I hope everybody had a Happy Thanksgiving! We don’t celebrate it in England of course, indeed we were rather pleased to get shot of the Pilgrim Fathers, but I know what an important holiday it is in the States, indeed some years ago I was invited in to an American home to celebrate it. Events in England seem to be going Boris’s way. It now looks as though he will win an outright majority, just, on December 12th, although there are disturbing signs that he may shaft the pro-British European Research Group in the same way that he shafted the DUP. It’s been a bad week for Labour, the LibDems and the Brexit Party.
There’s no point saying that I have been predicting for the last few weeks that Boris will fail to get a majority and that the Tories would end up as the largest party. If the facts change I change my opinion! Each election campaign has its own dynamic and opinion can shift, indeed the majority of the polls taken before Friday’s murderous terrorist attack showed the Tory/Labour gap closing.
It now looks as though the Brexit Party have only got a chance in one seat, sadly, Barnsley Central. Why Barnsley? Nobody knows, but they’re polling quite strongly there and are in second place, behind Labour.
Labour are reeling from a strong attack by the Chief Rabbi, who hammered them over their anti-semitism, and a car-crash of an interview by that nice man Andrew Neil of Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC. Then ISIS decided to lend the Tories a hand by staging a terrorist attack on London Bridge. At least I assume it was ISIS, although no doubt the Islamic nutter in question only had a loose association with them. ISIS have claimed credit in any event, if credit is the right word, which just goes to show they know diddly-squat about the British electorate.
As a terrorist attack it made about as much sense as the one by the suicide squad in Life of Brian. Thankfully the muppet in question was relieved of his knife by a brave member of the public, following which he was very properly shot by the police (the terrorist, not the member of the public, implying that the shooter might have been Army in police uniform). The Met were rather slow to categorise it as a terrorist attack, even though it was mounted by a bearded nutter and convicted terrorist out on licence, whom we shall no doubt hear was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ or some such. I doubt he was shouting ‘banzai’.
Before anyone asks ‘why did the rozzers shoot the terrorist?’ the answer is that he was wearing a hoax suicide bomb vest. Put shortly he was asking to be shot. You can’t expect armed police officers to stand around waiting to see if a suicide vest is real or not. If you’re an Islamic terrorist, and on the whole you would prefer not to be shot, don’t strap on what looks like a bomb, indeed bulges of any sort are to be avoided.
That was the mistake made by the Brazilian terrorist bomb-maker Jean-Charles de Menezes of course. He wasn’t a suicide bomber, indeed he was running for his worthless life, but he had concealed a silenced Makarov semi-auto about his person, a bulky item, which was confused for a suicide vest.
Questions are being asked about why the terrorist, Usman Khan, was allowed to carry out a deadly terrorist attack, murdering two innocent people in the process, whilst wearing a GPS tag. As usual the police are going down the ‘lone wolf’ tack, which just goes to show how unsuited the rozzers are to counter-terrorist work, no offense intended. They’ve also started making arrests, which seems a bit odd if he was working on his own.
There are remarkably few lone wolf attacks. Almost certainly Khan was working as part of a cell. How did he get to London Bridge? Who’s been funding him since his early release from prison? Why wasn’t his move to London from Staffordshire not picked up, given that he was wearing a tag?
As usual the political response has been feeble. Jeremy Corbyn has called for another whitewash (he actually said “inquiry” but it means the same thing) and Boris has restricted himself to praising the police and expressing sympathy for the victims. Admirable sentiments no doubt, but with respect to the Prime Minister they don’t cut the mustard. He needs to shut down GO2, but he’s intelligence illiterate, again with respect. At least he’s not blaming the invasion of Iraq, unlike Jeremy Corbyn, who still hasn’t grasped that Iraq was one of the state sponsors, along with Germany and Iran, of 9/11.
Khan was a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and should have been deported there when he finished his sentence. That was the only way to protect the British public from him. Any claim he had to British nationality was given up when he decided to become a terrorist.
The surpassing irony of the attack is that Khan’s target was a conference of criminologists! Both named victims, Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, were at the event. I wonder if the experience of having a terrorist organisation attack their conference will change the minds of the survivors about capital punishment? I doubt it, sadly. Well done by the way to the convicted murderer who helped tackle Khan. He deserves a pat on the back.
The grotesque failure of the Probation Service to keep track of Khan probably means that the idea of bringing captured ISIL terrorists to return to the UK to be prosecuted is off the agenda. The powers of the courts are wholly inadequate and authorities are simply incapable of keeping track of these idiots once they’re released, as they will be.
