Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

2021 Appalling Vistas – The 60th Anniversary of the British “Profumo Scandal” – a Secret Service Sting that went wrong, Irish Connections – Lord Denning and the Birmingham Six

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A Judge whitewashed the Jack Profumo Scandal in the early 1960’s on behalf of the British Ruling Class – that judge’s name was Lord Denning.

The Conservative government of Harold MacMillan needed a judge to whitewash the Profumo Scandal and selected the best man for the job, Lord Denning. In 1980 this judge’s track record made him the ideal man to keep innocent Irish political prisoners – the Birmingham Six – in jail.

Here is the infamous Denning Birmingham Six Appalling Vista statement. Denning, in 1980, rejected the still-incarcerated Birmingham Six’s civil claim against the police. Dismissing the case, he said:: “Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial… If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous… That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, ‘It cannot be right that these actions should go any further’.”

Determined mass campaigning to free the Birmingham Six, Guildford 4 and other innocent Irish political prisoners took off in Dublin in the 1980’s. The beating heart of this network was the Co-ordinating Campaign on Miscarriages of Justice which met regularly in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square – a venue owned by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO). The campaign encouraged many independent initiatives. Highlighted here is a book which helped to make the Birmingham Six an international scandal, dragging the reputation of the British judiciary into the gutter. Tireless sub-editors Ralf Sotscheck and Jürgen Schneider worked closely with the political campaign alongside Oscar Gilligan.

A literary best-seller, Birmingham Six, An Appalling Vista

Authors, Artists, Activists who supported the Birmingham Six

Ernie O’Malley, author of On Another Man’s Wound and The Singing Flame describes Louis Le Brocquy’s 1945 Oil Painting Condemned Men

There are seven sordid Denning quotations at the Legal Cheek website which are recommended reading. It is no wonder that Trevor Joyce was “baffled” by the 1960’s coverage of the British “Sunday heavies” writing about the Profumo scandal, as they steered well away from explaining what had really happened.

I recall the Profumo affair as the first news-story that I followed at length, as I discovered the English Sunday heavies just as it was breaking, and did my best through them to follow all the ins and outs of the story as it developed, though without ever having had the slightest brush with the English class system. No wonder I was baffled! But it’s only now, from Rosita Sweetman’s post, that I begin to see what I was never intended to understand.

Rosita Sweetman writes very well :

Christine Keeler – I did an Insta:

“This year is the 60th anniversary of the John Profumo/Christine Keeler scandal. Dished up, to this day, as a sex scandal it was in fact an MI5’ sting’ that went horribly wrong. But the cock up – excuse the pun – was paid for by Keeler, and her friend Stephen Ward.

Portrayed as a ‘prostitute’ who brought down a government, Christine Keeler was more victim than destroyer

Abused by her mother and stepfather Keeler, ‘a fragile nervy beauty’, ran away at 15 to a London cabaret stage. Spotted by ‘flaneur’ and osteopath Stephen Ward, who had access to the aristocracy – drawing their portraits & easing their bones – he brought her down to ‘Cliveden’ the Astor’s vast estate, for weekend frolics.

MI5, wishing to compromise a Russian diplomat, asked Ward to set a honey trap, Christine as honey. Unfortunately, greedy Minister for War, John Profumo, took the honey first.

Abused by her mother and stepfather Keeler, ‘a fragile nervy beauty’, ran away at 15 to a London cabaret stage – Rosita Sweetman

When the scandal broke – that the Minister for War had had sex with a ‘prostitute’ who also had had sex with a Russian diplomat, MI5 freaked. That the truth should emerge – that MI5 were behind all this – was unthinkable.

A trial was set up. Stephen Ward, instantly abandoned by his aristo chums was put in the dock as a pimp, though Keeler and friend Mandy Rice Davies, both testified he was more likely to give them money than take it from them. After days of character assassination he killed himself: ‘it is a wish not to let them get me, I would rather get myself’. But the trial had done its job: SEX SCANDAL! screamed red tops and broadsheets alike. NOTHING TO SEE HERE! MOVE ALONG NOW PLEASE!

Soon the media got bored. The aristos went back to their ‘sexy parties’, and nobody cared a damn about a twenty something ‘party girl’. Or if it was a sex scandal or a spy scandal. Christine spent the rest of her life trying to out the truth.

I think we should be rather proud her son, Seymour Platt, lives here in Ireland. Is still fighting for justice for his Mum.

I think we should be rather proud her son, Seymour Platt, lives here in Ireland. Is still fighting for justice for his Mum. – Rosita Sweetman

John Meehan October 16 2021

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