Section 6: Complaints to Fife & Metropolitan police

 

94 Victoria Terrace
Dunfermline
Fife
KY12 0LU
Tel: 01383 729869
E-MAIL: tomminogue@btinternet.com
For the attention of Norma Graham
Chief Constable
Fife Constabulary
Police Headquarters
Detroit Road
Glenrothes
Fife
KY6 2RJ
Scotland

By first-class post and E-mail Monday 7th December 2009.

Dear Mrs Graham,

A report of possession of stolen property, arising out of theft, grave desecration, bribery and corruption.

In February 2004 I wrote a letter of complaint to your predecessor, Mr Peter Wilson, regarding the above and in due course he responded by stating that “there was no proof of theft” in connection with my complaint. I understood there only had to be evidence of a crime and not proof, which was a matter for a court to determine, but in any event I let my complaint be for the time being.

Given the passing years, the evolving wisdom on what is, and what is not acceptable regarding the possession of artefacts held by museums, and the fact that there is also new evidence since my last complaint, I think there is a need to address these matters afresh.

I would therefore ask you to consider the Parthenon or so called “Elgin” Marbles as stolen property, and other funereal relics taken from Greece and elsewhere at the same time as being booty, sacrilegiously plundered from graveyards. I would also ask you to investigate the possibility that booty from the sacking of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing may be of similar status.

I am of course aware that my claims that the late Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, and 11th of Kincardine (Elgin) committed crimes will be greeted with scepticism by some. Even if I am correct in my assertions–which are difficult to prove conclusively after the lapse of so many years–the man is dead and his crimes died with him. That does not alter the question of his descendants, the British Museum, and others being in possession of stolen property. These matters are not affected by the passage of time, are serious, and must be investigated.

If I were to make a serious complaint that property belonging to me was stolen last week and was in the possession of thieves at a given address you would be obliged to investigate my complaint. If those I had accused of being in possession of stolen goods could not give a satisfactory account for their ownership they would have to be charged with theft and/or possession of stolen goods.

Of course if those I had accused of theft could produce evidence that the goods belonged to them, such as genuine receipts of purchase, then they could not have committed a crime, and you would probably charge me with wasting police time. This will not happen in this case as there is no clear documentary link between the Porte (Ottoman Turkish government) and Elgin authorising him to take possession of his collection of marbles.

Other than the passage of time there is no difference in the situation with regard to the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum, the stele on show at Broomhall, and the hypothetical situation I describe above. In the case of the Parthenon frieze and the numerous stele and other funereal items, if the current owners cannot provide proper proof of ownership from authorised sellers, the goods cannot be theirs.

As well as the two examples cited above, there were many other relics brought from Greece and elsewhere that were detailed in a Catalogue by Elgin and offered for sale to Parliament in 1816. The entire contents of the Catalogue were bought by Parliament, but it is clear from the magazine articlesa&b that some were “not wanted by the museum“. This matter should be investigated, the missing items quantified and traced, and if no written authorisation for their purchase from the proper authorities can be provided they should also be considered as being of dubious title and confiscated by the police pending a decision regarding their return to the British people, or their repatriation to Greece or other country of origin.

There are those who say that Parliament was satisfied that Elgin legitimately owned the goods he sold them–even though this was a highly controversial matter at the time–and that is the end to the matter. That is not good enough. To accept what happened in 1816 as being set in stone and never open to review would be unprecedented in criminal investigation. Advances in criminal investigation techniques and new evidence must never be ruled out.

It is my submission to you that there is new evidence in this case. Evidence from several sources that was not available to the government of the day, which shows that Elgin committed fraud by intentionally deceiving Parliament for personal gain. Lord Justice Denning famously quoted the centuries old legal maxim: “Fraus omnia vitiate, Fraud vitiates everything”, and went on to explain this as meaning that: “No judgment of a Court, no order of a Minister, can be allowed to stand if it has been obtained by fraud. Fraud unravels everything.”

As fraud unravels everything, the propriety of the purchase made by Parliament in 1816 is now brought into question. There is strong evidence to suggest that Elgin acquired his collection of marbles and other items from Greece and elsewhere illegally and duped the Select Committee into believing otherwise. Evidence that up to now has not been tested. Consequently these items should not have been purchased on behalf of the people by the British Government in 1816.

