Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/trawler_gaul) is now overdue.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
In brief, the Government’s justification, presented within Mr Clark’s report, claimed that:
Initially we didn’t really know where the vessel was and it would have cost too much to find her and, even if we were to find the vessel, the expense of carrying out an underwater survey of the wreck could not be justified in terms of the benefits it would bring for marine safety.
John Prescott lauded Mr Clark’s conclusions and expressed his total confidence in their soundness and objectivity.
During the 2004 Re-opened Formal Investigation, in response to the victims’ families’ dissatisfaction with Mr Clarke’s explanations, justice David Steel, the Wreck Commissioner, re-examined the arguments, then endorsed, in his turn, Mr Clarke’s earlier conclusions (see the final report of the RFI ).
(Further details to follow)
 As head of the DfT’s shipping policy section, Roger Clarke could hardly be considered independent of the government whose actions he was asked to investigate
 “We accept the Department’s submission that its actions were solely directed to balancing the interests of those immediately affected by the loss of the GAUL with the wider public interest and the resources available”
Friday, September 26, 2008
Consequently, we sent back a reply and also lodged another FOI request asking the Department to provide us with “a full account of the reasoning (of whatever kind and however held or expressed) behind the Secretary of State’s decision not to re-open the Gaul Formal Investigation)”. (See the full text at this link: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/justification_for_the_decision_n.)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
(More details to come)
Monday, September 01, 2008
What has happened since? Nothing much. Nothing except gaining further knowledge about how the current regime works, how it respects the law and the rights of ordinary people, and how it retaliates when taken to account.
Two years after we have started this blog, the only conclusion we would draw is that we, as well as those whom the 2004 Gaul inquiry betrayed, are treated as insignificant, that financial & political might is always right, and that there are no longer any principles to be cherished, rules to be played by, or even appearances to be saved.
Ho hum, what to do next? ... Pursue the matter all the way to its rightful conclusion, of course.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The DfT eventually sent us their reply in which they stated that the Secretary of State’s decision “fully sets out the Secretary of State’s reasoning in relation to the re-opening of the investigation” and that the DfT held “no specific technical justification [of that decision] recorded in any form”
The Department’s statement, short though it is, is pregnant with implied meaning.
This, of course, is understandable since the Department know damn well that the outcome of the Gaul RFI represents a miscarriage of justice, without having to review our evidence. The officials’ obstinate non-engagement with the subject is their way of maintaining the deceit without getting themselves ensnared by their tongues.
Their claim that the Secretary of State’s decision “fully sets out the Secretary of State’s reasoning in relation to the re-opening of the investigation” is already hazarded, and so untrue as to make it laughable.
Given that the response previously received from the Secretary of State only mentions that “the Department is satisfied that there is no reason to doubt the outcome of the expert analysis that led to the Re-opened Formal Investigations conclusions and consequently there is no reason to re-open the investigation”, the DfT’s latest statement can only be taken as a crude parody or as a blunt admission that this is, actually, as far as the Secretary of State’s reasoning powers normally go.
Yet, through its very brevity, the DfT’s reply provides us with further confirmation that the decision not to re-open the Gaul RFI was unlawfully taken and politically motivated.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
"As I am no longer Attorney General those matters are more properly for the present Attorney General and I therefore send a copy of your letter onto her."
(The present Attorney General will be looking forward to its receipt, I'm sure. We already contacted her office, a year ago, and that proved to be an unsuccessful enterprise.)
In truth being said, we did not address Lord Goldsmith in his present official role, but in his role as the leading party in the 2004 Gaul RFI.
We did not call upon his current employment duties as much as upon his remanent responsibility for an investigation conducted under his baton, and we did not count much on the requisites of formal routine, but on the munificence of lordship.
And we would have been very much interested to learn more about the rationale behind his past decisions.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
It has always been one of the roles of the jester to turn reality on its head, so that people can see it the wrong way up and laugh at its funny appearance. This well-known trickiness of the jester may now give us the key to Mr Prescott's reflections recently published on his blog [www.labourhome.org/comments].
"Gordon's the right Captain" (albeit of the Titanic), he proclaimed there, making us realise how sometimes the truth can be spoken in jest, or with the opposite intention by the clown.
"I always find it interesting when people use maritime analogies when they talk about leadership", added John Prescott who served both "on a ship and in a leadership" - experience which makes him readily prepared to talk about the Titanic (though not about the Gaul).
"The best way to avoid disaster is to manage your way around the problem", Mr Prescott also suggested.
Well, that's exactly how complaints about the Gaul RFI have been dealt with, so far.
