Speak easy…

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‘The targets in this story won’t like it, but at least I’m free to write it!’

During 23 years with the BBC, and 40 years in journalism (when he was trained to use clear, simple language, avoiding jargon), our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry, was always lucky enough to work in a relatively open environment where journalistic inquiry as well as free speech were accepted, and this is now underlined by Sir Salman Rushdie’s new book ‘Knife’, where he describes his attempted murder by an extremist acting after the Fatwa against him. 

 

I am HATED and in this respect I feel the pain (his is literal) of Sir Salman Rushdie.

The attack left Sir Salman Rushdie with terrible injuries

In his latest book ‘Knife’, he describes how he was attacked and almost killed by a Muslim extremist many years after the Fatwa against him for writing ‘The Satanic Verses’.

All he wanted was to be a novelist, but the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini and the knife-wielding would-be assassin made him a global champion of free speech. “Without art”, Sir Salman writes, “our ability to think, to see freshly, and to renew our world would wither and die”. He decries the “false narratives” of bigots and autocrats and extols openness and debate. “Language was my knife”, he avers, “the tool I would use to remake and reclaim my world”.

Sir Salman Rushdie never truly recovered after the attack, and was left blinded in one eye

Sir Salman was about to speak at a festival in upstate New York when a black-clad man charged the stage. It was 33 years since Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran had called for his death because of the alleged blasphemy of his novel. It was more than 20 since he moved to America after years of police protection in the UK.

“I raise my left hand in self-defence. He plunges the knife into it”, he says. It also went into his neck, face, abdomen and eye—15 wounds in a 27-second frenzy. His optic nerve was severed, and his neck and torso looked like “a subway map”. Sir Salman seemed unlikely to survive but was stitched and stapled together. His blinded eye bulged from its socket “like a large soft-boiled egg”.

Sometimes Phil had to go undercover to see how bad things were, but abuse often followed

I would certainly never claim to be in the same league as Sir Salman, but I too know what it is like to be detested. I was loathed by some after my programmes were transmitted.

To the families of murder victims when I questioned police behaviour I became the spawn of the devil, and I have never really understood it. It is almost as though they wanted ANYONE convicted, even if it was the wrong person…

For a conman who styled himself as an ‘Estate Agent’ and moved to Spain, called Howard Williams/James Daniels I was filth for writing innumerable stories about his activities. He even tried to remove The Eye’s articles on him!

Mugshot of Howard Williams/James Daniels in Press Release from South Wales Police

He wrote:  When I google James daniels spain or James Daniels property or James Daniels murcia a load of website links appear for the-eye.wales which are negative reviews and not true (The Eye – nothing is untrue). How do I get rid of these an(d)how much does it cost? Also how long does it take?”.

In one tirade Williams/Daniels wrote to me on Facebook (FB):  “You write total lies about people (The Eye – we only report facts), bully to the point of harassment and suicide, and will not answer a direct email? This is not journalism this is a mixture of Phil Parry (The ex journalist) and (others) you are pure scum!!!!! Let it be publicly known that The Eye does NOT care about people it just lies to make fictitious stories up. BULLYING, LIES, MENTAL HEALTH ABUSE TO NAME BUT A FEW!!!!!”.

Howard Williams/James Daniels needed hospital treatment after his legs were broken following a drugs deal that went wrong

In another he said: I am have contacted you (sic) numerous times before asking why you consistently, stalk, bully and harass me? … You so far have asked the following for comments:
Thief
Abuser (The Eye have never said Williams/Daniels is an abuser)
Liar
Sex Offender (The Eye have never said Williams/Daniels is a sex offender).
Drug user (The Eye have never said Williams/Daniels is a drug user, just that he has dealt in illegal drugs).

Howard Williams/James Daniels is now behind bars

Williams/Daniels is now serving a long jail sentence for serious drug offences.

After he was imprisoned, South Wales Police (SWP) proclaimed proudly on FB: Two men behind multiple cannabis factories worth up to 600k have been put behind bars. Following an investigation carried out by the Mid Glamorgan Organised Crime Unit, six large-scale cannabis factories were linked to two men.…Ashley Carter, aged 35 from #Rhondda, and Howard Williams, aged 46 from #Cardiff, were sentenced at Merthyr Crown Court”.

Daran Hill had abused Phil, but has now been caught by the police

This was highly ironic as we have shown how Williams/Daniels had served as a special constable with that same police force.

Then there is the extraordinary case of the Welsh former political lobbyist Daran Hill.

After I had had the audacity to write a story about a woman, he used Twitter/X to accuse me of being “bitter”, and a “misogynist”.

The law caught up with Daran Hill

I was forced to take legal action after which a fulsome apology was forthcoming, and Hill is also now in prison after being exposed as a paedophile.

He was found with 62 indecent images, among them eight in the most serious category after being arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in 2021.

The abuse from people now in jail, makes Phil angry

This was the opening sentence in the website WalesOnline’s (WO) report about his imprisonment:   “A paedophile who used to work as a top political consultant distributed sickening images of child abuse as young as three years old to others on the internet”.

His public insults of me were as nothing compared to what he is now found to have done and been jailed for, but they do, unfortunately, fall into a familiar pattern and a personal statement has had to be issued.

My Wikipedia entry has been vandalised to include the words ‘tool’ and ‘knob head’, and I have been compared on Twitter/X to the comedy broadcaster Alan Partridge.

The Wikepedia entry has now been restored to its original form thankfully, after officials removed the abusive words.

The Alan Partridge comment was by a Sion Tomos Owen whose blog describes him as: “…a bilingual TV and Radio presenter, illustrator, writer and creative workshop tutor…”.

Mr Owen said in Welsh: “There’s no way that this website (The Eye) is for real?! It’s as if a Take a Break (light magazine) story has been edited by Alan Partridge” (laughing emoji).

It was apparently ‘misogynist’ to highlight that Ellie Pitt was an ITV ‘reporter’

Another remark which concerned a television ‘reporter’ who had posted pictures of herself on social media in skimpy clothes, is sadly typical of the insults constantly received online by The Eye or by me personally: “Your article on Ellie Pitt was bordering on mysogynistic bullying, a really pathetic article written by a bitter individual who was a complete failiure as a BBC correspondent and also loved bashing the Catholic Church with your disgraceful Panorama programme”.

In the past I have also been accused (incorrectly) of being a “bastard” (many times), an “anti-devolutionist wanker”, a “liar” (also many times) a “little git”, and (correctly) a “nosey git”“irritating”, or a “nuisance”. But these remarks come amid many others. Too many, in fact, to mention.

‘Now look here attackers!’

Legal action is rarely taken (although sometimes it is, as shown after Hill’s public comment) unless the online message is particularly outrageous, and contains a libel (which most of them do).

All of which just goes to show that you have to keep going and be true to your principles.

As Sir Salman knows only too well…

 

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Details of Phil’s astonishing decades-long journalistic career (when accurate stories about individuals often prompted abuse), as he was gripped by the rare neurological condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in an important book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now.

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.