Select Committee on Public Administration Memoranda


MEMORANDUM 28

Submitted by the Defence League of British War Veterans (DBV)

  You may recall the "Defence League" submitted evidence concerning these matters—which was heavily critical of (particularly "Whitehall") skulduggery in both obfuscation and misinformation served out to the general public for generations past, and all within the protection of entirely unmerited "security" factors to prevent the truth emerging.

  It was perfectly clear to all concerned that the "road blocks" supporting the secrecy had long since outstripped their authenticity and had developed into a system of "information fraud" freely employed by both government and, in particular, their Whitehall bureaucrats.

  Because they recognised the opportunity to play "popularity Jack" the current Government used the promise of a new "all-revealing" Information Act as part and parcel of their election manifesto to curry favour with the voters. It was well accepted.

  However, the proposed Act then slid into obscurity whilst "more important" matters were dealt with—which enabled the Sir Humphries to approve overtime for their shredding machines and convince current Ministers how valuable it was to be able to tell any downright lie to the public at any time—without fear of exposure! They didn't take a lot of convincing.

  We now have a proposed Act—which is even more restrictive than hitherto!!—and which, (predictably so)—was described as "Radical" by the Home Secretary. Who does this fellow think he's kidding?—how stupid does he think the public is? It would indeed be illuminating to find out.

  There is absolutely no doubt in our mind that the new Act is nothing better than a "con" and demonstrably worse than the existing situation. Let me explain briefly how the present set up works—and will continue to work—to the detriment of the general public (remember them?).

  In December 1999 we wrote to the Prime Minister concerning the fraud perpetrated against survivors of the Japanese Death Camps in World War 2—one in three had died from the constant beatings, torture, starvation and butchery perpetrated against them for over four years. After they were freed the princely sum of £78 per person was handed over as compensation for their appalling treatment.

  In 1955 both Thailand and Switzerland received substantial compensation (tens of thousands of pounds)—but not our people. The British Government stated there was no provision in the Treaty to allow for this—and successive Governments ever since then—including today's—have been telling the same lie for 45 years. Is this a record? I very much doubt it; it is the outcome of a system whereby everything may be hidden behind "national security", "public interest" and the like, it is now a most thoroughly embedded culture in government—and Mr Straw and Co have every intention of keeping it that way—other than where they have strengthened their defences even further against truth and clarity.

  You will know the "thrust" of the proposed new Act is to point the finger at, heap odium upon, and draw attention to, the practices of the Police Service and Local Authorities etc—anything except central government. I'm not suggesting those entities don't merit scrutiny and improvement but far and away central government are the biggest and certainly the most arrogant of the misusers of power against their citizens. So much for democracy, what a sham it all is.

  Meanwhile the survivors of the Japanese camps exist onwards, many in a state of penury. It is the British Government that owes them their rightful compensation, not the Japanese—because it was our Government that secretly decided not to collect on their behalf. The Treasury of course happily strikes off their names one by one.

  We have hand written Foreign Office notes on the matter—exactly as it was perpetrated all those years ago. How did we get them—through the American Freedom of Information Act. We would never, ever get them from ours, not in a thousand years; after all it would, using the latest obfuscatory parlance—"prejudice the Government"—wouldn't it?

  Quite frankly Mr Morgan, unless the Committee decides to bang the table over this shameful business the Defence League will retire from the scene. We consider the whole subject "dirty" and have no wish to be associated with it. When I personally wrote to Blair before Christmas concerning the Survivors—and told him the Canadian Government had just paid out to their oldsters—and asked what HE was going to do about ours, he was so impressed with the whole idea that we're still awaiting a reply six months later!

  What a shower.

  I would be grateful to know the Committee's intentions regarding the Government's fraudulent proposals, are they going to go along with them—or what?

June 1999



 
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Prepared 16 August 1999