Saturday, January 18, 2014
Fidel Castro speaks at his own trial while charged with treason and this excerpt is from his defence speech of 'History Will Absolve Me.'
“Honorable Judges, has been recognized from the most ancient times to the present day by men of all creeds, ideas and doctrines.
It was so in the theocratic monarchies of remote antiquity. In China it was almost a constitutional principle that when a king governed rudely and despotically he should be deposed and replaced by a virtuous prince.
The philosophers of ancient India upheld the principle of active resistance to arbitrary authority. They justified revolution and very often put their theories into practice. One of their spiritual leaders used to say that 'an opinion held by the majority is stronger than the king himself. A rope woven of many strands is strong enough to hold a lion.'
The city states of Greece and republican Rome not only admitted, but defended the meting-out of violent death to tyrants.
In the Middle Ages, John Salisbury in his Book of the Statesman says that when a prince does not govern according to law and degenerates into a tyrant, violent overthrow is legitimate and justifiable. He recommends for tyrants the dagger rather than poison.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, in the Summa Theologica, rejects the doctrine of tyrannicide, and yet upholds the thesis that tyrants should be overthrown by the people.
Martin Luther proclaimed that when a government degenerates into a tyranny that violates the laws, its subjects are released from their obligations to obey. His disciple, Philippe Melanchton, upholds the right of resistance when governments become despotic. Calvin, the outstanding thinker of the Reformation with regard to political ideas, postulates that people are entitled to take up arms to oppose any usurpation.
No less a man that Juan Mariana, a Spanish Jesuit during the reign of Philip II, asserts in his book, De Rege et Regis Institutione, that when a governor usurps power, or even if he were elected, when he governs in a tyrannical manner it is licit for a private citizen to exercise tyrannicide, either directly or through subterfuge with the least possible disturbance.
The French writer, François Hotman, maintained that between the government and its subjects there is a bond or contract, and that the people may rise in rebellion against the tyranny of government when the latter violates that pact.
About the same time, a booklet - which came to be widely read - appeared under the title Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, and it was signed with the pseudonym Stephanus Junius Brutus. It openly declared that resistance to governments is legitimate when rulers oppress the people and that it is the duty of Honorable Judges to lead the struggle.
The Scottish reformers John Knox and John Poynet upheld the same points of view. And, in the most important book of that movement, George Buchanan stated that if a government achieved power without taking into account the consent of the people, or if a government rules their destiny in an unjust or arbitrary fashion, then that government becomes a tyranny and can be divested of power or, in a final recourse, its leaders can be put to death.
John Althus, a German jurist of the early 17th century, stated in his Treatise on Politics that sovereignty as the supreme authority of the State is born from the voluntary concourse of all its members; that governmental authority stems from the people and that its unjust, illegal or tyrannical function exempts them from the duty of obedience and justifies resistance or rebellion.
Thus far, Honorable Judges, I have mentioned examples from antiquity, from the Middle Ages, and from the beginnings of our times. I selected these examples from writers of all creeds. What is more, you can see that the right to rebellion is at the very root of Cuba's existence as a nation. By virtue of it you are today able to appear in the robes of Cuban Judges. Would it be that those garments really served the cause of justice!
It is well known that in England during the 17th century two kings, Charles I and James II, were dethroned for despotism. These actions coincided with the birth of liberal political philosophy and provided the ideological base for a new social class, which was then struggling to break the bonds of feudalism. Against divine right autocracies, this new philosophy upheld the principle of the social contract and of the consent of the governed, and constituted the foundation of the English Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1775 and the French Revolution of 1789. These great revolutionary events ushered in the liberation of the Spanish colonies in the New World - the final link in that chain being broken by Cuba. The new philosophy nurtured our own political ideas and helped us to evolve our Constitutions, from the Constitution of Guáimaro up to the Constitution of 1940. The latter was influenced by the socialist currents of our time; the principle of the social function of property and of man's inalienable right to a decent living were built into it, although large vested interests have prevented fully enforcing those rights.
The right of insurrection against tyranny then underwent its final consecration and became a fundamental tenet of political liberty.
As far back as 1649, John Milton wrote that political power lies with the people, who can enthrone and dethrone kings and have the duty of overthrowing tyrants.