So, was John Prescott's suggestion simply a piece of his wisdom, or a baleful warning?
"For me, it's all about setting the right course", he further explained, proudly tinkling the bells on his hat.
Monday, July 28, 2008
For longer than a decade, its rowdy bands of mercenaries, chancers, quacks, bejewelled interlopers and freebooters have ravaged our lands, vandalising and turning everything to dust. Where they've passed, the grass no longer grows.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The 2004 RFI panel thought, however, that the offal chute inner covers – found open on the wreck – had been negligently left so by the crew. (The same explanation was employed in respect of the duff chute inner covers, which had also been found open.) (See also this POST)
It must be mentioned here that the regime on the Gaul was such that the operation of offal chute would have fallen under the jurisdiction of the factory manager and his team, while the operation of the duff chute was under the control of the deck crew.
Unfortunately, the RFI also failed to draw any conclusions from the relevant information that was available to the inquiry. This information relates to the following facts:
1. The offal chute overboard discharge acted as a relief valve during the fish processing operations and, as such, it would only be used when the fish meal plant (rate = 25 tonnes/day) was operating at full capacity or when the fish meal hold was full (capacity = 120 tonnes)
The logical conclusion that follows from these data is that there would have been no need for the factory crew to use the offal chute overboard discharge during the vessel’s last voyage.
2. Furthermore two witnesses (Messrs George Petty and Raymond Smith) testified at the hearings that the offal chute would not have been used during the last two voyages in the Gaul’s short life, simply because the fish meal hold was never filled.
More explanations, quotes and details on the subject have been published at this LINK and HERE (diagram).
Like the rest of the conclusions in the 2004 RFI report, the assumption of negligence by all parts of the crew, no matter how implausible, were forced into relevance and given the status of fact.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Today, many of us complain about widespread corruption and the decay of democracy, laying the blame for these ills solely upon the political elite and their corporate handlers.
In fact, as recent events have clearly shown, through complicity or inaction, the rest of us are just as responsible for what’s going wrong. For it is always a combination of the perversity of the system and the feebleness of the human character that causes the problem.
Greed, selfishness, duplicity, defeatism and fear are useful human weaknesses, exploitable by any fraudulent regime, weaknesses from which repressive states have always drawn their power and even a certain degree of legitimacy.
It is of course understandable that, with increasing deprivation, collaboration with a corrupt authority can appear logical and unavoidable - after all, the state can hold the key to every little need and comfort in our lives. Most often, however, it is not necessity, but the self-centred human desire to be given a shortcut to undeserved privilege and power that buys our collaboration, turns us against one another, and, in the process, makes us all more vulnerable and easily subdued.
Although history should have taught us how to defend ourselves when confronted with similar trials, we have been drawn, once again, within the boundaries of the ‘Grey Zone’- that “murky space of moral ambiguity and compromise” – which, for as long as it prospers, gives us little chance of ridding ourselves of authoritarianism and corruption, and returning to normal.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Although they had been asked to expect and check its arrival, his office did not acknowledge receipt of that message.
It was claimed, in fact, that the initial communication, as well as its subsequent four re-transmissions, sent from two different email accounts, had not been received.
Nor was Lord Goldsmith able, I gather, to read the content of the message published online.
There are many technical stumbling blocks, it seems, preventing Lord Goldsmith from reading that query and making his viewpoint known.
We now hope that the Royal Mail will not miss him as well.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
A message has therefore been delivered to his Lordship, the contents of which can now be scrutinised at:
or at: http://wikileaks.org/wiki/User:Gadfly3D
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Despite the Irish veto and the will of the British electorate, our government has however decided to carry on with the ratification process.
Our government's pressing ahead with the ratification means that they are either ignoring the Irish vote - a sign of disrespect towards the democratic choice of our neighbours - or they are disregarding the EU unanimity rule, asking us at the same time to entrust our future to a political entity that does not even abide by its own laws.
We trust that our PM will be strong enough and of good courage to take a 'risk' and accept the people's decision, because - after the treaty - there is the greater risk of neither him nor us having much left to decide upon.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
As previously advised, we are now presenting a video clip which contains further details on this subject, including a model of the offal chute's inner covers and their probable behaviour when subjected to seawater pressure.
Gaul - offal chute inner covers
Video sent by gadflymotion531
Friday, May 30, 2008
- That, during the inquiry, the bereaved families had in fact been informed that the most probable cause of the tragedy was a design defect. (?!) (Obs. However, it appears to me that not all of them were informed.)
- That only a few of the families were "interested" in suing for compensation. (?!)
