When the US spy Gina Haspel was presented to the queen at Buckingham Palace, she introduced herself as “minister-counsellor for co-ordination affairs” at the US embassy in London.
At the time, in 2011, her name was secret. Legal documents referred to her as “Gina Doe”.
Last week Donald Trump picked her to become director of the CIA.
She was according to other spooks “Bloody Gina”, a brutal operative who revelled in the waterboarding of terrorist suspects at a secret “black site” prison in Thailand codenamed Cat’s Eye.
The American Civil Liberties Union said she was “up to her eyeballs in torture”.
Haspel has spent her career in the shadows. The most basic facts about Haspel’s life are hard to establish.
She was born Gina Cherie Walker in Kentucky in 1956. She joined the CIA in 1985 as a reports officer, specialising in Russia. By 1988, she was listed as head of “administration (acting)” at the US embassy in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Her subsequent postings remain classified but she was based in Ankara in 2003 and was CIA station chief in New York before she returned to London.
Some have said Haspel had overseen the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah in 2002.
She didn’t oversee that one as it happens. But Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was waterboarded three times under her authorisation.
And importantly she wrote the 2005 order to destroy 92 videotapes of waterboardings kept in a vault at the CIA station in Bangkok.
The government here is of course tough on bad spies doing bad things.
So they will no doubt overrule the previous policy of keeping evidence of British involvement in rendition and torture secret—even as evidence from the victims in court cases.
Millions are trapped by doorstep debts
More than 1.6 million people have taken out doorstep loans with interest rates of up to 1,557 percent.
In 490,000 cases borrowers end up having to repay more than twice what they took out.
Citizens Advice said £123 million in interest payments could be saved each year if the Financial Conduct Authority watchdog extended its cap on payday deals to doorstep loans.
In total more than seven million households have resorted to high-cost credit, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
Citizens Advice said it had helped 30,000 people with doorstep loan debt in the last year.
Only one third of them had a job, it said, and half were in arrears on council tax.
Cases included a woman with severe learning difficulties who had debts from a doorstep lender of £3,016, and who had an offer of more loans. This was despite the lender being told by a social worker that that an appropriate adult needed to be present.
Thin blue swine caught in pig breeding fraud
A pig-farming cop has been sacked for gross misconduct.
Neil Giles was sacked by Humberside Police for stealing £1,436 from a pig breeders’ club.
He was handed the purse strings at the British Saddleback organisation because of his “trustworthy” background as a police officer.
He will not be prosecuted because the club does not want to press charges.
He was using the cash for a relationship that resulted in him leaving his wife for another pig breeder.
A source close to the story squealed, “It was discovered there were shortcomings in the club’s finances.
“He had been dipping in for £20 here and there while he was wooing her.
“It was hot gossip. It was a scandal that rocked the pig breeding world.” Humberside Police said the thefts had occurred while Giles was in the Met.
Tories spend millions but lose receipts
The Tories outspent Labour by more than £7.5 million in the 12 months to last year’s general election, according to figures released by the official elections watchdog.
The Electoral Commission said the Tories reported spending of £18,565,102 in the regulated period running from 9 June 2016 to polling day on 8 June 2017.
In contrast, Labour reported spending £11,003,980 over the same period.
The Commission said both main parties, and the Green Party, were now facing investigation for submitting spending returns that were missing invoices and for “potentially inaccurate statements of payments made”.
Over 1,000 children lost by the state
More than 1,100 Vietnamese children were arrested in Britain as criminals instead of being seen as potential victims of slavery.
Police arrested 1,133 Vietnamese children between 2012 and 2017.
The authorities refuse to say what happened to those children after their detention.
And the Crown Prosecution Service holds no data on how many were prosecuted or convicted.
Last October it emerged that 150 Vietnamese children placed in council care since 2015 had disappeared.
That figure rose to 173, after later disclosures from local authorities. A further 90 Vietnamese children went missing temporarily.
Some of the 1,133 arrests were for multiple offences. More than 535 arrests were linked to immigration and 226 were for general drug offences.
There were also 115 linked directly to cannabis production and 22 for stealing electricity.
Report highlights racism in Rotherham
A people's inquiry is being called for to investigate the levels of racism and racist attacks in Rotherham following the child sex exploitation scandal.
The call is a key recommendation in a report published last week by Just Yorkshire which assessed the impact of Rotherham MP Sarah Champion's comments in the Sun newspaper last year which racialised the scandal and accused "British Pakistani men of raping and exploiting white girls."
The report criticised the MP for failing to issue a public apology and retraction.
Her article came two years to the day of the murder of 81 year old Mushin Ahmed who was kicked and stamped to death on his way to the mosque and called a "groomer."
The people's inquiry will take the form of a grass roots "Citizen's Jury" supported by a research team to critcally analyse race relations in the wake of around 20 nazi marches attempting to whip up racism in the town.