Debenhams soak homeless man on Boxing Day – ruin his clothes, donated food

UPDATE: Debenhams now claim the soaking of a homeless man by a store security guard who then laughed and said the man deserved it – was “an unfortunate accident”. Posted on Facebo…

Source: Debenhams soak homeless man on Boxing Day – ruin his clothes, donated food

Words for Friends #14

This is part of a new series of blogs entitled Words for Friends, in which I will try to acknowledge some people in my life for whom words of thanks are not nearly enough.

These living epitaphs to my true and lovely friends are published in a random order as fancy takes me.

#14  Jayne

This July I took a long overdue holiday with my wife Gill, in my old haunt of Chichester, West Sussex.

Whenever returning home – as I still call Sussex – I always made a point of catching up with one of my oldest friends.

Jayne and I met as teenagers while nursing together way back in 1978.

But any hope I may have had of a romantic attachment disappeared quickly when on our second date, and after a couple of beers and an attempted snog, she told me she was gay and lived happily with her partner Julie.

She was the first openly lesbian woman I had ever met – in a time when personal sexuality was more closely guarded.

I was gobsmacked and in typical 1970s’ misogyny I said something like: “How can you be gay, you are too attractive?”

Horrid words, which ought to have choked me, there and then.

But, there was something deeper between us and instead of romance, we became lifelong friends.

Over the next 30 years on my each visit to Sussex, we would meet for a beer and swap stories about the directions our lives had travelled and how much weight we had both gained!

While my life and career took my all over the UK, Jayne remained my constant point of return.

This summer I had not seen Jayne for over 10 years, so this holiday visit was going to be an extra special catch-up.

But, before I set off for the drive down south, I cried myself empty, when I discovered that Jayne had died some 30 months earlier, aged just 56.

Her partner Julie was with her to the end.

Time, life and death waits for no one.

But my friendship and memories of Jayne will always remain.


Words for Friends #13

This is part of a new series of blogs entitled Words for Friends, in which I will try to acknowledge some people in my life for whom words of thanks are not nearly enough.

These living epitaphs to my true and lovely friends are published in a random order as fancy takes me.

#13 Ann

Ann is the type of friend who comes into your life just once.

We first met 30 years ago while I was in hospital undergoing radiotherapy, following surgery for a malignant cancer to my right shoulder.

It was in so many ways “true love”… for while my first wife visited me just twice in my 10 weeks (my cancer ensured our marriage, which was already on the rocks, was over) in Velindre Hospital, Cardiff; Ann was with me every day. She was my saving grace, and a real-life Angel.

As a nurse she tended my mundane daily needs and dressed the slowly healing flap and skin grafts, which the surgeons had used to repair my shoulder and back. She also treated the suppurating skin on my neck and shoulder, caused by the radiation burns, ensured I took painkillers and sleeping tablets, and listened quietly to my fears and growing angst about my uncertain future.

We maintained close contact after I left Velindre, and she visited me regularly, when I was readmitted to another Cardiff hospital in April 1988, after the cancer spread to my right lung.

At this time the oncologists gave me a 1 in 10 chance of surviving five years. Yet Ann stayed close by, checking on my welfare by letter and phone almost every week. Her love was immense.

When my marriage finally ended, Ann and I enjoyed an all-too-short romantic relationship. She regularly told me that my horrendously scarred body was “beautiful” and urged me to “keep living”.

But, when I moved to Scotland in the winter of 1990, the geographical distance between us (this was before the days of email and mobile phones) meant we lost touch.

Seemingly forever.

Then suddenly, 26 years later, and thanks to the blue and white monster called Facebook; we found each other again.

We now maintain touch and banter by email, as if time had stood still.

Life and relationships for both of us have moved on.

But, Ann is, and remains, one of my most important and lovely friends and I genuinely do, owe my life to her!


Life Is Brief

I carried you in my arms

On that long hot summer’s day

Under the waxing crescent moon

I promised I would stay

Twenty-one years have now passed

Since your sapphire eyes

Looked into mine

Twenty-one years under a darkening sky

Your reflection does still shine


Grey hair tumbles into crow’s feet lines

Tears smart memories

As age defines Tears of pain, tears of grief

I’m so alone And life is brief


I cuddled you in my arms

On a frosting winter’s night

You held me tight and smiled

Before I gave up the fight

Twenty-one years have now passed

Since your little hand

Fell softly into mine

Twenty-one years under a darkening sky

Your reflection does still shine


Grey hair tumbles into crow’s feet lines

Tears smart memories

As age defines Tears of pain, tears of grief

I’m so alone And life is brief


I said goodbye and kissed your cheek

On that last time that we met

And cried a veil as I drove away

How can I ever forget

Twenty-one years have now passed

Since your gentle laugh

Made life seem sublime

Twenty-one years under a darkening sky

Your reflection does still shine


Grey hair tumbles into crow’s feet lines

Tears smart memories

As age defines Tears of pain, tears of grief

I’m so alone And life is brief


(With reference to Bob Dylan’s Tears of Rage)