John Locke, in his essay on government, maintained that when the natural rights of man are violated, the people have the right and the duty to alter or abolish the government. 'The only remedy against unauthorized force is opposition to it by force.'
Jean-Jaques Rousseau said with great eloquence in his Social Contract: 'While a people sees itself forced to obey and obeys, it does well; but as soon as it can shake off the yoke and shakes it off, it does better, recovering its liberty through the use of the very right that has been taken away from it.' 'The strongest man is never strong enough to be master forever, unless he converts force into right and obedience into duty. Force is a physical power; I do not see what morality one may derive from its use. To yield to force is an act of necessity, not of will; at the very least, it is an act of prudence. In what sense should this be called a duty?' 'To renounce freedom is to renounce one's status as a man, to renounce one's human rights, including one's duties. There is no possible compensation for renouncing everything. Total renunciation is incompatible with the nature of man and to take away all free will is to take away all morality of conduct. In short, it is vain and contradictory to stipulate on the one hand an absolute authority and on the other an unlimited obedience ...'
Thomas Paine said that 'one just man deserves more respect than a rogue with a crown.'
The people's right to rebel has been opposed only by reactionaries like that clergyman of Virginia, Jonathan Boucher, who said: 'The right to rebel is a censurable doctrine derived from Lucifer, the father of rebellions.'
The Declaration of Independence of the Congress of Philadelphia, on July 4th, 1776, consecrated this right in a beautiful paragraph which reads: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.'
The famous French Declaration of the Rights of Man willed this principle to the coming generations: 'When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is for them the most sacred of rights and the most imperative of duties.' 'When a person seizes sovereignty, he should be condemned to death by free men.’
Friday, January 17, 2014
Fred Unger giving his 19 year old dog a swim in Lake Superior in Wisconsin for it soothed his ravaging and painful arthritis. His dog, and loyal companion since he was a pup, passed away peacefully in July of 2013 at the ripe old age of twenty or 140 in man years. Truly best friends to each other.....................
Addressing the American troops in England before the invasion of Normandy in France that everyone called D Day, Patton pulls no punches when he talked or snarled, and like a trainer in a boxing match, tries to pump up his men one last time before the blood flowed.
"You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he’s not, he’s a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.
Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen. All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call “chicken shit drilling.” That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don’t give a fuck for a man who’s not always on his toes.
You men are veterans or you wouldn’t be here. You are ready for what’s to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you’re not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sock full of shit! There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.
An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking! We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we’re going up against. By God, I do. My men don’t surrender, and I don’t want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back. That’s not just bull shit either.
The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!
All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn’t like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, ‘Hell, they won’t miss me, just one man in thousands.’ But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like?
No, Goddamn it, Americans don’t think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn’t a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the ‘G.I. Shits’.
Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men. One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, ‘Fixing the wire, Sir.’ I asked, ‘Isn’t that a little unhealthy right about now?’ He answered, ‘Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.’ I asked, ‘Don’t those planes strafing the road bother you?’ And he answered, ‘No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!’
Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds. And you should have seen those trucks on the rode to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts.
Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren’t combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.
Don’t forget, you men don’t know that I’m here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this Army. I’m not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Someday I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, ‘Jesus Christ, it’s the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton.’ We want to get the hell over there.” The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.
Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!
When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don’t dig foxholes. I don’t want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don’t give the enemy time to dig one either. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cock suckers by the bushel-fucking-basket.
War is a bloody, killing business. You’ve got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it’s the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you’ll know what to do! I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!
From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don’t give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.
There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON’T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, ‘Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named George S Patton!"
That is all.
Oscar Wilde’s last paragraph of his long yet beautiful letter, De profundis (“from the depths”), was written from Jail between January and March 1897, and moves today as strong as it did then.
“All trials are trials for one's life, just as all sentences are sentences of death; and three times have I been tried. The first time I left the box to be arrested, the second time to be led back to the house of detention, the third time to pass into a prison for two years. Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole again.”
Thursday, January 16, 2014
“The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”
“What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious.”
“We must not say every mistake is a foolish one.”
“The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends.”
“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”
“If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.”
“Laws are silent in times of war.”
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.”
