Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A Ghost Story for Christmas

I was sitting in a comfortable armchair by the log fire and had a warming brandy in my glass to keep out the cold weather when Charters came over and dropped himself into the chair next to me. I could see he was a little troubled and he started poking the fire. Eventually he spoke.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” he asked without even looking up.

"Well there are a lot of queer things around," I ventured.

He poked the fire a bit more and then put down the poker and stared vacantly into the flames.

“Are you alright Charters?" I asked.

He looked up at me. There was an expression of consternation across his face.

“Look you had better tell me all about it old man." He slumped back in his chair and looked exhausted. “Here let me get you something to drink.” I summoned our retainer. “Davenport! Get me another double brandy.”

“Yes sir.”

Charters went on, "You know I used to have a brother?"

"Lived somewhere out in the country didn’t he?"

That’s right. It’s over Shillingstone way. It was an isolated spot. His was the only house for miles, and I think that sometimes it got on his nerves, especially when the weather was bad like it has been recently with all the snow about. He often used to get blocked in and then he could be cut off for days.”

The brandy arrived and Charters held it pensively in his hands for a moment then took a large swig.

"He was on his own wasn’t he?" I asked.

“That’s right. Well last this very day in fact, he rang me up. He was very distraught. He thought he’d had prowlers around the house. It was late evening, the snow was still falling and he had gone outside to put out some rubbish. And that’s when he realise someone had been sneaking around.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“He saw footprints.”

“What kind of foot prints?”

“A man’s. They were clear as anything in the snow. He looked around but couldn’t see anyone. He thought they must have been made by a passerby. But they went round the side of the house. So he followed them until he came back to the front again. They went all around the house.” He took another gulp of brandy and finished it off. “And there wasn’t a trace of anyone and no idea where they came from. There was just him and the trees and the snow and empty silence. He rang me up and told me. He wasn’t too worried though, not the first day.”

“The first day?”

“Yes, next day there was more snow and more footprints. There wasn’t a soul. And that’s what got to him. That really shook him that did. One set of footprints you can put down to an over curious person just looking round. But the second time... well that’s something else. And he wasn’t going to put with that. He rang me again and told me he was going to make damn sure that there would be no more prints the next day. Any more brandy?”

“What did he do?”

He set up a mantrap. Yes, I know it’s not the done thing. And I tried to talk him out of it, but he was adamant. I said I’d come over and see him but he would have none of it. I wish I’d gone over there now.” He stared back at the fire then to his glass. “Davenport, another brandy!”

“Right away, sir”

“He’d had a trap in the barn for goodness knows how long... inherited it with the place. Well he was always good with his hands was Frank. He’d cleaned it up and stuck it on the wall as a souvenir of the bad old days. But it was working. Oh yes he had tried it out and it nearly snapped his hand off.

“Isn’t that illegal old chap, mantraps and things?”

What I’ve found out is that when a man is driven to the end of his tether he doesn’t think about things like that. He doesn’t think straight. Anyway my brother was always one for acting first and thinking afterwards. But I’ll give him this; he first went and put up a sign at the front gate warning people not to trespass. “Danger, trespassers do so at their own risk.” Then he took the trap and he set it up round the side of the house, right where the footprints had gone. It was where the footpath narrows. There are bushes there, jutting out and there’s one point so narrow you could not avoid it. That’s where he would put it. He sprung it back and it took some force I can tell you, I’ve seen it working and it takes two men normally to do it, but my brother had fashioned up some leverage device that meant that he could just about manage it alone. Have you ever seen one of them? It’s a vicious thing, break your leg and leave you trapped in agony until the person who set it came to release you, or if he didn’t, you’d die from exposure and pain.”

Davenport arrived with the brandy and refilled the glass. “I have to remind you sir that Club rules do not permit any further refills sir.”

“Are you suggesting I can’t hold my liquor Davenport?” he asked.

“It’s not me sir, club policy sir,“ and he politely withdrew.

Charters just stared at him and then continued. “Where was I? ...Oh yes, so he set this thing up in the snow and covered it with leaves and waited. It was the first time he slept easy that night knowing his defences were up and he had the upper hand at last.” He drained his brandy in one. “He didn’t know what to expect in the morning – nothing really because there had been no noise, no disturbance, no snap of the iron jaws and no screams in the night. It was what he found later that had scared him and now more than ever.”

He put his glass down and I waited patiently for him to continue.

“Anyways, he got up early and decided to go out and check the trap before breakfast. There had been another fall of fresh snow during the night and the previous footprints were almost obliterated. But when he got to his garden path, there they were – new footprints wandering around the house in the same way. Someone had been here again and been to the trap. Well it was time to see what he had caught, but not before he had gone back for his shot gun. There was no knowing what he would find. “

“But why hadn’t he heard anything? Nothing could have got round that path without being caught. He loaded the gun and tucked it under his arm and followed the footprints round the house. They were perfectly clear in the crisp snow. He felt like he was stalking some elusive prey. Gun at the ready he turned the corner and approached the trap. The footprints went right to the trap and then right through it and then on round the house. He stopped where he knew the trap should be. The leaves that covered it were themselves covered in snow and the footprints lay right through the centre as though some ghostly phantom had passed that way.”

“At first he thought the trap had failed. There must be something faulty with the mechanism. No one could leave a trail like that and not trip the lever. He bent down closer to examine it. He could just make out the edges of the trap. They were there, unmarked. He couldn’t understand it. How could the trap not be sprung? If he walked through it, there’s no doubt it would have caught him and any other person too. He kicked out pushing the trap along with his foot. Nothing happened. It’s broken, he thought, that must be it. He could just discern the pressure plate though the leaves. The trap had failed to spring. He stood back and pushed the shoulder of his gun on the pressure plate.”

“With a violence that completely took him unawares the steel jaws sprang to life and snapped shut on the gun. It was a miracle the gun did not go off. If it had it would have been nasty as it was pointed upwards and directly towards him. He sat down in the snow with a bump, the shock echoed through his bones.”

“Back in the house he took stock. Whatever this prowler was, he was lucky. He had come round the house for the third time and had walked right though the man trap and been very, very lucky. Well he was going to make darn sure that he didn’t escape again. Luck was about to run out for this phantom.”

“That evening he set to work rigging up his contraption. It didn’t take him long and when he had finished he went back inside and thought he had solved his problems and was in for a good night’s sleep.”

“But that night he didn’t sleep well. Half awake and half asleep he heard a noise coming from outside. A plaintive noise more a weeping than a yelling. He peered through the windows but could nothing but swirling snow in the dark night air. And yet there it was again like the soulful whimpering of a trapped dog. The sound was caught on the air and sinewed its way through the open window and echoed round the house. The sound seemed to amplify in his head till he could stand it no longer and he clapped his hands to his ears to blot it out rocking back and forth on the bed. In desperation he rang me about and told me he was going out to get it. I pleaded with him to wait until morning. But he put the phone down and that was the last I heard of him.”

Charters was about to call out for another brandy but thought better of it. If someone looked like they needed a brandy then it was him. “Here old man, have mine.” And I offered him my glass.

“Thanks,” he took another sip. “They had found him the next morning outside. He was caught in the mantrap and the side of his face had been blown off by a shot gun. The police came round and investigated everything of course. Their forensic pathologists went over it all with a fine tooth comb. They said he had set up a booby trap with his own shotgun. There was some tripwire thing apparently. He had constructed it in the garden out of wooden stakes and thin twine. They couldn’t understand what made him do it. The inquest said it was probably suicide.”

“Did they check out the footprints? Did you tell them about the footprints?” I asked.

“Yes. Oh yes, they looked at them most carefully. And they came up with nothing. They were quite adamant about one thing though. All the footprints, all of them mind you; they were all the same, made by the same person.... They were all made by my brother.”

“Are they sure?”

“Absolutely – they matched only his shoes. He was his own phantom.”

Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Top Ten Christmas Movies of all Time

The Diogenes Club met for its annual festive gathering in a little out of the way pub in a quaint Dorset village - which shall remain nameless - if only because we want to keep it as a quite retreat and wouldn't like it to become too popular. During our evening conversation over a glass or two of mulled wine the vexed topic of which were the best movies to watch over Christmas came up. And as usual no two members could agree.

So in the absence of any definitive list, I humbly offer here my own top ten of Christmas movies, and make no apologies if they seem set in a "certain age". I confess to you now that modern movies are rather lacking from my list. They may have the action and the Computer Generated Watsits but sadly lack the character and the atmosphere of what I consider to be a good movie. So in reverse order:

10 The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

Cary Grant, David Niven

The bishop (David Niven) is preoccupied with the plans for a new cathedral, while his wife is struggling to make Christmas for the family. An Angel called Dudley (Carey Grant) is sent to help but the bishop becomes jealous of Dudley’s popularity , especially with his wife and daughter. A parable on what is truly important in life. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards in 1948.

