V.I.P. VETS IN PRISON

Posted on January 24, 2011 by


‘KANGAROO JUSTICE’

The British Prime Minister Mr David Cameron’s state visit to China in November 2010 – received much criticism from Human Rights groups and gave Mr Cameron a lot of bad press for not openly raising the issues of China’s appalling human rights record during his visit.

Kate Allen the UK Director of Amnesty International said “it is unbelievable that the UK Government will put trade before human rights. Chinese human rights abuses include torture, forced labour, unfair trials and the death penalty”.

 

 

 VIP say if Mr Cameron ever did get round to bringing up the subject of human rights with the Chinese leaders (especially the part about unfair trials) the Prime Ministers hands would have been tied – in fact he would have had to speak to the Chinese leasers with tongue in cheek on this topic because the British Justice system is also covering up an appalling track record of unfair trials?

The clue was in the poppy the Prime Minister was wearing throughout his visit to China – the Poppy symbolises Britain’s remembrance and eternal thanks to its Service personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for their country during wars/conflicts. However the huge irony is that nowadays the Poppy is produced in Britain’s prisons where it could have been assembled by a veteran ex-soldier – one of the thousands of veteran ex-soldiers in the prison population who has probably never had the decency of a ‘fair and just’ trial because of being psychologically wounded fighting in wars/conflicts and unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD!

It was in 1987 when VIP first became aware of the large numbers of ex-soldiers in the prison population and realised that something was seriously wrong with these unusual circumstances – eventually we made the connection that most of these troops/veterans had served in wars/conflicts during their service and through our contacts with the American Vietnam veterans we realised that the problem was related to combat related PTSD. The Vietnam Veterans had the exact same problems years ago on their return from the war in Vietnam with disproportionate numbers of veterans ending up in their prison population – until 1980 when combat related PTSD was identified and things started to change in their Justice system. Unfortunately in the UK (for political reasons) Politicians and Officials tend to sweep things under the carpet rather than admit and deal with a problem – for years VIP have hounded past and present Governments including the Ministry of Defence – telling them that these troops/veterans in the prison population are only a small part of a bigger picture of ‘Alcoholism, Divorce, Homelessness, Prison and Suicide’ concerning troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD after their service in wars/conflicts.

In spite of all those characteristic indications of troops/veterans suffering this mental disorder VIP concentrated on the extraordinary numbers of ex-soldiers in the prison population that we could actually see with our own eyes – and became relentless in a quest to inform Politicians and the general public about this ongoing disaster and penned numerous letters to government Ministers. But like Politicians have been doing for the past 600 years they simply dodged the issue and answered our letters with spin – they didn’t want to know about the Justice system missing a major factor or the vital evidence of mitigating circumstances of combat related PTSD being overlooked at troops/veterans trials. VIP actually began to think that perhaps Government Ministers were opportunely using the law for their own convenience – well let’s face it the Justice system was inadvertently covering up unseen, excessive and embarrassing casualty figures of wars/conflicts which Governments didn’t want the public to know about? Anyhow it is now no big secret that since VIP’s survey of the prison population in 2008 and we let the Genie of these hidden numbers of troops/veterans in the prison population out of the bottle – that political opposition parties and the public began to realise that something connected to these high numbers of ex-soldiers in the prison population and their military service was seriously wrong?

Therefore to put this ongoing tragedy into some sort of perspective and the seriousness in the way that this mental disorder has progressed and come about in destroying troops/veterans (their families) and victims lives over the years – VIP can accurately pinpoint the rise in the numbers of ex-soldiers in the prison population to shortly after troops were first committed into the conflict of Northern Ireland in 1969. Subsequently and as a result of a never ending cycle of wars/conflicts for British troops thereafter (over 40 years) – the number of ex-soldiers in the prison population has steadily risen to at least 10 times higher than that of any other profession in the whole prison system.

So VIP welcomed the news when the MoD and the Department of Health announced that they are going to move forward with recommendations from a Government report which had recently looked into the state of Britain’s military mental health. The report ‘Fighting Fit’ was produced for the Coalition Government by former Royal Navy doctor Andrew Murrison MP – and for the first time ever a statement in the report actually mentioned and acknowledged; ‘that there is a problem between troops/veterans mental health issues and prison’!

Quote: Mental illness is a root cause of both homelessness and involvement in the Criminal Justice system. It is probable that veterans are either over-represented or more likely to have mental problems in the two groups.

At long last a Government report has been produced which actually confirms what VIP have been shouting about for years – confirming that the excessive numbers of troops/veterans in the prison population are linked to troops/veterans (unknowingly) suffering mental health problems. VIP do not know how the Fighting Fit report came about their findings but almost certainly the main culprit of these psychological problems will be combat related PTSD – or is the Government report saying British troops/veterans are not sane before they enlist in the Army (although issuing ‘non compos mentis’ people with weapons of destruction is not only absurd – but totally insane)?

