Search Results for : Liam Fox


May Intends to Appoint Liam Fox as Chancellor

A week ago an old Whitehall colleague told me that Treasury mandarins expect to be briefing Liam Fox as the new Chancellor should the Tories be re-elected – and they were not much looking forward to the experience. I did not pay much attention until today’s May/Hammond press conference, where it became evident that Hammond’s coat is on the shoogliest of pegs.

Hammond started the day being ripped to shreds by John Humphreys on the Today programme and getting the cost of HS2 radically wrong. But that hardly matters, as it is only when this happens to opposition figures that the mainstream media highlights and constant replays it.

A much more telling incident happened shortly thereafter when, standing alongside Hammond, May was three times asked directly if Hammond would continue as Chancellor, and she refused to back him, only at the third time of asking giving the most half hearted endorsement. I then realised the information I had been given was good.

Strangely, it is only the right wing media that has noted Fox’s continuing relationship with Adam Werritty. It was the Spectator which published that Werritty joined Fox on the Commons Terrace for a champagne spree to celebrate the disgraced ex-minister’s return to office. I was told by a SNP MP who witnessed it and used the phrase “brass neck”. But only the Spectator reported it, and only the Times has said that the two remain close. They reported last year that Werritty is living in Dolphin Square (I know, let’s not go there).

I have an irresistible image of what life is going to be like inside the Treasury, should Fox and Werritty have the run of it.

Of course Werritty opened a private health company when Fox was Health Secretary and a defence consultancy business when Fox was Minister of Defence. If Fox becomes Chancellor, I presume he gets to open a bank!

But on a more serious note, the prospect of Fox becoming Chancellor is truly alarming. The hard right links he forged through the now defunct Atlantic Bridge to the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Heritage Foundation give him direct access into the heart of the Trump administration, and align him with the nastiest millionaires and hedge fund managers, with the funders of climate change denial and with those who wish to abolish literally all workers’ rights and consumer protections. This article by George Monbiot is rather dense, but it is essential reading. And terrifying.

Fox appears to be confined in a locked cupboard for the duration of the election campaign. Doubtless he is waiting, like a child on Christmas Eve, to come bursting out and claim his prize once it is over.

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Fox, Gould, Werritty and Israel – Please write to your MP

Now that Liam Fox is back in the Cabinet and Matthew Gould, ex-Ambassador to Israel, in in charge of Security in the Cabinet Office, it is essential to get answers to what happened in at least eight meetings between Adam Werritty and Gould at least some of which involved Mossad – as Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell acknowledged to a parliamentary committee:

Hansard Public Administration Committee 24/11/2011

Q<369> Paul Flynn: Okay. Matthew Gould has been the subject of a very serious complaint from two of my constituents, Pippa Bartolotti and Joyce Giblin. When they were briefly imprisoned in Israel, they met the ambassador, and they strongly believe—it is nothing to do with this case at all—that he was serving the interest of the Israeli Government, and not the interests of two British citizens. This has been the subject of correspondence.

In your report, you suggest that there were two meetings between the ambassador and Werritty and Liam Fox. Questions and letters have proved that, in fact, six such meetings took place. There are a number of issues around this. I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories, but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran, in the service. Werritty is a self-proclaimed—

Robert Halfon: Point of order, Chairman. What is the point of this?

Paul Flynn: Let me get to it. Werritty is a self-proclaimed expert on Iran.

Chair: I have to take a point of order.

Robert Halfon: Mr Flynn is implying that the British ambassador to Israel is working for a foreign power, which is out of order.

Paul Flynn: I quote the Daily Mail: “Mr Werritty is a self-proclaimed expert on Iran and has made several visits. He has also met senior Israeli officials, leading to accusations”—not from me, from the Daily Mail—“that he was close to the country’s secret service, Mossad.” There may be nothing in that, but that appeared in a national newspaper.

Chair: I am going to rule on a point of order. Mr Flynn has made it clear that there may be nothing in these allegations, but it is important to have put it on the record. Be careful how you phrase questions.

Paul Flynn: Indeed. The two worst decisions taken by Parliament in my 25 years were the invasion of Iraq—joining Bush’s war in Iraq—and the invasion of Helmand province. We know now that there were things going on in the background while that built up to these mistakes. The charge in this case is that Werritty was the servant of neo-con people in America, who take an aggressive view on Iran. They want to foment a war in Iran in the same way as in the early years, there was another—

Chair: Order. I must ask you to move to a question that is relevant to the inquiry.

Q<370> Paul Flynn: Okay. The question is, are you satisfied that you missed out on the extra four meetings that took place, and does this not mean that those meetings should have been investigated because of the nature of Mr Werritty’s interests?

Sir Gus O’Donnell: I think if you look at some of those meetings, some people are referring to meetings that took place before the election.

Q<371> Paul Flynn: Indeed, which is even more worrying.

