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  • A Man Called Henry

    September 18, 1944/2014

    henrydunn

    From a foreign shore, he wrote:

    If ever you sit alone and gaze out at the distant Simmonds Hill - whisper my name, and I'll know you want me near...

    Here I am once again on a wild desolate plain, and feeling absolutely lost at being away from you.

    D'you know, Darling, it's a wonderful feeling to know that we have some little 'Nippers' and the sweetest little nippers in the world, who love their Mummy and Daddy. God knows we need their prayers, to build them up into the type of boy and girl, man and woman, that we want them to become.

    Sometimes I wonder if we fully understand our responsibilities - you do, I know, and I can only hope I have the chance of helping you.

    Just sit and think, Darling - those tiny souls are our flesh and blood - they see in us the type of person they wish to become - they copy our every movement - they watch our every action - they give us their trust and love.

    Everything is left to us, and I see now (as you have so long been telling me) we can only do this with Divine help. S'funny, but life seems so much more serious - or should I say fuller (pardon the grammar) these days. Of course I don't mean that we can't have our usual quota of laughs - I just mean that now we have a goal to strive towards - that of bringing up the 'Nippers' as super little souls and we're not going to let them down.

    Darling, we have been closer this leave than ever before... I've seen you, Darling, caring for our little son - denying yourself sleep to care and comfort him, and I've felt so proud - proud of that Darling wife of mine.

    My one fervent wish is to get home for good and permanently share our life together - it is the only thing that keeps me sane. We did have fun together, didn't we, Darling?

    h4

    It was not to be.

    The first information to come via the War Office and received by my grandmother, Yvonne, was dated October 11, 1944. All the following images need a pinch out on touchscreen or a couple of clicks otherwise to enlarge.

    missing

    Another, from Henry's Glider Pilot Regiment, dated five days later, was tinged with hope.

    missing1

    Days stretched into weeks, then into months. Then, in a missive dated June 28, 1945, some nine months later, came the letter she dreaded most.

    with regret

    Three months later, another letter on the doormat, ominously marked "On His Majesty's Service":

    OHMS

    It was news of where a man called Henry now lay at rest.

    burial info

    RIP Henry Dunn, my grandfather, and all others who fell in the Second World War, who died exactly seventy years ago to this very day - September 18, 1944.

    Henry was 29 years old, and father to Anne, Peter, Michael and Christine.

    For more details of his mission, click here.

    Earlier in his correspondence he'd sent this poem. Seems very apt to reprint it here.

    Remember Darling,

    Remember this week when you're sad or depressed,
    When things don't go right and you're feeling oppressed.
    Remember your TRUE LOVE - who although he has gone,
    Is always thinking of you, Dear Yvonne.

    Remember that sunshine will follow this storm,
    That clouds will race by and a new day will dawn,
    Remember my dear that God has a plan,
    Just you and I Darling and our own little Anne.

    Cheerio, Darling.

    henry

  • Zero

    January 17, 2014

    So, Malcolm Barber and Terry Warrington tonight wallow in a prison cell, hoping those gnawing noises are just mice. Or rats.

    More likely, gentlemen, it's the sound of crashing self-confidence, iceberg-sized shards of family life sliding speedily aside and into the dark depths beneath you, plummeting respect, obliterated egos, annihilated reputations.

    Sleep tight - hope the bed bugs don't bite. Too much, anyway....

    Oh. And by the way. As promised: Got you.

  • One

    January 17, 2014

    p

    I am probably alone in pitying the pair of you today, Malcolm and Terry.

    I'm actually arsed about the shit=storm you leave behind for your hinterland. You never, really, ever considered them, did you?

    It's not going to be fun.

    But so be it. You brought all of this, every moment, on your miserable selves.

    TOCK.

  • Two

    January 16, 2014

    ls

    "Who's paid for all this? Not me I hope?"

    "Don't be daft. 127 investors."

    "And what are we having?"

    "Porridge."

    "How did they pay for it?"

    "With money."

    "Where from?"

    "Cashpoint at the supermarket."

    "Loudly, just one of them?"

    "No - partners. Silently."

    "So, am I the messiah or what?"

    "No. You're just a very, very naughty boy."

    Tick, tock...

  • Three

    January 15, 2014

    So many questions for Malcolm Barber over so many years. This is also about that 1990 case (see blog post immediately prior to this one) in which Barber was NOT implicated.

    These are redacted instructions to a legal team from a defendant who was subsequently convicted at the time.

    But it nonetheless appears Barber used to broker deals that, er, despite being presumably legal and completely above board, as he was never implicated, nevertheless ran into trouble...

    mrb1

    mrb-2

    Other people's money - it's always more fun to play with.

    43 hours to go until showtime at Preston Crown Court.

    Tick, tock.

    More tomorrow.

  • Four

    January 15, 2013

    Those wondering where the £5m of Gentry IT and Dublin Finance investors' money has gone may be interested in a statement made by Malcolm Barber to Merseyside Police in an unrelated case that Barber was linked to but in no way implicated 24 years ago...

    Interestingly, however, the case being investigated back then and which ended up with prison sentences for the guilty - again, for the record, Barber was NOT implicated - resulted in lots of investors losing money through a suspect loans business.

    Sound familiar?

    On October 7, 1990, Barber, giving a witness statement to Merseyside Police, told a Detective Constable Pierce the following:

    mbs

    mbs-1

    During his trial, by the way - that eight week one after which a jury of seven women and five men took two hours to find him guilty of running a fraudulent business and not registering an investment business, lest he forget - Barber stated on oath that he had never been involved with the police before. This statement suggests that is incorrect - albeit he was not implicated in that previous case from 1990.

    More later

  • Five Point Five

    January 13, 2014

    Such is the interest in seeing Malcolm Barber and Terry Warrington being sent to prison on Friday morning, I'm advised it may be standing room only. Some of us may even end up watching this on TV in a court ante-room.

    Sentencing was meant to take place last month but the be-wigged lawyers weren't available. This was disappointing for some of the duo's victims who hoped they'd be eating porridge for Christmas, but...

    Unfortunately for the convicts, that now means Barber and Warrington will be sentenced while scores of my colleagues in the world's media are covering the Bill Roache (Coronation Street's Ken Barlow) trial taking place in the same building.

    So their disgrace will not just be complete. It'll be completely covered by the media, too.

    Unlucky, eh?

    PS. Barber has predictably appealed against his three convictions. He has to. He can't lie to his family and friends for so long and then suddenly admit everything, can he? Never mind - it's only our money paying his legal bills!

    PPS. A riddle: Does anyone know anyone who pays cash for properties in, say, just for instance, the L63 area?

  • Five

    January 13, 2014

    This is what a property "bond" looks like when issued by Malcolm Barber and Terry Warrington, who are to be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Friday morning.

    bond2

    Note the Isle of Man address on this "bond", issued in 2008. The Isle of Man connection had by this stage been extinct for years - but Malcolm and Terry forgot to tell their "investors" that.

    Malcolm Barber had four holidays last year, and was pretending to be planning a fifth until pesky legal matters got involved.

    The investor holding the above worthless bit of paper had no holidays last year, and will have no holiday this year, either.

    More tomorrow.

    Tick, tock.

  • UPDATED: Deconstructing Malcolm

    January 4, 2014

    Dear friends and associates of Malcolm Barber,

    Before Christmas you may have received a letter from Wallasey's friendly local fraudster in which he declared, with the breathtaking dishonesty of a convicted conman, that: "I am not dishonest."

    Getting into his salesman groove, the patter that has served him well over the years until galloping hubris finally caught up with him quite spectacularly, he said to you, presumably with his humble cricket umpire arms wide open, that he feels "compelled to make matters clear in respect of what has occurred during the recent court case and subsequent press".

    That will be the eight-week court case at Preston Court Court at the end of which a jury took just two hours to convict him on three charges - two of fraudulent trading to the tune of £5m of other people's money, and one of carrying out an unauthorised investment business.

    The latter charge, you might think, raises a question he fails to address in his letter to you: Why on earth was this titan of investment operating an unregistered investment business?

    He adds: "I have been terribly let down by my ex-business partner in this company, whom I relied upon to ensure investors funds were both secure and providing loans."

    Providing loans? Who invested in that? Absolutely nobody, that's who - but we'll return to that later.

    That opening statement about his ex-business partner is a total lie. The administration for the investment scams was passed between Barber's conspirator, Terry Warrington, and Barber's Wallasey-based Business Assistance. What IS true is that it was in Warrington's hands when the fraud was exposed; what is ALSO true is that the business had been failing for several years, which Barber knew perfectly well - but carried on taking people's life savings anyway.