Accordingly the meaning and consequences of the Fighting Fit report’s message are enormous especially for the Criminal Justice system and the Judiciary – with the Government report admitting that there is a connection between mental illness and prison it now brings into play the other part of the equation such as; ‘How many thousands of troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD have never had ‘fair and just’ trials over the past 4 decades’?

Fact: The psychiatric waffle put out about stigma deterring troops/veterans from admitting the problem of suffering combat related PTSD – is far from the real explanation. The reason is because the vast majority of troops/veterans ‘do not know or realise’ that they are suffering from this mental disorder because of the way it masks itself within the troops/veterans themselves – and also why psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists only get to know from these troops/veterans what they want to let them know. Sadly troops/veterans will unwittingly swim straight through all the safety nets including the TRiM programme (designed with double standards that are more advantages to the MoD than to the troops/veterans it is supposed to protect) – because other actors come into play and it is ignorance of combat related PTSD which is the root cause that prevents most troops/veterans from admitting they are suffering this mental disorder not stigma.

So what does it mean to be a veteran unknowingly psychologically wounded fighting for their Country in wars conflicts – then ending up inside the prison population serving a prison sentence? Scandalously for many troops/veterans it means not only have they been cheated out of the decency of being able to live normal productive lives with their families – but pitifully professional crooks have had more ‘fairer and just trials’ than the troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD. The bottom line is that the troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD in the prison population have been hoodwinked into having unfair trials – because pathetically the Criminal justice system failed to notice their mental illness from the very start when they were first taken into custody. Hence unless troops/veterans plus the Criminal Justice system are alerted and educated to how combat related PTSD really works – such as how easily and why this disorder will take control and destroy their lives without their knowledge. Then this charade of giving troops/veterans ‘fair and just’ trials will carry on no matter what rhetoric the Criminal Justice system or the Government come up with – for the simple reason that ‘if troops/veterans do not know’ they are suffering combat related PTSD when they are put on trial then they are not getting ‘fair and just’ trials!

For example: ‘Article Six of the European Human Rights Act’ states: ‘Everyone is entitled to a Fair and Just Trial’. However a classic example of how thousands of troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD have been bamboozled out of receiving ‘fair and just’ trials over the past 40 years – is clearly exposed in the criminal case of Mr Barry George (a civilian who was charged and found guilty of the murder of television presenter Miss Jill Dando)! To cut a long story short Mr George eventually had his conviction of Miss Dando’s murder judged unsafe by the Criminal Appeal Courts – and then had a retrial at the Old Bailey where he was acquitted of her murder. But throughout his retrial he had a female psychologist sitting in the dock beside him – which is not normal practice because as a rule a person charged or found guilty of a crime usually sits in the dock by themselves. Afterwards when the psychologist was asked ‘why’ she was allowed to sit in the dock with Mr George during his retrial she said: “it is believed that Mr George is suffering PTSD because of being falsely accused of the Jill Dando murder – and someone suffering PTSD will say anything”!

Incredibly those key words of “someone suffering PTSD will say anything” coming from a professional psychologist – ideally sums up and exposes what must be an appalling record number of nonexistent ‘fair and just’ trials for thousands of troops/veterans unknowingly suffering this mental disorder. Tragically there must have been countless numbers of troops/veterans processed through the Criminal Justice system over the past 4 decades without even being checked for combat related PTSD – shockingly the law has failed to protect them mainly because the Justice system couldn’t be bothered to look at the connection and the enormity of the high numbers of ex-soldiers appearing before their Courts. The Criminal Justice system has got no-one else to blame other than itself for this travesty of Justice – an antiquated Justice system that couldn’t be fussed to make any allowances or check whether troops/veterans who had served in wars/conflicts were unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD is not much of a Justice system in the first place.

Additionally the police must love this ‘will say anything’ syndrome when questioning troops/veterans taken into custody – seeing that first and foremost the police’s job is to consciously and dutifully question these troops/veterans to make their crimes look like open and shut cases of criminal guilt for the courts to prosecute. But surely the interrogation of someone unknowingly suffering a mental disorder by the law is not only farcical but illegal – since their defence stories will not be as black and white as the police and Crown Prosecution Service will make them seem to be at the time of their trials. Thus all troops/veterans who have served in wars/conflicts should be checked for combat related PTSD before being questioned by the police – this is the only way to ensure high risk troops/veterans who have served in wars/conflicts can be given any resemblance of a ‘fair and just’ trial?