Sir Gus O’Donnell: I am afraid they were not the subject—what members of the Opposition do is not something that the Cabinet Secretary should look into. It is not relevant.

But these meetings were held—
Chair: Mr Flynn, would you let him answer please?

Sir Gus O’Donnell: I really do not think that was within my context, because they were not Ministers of the Government and what they were up to was not something I should get into at all.

Chair: Final question, Mr Flynn.

Q<372> Paul Flynn: No, it is not a final question. I am not going to be silenced by you, Chairman; I have important things to raise. I have stayed silent throughout this meeting so far.

You state in the report—on the meeting held between Gould, Fox and Werritty, on 6 February, in Tel Aviv—that there was a general discussion of international affairs over a private dinner with senior Israelis. The UK ambassador was present…

Sir Gus O’Donnell: The important point here was that, when the Secretary of State had that meeting, he had an official with him—namely, in this case, the ambassador. That is very important, and I should stress that I would expect our ambassador in Israel to have contact with Mossad. That will be part of his job. It is totally natural, and I do not think that you should infer anything from that about the individual’s biases.

Gus O’Donnell was being examined on his Cabinet Office report into the Fox/Werritty affair, which contained the blatant lie that Gould and Werritty had only met on two occasions. In fact they met eight times that we know for certain, with Gould’s role being:

1) 8 September 2009 as Miliband’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)
2) 16 June 2010 as Hague’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)
3) A “social occasion” in summer 2010 as Ambassador designate to Israel with Gould, Fox and Werritty (omitted from O’Donnell report)
4) 1 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
5) 27 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
6) 4-6 February 2011 Herzilya Conference Israel (omitted from O’Donnell report)
7) 6 February 2011 Tel Aviv dinner with Mossad and Israeli military
8) 15 May 2011 “We believe in Israel” conference London (omitted from O’Donnell report)

You can find full details here.

As O’Donnell states, some of the Werritty/Gould meetings happened when Fox and the Tories were not even in power. My own Freedom of Information request for all correspondence between Adam Werritty and Matthew Gould was denied as it would “breach the cost limit”. What is the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act if something as simple as correspondence between two named individuals is refused on grounds of cost.

Astonishingly, the request was denied within one hour of being submitted, and after 11pm!!!!! In reply to a further Freedom of Information Act request for minutes of the meetings between Gould and Werritty while Gould was Private Secretary to Hague and Miliband, the FCO quite literally sent me two blank pages with everything redacted except the date!!!

Various MP’s, including Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, dragged out the information bit by bit, like drawing teeth.

Screenshot (74)

The media were by and large prepared to treat the Werritty/Fox scandal purely as sniggering homophobia. Only the Independent reported the actual story

Screenshot (75)

Fox’s resignation enabled the media to bury the real scandal, which was Israeli government influence on both Red and Blue Tories.

I therefore request everybody who reads this to write to their MP and ask them to find the following information. Here is a draft you may utilise, but the more you customise it the better:

Dear ……..,

I am concerned about unresolved questions from the Adam Werritty affair, and I should be grateful if you could discover the following information for me.

1) On how many occasions did Cabinet Office official Matthew Gould meet with Mr Adam Werritty, either
a) in a personal capacity
b) in an official capacity

2) Who else was present on each occasion?
3) What was discussed on each occasion?

I have been informed of at least eight such meetings which have been collected together from parliamentary questions and FOIA requests. I am concerned that only two of these meetings was detailed in the Cabinet Secretary’s report into the Adam Werritty affair.

1) 8 September 2009 as Miliband’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)
2) 16 June 2010 as Hague’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)
3) A “social occasion” in summer 2010 as Ambassador designate to Israel with Gould, Fox and Werritty (omitted from O’Donnell report)
4) 1 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
5) 27 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
6) 4-6 February 2011 Herzilya Conference Israel (omitted from O’Donnell report)
7) 6 February 2011 Tel Aviv dinner with Mossad and Israeli military
8) 15 May 2011 “We believe in Israel” conference London (omitted from O’Donnell report)

Can you discover why so many of these meetings were omitted from the O’Donnell report?

I should be most grateful for your assistance.

Yours faithfully,

You can write to your MP via this website , though I awlays prefer to send a physical letter to the House of Commons. I should be most grateful for your assistance in doing this, and in spreading this appeal around by social media.

It is to me disgusting that a politician so thoroughly disgraced as Liam Fox should be back in power. Answers were blanked on the actual purpose of the Werritty connection, and I think collectively we should try to do something about that.

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Gould and Fox-Werritty Schemed for Attack on Iran

Gus O’Donnell’s report deliberately omitted evidence that Werritty and Fox were scheming with British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould to prepare the diplomatic ground for a military attack on Iran.

O’Donnell listed two meetings between Fox, Werritty and Gould. But he left out a key meeting of the three, before Fox became Secretary of State for Defence, while Fox was still in opposition. The fact that the three had met before casts a whole new light on their three subsequent meetings, of which O’Donnell mentions only two.

