Saturday, August 31, 2013











 Is Not a One-Off;

 it Happened to Me

Before David Miranda was detained for nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport, there was me.
The news of Miranda's detainment came while I was cooking dinner in my kitchen, where I make my home in Vermont. It was early evening on a Sunday when, simultaneously, my mobile phone and email blew up. A longtime Wall Street source sent me a link to a New York Times story about Miranda's travails, along with the following message:
Reminded me of your experience. Seems these Brits are thugs dressed in borrowed garbs, speaking borrowed words.
Reading Miranda's account of his treatment - no explanation, no access to his own lawyer, no contact with the outside world, not even his family or his partner, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald - I remembered the day I was detained, stripped of everything I owned, including all proof of my identity, and locked up in the basement of Heathrow while researching VIP child abuse in the British Isles.
Only, in my case, I was held for more than 12 hours.
Many times since the news breaking of Miranda's treatment, I have wondered, if the U.K. Border Agency could not hold Miranda longer than nine hours under Schedule 7 of the terror laws, what did that mean about its detaining me for over 12?
I am an American, a Tier-1 U. K. visa holder and former resident of Great Britain. I am also an investigative journalist and author with a spotless travel and legal record. In other words, if this could happen to me, this could happen to anyone.
During my 12 hours in captivity, I was not accused of committing any crime or breaking the rules of my visa. In fact, I was using the same visa I had used for almost a decade to do research in the U.K., including while writing stories for The Financial Times, Forbes and Fortune.
My crime was researching a topic that the British authorities preferred I did not.
It was Sept. 11, 2011 - the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York. I was glad to be leaving the city, as it was on a high terror alert. I planned to stay in the U.K. for six days to see friends and colleagues before heading to Austria, where I'd accepted an invitation to speak at a bank conference alongside European bank governors and former U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairman Sheila Bair.
That wasn't all I was doing, however. I had just finished a journalism fellowship at the University of Colorado at Boulder and had begun working on my second book. The focus of my research: a highly political and secretive island off the coast of France called Jersey - the British Crown's wealthiest tax shelter and favored habitué of rich and powerful child abusers. (And yes, a wealthy family on the island once owned the state of New Jersey.)
My detainment came without warning. I arrived early in the morning and headed into the passport check, as usual. A guard asked if I would answer a few questions. I agreed, thinking nothing of it. But no questions were ever asked. Instead, I was escorted to a windowless room in the basement of Heathrow and locked in. At no time was I told that I was being taken into custody or why.
My luggage and personal belongings were immediately impounded. I was marched to a processing center where I was photographed and fingerprinted like a common criminal - only, unlike a criminal, I was not allowed a lawyer or access to my consulate. I also was handed a slip of paper that I still have today, which stated:
You have been detained under paragraph 16 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act or arrested under paragraph 17 of Schedule 2 to that Act.
What did this mean? I could not get anyone to tell me.
That was the beginning of perhaps the most harrowing 12-plus hours of my life. What people do not realize is that a nine-hour detainment - or a 12-hour one, in my case - would be borderline tolerable if you knew how long it would be taking in advance.
What the U.K. Border Agency proceeds to do is something else entirely. For every minute you spend imprisoned against your will, the U.K. authorities are actively prepping you for the worst: that you will be held indefinitely, that you may disappear off the face of the earth without recourse or redress. And that feels a lot more like torture.
I was placed in a dirt-stained room with a latrine and no bed. I was left there for many hours. The U.K. Border officers spent this time rummaging through my things in an apparent attempt to reverse-engineer a case against me. They had no interest in speaking with me; to the contrary, all they wanted to do was get at my luggage. I am afraid I was a bit of a disappointment. None of my book research notes were with me on that trip. All I had were clothes and books and shoes.