Furthermore this ‘will say anything’ factor for troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD comes in a number of ways – a typical instance is how some troops/veterans can re-live flashbacks of former life threatening situations from their war/conflict experiences and not know they have done so. As for instance their involvement of a violent situation in a war/conflict and the only way to extract themselves out of this tight spot was to use extreme violence – although disastrously this violent encounter does not merely slip from their minds and is forgotten on their return home (it unknowingly becomes a problem solver hidden and etched in their minds – triggered in response to their being under pressure). As a result not only will this mental disorder have been an unseen motive for these troops/veterans crime – it will also have been a concealed trigger for their actions – abruptly disappearing from their minds before being questioned by the police. The flashback has vanished because their minds have been unconsciously ‘flipped in and flipped out’ of these past violent situations without any recall whatsoever – this quandary then leaves troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD and being quizzed by the police wide open for the full weight of the law to fall on them and the courts to hang then up to dry!

This is not the Justice for troops/veterans who have been psychologically wounded whilst laying their lives on the line for their Country in wars/conflicts as some are the best of the best – highly for gallantry and proof of their traumatic experiences but ridiculously even these were never checked for combat related PTSD by the Criminal Justice system. At the end of the day Justice has got to be seen to be done but this kind of Justice is more like a kangaroo style of justice – with the courts knowing only half of the facts and juries not knowing of any mental illness whatsoever is something the British public would expect from a third world country. The British Criminal justice system was once considered to be the best in western world –yet these high numbers of ex-soldiers in the prison population are testimony to it now being one of the worst justice systems!

We at VIP say: “if there is any justice the responsibility for these high numbers of troops/veterans in the prison population should be laid firmly at previous successive Government doors and their Justice Departments – as they were responsible for a legal process in which the rising numbers of ex-soldiers in the prison population prove that they were incapable of dispensing any likeness of Justice to troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD. To substantiate our allegations VIP suggest some independent body (newspaper or a TV programme) should examine the Criminal Justice systems records of trials and sentencing policy over the past 40 years – then look at how many troops/veterans have ever had combat related PTSD taken into consideration at the time of their trials? Appallingly when comparing these statistics to the very high numbers of troops/veterans who have actually been processed through the Criminal justice system – without doubt the results will make a mockery out of the words ‘justice and veterans’!

The Ministry of Justice may pass the buck and try to slink their way out of their responsibilities of giving troops/veterans a ‘fair and just’ trial by saying: ‘it is up to troops/veterans defence teams to inform the courts of their client’s mental conditions at the time of their trial.’

This is complete rubbish and incorrect as it should be the Ministry of Justices duty to recognise and protect troops/veterans who are unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD – if the judiciary wish to prosecute troops/veterans for crimes then the Criminal Justice system should have fail-safe procedures in place to recognise and protect the troops/veterans unknowingly suffering this mental disorder.

However the crucial question of whether the Fighting Fit recommendations will reduce the very high rates of ‘Alcoholism, Divorce, Homelessness, Prison and Suicide’ amongst troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD – the answer in a nutshell is ‘no’ the recommendations will have very little impact (if any) on these ongoing tragedies because the reports proposals are not targeting the troops/veterans who are unknowingly suffering this disorder and consequently they are being missed by a mile.

 Unfortunately the down side of the reports recommendations are that they do not target the troops/veterans who need to be targeted – such as the vast majority ‘who do not know or realise’ that they are suffering from this devastating mental disorder. In fact the Fighting Fit report actually confirms how far the coalition Government has go to go in terms of tackling the problems of combat related PTSD – as there is nothing of any significance in the recommendations that will be of any help to the troops/veterans who ‘do not know’ they are suffering this mental disorder. Basically the recommendations are the same old hat procedures which have already been tried, tested and miserably failed by previous Governments – still what else do you expect from a report that goes back to the same so called authorities of PTSD – who could not see this catastrophe unfolding in front of them when it was staring them in the face. In actuality the adage ‘that history repeats itself if lessons aren’t learned’ is clearly highlighted with these Government experts prognosis of “If troops/veterans don’t know they are suffering combat related PTSD – then don’t tell them”!

Footnote: VIP have no doubts whatsoever (because we found the truth ourselves) that most of the high numbers of ex-soldiers in the prison population acknowledged in the Fighting Fit report to have mental health problems – stem from the greater part of them unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD at the time of their trials and ignorantly disregarded by the Criminal justice system. Thus for that reason not only are these troops/veterans getting the justice they fully deserve or combat related PTSD not being addressed whilst these troops/veterans are in the prison system – they are serving what must be described as illegal prison sentences under Article Six of the European Human Rights Act.

 p.s the best part of troops/veterans do not ‘know or realise’ that they are suffering combat related PTSD – and tragically they are the ones most likely to suffer ‘Alcoholism, Homelessness, Divorce Prison and Suicide’. Thankfully there is now an answer to prevent these troops/veterans from continuing to unknowingly suffer this devastating disorder – by issuing all troops/veterans (and their families) who have served in wars/conflicts with copies of the VIP Survival Guide. The key to the Survival Guide’s success is that it is written in a style and content which troops/veterans unknowingly suffering combat related PTSD will be able to easily understand and recognise – enabling them to step forward for the treatment and justice they desperately deserve before their (and their families) lives are destroyed. 

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