This is what O’Donnell says of one Gould/Fox/Werritty meeting, in para 6 of his report:

This leaves a meeting between Dr Fox and Matthew Gould, the then UK Ambassador Designate to Israel in September 2010. I understand that this was a general discussion of international defence and security matters to enable Mr
Gould better to understand MOD’s perspective of the security situation in the Middle East. Mr Werritty was invited to attend as an individual with some experience in these matters. As a private citizen, however, with no official locus, it was not appropriate for Mr Werritty to have attended this meeting. Dr Fox has since acknowledged this.

It is a lie by omission for O’Donnell to leave out the fact that the three had met up before. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has refused to answer the following questions:

When and where did Gould meet Fox and Werrity while Fox was shadow Defence Secretary?
What position did Gould hold at the time?
There are very strict protocols for officials meeting and briefing opposition front bench spokesmen. Were they met?
In what capacity was Werritty there?
What was discussed and was the meeting minuted?

This is the FCO’s official response to my questions:

Mr Gould’s meeting with the Defence Secretary was arranged by his office as part of his pre-posting briefing calls. Mr Gould was not aware of likely attendance at that meeting in advance; nor does he recall the nature of any introductions made.

As noted in the Cabinet Secretary’s recent report, this was a general discussion of international defence and security matters to enable Mr Gould better to understand MoD’s perspective of the security situation in the Middle East. No classified material was discussed at this meeting.

We are not aware of any record of the meeting having been taken. This is quite normal for routine pre-posting meetings of this kind.

Mr Werritty was also present at an earlier meeting Mr Gould had with Dr Fox in the latter’s capacity as shadow Defence Secretary.

The conference which both Mr Gould and Mr Werritty attended in Israel in February this year was the latest in the series of annual Herzliya Conferences. A programme and other documents related to the conference can be found on the Herzliya Conference website. As noted in the Cabinet Secretary’s report, Mr Gould also attended a private dinner with the Defence Secretary, Mr Werritty and senior Israelis in the margins of that conference, at which there was a general discussion of international affairs.

Why were the facts in bold omitted from Gus O’Donnell’s report?

The programme is worth looking at: nobody could accuse the Herzilya conference of balance in its agenda or its participation.

But to return to the detail. The FCO is quite wrong to describe Gould’s meeting with Fox as a “routine pre-posting briefing meeting.” This is in fact another deliberate lie. Brieifngs for even the most senior Ambassadors on their pre-posting briefing tours are not normally at Secretary of State level. Liam Fox did not meet any other British Ambassadors to give them pre-posting briefing. And when an Ambassador does call on the Secretary of State for Defence, there would always be a private secretary in attendance in case any action points arise. Not only was there no private secretary, but I am told by an inside source this meeting was not in Fox’s office but in the MOD dining room.

Not a “routine pre-posting briefing meeting” at all then.

O’Donnell omits the Herzilya Conference but includes the dinner. Again, what O’Donnell says is quite extraordinary to any FCO insider:

6 February in Tel Aviv. This was a general discussion of international affairs over a private dinner with senior Israelis. The UK Ambassador was present.

The idea that the Secretary of State for Defence can have, together with the British Ambassador to a country, a “Private dinner” with officials of that country is just plain nonsense. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office refuse to say who the “Senior Israelis” with Fox, Gould and Werritty were. They also refuse to say who paid for that dinner.

My information is that the reason that dinner is characterised as “Private” is that it included senior Israeli military and Mossad representatives and that the subject of discussion was preparing the diplomatic ground for a military attack on Iran.

Matthew Gould is British Ambassador. He represents this country at all times and every utterance he makes on diplomatic or policy questions to an official of his host country is “official”. We are entitled to know:

Who paid for the dinner?
Which senior Israelis were at that dinner in Israel on 6 February 2011 with Gould, Fox and Werritty?
What was discussed?

O’Donnell omits the fact that Gould, Fox and Werritty were plotting from before Fox became Secretary of State. O’Donnell mentions only two of the four meetings between all three that we know about. He separates those two meetings by seven paragraphs, does not mention Gould by name at the second reference, and gives deliberately false characterisations of those meetings. This is misdirection on an epic scale.

Werritty visited Iran to meet opposition groups while Gould was serving in the Embassy there. Atlantic Bridge, the Fox-Werritty fake charity, was operating in the US when Gould was serving in the British Embassy in Washington with specific responsibility for US-Iranian relations.

Both O’Donnell and the FCO have listed only meetings at which Fox, Gould and Werritty were all three present. They have refused to say how many times Gould met Werritty without Fox, or how many telephone conversations or written or electronic communications there have been between Gould and Werritty.

I started this investigation on a tip-off. The FCO’s confirmation that Gould met Werritty and Fox while Fox was still in opposition confirms that some of what my informant says is true. An overwhelming mass of circumstantial evidence and the government’s lies, misleading statements and refusal to clarify some very simple facts, leaves me convinced that the truth has been found.

