what it will take to open the eyes of those in charge, nobody knows.

 

 

JUST A FEW STEPS AWAY FROM BEING HOMELESS…

Hungry & homeless sign at feet of male beggar, UK

This short story is true. It is a story about how each of us is just a few unfortunate steps away from being left with nothing at all and how we are all vulnerable to homelessness. This incident changed my life in more ways than one. It took place whilst I was serving as a Police Officer and the gentleman’s name has been changed and place names omitted.

John was a career Police Officer with a force I shall not name. He had served as a PC for almost 16 years. He had a wife and 2 young children whom he adored. He was healthy, active and had a blessed life. He owned a 4 bedroomed house with large garden in a nice area and he and his wife drove nice cars. With not a worry or issue in the world he was a lucky man and had a life many would envy.

In 2010 following an incident at work John was injured both physically and mentally. The physical wounds healed very quickly but the psychological wounds never did. He returned to work reluctantly after a short period of sickness. He never liked taking time off and had never had a day’s sick leave in his career and this alone bugged him, but he understood the importance of making sure he was up to doing his duty and returned as soon as he felt physically capable.

After only a few weeks back at work he began to realise he just wasn’t himself both at work and with the public and at home with his family. He wasn’t sleeping well because he would have regular bad dreams and flashbacks to the incident which put him out of work. He was becoming short tempered which was completely not his true self. He became a little reclusive, not wanting to attend family events, not wanting to take the kids out for weekends away or even to the park. The more it went on the more he knew he needed help and that something wasn’t right but he just couldn’t bring himself to ask for help.

One afternoon at work following an argument with a colleague John lost his temper, punched his colleague and damaged a force computer before walking out of the station and going home early. To cut a long story short he was subsequently suspended. Whilst suspended he was pressured into going to the Doctors and seeking help. He was of course diagnosed with depression, post traumatic stress and anxiety and despite the fact he did not want to take medication he was prescribed tablets.

Whilst on suspension and taking his meds he did make a substantial improvement and although not fully his old self, things at home were improving. That was short lived however.

He was taken off suspension and allowed back to work but on advice from his GP and family and friends he took time off sick to try and get back to some “normality”. He was still under investigation by Professional Standards for assaulting his colleague and damaging a computer however they were pursuing misconduct and disciple matters rather than criminal matters given the circumstances (and their negligence with offering him the correct support at the time of his incident and injury).

He ended up being off work for several months and he believed it was his sickness and insistence that PSD did things on his terms for medical reasons that ultimately resulted in him being required to resign from the force. He did so reluctantly and he described it as being the day his life ended.

As time went by and as he struggled like crazy to get another job and keep the family afloat things went from bad to worse. They couldn’t pay bills, they were increasingly in debt, they argued a lot, tensions were running high and he felt all his progress with his depression was going to waste more and more each day.

Eventually his wife and kids left him. He missed mortgage payments and debts were out of control. He lost everything. Within less than 2years John was left broke and homeless. His friends had all but deserted him, his wife wanted nothing more to do with him, he never saw his kids and he ended up living rough or moving from hostel to hostel.

Eventually he ended up in my area living in a tent in some woods next to the motorway. He begged for change and food at a nearby motorway services and used their toilets and showers to keep clean. He learned to catch rabbits for extra food and rainwater for drink. He kept himself to himself and nobody would have had any idea there was a man living in a small wood as they drove by every day.I had no idea myself until a colleague told me and I made it my business to go and visit him and that is how I got to speak with him at length. I would occasionally sneak off without work mates knowing when working single crewed and see if he was around and check how he was doing and sometimes took him a sandwich from morrisons and bottle of water.

He told me one day how he had come to the decision to live in these woods. He had spent months on the streets and in homeless shelters but said that every night he closed his eyes he was scared he would never wake up. He talked of thugs and youths robbing homeless people for what little money or possessions the had. He told me one day he was robbed by 2 teens who even heartless tore a photo of his kids to pieces whilst they laughed and one held a knife. That day he was thrown out of WH Smiths for trying to buy some card and glue to stick his picture back together.

