EDIT: the SKWAWKBOX is now satisfied that no D-notice was issued. No plain answer to this blog’s question of other restrictions on information about lives lost at Grenfell has yet been provided, but a ‘D-notice’ (or DSMA-notice as they are now termed) was not.
This morning, Grime artist Saskilla told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that he had been told personally by one of the firefighters at Grenfell Tower that around two hundred bodies had already been identified at the scene of the terrifying blaze. The presenter attempted to pour water on the figure, but the musician insisted it was what he was told in person by the firefighter.
Last night, music star Lily Allen was pulled from an appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight after making similar comments and accusing the government of trying to ‘micromanage people’s grieving’:
Ms Allen was pilloried in the media. The confirmed death toll has increased incrementally since the fire and today rose to thirty.
At the same time, multiple sources told the SKWAWKBOX that the government has placed a ‘D-notice’ (now properly named a ‘DSMA-notice’ and sometimes called a ‘DA Notice’) on the real number of deaths in the blaze:
In effect, although voluntary, this amounts to a gag on the mainstream media – and note that it is applied for for reasons of national security only.
The SKWAWKBOX telephoned the Home Office press office to ask directly whether this was true. To say that the question caused consternation at the other end of the line would not be an overstatement.
The first comment, in a voice that rose at least half an octave, was ‘Where did you get that information?‘, followed by a request for the question by email, even though the SKWAWKBOX editor emphasised that ‘Have you issued a D-notice’ is a very straightforward, ‘yes/no’ question.
The question has been submitted by email but no response has been provided yet, in spite of a repeat call to the Home Office to advise that publication was imminent.
Since the first call, further people have contacted this blog with the same assertion. The Home Office’s official response will be published if/when one is received.
Reports have also been received about intimidation of locals to prevent disclosure or speculation about the true known death toll.
If it is true that the government has issued a D-notice – and every instinct is screaming that it is – then the government has placed a national security gag on mainstream news editors to prevent them from disclosing what’s already known about the number of lives lost at Grenfell Tower.
This raises a huge question: WHY?.
Is there a national security aspect to this information that has not yet been hinted at?
Or is the Tory government inflating its own party interests into a national security issue in order to control the flow of information that will damage the Tory government and party, allowing it to ‘drip-feed’ a slow increase in the number of confirmed deaths in order to manage public outrage?
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