In an effort to organise my own notes and to provide content in-between videos, podcasts and longer articles, I’ve decided to toy with doing a regular blog – a quick round-up of what I’m consuming that day.
No bombing inquest until October
So, to kick things off, the Manchester Bombing inquests have been pushed back once again. This means, formally, we now won’t get to see any of the evidence until October, a year and a half after the attack took place. Of course, terror attack inquests don’t have a track record of being contemporaneous in this country. It took over 5 years for an inquest into the 7/7 London bombings, so it’ll happen when it happens.
Part of the reason for the delay is that investigators are still seeking to extradite alleged bomber Salman Abedi’s younger brother Hashem, who is being held in Libya. Exactly why it is taking so long is not clear, but Hashem does hold the key to ironing out various inconsistencies in the official story, such as how the bomb was built and the involvement of a wider network – inconsistencies the state perhaps don’t actually want ironing out because it forces them to address their relationship with Libyan extremists in the fight against Gaddafi.
Fiona Borrill, acting senior coroner for Manchester City notes: “One does not want to say too much about the prospect of a successful extradition, the news reports indicate there are problems.”
“I’m assured that the police with other government agencies are doing their utmost to expedite this extradition process.
“Clearly at some point when the judge is appointed the position will be reviewed and if it appears extradition is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future then clearly the judge will be minded to start the inquest process.”
Interestingly, there is talk of replacing the typical Coroner’s inquest with a Public Inquiry, which would permit a much broader scope for investigating what happened. Inquests are about how people died and the immediate circumstances, not necessarily why they died.
However, there appear to be some setbacks that I do not yet fully understand.
Ms Borrill said the Chief Coroner had decided a retired judge will hear the inquest, which may take the form of a public inquiry.
If an inquiry is held then the hearing will take the form similar to the Hillsborough and ongoing Grenfell Inquiry.
However, the coroner said there will need to be a change in the Investigatory Powers Act, to allow a judge that has now retired, to be able to see “sensitive material.”
Why the need for a retired judge and what does changing the law mean for future inquests and inquiries?
Check out the Manchester Bombing section for my coverage and concerns so far.
More Tommy Robinson silliness
Meanwhile, the nonsense surrounding the Tommy Robinson jailing continues boundlessly. The latest disinfo being pushed by Tommy’s mini-Milo, Caolan Robertson (a name that annoyingly sounds like Keelan Balderson if you’re not listening closely enough), is that he’s on the verge of state murder by being moved to a Muslim majority prison in Leicester.
The problem with this? The prison is 75% white and just like the last time Tommy was in jail, if his wellbeing is threatened, they’ll put him in solitary.
If Robinson’s camp says the sky is blue, it’s probably green.
One broader element to the Tommy saga that’s simply fuelling his supporters is the push to rank “far right extremism” alongside Islamic extremism. This was mentioned in the recent round of reports about MI5 and the police getting more powers and echoed by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
While there have certainly been right-wing attacks, such as the murder of Jo Cox and the Darren Osborne van attack, it would be untrue to say the scale of the threat is anywhere near that of Islamic extremism (or at least, the scale we’re told to believe). It also ignores that ‘right-wing extremism’ is, to some degree (acknowledging those who exploit public fears), a response to Islamic extremism.
Likewise, the superficial coverage of Tommy’s supporters being run-of-the-mill, far-right thugs, fails to acknowledge the political shifts being driven by commentators like Sargon of Akkad and Stefan Molyneux (to name but a few) on YouTube. This isn’t the BNP or even the EDL, it’s something different, and not acknowledging that is only going to strengthen their internal narratives.
I had originally planned to do another video documenting the backstory of Tommy Robinson, but this might not happen. I’m not sure obsessing this much is healthy and I’m also not sure if I’m feeding a conflict I actually want to diffuse.
Watch this space.
Tom Secker gets more documents
Tom Secker is working on the second edition of National Security Cinema and recently uncovered that up to 200 British Home Office staff have liaised with TV and Film producers about the content of their products. State involvement in entertainment on this side of the pond hasn’t been explored as deeply as the US, so this is quite interesting.