Wednesday, September 12, 2012


"For anyone looking for a deep drill into Jersey’s ongoing political imbroglios, two outstanding citizen bloggers have been working slavishly for years to lift the curtain: Neil McMurray at Voice for Children and Rico Sorda. On an island where the established media serve as the de facto mouthpiece of those in power, these self-taught journalists, who work for free under grave pressure in thankless conditions, are the only independent press around.)"Leah Mcgrath Goodman

"It is largely due to two tenacious bloggers, Rico Sorda ( and Neil McMurray ( that Power's suspension has remained so high on the political agenda. Both complain that the JEP has failed to investigate what they see as the injustice of Power's treatment." The Guardian

"Hillsborough report makes clear there was a cover up and media once again complicit in aiding the official story rather than searching out the truth. But take heart Jersey, even after decades the facts do come to light as long as some faithfully carry a candle into dark places." MF








The cover-up is the same. 

I have taken great strength today from the brave families of that tragic disaster who fought for justice.

They never gave up and nor will we.

Here Im talking about our State Media - who are complicit in the cover-up of horrific abuse to vulnerable children.




Part Time Investigative Journalist 

Today is not a day to focus on right-wing versus left-wing politics, but the difference between right and wrong. 

When a democratic government abuses its substantial legal, legislative and financial powers to crack down on journalists’ freedom of speech, force policemen and elected officials from their jobs and systemically dismantle its own checks and balances so as to deny each of its targets due process, clearly it is a government that has lost its way.

Jersey, the jewel in the crown of the Channel Islands, may be one of the world's leading offshore financial centres, but it has begun to use its clout against its own people – and it is keeping the rest of its population in the dark about it. This is now a place where court and legislative records – those that are public anyway – can now be redacted. This is an island where secret trials are now allegedly taking place and elected officials are forced to debate key issues in secret. Web content is banned and journalists booted out. This is not the way a democratic government is supposed to be run.

Again, this is not about politics. It is about standing up for truth, honesty and integrity. It is about restoring the good name of our beautiful island whose reputation has been dragged through the mud by those attempting to cover-up the facts surrounding some of the most heinous crimes known to man – crimes of violence against children. Crimes the vast majority of islanders would never defend, yet most of those who stand accused of committing them have not been brought to justice and continue to walk among us and our children. Worse, these alleged perpetrators remain entrenched in some of the very highest echelons of Jersey’s government – working in departments that focus on children! It is beyond comprehensible.

On an island where children in need of care have been let down by the government for decades – and continue to be let down – we cannot afford to ignore or repeat our mistakes. More broadly, challenging the government’s current decisions, particularly when not made in the best interest of the public, should not require bottomless financial resources and friends in high places. We are supposed to be a democracy, right?

With our checks and balances hamstrung, the international and independent media may be our last chance at reclaiming our democracy and re-establishing rule of law.

Today, Jersey politician Deputy Trevor Pitman launched an e-petition on in support of the return of U.S. investigative journalist and author, Leah McGrath Goodman, to the island to continue her research into decades of child abuse at Jersey’s state-run “care” homes and allegations of cover-ups in the wake of the government’s removal of the chief of police and shut-down of the entire investigation.

One year ago today, Ms. Goodman was banned from the UK and Jersey for two years after revealing to the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service during a voluntary meeting that she was writing a book on atrocities against children at Haut de la Garenne. According to the UK Border Force, she was flagged by Jersey Immigration authorities for removal upon her next border crossing – and that is exactly what happened. After the intervention of UK Member of Parliament John Hemming, the ban was reduced to one year and it expires today, 11 September 2012. That said, the UK and Jersey have so far declined to restore Ms. Goodman’s visa or allow her cross the border to continue her research. In order to do so safely, she will need to have her Tier -1 visa status fully restored – hence, the reason for Deputy Pitman’s e-petition today.

Leah McGrath Goodman should be permitted to complete her work in order that there is an accurate record based on the available facts and evidence. Jersey needs to confront the failings of its past so it can redress them and, most of all, ensure the safety of our children’s future.

We ask readers who care about the island’s children, who care about the island’s reputation, who believe in a free press and who want the truth to be told to sign Deputy Pitman’s e-petition. We also ask fellow bloggers to copy and paste this blog onto their own Web sites so that we may show the world that Jersey wants the best for its future and its children. It is time to leave our island’s culture of secrecy behind and demand the kind of free and open society our island deserves. Those who would do otherwise are not representative of the majority of islanders.