9 Bell, Book and Candle
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemon

Kim Novak is a witch who falls in love with a mortal (James Stewart) and starts to lose her powers, all over Christmas.

8 Going My Way (1944)
Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald

Parish life at his first "assignment" includes gossip, youth mischief, and a rather shady landlord, but young Father O'Malley (Crosby) seems to land on his feet. As older Father Fitzgibbon (Fitzgerald) watches Father O'Malley in action, he feels his days as pastor of his flock may be numbered.

7 The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman

Father O'Malley (Bing Crosby) is sent to St. Mary's to revitalize the school and finds himself at odds with Sister Benedict (Ingrid Bergman), but the skinflint Horace P. Bogardus is going to have the school condemned. Sequel to Going my Way. Nominated for 8 Oscars in 1946.

6 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

James Stewart

George Bailey (James Stewart) has lost $8000 and feels that his life has made no difference to anyone and so he is about to end it. So Clarence the angel is sent to take George back in time, to show George the tremendous difference he made in the lives of the people around him. Some say it is the most popular Christmas movie ever made, but in my opinion not quite.

5 A Christmas Carol (1951)

Alastair Sim

The classic Christmas story by Charles Dickens, in which the miserly Scrooge learns that amassing money is not the ultimate goal of life; Without doubt the 1951 version is head and shoulders above every other.

4 We’re no Angels (1955)

Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, Basil Rathbone

Three convicts escape from Devil’s Island and stay with kindly Leo G Carroll and his family over Christmas and help him deal with his difficult and pompous cousin (Rathbone). The humorous conflict between Rathbone and Bogart is
a sight to be seen.

3 White Christmas (1954)

Bing Crosby, Danny Kay

Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) get together after the war as the top variety entertainers. They perform their Christmas show in Vermont in the inn owned by their former general, who has fallen on hard times. Romance ensues as the foursome tries to put together the perfect show to help the general.

2 The Man Who Came to Dinner(1941)

Bette Davis, Monty Woolley, Jimmy Durante, Anne Sheridan.

Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) the rudest author and broadcaster in the world (and the prototype for Gregory House) slips on the front porch of his hosts home and has to stay over Christmas where he does what he does best – interfering in other lives to great hilarity

1 Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Edmund Gwen

A nice old man (Edmund Gwen) is institutionalized for claiming that he really is Santa Claus. Fred believes the old man, and arranges the legal hearing to let Kris prove himself. An undisputed Christmas classic nominated for four Academy Awards and two Golden Globes in 1948, and miles better than the Richard Attenborough remake.

Friday, 19 December 2008

And Justice for to kill the last story and reinstate this one

The Diogenes Club does not exist in a vacuumn and members are encouraged to make intelligence gathering forays into the world. We are supposed to bring back how things are or might be to our table for our mutual consideration.

We are not simple consumers of the news, in fact as you will have read, sometimes we make the news, or are or have been a part of it. However this experience has bought us close to the manufacture of the news, and it is perhaps time to contemplate the truth or otherwise of the possible orchestration of our discriminations.

The London School of Economics conference, “Under Siege: Islam, war and the media” combined a concern for better reporting with the diet of news and impressions we actually do get. So I attended.

Sceptical news gatherers and intelligent readers have long debated if we are being misled by the news machine over important matters of our time. I saw a documentary soon after the hue and cry over 9/11 that argued Al Queida didn’t actually exist. Not only that it didn’t exist in the wild, then anyway, but it was originally a data-base of sponsored anti communist freedom fighters bent to the mast of the US’s initially covert foreign policies. This is nothing new in history, by the way. But it might be misinformation.

My own library bought “Unholy Wars” by J K Cooley as a corrective to this view, indicating the threat was palpable, and real. Terrorism had adopted or created a self-perpetuating quality in our time whatever the name, that many on the ground had not for seen cascading from the Afghan adventure..

Yet the suspicion lingers here and there outside the mainstream press that the actus rea of handing a loaded gun to freedom fighters might have been a mens rea conspiracy all along. Or become a kite of convenience to fly when the time was ripe.

The neo-con adoption of this idea being allegedly to engineer a dissent that would coalesce the rest of the world against a common enemy…. via terrorism....with said terrorism becoming a scapegoat that would occasion perpetual measures to contain any sort of as it happens anti-western (read anti-capitalist) freedoms.

At the level of geo-politics it was a genie that was deliberately let out of the bottle. Or so the conspiracy theorists argue.

This assumes some cabal is orchestrating events, as historians know has happened in the past. Think of the murmurings about the Red Brigades and the Italian secret state. Think of the Italian film Illustrious Corpses. Think especially of
Romanzo Criminale. And think of the decades between those films. It is an idea that has considerable persistence, outside of the mainstream media at least.

Not surprisingly one speaker from the floor I think argued the scape-goating of the Jews in the last century under Nazi rule was clearly orchestrated for military and strategic ends.

It is a fact, borne of academia, that in the tabloids 96% of coverage since 2001 of Muslim affairs has been negative, and the LSE conference speakers claimed this carefully measured distortion of the real world is not just ‘ambient’ racism. It is orchestrated by the industry…the media industry for whatever reasons.

As one (not so dumb) blonde student argued, “we need to go higher.....”

Inayat Bunglawala, (present) of the Muslim Council of Britain, claimed this practice betrays a process clearly designed to marginalise Muslims, and was a recipe for driving people to extremes.

A representative of Indymedia from the floor asked an apparently rhetorical question, “was this orchestrated and if so, by whom?”

I should perhaps state at this point that I have seen the documentary “The Century of the Self” i.e. “The Engineering of Consent” about the history of the Public Relations industry and how it has been bent to the mast of American foreign policy in orchestrating popular conceptions. Perhaps you had better see it now. Here it is:

That was something I suggested everyone in a workshop on “Journalists and the “terror” laws” should see.

Jeremy Dear, the president of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) was chairing the debate, and he argued that the consequence of this coverage, of having a “war” on “terror” had come to mean that our freedoms, our civil liberties, our human rights, our privacy even was under threat.

Our emotions over extremism was dictating the discourse and was being driven by major media groups. At least , Jeremy Dear suggested, this directing our attention was for what he saw as “being for military and strategic ends”.

This is something other speakers debated, saying evidence for this was difficult to find.

At the end of the day, our blonde student went against this measured orthodoxy of the other speakers and argued that such orchestration did exist, and suggested the reason was that Islam was in a significant way a threat to Western capitalism, and the fight to suppress Communism so well documented by serious historians, could apply to secret state moves against Islam through state orchestrated Islamaphobia. Apparently some Muslims at least may not observe Western values and interests observed in ‘interest rates’, for example.

By the way, apparently the reactionary (?) Taliban have banned Teddy bears. This I do find easier to understand as a symbol of a different world-view.

It is hard not to be ethno-centric in finding such moves difficult to countenance. . It is just I have yet to hear an actual justification why Teddy Bears were added to the list of banned items, even if a BBC journalist was there when it was decided.

I for one would like to know why teddy bears are banned, even if I accept that the gift of a teddy bear can indicate a possible inappropriate love between two people?

It was not all plain speaking at the conference however.

Or do I mean conspiratorial thoughts writ large?

Nick Davies, BBC trainer of journalists and author of the devastating recent Flat Earth News, thought that this ideology of marginalising Muslim world views was the usual commercial news filter to do with meeting readers’ expectations. He saw no proof it was orchestrated by a minority group. Even if the result is that of maintaining a dominant ideology.

A leading Irish journalist, Eamonn McCann was speaking on the same platform, advised those present that whilst there undoubtedly was an ideology hostile to Islam, he saw no cabal directing it. However, he did remember Tony Blair saying once that his invasion of the Middle East was more to do with supporting moderate Islam against reactionary Islam, rather than the whole debate over weapons of Mass Destruction or Regime Change. This was an emphatic point of Eamon’s testimony.

From the floor someone from Global Vision 2000 said that especially now there was a financial meltdown in the West, his organisation was going to focus on there being a “usurious” military, industrial and financial cabal directing events, even if the speakers were playing this down.

A point was made about the oil price being fixed to the dollar having some influence or effect in all this, but I started to lose it at this point.

