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too much news - The Villages

Date: 2006-12-15 12:54
Subject: too much news
Security: Public
Location:just entering the final straight before Christmas
Music:not a sound, not even a mouse
Well, at least now we know how much Occam's Razor costs...
After three years and £3.6 million, the investigation into the death of Diana and Dodi has delivered up an 832-page report telling us they were not assassinated by the British Security Service or Secret Intelligence Service acting on the orders of Prince Philip. Diana was not pregnant. They were not engaged. The car had not been tampered with.
Henri Paul was over the drink-drive limit and doing about 60 mph when he clipped the kerb in the Alma tunnel and hit the pillar. End of story.
Whether this immensely-expensive statement of the obvious will quiet the conspiracy theorists is anyone's guess; a glance at the front page of today's Express which labels the report a whitewash suggests not.

There is much news today, which is a good excuse to try out the cut.
The collapse of the BAE Systems investigation is instructive. For the uninitated, this is a fraud investigation concerning arms deals with Saudi Arabia, to whose royal family large bribes were allegedly paid. This is reported to have caused some embarrassment to the Saudi Royals, and put in jeopardy a £10 billion defence contract awarded to BAE by the Kingdom, with subsequent large-scale job losses.
And the reason given for winding up the investigation? That old standby, national security.
The Attorney General said yesterday, "It has been necessary to balance the need to maintain the rule of law against the wider public interest. No weight has been given to commercial interests or to the national economic interest. The prime minister and the foreign and defence secretaries have expressed the clear view that continuation of the investigation would cause serious damage to UK/Saudi security, intelligence and diplomatic cooperation, which is likely to have seriously negative consequences for the UK public interest of both national security and our highest priority foreign policy objectives in the Middle East."
So that's all right, then.

The Prime Minister was visited by the police yesterday. And not before time, really, I hear you all cry. His interview with officers investigating the cash-for-honours scandal was, understandably, overshadowed by the release of the Diana report and the ongoing events in Suffolk, and there have been some accusations that he deliberately decided to have it yesterday because it was `a good day to bury bad news.'
Nonsense, says Number 10. We didn't engineer the Suffolk murders and we didn't tell Lord Stevens when to release his report and anyway you can't tell the police when to come round and interview you.
Which sounds rather specious. You'd think there would have to be a certain amount of give-and-take. After all, the detectives wouldn't want to turn up when Tony was having important talks with (insert name of world leader here) and they're unlikely to follow him to (insert name of important world summit here) so Number 10 would have to tell them when it was convenient for them to come round for their little chat with Tony. And please don't tell me Number 10 had no idea when the Diana Report was going to come out, or had failed to notice just how big a story the Suffolk murders was, and still is.

Still, it was a good day to bury one piece of bad news. Tucked away in odd little nooks and crannys of the papers today is the news that the family of Jean Charles de Menezes have lost their High Court attempt to challenge the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge any of the officers responsible for gunning their son down at Stockwell Underground station (in mistake, you'll recall, for a terrorist.) Although the Metropolitan Police are going to be prosecuted under the Health And Safety At Work Act, which is a legal-bureaucratic shimmy you could only accomplish in this country while keeping a straight face.
So, everything's right with the world. BAE get their deal, the House of Saud (allegedly) gets to keep its sweeteners, the Prime Minister sails through a difficult day with a minimum of embarrassment - although he'll be taking some licks for it for a while. And the family of Jean Charles de Menezes - who are not rich or vital to `national security' or well-connected with newspaper owners - are denied justice, virtually unnoticed by the Press.

I just want to say a word about the Suffolk murders, if only because on Wednesday, through a chain of circumstances too dull to mention, I wound up talking on the phone to the Chief Constable of Suffolk, who confessed to being a huge fan of our sister newspaper and having once been quite keen on becoming a journalist - "And right now I know which job I'd choose," he said. And I think I can guess how he feels.
This situation must be a Chief Constable's nightmare. Suffolk is a mainly rural police force, and what is happening there right now is entirely outside their experience. It sucks down manpower and resources, both of them limited, and any mistakes they make are made in the glare of the world's media. I've already noticed a disquieting trend in the media towards questioning Suffolk Constabulary's handling of the situation - last night on Sky News in particular where they were bemoaning the amount of information being made available to `the public' (i.e. the Press {i.e. Sky News}) and one of their correspondents appeared to go out of his way to wind up one of the Senior Investigating Officers in a press conference.
This kind of thing was probably inevitable - when a story slows down, as it seems to be doing at the moment, journalists will look for another angle, and calling into question an organisation's behaviour on behalf of `the public' is always a good angle and makes for cheap copy.
In a situation like this, though, it's just crass. From what I can see - and I may be wrong, of course - Suffolk are doing the best they can in very difficult circumstances, and cheap criticism like this does nobody any good.  

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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-12-15 16:30 (UTC)
Subject: no Diana conspiracy
Bottom line: a drunk driver was driving over 60 mph in a 30 mph zone and crashed into a pillar. The drunk driver was a longtime employee of the Fayed family.  End of discussion. No assassin on a grassy knoll, no Prince Philip hit squad, no alien abductions.

The late Quentin Crisp spoke truthfully, if bluntly, that Princess Diana's fast and shallow lifestyle contributed to her own demise: "She could have been Queen of England -- and she was swanning about Paris with Arabs. What disgraceful behavior. Going about saying she wanted to be the queen of hearts. The vulgarity of it is so overpowering." (Atlanta Southern Voice, 1 July 1999).

