To those who may not understand the reference, in the World of Gambling, a stacked deck refers to a deck of cards that has been rigged in such a way that the player cannot possibly win. Of course the person involved is unaware or they wouldn’t bother to play in the first place.
Ostensibly such practices have been banned. However, legalized gambling is a far more honest environment than that of Politics and Government.
After having been sexually abused and raped first by her family, then later in a Government run institution, Melanie was “thrown to the Wolves” once she was released from the Children’s Home in which she’d been victimized.
She was left homeless and without assistance of any kind. After suffering both physically and mentally for eighteen years, and without counseling, she had developed Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Penniless she learned to survive on the streets in the only way available to her and because of what she’d endured she turned to drugs to escape the horror.
Melanie probably would have died there were it not for the fact that she met someone who was empathetic to her plight. They moved in together and later had a son. She had found a way to live with her past and was leading a “normal life” as much as someone with her history could.
In time she got past her own pain and developed the strength to confront the system which had betrayed her and was continuing to do so to those she’d left behind. Naively she believed that once the Government was made aware of the conditions that existed at Beechwood they would not only put an end to these practices, but deal with the perpetrators. She became a “whistle blower” an advocate for those who remained in the system.
What she was unaware of, until it was too late, was that those at the highest levels of Government were not only aware, but complicit.
Now that she had gone public with what had happened to her and the others and was continuing to happen, those in charge had no choice but to “deal with the situation.” Of course this was only on the surface. Because they knew that if they came down too hard on those running these institutions it was highly likely that they in turn would blow the whistle on the officials who were not only aware, but active participants themselves.
As elusive as details of her childhood were, her life since becoming a “Whistle Blower” is equally so. Were it not for the fact that there are limited reports about her incarceration and some videos and pictures, one would be tempted to think her a myth.
As best as I have been able to ascertain, her troubles post Beechwood began when once she started talking to the Nottinghamshire Police.
This led to “Operation Daybreak” a formal investigation into the facility and the alleged claims of abuse. More victims came forward including Actress Samantha Morton. In all more than one hundred people were interviewed.
Now here is where things get sticky. According to reports Melanie confronted those running the investigation claiming that they were lying about some of the people they claimed to have interviewed. While it isn’t stated, it appears this was due to some on the list already being dead.
She was told that if she carried on speaking to the Media, her Son would be taken into custody. Allegedly one of her neighbors contacted Social Services though there are no details about what was said. Subsequently her Son was taken into Foster Care which is chilling considering his Mother’s experience.
Social Services attempted to brand her as mentally incompetent but was unable to make the charge stick.
Some of the victims that came forward during the investigation received payments from the local Council but on a Civil rather than criminal basis. The result being that no one was charged at that time by the Police. In other words these people were paid off, had to agree not to pursue the matter any farther, and were no doubt threatened in the same way Melanie had been.
The grounds of Beechwood were never searched for bodies despite the information Ms. Shaw had provided, and the Council proceeded to sell off the property.
Following this Melanie was charged with arson for setting her neighbor’s shed on fire though no reports from the Police or Fire Department exist.
She was released on bail on the agreement that she was to stay away from the neighbor who’s property she had allegedly torched.
Instead, the Neighbor turned up at her front door. Fearing that she would be charged with violating the terms of the agreement, Melanie contacted the Police. When they arrived she was arrested and taken into custody, her whereabouts unknown. It was revealed later that she had been taken to Peterborough Prison.
Once there she was examined by the Prison Psychiatrist and found to be “delusional and mentally unfit.”
Prior to this she had been under the care of a private Psychiatrist and was on prescription medication to deal with her condition. However, by the time she was examined at Peterborough she had been without meds long enough for the effects to have worn off. Those in charge at the Prison were no doubt aware of this. Further, her own Psychiatrist was never called to give testimony on her behalf.
At that time she was sentenced to three years probation and as a result of the weighted examination, was no longer considered credible. The Judge in the case pronounced the charges Melanie had made against Beechwood a conspiracy theory, the product of woman suffering from severe mental illness.
I have to step away from her story for a moment in order to provide context for the American audience.
We tend to think of England as a mirror image of the United States, but with a better accent.
George Bernard Shaw was attributed with saying that “We are two Nations separated by a common language” although it turns out that it may be Oscar Wilde who was actually responsible for the quote.
Regardless, we are separated by far more than that. We hear the term whistle blower here and applaud these people for stepping forward, in many cases. They are, in theory, protected from retribution by law.
However, in light of what happened to Dennis Nathan Cain who’s home was raided by the FBI on the grounds that he he was in possession of stolen Government documents despite the fact that he had already given these to the Inspector General appointed by former AG Sessions, that may not be the case here either.
But in general, the concept has far more support from the U.S Government than it does in Great Britain, at least on paper.
I just finished reading a piece in the Guardian, a British Newspaper, which goes into great detail about this and which I will provide a link to. In a nutshell, the British Government looks upon anyone who challenges Authority, regardless of the situation, as an “Enemy of the State” and acts accordingly. Here are two quotes from the Guardian. The highlighted text will link back to the article.
“As the Liberal MP Clement Freud told the Commons in a debate on section two in 1979: “If one wants to find out how to look after one’s children in a nuclear emergency, one cannot, because it is an official secret; if one wants to know what noxious gases are being emitted from a factory chimney opposite one’s house, one cannot, because it is an official secret.”
“On the other hand, Freud said, a man who applied for a job as a gardener at Hampton Court was expected to sign the Official Secrets Act in case he gave away information about watering begonias. “What is worse, if someone is good enough to tell one, then one is an accessory to the crime. Section two gives the attorney general more power than a bad man should have or a good man should need.”
Section two was ammened in 1989 in order to provide transparency and protect those who in the past would have been prosecuted. Although it seems that this was not entirely the case and in 2017 the Government revisited this in light of the case of Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden was an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency employee, and former contractor for the United States government who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013. (Wikipedia)
The British Government is now suggesting that:
“The law should criminalise not only those who disclose official information without authority, but anyone “who obtains or gathers information”, much like section two once did.”
“Prosecutors would not need to prove that the disclosure would be likely to cause damage, as the 1989 act requires, but that it might cause damage. The commissioners are also suggesting that this law might extend to information about the economy; and that it should also criminalise the publication of some information that is already in the public domain.” (UK Guardian)
Interestingly enough it was in 2017 that Melanie Shaw was first incarcerated. Precisely at the same time the Government was in the process of revising the law.
So to reiterate, “the deck was stacked” against Melanie before she ever opened her mouth.
The next installment will deal with her imprisonment and the manner in which she was treated.
To be continued…..
Categories: UK Politics
Your brilliant articles on this shocking story are so informative and needfully graphic, that the whole thing is both sad and infuriating at the same time.
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Thank you so much Conor. That means a great deal as you are quite a gifted writer in your own right. So greatful to have met you and that you came on board with Torchlight.
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It is my honour and privilege, to write for your august organ.