Nevertheless, dear reader, I am trying to bring you some of the flavour of the debate. To avoid otherwise inevitable parochialism. I do not intend to become a slave to Rupert Murdoch’s world view, if indeed he has one, and neither do I wish you to be tied to his mastheads which industry speakers felt beat to a different drum

There was considerable support for the view that the media has been reduced to a ‘slave’ status, of an anti-intellectual or anti-investigative culture in our media-houses and an inevitable recycling of uncritical second hand information supplied by an Edward Bernay’s like Public Relations Industry. At least the Diogenes club forgives the errors of high debate for the sake of what it might provoke. For The Diogenes Club is a kaleidoscope of experience before the world of opinions and ideas.

For journalists, it was pointed out, are victims to a terrible weakness in the experience they have of their editor’s or their reader’s world-views, never mind journalist’s own contracts, conditions of service and job security.

Sinister developments were suggested by workshop chair photojournalist Marc Vallee who specialises in photographing political protests. He produced a colleague (present) who had been stopped and searched about 28 times this year despite having spotless press credentials. And the cause, Sections 43 and 24 of the recent Terrorism Act.

It would be a little like a member of the Diogenes Club being shunned for his or her ignorance at a meeting. The Diogenes Club follows the principle of “instructive sympathy” not intimidation.

A man in the check shirt present was political photographer Marc Vallee, next to him was Mr Hicham Yezza, an Algerian-born researcher and downloader of the Al Queida training manual. (This is something he and I have both done, but he spent 6 days in jail for it until his liberty was recovered) The Guantanamo Human Rghts lawyer Louise Christian sat at the end next to Hicham Yezza’s own moderate magazine on political discourse.

This de facto harassment limiting research and news coverage happens regularly, said Marc, despite his own carrying around a letter from the Home Secretary that “there are no legal restrictions on photography in a public place…” with a plausible caveat currently disputed that some restrictions “may be justified in reasonable circumstances”

See for how crazy this can become:

Secret state researcher Tony Gosling (left) attended and interviewed one of the audience. See his website:

He recently demonstrated his grasp of world affairs on Sky’s Channel 200.

Tony has another website and maintains a constant presence in the world of intrigue as an independent public interest journalist. I must ask him about a man formerly from the CIA and a book on circuses in the USA that never got published. He has touched on many stories like that, but may not have been aware of his connections connections?

Various clear victims of state suspicion were present. Our researcher imprisoned for 6 days and questioned for 20 hours continuously (Hicham Yezza) had only looked at the Al Queida training manual online. Also there was a (7 year) former inmate of Guantanamo Bay speaking, (Inayat Bunglawala).

Your author himself has been a “victim” of state suspicion in the past, but thankfully ‘This is England’ and it has never come to anything.

Anyway a refreshing argument came to the fore. It was claimed that any repression, any over-reaction by the state or its organs, is likely to be counter productive, and exacerbate the situation. In fact this is a stated aim of the PPOG anti –terror group of the American state for solely military reasons. Please see,_Preemptive_Operations_Group

I wrote this up before at the end of this article:

I hope you agree with my sentiments. My point is that the US government is seeking to provoke or at least monitor reactions from extreme events to mop up dissent and establish presumably consent for the war on terror. This is as close I get to the charge of the state orchestrating negative news coverage, by the way.

But my perceptions are not those are not those of “the ‘Lyrical’ terrorist” who got into hot water for her poetry allowing for arguably a disproportionate way.

I might even sympathise with the non-violent but anti prevailing existing world order perspective as outlined by Global Vision 2000, if it is viable or vaiid.

Please note, I know nothing about this, it is an offer for you to pursue this link for the sake of completeness. My time is short and a lot of this is new to me. I am but a beach-hut man.

Anyway, why am I writing all this stuff about terrorism, Islam and the media? I have no monopoly on the truth, even if I am starting to see the coinage of our dissent and consent to be policed in this way.

The answer is that my freedom, to wander into London to listen to academics, activists, journalists and previously suspected terrorists on matters of topical concern, is only possible at a massive cost in surveillance and covert state supervision.

What do I mean by that? Well, I am no stranger to counter surveillance training, ( I downloaded that part of the Al Queida manual a few years ago, remember ~ before it was illegal presumably) The video cameras trained on the speakers on the platform periodically turned on the audience. I hope I am not betraying a practice that might be useful for terrorists to know ~ for that might be an offence. Some of the “usual suspects” I recognised from other media meetings seemed to clock the fact i clocked the roaming camera work, and as you can see from this article, I publish what I see. It is all on You Tube, by the way.

In a public place you might remember this is quite lawful. But we must get used to this. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. And hopefully exposure of anything untoward. For we live in a democracy where ideally debate is open, transparent and accountable. We need to be on top of events, and not permit abuses of our awareness of threats or our trust in the organs of the state.

The important thing is that if we now live in a global village, we do not want to be the ‘village idiot’, nor do we want our guardians to be idiots either. Nor do we want our organs of news to be missing anything …which currently, according to the BBC’s Nick Davies, they are, despite whatever honesty under his tutelage they can muster.

The lesson from the participants…all of them… was that the only defence for our liberties is to challenge, comment, report and if necessary expose abuses of our human rights.

And, for necessary balance, I should add that everyone in the conference hall at the LSE was reminded by one speaker that “whilst some of these powers are disproportionate to the risks, inciting, influencing, grooming or brainwashing a generation must be kept under review.

(But it is not just terrorists that would influence or brainwash us, as we have seen).

The speaker added the caveat no one wants to glorify terrorism or provide anything likely to be useful to terrorists”. Who was that speaker?
It was Louise Christian, lawyer to many (state legitimated) forced detainees at Guantanamo Bay. She was most concerned that laws are being passed where the perpetrator may not know that they are offending the new often disproportionate terror laws.

By way of example, after seeing an Algerian born researcher arrested for downloading the Al Queida manual, something I have done in part, I am a bit cautious about setting foot on foreign soil. In England I feel reassured our checks and balances remain proportionate. But I am hopeful to travel to Woodland Hills in Hollywood to authorise a screenplay for a film of the “World of Tim”

(my idea for a working title for my adventurous past).

Yet I fear that thanks to my touching on so many sensitive subjects in the last decade… and downloading the bit of the Al Queida manual .. just the bit on counter surveillance (thanks to my seeking any meaning or uses of the words “two blue seeds” and “twig” after these strange objects were prominently left in my beach hut after a break in after a bizzare episode in my life ) …my freedom to travel might be compromised in a hostile world.

As it is when I travel abroad a message flashes up on the (Condor Ferries) booking computer if I change my plans, saying “Inform UK CID”.

Not that I mind, it is better to be “looked over” and “known” than to be “overlooked” and then possibly maltreated through some misapprehension in the heat of a moment. I still regard the police as my friend and am anxious that I do not waste their time with my Quixotic researches.

If you think none of this matters, just listen to the world’s real news on the magazine programme Outlook on the BBC’s World Service at 3am and compare it with the diet you get for popular consumption in the more popular media. It is a dangerous world beyond my trivial orbit, limited influence and supposed understanding

I am proud to pay my licence fee, just for the World Service. It may be my only contribution to achieving some real mediation of the real world to us all. For I am limited in what I can see, hear and understand.

We all need an antidote, a corrective, to parochialism.

The BBC can and does provide it, you just need to be awake in the wee small hours, or make time to listen again when you can…for the sake of your own education, for ignorance is no defence against terrorism…from any source.

My money is on the blonde in the audience. Ironically, as the conference drew to a close, I heard one academic claim a certain student …”was not a particularly good student”…

I suspect they were referring to her negatively for in their view oversimplifying a subject for which they as lecturers had an absolute monopoly.

But she was no Dumb Blonde, and maybe, she was not a Muslim either, for as such (judging by a 96% negative press in the unthinking tabloids) she would almost certainly have been marginalised even further by those guardians of the truth that seemed to me to be talking of this forward creature only to dismiss her as a “poor student” .

I hate discrimination, I hate ignorance. I hate slavery. I hate racism I hate sexism, well, pretty much.

Did I say I hate violence.

But if you are a pantomime star, or maybe the heroine who fights for the downtrodden, Xena: Warrior Princess, please get in touch. Some female interest is apparently just the thing for the pipe-dream biography “The World of Tim”.

Even if for Xena” Warrior Princess, the quickest way to a man’s heart was through his ribcage. Ignoring that violence, we need to remember that for peace we should plan for war. But here I mean the war of ideas, for hearts and minds, or we will all be driven to extremes.

I like people who can put their finger on the nub of a problem. A sword, even a pantomime sword, is a very useful pointer in any theatre. Our blonde student, for me was only saying what the President of the National Union of Journalists had said. It was just that her point came at a lull in our thinking...we had been lulled into complacency and lazy thinking through advice the evidence for a cabal was not there. And other activists from the floor had been saying the same thing...we have had our views orchestrated for us by a dominant ideology.

Everything is a meme, struggling for survival.

