Sep 13 2012

An S.O.S. from the people of tax haven Jersey

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

A petition has been launched which is introduced as follows:

“Leah McGrath Goodman is an American investigative journalist, author and former UK resident who began researching reports of the breakdown of the rule of law in Jersey – a British Crown Dependency and one of the world’s leading offshore tax havens.”

Her particular interest is the Haut de la Garenne child abuse scandal and repressive cover-up — involving the smearing of critics, which I’ve described elsewhere. Now what happens when you go to a tax haven to try and research a scandal? Well, there’s no final proof of who did what, but it’s a sure bet that she was targeted by the Jersey authorities for being so impudent:

“Ms. Goodman successfully conducted her research until 11 September 2011, when the UK Border Agency detained her at the request of the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service. Absent any charges, Ms. Goodman was fingerprinted, photographed and stripped of her passport, phone, wallet and possessions and held in the basement of Heathrow Airport for more than 12 hours – past the legal limit – without access to a lawyer or the U.S. consulate. The UK Border Agency copied her papers without her consent and questioned her about her work in Jersey before sending her back to the U.S. In January 2012, the Border Agency then sent Ms. Goodman a letter informing her it had taken the additional step of banning her from entering the UK Common Travel Area for two years, but did not explain the reason for this action. It denied her the right to an appeal.”

Trevor Pitman, a brave and outspoken Deputy of the States of Jersey, had this to say about her case, backing the petition:

As a member of Jersey’s parliament, I have been witness to the extensive efforts made by Jersey’s government to keep the international press at bay and guard against even the slightest further marring of its public image.

Jersey may be one of the world’s leading offshore financial centres, but it still operates much like a mini-politburo, claiming to be a “democracy” but seeking to discredit and even suppress media and Web content; redacting court and legislative records; forcing policemen and elected officials out of their jobs while denying them due process – and, now, seeking to gag the international press so no one will know about it. With our checks and balances duly hamstrung, the international media may be our last hope for reclaiming our democracy and re-establishing the rule of law.

The piece is well worth reading in full, and it finishes like this:

On behalf of the people of Jersey, this is quite literally an S.O.S.

UK Member of Parliament John Hemming tables motion in support of this petition:

The Guardian: Jersey’s secrecy culture and interview with Leah McGrath Goodman:

BBC: Interview with Leah McGrath Goodman:

Leah McGrath Goodman: Anarchy in the UK?

#FreeJersey: A Small Island Fights For Its Democracy:

All evidence suggests that there has been an attack on a U.S. journalist, though of course carried out in a way that it’s impossible to point the finger at anyone definitively. Jersey has oceans of past form in this respect.

Act now. This is just the snout of a gigantic black iceberg of global corruption.

12 comments so far

Póló 9th September, 2012 7.47 pm

At least the issue is getting a thorough international airing.

Frank Walker must be dreaming about turning in his grave.

He only had to deal with Stuart Syvret on BBC Newsnight.

This has now gone viral globally.

Pity the Oligarchy didn’t take the good advice and come clean and clear up their own mess. Too deep into it I suppose.

Ian Evans 9th September, 2012 7.04 pm

Nice one Nick, let us keep this in the spotlight.

A Wayward Jersey Limpet 9th September, 2012 11.27 pm

Jersey is really really bad. Believe me, I live in Jersey. Corruption is rife in Jersey. Bottom line, if you are a pleb, you get strung up big styli for a very minor offense. But if you are the son or daughter of an oligarch, and you do something really bad, like bring in a few kilos of drugs for example, no problem, you will be let off.
One day I hope the people of the UK and Europe will put pressure on their governments to see Jersey for what it is…. a sesspit that enjoys taking in money that your rich lot should be paying in taxes to fund your schools and hospitals. I tell it like it is. The sooner you act, the sooner things will get better for all of us.

John Brehaut 9th September, 2012 2.39 am

This kind of none democratic corruption has been rife since the channel islands used money to generate their income after the local governments abandoned industries that supported the islands economy for generations. Its now time to rip open these corrupt leaches and expose them to the full force of the law and lock the bastards up away from the kind of society we all want to live in.

[...] governance of this place. If you don’t believe Hemming, or think he’s exaggerating, see here or here or here or here. Just for instance. Or this, or this, or . . [...]

GVale 9th September, 2012 5.45 pm

To think I actually came to Jersey and saw the war tunnels I was shocked at what war could and did to the community. I wonder would our grandfathers have fought so hard against one tyranny only to place us in the hands of another. A far worse, more insidious and corrupt regime than anything Hitler could have dreamed up.

Nick Shaxson 10rd October, 2012 4.36 pm

steady on . . . i cant imagine anything quite as bad as hitler. But still,

Anne 10th October, 2012 5.02 pm

There is no S.O.S from the people of Jersey and it’s no more corrupt than anywhere else. There are a tiny minority of flat- earth conspiracy theorists like everywhere else. Why else do you think Stuart Syvret did not get voted back in, because people are fed up of him.

Nick Shaxson 10th October, 2012 4.09 pm

Well, there is. I would say that if two former top police officials come out with this stuff – not to mention legions of others – then there’s fire under the smoke. The response from the establishment – and every mainstream media outlet in Jersey including the local BBC – is to smear those crying foul. And many people believe the smears. As you, apparently do, too.

We Did It! 1th January, 2013 6.20 am

[...] thousand thanks to the Guardian, the BBC and other members of the media who made sure my ban did not go unnoticed, to those who signed the petition and to you, [...]

[...] U.S. journalist researching this “peculiar possession” of the Crown was banned from the UK, after doing some uncomfortable research in The Septic Isle [...]

[...] whole of the Pitmans’ press release needs to be read in full: this is yet another cry for help from what is essentially an oppressed [...]

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