The YouGov super-poll
Another surprising development this week was a serious opinion poll. We’re not used to those in Britain! It’s called a Multi-level Regression and Post-stratification Model (MRP). YouGov don’t call it a poll, but it is – the difference between their MRP poll and standard polling is that they adjust the data differently, using more factors, and use a much larger sample, in this case just over 100,000.
If the election had been held on Thursday the MRP data suggests that the Tories would have received 43% of the vote and won 359 seats, with Labour on 32%/211 seats and the LibDems on 14%/13 seats. Of course the election is still a week and a half away, but people have probably started voting by post already. This poll was bad news for Jeremy Corbyn. Most opinion polls are based on a sample of 1,000 to 1,500. I think YouGov’s MRP poll is broadly accurate, although bear in mind the data was accumulated over the course of a week and is already out of date.
The rise in the Labour vote in the smaller polls taken towards the end of the week appears to be down to the collapse in the LibDem vote. Their leader is a serious lightweight, no offense intended, by which I mean she’s seriously light, not serious! They’ve fought a poor campaign and their votes are going over to Labour.
Another thing to keep an eye on is the weather. There hasn’t been a December election in Britain for 90 years for a reason. We’ve just entered another cold snap. Traditionally the Tories are better at getting their older voters to the polls in cars than Labour. Younger voters are also less likely to go out in the cold. Your average teenager is not that good at going out of doors when it’s chilly, indeed they’re not that good about getting out of bed.
The other point about the cold snap is that it makes parties banging on about global warming look slightly silly. I am aware, of course, that there is a difference between climate and weather. It’s the meteorological difference between strategic and tactical weapons, in other words a distinction we would not necessarily expect Tony Blair to grasp.
However you can’t get a warm spell in summer without idiot warmists banging on about climate change, so I don’t see why we rationalists shouldn’t get our own back in a cold spell! The fact that winters are getting colder helps make our point that the planet is in a cooling, not a warming, phase. Changing temperature records, such as the highest temperature ever recorded (58oC in Libya, as long ago as 1922), on dubious grounds doesn’t change the climate. It just changes the record.
Regular readers know this stuff, but this column is now being syndicated, for want of a better name (the pay isn’t any higher!) by UNN in the UK and I’m getting a number of new readers. VeteransToday.com is the online journal of the clandestine community. It can be controversial, but that’s because in a world full of lies the truth is likely to be controversial.
VT was the first and so far only media organisation in the world to correctly identify the nerve agent used in Salisbury in 2018 as BX, not novichok. No mainstream media organisation has even dared to quote either the Editor-in-Chief or myself on the use of BX. We were right however! Since we report inconvenient truths we will continue to get some online stick. It’s a sign that we’re doing our job. We’ve also exposed the truth behind the shoot-downs of MH17 and 370.
Each author’s columns are archived – you can read my writing in 2014 on the Malaysian Airlines’ shoot-downs for example. Those columns upset Peking and Kiev. Tough – they shouldn’t have got themselves involved in shooting down unarmed civilian airliners proceeding upon their lawful occasions, on course and in accordance with Air Traffic Control directions. Every other media organisation in the world is either proceeding in ignorance or trembling in awe of the People’s Republic of China on the Malaysian Airlines shoot-downs.
We’re a pretty tough bunch of cookies here at VT. Our Editor-in-Chief started his long and distinguished clandestine career in South-East Asia and he wasn’t running a bar in Bangkok. I’m sure I’m not the only VT writer who checks under the car before starting the engine, and not only when in Malta. It doesn’t follow that we agree with each other. So what? Each writer expresses his or her own true opinion and that’s as it should be. No one has a monopoly on the truth. The point is that unlike the MSM we have no no-go areas.
We also get around. I’ve been to Moscow, Minsk, Helsinki, Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle in Canada, the Golan Heights, the Lebanese frontier (in small-arms range of a Hezbollah terrorist unit as it happens), the West Bank, Istanbul, every European capital except Madrid, Lisbon, Bucharest and Budapest, including Vilnius, Warsaw and Oslo, and I’m probably the least traveled of VT’s writers. We also tend to meet interesting people when we get there. I’ve had chats with SVR officers in hotels, Mossad officers in bars, MI5 over lunch, the Kremlin (in Igor’s old office as it happens), Ukrainian SA-2 battery commanders and a working breakfast with an American admiral on a carrier in the North Atlantic. I first met John Bolton when he invited me to lunch at the Mayflower in Washington twenty years ago. Only serious individuals write for VT.
The dodgy Duke of York photo
Speaking of no-go areas I am firming up my opinion on the notorious Duke of York/Virginia Roberts/Ghislaine Maxwell photo. It’s a phoney. The MSM’s view is that we have a dodgy Duke, no offense intended. I think we have a dodgy photo and a print media running scared of the truth, not for the first time.