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”
“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”
“The man who backbites an absent friend, nay, who does not stand up for him when another blames him, the man who angles for bursts of laughter and for the repute of a wit, who can invent what he never saw, who cannot keep a secret -- that man is black at heart: mark and avoid him.”
“Though silence is not necessarily an admission, it is not a denial, either.”
“It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.”
“A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.”
Cicero was born 106 BC and died 43 BC
1) Don't question yourself anymore
2) Do not contact negative people and avoid the others
3) Smile at least once every 15 minutes
4) Practice good thoughts while keeping out the bad ones
5) Contact someone nice that you always meant to
6) Liberate your thoughts with pleasure and without the guilt
7) Speak your mind to others and to yourself
8) Accept that your birth was a great accident of chance
9) Accept that your life can only be determined by you
10) Never say sorry unless you mean it
11) Accept your mistakes were because you at least tried
12) Accept your regrets as part of the mistakes
13) Stop thinking about yesterday and the day before that
14) Believe yourself to be number '1' yet equal to all
15) Accept the night as the end of the days great adventure
16) Tomorrow, start this exercise all over again
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The village ruined by the most gullible man in Britain: Incredible story of the chartered surveyor, an email pledging a £3m lotto win and the neighbours impoverished in a web of sheer greed
By Paul Bracchi
Arthur Stimpson, from Norfolk, was 'brainwashed' by an email scam into believing he had won £2.7million on a Spanish lottery and handed over £50,000 of his own money to conmen who claimed it was needed to release the massive windfall. When his own money ran out, Stimpson fooled those closest to him into handing over more than £1.1million in his increasingly desperate bid to get his hands on the jackpot.
Image of respectability: Surveyor Arthur Stimpson was jailed for four years
Back in the summer of 2007, an email from ‘Spain’ arrived in Arthur Stimpson’s inbox. The words ‘ATTENTION: NOTIFICATION OF AWARD’ were written in capital letters at the top and below was a letter informing him that he had won a major prize in the Spanish national lottery.
His name had apparently been selected at random and entered by computer into the draw. All he had to do was ring the number given to claim his prize.
Now, at this stage, most of us would probably have stopped reading and pressed the ‘delete’ button because, as the old adage goes, ‘if something appears too good to be true, then it probably is’.
If only Mr Stimpson had heeded that advice. Instead, curiosity got the better of him and he found himself dialling the number in the email. The voice at the end of the line was ‘delighted’ to tell him that he had scooped 3.3 million euros (£2.7 million).
Of course, there would be ‘administrative costs’ requiring the payment of certain ‘transfer fees’, for tax and insurance purposes and suchlike, but when these had been cleared the ‘transfer process’ could begin and he would receive his windfall.
Mr Stimpson, it should be pointed out, attended both university and public school and was a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS). In other words, he was a man of considerable intelligence and accomplishment. Remember that, when you read what follows.
His decision to take what he had been told by the man with the thick Spanish accent at face value was the start of an astonishing — and sometimes farcical — chain of events that had cataclysmic consequences, not just for Mr Stimpson himself but also for his wife, four children, aged 12 to 23, and the local community in the village of Suffield in Norfolk (pop: 140), who were unwittingly entangled in an ever-spreading nightmare.
For, as any sensible person must have already guessed, behind that ‘too good to be true’ email were ruthless conmen.
How much do you think the normally levelled-headed, bespectacled Mr Stimpson paid to the ‘representatives’ of the ‘state lottery board in Madrid’ — in so-called ‘transfer fees’? The figure is believed to have exceeded an almost unbelievable £1 million.
The first £50,000 came from Mr Stimpson’s own life savings. After he had ‘wired’ the money to Iberian bank accounts, though, he was he told that — surprise, surprise — it was not enough to release the ‘jackpot’. More fees were needed. So Mr Stimpson persuaded friends and neighbours into parting with their own money with promises of up to 1,000 per cent returns. Most never saw their cash again.
On at least one occasion, the court heard, Mr Stimpson put £75,000 into a plastic bag and handed it over to ‘men from the lottery board’ who turned up at the end of his drive by prior arrangement.
The brothers who run a local butcher’s shop gave him £74,000; a farmer who had known Mr Stimpson for many years contributed £110,000; the godfather to one of Mr Stimpson’s children stumped up £90,000. Others ‘loaned’ him sums of £150,000, £85,000, £30,000, or £10,000. In all, 13 victims were drawn into Mr Stimpson’s desperate attempt to obtain the non-existent lottery millions.