The new evidence shows that:

1/. There is no proof of authorisation from the Turkish authorities to allow Elgin to remove the Parthenon and other marble sculptures. On the contrary there is evidence to show that Elgin had no business removing these items and consequently they were illegally obtained—stolen.

2/. Having committed theft Elgin then lied to the Select Committee of Parliament, which purchased the Marbles on behalf of the people of Great Britain, in doing this he committed fraud.

3/. Elgin excavated graves and took hundreds of funereal and religious objects and by so doing committed sacrilegious acts. A crime which of itself would surely negate any semblance of legality of purchase.

4/. Elgin used a bogus, anonymous Memorandum written by himself or his Chaplin/Occasional Private Secretary, Dr Philip Hunt, (Hunt) as supposedly objective evidence to support his petition of Parliament. In so doing he deceived and defrauded Parliament.

5/. Elgin and/or his staff bribed Turkish occupation officials and Greek clergymen to allow the removal of sacred material that belonged to the Greek people.

Because substantiating the five allegations set out above involves reference to a considerable amount of documentation I have provided links for these papers in sections 1-5 of my website “Elgin Cheated at Marbles”; see Elgin Cheated at Marbles.

In light of this new evidence I would formally ask you, the Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary to consider the following three serious allegations from me?

Firstly, a complaint of possession of stolen goods against the occupants of Broomhall House, Charlestown, Fife.

There is anecdotala and photographicb evidence that Greek stele, or grave markers and other precious items bought by the British Government in 1816 are currently housed in Broomhall House, Broomhall Estate, by Charlestown, Fife. This address is the home of the descendants of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin. I would respectfully ask you, as Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary to investigate what appears to be a Prima Facie case of possession of stolen goods by the occupants of Broomhall House, there being no Statute of Limitation for such matters in Scotland.

Additionally and quite separately, the stele and other items described in the above articles and shown in the photograph appear to be some of those clearly described and catalogued by Elgin for the Select Committee. The Select Committee set a price of £35,000 for all of these items, and they were bought by the government on behalf of the people. Even if you do not accept that these items were illegally removed from Greece and fraudulently sold to Parliament, they belong to the British people and not Elgin’s descendants–unless they can show written authority for their ownership.

I would also ask you to establish the provenance of a large bronze crane sculpturec said to have been “captured at the Chinese Imperial Palace” which is now at Broomhall.

Secondly a complaint of possession of stolen goods against the owners of the British Museum London.

If fraud negates everything in law, there is a Prima Facie case that the British Museum in London is housing property stolen from Greece at a time when that country was under illegal foreign occupation.

This property, which I allege was illegally obtained and sold to Parliament, includes the Parthenon frieze bought by Parliament for the nation from Thomas Bruce 7th Earl of Elgin as part of a job-lot for £35,000.00 in 1816. I would respectfully ask you as Chief Constable of Fife Police to liaise with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to establish beyond doubt the provenance of these and other articles bought by the government under the terms of the Report from the Select Committee of Parliament dated 25 March 1816.

Thirdly that the 7th Earl of Elgin, acting as an Ambassador for the British Government bribed and corrupted foreign officials and clerics to illegally obtain sacred objects.

There is evidence in the Report for the Select Committee in 1816 that Elgin paid bribes to officials and clerics to facilitate the illegal removal of sacred objects and funereal items. This would nullify the title of such items.

Summary: I would respectfully ask you as the Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary to investigate these matters and/or pass this information on to your colleagues in London for action in those matters where you have no locus. The determination of which crimes falls into which locus is a complex matter. It seems straight forward to me that the possession of the Greek stele, and the Chinese bronze crane at Broomhall are matters for you and the possession of the Parthenon frieze held by the British Museum on loan from the government is a matter for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, but there are some issues that are not so clear cut.

In the serious matter of the looting of graveyards. Where are the hundreds of funereal urns? We know from the Select Committee Report that they were catalogued, offered for sale, and bought by Parliament, but were they like the stele, bought but not loaned to the British Museum and taken by Elgin or others?

There are those who would argue that the nation that we now know as Greece did not exist at the time Elgin’s party took their booty and so it cannot be returned. That may be so in a technical sense, but the home for grave markers, sepulchral columns or funereal urns is beside the remains of the body they honoured or contained. Grave markers should be returned to the resting place of the dead, be that in Athens or Argos, there can be no justification for having them adorn the walls of Broomhall or Bloomsbury.

I have written separately to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in terms similar to this letter and would be obliged if you would cooperate with him on this complaint. Such cooperation would be beneficial to all concerned.