Werritty received such large amounts of Zionist lobby funding because he was, with Fox, promoting an attack on Iran – an agenda in which Matthew Gould had got himself wrapped.

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Fox

I remember the gay-baiting student Liam Fox as active in the banning of a Gay Society at Glasgow University Union in the early 1980’s. As President of Dundee University Students Association, which at the time had close ties with our Glasgow counterparts in the Scottish campaign against the NUS, I tried to change their mind, and that was my first memory of the odious little bigot.

Being sick in bed this weekend and paying little attention to the news, I had presumed that Fox’s “ex-flatmate” Adam Werritty was of his own age, a flatmate from students days or impecunious early employment. I also presumed that Werritty had been Fox’s best man back in a similar period. I am surprised to find that the 40 year old Fox picked up the 24 year old Werritty at a meeting in Edinburgh Unversity only ten years ago, shortly after that Werritty moved into his flat, and after they had known each other just four years, Werrity was apparently Liam’s closest buddy on earth and became his best man.

Fox accommodated Werritty in taxpayer funded accommodation and around the best man period was funding him on his MPs expenses – before the “Atlantic Bridge” fake charity wheeze. Fox was found by the expenses scandal investigation to have “overclaimed” over £20,000 in mortgage payments and was forced to pay it back. It is unclear why Fox was not prosecuted. He also charged mobile phone bills of over £17,000 to the taxpayer. There must now be an investigation of how many of those calls were to Adam Werritty.

The fact that when Liam Fox was shadow health secretary, Werritty ran a health consultancy, and when Fox became defence secretary, Werritty became a defence consultant, tells you all that you need to know about this relationship. Tory attempts to fog the big picture by focusing on what exactly was discussed at individual meetings are irrelevant. I commend this Telegraph article by James Kirkup, who deserves a prize for best use of the phrase “by coincidence”.

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Fox Hunting et al

I am writing an important letter to William Hague on his proposed inquiry into torture (via my MP to make sure an FCO bureaucrat does not bury it). I am marshalling my evidence but trying to keep it short, plain and unemotional.

So no energy or time for significant blogging today. Some thoughts to keep people going.

I am staunchly against fox-hunting. In my youth I was in the Hunt Saboteurs Association and remember great fun laying aniseed trails to disrupt otter hunts somewhere near Kings Lynn. I would happily do that again. I supported the ban on fox-hunting.

But I have changed my mind. I still strongly oppose fox-hunting, but I no longer think it should be illegal. New Labour changed my mind. They opened my eyes to the dangers of authoritarianism and the criminalisation of numerous activities. The mind that will ban protest outside parliament and make it illegal to photograph a policeman or railway station, is a mind seeking to abuse the power of the state.

New Labour convinced me that excessive state power is a real evil to weigh in the balance when considering how to deal with any issue. I consider fox hunting an ill, but state interference a greater ill. Any liberal should believe that the state should interfere in liberty as a last resort.

Other forms of social sanction can and should be deployed against fox hunters. Social disapprobation, ridicule, protest, peaceful disruption. But is the crushing hand of the state really required? No, I don’t think it is.

The same goes in my view for the smoking ban. I don’t smoke and hate cigarette smoke, But should it be illegal in pubs and restaurants, which are private property? No.

Lights blue touchpaper and goes back to his letter to William Hague…

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The Incredible Disappearance of Shai Masot

A Google news search reveals that not one single mainstream media outlet has mentioned Shai Masot in 2019. Not even once.

Yet the main political news story the last two days has been the suspension of Labour’s Peter Willsman for “anti-semitism” for making the suggestion that the “anti-semitism” witch-hunt is promoted by the Israeli-Embassy. This has been demonstrably a massive story:

The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands who will read this article know who Shai Masot is and know why his activities are absolutely central to the Willsman story.

And here is the truly terrifying thing.

The overwhelming majority of the mainstream media “journalists” who produced those scores of stories about Willsman also know exactly who Shai Masot is and why his activities are central to the Willsman narrative. And every single one of those journalists chose to self-censor the crucial information that casts a shade over the “Willsman is an anti-semite” line. Every single one. Their self-censorship is not necessarily a conscious and singular act, though in many cases it will be. They are simply imbued with the line they are supposed to adopt, the facts they are supposed to ignore, to forward their career and remain accepted in their social group.

Because the plain truth is that the Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby (part 1 below) showed to the entire political world that Mr Willsman’s thesis about the involvement of the Israeli Embassy in British politics and its objectives is broadly true. It says something about the current dystopia that is the UK, that this truly shocking documentary did not result in any official action against Joan Ryan (who has thankfully since hurtled herself into the political abyss), but that pointing out the undeniable truth about Israeli Embassy interference in British politics is an expulsion offence.