Please spread the word and sign this petition (ten seconds). The Internet is the one thing Jersey authorities have not been able to lock down.....yet! The petition can be signed HERE

For those who tweet this campaign, please use the #FreeJersey hashtag. While Jersey may try to keep journalists out, it cannot keep us for letting the truth in. 


thejerseyway said...

Hi Rico.

I have been thinking the same today, about the way the Cover Up of Hillsborough was aloud to continue through the Media NOT investigating the Government Line.

Keep up your good work. I just put up some questions from yesterdays States Meeting, you & your Reader's can Listen HERE

Anonymous said...

Excellent article about Hillsborough in The Guardian. So many parallels to Jersey and the work of its brave bloggers.

Norman Kent said...

Chris Bright - Kelvin Mackenzie

Waht's the difference?

Angus Fairhurst said...

"Today I offer my profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool for that headline," MacKenzie said in a statement. "I too was totally misled.

"Twenty three ago I was handed a piece of copy from a reputable news agency in Sheffield in which a senior police officer and a senior local MP were making serious allegations against fans in the stadium.

"I had absolutely no reason to believe that these authority figures would lie and deceive over such a disaster.

Kelvin Mackenzie yesterday upon hearing the news.

For Chris Bright this is only a matter of time. Does he have the balls? Will he 'man-up' before its too late?

Zoompad said...

"Our world is undoubtedly more open and transparent now than it was in 1989: if, God forbid, anything like Hillsborough were to happen again, the truth would surely be harder to conceal. With a mobile phone in every pocket there can never again be just one official account, a monopoly on reliable information in the crucial early hours of a manmade disaster: never again would it be eyewitnesses' word against the police."

Oh right. So how come this was covered up, and the whole nation witnessed what happened?

Anonymous said...



Chris Bright and his Child Abuse Coverup. This is a mirror image.

Focus on this and bring them down...

voiceforchildren said...


Notwithstanding the Leveson Inquiry and the Education Media and Culture Parliamentary Select Committee's revelations concerning the corrupt and unethical practices of the "accredited" media we now have the god awful treatment of the Hillsborough victims by the "accredited" media.

Although the print press is once more taking a beating for the part it played, and rightly so, but what about the broadcast media? Who from the broadcast media questioned the party line? Who from the broadcast media championed the victims and asked ANY questions of the party line?

What part was played by THE BBC?

What part was played ITV?

How would it have been reported by THE JEP?

RIP to those who lost their lives at Hillsborough. For the survivors, as has already been said; Today the truth, tomorrow JUSTICE.

Jersey's media will have to answer to the victims and survivors of the heinous Child Abuse that this island is so (in)famous for.

The day of reckoning (just like it did for the Lawrence family and the Hillsborough victims) is coming.

Anonymous said...

Listening to the families of Hillsborough victims being interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning in the aftermath of yesterday's findings it is clear that the hatred felt towards The Sun newspaper has only got worse.

I think its probably too late for the JEP and the COM's spin unit to hide from the Jersey atrocity.

Compensation does nothing to restore the deep seated feeling amongst many Islanders who have the true spirt of community close to their hearts that Jersey's only newspaper and is insular reporters are little more then complict vacous media types who have only sought to prolong the enduring pain of local victims of institutional child abuse.

The many shameful actions of the JEP and their right wing Establishment cronies will be exposed. And their feeble apologies will linger around them for years to come.

Anonymous said...

For those who have not already done so, I would recommend reading Tony the Prof's latest post.

Anonymous said...


Telling Tales

On 15 April 1989, at the start of an FA Cup semi-final, a crush on the steel-fenced terraces of Sheffield Wednesday's stadium resulted in the death of 96 Liverpool fans and left hundreds more injured. The inquiry into the disaster, led by Lord Chief Justice Taylor, established the main cause as a failure of police crowd control. I remember seeing it on television, in our room at a guest house in Exeter. I had just been married the week before, and we were on our honeymoon. We'd come back from a day out, crashed out onto the sofa, and put the television on, to see the announcer and the clips tell the story of the tragedy.

In the Commons, David Cameron has now revealed that 164 police statements were significantly altered and that criminal checks were done to "impugn the reputations of the deceased". It is a tragic example of what I've been calling "exceptional justice", which the State does very badly, because it goes on the defensive, and may be prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to malign people and distort the truth. In this case, it was the police acting in defense of their own; there is no evidence of any government trying to conceal the truth. Margaret Thatcher was misinformed by senior officers in Merseyside Police in the immediate aftermath that a "tanked-up mob" were to blame.