Plea for understanding.

I would respectfully ask you to consider my three complaints with an open mind. As a woman you will be aware of the inequities that existed in 1816, a full century before the suffragettes, and as a Scot you will appreciate how items such as our own Stone of Destiny have totemic importance that is immeasurable. If a rough old stone such as this was craved by us as a symbol of our national identity how must the Greeks feel when the finest marbles honouring their dead and their gods are taken to another land?

With these examples in mind I would ask you to be conscious of the fact that times, and values, change. What was acceptable yesterday, yesteryear or two centuries ago is not acceptable today.

Then: British companies under Royal Charter were involved in the production of opium in India and Afghanistan, and in 1840 the Royal Navy’s warships blew out of the water junks that attempted to block the importation of this drug into Chinese ports.

Now: UK and NATO soldiers destroy opium poppy crops in Afghanistan and Royal Navy warships in the Caribbean apprehend drug smugglers ships, arrest the smugglers and blow their vessels out of the water.

Then: It was common for anthropologists, museum-collectors, souvenir hunters, and grave robbers who simply wanted items of value to dig up graveyards where the Raj held sway. Being a British subject in foreign countries where the natives were often considered as sub-human allowed this. Britain was not alone in this and the emerging American nation treated Native Americans; their lands, possessions, and sacred burial grounds in a similar manner.

Now: The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a US law passed in 1990 mandates the return of Native American cultural items such as “funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony to their peoples”, and those breaking this law have received custodial sentences. And in this country the return of human skulls and other funereal objects has begun. Scotland has led the way in this when in 2000 Glasgow City Council returned a sacred relic -the Ghost Dance Shirt to Native Americans. This year museums in Scotland agreed to cooperate with Chinese officials in identifying sacred items looted from the Old Summer Palace in 1860. Such actions are only right and there must be existing Scottish/UK legislation that makes the looting and possession of such sacred items a criminal act.

This complaint is not a stunt. Please treat it seriously and have the courage and ingenuity to find a way of righting an obvious anachronistic wrong in a twenty-first century manner.

Thanking you in anticipation of your assistance in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Minogue.

Attachments: 3

a/ Lord Elgin interview in The Independent

b/ Freemasonry Today winter 1998

c/ White Eagle Magazine article 2006

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

94 Victoria Terrace
Dunfermline
Fife
KY12 0LU
Tel: 01383 729869
E-MAIL: tomminogue@btinternet.com
F.a.o. Sir Paul Stephenson, QPM
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Metropolitan Police Service
New Scotland Yard
Broadway
London
SW1H 0BG

By first-class post and E-mail Monday 7th December 2009.

Dear Mr Stephenson,

A report of possession of stolen property, arising out of theft, grave desecration, bribery and corruption.

With the discovery of new evidence I believe the police should now consider the Parthenon or so called “Elgin” Marbles as stolen property, and other relics taken from Greece and elsewhere at the same time should be treated as being booty.

Given the passing years, the evolving wisdom on what is, and what is not acceptable regarding the possession of artefacts held by museums, and the fact that there is also new evidence to consider, I think there is a need to address these matters afresh.

I would therefore ask you to consider the Parthenon or so called “Elgin” Marbles as stolen property, and other funereal relics taken from Greece and elsewhere at the same time as being booty, sacrilegiously plundered from graveyards. I would also ask you to investigate the possibility that booty from the sacking of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing may be of similar status.

I am of course aware that my claims that the late Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, and 11th of Kincardine (Elgin) committed crimes will be greeted with scepticism by some. Even if I am correct in my assertions–which are difficult to prove conclusively after the lapse of so many years–the man is dead and his crimes died with him. That does not alter the question of his descendants, the British Museum, and others being in possession of stolen property. These matters are not affected by the passage of time, are serious, and must be investigated.

If I were to make a serious complaint that property belonging to me was stolen last week and was in the possession of thieves at a given address you would be obliged to investigate my complaint. If those I had accused of being in possession of stolen goods could not give a satisfactory account for their ownership they would have to be charged with theft and/or possession of stolen goods.

Of course if those I had accused of theft could produce evidence that the goods belonged to them, such as genuine receipts of purchase, then they could not have committed a crime, and you would probably charge me with wasting police time. This will not happen in this case as there is no clear documentary link between the Porte (Ottoman Turkish government) and Elgin authorising him to take possession of his collection of marbles.