I should be very happy to go on the BBC and say this and so would many other people. Yet the mainstream media have been unable to quote this point of view from a single person. Yesterday’s 12 noon news on the BBC had Willsman as the top story with interviews with first Charlie Falconer, calling for Mr Willsman’s expulsion, then a six minute live rant from extreme zionist John Mann, calling for Mr Willsman’s expulsion. There was no attempt to balance this at all with a remotely sane guest. To be fair, the presenter did baulk at some of Mr Mann’s more frothy mouthed utterances, but the BBC knew precisely what they would get when they invited him, and the decision to have a major news item with only two intervewees, both from the same side of the argument, was a quite deliberate one.

This was a much worse example of lack of balance than those for which Russia Today is routinely censured by Ofcom and threatened with closure. But doubtless as it was a pro-Israel and anti-Corbyn lack of balance (Corbyn was condemned by both interviewees) Ofcom will take no action whatsoever. I am however putting in a complaint to Ofcom about this specific news item and I urge you to do the same.

Al Jazeera’s exposure of Shai Masot led to his quietly being removed from the UK, however he was but the tip of the iceberg. With my FCO inside knowledge I could show that the Israeli Embassy has an extraordinary and disproportionate number of “technical and administrative staff” like Masot, and that there was a mystery over what kind of visa he had to live in the UK. The FCO refused to answer my questions and no mainstream media “journalist” was willing to pursue the case.

The readership of this blog has grown fast over the last two years. I therefore do recommend that you read this blog post which ties in Masot’s activities to the Mossad collaboration of Liam Fox and Adam Werritty – which was the real story behind the Werritty scandal, again completely hidden by the mainstream media. I should mark my debt to the late Paul Flynn MP in helping me prove that fact beyond dispute, as you will see if you read the article. Not one of the media and political hypocrites who so recently eulogised Paul was willing to support him in this or even mention the facts that he had winkled out. Jeremy Corbyn also helped me expose the Werritty/Israel links in his pre-leadership days by asking parliamentary questions.

I do blame Jeremy for not taking a more robust line. Genuine anti-semitism should always be called out and condemned, and it plainly exists, even in the Labour Party. But the open attempt to stifle all criticism of Israel, and in effect to make adherence to zionism a pre-condition for membership of the Labour Party – or indeed acceptance in wider society – is a vicious form of authoritarianism that should have been repudiated robustly from day one.

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Only the Tories could produce a sex dossier like this one, in tremendous High Tory prose. They talk of “impregnation” and “fornication”. This provides some backing for its authenticity.

It is difficult to understand the provenance of this “sex list” of Tory MPs. What was the standing of the junior Tory researchers who allegedly compiled it, and at whose behest? Assuming this copy is genuine, we know that at least some of it is accurate because individuals like Mark Garnier have admitted the detail of the allegation. But I publish it as a matter of intense public interest at the moment, and I publish it as evidence that this is what is alleged. This list is already extremely widely available online. I am not in any sense endorsing or promoting as true any of the specific individual allegations, which may be groundless nonsense. I understand that in some cases these allegations are strongly denied.

Except for the Liam Fox and Adam Werritty bit, we all know that is true.

What is genuinely alarming about this list is the clear picture that emerges overall that the pool of MPs’ researchers, who are often young and are in a subservient position in this context, are viewed as fair game for MPs’ sexual predation. The list of 40 Tory MPs (NB Not 36) includes 23 who are accused of inappropriate behaviour towards researchers, secretaries and others in a dependent position. This is disgusting exploitation and may be justly compared to the Weinstein affair.

But some of the other allegations do not strike me as of genuine public interest. Personal sexual preferences between consenting adults are not my business, and I detect a definite whiff of homophobia in some of these details. If somebody likes to be peed on by three men, what has that got to do with his ability or integrity as an MP? Similarly the concern about extra-marital affairs seems to come from a bygone age. If the several citings of Kwesi Kwerteng are true, the man has truly appalling taste. Women appear to be dubiously targeted for mere promiscuity.

Tories are sleazebags. Who knew?

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The EU Sails Serenely Past the Wreck of the United Kingdom

The disgraced former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has accused the EU of “blackmail” in the Brexit talks. This puzzles me. The disgraced former Defence Secretary has repeatedly asserted that the EU is desperate for a trade deal with the UK, and that German manufacturers of Mercedes and BMWs will insist that the UK leaving the EU brings no interruption in free trade, with no concomitant requirements for the UK to comply with EU practice.

But if the UK’s hand is so strong, and the EU’s hand is so weak, then the EU surely is in no position to “blackmail” the UK?

The disgraced former Defence Secretary has never struck me as a man of great intellect. It is perhaps unsurprising that it has not occurred to him, that to accuse your negotiating partner, in the most public manner possible, of blackmail, is not a tactic designed to inculcate the cooperative spirit necessary in any complex negotiation. Worse than that, “Blackmail” is a cry of “please don’t hurt me, I am weak on this one”. Fox contrives to be both insulting and inept all at the same time. It really is quite astonishing that a man who is both entirely incompetent, and has the corruption and inanity of the Werritty affair permanently inscribed on his record, is in office.