    It must make you wonder - if he's stood a round for you lately, who actually bought that pint? Correct - his bonhomie was paid for by unsuspecting others.

    He also writes: "My trust has been displaced and the law is such" - this is a bit brilliant, this; I can almost see the crocodile tears - "that if one is involved in setting up a business you are jointly liable in its actions despite in my case only being responsible for a part of its administration."

    "A part"? You owned and were responsible for precisely half of the "company" and the administration of it. Moreover, you actually exercised more control than Warrington through your coterie of off-shore directors and, briefly, administrators.

    This next bit is also great.

    "The ex-partner" - he means Terry Warrington, but doesn't refer to him by name, as though they hardly know each other, really, honest guv - "who has always operated from Morecambe" - good move, Mal, put some distance in there; scales over eyes, eh? - "has admitted theft of investors funds."

    No, Malcolm, let's get this completely accurate, shall we? Warrington - also a conman - admitted stealing over £300,000 via his grubby little Melbrook Cash Centre in Morecambe, which just happened to be his end of the two-way street.

    The two charges relating to running a fraudulent business amount to monies of £5m. Warrington admitted those charges too - whereas you merely decided to do what you have always done and chance it. But the jury were swift with their guilty verdicts and they were then told by an astute judge: "You have done the right thing."

    You didn't find space for that in your letter, so allow me to assist: You were very much in this together. But how do we know this?

    We know this in many ways, not least that you at first shared a dock until Warrington knew the game was up and held his hands up.

    But we also know this by looking at this press release, long since curiously deleted from YOUR Business Assistance website:

    banw1

    Cosy!

    (If you have trouble making that image larger, click here instead)

    You say further that you have not directly caused investors to lose their money - 127 of them, mostly elderly, NONE of which you would speak to when originally and repeatedly asked what had happened to their money, and have not done so since - describing as "totally inaccurate" the "comments with regard to pensioners and their loss of 'life-time savings' as a direct result of my actions".

    Ri-ight. So a near three year investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service, aided by a specialist, dedicated police unit, presented by a QC, to a young, intelligent jury, got it all hopelessly, stupidly wrong, did they? Good luck with that...

    You carry on (up to the bank, no doubt): "The case has been complex" - mainly because you tried to hide the paperwork, which bit you right on the arse when all that extra incriminating evidence was unearthed in the Channel Islands, completely undermining your pretence of a defence, something else you appear to have forgotten to tell your "friends" - "but I trust" - ha! - "that you will accept my explanation of the above points that have been extremely hurtful" - ah, diddums - "and reported completely untruthfully and quite unnecessarily in recent days".

    Reported untruthfully?

    Were you found guilty? Yes. As reported.

    Are you now a convicted fraud? Yes. As reported.

    Are you jointly responsible for the loss of £5m worth of investors' money? Yes. As reported.

    So all actually true, then.

    Reported unnecessarily?

    I think your "friends" can work that out for themselves. I know at least one of them was happy to talk to the press when he himself was defrauded a couple of years ago (and tried to engage with me on here a while back, too, no doubt on your behalf) by a rogue employee. Perhaps there's one who now understands where the investors are coming from.

    Next: "If you can help me to widen the understanding to any people who have any misperception on this point" - eh? what's not to understand about THREE guilty verdicts? - "due to the untruthful press comment" - eh? factual reporting of three convictions in a crown court? - "I would be pleased" - yes, I bet you would be pleased to have people think it was all just a horrible dream; the investors most certainly would like to think that, but they can't, can they?

    "I have not been dishonest (25 character references were submitted to the jury)" - so? even Attila the Hun had mates, Malcolm.

    "I continue to believe in my innocence," you then declare, as I fall off my chair laughing.

    "I would have liked to speak to you personally" - no, you wouldn't, because you can't look anyone in the eye; certainly none of the investors, who you found so tiresome and irritating because they just wanted their money back and you wanted to keep it - "but opportunity may not allow" - because you're both going to prison as the judge has already made clear having been convicted for defrauding 127 people of five million quid and not registering an 'investment business' with the authorities.

    If you're going to beg people for clemency, Malcolm, at least give them all the facts.

    Remember what happened to someone you were briefly an agent for?

    levitt

    (If people haven't heard of Roger Levitt, have a read of this.)

    Malcolm has also never explained why investors who thought their money was being invested in property bonds were in fact the victims of a Ponzi scheme where you were robbing Peter to pay Paul; the businesses the unsuspecting investors were putting their money into was an illegal loans firm.

    Again, he found no space to tell his friends that in his letter.

    Grand Mal wants his friends and acquaintances - none of whom he wanted at court, less they should hear what really went on instead of his rose-tinted version of events - to have a carefully constructed outline of his situation, but I think they deserve it in full colour.

    And if you get the chance to shake his hand before he goes down on January 17, do make sure to check you've still got all your fingers afterwards.

    Feel free to comment.

    12/01/14 UPDATE: Malcolm had booked his fifth holiday of the year for the end of October, to Menorca. Ballsy move that, Mal - pretending to family and that dwindling band of friends and associates the case was going to be thrown out before the trial even started, all the while knowing the opposite was true.

    Along with the letter above, it further proves how much the control freak tried to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone around him right up until the last minute, and still continues to do so.

    How do we know this?

    tn

    Tick, tock, Malcolm. Tick, tock.

  • Merry Christmas, Malcolm Barber and Terry Warrington

    December 24, 2013

    The elephant in the room on Christmas Day is this, isn't it, fat boys?

    barber

    Malcolm, I've heard about your miserable email bleating on about how it's all horrible Terry's fault and, of course, the nasty media. You spineless, spineless shit. You even lied to your wife - something I would have found extraordinary if I hadn't fully backgrounded you, and pretty much now know the lot.

    After sentencing, Mal - can I call you that? - readers will learn about your entirely corrupt life.

    We'll be starting with Standard Life. We'll progress to you being a "furniture designer", the intricacies of Troy Finance, and take a peek at Chancellor Finance in the Isle of Man.

    If you think any of this had been missed, Teflon, you're sadly, stupidly, mistaken.

    Owned.

    * UPDATE: Malcolm's wife, and Malcolm, insist he wasn't convicted of "theft". That is quite true.But Barber, as ever, missed a bit. The fat ginge was merely convicted of systematically defrauding people through his business, many of them pensioners, to the tune of around £5m.

    If you can't find the money, Cheryl, have a look in the drawers of your Spanish and American villas (think I missed that? Are you NUTS?) Because I will be, love.

    Seriously: I haven't even begun.

  • Malcolm Barber, Terry Warrington, And Their Shared Impending Doom

    November 28, 2013

    Sentencing for Fatman and Robbin is still set for 9.30am on Friday, December 6, at Preston Crown Court.

    There remains the possibility that this may change, however, as one of the QCs may not be available, so keep an eye on this website and also, if you're a member (if not, just ask), on the "Gentry IT - Dublin Finance - Interest Group" on Facebook.

    There is also considerable media interest - local, national, online - in the sentencing.

    If you've been affected by either of these two utter charlatans, anytime within the last 40 years (let's throw Standard Life, Troy Finance and The Levitt Group up in the air, shall we?) and would care to share your experience with a wider audience, please do email me at justinadunn (at) gmail.com and I'll help you to do it.

    PS. I don't know for certain if I'm "that man" from the press you refer to, love, but if I am, you unfortunately remain with thick wool firmly pulled over your eyes. I have not been cautioned, arrested, had a worth with, whatever. The only guilty parties here are the one you share a home with and the stooge up the M6.

  • Malcolm Barber and Terry Warrington: GUILTY

    November 12, 2013

    It's taken forever to get there, but I'm delighted to say Malcolm Barber has today been found guilty of defrauding investors to Gentry IT and Dublin Finance.

    Sentence has been deferred on both him and Terry Warrington, who had pleaded guilty earlier to fraud and theft.

    More later.

  • Danger Tourists - Part Three: Andy Drury and Nigel Green on holiday with the Taleban. And guess who was staying a few doors down...

    By JUSTIN DUNN

    THE Khyber Pass connects lawless areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan - and is by far and away one of the most dangerous places on earth.

    Part of the ancient Silk Road it’s one of the oldest passes on earth, is constantly in the crosshairs of various warring factions and is peppered daily by gunfire and exploding mortar.

    But British cousins and “danger tourists” ANDY DRURY and NIGEL GREEN wanted to see where their late great-grandfather had been stationed in the 1890s, so went there anyway on HOLIDAY in 2008.

    It was just one of many edgy, life-threatening journeys the builders, from Guildford, Surrey, have taken over the last twenty years.