My requests for information were ignored. I asked if I was being arrested; no one would tell me. I asked many times to call a lawyer or my consulate. The guards laughed at me. I asked, 'What are my rights?' Their answer: 'You have no rights. You are on the U.K. border.' After about eight hours, two U.K. Border Agency officers finally grilled me - first one, then the other - about my work, my finances, my living arrangements, the people with whom I associated and where I was headed. I was not allowed counsel. I told them I would be in the U.K. for six days before traveling to Austria. I showed them my onward flight bookings, arranged by the organizer of the event. The officers looked straight at them and accused me of lying.
The interrogation process was designed to be demoralizing and hostile. I was effectively human garbage, to be threatened with further imprisonment if I did not cooperate. I greatly empathized with Miranda's account of being in fear for his life and his security. No effort is spared by the U.K. authorities in putting you through immense isolation and emotional trauma in the starkest of Orwellian terms beneath the Heathrow Airport.
Once the officers were done going through my things and berating me, I was summarily thrown out of the country and banned from re-entering the U.K. - as well as the island of Jersey - for the next two years. To this day, the U.K. Border Agency has never furnished me with a clear reason why.
After getting ousted from the country, I sent for my things in Jersey, where I kept a foreign visitor-approved office and a pied-à-terre. The parcels, shipped by UPS, arrived weeks late - chopped up and razor-bladed all. It was apparent the boxes had been searched many times by many hands. Inside one of them, I found a slip of paper, which I have kept, stating that the shipment contained an unidentified "contaminant." To this day, UPS cannot explain what this is about and claims its investigation, which is ongoing more than a year later, has been hobbled by multiple delays.
Next month marks the two-year anniversary of my ouster from Great Britain. Since my detainment, my U.K. visa status has been fully restored through the collective efforts of members of the press, including The Guardian and the BBC. A social media campaign brought international attention to the plight of those suffering in Jersey and, through the herculean efforts of U.K. Member of Parliament John Hemming and Jersey politicians Trevor and Shona Pitman, I traveled for the first time back to London and Jersey this summer to continue my work with a group of U.K. journalists. I also was able to meet MP Hemming for the first time to thank him.
While much has been put right, the U.K. Border Agency has continued to act as a sort of rogue political body, breaking its own rules; blocking an objective investigation into my treatment at the border; denying administrative review of my visa; and, bizarrely, claiming that the video footage of my detainment had been destroyed, then informing me it had not.
Repeated requests for a copy of the full footage, to which I am entitled under the U.K.'s Data Protection Act, have been willfully ignored.
This past July, a group of MPs, led by Hemming, issued a parliamentary motion insisting on the release of my CCTV footage, as well as "details of the original process resulting in [Goodman's] ban in 2011 and a full explanation of the delays in her being provided with a visa in 2013."
The U.K. Border Agency has not responded, so today, MP Hemming is launching a petition urging U.K. Immigration Minister Mark Harper and Home Secretary Theresa May to stop stonewalling the release the "missing" footage of my detainment.
Every signature on this petition, which can be found here, sends a strong message to the U.K. and countries around the world that there will be rigorous pushback wherever journalists are treated as criminals or used as political scratching posts while pursuing the truth. Indeed, the ability of citizens around the world to knowledgeably debate issues of the day depends on it.
Writing this article was difficult, as the aftermath of detainment causes serious and lasting side effects. I still adore Great Britain and the beautiful island of Jersey. I cannot help it; they are in my heart.
My visa has been restored. But when I see fellow journalists trying to do their jobs and being harassed and targeted - such as Miranda and Greenwald - it is obvious to me that our basic human rights and crucial press freedoms are in peril and we must stand together to ensure they are not taken away entirely.