But the most incredible thing of all is that, standing in Japan next to Theresa May, the disgraced former Defence Secretary looks competent and assured by comparison. The collapse of the UK is not a pretty sight.

Meanwhile, Brexit has one positive side – for the EU. Just as national parliaments have done through history, the EU Parliament has been increasing its power incrementally over decades, thus eating away at the EU’s democratic deficit. Officially, on Brexit the Commission negotiates, and the Council (of national governments) decides, while the Parliament is only consulted. But plainly the role played by Guy Verhofstadt, the Parliament’s Brexit rapporteur, is more substantive than that and in the real world the EU Parliament will need to be carried along in agreement. That is a good thing for EU democracy.

Secondly, allow me to crow yet again at the detractors of the Euro. The Euro is arguably the most astonishing economic project in the history of the world, a currency union replacing dozens of existing currencies in the world’s largest and most mature economic bloc. Its success is, on any rational analysis, far more notable than the inevitable teething troubles, pretty well all of which can be ascribed to countries joining at too high a rate allowed to their former currency. I have always advocated that the UK join the Euro and that independent Scotland simply adopts it. Commenters invariably rejoin by echoing the ludicrous prognostications by the Mail and the Express of the Euro’s collapse. I look forward before Easter to the Euro decisively overtaking the pound in value.

The EU will go from strength to strength. An independent Scotland will remain within it. The rump UK will subside with alarming speed, comforting itself with its imperial delusions and xenophobic pride at “controlling its borders” and keeping out those pesky foreigners, who kept blackmailing it.

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Brexit Britain, Alone and Ignored

Britain’s pusillanimous reaction to Trump’s crazed decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change shows the stupidity of believing that Brexit Britain will be a mighty player bestriding the world stage. Britain is about to go down on its knees before Trump to beg for post Brexit trade access to the USA, so is in no position to stand up to him as France, Germany and Italy did yesterday. They issued a powerful joint public statement:

“We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies. We are convinced that the implementation of the Paris Agreement offers substantial economic opportunities for prosperity and growth in our countries and on a global scale. We therefore reaffirm our strongest commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, including its climate finance goals and we encourage all our partners to speed up their action to combat climate change.”

By contrast, we are expected to believe that May expressed her “disappointment” to Trump in a private phone call. Given May’s congenital inability to address any subject directly, and the new servility in Britain’s position vis a vis the United States, I think we can all guess how that went.

Britain is now a diplomatic non-entity. We are grovelling around the world for trade access, including the most dreadful displays of obeisance to the Saudis who export the ideology and the funds for terrorist jihadism. We have a buffoon for a Foreign Secretary, who is not regarded abroad with the friendly tolerance which Tory England extends to him because he is posh. We have the disgraced Liam Fox in charge of securing international trade.

I do not hold up the Paris Agreement as perfect or even adequate, but it was a huge stride forward in the international acceptance of man made climate change and the need to address it. Trump’s statement of renunciation yesterday notably failed to make any straightforward acknowledgement of the existence of man made climate change. We have heard much in this election campaign from the Tories criticising Corbyn’s hesitation to commit to launching nuclear weapons to destroy the planet. Yet the Tories are failing to take any kind of action to deter the true threat to our children’s existence.

Welcome to Brexit Britain, a diplomatic irrelevance, scrabbling for an economic niche, utterly devoid of principle.

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Irish Union on European Agendas

I was speaking with a Polish friend who is a Member of the European Parliament. He confirmed that Brexit had led to very wide support for Scottish Independence in the Parliament, across many political and national divides. He also made the interesting point that the cause of Irish reunification was again mentioned in the bars of Brussels.

This of course makes perfect sense. With the personal and economic freedoms and common rights of EU citizenship, a sense of both the Republic and the North being inside a much wider union took the edge off some of the grievances of Irish nationalists, at least to the degree that this was a contributing argument for ceasing to pursue reunification by violence. It is a commonplace that Brexit undermines the intellectual and emotional basis of the Good Friday agreement – it certainly does. I hope Brexit will not result in renewed violence, but that it will result in a strongly renewed demand for Irish reunification I do not doubt – and I will support that demand.

The sympathy that demand for Irish union will invoke in Europe post-Brexit is but one example of the extreme diplomatic isolation of the UK under the Little Englanders. Boris Johnson and Liam Fox will have no mates abroad, other than Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Saudi and Gulf tyrants; while Trump’s words of praise for Brexit will be backed by no trade or policy concessions whatsoever.

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Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis

Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit in Parliament is as culpable as Harriet Harman’s failure to oppose welfare cuts. It will haunt Labour just as much. The job of opposition is to oppose. We currently have a more right wing government than I imagined the UK would ever see in my lifetime, and it is riding a tide of racist populism in England and Wales, barked on by a far right media whose ownership and world view is ever more concentrated. This is no time to drop the duty of resistance.