    Here, in more adapted extracts from their journals, Weekend Sport reveals how during their trip they stayed at one hotel not knowing that just yards away hid the world’s most wanted man – Osama bin Laden.

    Justin Weekend spread April 19

    OUR great-grandfather Serjeant James Henry Simons served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers in Pakistan – then called the Punjab – and Afghanistan from 1896 to 1907, and we were eager to see what it was like.

    We have a good contact in Peshwar, Prince Ullah Khan, who always helps us when we’re travelling in the dangerous North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

    He’s an interesting, well-connected character and claims to be related to former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan. We don’t know – but you have to be VERY well connected to operate successfully in that part of the world.

    Pakistan is pretty lawless everywhere, but mentioning Peshwar as our destination to any Pakistani other than Pashtuns, the NWFP’s dominant tribe, brings cries of horror and advice to avoid it at all costs.

    On our first morning, Prince took us to a Sikh temple where five or six “priests” were lounging around, communing with god by smoking ultra-strong ganja and singing at the top of their voices.

    Later he somehow got permission for us to enter the main Sunni mosque in Peshawar, the Qasim Ali Khan, where foreigners aren’t normally permitted.

    A year earlier 11 people died there as a result of a Shi’ite suicide bomb. Prince explained that the mosque was the centre of all Taleban and extremist activity in the area.

    2 Quasim Ali Khan Mosque - Peshawar

    In the afternoon he took us Kalashnikov shooting at an abandoned fort in the middle of nowhere – slightly worrying, as it was rumoured to have once been a training camp for pro-Taleban groups.

    4 Shooting at an abandoned fort - nr Peshawar5 Shooting at an abandoned fort - nr Peshawar

    Back at our hotel Prince had arranged for the “beer man” to knock on our door and supply us with a few cans. Booze is illegal, so this was the equivalent of entering into a drug deal.

    The beer man had a secret knock, the door was answered and the plastic bag containing beer passed through at ten dollars, about six quid, a can. We were told to dump the cans in bins outside.

    Ironically, Pakistan has its own brewery in the town of Murree and the advertising slogan is just brilliant: “Eat, drink and be Murree.”

    We visited the former British Garrison Church – St John’s Cathedral – in Peshawar as our great-grandfather would have undoubtedly attended services there.

    As we took pictures, we were oblivious to a machine gun emplacement in a building across the road that overlooked the cemetery, where Muslim graves were immaculate and Christian graves in ruin.

    They didn’t seem happy and began shouting, and when the machine gun was swung menacingly in our direction we decided it was best to stop taking photos!

    6 Phandu - cock fight7 Pakistan - Gun Factory - Peshawar suburbs

    As we continued to wait for the Khyber Pass to open, we first attended a cockfight at the invitation of one of the hotel waiters, and then went to a local gun factory where 15/20 men sat on a floor making surprisingly high quality automatic shotguns and handguns – many of which make their way to the UK.

    Next morning, we learned the Khyber Pass was actually OPEN. It was a manic rush to get packed, locate drivers and pick up our escorts.

    The scenery is dramatic but it’s the idea of the pass which really had an effect on us. Thousands of years of turmoil and fighting gave us a feeling of being in the midst of real history.

    The danger is still ever present to this day. There is nowhere else in the world like it. It wasn’t hard to imagine tribesmen lurking in the high rocks waiting to pick us off – probably not far from the truth anyway!

    And this was where our great-grandfather had been stationed, at Landi Kotal on the pass and at Dakka in Afghanistan.

    It took us a while to get across, mainly because once you’re stuck behind a truck on the narrow and winding road it required almost suicidal overtaking to get past – something our driver was more than happy to do.

    Coming back across was a gamble – but we took a chance again, even though there’d been trouble when Pakistani paramilitaries had freed two aid workers who’d earlier been abducted.

    We had two armed escorts but they sat stony faced and there was none of the banter that we’d had with them previously. They made our driver go flat out but at the town of Landi made them stop – then jumped off and ran away!

    We soon saw why – trucks full of Lashkar fighters suddenly appeared either side of our car. Our driver looked petrified but didn’t panic and drove slowly past them. Lucky escape.

    11 Pakistan - The Khyber Pass - Lashkar i Islam fighters

    Next day we visited the Swat Valley – an - out of bounds area run by a “parallel government” – and as we stopped for lunch, immediately knew something wasn’t right.

    Prince suddenly shouted that we should put our scarves on and our heads down. Pick-up trucks full of black-turbaned Taleban fighters appeared around us on the street.

    Our driver again stayed cool and calmly drove through the middle of them. They were celebrating the release from prison of one of their local terrorist leaders – and the danger wasn’t over yet.

    Down the road we decided to stop, but as we entered the café we saw more Taleban fighters sitting at a table drinking tea.

    After they noticed us we left quietly – but not before Prince got up and spoke with them. We have no idea what was said. We were just grateful for whatever strings he’d pulled.

    After that close shave we had lunch in Mardan, right next to the market where three days later a huge bomb blast was to kill three people and injure dozens more.

    Prince took us to the “law courts” – rows of lawyers sat down while, behind them Wild West-style, sat inmates crowded into a barred prison staring wide-eyed at the police.

    We were told they were murderers, rapists, drug smugglers and terrorists, many of whom would find out their fate – including the death penalty – that day.

    16 Pakistan - Peshawar - prison & law courts17 Peshawar - prison & law courts

    One man told us through Prince that he had shot his wife for nagging him – but who are we to make judgements on that!

    Prince then took us to his main home in Peshawar, where he showed us his collection of 26 guns – the icing on the cake of which was the American M16 with laser dot sighting and an expensive scope.

    22 Pakistan - Drug Baron - smuggler's bazaar

    Then he took us to the infamous Smuggler’s Bazaar where we were introduced to the market’s Chief Haji Qalandar Shah, a short but amiable man in his late 30s.

    We couldn’t help wondering how ruthless he must have been to reach his position, this being one of the most lawless and violent places on the planet.

    25 Drug Baron - smuggler's bazaar26 Drug Baron - smuggler's bazaar

    His lieutenants sat in wrap-around shades and carried guns, but we weren’t that worried until the chief began snorting pure crystal meth while holding a locked and loaded AK47 in our direction. It seemed the right thing to move out of the way…

    His den was full of American goods such as “Operation Enduring Freedom” clocks and an Apache Helicopter mug. Turned out one of his sidelines was selling stolen US goods bound for GIs in Afghanistan.

    Before we left, the chief asked us to pose with him and showed us the remains of a rocket powered grenade that had blown the leg off one of his friends just a day earlier.

    While in Peshawar we also checked out the Pearl Continental Hotel, where we’d considered staying. A year later a huge suicide truck bomb detonated by the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade obliterated most of it.

    Instead we stayed that night at the Metropole Hotel, where we finally lost our rags after being continually woken up by jabbering on the roof next to our rooms at 2am.

    We ran out of the door and shouted at them to shut up, then realised we were only wearing boxer shorts while surrounded by half a dozen local Muslim women in full burkhas.

    You should have seen the horror on their faces – but at least it shut them up for a bit.

    Next we travelled along the main route to Abbottabad, where we stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of town. There didn’t seem much to see, although the chilli chicken in the hotel was good.

    What was interesting – although we didn’t find out until three years later – was the identity of one of our neighbours living literally just yards down the road.

    It turns out that holed up in a compound minutes away from us was none other than Osama bin Laden. Pity – that $25 million reward would have come in very handy!

    Eventually we would make to Rawalpindi, where we eventually found a hotel called the Akbar International.

    We visited the local bazaar which didn’t have a patch on the Smuggler’s Bazaar, but in any case took a couple of pictures of a gruesome butcher’s stall where the produce seemed to consist of nothing but goat heads and bulls’ bollocks!

    While eating at our hotel, we noticed across the road there was a monument to something or other and asked Prince what it was for.

    He explained it was a shrine - built on the exact spot where former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated in 2007. She’d been shot in the neck and then blown up by a suicide bomb.

    It summed up what we’d seen on our trip - whenever a bunch of moderate Pakistanis tried to make progress or found something good to make a difference, a bunch of mentally unstable religious zealots would come along and destroy it.

    * ON WEDNESDAY - NIGEL AND ANDY WITH THE REBELS IN CHECHNYA

    * FOLLOW DANGER TOURIST ANDY DRURY ON TWITTER @andrewdrury

    ends

  • Danger Tourists - Part Two: Mogadishu, Somalia, with Nigel Green and Andy Drury

    By JUSTIN DUNN

    AT least 29 people were killed when suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Somalia capital Mogadishu at the weekend.