He told me how he had come closer and closer to turning to drink and drugs as the temptation living rough in towns and cities was too much. How he had had to go against every moral fibre in his body and break the law by stealing food, drink and a new sleeping bag to survive. He told me how shops and even fast food venues like Mcdonalds would turn him away as soon as he entered. The final straw was when the Police and Council began targeting the homeless and removing their sleeping bags etc…In his own words

“I never felt so lonely and I was surrounded by thousands of people”.

He knew of my area as he would often visit as a child and so made the decision to travel up by hitch-hiking with friendly wagon drivers. He said one or two even allowed him to sleep in their wagon at night and fed him too. When he arrived in the area he moved from place to place trying to find a nice, quiet and secluded spot to make his “home”. He said he tried half a dozen or so before settling with the woods. He was able to work “cash in hand” as a labourer for a local company for a week which paid him £150. With that money he bought a one man tent, warm clothes and sleeping bag and camping supplies and set about making his camp site home.

John was always very humble, very grateful for any time you would spend talking to him and always politely offered you a brew. He would also turn down any acts of charity and offers of help and said he was used to his little life now and quite enjoyed the peace.

Several months went by without any sign of John and winter was upon us. We were contacted by a hospital ward to ask us to check on his welfare as he had been admitted with various health problems caused by his lifestyle and the cold and he had walked off the ward. For 4 days I visited his camp to see if there had been signs of life. It was blisteringly cold and even in a wool hat, gloves, fleece and body armour I was cold. There was no way John was going to survive nights in this weather and there wasn’t so much as a recent fire at his camp. All his possessions were there but he wasn’t.

It was on the 5th day that news came back to us that John had been found. Upon leaving hospital he had taken what little cash he had and paid for one night in a B&B in a different force area. Whilst there John had seen fit to end his own life and was found the following morning by staff. He had overdosed on heroine.

The news was a massive blow and John’s entire life story impacted me in a way of which, up until hearing the news of his death, I had no idea. His life, I believe, shows just how fragile our lives are. How everything we deem to be important and take for granted can just be pulled away in the space of a few short months and there is nothing you can do about it. How those is desperate need of help can often go unseen and their needs unnoticed before it is too late. I found myself asking if there was anything more I could have done to help him or if I could have changed his life for the better. I couldn’t have. I offered him all the help I could reasonably offer and he was always so appreciative but would politely turn it down.

It is for this reason that I get so passionate about homelessness in this country and will always stand up for people in that dreadful situation and will try to do my very best to help when and where I can, even if it is simply by raising awareness.

People need to open their eyes when walking around cities and towns and stop pretending that homeless people don’t exist or that it’s not their problem or that “you shouldn’t give them money they will only get drunk or buy drugs”. I invited a homeless guy to join me and my mates for a beer on my stag doo in York in May but he turned the offer down because he was T total. Instead me and my mates give him enough money to go eat and spend the night in a hotel. He was chuffed to bits and split between us cost about £10 each. That’s about 3 and a half pints sacrificed to help somebody in need.

My better half bought a homeless guy in York a hot drink and sausage roll last winter, his reaction genuinely put a tear in my eye. As I looked around I was filled with rage as people looked at us like we were scum for feeding the poor bloke.

Ignorance and dismissal of this problem does nothing to change it and given that we are all just a few unfortunate steps away from being in the same situation, we should all do a lot more to make sure the problem no longer exists rather than sweeping it under the carpet or walking around with blinkers on.

Other blogs on this subject matter:-

OUT OF SITE OUT OF MIND

WHAT’S THE BIG ISSUE?

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND

News is pouring out of the USA about the diabolical decision by the Governors of Columbia, South Carolina to criminalise homelessness and to force those unfortunate enough to be homeless into PoW style camps.

The city’s “Emergency Homeless Response Report” Claims that the vast numbers of homeless people living in the area is having a negative impact upon businesses and that business owners are increasingly becoming frustrated. Heaven forbid!