Other than the passage of time there is no difference in the situation with regard to the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum, the stele on show at Broomhall, and the hypothetical situation I describe above. In the case of the Parthenon frieze and the numerous stele and other funereal items, if the current owners cannot provide proper proof of ownership from authorised sellers, the goods cannot be theirs.

As well as the two examples cited above, there were many other relics brought from Greece and elsewhere that were detailed in a Catalogue by Elgin and offered for sale to Parliament in 1816. The entire contents of the Catalogue were bought by Parliament, but it is clear from the magazine articlesa&b that some were “not wanted by the museum“. This matter should be investigated, the missing items quantified and traced, and if no written authorisation for their purchase from the proper authorities can be provided they should also be considered as being of dubious title and confiscated by the police pending a decision regarding their return to the British people, or their repatriation to Greece or other country of origin.

There are those who say that Parliament was satisfied that Elgin legitimately owned the goods he sold them –even though this was a highly controversial matter at the time–and that is the end to the matter. That is not good enough. To accept what happened in 1816 as being set in stone and never open to review would be unprecedented in criminal investigation. Advances in criminal investigation techniques and new evidence must never be ruled out.

It is my submission to you that there is new evidence in this case. Evidence from several sources that was not available to the government of the day, which shows that Elgin committed fraud by intentionally deceiving Parliament for personal gain. Lord Justice Denning famously quoted the centuries old legal maxim: “Fraus omnia vitiate, Fraud vitiates everything”, and went on to explain this as meaning that: “No judgment of a Court, no order of a Minister, can be allowed to stand if it has been obtained by fraud. Fraud unravels everything.

As fraud unravels everything, the propriety of the purchase made by Parliament in 1816 is now brought into question. There is strong evidence to suggest that Elgin acquired his collection of marbles and other items from Greece and elsewhere illegally and duped the Select Committee into believing otherwise. Evidence that up to now has not been tested. Consequently these items should not have been purchased on behalf of the people by the British Government in 1816.

The new evidence shows that:

1/. There is no proof of authorisation from the Turkish authorities to allow Elgin to remove the Parthenon and other marble sculptures. On the contrary there is evidence to show that Elgin had no business removing these items and consequently they were illegally obtained—stolen.

2/. Having committed theft Elgin then lied to the Select Committee of Parliament, which purchased the Marbles on behalf of the people of Great Britain, in doing this he committed fraud.

3/. Elgin excavated graves and took hundreds of funereal and religious objects and by so doing committed sacrilegious acts. A crime which of itself would surely negate any semblance of legality of purchase?

4/. Elgin used a bogus, anonymous Memorandum written by himself or his Chaplin/Occasional Private Secretary, Dr Philip Hunt, (Hunt) as supposedly objective evidence to support his petition of Parliament. In so doing he deceived and defrauded Parliament.

5/. Elgin and/or his staff bribed Turkish occupation officials and Greek clergymen to allow the removal of sacred material that belonged to the Greek people.

Because substantiating the five allegations set out above involves reference to a considerable amount of documentation I have provided links for these papers in sections 1-5 of my website “Elgin Cheated at Marbles”; seeElgin Cheated at Marbles.

In light of this new evidence I would formally ask you, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to consider the following three serious allegations from me?

Firstly, a complaint of possession of stolen goods against the occupants of Broomhall House, Charlestown, Fife.

There is anecdotala and photographicb evidence that Greek stele, or grave markers and other precious items not bought by the British Government in 1816 are currently housed in Broomhall House, Broomhall Estate, by Charlestown, Fife. This address is the home of the descendants of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin. I have asked the Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary to investigate what appears to be a Prima Facie case of possession of stolen goods by the occupants of Broomhall House, there being no Statute of Limitation for such matters in Scotland. I would respectfully ask you as Chief of Police for the Metropolis to liaise and assist the Fife Police with parliamentary matters that fall within your jurisdiction.

Additionally and quite separately, the stele and other items described in the above articles and shown in the photograph appear to be some of those clearly described and catalogued by Elgin for the Select Committee. The Select Committee set a price of £35,000 for all of these items, and they were bought by the government on behalf of the people. Even if you do not accept that these items were illegally removed from Greece and fraudulently sold to parliament, they belong to the British people and not Elgin’s descendants–unless they can show written authority for their ownership.

