Thursday 20 March 2008

Why Full Inquest into Mike Todd Killing Is Required

by Trowbridge H. Ford

The United KIngdom is neither united nor divided but a hodge-podge somewhere in between. While the Parliament of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and its respective, responsible governments exist, it still has the trappings of a federal state with regional governments in Wales, Northern Ireland, and most clearly in Scotland. Without a written consitution guaranteeing that such arrangements are permanent unless changed officially by some public referenda, and a mechanism for making sure that it is observed, London can still change whatever exists by its own fiat. It has done so in the past, and could certainly do it again if it wants. The whole arrangement seems to be intended for achieving the best of all possible worlds where regions can arrange what they want while the central government still has the power to do whatever it sees fit, especially in times like now when the United Kingdom is on a war footing.

Just glance at all the anomalies which exist now in British constitutional arrangements. While Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988, killing its 259 passengers, and eleven Scots on the ground, London still has maintained control over what resulted after a most convoluted, complicated process to bring the alleged bombers to court - thanks to Washington's indictment of two Libyan intelligence agents - and see that they were tried on neutral ground by Scottish judges, using Scottish criminal procedure, resulting in the conviction of one of them. When the result was shown apparently to be the greatest miscarriage of justice, with the culprit calling either for a retrial or the quashing of his conviction by Scottish authorities, London has stymied the review by refusing to release information in the name of national security regarding the intervention by a foreign state, apparently Libya itself, which would help the defense in overturning his conviction.

The same use of covert authority to help the cause of the London government is well illustrated in how the MoD handles the inquests for UK troops killed in the highly unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, these troops come from all over the UK and beyond, but the MoD conducts all the inquests within the confines of Oxfordshire's RAF Brize Norton airbase where all the corpses are returned to the UK, using additional coroners from the county to handle the large flow of business.

In doing so, though, it has employed the services of a most critical deputy coroner, QC Andrew Walker, who had been most wide-ranging in establishing their cause of death, and those responsible, even including former SoD Geoff Hoon. Contrary to Rule 42 of the 1984 Coroner's Rules, established by delegated legislation, Walker has often charged the MoD of "serious failure" in allowing troopers to die unnecessarily from things like intense heat, friendly-fire incidents, and improper equipment - what the MoD contends would cause it to lose civil actions against it. The current SoD Des Browne has been so angered by Walker's inquests that he has refused to renew his contract, and now has gone to the High Court for a permanent injunction to muzzle any others tempted to do so.

In the Northern Ireland, the most analagous situation that comes to mind is the unsatisfactory inquiry that former Deputy Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police John Stalker conducted in the mid-1980s into the deaths of six IRA voluteers in three separate incidents during the fall of 1982 in Northern Ireland. The reason for the controversies over them was primarily because inquests into their deaths were either never completed or seriously compromised in the name of national security to protect the personnel involved. There were strong suspicions that the unarmed men, especially Eugene Toman, were killed as a matter of state-endorsed policy aka 'shoot to kill' one since the judge, Lord Justice Gibson, hearing the case, complimented the suspects for killing not only him but also his associates, Sean Burns and Gervaise McKerr.

Stalker's task was to determine if there was enough evidence, especially from the Security Service aka MI5, to show that members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary's Special Branch should be prosecuted, particularly for murder. On September 18, 1985, Stalker delivered his interim report on the shootings, stating that murder had quite possibly been committed in each incident, and that resuming adjourned coroner's hearings, and further investigation, especially of an alleged MI5 tape of the killing of Michael Tighe, after the conclusion of the trial of his associate, Martin McCauley, would determine the matters for sure.

After an inexplicable delay of five months, the Crown's covert government went into high gear to stymie any further action on the killings by Stalker when he tried to complete his investigation. Pressured by an increasingly embattled RUC Chief Constable Sir John Herman - who claimed that Stalker was connected to criminals, thanks to what its dead informer David Burton aka Bertelstein had claimed about him - Sir Philip Myers, Regional Inspector of Constabulary (Northwest), finally acted on a mainland inquiry into Stalker's relationship with Manchester businessman Kevin Taylor when he could not stop Stalker from going to Belfast to settle the last remaining difficulties of his inquiry. The Manchester investigation claimed that Stalker had become completely beholdened as a policeman to the criminally-connected Taylor who was an associate of at least one operator involved in the Shoot-to-Kill murders, Captain Simon Hayward.

Hayward had been one of the Horse Guards, going to ceremonial duties in Whitehall on July 20, 1982, when attacked in Hyde Park by a remote-controlled, IRA nail bomb, killing four of his colleagues, and he had volunteered to go to Northern Ireland during the following emergency in South Armagh where the Shoot-to-Kill murders occurred. While there, he, it seems, was the driver of undercover Army cars involved in the RUC shootouts by reinforced Headquarters Mobile Support Units (HMSU), and Eugene Toman was the first victim of Hayward's campaign. Toman had been fingered by the RUC's so-called Mole, apparently Burton, as one of the culprits who had planted the 1,000 lbs. of explosive which killed three RUC officers at a Kinnego roundabout in September 1982, kicking off the revenge killings for sure in South Armagh.

