Villainous John O

In 2002 the then Home Secretary David Blunkett asked for a £340,000 grant to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) to be reviewed. This was after he and the then editor of the daily mail, Paul Dacre had met for breakfast at one of their weekly meetings. Mr Dacre described the grant to NCADC as the ‘Barmiest Grant the National Lottery had ever made.

Mr Blunkett tried to stop the grant himself but found he had no legal power to do so. So he leant on the National Lottery, who suspended the grant, subject to an in-depth review as to how the grant was made. The review, which lasted months, came to nothing as NCADC had done nothing illegal or unconscionable, they released the grant to NCADC.

I was then the Co-Ordinator and ran NCADC; I was subject to personal attacks in the media by the Daily Mail and other media.

At the time NCADC and myself had to keep out heads down. NCADC never distributed the two worst media stories at the time, hoping the storm would blow over which it did.

So am now posting both articles. Though both were trying to do damage, I am pretty well proud of the content, as everything they said was right.

In Solidarity,

John O

John O Circa 2002

John O, the Ex-Trucker Who Stands up For Terrorists

Neil Sears, Daily Mail

With his pony tall and grey beard, John O'Reilly appears to be nothing more than an easy .golng eccentric.

But the 59-year-old former lorry driver with no academic qualifications has been agitating for the past quarter of a century for the abolition of immigration laws.

Far from being laidback, the self-styled 'Mr O' believes the Government is 'Colluding with fascism by limiting asylum.

He finds himself under the spotlight thanks to his leadership - on an annual wage of £30,000 - of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportations Campaigns.

His dream of flinging the nation's doors open to all-comers is yet to be realised, but he has had his triumphs.

An early success, the Daily Mail can reveal, involved the revocation order on Jamaican armed robber Metso Moncrieffe.

Moncrieffe arrived in Britain in 1979 but by 1981 had been jailed for three years for robbing a man while wielding an imitation pistol. Home Office officials ordered him to be deported on upon release - but the ex-con went into hiding while Mr O and fellow radicals launched a drive for him to be allowed to stay.The campaign climaxed in the storming of the England-India cricket test at Edgbaston in 1986, when protestor Joanna Duchesne stopped play by hiding the bails down her trousers. The following year Moncrieffe was allowed to stay.

Mr O was not much in evidence this week at the Asian community centre he uses as his campaign headquarters, spending more time in hi council maisonette nearby in the ethnically mixed Lozells district of Birmingham.

Behind a steel security gate with a massive padlock, his home is well kept. Many other houses on the street are boarded-up.

Mr O, who describes himself as 'Scottish-Irish', briefly emerged to outline his belief that all immigration laws are racist.

I don't think there should be any immigration laws, because they 'discriminate against people who aren't British nationals, 'Mr O said.

'I've been involved in campaigning against deportation orders since 1979.

'At first, I was just giving leaflets out, but I was a dedicated volunteer from 1985, and have been the national coordinator of the organisation since 1995.

'We've had 100 successful campaigns against deportation orders. We are very proud of the work we do in helping people to avail themselves of their rights.

About his qualifications for his publicity-funded role, Mr O said: 'it all comes from years of experience opposing deportations.

'I was expelled from one school and literally thrown out of the other; I didn't even get a school leaving certificate.

Asylum Campaigner Backs Murders Too

The leader of the controversial asylum seekers’ charity being investigated by the Home Office is also an active supporter of freedom for notorious killers.

John O backs Winston Silcott, Michael Stone and Barry George.

Mr O’Reilly- who calls himself ‘John O’ - is the leader of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportations Campaigns (NCADC), which has used grants from the National Lottery to seek residency rights in Britain for convicted terrorists.

He believes all immigration laws are racist and that even terrorists should be entitled to enter the country and live here.

Fresh evidence of his extreme beliefs emerged last night when the Daily Mail discovered that as well as running the NCADC on lottery-funded pay of £30,000 a year, the 59-year-old former lorry driver also runs Miscarriages of Justice UK.

Working from his home in the Lozells district of Birmingham, Mr O’Reilly edits MOJUK’s extensive website which campaigns for a host of infamous prisoners to be set free.

 MOJUK openly admits that it is unconcerned whether the prisoners it champions actually committed the offences concerned, only that they had a fair trial.

Amongst the most prominent cases is that of Winston Silcott, who had his conviction for murdering PC Keith Blakelock in the Broadwater Farm riot in 1985 overturned after a long campaign, but remains in jail for life for stabbing a man to death.