- That those who were interested in suing for compensation were advised by their barrister (Mr Tim Saloman, QC) that they stood no chance of getting any because of the limitation rules that exist on such claims. (?!) According to Mr Gold’s recollection, Mr Saloman’s expert opinion was that no action for compensation could be brought after the expiration of 15 years from the date of the victims’ death, no matter if the cause of the tragedy was only ‘discovered’ in 2004.
(Obs. This opinion, as far as I have learned from independent advice, does not appear to be correct, the law being pretty straightforward in this respect.
And, in any case, this could not have given any justification to the RFI panel to manipulate the results of a public inquiry.)
- That Mr Saloman’s written advice is confidential and I am therefore not entitled to receive a copy of his counsel. (?!)
I had more questions for Mr Gold, but he was in a hurry and promised to call me back towards the end of the week (i.e. last week.). Unfortunately, he never managed to.
(To be continued…)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
On 22 March 2002 (!), Stephen Byers, then Secretary of State for Environment and Transport, ordered the re-opening of the Formal Investigation.
In 2003, 2004 and 2006, further surveys were carried out.
The RFI is under the jurisdiction of the Advocate General for Scotland. Solicitor for the victims’ relatives is Max Gold (who also represented the families of the Gaul’s crew, during the 2004 RFI).
Today, 6 years since the decision to re-investigate the loss of the Trident was taken, the RFI is still nowhere near its conclusion.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
In the above detail, the normal outline of the forked securing clip was drawn in orange
This evidence clearly negates three of the principal conclusions of the RFI:
1. That proper use of the inner covers would have prevented water ingress
This is incorrect - the above photo indicates that the covers had been used ‘properly’ but, unfortunately, this could not prevent the water ingress.
2. That, at the time of the loss, the inner covers were not closed and secured
This is incorrect – the evidence indicates that not only had the covers been closed and secured at the time of the loss, but also that the forces of the sea subsequently opened them.
3. That, at the time of the loss, there was no physical reason to prevent the crew from closing and securing these covers
The photo shows clearly that the securing arrangements were physically damaged and as such could not be used to secure the covers. It is most likely that this damage occurred ‘at the time of the loss’
Besides, the inner covers were in no way strong enough to be watertight. If they had been, they would not have been damaged.
More to come...
Sunday, April 27, 2008
In previous posts we have already argued that the RFI assessment, that the inner lids of the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul had been left open by the crew prior to the loss of the vessel, was unsound. The condition of the closing devices of the duff chute indicates that its inner cover was, in fact, closed when the tragedy struck.
We can now reveal that the split covers of the offal chute were also closed. The images below, captured from the 2002 underwater survey film footage, illustrate that the bar attached to one of the offal split covers, as their means of closure, was found in its place and deformed in a way consistent with it having undergone strong pressure from the underside.
This finding, which the RFI panel was aware of, supports the proposition that the inner lids of the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul had initially been closed by the crew, but were burst open by the force of the incoming waves, at the time of the loss.
We have also constructed a model of the offal chute and tested it against the effects of water pressure acting on the underside of its inner lids. We used this model to replicate the damage to the securing bar, as observed in the images from the wreck of the Gaul. The photo below shows the result.
More to come...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Fantasy overlaps reality. At one stage, we are offered the lurid details of Saraghina’s coarsely voluptuous dance on the beach; where, completely out of mind, she performs the rumba in exchange for a coin, tantalising the viewers with her flabby undulations and lascivious appetite.
Then we see the revolt in the harem, where a group of women rise in protest against the director – the man who hired them. In the end, they will be quelled with a bullwhip.
The main characters have unfinished scripts and start changing their roles. The production team gets restless while awaiting direction. The spirit of collaboration turns into internal strife, causing chaos and confusion. Money has been spent, but the sets are dormant. The director struggles to reconcile his vision with the frustrating dependence on external factors. Financial pressures, his staff’s egos and attacks from the press are compounding his problems. Anonymous characters - ordinary people - appear trapped in a traffic jam, going nowhere. The atmosphere gets gloomy.
“Saraghina! The rumba!” and the fat woman emerges again from the ruins of a concrete bunker, displaying the vestiges of her fleshy charms and her insatiable lust for attention.
Guido, the film director can be seen floating high in the air, his ankle tethered by a rope, one end of which is being held firmly by the Screenwriter.
Don’t expect anything from the governing party; right now, they are busy performing.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
This material was not revealed during the two Gaul formal inquiries, nor did it come to the knowledge of the naval architect who, as an employee of the MCA, has carried out research into the loss of the Gaul since 2002. The DfT claim that they are in possession of this ‘elusive’ evidence, but, alas, … they are not showing it.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
In addition to and more intriguingly than this oversight is, however, the creative, ‘non-figurative’ manner in which the retained experts produced the drawings of the duff and offal chutes, in their supposedly ‘as found’ condition.