    The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group said it carried out the attack at the main courts and near the airport.

    The Somali government said nine gunmen had been involved in an earlier assault on the court. Six of them detonated suicide vests.

    The bombing campaign was one of the worst in Mogadishu since al-Shabab lost control of the city in August 2011 to the African Union and government forces.

    Al-Shabab was forced out of Mogadishu in August 2011 following an offensive by AU and government troops.

    But it has continued to carry out guerrilla attacks in the city, widely held as THE most dangerous and lawless place on earth.

    That makes it all the more remarkable that British adventurers NIGEL GREEN and ANDY DRURY actively chose to visit the place last year – for a HOLIDAY.

    Family men Nigel, 50, and his cousin Andy, 47, have spent the last 20 years travelling to the world’s most dangerous places.

    In Sunday Sport - and on the blog post below this one - we told how they went to North Korea – the bonkers nation currently threatening nuclear war with South Korea, the United States and Japan.

    Today, in more adapted extracts from their journals, Midweek Sport reports on how these otherwise unassuming builders from Guildford, Surrey, went in search of the infamous Black Hawk helicopter wreckage…

    somalia

    IN 1993 the United States sent troops into Mogadishu to try to restore order. They were after General Mohamed Farah Aideed – an ex US Marine who’d set himself up as the most powerful warlord in the city, profiteering by selling what was mean to be foreign aid.

    The Americans sent in a land force and a fleet of helicopters to meet at Bakara Market near the Olympic Hotel, where they thought Aideed was holed up.

    But their intelligence was wrong. Aideed wasn’t there. And then disaster struck – first a Ranger fell from a Black Hawk helicopter, plummeting 70 feet, injuring himself terribly, and then a rocket propelled grenade – RPG – hit the rear tail rotor of another, which crashed killing both pilots instantly.

    Aideed and his generals knew that the Americans would not leave the bodies and waited to ambush them when they arrived. In the ensuing battle, 18 Americans died and nearly 1,000 Somalis were killed.

    And that’s where we desperately wanted to get to – ground zero, where the helicopters came down.

    Somalia had always been the jewel in the crown for us in terms of danger travel. What other country was synonymous with total anarchy and destruction? A suitable euphemism for Somalia would be “crapping on your own doorstep”.

    They have an appetite for unruly behaviour – until the afternoon delivery of the local dope, “khat”, arrived, which would turn everyone into zombies.

    If you want to get anything done in Somalia, it has to be in the morning before the khat turns up.

    Even al-Shabab – the home grown terrorists linked to al Qaeda – allowed the khat planes to fly in unmolested.

    Not so lucky were the planes carrying international aid – we saw the wreckage of one at the side of the road, where they had shot it down with RPGs.

    s plane

    We flew to Mogadishu via Istanbul, and on arrival at the airport terminal the sight that greeted us was pure hell.

    Insane looking militia were swaggering about with AK47s, and our first experience of the country was seeing militiaman beating a drug crazed lunatic to the ground with a stick.

    Our security guide, an ex-SAS man we’d arranged to meet in advance, ushered us quickly through the mayhem and the barricades to a waiting Land Cruiser with blacked out windows which was escorted by a pick-up truck full of armed guards.

    The pick-up led the way to the compound where we would be staying. It was about 150 yards away! It had been too dangerous to even walk THAT small distance.

    As we approached, the SAS man radioed ahead and two large steel gates were opened. The lead car with the armed guards swung around to protect our vehicle while we reversed in, quickly followed by the pick up.

    SAS man told us NEVER to leave the car until the gates were shut. What an introduction – it was obviously going to be very different than anything we’d done before.

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    Mogadishu was not a place where normal rules applied. But as we sat later in the garden waiting for lunch, we reflected on how long it had taken us to finally get here – and it felt bloody good!

    Originally, we’d planned to do the “Black Hawk Down” tour on day one, but it involved visiting the notorious Bakara Market area of the city.

    It’s a nightmare even on a good day but a businessman had been murdered there the day before and tensions were higher than normal.

    Everything here has been utterly destroyed. We’ve been to some of the most volatile places on earth but there were always some areas that had escaped unscathed. In Mogadishu, NOTHING had been spared.

    The local Roman Catholic cathedral had been obliterated and was now being used as a dumping ground for the city’s waste.

    Burning piles of rubbish completed with post-apocalyptic vision of hell. That and the feral children who darted in and out from among the ruins, taking great delight in showing us their skills at jumping the considerable distance from the top of the cathedral’s steps straight into the burning fires below.

    Opposite there we saw the town hall – another bombed-out ruin. No doubt at that very moment there were al-Shabab cells lurking somewhere, seething at this attempt to transform the city into anything other than the anarchy it is.

    A short drive from the cathedral took us to the Unknown Soldier Memorial. He must have been turning his grave – literally, judging from the number of heavy artillery shells peppered around it.

    On the road back to the compound we saw the wreckage of a Belarusian aid relief plane which had been shot down a couple of years earlier by two al-Shabab RPG strikes, with the loss of two pilots and eight crew.

    It looked strange just left at the side of the road. If only they had painted “khat” on the fuselage, they might have been allowed to land safely.

    Next morning, the Black Hawk Down tour was on. Our first objective was the Olympic Hotel. It was situated in the heart of darkness and we had to get in and out in two to three minutes to avoid being kidnapped.

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    The guards – including a tough Croatian – were very nervy and jumpy, but we managed to take a couple of photos in front of the building before the Croat stated: “We must leave – now.”

    Back in the truck, he mentioned that he’d noticed the locals using their mobile phones and pointing at us – a sure sign they were letting people know we were there and that’s why we needed to move.

    There was a bit of a scare on the way out when we turned into a road which was blocked by a lorry. When we reversed and tried another, it was also blocked.

    We could see the concern on the Croat’s face – this was classic al-Shabab tactics and could have been dodgy. Luckily, we managed to find a route out and made our way to where one of the helicopters had come down.

    There, in amongst a huge cactus plant, we spotted the remainder of the Black Hawk rotor blade still intact and embedded in the ground. This was a huge bonus and we took some photos, but we soon had to leave as we were attracting too much attention.

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    As we left the Bakara Market area, the Croat said he would allow us to do something he had let no journalist or official ever do – despite being asked – which was to ride in the back of the guard truck for a while.

    We were amazed – this was EXTREMELY dangerous as it instantly made both us and the guards a target.

    But he was the boss, so we climbed in, and he filmed us from the Land Cruiser as we wound our way through the streets in a state of total euphoria and the utter astonishment of the locals.

    We’d wanted to walk the “Mogadishu Mile” – the route the US troops had taken to reach what was then known as the Pakistani Stadium back in 1993, as Pakistani troops were based there at the time.

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    It was too dangerous to walk it, but at the stadium we were amazingly given permission to tour the perimeter. To our delight we found a 30mm canon shell casing – a perfect souvenir.

    For lunch, we went to the only Somalian restaurant in town - “The Village”. It was owned by a British Somali man who gone back out there and opened two restaurants - but the other had been blown up a month before our arrival killing 16 people and this one had thwarted a bombing attempt only two days before our arrival.

    Security was very severe – gates, watchtowers, hands-on searches etc, but the food was very nice - camel and chips! Fortunately there was a live Chelsea game on the wide screen TV to keep the Croat and Andy happy.

    s camel and chips

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    Our guide knew of a relatively safe place we could go on the outskirts of Mogadishu to buy gifts. We were discussing how colourful the shop frontages were when we spotted a classic - the vasectomy shop.

    It was a gem - a pair of scissors poised below a crudely painted penis. Brilliant!

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    At the market we found some Somali football shirts and scarves for presents back home. Everything was priced in US dollars as the local currency was practically worthless, the exchange rate being 2,000 Somali shillings to the $1.

    It had been a fantastic trip and the next morning we were taken to the airport at 8am for our flight home.

    Chaos ensued but even worse than before. An immigration official took away the 30mm canon shell. We argued our case but it was in vain and he just kept repeating “very dangerous”.

    Once through to the departure lounge we were approached by the immigration officer again who asked for $20 for the return of the shell casing, so we paid him - thinking it would be the last we would see of him.

    But he turned up with the shell half an hour later and demanded $50!

    And it wasn’t the last in the story of the canon shell. When we reached Istanbul it was taken off us again.

    We put up another spirited argument in defence of keeping it, but this time, sadly, we parted company.