So many academics have become apologists or consultants to the secret state there is currently a debate as to how far the LSE can be trusted to maintain academic freedoms. This is healthy. This is normal. For we must guard the good as well as the bad.

For a little diversion here look at what one determined researcher has discovered about the well-respected Columbia University in America.

My apologies to academe, the Taliban, and the Security Services I am an ignorant hut dweller, but happy to oblige anyone in discourse and not I hope compound any discourtesy if I have caused offence.

When I return to my tiny circumscribed world, beach hut or barrel, , I will be a bit happier that I can see behind the sensationalist headlines about radical Muslims. For they have a case.

The Diogenes Club has rarely intervened in the world, we have had a hundred years of secret state influence in the political agenda with, for example, communism. Witness P2 in Italy, P25 and was it P26 in Switzerland, never mind all the conventional history supporting this dominance where better documented or more transparent. The Diogenes Club may have had something to do in all of this, but certainly it has had little to say “on the record”. For we are not it would seem a “results driven” organisation with the urgency and agenda of, for example, the P organisations, and now the PPOG or the original (?) CIA.

But then that is the practice of diplomacy, is being a little like a politician, that is: sitting on the fence but keeping an ear to the ground on both sides at the same time. I prefer talking to fighting. Even if it is talking about fighting. In a pre-emptive sense perhaps.

For you can learn more about the world by the light of a candle than the intervention of a flash gun. Oh! that everyone thought so. And Oh! that we could settle our differences without fighting or committing any violence on the truths we encounter. The trouble is we keep encountering or maybe keep creating falsehoods.

Maybe the world should be run by truth seeking and truth establishing monks, not quite of this world, but for it.

For I like a little discipline. Discipline of thought that is. Of action sometimes. Of restraint., maybe. Or do we already have it? And if so, where?

Perhaps I should draw a veil over these bovine machinations. Or seek some leadership from famous figures or a movement of some kind. Yup. There has recently been a programme on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights . A shame the MediaWars people sought to ban one Revisionist Historian from speaking? What he said needed hearing.

Shilly or Chalet Man?

The Diogenes Club is a strange collection of enquiring minds and often encourages its members to follow their noses wherever their occupations or interests take them. Stories from the Diogenes Club otherwise would be merely coffee table affairs. We are drawn to the world of intriguing phenomena and one arm of our collective enquiries is trying to piece together what has happened, from the traces that are left for those with eyes to see them.

A few years ago a reader of my own newspaper, a Mr Derek Stuart, prevailed upon me to investigate injustices he claimed to have suffered, and this led to this guarded publication here, following a couple of months activity:!.html

The matter has never been resolved to my or his satisfaction, but it involved a steep learning curve, that has had Diogenes Club members open mouthed in disbelief.

Mr Stuart has since been accused of various misdeeds but my take on events is that whilst he has found himself in hot water for fighting the system and taking on extraordinary challenges, the required element of mens rea is not there to justify the claims of his accusers. Long may I be Sancho Panza to his adventures, for if only a tenth of what he claims is true, he is a hero of sorts. The clue, the thread, is Don Quixote, yet the reality is nearer “The Trial” by Franz Kafka. Maybe.

In the process of getting to this pass I have undergone training in investigative journalism, given evidence in court, seen a protagonist go to jail (twice) yet seen an innocent dupe go to prison too.

I have met some very interesting people and earned and actually enjoy a ‘certain’ reputation with the United Kingdom’s Police CID (amongst other agencies of the state no doubt).

All this without any detriments, arrests or convictions for myself, but possibly at the expense of the loss of a few civil liberties and a naiive confidence in the system one might expect to enjoy in a less threatening world.

I have come to realise there is a pecking order in the security world, and one’s span of activity is closely watched by others higher up the ‘chain’. Thank God this is England, and it is possible for a Quixotic animal like myself to learn what I have learned in safety and whilst ‘under the eye’ of a sympathetic
state that allows you a rope long enough to hang yourself if you do not act appropriately. Similarly the Diogenes Club, for they have kept a safe distance from events, looking for the clear blue sky others seek to preserve their thresholds for comfort and their reputations for fair dealing.

I may even have gained a certain reputation for fair dealing in certain quarters. At least three people think I work for the Security Services nowadays. So perhaps I was doing something right?

Anyway, here is a published example of the so called evidence gleaned from my enquiries using my (Chartered) Librarianship skills. I even hazarded a court appearance as a kind of expert witness, at least in the eyes of the litigant Mr Derek Stuart even if the noble judge could not restrain himself from a moment of astonishment. Otherwise, the Judge, Lord Meston, showed admirable restraint as I gave my evidence, and I hope he would not add a new sentence of his own (for contempt of court ) to my sentences repeated here. t I had furnished the court with my reportage both before the hearing in a “bundle” of evidence and after the hearing because the official record became lost.

My research was published contemporaneously yet has disappeared from its previous location without explanation. At least I can now publish it here, I believe, quite legally: on my own site.

For the avoidance of any doubt the reader of my Mudeford Sandbank Newspaper was Derek Stuart, former owner of one of the best houses overlooking Christchurch harbour, and Mr A L R (Bob) Morton was the buyer of said house, Mulberry Cottage.

I was paid £400 for this research. Which covered the expenses at the time.

Mr Stuart had been impressed by my grasp of another story, which happily remains in print here:

...this was about a beach hut story involving in passing a couple of local estate agents he felt some irritation towards in his own world.

Anyway, enough about that minor story, here is something upon which I cut my journalistic teeth:... or so I thought...

Bournemouth County Court Claim No: BH303238

Background information on defendant Mr ("Bob") A L R Morton from public sources....(or why claimant Derek Graham Stuart is not paranoid).

Author Tim Baber, editor: 26.08.2003

Arthur Leonard Robert (Bob) Morton, born February 11, 1942 and now aged 61, has as his main residence Wappenbury Hall, Wappenbury, Near Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV33 9DW. This mansion (a "stately pile" according to the Times on 30/07/02) was formerly the residence of Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar Motor Cars. Mr Morton is regarded as a successful serial entrepreneur, having at least a score of directorships (including several as Chairman) in areas involving and including computer security, physical security, military technology and nuclear contracting .

Notwithstanding Mr Morton's access to private security measures or other affiliations, including allegedly Masonic ones, that Mr Stuart believes have obstructed justice, I should at this early stage perhaps state I now personally believe that Mr Morton, is of sufficient importance to the national interest to be considered a "national asset" worthy of appropriate protection by the state. A far as I am aware Mr Stuart has done nothing illegal and my concerns extend to his alleged persecution being for inappropriate reasons connected with a cover up of an alleged fraud.

I also can legitimately ask whether he has adequate motives, means or opportunities to protect his own interests at the expense of the claimant, through his "empire"; or even suggest he is likely to be similarly protected by others, including even the state.
When the claimant argues he has been frustrated in seeking justice in the matter of Mulberry Cottage I see this as possible evidence for others conspiring on behalf of Mr Morton resulting in Mr Stuart finding at the very least evidence stolen, his human rights threatened and his reputation slandered leaving Mr Morton appearing to be "untouchable".

Mr Morton's companies often service blue-chip clients. He is a chartered accountant (FCA) and is regarded as an expert in mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and take-overs in the new technology sector.

His personal fortune was estimated to be some £175 to £200 millions at the height of the dotcom boom, and although public sources -
[on 07/06/2002 The Evening Standard had noted ..."collapsing share prices in Morton's portfolio have savaged his reputation as a sharp investor..."]
have suggested his fortune may now be a fraction of that;
["all of his Chairmanships have seen their share price go through some pretty chilling plunges over the past couple of weeks"...Accountancy Age March 6th, 2003...]
his son, Andrew Morton, reportedly stated to the claimant D G Stuart at a chance meeting on 15/08/2003 that his father had earned £200 million in the previous week.

Whilst company information, directorships and Chairmanships may change, most of the following is probably still current and is indicative, in any case, of Mr Morton's span of control, influence and connections over recent years. Financial matters are not really considered relevant, it is the functions of these companies that have been selected which are felt relevant.

Let us first look at an exception to his usual software stable, the company MacLellan Group PLC, formerly Morton's Jordec Group PLC and before that Baris Holdings PLC, also formed from the pedigree of Haden MacLellan. Morton became chairman on August 5th, 1996. Trade comment at the time was "Mr Morton, the Chairman, has a good business record, and has sunk plenty of his own money into the company" [source:] notwithstanding the writing off of a disputed 1996 decontamination contract on take-over.
According to the Independent (02/05/2001) MacLellan has facilities management responsibility (including opening the mail, security equipment and guards) for 700 buildings owned by the Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue. There has also been in the past a contract with British Nuclear Fuels including the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Devenport, Sellafield, Harwell, Dungeness and Trawsfynydd have been cited. New contracts worth £30billion pounds are anticipated for the nuclear clean-up at Sellafield according to the lead story in the Guardian 26/08/03. Airport baggage handling, at Gatwick and Heathrow, are another area of operations. (Peter Simonis, a non-executive director of MacLellan since 1992, died suddenly on 14 February 2000).