Almost every penny, police suspect, ended up the hands of the lottery conmen.
It would be difficult to imagine a more breathtaking example of gullibility, fuelled by greed, than the story of Arthur Stimpson, which culminated this week with his being jailed for four years at Norwich Crown Court on multiple fraud and forgery charges.
By then, Mr Stimpson, in his customary grey tweed jacket, was a broken man; he had lost everything — his reputation, his friends, and his magnificent eight-bedroom former Victorian rectory worth £1.25 million, which was sold to help pay off creditors (including those he had duped himself).
But the sale allowed him to repay them only £280,000 because the property had a mortgage, leaving them £874,000 out of pocket. Has one email ever cost a man so dear?
It is the details of his story that are so astonishing. On at least one occasion, the court heard, Mr Stimpson put £75,000 into a plastic bag and handed it over to ‘men from the lottery board’ who turned up at the end of his drive by prior arrangement. His wife Emma, needless to say, was unaware of the illicit rendezvous or the increasingly dangerous world her husband was being sucked in
Sold: The Old rectory in Suffield, Norfolk, the former home of chartered surveyor turned conman Arthur Stimpson
Mr Stimpson is an extreme example; but he is certainly not alone. Every day, otherwise sensible individuals, from all over the country, succumb to cyber crime. The overseas lottery scam is among the most ubiquitous, the modern version, if you like, of the notorious timeshare rackets of the Seventies and Eighties.
The conmen, some of them Nigerians based on the Spanish mainland, but with a network of accomplices in Britain, pump out faxes, emails and letters in English claiming to be the organisers of El Gordo, or The Fat One (a Christmas lottery with billions in prize money on offer) or La Primitiva (a weekly lottery) to name but two.
The vast majority of those targeted are not taken in. But a very significant minority are. How significant a minority? An estimated three million people every year, according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), although few end up being fleeced so spectacularly as Arthur Stimpson.
Even now, those who knew him as a conservatively dressed chartered surveyor still find it hard to believe that this was the same Arthur Stimpson who was passing carrier bags stuffed full of notes to shady ‘middlemen’.
It’s not as if he needed the money. Stimpson, a school contemporary of Stephen Fry, was wealthy in his own right, the scion of a well-known local farming and land-owning family. He worked freelance for several firms of local estate agents, specialising in country house and agricultural land sales, and had a reputation for being ‘straightforward and honest’,.
So what happened after he responded to that fateful email? Well, a crude but well-rehearsed criminal operation swung in to action, one that would be unleashed on anyone foolish enough to take the bait. It lasted more than three unrelenting years.
Once he had expressed an interest, Mr Stimpson began to be bombarded — via email — with ‘official’ bank letters, documents and certificates.
Some bore the name of a Luis Alberti from the ‘Casa Blanca’ bank in Madrid. A simple Google search would have established that the Casa Blanca bank does not exist.
There was also a ‘statement’ supposedly showing that the windfall had been deposited in the Madrid branch of the Banca Unicaja. This bank is real enough. But, again, had Mr Stimpson bothered to type ‘Banca Unicaja’ into an internet search engine, he would have discovered that the ‘Banca Unicaja’ has been frequently used in lottery scam correspondence.
Indeed, a warning about such scams has been posted on the website of the British Embassy in Madrid. ‘The Spanish Lottery has informed us that they are aware of the major problem of the circulation of bogus letters announcing false lottery wins,’ it says. ‘Many of these letters purport to be from the state lottery organisation, but are not genuine.’
The initial email was sent in July, 2007. He is understood to have wired the first ‘transfer fees’ instalment to Spain just a few days later. It is unclear for exactly how much.
But he continued transferring money at regular intervals and was repeatedly assured on the phone, or by email, that he was about to receive his fortune ‘any day.’ Within a few months, all his savings had been squandered. By then, Mr Stimpson had lost £50,000.
‘His story [about the lottery] sounded feasible at the time,’ said one victim, who asked not to be named, but who lost more than £50,000. ‘At first I gave him £10,000. Then we gave him more money over the next few weeks. He gave us copies of all sorts of bank statements and letters which apparently showed the money was waiting for him.'