    * FOLLOW DANGER TOURIST ANDY DRURY ON TWITTER @andrewdrury

    * IN WEEKEND SPORT - ON SALE FRIDAY AND SATURDAY - ANDY & NIGEL HANG OUT WITH GUNSLINGING GANGSTERS IN PAKISTAN

    ends

  • Two Regular Guys, One Incredible Place - Danger Tourists Andy Drury and Nigel Green Invade North Korea

    By JUSTIN DUNN

    Korea

    ADVENTURERS Andy Drury and Nigel Green have just one rule when planning their travels – it CANNOT be anywhere safe!

    They’ve spent two decades visiting the most weird, dangerous, off-the-beaten track destinations the planet has to offer.

    Absolutely NOTHING is off limits to this pair of cousins, who otherwise lead normal lives as builders living near Guildford, Surrey.

    Family men Andy, 47, and Nigel, 50, have been shot at by the Taliban, gone monkey hunting with primitive tribes in India, been taken captive in Iran and visited the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster – where radiation levels are still 100 times higher than usual.

    Two years ago they decided to do what pretty much no one else would – visit the crackpot nation of North Korea, which is currently threatening nuclear strikes against neighbouring South Korea, the United States and Japan.

    Here, in adapted extracts from their journals, they describe the MADNESS of the rogue war-mongering state – where the tastiest meal they had during their three day trip was a bowl of DOG SOUP.

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    THERE are no direct flights from the UK to the North Korea capital, Pyongyang. Instead, we had to take an Air Koryo flight from Beijing, China.

    This was bad. The airline, which uses aging Russian Tupolev aircraft, is officially the world’s WORST with just one star out of a possible five.

    The plane didn’t inspire confidence. It must have been built in the seventies and as we taxied along the runway – after a 90 minute delay – it shook and rattled so much we thought it was never going to get off the ground.

    Once in the air it was no better. The entire inner plastic panel on our side of the aircraft just gave way and moved every time the turbulence kicked in.

    It was the first flight we’d experienced where we seriously thought it might crash. The Koreans screaming at the back didn’t exactly help, either…

    When we arrived, our mobile phones were confiscated at customs and we were given a receipt to claim them back on arrival for our flight back to Beijing.

    And once through customs, we found our two “guides” waiting for us – Huan, a girl of around 25, and Kim, a man of around 50. Every tourist here has “guides”, but you’re under no illusion they work for the government.

    There were no traffic problems on the drive from the airport into Pyongyang for the simple reason that there is no traffic. Car ownership in North Korea is almost exclusively reserved for government officials and the military.

    Arriving in our 25th floor room at the Yanggakdo Hotel, the first thing we did was check for bugs – the electronic listening device type.

    We’d read that rooms were bugged and monitored from the 5th floor – made believable because the lift had no button on that floor, and our guides ALWAYS met us on the 4th floor as we travelled down.

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    That evening we went to see the Grand Magic Show – the ONLY activity in Pyongyang. It was being held in the Rungnado May Day Stadium, which seats 150,000 people – the largest stadium capacity in the world.

    Foreigners – us and one or two diplomats – had to sit separately from the “locals”, who were all affluent Workers Party members and military top brass.

    A special permit is required to live in Pyongyang and they are given only to select individuals. No undesirables or people with disabilities are allowed to clutter up the streets.

    Before the show we watched the spectacularly lit fountains in the grounds of the stadium, hard to take in while eight million people are threatened with starvation because of the government’s policy that feeds soldiers first.

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    Back at the hotel later on we opened a window, only to be met with utter silence. We were in the centre of the capital city at 10.30pm on a Saturday night but there wasn’t a sound – thanks to the 10pm curfew.

    There’s nothing there in any case. Pyongyang is spotlessly clean but there is barely any traffic and no shops to be seen. Besides, there’s no choice and hardly anything to buy, and no advertising.

    Next morning we put on shirts and ties – required for a visit to the Memorial Palace and Mansudae Grand Monument. We discussed attempting to have a wander before the guides turned up to see how far we could get, as the hotel is built on an island for containment purposes.

    But on our way down the lift stopped at the 4th floor, and there was Kim. The few tourists in Pyongyang arrive on one of the two flights a week, are put in specific rooms at two hotels and all taken on tours to the same places at the same time. At no point do the guides not know where you are.

    Huan, the female guide, was actually great fun and bubbly, but had no idea about anything outside her homeland. She knew nothing of film stars or pop stars, other than the Beatles. We had an iPad with us that had films and music on it, and she was absolutely fascinated with everything on there – but she had to read it ducked down out of sight of Kim.

    The Kumsusan Memorial Palace or Kim-il Mausoleum was the official palace of North Korea founder and former president, Kim Il –Sung, who now lies there embalmed in state inside a clear glass sarcophagus following his death in 1994.

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    Photography, smoking and talking are not permitted anywhere. All bags and coats had to be handed in before entrance.

    Our shoes were cleaned in a walk-through machine, and then we were put through a metal detector and patted down. Good job we’d decided not to bring tiny spy cameras to get the first ever picture of Kim Il-Sung lying in state – one of our rare sensible decisions!

    k families

    From there it was a short drive to Taesongsan Park and Funfair where we were told we’d see typical Pyongyang families enjoying themselves – and this is where we spotted the infamous roller coaster.

    k rollercoaster

    Being so poorly maintained and therefore dangerous, obviously we had to give it a go. It was scary – there was rust and weeds on the track and we were certain at one point that the track actually LIFTED at one sharp corner.

    We also had a go on the shooting gallery, where you could have a go at shooting “US imperialist aggressors” with an air gun.

    Next was a visit to the Mansudae Grand Monument – a 20m high bronze statue of the Great Leader in front of a 70m mosaic of Mount Paektu, spiritual home of the Korean nation, erected in 1972 as a 60th birthday present to himself.

    We were also taken to the the Juche Tower, built for his 70th birthday, which at 170m is the second tallest monumental column in the world.

    Huan and Kim decided to take us on the Pyongyang Metro. The trains were packed, and when ours arrived the doors burst open and people literally fell onto the platform. Squabbles broke out and a woman who’d been trampled on jumped up and punched another woman in the back of the head.

    We tried to get a North Korean bank note as a souvenir but were told by Kim this was not permitted.

    Then we went for lunch – which turned out to our own little stove and pot with various raw ingredients. We followed Kim’s instructions to the letter but no amount of hotpot expertise was going to transform the lumps of gristle and fat into edible meat.

    After lunch we were taken to see the USS Pueblo, an American technical research ship boarded and captured by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1968. It’s the only ship of the US Navy currently being held captive.

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    At various points our guide showed us bullet holes incurred during the firefight, including a large shell hole in the ship’s structure. It was funny to hear the guide refer to “US imperialist aggressors” every time she spoke about them!

    k bullets

    A grim evening meal followed, so we stocked up on chocolate and biscuits at the hotel. Even they were tasteless – though it does seem wrong to criticise food in a country where so many are starving.

    Next morning we were taken to see the city of Kaesong Town, Panmunjon Village and the DMZ – the Korean Demilitarised Zone, a 2.5 mile wide buffer between North and South Korea and home to complexes were until recently peace – or reunification – talks were still taking place between the warring neighbours.

    As we approached the DMZ, we noticed a series of large 30ft high concrete pillars along both sides of the road. We’d read that each one contains dynamite and can be detonated if North Korea is invaded from the South.

    While there we went into the Joint Security Area (JSA), where unarmed representatives of both North and South used to meet regularly for meetings before the current stand-off.

    Most tourists can enter this building from either the north or south – but it was eerie knowing that where we were, if large scale hostilities broke out on that border, that everything and everybody would be incinerated within minutes.

    In the 1980s South Korea built a 323ft flagpole with a 287lb national flag in Daesong-dong Village.

    The North responded by building a taller one at 525ft with a 595lb flag on the other side of the DMZ. The North has a “village” near the border that officially houses a farm, childcare centre, a kindergarten, schools and a hospital.

    But the place is completely EMPTY. It was built in the 1950s as a propaganda exercise to encourage South Korean defectors. Scrutiny with telescopic lenses revealed it to be concrete shells with no window glass or interior rooms.

    The building lights are turned on and off at set times and the empty pavements swept clean by a skeleton crew of caretakers.

    Kaesong Town was somewhere we could actually take pictures, probably because the driver had no option but to drive slowly. Gone were the immaculately kept streets of Pyongyang. The roads were atrocious, the buildings falling apart and the people looked miserable and malnourished.

    k kaesong

    Bearing in mind Kaesong is one of the most important cities in North Korea, we couldn’t help but wonder how bad the rest must be.

    Once back in Pyongyang, we wanted to try dog meat at the Dangogo Gukjib dog restaurant on Tongil Street, but Kim said it was not possible.