Corbyn’s view of the EU is ambivalent. Both major English and Welsh parties are led by people who are at least highly sympathetic to Brexit. That is a democratic failure when 47 per cent of the English and Welsh voters supported the EU.

The problem with the EU as a cause is that it is supported by some extremely unpleasant people. Straw (father and son), Mandelson, Osborne. The EU has nobody given media coverage to speak for it in the UK that is not amongst the most despised members of the political class. And in criticising Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit, I find myself echoing Blairites, which is uncomfortable.

But there are two major problems with the left criticism of the EU. The first is its willingness to be hijacked to the racist cause with the economically illiterate argument that immigration means competition for the fixed number of jobs, and thus drives down the living standards of British workers. That atavism I dismiss with contempt. Not least because even if it were true, it shows a very narrow lack of concern for workers of the world outside Thanet. Beggar thy neighbour is not a socialist motto.

The second and more subtle trap into which the left falls is to view the EU as a set of policies. It is not a set of policies, it is a supra-national institution. At the moment its policies tend towards the neo-liberal because at the moment Europe, and especially the UK, is dominated by neo-liberal governments. The notion that leaving the EU will bring more social justice under the reality of continual Tory governments is one of the more risible contentions of much of the British left.

The EU can very much be a force for good. I am personally convinced that there are two reasons Scotland is so much more pro-EU than England. The first is a generally more internationalist and communal outlook in society at large. The second is that during the Thatcher years, when Scottish industry was being devastated and there was a deliberate government policy of no action to alleviate suffering communities, EU regional policy provided the only ray of light. I recall personally seeing big signboards at the dualling of the A9 and the construction of Dundee airport, stating that they were paid for by EU Regional Funds. As Corbyn pointed out in the referendum, workers’ rights, the maximum working week, tachometers, many health and safety standards, all came from the EU when doctrinaire right wing Westminster documents were abolishing “red tape”.

This failure to note that the EU is an institution not a policy, is reflected in the Left’s current attitude to trade agreements. Trade is an extremely good thing. Neo-liberal governments around the world have added highly undesirable extras to trade agreements. The role of Investor Protection clauses which allow cabals of lawyers to adjudicate billions of dollars to rapacious corporations is well understood. But it is not a necessary feature of a trade agreement. Nor is it necessary for a trade agreement to forbid state aid. It is a perfectly logical position for two states to trade without tariffs while accepting that the organisation of the internal resources of a state is its own affair. The neo-liberals are in any event inconsistent here. They ought to believe that state aid to one industry is going to cause inefficiencies which will balance out by giving the state traded with comparative advantage elsewhere. Because neo-liberal governments have secured the addition of these unnecessary bolt-ons to multilateral trade deals, does not make the concept of multilateral trade deals in itself bad. And again, the notion that Liam Fox is going to negotiate anything fairer is hysterical.

Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit is a symptom of the abandonment by much of the left of the principles of internationalism. Internationalism is not possible without international institutions. To write off those institutions because they are currently controlled by right wing governments is short-sighted to the point of being stupid. That it leaves the left vying for the racist vote with the atavistic right is a plain signal of what a wrong direction it is.

Labour is becoming an irrelevance in Scotland. The latest opinion poll has SNP 47%, Conservative 27%, Labour 15%, Lib Dems 4%, Greens 3%. This continues a trend of Labour bleeding support to the Tories. It is however fascinating that the Tories in Scotland having achieved their highest point, that point is still lower than the lowest point of Labour in the UK under Corbyn. Yet Tory ministers are prepared to take this Tory “popularity” in Scotland as evidence they can ride roughshod over the Scottish people en route to Brexit.

More significant is what is happening at council by-elections all over Scotland, held under Single Transferable Vote. It has become an accepted part of political life here that Tories, Lib Dems and Labour will transfer their preferences to each other. So Labour voters will transfer to Tory rather than to SNP or Green. This everyday collusion with the Tories reveals Scotland’s remaining Red Tories for what they are. It also makes it essential that everybody in the crucial council elections looming in Scotland votes SNP first or at the very least ensures they use all their preferences and include all the SNP candidates.

I have blogged for some years now about the deep gap in social and political attitudes between England and Scotland. That this gap manifests itself in attitudes to the EU is not surprising, and if that has become the wedge all well and good. That the same gap is resulting in a clear choice between Independence and the Tories – both Tory rule from Westminster and the Tories in Scotland – is the inevitable working out of the same process.

That is why all the Scottish left should now suspend dispute and get behind the SNP until after Independence, provided the referendum happens before the end of next year (which appears happily almost inevitable).

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Why Has Israeli Spy Shai Masot Not Been Expelled?