Don’t Look Away

Sionnan I love you dearly

Don’t look away

I never left you

Sionnan I long to see you

Don’t look away

I am still waiting

Sionnan I long to hear you

Don’t look away

I still need you

Sionnan I long to hold you

Don’t look away

I am not leaving

Sionnan I long to kiss you

Don’t look away

I am not running

Sionnan I long to sense you

Don’t look away

I am still pleading

Sionnan I will not leave you

Don’t look away

This is your father


A Grief Observed

Oh to leave behind this


The lost souls are still


I watched you

On the beach

The white horses


Vein hopes


But in my dreams

You were calling

But still

Out of reach My Shannon


Oh to leave behind this


The lost souls are still


The years

The fears

The broken raven


At my window

While time


The years passing

But not love

Without you

My Shannon


Just Take a Pebble: a fanfare for a Trilogy of amazing musicians

THE death of Greg Lake has left me numb.

Kids from my generation all grew up with at least one Prog Rock band as a personal backdrop to adolescence… and for me the choice was simple: it was always Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Keyboard player Keith Emerson was a local lad from my home area of Worthing and at once drew me and many school friends to his experimental classical, jazz, rock band.

We loved them, and I still treasure one abiding memory of four of us sixth formers cramming into the back row of the Worthing Odeon to watch the movie of their live Pictures at an Exhibition – a glorious pastiche of Mussorgsky’s symphony.

So, Keith Emerson’s untimely death in March this year, hit hard, as part of my youth was lost forever.

Now his band mate Greg Lake has also gone, before his time, after a long and stubborn battle with cancer.

One of the founding fathers of progressive rock, he is known for songs including In the Court of the Crimson King and I Believe in Father Christmas.

But I will remember him and Keith Emerson for much more than that.

Lake’s manager Stewart Young said this morning: “Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been.”

Born in Bournemouth – just along the south coast from Worthing – Lake was given his first guitar at the age of 12 and took lessons from a local tutor.

He formed a close friendship with fellow student Robert Fripp, with whom he formed King Crimson in 1969.

Their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King featured such songs as 21st Century Schizoid Man.

It set a standard for progressive rock and received a glowing, well-publicised testimonial from The Who’s Pete Townshend.

But their success was short-lived. Within a year, founding member Mike Giles quit and Lake refused to work with the band.

He was then approached by Emerson, who had supported King Crimson on a North American tour and needed a singer for his new band.

Joined by Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, ELP made their live debut at the Guildhall in Plymouth in 1970 before giving a career-making performance at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Unusually, the band combined heavy rock riffs with a jazz and classical influence. They scored hit albums with Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery – many of them produced by Lake.

The band went on to enjoy chart success in 1977 with their version of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

They sold more than 48 million records, and Lake continued to be an influential and popular touring musician even after the band wound down in the late 1970s.

“The greatest music is made for love, not for money,” Lake said on his official website.

“The early ELP albums were pioneering because there is no standing still; time is always moving forward.”

Although this year has just 23 days left to run, it has been a tragedy for the shocking loss of so many wonderful musicians.

When a musician dies it’s always sad.

No matter what they were like in their personal lives, their music probably helped at least one person get through a hard time.

Music has saved my life more than once.

So I tip my hat to remember some of the horrid losses of some of my favourite musicians from 2016:

7 Dec 2016  Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), 69

22 Nov 2016  Craig Gill (Inspiral Carpets), 44

13 Nov 2016  Leon Russell, 74

07 Nov 2016  Leonard Cohen, 82

21 Apr 2016  Prince, 57,

19 Apr 2016  Pete Zorn, 65

06 Apr 2016  Merle Haggard, 79

05 Apr 2016  Dave Swarbrick, 75

29 Mar 2016  Andy Newman (Thunderclap Newman), 73

10 Mar 2016  Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), 71

25 Feb 2016  John Chilton (The Feetwarmers), 83

18 Jan 2016  Glenn Frey (Eagles), 67

17 Jan 2016  Dale Griffin (Mott the Hoople), 67

10 Jan 2016  David Bowie, 69


Mossad’s filthy work behind the Paris massacres

ONE year ago the eyes of the world focused on Paris and the atrocity which unfolded on a bleak winter’s evening.

The attacks on the night of Friday 13 November by gunmen and suicide bombers hit a concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars, almost simultaneously – and left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.