Then there is Harrier Group PLC, established in 1987. Mr Morton was appointed Chairman on 28/06/1996 owning through his British Virgin Islands trust (Southwind) some 8.5million shares. This company specialises in "high-end internet, networking and data security solutions" [source: Fame company Report]. Harrier Group specialises in authentication, encryption, secure data storage and public key infrastructure. All of these are highly valued and sensitive areas.
Its clients have included the BBC, BAA, Prudential, National Power and Vodaphone, amongst many other blue-chip clients. The Evening Standard noted on 7/06/2002 that ..."Chaired and 29.9% owned by legendary investor Bob Morton, Harrier has seen its shares plunge by 99% since the top of the dot com boom in February 2000."

Mr Morton is a stakeholder, through his British Virgin Islands family trust, in Cryptic Software which markets a "breakthrough computer anti-hacking system" to protect information from previously unknown "computer fraud, hacking and espionage".

BSoftB is perhaps the most interesting company that Mr Morton has chaired, although it was recently wound-up. BSoftB provided computer services or cabling services to, amongst others, the following clients: BAe Systems Marine, Devonport Naval Dockyard, First Hydro Ltd, French naval industries, British Nuclear Fuels PLC, The RAF (Joint Air Transport Evaluation Unit) Spanish naval industries, Vosper Thornycroft, the Computer Sciences Corporation and the Clarity Group.
Of these clients of BSoft B, a few facts or comments from public sources may help. Bae systems has world-wide military contracts producing annual sales of some £12 billion. Some 50 of the world's navies use their systems.
The privatised Devonport Royal Dockyard has an annual turnover of some £260 million. For Mr Morton and his clients, the need for commercial confidentiality, confidence and national security interests are, hopefully, obvious.
First Hydro Ltd is a hydro-electric company with 16km of underground tunnels in a Welsh mountain.
The RAF connection refers back to RAF Brize Norton, the RAF strike command and the RAF Air Warfare Centre with responsibilities for Defence Electronic Warfare and evaluation.
Vosper Thornycroft is a prime contractor for major warships world-wide.
The Computer Sciences Corporation are computer systems integration specialists with blue chip clients across all major industry sectors, including clients in aerospace and defence at home and abroad. They have a data outsourcing contract with the Royal Mail group valued at 2.4 billion pounds over 10 years. They also hold or have held contracts with BT and the US federal government and the US Defense Communications Agency.
In a vignette of the computer industry appearing on the web, Bob Bemer referring to a business alliance between computer giant UNIVAC and the Computer Sciences Corporation over which he presided as being..."in the smoke and mirrors period" and that "about the shenanigans, Roy Nutt or Bob Patrick would never have been involved. Very straight shooters. Patrick had probably left by that time, anyway...."

Incepta Group PLC was another company Bob Morton directed from 04/11/1992 to 31.03.2001. He stepped down as chairman in October 2000. It specialises in advertising, marketing and public relations for international clients with a subsidiary, Citigate, specialising in crisis management and global intelligence and security. Mr Morton was especially responsible for steering the Citigate acquisition which was completed by March 3rd 1997.

Citigate, with 78 offices world-wide and scores of subdivisions, rank competitor intelligence, hostile take-over defence, litigation intelligence, fraud investigation, threat assessment, security auditing, counterintelligence, asset searching, high tech investigations, executive protection, crisis management, media relations and employee vetting amongst its strengths.

Silvermines Group PLC is an Engineering and technology group of Mr Morton's former chairmanships which supplied the closed circuit TV for the extended Jubilee underground line. It's aerospace division (now sold off to Esterline Technologies in the US, had a contract in 1998 with GEC Marconi for project Siren, a missile decoy system. The Birmingham Post for 11/08/1998 indicated the company had won £2.5 million in orders in the Far East for its security division.

In a similar field is Future Integrated Telephony although Mr Morton's 14.6% investment in the troubled company and Chairmanship was overshadowed by a Department of Trade and Industry investigation [according to the Birmingham Post for 28/10/1999] into a number of current and former directors. Mr Morton was also noted to be Chairman of Just Results, a private company in the same sector from whom Morton had bought the shares.

Also in this field is Vislink PLC . Mr Morton was appointed to the board 09/10/2000 which specialises in broadcast technology, image processing, security solutions and satellite communications.

One software industry take-over involving Mr Morton, between by (Morton: at the time had a 16%stake in Freecom which today is Systems Union Group PLC- where he is Chairman - see below) reportedly descended into chaos [in the Birmingham Post 01/06/2000] where a spokesman for Mr Morton said" there was no question of fraud, but Oneview became a tainted company after what happened and Bob decided the best thing to do was to find a buyer for the whole group". [The upshot was that Oneview's directors agreed to hand back nine million Freecom shares].

The Systems Union Group has had Mr Morton as a director since 06/05/1995 and is a global software vendor, with offices or partners in 76 countries, having grown from Morton's, above. It has SunSystems, Pegasus and REDtechnology as its operating businesses. SunSystems software is available in 30 languages, being the eighth largest in the UK.

He is also the Chairman of Clarity Commerce Solutions which deals with sports and leisure management software for private and public (e.g.council) clients. Electronic Fund Transfer technology at Point of Sale (EFTPOS), i.e. electronic money, is a speciality. Here, again, there is a strong link with Sun Microsystems.

Mr Morton also has, or has had interests in Golf Club computing facilities and the Chairmanship of Interclubnet which supplies technology for a "total administrative solution" to football governing bodies globally...communicating at the highest level with the football industry.
Note: Andrew Jennings, investigative author formerly with the BBC and Granada's World in Action series, is an expert in sports, politics and international organised crime and has testified to the US senate in 1999 on Olympic scandals. He regards international sports bodies such as FIFA and the International Olympic Committee as suspect in facilitating international money laundering.

Mr Morton has had other interests, such as being formerly part of Vantis Morton Thornton...accountancy consultants specialising in networking and business clubs. Mr Morton purchased in February 2003, 15% of Tenon, a competitor in the consolidation field. On a city website, Morton is reported as saying he played no part in the management or investment decisions of Southwind, his family investment vehicle, [a trust registered in the British Virgin Islands to benefit his infant children, which bought 23 million shares at then an all time low price] Mr Morton is now 61 years old.

There are several other companies in which Mr Morton is either a director or past director, some of which have disappeared, changed name or been wound up. This research has been done as desk research only, and undoubtedly has some errors or omissions, which a proper search at Companies House could rectify.

Those featured above have been selected as arguably demonstrating he has both the means and the opportunity to protect his interests, or that others may do so on his behalf. This action may be irrespective of any so-called Masonic collusion for which I may have other comments to make in evidence, if required.
The required element of motive to protect his interests in a conspiracy might appear if Mr Stuart were to pursue and embarrass Mr Morton through the courts regarding the Mulberry Cottage alleged fraud.
Mr Stuart claims a subsequent comprehensive cover-up by various means has obstructed him and, ultimately, justice. I may have comments to make regarding this in evidence, if required.

Tim Baber 26/08/2003

UPDATE: On background information on defendant Mr “Bob” ALR Morton from public sources to be read in conjunction with witness statement of 26.08.2003 also by Tim Baber in case Bmth County Court .:. BH303238

Mr Stuart has asked me to relate any new developments since the previous statement which was contemporary to his claim.

I am happy to assist from ambient sources, although a professional would be able to improve upon this in particular in collating his many Chairmanships, directorships and shareholdings.

Looking over my files I am able to offer the following, some expressly at Mr Stuart’s request:

As I mentioned in the evidence I gave at Bournemouth Crown Court before Lord Meston, in London Lord Justice Hart previously disposed of two cases involving Mr Morton’s companies on the same day. Although I could draw no inference, Mr Stuart found this possibly significant.

Southwind Limited (BVI) is a family investment vehicle set up to benefit Mr Morton’s children and registered in the British Virgin Isles. On a city website Mr Morton is reported as saying he played no part in the management or investment decisions of Southwind. [] [5th August 2003]

Notwithstanding this in court evidence against Mr Stuart (who was persuaded to secretly transfer Mulberry Cottage to Southwind Limited…that is under a confidentiality agreement that I have discovered through familiarity with Mr Stuart’s paperwork), Mr Morton asserted in his statement that he has at all material times acted as it’s investment advisor“.