I would also ask you to liaise with Fife Police in their investigations to establish the provenance of a large bronze crane sculpturec said to have been “captured at the Chinese Imperial Palace” which is now at Broomhall, near Charlestown, Fife.

Secondly a complaint of possession of stolen goods against the owners of the British Museum London.

If fraud negates everything in law, there is a Prima Facie case that the British Museum in London is housing property stolen from Greece at a time when that country was under illegal foreign occupation.

This property, which I allege was illegally obtained and sold to Parliament, includes the Parthenon frieze bought by Parliament for the nation from Thomas Bruce 7th Earl of Elgin as part of a job-lot for £35,000.00 in 1816. I would respectfully ask you as Chief of Police for the Metropolis to establish beyond doubt the provenance of these and other articles bought by the government under the terms of the Report from the Select Committee of Parliament dated 25 March 1816. If you find that there is doubt as to the provenance of these items it is your duty to act on it.

Thirdly that the 7th Earl of Elgin, acting as an Ambassador for the British Government bribed and corrupted foreign officials and clerics to illegally obtain sacred objects.

There is evidence in the Report for the Select Committee in 1816 that Elgin paid bribes to officials and clerics to facilitate the illegal removal of sacred objects and funereal items. This would nullify the title of such items.

Summary: I would respectfully ask you as the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to investigate these matters and/or liaise with your colleagues in Fife for action in those matters where you have no locus. The determination of which crimes falls into which locus is a complex matter. It seems straight forward to me that the possession of the Greek stele and the Chinese bronze crane at Broomhall is a matter for the Chief Constable of Fife and the possession of the Parthenon frieze and other items identified in the Catalogue are held by the British Museum on loan from the government is a matter for you as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, but there are some issues that are not so clear cut.

In the serious matter of the looting of graveyards, where are the hundreds of funereal urns? We know from the Select Committee Report that they were catalogued, offered for sale, and bought by Parliament, but were they like the stele, bought by Parliament but not loaned to the British Museum and taken by Elgin or others?

There are those who would argue that the nation that we now know as Greece did not exist at the time Elgin’s party took their booty and so it cannot be returned. That may be so in a technical sense, but the home for grave markers, sepulchral columns or funereal urns is beside the remains of the body they honoured or contained. Grave markers should be returned to the resting place of the dead, be that in Athens or Argos, there can be no justification for having them adorn the walls of Broomhall or Bloomsbury.

I have written to the Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary in terms similar to this letter and would be obliged if you would cooperate with her on this complaint as that would be beneficial to all concerned.

Plea for understanding.

I would respectfully ask you to consider my three complaints with an open mind. I would also ask you to be mindful of the fact that times, and values, change. What was acceptable yesterday, yesteryear or two centuries ago is not acceptable today.

Then: British companies under Royal Charter were involved in the production of opium in India and Afghanistan, and in 1840 the Royal Navy’s warships blew out of the water junks that attempted to block the importation of this drug into Chinese ports.

Now: UK and NATO soldiers destroy opium poppy crops in Afghanistan and Royal Navy warships in the Caribbean apprehend drug smugglers ships, arrest the smugglers and blow their vessels out of the water.

Then: it was common for anthropologists, museum-collectors, souvenir hunters, and grave robbers who simply wanted items of value to dig up graveyards where the Raj held sway. Being a British subject in foreign countries where the natives were often considered as sub-human allowed this. Britain was not alone in this and the emerging American nation treated Native Americans; their lands, possessions, and sacred burial grounds in a similar manner.

Now: The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a US law passed in 1990 mandates the return of Native American cultural items such as “funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony to their peoples”, and those breaking this law have received custodial sentences. And in this country the return of human skulls and other funereal objects has begun. In London the British Museum as recently as 2007 has fallen into line following the passing of the Human Tissue (2005) Act by returning two Tasmanian cremation ash bundles. Also this year they agreed to cooperate with Chinese officials in identifying sacred items looted from the Old Summer Palace in 1860. Such actions are only right and there must be existing UK legislation that makes the looting and possession of such sacred items a criminal act.

This complaint is not a stunt. Please treat it seriously and have the courage and ingenuity to find a way of righting an obvious anachronistic wrong, in a twenty-first century manner.

Thanking you in anticipation of your assistance in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Minogue.

Attachments: 3

a/ Lord Elgin interview in The Independent

b/ Freemasonry Today winter 1998

c/ White Eagle Magazine article 2006