It was a carnage of almost unimaginable proportions in our so-called “civilised” Western society.

The massacres were described by President Francois Hollande as an “act of war” organised by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

In the days immediately after the attacks, French police carried out hundreds of raids across the country, as the search for suspects continued.

Raids also took place in the Belgian city of Brussels.

The first of three explosions occurred outside the Stade de France stadium on the northern fringe of Paris where France were playing Germany in an international football friendly.

A man wearing a suicide belt was reportedly prevented from entering the stadium after a routine security check detected the explosives. According to press reports, the man backed away from security guards and detonated the explosives.

The bomber and a passer-by were killed.

A second man detonated his suicide vest outside a different stadium entrance at 21:30.

A third suicide bomber blew himself at a fast-food outlet near the stadium at 21:53. The attackers all wore identical explosive vests.

Meanwhile, other attacks occured nearer to the centre of town, around popular nightlife spots.

The first took place at about 21:25 in the 10th district (Arrondissement), not far from the Place de la Republique.

The gunmen arrived at the scene in a black Seat car, later found abandoned, about three miles away in the eastern suburb of Montreuil.

Fifteen people died in the attack on the bar and restaurant, with 15 severely injured. More than 100 bullets were fired.

Then came an attack on diners a few streets south of rue Alibert, in front of the Cafe Bonne Biere and La Casa Nostra pizzeria in rue de la Fontaine au Roi. Five people were killed and eight were severely injured.

Again, witnesses reported that the gunmen were travelling in a black Seat.

The next reports of shootings came to the south of the first restaurant attacks, at La Belle Equipe bar in the rue de Charonne in the 11th district.

Witnesses said that the attackers arrived in a black Seat. Two men opened fire on the terrace of the cafe.

“It lasted at least three minutes,” one witness said. “Then they got back in their car and headed towards Charonne station.”

Nineteen people died in the shooting, with a further nine in a critical condition.

A few minutes later, an attacker – later revealed to be Braham Abdeslam – killed himself by detonating a suicide bomb at the restaurant Le Comptoir Voltaire on the Boulevard Voltaire.

One other person was severely injured in this incident.

The deadliest attack of the night came at a concert venue on Boulevard Voltaire, also in the 11th district, where Californian rock group Eagles of Death Metal was playing.

The 1,500-seat Bataclan hall was sold out.

The Paris chief prosecutor said three attackers wearing suicide belts were involved – earlier reports spoke of four attackers.

Witnesses said they arrived in a black Volkswagen Polo then stormed in through the main entrance and into the back of the concert hall.

Eighty-nine people died as the men fired Kalashnikov-type assault rifles into the crowd. At least 99 others were taken to hospital in a critical condition.

One of the attackers was said to have shouted “God is great” in Arabic. One witness heard a gunman blaming President Hollande for intervening in Syria.

It was the first overt claim that Paris was being targeted by Islamists.

A claim immediately picked up by Western media and used by the French government in a full frontal propaganda assault.

And like the Charlie Hebdo attacks 11 months earlier, the public was quick to believe and even quicker to blame Islamic extremists.

But the Paris atrocities of 13 November 2015, occurred at a strangely ironic time for me as a writer and Middle East commentator.

Earlier that same day I had published a piece entitled Roll On John  which looked at false flags and dirty tricks by the US and UK military to distract the public from the truth about operations in the Middle East and beyond.

Earlier that month I had also published a piece called Jerusalem to Riyadh: an Axis of Evil which examined some of the dirty tricks used by MI5, the CIA, Mossad and Saudi Arabia to maintain organised instability in the Middle East for their own capitalist ends.

And between them create and sustain ISIS as a vehicle for that instability.

In particular I looked at Israel and its unregulated Intelligence agency Mossad which carries out the dirtiest of deeds, including many False Flag attacks: 7/7 in the UK, the Bulgarian bus bombing of 2014, and the Charlie Hebdo outrage in Paris.

From the very start after the formation of its own nation state Israel’s secret services ran rogue operations, stealing money from the Swiss accounts of Hitler’s victims, bombing a synagogue in Baghdad during prayers in 1951 to scare Jewish Iraqis into moving into tent villages in Israel, and bombing British and American offices in Cairo in 1954 (the Lavon affair) to discredit Egypt’s Nasser regime.

Using American funds provided for other purposes, Mossad bribed its way across Africa and Latin America. The late dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceaucescu—who edged Sadat toward Jerusalem and Camp David—received about $30 million from the agency.

Elsewhere, Mossad spies threw in their lot with established power, however autocratic: Iran (where they trained the SAVAK secret police in interrogation methods), Zaire, Chad and other African countries, Singapore, Sri Lanka (where they helped the Sinhalese go after Tamils), South Korea, South Africa (where Israel aided the birth of nuclear weapons), and Argentina (supplying arms during the Falklands War).