Accountancy Age has noted “have a look at some of the companies where Southwind invests and you can’t help but spot that Morton fills the role of non executive chairman.

I expressed concerns about the apparent contradictions over Mr Morton’s role with Southwind (on the 16/02/04 by letter) to the UK Revenue and Customs.

I note Mr Morton has reportedly moved lock stock and Rolls Royce to Hawk House, (named after Westmead Hawk, his superb greyhound), in Jersey, Channel Islands in 2005 (source Pat Lay, This is Money 7 April 2005) .
I am unsure if these two events are unrelated.
(I was aware that Mr Morton’s company had at the time the facilities management/letter opening role at every Customs and Revenue office in the country, but proceeded undeterred!)
A Bahamas connection?
Mr Stuart informed me that he had telephoned Mr Morton apparently in the Bahamas to offer him back his deposit at the time of the auction of Mulberry Cottage.
A transcript of a Queens Bench Division trial between the discredited Bahamian company Guardian Trust Co Ltd v Davidson of 12/03/1991 refers to Southwind shares. This possible aspect, if any, of Southwind having any wider application is frankly beyond me, but is included for completeness.

Royal Armouries/Tower of London
Mr Morton is a director of the Royal Armouries (and a trustee of the Tower Of London), alongside a representative of HM the Queen.

MacLellan Group PLC: Mi5 connection/Interserve takeover scandal

Mr Morton’s former company MacLellan which in additiion to its secret state role mentioned before also provides industrial services/facilities management services to the Security Services, including Mi5.

But MacLellan has recently been sold to Interserve PLC for £118million in cash and shares. A dispute arose over a £25.9 million false accounting scandal by Interserve costing the vendors an anticipated £7million. Reuters reported Mr Morton said he was seeking compensation on an amicable basis, but if it can’t be done amicably we will try other means.

Morton’s reported interest in Silvermines should now read Vislink PLC which owns Active Imaging and is associated with the Bewator Group and has reported contracts with the British Army.

The £3.5 billion Jubilee line project in which one of Mr Morton’s companies was a security video contractor was noted (most recently according to the Shadow Attorney General at a fringe meeting I and Mr Stuart attended of the Conservative party) for a longshore fraud scandal that implicated many of the contracts awarded to contractors. I have notes on this but following the collapse of much of the case I would refer to Judge Anne Goddard, or Britain’s then most senior judge, Lord Woolf, or the Britsh Transport Police or Inspector Stephen Wooler or the CPS as the matter is complex. See the Guardian for 24/03/2005.

Whilst I could list all Mr Morton’s chairmanships, directorships and take a stab at his recorded share dealings I have not done this as his stable is complicated and changing. However, the following may be noted:

Lynx Group PLC
Provides financial software and data solutions for banks. Bob Morton is a shareholder. Also provides offshore finance solutions and operates for the emergency services etc. Not mentioned before but offshore finance expertise may be relevant in the following connection:

Interclub Net
My statement about international fraud and money laundering at the highest level of the Football industy, (where Mr Morton’s company provides software) has since been exposed within FIFA by investigative journalist Mr Andrew Jennings on Panorama. I predicted this following my attending an Investigative Reporting summer school in 2003 (and again in 2004) where I first heard and taped Mr Jennings on this subject.

Further comment:
Assisting Mr Stuart over the last four years I have become aware he has been removed from his evidence (against Mr Morton and his co-defendants) and vice versa. Also his access to witnesses has been frustrated and his chances of obtaining confessions has been circumvented.
The means used to cool him out or provoke him unwisely in his seeking justice and the persons concerned that have been discovered by me I have seperately reported to the courts and the CPS where I have personally become aware of them.
I name Roy Pack and Steven Hamilton and have similar concerns over Philip Moroney and Gerald Coulter, amongst others, in this regard.
This concern over the use of undue extra-legal influence on proceedings may possibly include Paul Goldin, (who is a stepfather of Steven Hamilton) giving rise to concerns of possible obstructions to justice at the level of a head of state with concerns in the direction of and in the person of Bertie Ahern. I have passed on my concerns in this matter to the CPS, here in the UK and the courts in Ireland, amongst others, as this is beyond my knowledge or competence.
When the opportunity has been taken I have public documents and private recordings I can offer in support of this assertion. I believe convictions have already resulted in this area with regard to Mr Hamilton at least. Matters are proceeding further so I regard the matter as sub judice.
Accordingly Mr Stuart and I latterly have become aware of a mini-industry of extra legal activity practiced in his and other cases, (leading far and wide), threatening in our view to obstruct the administration of justice and threaten the Queens peace in this and other cases Mr Stuart has tried to understand, at least.

Author: Tim Baber
Draft (2) of 31st October, 2006

For balance, I include this: I offered it to the judge when the official record of the case was “lost”. It was sent with the notes made in the courtroom to indicate any embellishments.


Claim Number BH303238
Claimant Derek Graham Stuart
Defendant Arthur Leonard Robert Morton Ref. TE/KF/E1137
Before His Honour JUDGE MESTON QC (Judgement made 23/10/03)

The following is from casual notes made by Tim Baber (of made in his notebook on the day of the hearing.


The judge asked if legal aid was available. On being told none was forthcoming Roy Pack asked to speak and said that if legal aid were to be forthcoming he would like to assist as a Mackenzie partner. The judge said there was no legal aid in this case. Mr Pack said "I think he (Stuart) needs some help, his best proposition is for postponement as he is not in a fit state to proceed".

Some debate ensued over the issue of a public funding certificate (Legal Aid) with Mr Stuart observing a solicitor (Coles Miller) had fabricated a debt against him to frustrate getting a certificate in the past and that , amongst others Letchers (solicitors) had recently refused to help Stuart with legal aid or to assist him to pursue some 150 people who Mr Stuart alleges have defrauded or conspred to defraud him.

Despite Mr Stuart citing Legal Aid officer Alan Edwards suggesting a certificate would be forthcoming the judge said Mr Suart was "highly unlikely to get legal aid" and earlier "you can't get legal aid". The judge agreed Mr Stuart would qualify in terms of means but would fail the merit argument. Mr Stuart said he should get legal aid because he "was entitled to it".

The judge said the claimant had not explained the case in detail to which Mr Stuart replied he had no legal representation, his documents had been stolen, witnesses had been threatened and that he had medical grounds. Mr Stuart said that one witness to how the fraud takes place...(disembowelling you of your property and being left homeless and penniless)...had just had his house burnt down. He also charged that the judge had (according to a lady court official) personally asked for the case. The judge replied "I have not in any way asked that this case be put in front of me" and that he had merely observed "it ought to remain down for me as I had read so much of the file".

At this point Mr Stuart said that since 1987 it was well known he had dealt with and investigated organised crime in Dorset, running a group which assists people which makes him an enemy of Freemasons and causes him lots of problems and that the judgements made by the judge had been unfair.

The judge replied that for the record he was not and have not ever been a Freemason., and that he had not made any judgements yet. Mr Stuart said that the judges requirement for a medical report and a police report had not been complied with in time and that he (Stuart) "was never going to get it". He said what he had had been obtained by by-passing the system. and requested an adjournment.

The judge then looked at the medical evidence. An appointment with Dr Chainey was not until the following Thursday - too late. A letter from Dr Gemmell mentioned Mr Stuarts "lack of concentration" Mr Mark Hardy, RMN was to offer evidence on Mr Stuarts medication regime and a Senior Practitioner reported on a recent change of medication.

The judge then referred to Mr Stuarts behaviour sending 74 Xmas cards in mid December 2000 (one copied in the Defendants bundle). Mr Stuart argued that the words "Goodbye for now" on the card was not a threat but he had been tipped off by a "Mr Smith" who "deals in the underworld" and earlier in August by a police officer that he (Stuart) was expected to be murdered, sectioned, kidnapped or imprisoned on false charges. The police officer suggested he "secrete his documents and lie low for a while".

Mr Stuart was subsequently sectioned under the Mental Health Act on 14/12/2000, then again on 26/07/2001 and February 2002. Mr Stuart alleged some unecessary medical interventions had been made as well. The alleged mistaken murder of Mr Calder on 26 July 2001 ( in mistake for MR Stuart) was also mentioned in support of this testimony. This, Mr Stuart said explained his behaviour in asking friends to look after some hair samples to assist in identifying his body with DNA at a later date. Attempts to obtain the Coroners report (an open verdict) on Mr Calders death have so far proved futile. Copies formerly in the posession of the Press have on enquiry subsequently dissapeared according to Mr Stuart. (Mr Stuart was sectioned at the time of the inquest so could not attend as an interested person).