More about it HERE
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The only ‘evidence’ that the panel relied upon to back their deduction was hanging, literally, by a thread.
More to come...
Saturday, March 01, 2008
a calculation error in the design of the chutes, the unfortunate significance of which being, nevertheless, overlooked (see DESIGN ERROR 2 document);
a mention of the fact that the vessel owners had annotated the drawing of the chute with the statement “the design of the watertight hopper hatch cover was “too fiddly” " – statement endorsed by the final report despite being factually incorrect;
the unrealistic notion that the one inch square section of the steel hinge spindles would have become rounded with normal use (while, in the same paragraph, the experts advise that they had visited the Gaul’s 29 year old sister vessel on which, the same type of spindle had not, even by that time, become rounded);
a suggestion that the design of the hinges would have “inevitably resulted in corrosion within the brass gland” - in fact the ‘brass gland’ referred to therein was a sintered bronze, self lubricating, bearing, and
Nowhere in the report is it mentioned that the non-return flaps opened the wrong way round (a major DESIGN FAULT) and, therefore, would have failed to act as the principal strength barrier against seawater flooding, as they were supposed to. And that is the crux of the matter. Plain as daylight.
To claim otherwise is brazenly insincere, similar to saying that white is black and black is white.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Pressures, as we know from the laws of physics, can be harmful to a body when they outbalance the body’s ability to stand firm. Therefore, so as to prevent injury to our public bodies we must either restrain these terrible forces, or, somehow, invigorate the former’s ability to resist and respond.
Friday, February 22, 2008
When applied to human relations, corruption is a bad influence, an injection of rottenness or decay, a decline in moral conduct and personal integrity attributable to venality or dishonesty. When applied to public office, rather than referring to departures from ideal or even generally expected standards of incumbent behavior, the practice has been to spell out specific acts of misconduct that disgrace public office and make the offenders unfit to remain there."
"Corruption leads to a breakdown in shared concerns and results in factional pursuit of special interests and a reliance on coercion over consensus.
Indeed, reliance on coercion indicates a corrupt or corrupted state, perverted and rotten, where every person is on guard against everyone else in a society of amoral familism." (Where Corruption Lives, 2001, Corruption and Governance, Gerald E. Caiden)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In spite of our tenacious attempts, we have never managed to establish a direct contact with His Honour, as he has been very agile at avoiding us.
There is sparse data in the public domain about the life and career of justice Steel, so, for your information, we can only provide an extract from Who’s Who 2006 catalogue:
Mr Steel has represented the Government on a number of memorable occasions:
In 1987, he represented the Department of Transport and had conduct of the Formal Investigation into the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster at Zeebrugge. (188 lives lost with the casualty attributed to serious negligence by the crew)
In 1989, he again represented the Department of Transport and had conduct of the Formal Investigation into the loss of the MV Derbyshire. (44 lives lost with the vessel considered to have been overwhelmed by the forces of nature – not a design fault as alleged by the families of the victims)
Mr Steel’s involvement in the Gaul legal case started in 1978 when A.M. Jackson & Co., Solicitors for the Insurance Company, engaged Michael Thomas QC and David Steel to advise on the defence on the negligence charge that had been brought against the Gaul Owners and Builders.,
In 2000, the guiding hand of fate brought David Steel once again at the epicentre of the Gaul saga - this time as Wreck Commissioner in the Re-opened Formal Investigation (RFI).
The victims’ families - I have been informed - as if possessed by a sombre premonition, tried to recuse him from the RFI on the basis of his previous involvement in the case.
However, although it is stated in law that a judge can be recused by opposition of either party or disqualify himself on grounds of prejudice or personal involvement, and despite the fact that there were certainly many others capable of sitting as Wreck Commissioner for the Investigation, the families’ resistance to justice Steel’s appointment did not succeed, and they had to contend themselves with the Commissioner chosen by the government.
Having always held the judges of this country in some kind of veneration, after our disclosures, we expected Sir David to show some last-minute sympathy towards the idea of putting right what he had obviously let go wrong. As Admiralty judge and head of for the 2004 Investigation, he was in a good position to recommend a re-opening of the case.
We were, however, to be disappointed: justice Steel decided to hide and stay quiet.
 The Loss of the Motor Trawler Gaul, by John Nicklin, 1998
 The owner of the shipyard in 1978 was British Shipbuilders (a State Corporation), hence Mr Steel was effectively acting for the Government of the day (i.e. Labour)