Of course, like any piece of intelligence analysis – and one of the differences between VT and the MSM is that most of us have had real live operational intelligence experience – you keep it under review. If fresh facts or credible new analysis emerge you take account of them, another difference between us and mainstream print journalists. My writing this week has been informed by discussions with a distinguished forensic scientist, who’s getting a courtesy copy of this column, and others.
I’m not naming those who have contributed to my analysis because I’ve not been asked to. Not everybody wants to invest in a remote engine start! I am always willing however to acknowledge the contributions of others, just as I am always willing to listen to different points of view, provided they’re not idiots, of course!
Not everybody reading this will see the same photos because this column is syndicated in text only, so I tend not to refer to photos in the body of a column, and I can’t always upload the photos I want anyway (not VT’s fault, but remote editing of photos from the UK can occasionally be difficult). On this occasion it can’t be avoided!
As presently advised I have 16 problems with this photo:
(1) HRH’s dress. Look at how HRH is dressed in the genuine comparison photo taken at the Tramp nightclub 3 days after the questioned photo, below. That is how I would expect HRH to appear at a public venue in London in winter/early spring. (I no longer have a problem with HRH’s age as it appears in the photo.)
(2) The very fact that HRH would agree to be photographed with Ms Roberts in this way, especially if he was about to have his wicked way with her.
(3) The lack of support from his security or the police – the Met for example would have known if HRH was at Tramp on the day alleged and they are anti-Royal to the point where in 1982 they permitted an armed intruder access to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s bedchamber.
(4) Inconsistencies regarding the photo-flash. We see the flash reflected in the window but we do not see the flash reflected in Ms Roberts’s eyes.
(5) The way shadows fall on the three faces. The differential shadows pose a huge problem because all three are said to have been exposed at the same time to the same light sources, that is to say interior electric lighting and the photo flash. In photographic interpretation we attach a great deal of weight to shadows and the way they fall.
(6) The width of the fingers on what purports to be HRH’s left hand and the lack of exact metrics from the MSM, who have doubtless commissioned detailed forensic analysis in the hope of finding a match. Millimetres matter because fingers tend to be the same width across human hands, finger for finger, in other words the first left-hand digit tends to be the same width as the first right-hand digit.
(7) HRH’s denial that he was present when the photo was taken.
(8) Reporting of the possible presence of an original, taken outside the UK, matching HRH’s dress and pose, in a newspaper archive, coupled with a failure to deny that such a photo exists from a newspaper with one of the largest Royal photo-archives in the world.
(9) Ghislaine Maxwell’s reported denial that the photo is genuine.
(10) The lack of a date-time stamp on the face of the copy handed to the FBI, when genuine photos taken by Epstein at that time had a date-time stamp.
(11) The fact that the copy handed to the FBI was itself a copy of a copy, coupled with the apparent destruction of the original, always a worry.
(12) The failure of the anti-British FBI to confirm that the photo was genuine, indeed the President’s humorous ‘Rocky’ tweet this week suggests that the FBI Director has briefed the White House that the photo is a forgery. I also take into account the lack of briefings to the media from the equally anti-British CIA, which has access to the FBI’s copy and has, as I understand it, had its imagery specialists scrutinize it.
(13) The fact that the alleged taker of the photograph was later murdered and never provided sworn testimony that the photo was genuine.
(14) Subject to confirmation of what shoes she is supposed to have been wearing that night, which may have been platform or high-heeled, the height ratio between Ms Roberts and the Duke.
(15) The fact that the only person allegedly portrayed in the photo who is asserting that it is genuine has an admitted record of prostitution, with a financial motive in making the allegation, being potential access via a multi-million dollar lawsuit to the murdered financier’s estate. It does not follow from that the fact a man or a woman is or has been a prostitute that everything he or she says should be rejected, but it is grounds for caution, particularly when there is a strong financial motive and an absence of corroborating evidence. One of the most important pieces of intelligence in the entire 20th century – the warning to Winston Churchill on the morning of 10th May 1941 that he was about to be assassinated by the Abwehr – came from a nice young gay man, Michael Foot, who was being kept as his gay lover by the Abwehr’s Lord Beaverbrook, who had ambitions of succeeding Churchill as Prime Minister and doing a peace deal with Germany. (This is one of the reasons why High Tories such as myself have such a soft spot for Michael, with whom I got on well.)(In case you ask, the Prime Minister, is a low Tory.) And, finally,
(16) The complete absence of any evidence corroborating the claim that HRH the Duke of York was at Tramp nightclub in Jermyn Street in London in the early hours of 11th March 2001, including the club’s visitors’ book, Tramp being members only, with restricted access.