It is said that everyone can remember where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. I can't remember - I was only around 6 at the time. But I do remember Hillsborough. Now it emerges that victims' families were correct in their belief that some of the authorities attempted to create a "completely unjust" account of events that sought to blame the fans.

Locally, I think it is pretty clear that is what happened with Graham Power, with the extraordinary press conference and subsequent suspension. The conference said nothing basically now - Lennie Harper had said there would not be enough evidence for homicide - but it was the way it was spun to make it appear that it was something new, revoking the past. This was itself an attempt to create a "completely unjust" account of events that sought to blame the Power and Harper. But if you examine the statements of Lennie Harper, you see that nothing new was said by Mick Gradwell regarding the operation - what was new was the way the facts were spun, in contradiction to statements recorded on newspaper websites and the BBC. Yet the dominant narrative was so powerfully presented that the problems with contradictions between what was being said and existing historical sources of what had been said was overlooked.

The policeman at the heart of that, Mick Gradwell, later revealed himself to be a maverick, leaking information without any consideration of having taken an oath for official secrets. Andrew Lewis stated - or misspoke is the modern jargon - that he'd seen a report which he may well have not seen, and may have tipped the balance in an "in camera" debate.

Anonymous said...

It is the writing of the dominant narrative, that which passes as acceptable history, which we find in this case, as in Hillsborough. Lennie Harper was a maverick. There was a misidentified part of a coconut. Graham Power took a back seat. Expenses were out of control. Speculation was wild. Yet the real maverick was presenting the case against Lennie Harper, and the expenses should have been under control of the Chief Officer on accounts, who was cheerfully signing off expenses claims rather than taking any concerns to his superiors. Dr Timothy Brain was the well respected Chief Constable of Gloucestershire; he came over to Jersey and found the whole business of how the suspension was being conducted staggering.

But the dominant narrative become so widespread that I heard one member of the clergy, in a sermon, claim that "now we know what really happened" with historic child abuse, namely implying that it wasn't nearly so bad after all - and that was after convictions had been made of several of those charged with abusing children in States care. I couldn't believe my ears!

I feel that there is still an underhand resentment at there being an inquiry into historic child abuse at Haut de La Garenne and elsewhere, but the publication of the Verita report (leaked online by Rico Sorda) means that at least some of the documents are available, rather than being told what they say. I've been told, although I don't know how reliably, that having been commissioned to produce what they thought was a definitive report with recommendations, senior management at Verita are not too please with the States of Jersey.

The inability to question dominant narratives, and to look at any narrative critically, is a failure of governments everywhere. In the UK, in Jersey, if that narrative is so constructed to say what people want it to say, they will accept it without thinking. If blame is shifted from the State elsewhere, it is even more acceptable because it exonerates the State - it is what people in power want to hear. But Hillsborough shows that it is an uphill struggle to get those narratives reassessed, because most people take news more or less at face value, and don't learn to sift the narratives we hear through the media, through government reports and press releases. We shouldn't see conspiracies everywhere, but on the other hand, it is very human to want to protect reputations, to be defensive, to not admit blame, and governments and officials are just as human as the rest of us; it is just that the effects of their so doing causes a distortion of history. Hillsborough's false narrative probably started with a natural reaction against being held to blame, with police removal of key sentences in reports, but then it escalated.

"It will be the hint of something which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play: something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about... And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still" (C.S. Lewis)

Perhaps the recent report on Hillsborough is a wake up call not to be complacent when we read the news and take it at face value.

Victims' families were correct in their belief that some of the authorities attempted to create a "completely unjust" account of events that sought to blame the fans

"Despicable untruths" about the behaviour of fans were part of police efforts "to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence"

Tony Musing Blog Spot.

Anonymous said...

Police altering witness statements is criminal behaviour not "exceptional justice"

The Hillsborough victims families
did not get "exceptional justice",
they suffered 23 years of injustice.

Exceptional justice does not appear in any law dictionaries I've

Tony's use of his invented term detracts from a reasonable read
and appears to lessen another government outrage.


voiceforchildren said...



Ian Evans said...


Anonymous said...

Lets not forget Matt Tapp meeting with Frank Walker prior to the media release.

Zoompad said...

And lets not forget MI5's involvement in the cover up (David Rose)

Ian Evans said...

An update and a thank you from LEAH

voiceforchildren said...


The petition has just breached its 1,000th signatories THANK YOU and please keep spreading the word #FreeJersey


Anonymous said...

Good article on establishment cover ups

Ian Evans said...

The Corporate Sole & the STATES of JERSEY Inc