Hayward was connected to Stalker through his friendship with Taylor. In 1981, Stalker had taken a nine-day holiday with the Manchester businessman, staying on a sailing yacht he owned in Florida,
apparently with all expenses paid one. Then the Stalkers saw the Taylors occasionally at various social functions in Manchester. The boat had later been sold to a man in Spain, suspected "...of using it to ship cannibis." (John Stalker, The Stalker Affair, p. 173) The man was suspected of being part of the Quality Street Gang which carried on drug-trafficking from its villas on the Costa Blanca, especially in Benidorm, and with whom Taylor was connected.

The mere mention of the boat, apparently a catamaran called 'The True Love', and its shipping cannibis set off alarm bells in Britain's security services, as MI6 was using it in an attempt to assassinate Libya's dictator Gaddafi, and it was captained by Simon's brother, Christopher. A few times the two Haywards had visited Ibiza in the hope of getting a line on how to get Gaddafi by following the travels of a leader of the Provisional IRA known as DUKE who also had a villa there. MI6's great fear was that Stalker's continued inquiries into what had happened in Nothern Ireland in 1982 would uncover Hayward's role there, and now here in Sweden, it seems, with the Palme assassination while he was reassessing the role of his bodyguards for Major David Walker's KMS.Ltd. security agency.

Just as Stalker was preparing to leave for Belfast for his showdown with Herman, he was told by Colin Sampson, Chief Constable for West Yorkshire, that he had been "removed forever" from the investigation because of his personal problems, and told to stay at home. The basis of the removal had been what the Manchester police had been able to cook up about Stalker's dealing with Taylor, his alleged criminal activities, and what Philip Myers had persuaded authories in London, especially the Attorney General Sir Patrick Mayhew and Sir Lawrence Byford, HM's Chief Inspector of Constabulary, to do about it. It turned out that they had acted on Herman's statutory request to remove Stalker from the inquiry - what had originally been ordered by Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecution Sir Barry Shaw.

It's quite likely that Stalker would have been disposed of by more forceful means if the Crown had not been able to by seemingly legal means - ones given such publicity by a rampaging press that Stalker has never been able to recover his rightful reputation. The Daily Mail, for example, claimed that the criminal Burton, the dead RUC informer, had the goods on Stalker. The Daily Telegraph claimed that Stalker's inquiry had not turned up any evidence of RUC misconduct. The Sunday Telegraph claimed that Stalker's boss at Manchester, the conniving Chief Constable John Anderton, was the fallguy for Stalker's fiasco. The Observer and The Sunday Times had similar false stories at Stalker's expense. Rarely has the truth been more perverted.

At least, it seems, until this time - the killing of Chief Constable Mike Todd. The press has been working around the clock, cranking out stories about how - e. g., jumping off a cliff, filling himself with gin, taking his clothes off so he could die of hypothermia, etc. - and why he committed suicide,
especially because of his allegedly uncontrollable libido. Almost nothing that has been reported is true, and one can only wonder why the media want to destroy him after he has died.

The way it hopes to achieve this is through the inquiry that the current Chief Inspector of Her Majesty's Constabulary, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, has ordered Sir Paul Scott-Lee, Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police, to carry out: whether Todd's personal life effected the performance of his professional duties. In doing so, Flanagan has stressed that Scott-Lee's inquiry has nothing to do with the inquest that Dewi Pritchard-Jones in carrying out in North Wales - just like Byford's removal of Stalker had nothing to do with his inquiry into the Shoot-to-Kill murders.

And remember that Flanagan is under the darkest cloud because of his failure to prevent the Omagh bombing back in 1998, and his failure to achieve any satisfaction for the victims and their survivors by the failed prosecution of a mere fallguy recently for the tragedy. One can only wonder if the Real IRA was allowed to commit this barbaric act so that the parties in The Troubles would get down to serious business, and finally agree to the Good Friday Agreement.

If this is the case, Flanagan is merely a tool of Britain's covert government, and no wonder Gordon Brown has no intention of getting rid of him.

Something similar must be said about Des Browne finally getting an injunction preventing coroners from making any ex parte statements about how a deceased died. Of course, he would claim that it has nothing to do with the Todd inquest, but only a most naive person would believe it.The problem with coroners in Oxfordshire, especially Andrew Walker, speaking out has been going on for five years now; yet, Browne is only acting in the wake of Todd's killing and when Walker is heading for the termination of his employment.

In sum, the British government is stacking the cards against any real inquest into Mike Todd's death, and only can only wonder why since all the interested parties are making out that he killed himself, like Dr. David Kelly. Only answers to the questions I am raising, and others yet to be disclosed will really determine what happened to the Manchester policemen on that terrible night on Snowdonia.