Or to put it more kindly, both Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, probably suffered from borderline personality disorder (BPD), rooted in their mother's abandonment of them when they were young children.

For Charles Spencer, BPD expressed itself as insatiable sexual promiscuity (his wife was divorcing him at the time of Diana's death). For Diana, BPD expressed itself as intense insecurity and an insatiable need for attention and affection (which even the best husband could never have fulfilled). These sowed the seeds of her fast lifestyle and her tragic fate.
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User: hutch0
Date: 2006-12-15 16:52 (UTC)
Subject: Re: no Diana conspiracy
I hadn't seen the Crisp quote before, but it seems rather mean-spirited and class-ridden. I'm surprised he managed to resist labelling Dodi as the son of a shopkeeper as well, just to tick all the boxes.
You have a point about the alien abduction angle; I don't think the Stevens Report has looked into that...
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User: jmward14
Date: 2006-12-16 07:54 (UTC)
Subject: Re: no Diana conspiracy
I dunno. I think Diana's reactions to the situation in which she found herself were entirely normal. Think about it--an 18-year-old plucked from relative obscurity to be the broodmare of a man twice her age, who will probably be in his dotage before he gets the chance to do the job he's been trainig for all his life. All his friends are old enough to be her parents, and his mother really is The Queen. What borderline adult wouldn't go a little nuts when the reality of the situation finally sank in?
And it's kind of silly to blame an 18-year-old for agreeing to marry a Royal. What 18-year-old has a clue about things like that?
Her wedding dress, on the other hand, *that* was unforgivable. LOL
Not as unforgivable as the de Menezes affair, though. *sigh* The lousy thing about karma is it doesn't work on concepts like "national security". Somewhere along the line, the policemen who committed the "wrongful death" will be tripped up by their own stupidity or paranoia, but it won't be justice. And the people who created the climate and the racial profiles and set up the situation that caused Jean Charles' death will retire on their profits from the BEA deal.
Which is one of the best arguments for writing fiction I know. :-)
Jean Marie
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User: hutch0
Date: 2006-12-17 02:06 (UTC)
Subject: Re: no Diana conspiracy
Somewhere in the vaults of a television station in Milwaukee, if they haven't recorded over it, is some news footage of a bunch of English exchange students at a college in Waukesha sitting up at about five o'clock in the morning watching the wedding of Charles and Diana. There may even be a clip of me blurting out, on seeing Diana's dress, "But she's wearing two hundredweight of kleenex!" Ah, crazy days.
I never met Diana, or anyone who knew her, and all I know about her is what I've read in the papers or seen on television, but she did seem rather fragile mentally. Most obviously in the infamous Martin Bashir interview, although I think she was coached for that. That `queen of hearts' line smacks too much of the work of a very bad scriptwriter.
I agree she was pitchforked into a world that most of us would never regard as `normal,' although to be fair she and her family did exist on the fringes of that world. It's not like she was plucked out of a council estate or something. She may have had some idea of what she was getting into, although she may have had no idea of quite how dreadful it would be.
Personally, I was saddened to hear of her death and the death of Dodi Fayed. But it was an accident. Jean Charles de Menezes's death was not. He won't get a £3.6 million investigation by a former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The British press can hardly be bothered to report developments in the case any more. And soon there won't be any more developments, and that'll be that. And that really sucks.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-12-19 01:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
A google search will reveal that Diana is considered a case study in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) by mental health professionals.

She most definitely did not develop BPD when she married, but rather, as a young child. Indeed, she brought her "problems" with her into the marriage, and the Royal family was caught haplessly unprepared.

Here is an excerpt from the book, "Sometimes I Act Crazy (Living with Borderline Personality Disorder)", by Jerold J. Kreisman, M.D & Hal Straus --

In many ways, Diana was a typical girl, she also had dreams of marrying her prince who will whisk her off to their castle, but somewhere along the way she veered into a different dimension. She crossed the boundary from "ordinary" into "borderline" when her mother left abruptly when she was six.

During this time, Diana became moody and insecure. She would cling on to her stuffed animals, which she called them "my family". She felt she was not good enough to keep her real family together and developed a fear that everyone she loved would eventually abandon her.

When she was fifteen, Diana entered a pattern of bulimia which stayed with her for the rest of her life. The fractures in Diana's personality became more prominent when she could be charming, charitable and remarkably empathic at times, and then exhibited an unpredictable rage when disappointments arised. Sometimes she appeared calm and stoic, but at other times she became irrationally emotional, alternating between inconsolable grief and ferocious anger.

At twenty, Diana married her prince -- Prince Charles of England. Yet Princess Diana did not live happily ever after. As her fairy-tale marriage disintegrated, so did her manufactured facade of equanimity. She became more overly impulsive and self-destructive. She threw herself into her charity work, perhaps hoping to derive for herself the kind of caretaking she was bestowing on others. The affliction of borderline personality disorder plagued Princess Diana until her untimely death in 1997.

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User: hutch0
Date: 2006-12-19 13:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, yes, Anon, I did the Google search too, but as far as I can gather Diana was never formally diagnosed. What seems to have happened is that a number of people who never met her have looked at symptoms reported by a number of other people and have fitted them into a diagnosis. I might be wrong, but this seems rather imprecise to me.
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