Video: ’42 dead in a single #Grenfell room’. Still think there’s no cover-up?

The SKWAWKBOX continues to suffer false accusations of fake news over its report of claims that a government ‘D-notice’ had been issued to withhold press information on the real number of deaths in the Grenfell Tower tragedy. This was never claimed as fact by this blog and once the government got round to answering questions from the SKWAWKBOX about the issue, this blog issued an update.

Based on the information from the government, there was no D-notice – but the government pointedly did not answer the question whether any other form of restriction was in place.

In spite of all that, on Tuesday the Independent became the latest to indulge in lazy or cynical journalism by treating those false accusations as fact. Ah well.

But the idea that the real death figures are being deliberately withheld or obscured persists, with firefighters among others alleging that the government is using changes to rules on what counts as a fire death to hide the true scale of the loss of life.

Now video has also emerged showing local residents insisting that a friend among the firefighters had confided that he and others had found no fewer than forty-two bodies in just one room:

There is no proof of the veracity of this claim – but neither is there any reason to doubt the honesty of these witnesses or of any of the many others who are claiming to have seen similar things or to have been told about them by firefighters.

At what point does the volume of ‘anecdotal evidence’ become so overwhelming that the slow, creeping growth in admitted fatalities looks unavoidably dishonest, however it is justified by the authorities.

If there is any truth at all in the claim of 42 bodies in one room, then the fact that there has been no matching leap in the admitted figures makes the official claims appear cynical and misleading at best.

Judge for yourself and decide: do you still think there’s no Establishment cover-up?

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  1. So what yet could be Britain’s biggest-ever death toll from a single-building fire, that happened just a week ago, has almost been pushed off the front pages.

    As a journalist (ex-BBC, Sky, Reuters) I’d like to weigh in on the D-notice controversy. As Skwawkbox writes, D-notices are only one method of influencing the media. “Ds” are supposed to be voluntary. But so is the Parliamentary lobby system. Try working outside it, as did The Independent, and you will be sent to Coventry.

    There are other tools of influence and their impact is obvious when the media speaks with one voice. In its natural state the British media is still fairly competitive. Newspapers in particular actively try to have a different angle on a story. They go out of their way to be different. Not so much the BBC as it tries to cover all bases, to be the voice on every story, to set the agenda.

    In 2007/2008 when the financial crisis broke, various British banks found themselves insolvent. The Bank of England corralled the media and got virtually every newspaper and broadcaster simultaneously to accuse “rogue traders” of spreading rumours in order to profit from falling share prices. The aim was to calm the public and quell a run on the banks. Events proved this story to be bunk. Officially-motivated bunk.

    On other occasions the newspapers will simultaneously publish articles about conspiracy theories (or this year’s meme, fake news). Simultaneous is the clue. Or when David Aaronovitch wakes up.

    How does this work? Who pulls the strings?
    Aggressive press officers in the mold of Alastair Campbell can personally approach individual editors and reporters. The media managers of government departments can ask favours of individual journalists — who depend on those managers for information and with whom they have close personal as well as working relationships.
    This means the levers of influence operate on journalists at all levels, not just top down. On a major issue, like Grenfell Tower, the approach would be coordinated — like the BoE in the case of the insolvent banks. A senior press officer is likely to talk to editors or a senior journalist and convey the government’s concerns.

    The media will fall into line. The risk of disfavour, of being excluded from the information mill, going to the bottom of the list for interview requests, losing the chance of the odd exclusive, perhaps being left off press trips — this disfavour will be weighed against the advantage of breaking the government’s embargo. The benefits of going it alone have to vastly outweigh the negatives. Most likely the press will comply.

    Another variable is the perceived value of pulling together — or quashing together. At one extreme is wartime propaganda. Such a fever was used to push the Dodgy Dossier that “justified” attacking Saddam. Baser instincts such as racism are suddenly tolerated when it is necessary to lie about a people and demonise Serbian Yugoslavs (Google: exonerated). National security is a catch-all phrase that will silence many journalists, especially those working for state broadcasters who feel themselves to be half bureaucrat.

    Calming the population and encouraging a “keep calm” attitude is another call of duty for mainstream journalists. Strangely the urge to avoid alarming the people is not consistent — as the coverage of terrorism shows.

    Grenfell Tower comes under “don’t alarm the people”. This is closely related to “establishment closes ranks, lessons have been learned” and to “no point in blaming people, all you need is love”. Other themes include “don’t fuel the opposition, change the talking point”.

    When I worked at Reuters during the launch of the euro, I proposed to write some stories on “what if it doesn’t work”, “what problems could it face” and “what’s the plan B”. I was told there is no plan B. The euro is being launched. We are not doing negative stories. Investment banks took the same line. Group think prevailed. As it turned out, there were major problems with the euro project. The universal line from management was not of their own fertile imagination. This was clearly political influence at work.

    The Hillary for President campaign was even more brazen. The near universal stance of the press, pro-Hillary, sneering at Sanders, jeering at Trump gave the game away. In its natural state the press will chase the audience. With a huge segment of the U.S. electorate clearly supporting Sanders and Trump, it was in the financial interest of part of the media to grab that audience. The collapsing finances of the MSM add a certain urgency, wouldn’t you say?

    Instead we were treated to the three wise monkies: deaf, blind and silent in the case of Clinton, while keeping up a monotone chant of evil, evil, evil against Trump.