    But at the hotel’s Korean Restaurant we ordered dog soup and sautéed dog – and it was the best meal of the whole trip.

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    The soup was quite spicy and the sautéed dog was tasty, incredibly – with actual meat on the plate instead of just fat and gristle.

    So we sat and drank a couple of bottles of the excellent locally made beer before making our way back to our room, ready to pack for that dreadful flight back to Beijing in the morning.

    * IN MIDWEEK SPORT - ANDY & NIGEL ON MOGADISHU MILE. On sale on Wednesday.

    * Follow Adventurer ANDY DRURY on Twitter at @andrewdrury

  • Inside The European Parliament - Part Three

    By Justin Dunn

    brussels3

    THE European Union is ripping you off – yes YOU, dear reader.

    EVERY pint you buy, EVERY petrol tank you fill, EVERY warm shop-bought pasty you eat – tax from it gets sent to Brussels.

    In fact, Britain sends £53m a DAY to our unelected masters in the Belgian capital – so what on EARTH are they spending it all on?

    Weekend Sport has discovered that apart from showering THEMSELVES in our tax money, it seems the EU – at the behest of the mighty European Commission – is blowing countless MILLIONS on truly crazy schemes.

    We visited Brussels a week ago at the invitation of North West MEP and UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall, who provided us with a dossier of information about some of the EU’s dodgier deals.

    Handing it to me, he said: “Wait till you get a load of this - I promise you won’t believe your eyes. But every word of it is true.”

    WARNING - If wasting YOUR hard-earned cash on madcap schemes that you have NO control over is likely to make you angry, you might want to look away NOW…

    * In February 2009, £347,365 was given to Hungarian IT firm Gyrotech Commercial and Supplier Ltd for a hydrotherapy system “to improve the lifestyle and living standard of dogs”. It was never built – the firm used the cash to build new offices instead, which remain empty.

    * That same year the EU awarded a £4,439,882 contract to a chauffeur company to ferry MEPs around Strasbourg – where they spend just 40 days a year. The firm, Birbin Limousines, boasts on its website that if offers “a confidentiality clause guaranteeing absolute discretion”.

    * Not all the grants are huge. Farmers in the Tyrolean area of Austria were awarded £13,531 from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in order to “increase farmers’ emotional connection with the landscapes they cultivate”.

    * A cool £761,268 was awarded to the already successful Strelasund Golf Park in Germany – whose guests have included the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Located in an area of high unemployment, spending on the course – that employs just 18 people – was lauded as “best practice” use of EU funds.

    * In Andalucía, Spain, £6,343,832 was awarded to regional government “to reinforce the message of the achievements in Andalucia thanks to EU funds”. It included an agreement with public service broadcaster Canal Sur TV to have the sun in its weather reports depicted using the stars of the EU flag.

    * The EU’s “Socrates” programme – total budget £145,461,315 – included funding for people to learn new languages through “virtual” swimming “races” where competitors had to learn phrases like “catch a taxi to the pool” in Italian, Hungarian, Finnish and Slovenian.

    * £4,312,005 was spent on buying the Foyeen Europeen in Luxembourg – home of the Cercle Culture des Institutions Europe, a network of clubs and societies that EU employees can use featuring restaurants and Scottish Highland Dancing and wine tasting clubs, among others.

    * Two Swedish fishermen were awarded £422,698 to scrap their boats as part of the EU effort to reduce the continent’s fishing fleet. The pair were left with enough cash left over to go out and buy two brand new, state-of-the-art fishing boats.

    * A staggering £7,184,700,986 grant to improve infrastructure in Sicily failed completely, including a useless new water supply system, just eight kilometres of new railway track and an utter failure to improve refuse collection.

    * In 2009, the EU spent £37,184 on parties celebrating the entirely fictitious “Europe Day”, which saw Eurocrats quaffing free champagne and cocktails at events in Madrid, Vienna, Marseille, Lisbon, Sofia, Terrassa in Spain’s Catalonia and N’Djamena in Chad.

    * The EU’s Luxembourg Office for Infrastructure and Logistics spent £26,938 on a team building trip to a German four-star hotel complete with “wellness centre” and top-class gym facilities.

    * In 2008, Vienna-based contemporary dance troupe “danceWEB-Europe” was given a tidy £2,028,379 intended to benefit “emerging European choreographers and dancers with the aim of improving their production conditions and to foster culture diversity within Europe”.

    * A year later the EU’s “External Relations” department gave £412 to the wine, spirits and beverage firms of Fiji for a booze up, cited as “expenditure of the delegations of the Commission of the European Communities”.

    * Roberto Vincenzo Sindoni, the mayor of Capo d’Orlando in Sicily, was arrested in his role as legal representative of an agricultural firm given an EU farming subsidy of £845,201 to grow oranges on citrus orchards that never existed. No charges were ever brought.

    * In 2010 the EU Council put out a tender for £33,803 for retailers to be gift providers including jewellery, boiled sweets, watches and ties.

    * The “736 ideas 4 a Dream” children’s project – with a mission to create a postcard for each of the MEPs “to reflect on the current problems in Europe that generate social exclusion” -cost £148,262, or £201 per card.

    * To address the “lack of co-operation in the field” of European hip-hop, the “European hip hop laboratory” in Lyon, France, was given £42,522 in EU funding to “improve the recognition and visibility of hip hop dance in Europe”.

    * At a cost of £48,177, the EU’s Culture Programme financed the “European Joystick Orchestra” – a high tech orchestra that allows participants to make music through a computer joystick, apparently popular in France, Belgium and Italy.

    * The Wind Art Festival of 2011-12 was handed £169,027 to make Europeans aware “of the diversity of their common European cultural heritage” by exposing them to “new applications of art disciplines with organs”.

    * Belgian university Provincale Hogeschool, in Limburg, is receiving £426,736 over seven years to develop new video computer games, including one aimed at educating people on “the history of puppet theatre”.

    There are two earlier reports on this blog a little further down. Please feel free to share these reports by clicking on the relevant buttons below.

    ends

  • Things They Don't Want You To Know #7935

    A politician fined £100 by magistrates after admitting being drunk in a supermarket while in charge of her two-year-old daughter has lost a High Court anonymity fight.

    Tess Gandy, 35, who was a Labour district councillor in Lowestoft, Suffolk, wanted an order which would have prevented the little girl - and her - being identified in media reports about the case.

    But two senior judges have ruled against Gandy, who had previously been cautioned for a similar offence, after local newspapers the Eastern Daily Press and the Lowestoft Journal argued that principles of freedom of speech and open justice should prevail.

    Judges said the public had an "undeniable" interest in learning how Gandy, who has now resigned from Waveney District Council, had behaved and of details given to magistrates in Lowestoft at a hearing in May 2012.

    They described Gandy's arguments that the little girl might suffer "distress" if the case was fully reported as "highly speculative" and "doubtful".

    "The Eastern Daily Press and the Lowestoft Journal seem to me to have a powerful case indeed," said Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, who analysed legal argument with Lord Justice Pitchford, at a High Court hearing in London.

    "The criminal conviction itself, although it attracted a relatively low penalty, was far from trivial. To be drunk in public in charge of a small child of two and a half years of age raises very considerable concerns regarding the general welfare of the child, especially when a caution had been administered not long before for the same offence.

    "The caution administered in private, and the real risk of public exposure on re-offending, had plainly failed to deter (Gandy) and this strongly suggested that there might be more serious underlying problems that needed to be addressed in the interests of (the child).

    "Moreover, (Gandy) was an elected councillor, and her conduct in public had twice fallen well below the standard that could reasonably be expected of an elected official by her constituents and by the public generally, who had an undeniable legitimate interest in learning, through media publication, of how (she) had behaved."

    A lawyer had asked magistrates to take into account Gandy's "mental health problems and alcohol dependence" in mitigation.

    But Mr Justice Kenneth Parker added, in a written ruling published on a legal website: "That also was information about a serving councillor which arguably the public were entitled to learn through a press report of proceedings."

    Nigel Pickover, editor-in-chief of the Eastern Daily Press, said today: "At a time when some politicians are trying to bring in controls on Britain's press by statute, it is gratifying to see (the High Court) protect our right to report a court case which contains important information in the public interest."

    Sarah Branthwaite, a solicitor at law firm Foot Anstey, which advised the newspaper, added: "This was a matter of utmost public interest and the Eastern Daily Press took a principled stand."

    Gandy told the Eastern Daily Press that she had been suffering severe post natal depression and added: "I deeply regret the incident last year as I let myself, my family, my party and my constituents down."