Mr Stuart added four of his witnesses have been threatened and had withdrawn their support.

Mr Stuarts behaviour in alleging surveillance by Helicopters was enquired into by the judge. Mr Stuart claimed inciddents were to harrass and intimidate him and could be supported by two witnesses present, his daughter and a Mr Graham. Mr Staurt had sent cards to some officers he discovered were involved.

Mr Stuart then said he had not had a chance to read the court proceedings from the London hearing, as they had not been recieved in the post and had only just been given to him that morning. The judge replied he "hadn't read it either so we are in the same boat" Mr Stuart repeated his request for an adjournment for 3 months based on the medical evidence. Mr Hardy RMN gave evidence of recent events that Mr Stuart had been more sleepy of late and that his medication was to be reviewed...possibly with the aim of gradually reducing it. The Defendant (Mr Morton's) barrister noted that the medical argument had not been used in the recent London court hearing, although Mr Stuart had appeared to be agitated. Mr Staurt responded that for him London had meant two attempts to stab him in the past whilst visiting the bank at Harrods which had required assistance from their security staff.

Mr Stuart further alleged that his documentary evidence had been stolen on numerous occasions including even the recorded delivery slips from his posession numbering some 1,200 records. He alleged that Mr Morton had the means to organise this, citing Citigate as an example of Mr Morton's connections.

Mr Baber then gave evidence, citing a bundle document of 4 pages, of research he had made on computer databases outlining Mr Morton's interests in companies in the fields of military and nuclear contracting, corporate, physical and computer security. He was of the opinion that such connections gave Mr Morton the means and opportunity for a cover up, the element of alleged motive being to defray the embarassment Mr Stuart presented over the alleged Mulberry Cottage fraud.
Mr Baber also stated that some 3 or 4 days after meeting Mr Stuart and hearing (and taping his story) his "office" was burgled and what he believed was a death threat was left behind. He said for him the discovery of an allegedly tampered letter in which a paragraph involving Mr Mortons name had been deleted was the impetus for his enquiry into why this might be so.
He was asked by the judge about the supposed coincidence he, Mr Baber, had discovered of another of Mr Mortons companies having their case heard by the same judge in London (that dealt with theStuart case) on the same day. Mr Baber was unable to futher assist the court .

The judge concluded the morning session at 1.20pm by insisting Mr Stuart present some firm evidence on resumption after lunch.

After lunch, at 14.15, Mr Stuart began by saying in the past 3 years every angle of finance has been blocked by very strange, peculiar circumstances and yet he (Stuart) was being accused of abusing the system. He asked that proceedings be adjourned until after a proper medical report had been ordered..the one the judge had requested. The judge said he took the point about the medication but said "never mind" about the medical report. Mr Stuart asked for the police report on his stolen documents to be forthcoming which he believed was being blocked by the police...and that he did not expect to get anything from them. The judge said "allright" but also he was not going to get one if they are not going to produce one". Mr Stuart also asked for a report on his dyslexia to be prepared. As far as evidence was concerned Mr Stuart observed that on of the documents of his [to !0 Downing Street} that had been stolen now appeared in the defendants bundle as evidence of his acting vexatiously. Then he offered the evidence of an allegedly forged letter "a ten year old could understand" the judge had asked to see which centered on a change of font and deleted date suggesting, Mr Stuart said, proof of another substitution by the other side.
The judge said the significance was not obvious, that he simply did not understand what Mr Stuart was saying and the barrister for Mr Morton indicated the alleged substitution was not as Mr Stuart suggested.
Mr Stuart responded it was not obvious because it had been tampered with.

At this stage the barrister for Mr Morton argued there was no point in giving an adjournment for three months and that no advantage consistent with the overriding duty or objective is apparent. Mr Stuart asked for the new Doctors report on the following Thursday to be taken into consideration but the judge replied he couldn't overrule something he hasn't seen.

The judge then concluded in the case D G Stuart v Morton a claim for in excess of 6 millions pounds had been issued essentially claiming a conspiracy to purchase Mulberry Cottage through it being undervalued, the stealing of documents , tha attempted murder of Mr Stuart and the apparent murder of another man. Mr Morton is one of many people he intends to sue in prceedings yet to be started - up to 140 people in all.
The defendant Mr Morton seeks to strike out the claim as vexatious and an abuse of the court with an injunction . Today the defendant served some written statements (a few days late) .
The claim by Mr Stuart is simply fantasy. The direction in August was not formally filed with evidence in support to help me understand his claim and his application for a 3 month adjournment is not clear.
His grounds are that documents have been stolen or substituted, he is under medication and has limited ability to concentrate, his office has been closed by police harrassment and he is unable to obtain legal representation.
To be considered today was a further medical report and a police report.. After a further application on the 9 th October he has been able to obtain either. The order failed to mention no legal representation and the statement I asked to handle the case personally I have dealt with. The Masonic element I have also dealt with. On his application for adjournment based on an abscence of legal representation he has had some form of legal advice in the past on different matters. There is no question he would qualify on the grounds of a means test. The obvious problem is assessment of the merits of his claim. None of the solicitors he has consulted are prepared to support him on the basis of this recent application. Mr Kidd of Letchers states he intends to sue 140 people. I have no reason to believe he would recieve assistance from the Legal Assistance Commission.
He has had ample time to bring action, events have been triggered by the sale of the property in the year 2000. If there was any merit in them he would have been able to obtain legal assistance,
As far as his health is concerned from documentation, what he has said and what others have said there is a very unhappy history of mental health problems. He was sectioned in 2001 and 2002. A letter from his GP of 17.10.03 refers to a persistent delusional disorder. His medication (including amisulpride) has been doubled and he has found it more difficult to think. Mr Hardy RMN says he is more sleepy and his medication will be reviewed.
It is not entirely clear what could happen in 3 months time. Mr Stuart is highly suspicious a report has not been produced in time. Although I have been reminded by Mr Stuart I am not a doctor he has been able to argue his case with some force. I simply do not know. On the 25/09/03 Mr Stuart acted without apparent difficulty and the mental capacity argument was not used then. I have no reason to say that an adjournment today would present any appreciable benefit than today or that Mr Stuart would be more lucid. I do not think he has been sufficiently disadvantaged today.

With respect to police harrassment, Mr Stuart suspects Mr Morton has arranged for the surveillance etc to provoke and intimidate him. I really have no evidence one way or another. As regards his documents being solen he claims some 80% of his documents have been stolen. Frankly I am unclear as to why the abscence of those documents prevent him from articulating his case against the defendant as required, The claimant believes the theft was arranged by the defendant or his accomplices but he cannot identify them.He wishes to keep this evidence in hand for a major case to proceed. The fact is that the police have not provided anyting to support that there was a genuine theft of the documents, They have blocked him and he does not expect any help. He wants a court order (to obtain them) because he knows who has got them. I simply have no means of knowing this. His claim is not with sufficient particularity. I do not grant him application for adjournment.


Sytories from the Diogenes Club are all very well as a hobby or pastime, but if ever I am to combine my librarianship skills with a retirees life I might have to face up to more sleuthing type work, provided it is understood this is only from published sources! I am no rubber soled nosey parker.

I believe I have removed myself (and Mr Stuart) from any danger of contempt of court proceedings because this was all submitted to the open court or the judge in the early absence of any court recording...(it became ‘lost’)...and my evidence has been published contemporaneously before now( and also become unpublished or at least unindexed).

A brief official record based on the Court officers notes and Mr Morton’s solicitor or Barrister does exist and should be consulted for completeness.

I have not included my copy from Mr Stuart here because it tends to detract from rather than add to my independent record my opinion.

But I can make a copy available to anyone seeking ‘a check or charge of partisanship.

This is really to restore to the record these publicly available musings and especially also as they fit in with a possible investigative role for the Diogenes Club.

To be honest I think I will shrink away from this kind of thing in future, especially as I get older, but readers may wonder what motivates me and what has formed my character.

It is this. All of this, above.

I should perhaps add that there is no evidence that Mr ALR Morton has done anything wrong as far as I have been able to tell.

I did discover some anomalies but no-one seemed interested on this field of play.

I hope Mr Morton will see the humour in an amateur blundering about, as Mr Rupp, Munkel and Klawitter seem to have done in my other foray into investigative reporting,

Part 1, here:

Part 2, here,

Part 3, here,

and the necessary consequences of publication, here,

Don’t ask me why I investigate this stuff. It seems attracted to me, not I to it.

But I owe to Mr Stuart his day in court having some reportage, so that he at least might not feel that I might have been working for MI5 all along.

I cannot change the world. I can barely report it.

I hope this account will be allowed to stand, such as it is. A right of reply exists, as should be the case.