Follow Leah McGrath Goodman on Twitter:


All democracies should respect freedom of the press. Journalism is not a crime -- and it should not be treated as such. Ms. Goodman, an American author and journalist, was detained for 12 hours at Heathrow Airport and treated exactly as a criminal, though she had committed no crime. She was locked up, stripped of all her ID and belongings, denied access to consulate and lawyer -- something even criminals are allowed -- photographed and fingerprinted. Her "crime": researching VIP atrocities against children across the British Isles. She is legally entitled to the full video footage of her 12-hour detainment and any other information the U.K. still holds on her under the Data Protection Act. For two years, the U.K. has repeatedly ignored her requests. Please release this information at once.

Theresa May, Home Secretary, UK Member of Parliament 
Mark Harper, Minister of State for Immigration, Member of Parliament 
Release the Full CCTV Footage of the 12-Hour Detention at Heathrow Airport of Journalist Leah McGrath Goodman 

I write in support of the two letters below that have been sent to you, Mr. Harper, by MP John Hemming and Leah McGrath Goodman. Please release the full CCTV footage of Ms. Goodman's 12-hour detainment at Heathrow Airport and any other information you still hold on her. 

This stands as yet another example of the U.K. harassing international journalists who are researching topics it would rather not have researched. 

It is a disgraceful violation of press freedoms and a threat to all human rights. 

3 July 2013 

Mark Harper: 

Ms. Goodman made a Subject Access Request for CCTV footage and all other data relating to her detainment in October 2011, she received as a result of that request some documents which were stated to be the complete record kept by the UK Border Agency. 

In a further Subject Access Request last year in January 2012, the UKBA declined to provide any additional data or documentation saying: 

"We have no reason to believe that there would have been any significant changes or additions to the data held on the above-named subject...therefore, we are returning your subject access request and fee payment." 

However, in the enclosed letter dated 29th May 2012, from Brian Moore, Director General of the Border Force, it is disclosed that CCTV footage of the detention is still on file and a copy could be obtained by way of a further Subject Access Request. 

Ms Goodman has made that request, which was denied and she has been told that any further Subject Access Requests will be denied. 

It is of great concern that the UKBA feels it is able to not comply with the Data Protection Act, a law passed by Parliament which, as a public body, it has a duty and requirement to comply with. It is of greater concern that the UKBA is aware that it holds this video evidence and seeks to suppress its disclosure, and it is deeply troubling that actions of its officers, which were denied in an investigation could be proven to have occurred had this evidence been turned over. 

I am asking you to intervene in this process and demand that the UKBA comply with the Data Protection Act and provide the video evidence it has confirmed it holds to Ms. Goodman. A further delay would be pernicious. 


John Hemming, Member of Parliament 

1 August 2013 

Dear Data Protection Unit: 

I am writing once more to file a Subject Access Request for any remaining information and footage held on me, Leah Susan Goodman, from 10 September 2011 to the present, particularly the full CCTV film of my detainment, which led to a lengthy investigation and is still on file. 


I filed by registered mail my first SAR for my CCTV footage and all data pertaining to my detainment immediately after my detainment on 10 September 2011. The UK Border Agency confirmed receiving this 6 October 2011 (please see a copy of this document, enclosed). 

I did not receive my CCTV footage. However, I was sent some paper documents under SAR, stating that this was the complete record (please see a copy of this statement, enclosed). 

I wrote the UKBA again in November 2011, asking how to obtain the CCTV footage and did not receive a reply. I still have this letter and your receipt of it. 

I filed another SAR with the UKBA, confirmed received 21 January 2012 (also enclosed) asking again for ALL info related to my detainment. The UKBA declined to provide any further items, stating: "We have no reason to believe that there would have been any significant changes or additions to the data held on the above-named subject...therefore we are returning your subject access request and fee payment." 

On 29 May 2012, a member of MP John Hemming’s staff confirmed with Damian Green in a letter (again, see enclosed) my CCTV footage did exist. Prior to that, I was informed the footage had been destroyed. This letter I also still have in my possession. Yet further inquiries did not lead to my receiving the footage. 

On 3 July 2013, a second staff member of MP John Hemming sent another letter (enclosed also) to Mark Harper of the Home Office to “intervene in this process and demand that the UKBA comply with the Data Protection Act and provide the video evidence it has confirmed it holds to Ms. Goodman. A further delay would be pernicious.” 

It has been two years of my making humble requests for this information, starting with the month of my detainment. How many requests must be made? Please comply with my SAR request for my full CCTV footage as soon as possible. 

Enclosed is the identification and usual proofs you require for this purpose. As I have already paid for the first SAR and you sent back other checks I have written (one of which I have enclosed as proof) I assume you do not expect any further money. 


Leah McGrath Goodman 
[Your name]

Sunday, August 18, 2013






It's quite simple for a small elite to govern how the local Jersey MSM Report. All you need to do is put pressure on the editors and the job is done. We could be talking about Six editors at most. Two at the Jersey Evening Post - Two  at BBC Radio Jersey and Two at ITV Jersey (CTV). 