    A Labour Party spokesman said today: "We accepted Tess Gandy's formal offer to resign as a Waveney District councillor as soon as she made it, believing it to be in her best interests and the best interests of her constituents."

    ends

  • Inside The European Parliament - Part Two

    By Justin Dunn

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    MIDWEEK Sport spent last week in Brussels – the heart of Europe – unearthing the TRUTH about how our taxes are spent there.

    Our stay was brief, enlightening – and very, VERY frightening.

    In Sunday Sport we revealed how Eurocrats – many of whom earn more than our own Prime Minister – often skip work to romp with colleagues in the Belgian capital’s notorious “f*** hotels”.

    We also revealed how the European Parliament is split between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg – meaning 754 MEPs and their staff have to be pointlessly ferried between the three at huge expense to both the taxpayer and the environment.

    Today, in the second of our exclusive series, we’ll show how the EU preaches one thing but practices another – urging countries to slash spending while being irresponsible spendthrifts themselves.

    And we’ll also show how the unelected Eurocrats are so hell-bent on driving their self-serving institutions forward that they’re prepared to rewrite history to achieve their goal…

    REWRITING HISTORY

    WORLD War II – which claimed the lives of up to 70 million people – is to be wiped from history by the European Union.

    Currently being built in Brussels, under the instructions of the all-powerful, unelected 27-man European Commission, is a new museum called The House of European History.

    It’s costing taxpayers like Midweek Sport readers an incredible £137 million to construct – partly funded by the £53 million Britain sends to the EU every single DAY.

    The idea of the museum is to promote an awareness of the mythical “European identity” – urging people not to think of themselves as British, German, or French, for instance, but European.

    At The House of European History, history will astonishing BEGIN in 1946 – a year after Britain and its allies forced Germany to surrender after six years of the Second World War.

    Except the conflict will no longer be called World War II or the Second World War.

    Astonishingly, it is to be renamed the “European Civil War”. Who knows, maybe by the time the museum has opened the Germans won’t have even invaded Poland…

    As our host in Brussels, UKIP deputy leader and North West MEP Paul Nuttall, put it: “The staggering rewriting of history with fictional titles for events demonstrates how the EU propaganda machine is dedicated to achieving its aims.”

    It’s not as though Brussels doesn’t have enough pro-Europe misinformation on display already, either.

    Opposite the main building is The Parliamentarium, an £18 million visitors centre which when I visited last Wednesday morning was host to just a trickle of bored looking attendees.

    Its job is to not only show visitors the workings of the European Parliament, it is also shamelessly plugging the EU agenda.

    In the propaganda centre various rooms and exhibits reinforce the “value” of the EU.

    Along one wall more than 100 yards long, an array of pictures show historical European figures, reinforcing the image that Europe has naturally always been an integrated whole.

    They wouldn’t want a pesky little thing like World War Two ruin that perspective, would they?

    PROPERTY EMPIRE

    THE European Parliament preaches austerity in a bid to prop up his disastrous single currency, the Euro.

    Just look at what’s happening in Cyprus – a country brought to its knees by the banking industry.

    Now the citizens of Cyprus who’ve been savvy enough to squirrel away money in savings accounts for a rainy day or retirement are being told they may have those savings STOLEN by the EU to pay for the mistakes of others.

    If these drastic austerity measures are so vital, surely the EU is leading from the front on watching the pounds and pennies with care?

    Wrong.

    In the money-no-object world of the European Union, there are ALWAYS millions upon millions of pounds to be found – and ALL of it comes from taxpayers’ pockets.

    Luxembourg is the third “seat” of the European Parliament with a £316 million complex housing 2,000 admin staff.

    Yet its two debating chambers are never used as most parliament business takes place in Brussels - apart from 40-odd days a year when the circus has to travel to Strasbourg to keep the French and Germans happy.

    But that hasn’t stopped the EU revealing plans for a brand new £354 million building for Luxembourg to replace renting five existing buildings – despite calls from some MEPs to settle all parliamentary business in Brussels once and for all.

    The new Konrad Adenauer Centre – named after the first post-war German chancellor - will come complete with restaurants and a gym and will house 4,000 staff including clerks, translators and lawyers.

    Its plans include a “majestic entry portal” built on 16 steel pylons. The British taxpayer will contribute £50 to the cost of this new complex.

    But the cost of the new building and the cost of renovating older existing buildings will total a whopping £685 million.

    It is slated to accommodate “support staff” from the European Commission and European Parliament – currently split between Brussels and Strasbourg – meaning even MORE expensive, non-green friendly travelling between the three bases.

    The centre – set to open in 2016 – will had a further 3.1million square feet to the nearly 25 million sq ft that European officials already occupy across three cities.

    Meanwhile in Brussels, work continues on the construction of the £268 million “Residence Palace” for European Council president Herman Van Pompuy.

    PROPAGANDA MACHINE

    THE EU has been paying news agency AFB to pump out pro-EU propaganda for years.

    But in 2008 they decided to go one better – and launch their own TV station.

    EuroParlTV costs £7.9 million a year to run – all paid for by you – and is so bad that not even the very people it is aimed at tune in.

    The station, which highlights the work of MEPs, is only thought to have around 850 viewers a day - considerably less than the 9,000 people working in the parliament itself or the 500 million people the EU assembly claims to represent.

    In 2011 Finnish centre-right MEP Ville Itala – sitting on a budget control committee – said the assembly was spending money to justify its own existence rather than representing votes.

    He demanded a “detailed explanation of the underlying need” of the parliament's 722 communication posts that cost £70.8 million.

    Despite the legions of spin doctors, the Finn noted that a £4.9 million campaign to persuade people to vote in the 2009 European elections had actually resulted in “overall decline in turnout” to its lowest ever level of 43 per cent.

    He singled out “deplorable” spending on the EuroparlTV channel, saying it “cannot be considered to be a success story in view of its very low number of direct users”.

    He added: “The only people who watch it are in Brussels and they are MEPs or their office staff, not normal citizens.
    “Our job is to be a political and legislative institution not to run our own TV station.”

    UKIP’s Paul Nuttall is also concerned about prize for journalism worth £17,500 a year rewarding press coverage that “promoted a better understanding of the EU”.

    He said: “I really don't understand why we are giving money to journalists whose task should be to be critical of EU institutions. It is not my idea of democracy.”

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage added: “The European Parliament has become a nothing more than a spending machine that lavishes public money on projects that are pointless, useless and turn off voters.”

    DODGY BOOK-KEEPING

    EU staff are amazingly allowed to sign off their own expenses and pay allowances to family members.

    In 2011 the European Parliament’s internal auditor found serious problems with “personal entitlements” and perks worth up to £81m a year paid to civil servants.

    His for-your-eyes-only report – which was kept secret from most MEPs – revealed examples of officials being paid twice for the same thing or claiming allowances they weren’t entitled to.

    His leaked report, which covered a three year period, said cash was being paid out without any receipts or later audit checks.

    It also found “critical” irregularities and conflicts of interests concerning procurement contracts worth up to £600m a year.

    Marta, Andreasen, whistleblowing former European Commission chief accountant, said: “The parliament’s bureaucracy operates with a total lack of transparency, which is how it gets away with these irregularities.”

    IN WEEKEND SPORT: WHAT THE EU SPENDS YOUR MONEY ON

    ends

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  • Inside The European Parliament

    By Justin Dunn

    JD EU ragout

    SUNDAY Sport was off on its travels last week – to the heart of the dreaded European Union.

    I was dispatched to Brussels in an attempt to brush aside the propaganda and discover what REALLY goes on over there.

    After all, like it or not, these people are now in charge.

    More laws and directives that affect the way we live now come from Europe instead of Westminster.

    I expected to find a glorified office building packed with wall to wall bureaucratic drones.

    And I wasn’t disappointed – although what I also discovered was a HUGE and ever-growing mini-city that is a money-soaked shrine to a failing concept.

    The staff of the European Parliament – which seems to be lots of leery old men and vastly more pretty young women from all corners of the continent – spend a lot of time chatting and walking.

    But I was hard-pressed to find any of them actually WORKING.

    And no wonder. NOBODY seems to be in charge.

    The civil servants – some 40,000 of them – aren’t expected to clock on or off. And no one checks, anyway.

    Long lunches in the subsidised bars and canteens are legendary, as are off-site slap-up meals in one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants.

    One of the most hotly debated local issues of the last few years was whether or not to install a swimming pool for the MEPs to use.

    Security is so useless that there have even been ARMED ROBBERIES at the on-site bank!

    But the most scary part is that WE taxpayers pay for it – and in the UK’s case, that’s a staggering £53 MILLION every single DAY.

    My host in Belgium was Paul Nuttall, North West MEP and deputy leader of the UK Independence Party.