If you want some similar investigative work please bear in mind I have less stomach for a fight these days, and now hope I can tell the difference between a noble Kafkaesque cause such as this hopefully was and the risk of an error of a possible Quixotic adventure which this could always have been.

What have I learned from this?

Thank God this is England!

We usually manage to achieve a happy ending (for someone) at least.
I have read Kafka, there are dangers abrioad, But so far the damage has been contained.

A person, I have learned, will sacrifice everything for his reputation, even his health....and in the end that reputation can be destroyed through ill health. But the “man” persists.

Mr Stuart told me he knew he would never win his case, it is to his credit he tried nontheless, in so far as he believed and believes he was right to try.

I hope the state, his family and his connections who might have been disadvantaged in this battle continue to have broad shoulders to support the load he places upon them. I for one would be the less if I had not stood for a while by his side in a sea of troubles.

It is hard to know anything with any certainty. Harder to prove it. But we live in a Panopticon.

Someone will know. Mr Stuart got his money’s worth from me. I have his gratitude at least for that. Some stories tell more about us than we tell about them.

For no man is an island. Someone is, or should be, watching. That is the point of the Diogenes Club, and the idea of the Panopticon.

( See “Panopticon Security” on the web.)


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

What Do You Get A Diogenarian For Xmas?

“Xmas is a time for being surrounded by all your loved ones,” said Blenkinsop.
“All expecting expensive presents,” interjected Millhouse.
“As if,” said Ferraby, “there wasn’t enough getting and spending already. As the poet Wordsworth said. Or was it Dickens?”
“You just feel pressured the whole time,” commented Millhouse.
Blenkinsop cited the Credit Crunch as the reason he would not be buying anything but the cheapest gifts this year. Millhouse pointed out he had been buying cheap gifts for years before the Crunch was heard of.
“Well, I can remember the time when –“ joined in old Lambert.
“Here we go,” muttered Millhouse sotte voce.
… For you can hear the same conversation every year at this time. The problem is, you see, that Diogenarians are meant to be above all this getting and spending. The debate always kicks off as we plan the Club Xmas Dinner outing.
Someone always argues, as Blenkinsop put it, “Xmas is a precious, sacred time that should be spent entirely with one’s family.”
“That’s how Boxing Day Sales were invented,” retorts Millhouse with typical cynicism, “After two days of family togetherness, people will seize any excuse to get out the house away from their relations. The rest of the time you just sit there on the sofa staring catatonically at the box, showing wall-to-wall repeats, garish Xmas specials and endless flashy trailers and loud commercials.”
The conversation turns inevitably to the Christmases of old black-and-white films – A Xmas Carol with Alastair Sim as Uncle Scrooge, The Holly And The Ivy with Ralph Richardson as the out-of-touch vicar, and so on. Those were the days when there was only one TV channel, just called BBC-TV, and they only ever showed one feature film per year, on Xmas Day - something distinguished and worthy like High Noon or that Swedish nature film about a year on a farm, The Great Adventure.
Today, we are surrounded by electronic media, or “digital choice” as they call it – meaning we are spoilt for choice, with almost nothing we want to watch. But the coming of the age of electronic media also means you can retain one aspect of personal choice: you can watch films with no commercials, without staying up late, or queuing at the cinema, on DVD. In this, many of us are in favour of modern development, and we now have a regular Club film evening, with films viewed via an overhead projector casting a large image on the wall above the lounge fireplace.
Watching a memorable film creates an occasion that can be enjoyed in a group, whether family or friends. For the same reason, it makes for a natural present, for regardless of who gives it or gets it, the whole group can enjoy it together. It becomes a shared narrative, a winter rite going back to the practice of tales told around the campfire.
Last year, for the benefit of those who like to spend Xmas in solitary contemplation with a good book or two, we put up a list with some suggested Xmas holiday reading of suitably Diogenarian works, accounts of being stranded on a desert island with only a few possessions, and so on. This year, we can consider some twenty suggestions, made around the Club over the year, of films which reflect the pervasive nature of the Diogenarian view. That is, this year they are not the Robinson-Crusoe survival adventures whose narratives are far removed from the lives of most people, but reflect the Diogenarian theme in ways that are closer to home, and to contemporary life.
Some of course, still prefer the austere black-and-white films they grew up with, and several titles were suggested here. One was
My Man Godfrey, a Depression-Era screwball comedy, categorised by the US Library of Congress as "culturally significant." A Bostonian living as a down-and-out, picked up during a socialite’s scavenger hunt and hired as a butler, proceeds to show up the thoughtlessness of the idle rich. Another such, with more of a club-versus-family theme, is the 1930s Laurel & Hardy comedy called Sons Of The Desert in America and Fraternally Yours in Britain, where the boys’ wives refuse to let them go to a fraternal-lodge convention they have sworn to attend. Black-and-white was also used extensively for documentary, and a recent DVD set, Land Of Promise, covers 40 years of the British Documentary Movement, showing how industrial shorts portrayed modern industrial society with all its problems on-screen for the first time, at the same time looking beyond material considerations towards a more enlightened view.
Unlike US cinema during WWII, British films did not promote jingoism, but an appreciation of more mystical values linked to the landscape. In
I Know Where I’m Going, a wilful young woman has her resolve to marry into money melt away during an enforced wartime sojourn in the Celtic twilight of a Hebridean island. Much later, in the Thatcherite 80s, a similar setting would seduce an American businessman, sent in to buy up a village for an oil company, away from his monetary values in Local Hero.
British postwar films also took a wryly cynical view of success, and of patriotism, for example in two black comedies with Alec Guinness:
Last Holiday, from an original JB Priestley script, and Our Man In Havana, from the Graham Greene novel. (To say more might spoil plot surprises.) Even that staple of postwar British cinema, the war drama, took a more cynical view in films like Ice Cold In Alex, where it is not the idea of Queen and Country that keeps the hero going across the Sahara so much as the prospect of an ice-cold lager in Alexandria. A Burmese jungle-trek survival experience also brings the emotionally dead and suicidal hero back to life in The Purple Plain, an early colour location-made war film.
Black-and-white was also used by lower-budget European films right through the 1960s. Examples of these include the final part of Antonioni’s trilogy of studies in contemporary urban alienation,
Eclipse. Made just before he made Blow-Up, it ends with five minutes of footage of modern Rome cityscape shots from which the characters have eerily vanished. Another European example is the 1969 Ma Nuit Chez Maud (My Night At Maud's), set over Xmas in a bleak French provincial town. It has no music score, only the type of philosophical conversation French cinema is famous for, here about trying to live your life around the idea of resolving Catholic moral dilemmas using Pascal’s Wager.
The tradition of philosophical conversation continued into the colour era with films such as Louis Malle’s
My Dinner With Andre. Here, a theatre director relates how he stepped outside his middle-class comfort zone after being buried alive in a Polish forest encounter-therapy session, and tries to convince his dinner companion to give up his electric blanket, to appreciate life all the more keenly.
Experiencing the Great Outdoors via a camping trip of some sort as a character-testing mechanism is in fact a part of American culture long satirised in films such as the US independent-cinema anarchic spoof
Hallelujah The Hills!, and Hollywood romantic comedies like Man’s Favorite Sport? and A New Leaf. Similarly, though Woody Allen is a confirmed urbanite, the psychological impact of Nature is part of his A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, where animal primitivism rears its head amidst the civilised philosophical discussion during a 1900s country weekend in upper New York State. Coming to terms with the North American wilderness is given a more realistic and complex treatment in fact-based dramas such as Jeremiah Johnson and Never Cry Wolf.
There are still many who prefer colourful tales set in remote locations, and there are several works which nevertheless reflect a more Diogenarian worldview where other values are shown to be more eternal and significant than any stock colonialist ideas. First is
Black Narcissus, about the psychological effects that a posting to a derelict Himalayan monastery has on a group of British and Irish nuns. Then there are a pair of 1970s modern, slightly satiric, adventure dramas: The Man Who Would Be King, from the Kipling story, has a pair of cast-off British adventurers in a similar setting, discovering the dangers of colonialist assumptions, and the vaguely fact-based hostage-crisis story The Wind And The Lion, about the appeal of an older and wilder way of life to an increasingly buttoned-down and politicized society.
Finally, Xmas being a family time, there is
My Family & Other Animals, turned into a feature film by the BBC in 2005, from Gerald Durrell’s memoir of his family’s retreat from Bournemouth to idyllic natural surroundings in Corfu, where the eccentric family pursued the bohemian life each in their way, until WWII forced them home again.
That’s over twenty, and if you can’t find something there, a Merry Xmas anyway.

Xmas banquet cartoon