I am taking steps to ensure that this analysis is made available to a former intelligence officer able to reach HRH the Duke of York. Having regard to English libel law I would respectfully advise any British newspaper or broadcaster thinking of further circulating this photo to emphasise that it is a questioned document, the authenticity of which has been disputed by two of the parties allegedly portrayed in it.
I would also respectfully advise Ms Roberts, now Mrs Guiffre, to consider the delicacies of her position with her legal advisers. Whilst living under the protection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Her capacity as Queen of Australia, Ms Roberts accused a Prince of the Blood Royal, eighth in line to the Throne of Australia, a war hero with combat experience in the Falklands War, of improper and immoral behaviour in the United Kingdom and the commission of statutory rape in the State of New York.
The allegations were first made in New South Wales, where criminal libel is an offense, contrary to s.529 of the Crimes Act 1900, and rightly so, and repeated in Florida, from where Ms Roberts could be extradited to stand trial in either the UK or New South Wales. She could also face trial in Florida, which still recognizes the offense of criminal libel.
As a courtesy I shall be forwarding a copy of this column to the Attorneys-General of New South Wales, the Hon. Mark Speakman SC MLA, and Florida, Ashley Moody. It is a matter for Ms Moody with respect, but I hear that she is highly regarded by the DEA and she might wish to consult my file at the DEA’s Intelligence Division, although she might find the bits regarding DVD control of a Mexican narcotics cartel and encounters between DEA undercover officers and German intelligence officers south of the border to be fairly highly classified.
Shrimpton & Associates
I’m pleased to announce that my consultancy firm, Shrimpton & Associates, is open for business! You don’t have to use dumb consultants, it’s just the practice. Once you try smart you’ll never go back.
Well done the RAF!
A few people in North London have been complaining about aircraft noise, just because they got woken up at 4 am this morning by sonic booms. This was just a couple of the Typhoon boys from Coningsby going about their business. Some clown was out of radio contact two days after a terrorist attack. What were the RAF supposed to do? Sit back and watch what happened?
For the benefit of the idiot complainers, the noise they heard was the sound of freedom. The time to complain is when it turns out to be the Luftwaffe, although as it happens they didn’t have a complaints department during the Blitz.
What really happened at Midway?
The release of the excellent new movie about the battle has got me reflecting further on the intelligence aspects. One of the questions that I was not able to answer in Spyhunter was whether Admiral Nimitz and his chief intelligence officer, Lt-Cdr Layton, knew or suspected that Admiral King was working for the Abwehr. Admiral Yamamoto certainly knew, which is why he bet the kitchen sink at Midway.
I am quite sure that Yamamoto and Nagumo thought they’d be up against only two American carriers at most, and possibly only the Hornet. The movie, which is well-researched, suggests that Halsey and Nimitz held back Enterprise’s movements from Washington. I wonder if they also exaggerated the extent of the damage to Yorktown? Her rapid return to service is usually put down to miracle work in the yard at Pearl, but intelligence analysts tend to have a mistrust of miracles.
My reading this week: Rommel’s Army in Africa,
Dal McGuirk, 1987
I am sometimes thought of as being anti-German, although I have no idea why! Dan McGuirk, an acknowledged expert on the Afrikakorps, certainly isn’t anti-German, indeed this is a sympathetic portrait. He has more than one dig at General Montgomery (I never met Monty, although I have had the privilege of meeting his son David, the second Viscount Montgomery, a very nice man).
It’s a fair and balanced book, which attracted praise from Karl-Heinz Böttger, a former Vice-President of the Verband Deutsches Afrikakorps and no mean soldier himself. It’s still worth a read more than thirty years later by any student of the North African Campaign. The Akrikakorps fought bravely, cleanly and well and were highly regarded by the Eighth Army.
McGuirk covers the intelligence aspects quite well. He acknowledges the role played by Ultra, the Bletchley Park decrypts, which as it happens were handed personally to General Montgomery by a mutual friend, the late Lt-Col Harry Beckhough MBE. He also understands the importance of our over-running of the Nachr-Fern-Aufkl-Kp 621 signals unit, commanded by Hauptmann Alfred Seebohm, a brilliant intelligence officer.
The capture led to our uncovering the signals sent to Washington by Colonel Bonner Fellers, the US Military Attaché in Cairo, later of the OSS, which gave away most of our military secrets in the Middle East, including the composition, timing and track of the Harpoon convoy. As Fellers well knew these were being intercepted by our community partners. He was of course working for the Abwehr and unsurprisingly had the backing of Generals Marshall and Donovan.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.
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