“we are now experiencing an environment where
our staff members and our guests no longer feel
safe even within the confines of our building. This
nexus of perception and reality makes it virtually
impossible for us, or anybody, to create a
sustainable business model…. I urge you to move
quickly to garner results”
– Fred Martin, President, Mast General Store

Ignorant comments such as this are the reason Governors began looking into the “problem”. However, as always, rather than tackle the problem(s) causing homelessness they would much rather look at ways to pop those pesky homeless people somewhere out of sight and out of mind. Just why people such as Fred Martin and his staff feel UNSAFE because there is a person or persons outside his premises unfortunate enough not to have a roof over their head is perplexing. Being homeless does not make you dangerous! It isn’t contagious! So what is he afraid of? If people are afraid that maybe a homeless person may resort to something already criminalised in order to eat or drink then that is something that can be dealt with without the need to criminalise and encamp the homeless so surely that can’t be it? They can’t tar all homeless people with the same brush and assume that they will commit a crime at some point surely?

“I am very concerned that Columbia’s downtown
has become a magnet for homeless people…[the
environment is] not only making our employees,
tenants and residents feel uncomfortable, but also
hindering our ability to attract new residents and
businesses to downtown…I would like to see both
City Council and the people of the Midlands put
all differences aside and do what is best for the
greater good of the community. ”
– Ben D. Arnold, President, Arnold Family Companies

We then have Mr Arnold, his residents, tenants and his employees who “feel uncomfortable”… Awww bless them. Perhaps they should consider how uncomfortable it is to live on the streets and be looked down upon as vermin by they own kind!

“A prosperous, vibrant city needs a prosperous,
vibrant downtown area that is perceived as having an
environment that is safe for all; families, women and
children…The problems are increasing and becoming
more volatile…A serious incident could occur at any
time with tragic repercussions.”
– Rev. Fr. Michael Platanis, Protopresbyter, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

A very vague generalisation from the charitable Rev Platanis there. What “Serious incident” is her referring too?

These are all quotes used within the report on which the Governors of Columbia based their decision to criminalise homeslessness.

So Columbia found themselves facing what the consider two major problems to be addressed;-

1. The need for a long term, sustainable response
to an ongoing problem so that the City of
Columbia never finds itself in this predicament
again.

2. An acute emergency in the heart of the city
that is having a highly detrimental impact upon
the commerce community, downtown
neighborhoods and the perception of safety and
quality of life in the capital city

So the solution they came up with was to stick everybody in a camp. Not tackle the negative and incorrect perception of safety and quality of life amongst the residents and business owners or to build a support system to help the homeless get back on their feet, find employment and provide a roof over their heads. No. The best solution of course is to stick them in a camp, refuse to allow them to leave and stick an armed guard on the road leading to it (a prison then) at a cost of $1.7million when the budget you have is only $500,000.

The report refers to the homeless prisoners as “clients” and will not allow them to walk to the facility but instead will provide vans to round them up and transport them into the facility. They will provide a dedicated number for the public to call when they identify “a person in need” [of imprisoning] and a patrol of officers around the perimeter and guards on roads leading to it. All charity groups who currently feed the homeless with soup kitchens etc will now be banned from doing so unless it is taking place within the grounds of the new facility. Yet this is a kind and charitable method of “aid” for “the needy”. And if you were thinking it is NOT like a prison, they are also going to use this facility to house ex-prisoners too!

HOMELESS PERSON'S PRISON CAMP, COLUMBIA, SC

HOMELESS PERSON’S PRISON CAMP, COLUMBIA, SC

Trnopolje Concentration Camp, Bosnia

Trnopolje Concentration Camp, Bosnia

So what if a homeless person refuses to go, as is his right??? They will be arrested!

The Governors (of Columbia and now their own prison) state this is only a short term solution and describe the issue using words such as “plagued”. So what happens at the end of the “short term”? Nobody knows yet. I would bet that it is extended not only in Columbia but across states and the rest of the USA.

Tampa Bay in Florida have already given Police the power to arrest those found sleeping in the streets. This act has been protested due to the punishment for both the homesless person and the taxpayer as it cost on average $50 a night to lock them up with one county incurring a cost of over $6million in one year!