    As I arrived, he told me: “You won’t believe your eyes in this place. It’s madness.

    “They’ve been taking the piss for so long that half of them genuinely believe there’s a point to it all.”

    Ukip wants Britain out of the EU, even though it would mean its MEPs like Paul would lose their jobs.
    He explained: “We’re the turkeys voting for Christmas, basically.

    “But someone has to. The European Union is too expensive and too pointless. We can’t afford it and we shouldn’t be in it.”

    BREATH-TAKING HYPOCRISY

    I WAS invited to Belgium by the UK Independence Party deputy leader and North West MEP Paul Nuttall, who was keen to see what Sunday Sport readers - taxpayers like all else - would make of what goes on there.

    After all, British taxpayers are forced to hand over £53 million A DAY to help fund the European Union.

    They have "f*** hotels" here - more of which later - but trust me, they are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Because while some Eurocrats are sneaking off for extra-curricular romps, their parliamentary colleagues are busy screwing those of us who pay for the whole thing.

    Last week bank account holders in Cyprus were facing the desperate prospect of having their savings plundered by the EU in order to prop up the failing Euro.

    But in Brussels – where the idea of stealing from innocent Cypriots was dreamt up – work continued on a brand spanking new and entirely unnecessary £268 million Residence Palace for European Council president Herman Van Pompuy.

    Confused between the European Council and the European Union? Me too.

    The EU is actually made up of seven obscure institutions – the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Council, the European Central Bank, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors.

    Nearly 40,000 people work for it and it’s fair to say not a single one of them will be worried about paying the gas bill this month.

    And it’s all in Brussels, right?

    Wrong. The European Parliament is bizarrely run from THREE countries – Brussels in Belgium, Strasbourg in France, and a third mostly unused “seat” in Luxembourg.

    Luxembourg has two debating chambers that have never been used and more than 2,000 “administration” staff that no one seems able to explain what they actually do.

    But their new HQ – which cost £716 million to build – has sports facilities and a pool to keep them occupied.

    The three-seat policy means that the whole legislature, administrative team and thousands of support staff are shifted for four days each month and relocate from the Belgian capital to Strasbourg, nearly 300 miles away.

    That means 754 politicians, their staff, thousands of lobbyists and journalists travel thousands of pointless, expensive, and very non-green miles every year just to keep all three countries happy.

    A fleet of 20 juggernauts carries tons of paperwork between the two parliament buildings and the process wastes £135 million of taxpayers' money every year.

    Paul Nuttall said: “The EU likes to publicly advertise that it’s a champion of green policies and has brought in policies that have seen energy bills rocket, transport tax rises and hard-hit companies taking their industries to far-flung foreign countries where they get clobbered much less.

    “Yet the Strasbourg building is used for only 40 or so days per year and getting to and from it creates a staggering 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

    “Of course when you point this out – like we do – you’re treated like some kind of criminal.

    “The truth is, the EU is only in it for the people who work there. It’s a colossal gravy train earning people a fortune and that’s the only thing they’re in it for.

    “They’re busy telling anyone who’ll listen how important the EU is, but the truth is more people want to be out of it than in it.

    “As you’ll see, the hypocrisy on display here is breath-taking.”

    MONEY NO OBJECT

    WHILE the EU preaches austerity in a bid to protect its disastrous single currency, for the Eurocrats themselves money is quite literally no object.

    More than 1,000 of them working here are paid more than UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s relatively modest £142,000.

    The highest paid civil servants are raking it in, too. Those on the highest grade get a whopping £15,500 a MONTH – for a 37 hour week.

    Normal Belgians earn half of the average worker at the EU and face a top rate tax of 50%.

    Yet despite getting far higher wages, EU staff pay a special rate of tax of just 16%.

    Their kids get FREE private education along with a £250 monthly allowance PER CHILD, and preferential mortgage rates from banks. The first car they buy is VAT free.

    In the subsidised restaurants and canteens, half a lager costs just a quid - and you can have it for breakfast, too.
    The Parliament also has a new massage parlour, a state of the art gym, and two saunas.

    When I was there I saw another of my “local” MEPs from the North West – a Lib Dem - working terribly hard on the one of the gym’s dozen top-of-the-range treadmills.

    Every evening around 6pm, there will be five or six champagne receptions taking place to promote one piece of hot air or another.

    Champagne flutes clink as bottles and bottles of the expensive fizz – all paid for by the taxpayer – are poured down the necks of people who largely don’t know what they are even there for.

    And get this – you can SMOKE inside the hallowed halls of the European Parliament.

    All the bars and canteens have open-fronted bus shelter-style smoking booths. Sat at a non-smoking table six feet away, I was happily inhaling other people’s Marlboro Light fumes.

    Many people smoke in their offices, too – not even slightly put off by the rare 300 Euros fine if they’re caught out by administrators.

    TOOTHLESS

    DESPITE having 754 MEPs representing 500 million people from 27 countries, the European Parliament – the bit YOU are allowed to vote for – has actually very little power.

    Instead, all decisions are made by the 27 members of the European Commission, housed in a fourteen-storey three-pronged building half a mile from the parliament complex.

    The commissioners are all UNELECTED – instead they’re usually former politicians from member states like Britain who are appointed by individual governments.

    Past British appointments have included Leon Britton, Neil Kinnock and Peter Mandelson.

    All the 754 MEPs are there for is to rubber stamp whatever policies the European Commission dreams up and puts forward for the expected “yes” vote.

    On the one in a hundred chance that parliament actually says “no” and rejects a policy, the Commission simply rewrites it a slightly different way until it gets the answer it wants.

    As Ukip leader Nigel Farage said to me over lunch last week: “If voting actually mattered here, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

    Further proof of how little say the MEPs have can be found in their massive main voting chamber in the Brussels complex.

    The roof fell in a YEAR ago – and it’s still not been fixed!

    THE F*** HOTELS

    I’M standing in the drizzle watching business take place at Studio Intime, a dingy little nine-bedroom hotel smack bang in the centre of Brussels.

    Throughout the morning a steady stream of couples wander a few yards across the road from their plush offices at the massive European Parliament building to use its services.

    They enter under a canopy decorated in blue with yellow stars – the colours of the EU.

    Then, for just over twenty quid, they hire one of its tacky perfumed rooms to spend the next two hours shagging each other’s brains out.

    And needless to say, the couples are more often than not married to other people.

    Welcome to the “f*** hotels” or “love rooms” of Brussels – just one of the many astonishing sights on show in the beating heart of the absolute piss-take that is the great European Project.

    Another popular haunt is the Treviso Hotel on Place Stephanie where many of the EU’s well-heeled Eurocrats live.

    It unashamedly advertises itself as a venue for couples “with room service and discretion assured” in more glamorous rooms than Studio Intime, rented out at £66 an hour.

    There, Anne De Schepper, the hotel’s manager, says the parliament’s long lunch break is the preferred time of day for EU officials to commit adultery.

    She said: “Eurocrats are 80 per cent of our business. Unlike the traditional hotel industry, we have not experienced the economic crisis thanks largely to the Europeans in Brussels.

    “We are busiest at lunch time, followed by early evening in between the end of office hours and the time people need to get back to their homes.”

    MEP – NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT

    NO wonder most MEPs are desperate to cling on to the European Union.

    British MEPs are currently paid around £71,000 a year – as they’re paid in Euros, the amount varies depending on the exchange rate.

    But on top of that they receive a no-questions-asked allowance of £36,000 a year for expenses, for which they have to provide NO receipts.

    PLUS, for every day they attend the parliament in Brussels or Strasbourg they get an “attendance allowance” of £237 just for signing in.

    Many do so and then immediately leave without having to do a scrap of work.

    The MEPs’ chauffeured limousine service – a fleet of leather-trimmed, top of the range black matching Mercedes sitting glistening in a car park three floors beneath the parliament – costs an incredible £3 million a year.

    In 2009, one MEP infamously took a limousine trip from Brussels to Berlin. Three others were ferried from Brussels to Paris.

    They all travel first class and have access to business lounges at Eurostar terminals and airports across the continent – all paid for by you.

    Paul Nuttall said: “We get treated like kings over here but back home no one knows who we are and no one’s even arsed.

    “Yet still the gravy train keeps moving costing billions and billions of pounds, and for what?

    “The whole thing is a disgusting, empty sham. It’s like the emperor’s new clothes, except it’s the taxpayers paying for it.”

    IN MIDWEEK SPORT ON WQEDNESDAY: HOW THE EU WILL AIRBRUSH WORLD WAR II

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  • We're All In This Together

    January 06, 2013

    cunts

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