Why didn’t he just cut his losses and stop? It is a question, of course, that could be put to anyone who has ever been conned; anyone who has ever gambled. Presumably, Mr Stimpson thought he had passed the ‘point of no return,’ that he had no option but to keep ‘gambling’ in the hope that he would eventually recoup his ‘stake’.
In fact, Mr Stimpson went for broke, so to speak, embroiling friends and business acquaintances into the scam. Among the first to be approached, in April, 2008, were father-and-son farmers Steven and Peter Howell, from nearby Bintree. They gave him more than £100,000 (they took the precaution of taking out a legal charge on Mr Stimpson’s home so they eventually got their money back).
Others were not so lucky. ‘His story [about the lottery] sounded feasible at the time,’ said one victim, who asked not to be named, but who lost more than £50,000. ‘At first I gave him £10,000. Then we gave him more money over the next few weeks. He gave us copies of all sorts of bank statements and letters which apparently showed the money was waiting for him.
‘He was promising £10,000 back for very £1,000 we spent. The money was always just days away. I put him on the spot once and asked him to swear on the lives of his wife and children that he was getting the money and he did swear. I think he believed it.’
Police believe all the money was either being wired abroad or personally handed over to the fraudsters in envelopes by Mr Stimpson. All the details of these handover meetings are supplied by Mr Stimpson, and it is possible that none took place, and that he was pocketing some of the money himself in a desperate bid to cover his losses. But on the balance of evidence, detectives believe his story.
One of the most colourful meetings — perhaps bizarre would be a more accurate description — took place in London in the summer of 2009. Mr Stimpson was shown a briefcase allegedly containing several million U.S. dollars by a man purporting to be a Spanish ‘bank official.’ This was his lottery money, Mr Stimpson was told.
It had been stained with protective dye for ‘security reasons’ to prevent anyone stealing it. Before it could be handed over to Mr Stimpson, it would have to be sent to specialist company in Switzerland to be cleaned with chemicals. As a ‘gesture of good faith,’ however, Mr Stimpson was given a small amount of dollars that had already been ‘cleaned’.
Shortly afterwards, yet another bogus statement was produced to show that the ‘cleaned’ lottery prize money was in an offshore account with HSBC and ready to be ‘transferred to him imminently’. And so it went on.
Paul and Karl Graves run a butcher’s shop in Briston. Arthur Stimpson was regular customer for years. They agreed to lend him £74,000 after being shown family oil paintings and heirlooms which Mr Stimpson said were worth tens of thousands of pounds. He assured the brothers that he would sell these possessions to repay them if the lottery millions didn’t materialise. In April last year Mr Stimpson did ‘repay’ them — just £20,000.
The list of victims goes on. Friend James Thompson, who chose Mr Stimpson as godfather to one of his children, never received a penny of the £80,000 he loaned him. Then there’s the Agnew brothers, James, 58, Stephen, 57, and St John, 47, childhood friends of Mr Stimpson who regularly socialised with him.
Mr Stimpson borrowed a total of more than £400,000 from them. They got £30,000 back. ‘We were all friends,’ said St John Agnew, a stockbroker. ‘My father was a very close friend of his father. He has totally betrayed the trust we had in him’.
Mr Stimpson was declared bankrupt in August, 2010. The following month he was forced to sell the family home — and move in with relatives. Mr Stimpson was finally questioned by detectives last December when they began taking statements from his victims.
What did he have to lose, Mr Stimpson must have asked himself, when he called that Spanish mobile phone number back in 2007. The answer, with hindsight, was everything.
‘There was a time once when Mr Stimpson was the well-thought of son of a well-thought of man,’ his barrister told Norwich Crown Court. ‘He feels nothing but remorse. He knows trust is at the core of every relationship. He bears responsibility for tearing that fabric. He would do anything to restore the fortunes of those he has affected for the worse.’
That will never happen. The perpetrators of the scam have never been identified, and since Stimpson pleaded guilty on all charges, the case is closed — the money is gone for ever, vanished overseas into a network of untraceable accounts.
No doubt, the lottery scammers can scarcely believe their luck, and are our there right now, hunting for another victim like Arthur Stimpson. Someone whose common sense can blinded by simple greed.