Homelessness is not a crime. It is not a lifestyle choice. These unfortunate men and women did not wake up one morning and think “Screw this, I don’t want a house and a job, I am off to live in an alleyway next to the Seven Eleven”. We see Soldiers living on the street, Police Officers, graduate and other people who have had at one point or another, successful careers, a family, a home and some pride but for whatever reason they are now forced to live rough on the streets. This is NOT something which should be punished and criminalised.

All this report and the action taken by Columbia shows is that their society, their community spirit, their humanness is broken beyond repair. So long as they can get on with their happy lives and those who need help are out of sight and out of mind then life can go on and they won’t have to consider their own consciences.

TOO POOR TO DIE

grave

They say there are only two certainties in life. Death and taxes. However it now seems that both are equally as extortionate and bias towards the wealthy.

A recent report from RT News reported that the costs of funerals in the UK are higher than ever before. They report that the cost is up by 50-80% for even the most basic of services.

But why? We all die. We all have to be disposed of in one way or another whether that is burial or cremation. Obviously the more elaborate a funeral service the more expensive it will be but with minimum costs of between £3,750 to £5000 and the average cost within the UK is reported to be £8000 (the average cost in France is only £2200) then how on earth can we afford to have our loved ones laid to rest?

According to the Centre for Death and Society one in five people now struggle or fail to afford a funeral when they lose a loved one. According to the DWP they and the Government do their fair share to help people who can not afford to pay a high street undertaker and “meet the costs in full”. They state that “successful applicants” receive a contribution towards the fee levied by funeral directors and this fee currently £700. They say other costs such as Doctors certificates and fees and add ons sold by directors are also met in full. Sounds brilliant. Those of us (one in five) who can not afford to get help to give their loved ones a service after death can get help from the Government. However, the average Government payment last year was only £1,225 which means then that those applying have to find several thousand pounds extra. On top of this, the report conducted by RT found that the scheme run by DWP is “insufficient, overly complex and outdated” with people having to commit to funeral cost prior to applying for a payment.

The cost of a single grave plot for a coffin can range from £750 to £2500 but if you are burying a casket rather than coffin the cost rises to £1100 to £3500! Add to that the cost of the church or chapel for a service which can range from £50 to in some places £200 then you are already way out of most people’s budgets. Then lets consider the price of a coffin or casket which range from several hundred to tens of thousands of pounds. Personally I do not see the point in expensive coffins or caskets to simply bury underground never to be seen again but each to their own. When you choose your coffin or casket you are then bombarded with a choice of handles, trimmings, plaques, decoration etc etc etc. the list is endless and costs keep mounting.

We all know the nation is in a financial mire and welfare is being stripped back to the bare bones for those in need of support. We also know that big corporations, banks and other people and companies tucked up in bed with Government ministers seem to be receiving tax cuts and favours along with generous suggestions by “independent think tanks”. So is the ever increasing rise in funeral costs and lack of support from Government a ploy to force people into taking out life insurance policies? Why are the costs of dying so rapidly rising? What has changed to justify a rise of almost 80% in cost? Surely the cost of caskets hasn’t increased that much? Is it the cost of land to extend cemeteries? Is it the increase in energy prices making it more expensive to fire up the oven for cremation? Or is it simple greed from high street funeral directors who often deploy pushy, seemingly sympathetic emotionally charged sales techniques to talk families into paying for little but expensive extras?

This is not something which only impacts upon a few. Whether you like it or not we are all going to die one day. It is one of the few things that every single person on the planet has in common. We should not be restricted by class or wealth when it comes to death and I think it is time the Government step up and take control of this situation. A cap on the rising costs. A restriction on life insurance sales pitches. A basic fixed fee national funeral package. An affordable and fair repayment package… There are a number of things which Government, Life Insurance companies and Funeral Directors could do to make death much more affordable for all so why are they not doing it?

I don’t have the answer. Yet. If you can explain then please do let me know.

So long as this unmanageable rise in costs continues we will inevitably see a rise in debt or “paupers funerals”.