When will the shackles be released from the hacks at the Jersey Evening Post (JEP). They are governed be their editors. You simply don't write a piece twice - you write it once. They know what is required and simply produce it. Jersey is changing. The arrival of the Internet has changed the landscape. The hacks at the JEP know that information and leaked reports are by-passing them on a daily basis. I have often stated - can you name me any big stories that the JEP have broken that has held the government to account and ministers to account? The answer, I believe, is NO.Why is this? With the upcoming retirements of the JEP's Editor and Deputy Editor they have an opportunity to start telling the Jersey people the truth about all sorts of issues from the economy, cover-ups and ridiculous ministerial decisions. It will take time. They can't just change over night. They rely on their advertising - they don't want to upset conservative Jersey. But most of all, let us not forget, they are the only newspaper in Jersey. Yes, to any outside readers, in Jersey we have only one newspaper. The government of Jersey pay the JEP around £270,000 a year for advertising so do they bite the hand that feeds them? 

Then we have BBC Radio Jersey.  This is a funny one. In my opinion they haven't been as bad as the JEP with regards to non-reporting but then again they just plod along like everything is ok and all is just great in the garden of Jersey. It is funded by taxpayers money. They need to have a serious look at what they are doing and move into the 21st century. They have done away with the phone - in, they seem to be struggling with the politics hour that goes out live every Sunday at 10am- they seem to lack drive and direction and seem to lack the will to unleash some real investigative journalism. This simply could be  down to the quality of their reporters. Why their political correspondent Chris Rayner, isn't doing the politics hour is a strange one. I have no idea what their listening figures are but my guess is it's just the elderly who tune in after 9am. I have no doubt that their figures will take an upsurge with the advent of bad weather and an island wide problem.  Matthew Price seems to be the anchor for any form of debate that might take place. He seems to be the only one who has an idea on the many  political issues facing Jersey. This simply isn't good enough.  

We cannot forget the shambolic reporting of BBC Jersey regarding the Jersey Child Abuse Investigation. They closed ranks with the JEP and CTV. This was done under the leadership of Denzil Dudley and Hamish Marett Crosby. Times have changed. They must decide what they need to do to move forward and not become a laughing stock. They send reporters all around the world to cover sport but what about what's happening in our own backyard. Jersey requires some investigative journalism. What responsibility do our MSM have in Jersey? To tell us all is ok and the Battle of Flowers is only a year away? It has all been to cosy for far to long and it must change.  We need them to take a pro-active step in investigating and not just reporting press releases that land on their desks.

We need to work in tandem. There should not be a them and us (bloggers) situation as this is a negative situation.  The information is flowing and the MSM is dragging its heels.  They have some big decisions to make. They have got to recognise their failings since 1948. This isn't about political leanings - its about the future of Jersey. The bloggers have led the way. I'm not interested in trolls. The situation is far more serious than that. 

The Jersey MSM must make a decision and make it quick

Remain a laughing stock or start taking a pro-active stance as to the issues facing Jersey.

What is the real truth about the struggling Jersey economy? How is that business are closing yet there remains no real in depth reporting on these most serious of issues. We have politicians jumping on stupid bandwagons like should we allow smoking on a beach and so on. We have had the ridiculous mutterings of Deputy Sean power about the brave 28 who voted against a diabolical referendum and it's result. Any Journalist with his salt could have ripped Deputy Power apart yet he is left to  utter rubbish without serious challenge. If our Media and it's journalists were allowed off the leash I'm sure we would see a better standard of politician. They would be made to think before opening their mouths.

We had this garbage appear in our only newspaper  ( The JEP) LAST week concerning the behind the scenes move to remove the Enviroment Minister, Rob Duhamel. This piece was written by  Toby Chaing. It is nothing but speculative garbage:


Toby Chaing of the JEP Reports

 " Just four more states members signatures are needed before the Chief Minister will, it is understood, act on a letter expressing dissatisfaction with Environmental Minister Rob Duhamel. Sixteen politicians have so far signed a petition to register their discontent with the planning department and its leader after 3 states members teamed up to launch the attack.