MOJUK has also taken up the cause of Bary George, whose appeal against his conviction for the murder of television presenter Jill Dando was recently rejected, and Michael Stone, serving life for Killing Lin and Megan Russell in 1996.

Mr O’Reilly describes the prisoners as ‘hostages of the state’.

Tabloid Rage Helped Asylum Charity

It was arguably a tabloid-led furore over the lottery grant awarded to the National Coalition of Deportation Campaigns which led to many of the changes announced yesterday. So it may come as a surprise that today the organisation is prospering. Indeed the national coordinator - who styles himself John O - said yesterday that he believed the onslaught helped, by drawing attention to the group's work.

The Daily Mail focused attention on the NCADC almost a year ago under the headline: "Is this the barmiest lottery handout of them all?" It reported that the community fund, the body responsible for distributing lottery cash, had awarded the group £340,000. In a string of ever-more ferocious articles, the Mail accused the NCADC of supporting asylum seekers linked to terrorism. It claimed "deserving" causes were up in arms, and encouraged its readers to protest to the community fund. Police were called in after the fund's London office was bombarded with hate mail. A 3cm needle was taped to a letter to Diana Brittan, who chairs the fund's board. The home secretary, David Blunkett, was said to be furious about the way in which the fund had handled the NCADC's application for cash. After an inquiry, the fund was censured for not being "sufficiently robust" in checking grant applications.

Nevertheless, the group, which has its headquarters in Mr O's flat in the Lozells area of Birmingham, received its three-year grant at the beginning of this year. The money has been used to open an office in Stockton-on- Tees, and to pay wages and costs. The NCADC has three full-time workers and one part-timer, and four branches. Mr O said: "We're back to working as we want to do, and I think, all in all, the campaign did us more good than harm. It made many more people aware of our work." The NCADC, which was formed in 1995, supports people who have lost their fight for asylum in the UK and runs campaigns against the government's asylum policies.

Mr O said that last month the organisation advised 215 people, including 63 children. It was also contacted by 57 organisations, many more than before the Mail's campaign. Mr O said the NCADC would not hesitate to apply for lottery grants for projects in the future, but he expressed concern at government plans to give local people more say about where lottery money went. "People's judgment can be clouded," he said. "For example, people who live in areas where they are planning to build asylum centres may not be happy about money going to groups which support asylum seekers. If they are given the say over whether a group like ours gets any money, they are likely to say no."

Steven Morris, Guardian,

Mr Blunkett's Big Boots - Charities Have A Right To Oppose Him

True to its reputation, the Daily Mail ran a predictable silly season story on Saturday under the headline: "Is this the barmiest lottery handout of them all?" The correct response of ministers, who were asked to respond, should have been: "Is this the nastiest story the Mail can produce? This has nothing to do with us." But no, ever eager to take on all people who challenge his decisions - from the highest judges to even tiny charities - the home secretary barged in, even though the allocations of lottery money has nothing to do with him.

The pretext under which David Blunkett put his boot in is that the charity causing apoplexy at the Mail openly supports people who have been served with deportation orders. Given the number of wrongful orders - and the support which even legal deportees require - this is clearly an important charitable field. But it clearly causes grave inconveniences to a home secretary intent on speeding up deportations. The Birmingham-based charity, the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, has even had the temerity to encourage demonstrations in support of individual deportees. Yet, contrary to the home secretary's assertions, even lawyers were unable to find anything illegal on the charity's website yesterday. There, supporters are encouraged to write to their MPs, take part in demonstrations at airports, but not to exaggerate the facts. Until now, not even Mr Blunkett has wanted to ban the right to demonstrate.

He was not quite so blunt. Instead, after three telephone calls to Tessa Jowell, who has oversight of the lottery, the two ministers jointly asked the community fund to look again at its award to ensure the charity was not engaging in political activity or encouraging people to break the law. To its credit, the fund responded robustly. It signalled its readiness to look at any evidence the Home Office could produce that the charity was breaking the law, but rightly expressed doubt that there was any. Its £336,000 grant over three years to the NCADC is to set up coordinators in London, the north-east and north-west. For a fund that will disperse about £1bn over this period to about 25,000 projects, this seems modest enough. Meanwhile, Mr Blunkett needs to read clause nine of the compact ministers signed with charities in 1998. It asserts the right of charities to campaign and challenge policies, "irrespective of any funding relationship". Quite so.

Guardian, Leader, Tue 13 Aug 2002,


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