    It is hard to measure whether state influence upon the media has increased over the past 50 years. The Internet and sites like this one make it possible to reveal a false narrative much more easily than in the past. I suspect state influence on the media is indeed increasing. Not just because of the decline of investigative and beat reporting. The challenge posed by the Internet has clearly provoked governments and corporations to respond in unison. Most of the manipulation revealed by Ed Snowden is conducted by private corporations to which governments outsource about 70% of their national security work (R.J. Hillhouse).
    In 2013, H.R. 4310 authorized the U.S. government to propagandize its domestic population. The authors of Britain’s JTRIG program claim to be able to manipulate online polls and commentary just for starters. The direct influence of media is probably not codified or written down. The cozy nature of Britain’s establishment makes such banalities unnecessary.

    Living outside the U.K. I notice very strongly the group think that sways the public mind and the degree to which my own friends and family struggle with dissonance — the attempt to form their own opinions in the face of an unrelenting stream of near-uniform narrative. Many don’t trouble themselves with personal thinking and adopt attitudes wholesale like the colours of a football team.

    This is what the Grenfell story has become:
    The Guardian: “A betrayal of human rights” (of concern to those that understand such things).
    The Guardian: “Relief organisations are taking residents’ concerns seriously at last” (all’s well, the cavalry/ bureaucracy’s arrived)
    The Telegraph: “Veteran revolutionary with conviction for attacking Tory chairman behind the Grenfell Tower ‘day of rage’ protest.” (nuff said).
    The Mail: … … … A music record.

    So what still could be Britain’s biggest-ever death toll from a single-building fire, that happened just a week ago, has nearly been pushed off the front pages.

  2. Odd that there’s been absolutely no mention of what mobile phone tracking data gives as a ballpack estimate of the number of people who were actually present overnight in Grenfell tower on a regular basis.

    At the very lease, the movement and call/message activity of every mobile phone in the UK is tracked at the meta-data level.

    Excluding accounts that can be attributed to nearby but distinct addresses and looking at usages patterns in the weeks before and days after the fire would provide a useful estimate of the number of actual residents.

    Granted, many may have left their mobiles behind in all the commotion but the data would likely provide workable leads in finding out who previously unknown tennants were and wheher they can be accounted for.

      1. Is there any reason you’re not releasing my comment of 1109 today?

      2. Yes. Moderation takes time and that’s been in short supply. Will get round to it when possible – if you’ve put links in the comment that’s probably what triggered moderation, most of your comments should come through automatically.

  3. This one’s been waiting 5 days!


    (16/06/2017 1.40 pm)

    So I’ll repost today’s without the links.

    More quotation marks and “ifs”.

    In the D notice story one source telling three others became multiple sources, and the tale turned out to be untrue. (Skwawkbox will not say what “other restriction” might achieve the same end, although the previous poster has come up with the “let’s not rock the boat” theory which the government would obviously not confirm as a restriction)

    Skwawkbox will neither confirm nor deny whether he has first hand evidence of the “forced relocation” story ie whether a “relocatee” has confirmed the story. If(!) it’s all second or third hand perhaps that story is untrue as well (it has been denied by the GRT)

    This appears to be of the same nature.

    Somebody says that somebody said …

    This has been a horrific disaster, and no one knows what the final death toll will be, but no one, so far as I know, has come forward and said words to the effect of “I personally have seen more than 79 bodies”

    Why not? – we are accustomed to seeing those pixellated faces and disguised voices on TV by now.

    And as the Police have said this

    “..Once people are recovered from the building they are being taken to Westminster Mortuary where post-mortems and formal identification procedures are undertaken….”

    (Link removed)

    the continuing existence of the tents mentioned here

    (Link removed)

    as any more than very temporary holding facilities would give the lie to their statement, and raise legitimate questions.

    Whatever one’s suspicions of “them” mounting a cover up, its not “them” working on the ground. It’s a lot of ordinary working folk, and one would think that if such a cover up exists there would be at least one principled whistleblower.

    1. G HIndson you seem to be under some misguided belief that the guy running this blog is somehow beholden to you and owes you some sort of service , Who the hell do you think you are ! You read this of your own free will and volition , you comment as you last replied to me in the spirit of free speech , if you don;t like the level of service given by this one man band then as I suggested to you before (and not to offend your ohh so lahhdedahh sensitivities ) CLEAR OFF AND READ SOMETHING ELSE.Skwawkbox owes you nothing and you’re dam lucky he prints your comments , so quit your whining stop trying to undermine and dilute the full horror of whats happened here . You may have blind faith in the authorities but thank God others don’t and these blogs act as vital information sources even if they are sometimes wrong , that’s the nature of Blogging .You take a range of blogs and thier views and info sources that then gives you a better picture of what’s happening .You want whistle blowers then go read Vox Political The Canary and Another Angry Voice they have all got comments from Fire-fighters and others all pointing to MUCH greater numbers.
      Try this stance on with other blogs like Tom Prides Blog and you get short shrift you so deserve from him be assured of that

      1. I’m pointing out what appear to be fundamental shortcomings in some of the stories, quoted above, that appear here, not on other outlets.

        Why shouldn’t they be challenged if they appear to be based on rumour and /or hearsay?

        If Skwawkbox doesn’t want me to do so he is at liberty not to allow my comments. But that wouldn’t sit comfortably with the concept of free speech, so long as I pose my questions politely and don’t descend into insults and name calling.

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