The letter, which came as the latest in a series of moves against the minister, was written by Deputies, James Baker and Steve Luce and St Peter Constable John Refault. It has been circulated among some members of the chamber, with 16 reportedly agreeing to sign their names."

So how does 16 reportedly agreeing turn into the headline 


In my opinion that is just pure laziness and shows that they are struggling to find a credible story in an Island full of credible stories. Or, is there something more sinister behind this?

On the 13th August I emailed both Matthew Price and Managing Editorr Jon Gripton of  BBC Radio Jersey and reproduce it below.

Sent: 13 August 2013 11:44
To: Jon Gripton; Matthew Price - Jersey
Subject: New Blog Posting

Hi Jon & Matthew

Sounds like a biblical beginning. 

I'm writing a piece about the Jersey MSM. I have copied a draft below. I will be swapping and changing it as time goes on but most of all I would like you to have your say. I'm interested in one thing only and that is the future of Jersey - and the role BBC Jersey will play in it. As we have seen over the last 5 years we are reaching a crossroads. I will offer you a fair and balanced piece and also keep the comments section in check. What is the role of BBC Jersey? The criticism of BBC Jersey will not stop and with some  justification I might add. We must all face criticism at times but it is how we react to it that really counts.  

 I believe it's important that you have your say if you so wish. 

This is my intro that is open to change.

Kind Regards 

I must thank Matthew Price for his prompt replies. Unfortunately it is Managing Editor Jon Gripton who makes the decisions that I have enquired about. If I do receive a reply on the future of the station I will let my readers know.

These are very testing times for Jersey. What is the real truth? Jersey Media please wake up Jersey needs you. Jersey needs you now. Im not in competition with you. I just do what you refuse to do. 

Jersey needs you now.

Rico Sorda

Part Time Investigative Journalist

Saturday, August 3, 2013



Setting the record straight…
GST – in 2008 during my election campaign, I said, and I quote “I will robustly oppose any attempt to increase GST above 3%”.  I meant it.  I wrote it down in my manifesto. I assured colleagues and friends, and I partly campaigned on that basis.  Then the global credit crisis hit harder than any of could have imagined, and 3 years on from that statement, we were forced to consider how to increase revenue for Jersey.   I knew it could potentially cost me my political career to bring forward the proposal for the increase, and people who voted for me may not understand. But after all the research, advice, number crunching and assessments had been done, I was called to make the decision to propose a 2% increase, and the Council of Ministers and States Members agreed, voting in favour of the proposal. It was still the hardest moment of my political career, and a decision that I wish I had not had to make. It is some consolation to know that around the globe other less fortunate Treasury Ministers were faced with much tougher challenges, and that overall Jersey is in a good position.  To imagine we would have been entirely untouched by the global crisis though is unrealistic.
0/10 – When 0/10 was first introduced, the UK, who represents us in Europe, assured us it was compliant with the EU Code of Conduct.  We then introduced a personal tax provision for local residents called “Deemed Distribution”, and were assured that there were no foreseeable issues with it.  Then, again, the credit crisis hit and the political landscape throughout Europe and the UK changed dramatically.  Jersey went through endless amounts of scrutiny, always with a clean bill of health, and continued to meet the highest international standards.  Then in January 2011, the interaction of “Deemed Distribution” with 0/10, was found by the EU to give rise to harmful effects.  We looked at it, considered the options extensively, and decided that we could probably live with out the Deemed Distribution, even though really, we didn’t fee the EU should be dictating on matters of personal tax.
Some have questioned why 0/10 had to be introduced in the first place, given it would a deficit, but put quite simply, we were faced with the decision between long-term stability and competitiveness over short-term, resolvable financial pressure.  The misreporting, misleading statements issued by others, and commentary which overall has been confusing, and contributed to uncertainty in a time when we should have been focused on opportunity and recovery.
0/10 was, and still is, a very complicated issue, hard to explain and grasp.  The upshot of this whole process has been doubt over whether the Council of Ministers were telling the truth (we were), fodder for Jersey’s critics (which they use against us), and also people believing we had contradicted ourselves, (which we hadn’t). The whole situation has really brought home the need to communicate more, and better, something I am now striving to do.




