A few years ago when I interviewed the late Professor Eysenck, I suggested to him that certain of his findings were controversial. His reply to this was very thought provoking. To paraphrase, some controversies exist only in the media. Anyone who, like the current writer, has taken the time and the trouble to investigate such things as UFOs, psychic detectives, and a plethora of similar phenomena, will soon realise that there is indeed a canyon wide gulf between what the media says and what actually happened.
Most people donít have the time to investigate every paranormal claim, much less every political one, so we are all dependent in large part on the media. Anyone who compares the claims of Ramís small army of liars or the media reports listed in the bibliography on this site with the official record, in particular the Court of Appeal transcripts (1989 and 1995) and the pathologistís report will realise that there is indeed absolutely nothing controversial about Ramís murder conviction. The only real controversy is why the media continues to give this cold-blooded killer the time of day. Granted that Socialist Worker and the insidious CARF can be expected to lie through their teeth or ignore the most overwhelming evidence when the alleged victim is black, (in their parlance black means anyone who is not white). Granted that the Asian Times and Indiaweekly might be expected to give Ram some space...But the Observer, the Guardian?
The people who could silence Ramís lie machine forever - the Home Secretary and other Home Office officials - have been strangely silent, and this more than anything else has allowed the Ram circus to portray their hero as a victim of (bore, bore) racism ad nauseum. I say strangely silent, but anyone who has ever had any experience of how bureaucracies work will realise that far from being strange, the stone-walling, buck-passing and fobbing-off which anyone - including the current writer - experiences from the authorities over this matter, is all too typical.
My own experience is as follows. I contacted the victimís family (Clarke Pearce in case youíd forgotten) and the Ram campaign. The former were very co-operative but understandably cynical. The latter were very helpful, until I pointed out that their hero was obviously guilty whereupon Lesley Naylor hung up the phone on me.
The mainstream media, including the Daily Mail, didnít want to know.
The British National Party (who of course have their own agenda) gave me space.
The authorities? Ah, thereís the rub!
I wrote to Paul Boateng, who was then Prisons Minister. He ignored me. I wrote again. He ignored me again. I wrote a third time. He ignored me a third time.
I wrote to my MP. She wrote in turn to the Home Office, who after considerable delay replied via Lord Bassam of Brighton to questions I hadnít asked!
In June 2001, I wrote to the Home Office again. I received no reply. I wrote again, on August 6, 2001, and when this letter was ignored I phoned the Home Office, on August 31. I was told that Lord Bassam didnít work in that department anymore and hadnít since the election. Beverley Hughes was now in charge of Prisons.
I phoned the Home Office again, on September 28, 2001, and spoke to a press officer named Nicole Malebre. She sounded helpful, but that was as far as it went. She confirmed that correspondence had been received from me, but that something had gone astray. The points I raised would be answered, she said. I phoned again on October 10, 2001, and spoke to her again; this time she said a civil servant named John Harper was dealing with my Ram inquiry. When I spoke to him he sounded the most nervous, evasive individual you could wish to meet. Anyone would have thought he was being questioned by the police about the suspicious death of a wealthy aunt rather than being asked to respond to a routine inquiry. He said someone named Alison Ramsey was now dealing with my query. And, of course, she wasnít available. Bear in mind that my first letter - to Paul Boateng - was dated October 4, 2000!
I experienced similar evasiveness from Denise Astley of West Midlands Probation Service. I sent her a fax, which she claimed not to have received, although from what she said subsequently she obviously had received it. She then decided she couldnít give me any information.
Sometime before Ram was moved to an open prison I received a phone call from Mrs OíNeill, who had received some distressing news. She had been told by her sister, Mrs Smith, that Denise Astley had told her that Ram was to be released without going through the usual declassification for lifers, down to Category D. He was also to be given home leave one day a month. Later, she phoned me back and said that Denise Astley had denied saying anything of the kind. It was later to be revealed that Ram had indeed been marked down for special release but that this had been blocked by then Home Secretary Jack Straw.
There is absolutely no need for this sort of nonsense, but it is all too prevalent in bureaucracy, especially British bureaucracy, where no one ever wants to be held to account or to give out any information or to do anything that assists members of the public. It was this sort of nonsense that Doreen Lawrence came up against after the murder of her son. She and her gang put it down to the chimera of institutional racism. In fact, even MPs are treated in this cavalier fashion most of the time.
Fortunately though, enough information about Ramís behaviour in prison has now leaked out through the media for my question to have been answered in substance if not in form. Particularly informative is Simon Hattenstoneís Guardian article of September 20, 2001 which relates how Ram routinely disobeys instructions, and on one occasion threw urine at his gaolers. If Ram has been on the receiving end of a prisoner officerís fist on the odd occasion it has been well merited. According to the October/November 2001 issue of CARF, Ram has recently been charged with assaulting prison staff.
And some good news, the three most important documents on this site were not under Home Office control. I found the transcript of the judgment in Ramís first appeal in the Supreme Court Library; the transcript from the second appeal was purchased from the transcript writers, and the pathologistís report was obtained without charge or fuss by Mrs OíNeill from the Birmingham Coroner. It appears that the conspiracy of silence is far from universal.
October 14, 2001.
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