They helped Morocco capture and kill an opposition leader, Mehdi Ben Barka, in Paris. While in Beirut, they murdered Palestinians and blew up MEA Caravelles at the airport.

During the 1967 war, they protected the disinformation communications which brought Jordan into the conflict by directing the attack on the US spy ship Liberty, an action in which 34 Americans were killed and 171 wounded.

Misinformation has always been a Mossad trademark.

So it came as little shock when it was reported last week that investigative journalist Hicham Hamza had been detained by French police for exposing Israel’s role in orchestrating the Paris attacks on 13 November, 2015.

Police charged Hamza with “violating judicial secrecy,” and threatened him with prison for a photo he published online.

“An independent journalist and founder of the investigative website Panamza, I was detained for seven hours by police about an article in which I revealed the Israeli origin of the shocking photo of the Bataclan,” he explains.

“On Monday, 22 February, I went of my own accord to the police station in response to a summons from the Crimes Against Persons Brigade, located in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris.

“The day before, I had received an “urgent” voice message from an official of the Directorate of the Judicial Police asking me to call him immediately. The reason: my 15 December 2015 article entitled Bataclan Carnage: The shocking photo was disseminated from Jerusalem.

“I was familiar with the Judicial Police premises, having been summoned twice to respond to defamation complaints brought against me by Caroline Fourest and Pierre Bergé.

“This time, upon arrival I was placed in custody following a preliminary investigation by the Paris prosecutor. 

“The officer informed me that I was now suspected of having committed the following offenses: violation of the secrecy of an investigation, publication of an image that seriously undermines human dignity, and premeditated voluntary violence without ITT.

“I was then led to cell to await the arrival of my lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre so that she could be present, during my interrogation.

“After the interrogation, I was made to read and sign the minutes of my statements. I was then returned to detention pending the police response. “Five hours later I left the musty old double-locked room to learn that no decision had been taken by the prosecutor of the Republic.

“The merits of the case?

“While following the torturous trail of the shocking, anonymous Bataclan massacre photo, I had done my work as an investigative journalist. My objective was to fully document my sources.

“So in my article, I inserted the URL of the first web page containing the non-blurred Bataclan picture.

“The original source of the photo turned out, oddly enough, to be a tweet published by an Israeli organization headed by the US neoconservative Mark Gerson.

“A detail that speaks volumes: In my article Bataclan Carnage: The shocking photo was disseminated from Jerusalem, I also raised questions about the JDL, stressing that this Zionist and racist militia, which is tolerated in France (but considered a terrorist group the United States and Israel) had directly published the gruesome Bataclan photograph on the homepage of its website.

“We still do not know all the details about provenance and chain of custody of the photograph in question, which was designed to elicit terror, and whose authenticity is has been much discussed in the foreign alternative media. What we do know is that it first appeared on the website of a webmaster based in Jerusalem.

“But it should come as no surprise that the Jewish Defense League – a small group linked to similar networks of the Israeli extreme right – could publish the photo without attracting the wrath of Bernard Cazeneuve, the Minister of the Interior who is extremely obliging to the Zionist movement and its operational relay in France: Mossad.

“Someone in high places must have protected the JDL from any police summons by quietly asking them to remove the photograph.

“As for me: For revealing the Israeli source of the image, which was manipulated through social media to instil fear and acceptance of draconian security measures, I was detained by police, at the request of prosecutors, for seven hours.

“Now I am under threat of new prosecutions likely to bring, this time, a prison sentence.

“I have no illusions about the traditional corporate media, with its complete indifference to my detention. After eight years of exercising my investigative reporting skills on taboo subjects, namely the Zionist movement and false flag terrorism, I reclaim outsider status with respect to the profession, as a journalist,” he added.

This is an important Israeli link to the accepted storytelling of the massacre.

And the link goes even further – French investigative reporter Eric Laurent shocked television viewers in 2011 when he revealed that Jews working in the World Trade Centre had been warned about the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.

And according to the Israeli press, French Jews were also warned about the Bataclan attack.

Meanwhile, the general public is being told to believe a story to demonise Muslims, for which there is scant evidence.

Why should they believe governments that serve the interests of foreign bond-holders and bankers?

Why should they trust a ruling class who, instead of fighting to raise the material, cultural and intellectual welfare of the people, do the opposite, attempting at every opportunity to rob, demoralise and stultify the masses?

The French government is now encouraging its young people to join the army reserve. It may become treasonous not to enlist.

We are passing from an era where dissent is ridiculed towards an era where dissent is criminalised.