"As we head into the election of 2014"


The Senator has been a states member for 13 years - he has risen through the ranks to become the Minister for Treasury and Resources - a position he has held  since 2008.  Has the Senator run his course? Where does he go next? If he was to get re-elected, and that is a big if, will he attempt a third term as treasury minister? Is it not time for new blood at the top of the ministerial tree? These are questions that must be looked at. I don't believe it's possible for Senator Ozouf to become Chief Minister. Yes, the States of Jersey can produce the ridiculous on numerous occasions, but Chief Minister? That would be a step into total Narnia. 

It would be unfair to say that Senator Ozouf has cocked everything up in Jersey or to lay the blame for everything at his door however one can be rest assured that he is not far away from every big decision that has affected the populace of Jersey. His popularity was strong when he first ran for election in 1999. Being the son of a former Constable of St Saviour he had a good knowledge of the election process. This proved so when he topped the poll in 1999 with 1,618 votes. In 2002 Deputy Ozouf became a Senator, topping the poll with 14,442 votes. The slide started when he went for re-election in 2008 when he came in 5th with 8,712 votes.

Here lies the problem for Senator Ozouf. Can he get re-elected as a Senator? The Finance Industry must be worried. The referendum, plus all the problems that came with it, has been rejected by the States of Jersey.  28 brave politicians.  Even the ones who have been flat-lining for a couple of years finally woke up and scuppered the master plan.  Who can be the next Treasury Minister? Who will be as big a cheerleader for the finance industry as Senator Ozouf.

 I could see Philip as a Foreign Affairs Minister. He is young, articulate, speaks fluent French - German and Bullsh*t.  All the attributes that one requires for the job. Father Time is on his stallion. He is racing towards the sleepy hamlet of Jersey. And what of Senator Ozouf's number two? Senator Alan Maclean? These two have been joined at the hip. Maclean has been at Economic Development since 2008. I don't believe that Alan Maclean will run for the states in 2014. I personally think that he has had enough.  Times are changing.  The old guard are moving on or simply dying off. That is father time. It can't be stopped. Everyone has a shelf life. Has the boy Ozouf reached his.

On a personal level I like talking to Philip Ozouf when the chance arises. Although we are miles apart in our beliefs I have always found him willing to engage and prove that he is right.  Senator Ozouf has done some very good things for Jersey and some not very good things - that is the minefield of politics. I believe that his conservative beliefs and the conservative nature of Jersey is going to be the death of this Island  unless some genuine consensus can be achieved. I'm not sure that this can be achieved with the current ministers. The referendum showed up their real agenda.

Senator Ozouf has voted many times and on many different issues during his political career in the States of Jersey but the ones that disgust me most are the ones concerning the CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATION AND THE COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY INTO DECADES LONG ABUSE IN THE JERSEY CARE SYSTEM. 

We he had the chance to stand up and be counted he went missing -  then he really did go missing as will be explained now.

When  the Committee of Enquiry proposition was debated in the States of Jersey on the 1st and 2nd of March 2011 Senator Ozouf voted against all  amendments and the main proposition. No matter what excuse he might have for doing this in my eyes there  is no excuse. For me it's like the ones who had a chance to do something when the abuse was happening and did nothing. Life gives you chance to do something right you must do accept this when the chance arrises. 

 Senator Ozouf was given a chance to redeem his previous decisions concerning the Committee of Enquiry. On the 6th March 2013 the Committee of Enquiry came back to the States of Jersey. This was for the new states members to rubber stamp it and give it the green light. This can be read here:

 What I find quite remarkable was that Senator Ozouf nor Senator Bailhace were present for the vote. They were in the States Chamber all morning as the new Police Station debate was taking place. A proposition about Child Abuse and they were absent.  Were they toasting the new Police Station Champagne? 

History has recorded the ones who have voted with a moral and social conscience  - there is no escaping that fact. 

What next for both Senator Maclean and Ozouf?

Is this double act coming to an end?

Senator Maclean looks fed up with toeing a party line that is simply not sustainable - even with the Jersey Media doing it's best to keep the public totally dumb. 

Father Time is on his stallion and heading our way.

Rico Sorda

Part Time Investigative Journalist