There is no starker proof of the golden chains in which Israel has entangled the British political class, than the incredible fact that “diplomat” Shai Masot has not been expelled for secretly conspiring to influence British politics by attacking Britain’s Deputy Foreign Minister, suggesting that he might be brought down by “a little scandal”. It is incredible by any normal standards of diplomatic behaviour that immediate action was not taken against Masot for actions which when revealed any professional diplomat would normally expect to result in being “PNG’d” – declared persona non grata.

Obama has just expelled 35 Russian diplomats for precisely the same offence, with the exception that in the Russian case there is absolutely zero hard evidence, whereas in the Masot case there is irrefutable evidence on which to act.

To compare the two cases is telling. Al Jazeera should be congratulated on their investigation, which shames the British corporate and state media who would never have carried out such actual journalism. By contrast, the British media has parroted without the slightest scrutiny the truly pathetic Obama camp claims of Russian interference, evidently without reading them. When I was sent the latest “intelligence report” on Russian hacking a couple of evenings ago, I quite genuinely for several minutes thought it was a spoof by the Daily Mash or similar, parodying the kind of ludicrous claims that kept being advanced with zero evidence. I do implore you to read it, as when you realise it is supposed to be serious it becomes still more hilarious.

The existence of a natural preference in Russia to see a US President who does not want to start World War III is quoted as itself evidence that Russia interfered, just as the fact that I could do with some more money is evidence I robbed a bank. The fact that Russia did not criticise the electoral process after the result is somehow evidence that Putin personally ordered electoral hacking. Oh, and the fact that Russia Today once hosted a programme critical of fracking is evidence of a Russian plot to destroy the US economy. Please do read it, I promise you will be laughing for weeks.

In passing, allow me to destroy quickly the “we have smoking gun evidence but it’s too secret to show you” argument. Given the Snowden revelations and the whistleblowing of the former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, for the US government to claim to be hiding the fact that it can tack all electronic traffic in the USA is risible. This is like saying we can’t give you the evidence in case the Russians find out the sky is blue. If there were hacks, the NSA could identify the precise hack transmitting the precise information out of Washington. Everybody knows that. There were no hacks so there is no evidence. End of argument. They are internal leaks.

The two stories – Russian interference in US politics, Israeli interference in UK politics – also link because the New York Times claims that it was the British that first suggested to the Obama administration that Russian cyber activity was targeting Clinton. Director of Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the British Cabinet Office is Matthew Gould, the UK’s former openly and strongly pro-Zionist Ambassador to Israel and friend of the current Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev. While Private Secretary to David Miliband and William Hague, and then while Ambassador to Israel, Gould held eight secret meetings with Adam Werritty, on at least one occasion with Mossad present and on most occasions also with now minister Liam Fox. My Freedom of Information requests for minutes of these meetings brought the reply that they were not minuted, and my Freedom of Information request for the diary entries for these meetings brought me three pages each containing only the date, with everything else redacted.

I managed to get the information about the Gould/Werritty meetings as a result of relentless questioning, where I was kindly assisted by MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and Paul Flynn. The woman with whom Shai Masot was conniving to undermine Alan Duncan, was Maria Strizzolo, who works for Tory Minister Robert Halfon. It was Halfon who repeatedly tried to obstruct Paul Flynn MP from asking questions of Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell that threatened to get to the heart of the real Adam Werritty scandal.

Both Robert Halfon and Adam Werrity received funding from precisely the same Israeli sources, and in particular from Mr Poju Zabludowicz. Halfon also formerly had a full time paid job as Political Director of the Conservative Friends of Israel. Halfon’s assistant is now caught conspiring with the Israeli Embassy to attack another Tory minister.

House of Commons Publc Admininstration Committee 24/11/2011

Q Paul Flynn: Okay. Matthew Gould has been the subject of a very serious complaint from two of my constituents, Pippa Bartolotti and Joyce Giblin. When they were briefly imprisoned in Israel, they met the ambassador, and they strongly believe—it is nothing to do with this case at all—that he was serving the interest of the Israeli Government, and not the interests of two British citizens. This has been the subject of correspondence.

In your report, you suggest that there were two meetings between the ambassador and Werritty and Liam Fox. Questions and letters have proved that, in fact, six such meetings took place. There are a number of issues around this. I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories, but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran, in the service. Werritty is a self-proclaimed—

Robert Halfon: Point of order, Chairman. What is the point of this?

Paul Flynn:> Let me get to it. Werritty is a self-proclaimed expert on Iran.

Chair:> I have to take a point of order.

Robert Halfon:> Mr Flynn is implying that the British ambassador to Israel is working for a foreign power, which is out of order.

Paul Flynn:> I quote the Daily Mail: “Mr Werritty is a self-proclaimed expert on Iran and has made several visits. He has also met senior Israeli officials, leading to accusations”—not from me, from the Daily Mail—“that he was close to the country’s secret service, Mossad.” There may be nothing in that, but that appeared in a national newspaper.

Chair:> I am going to rule on a point of order. Mr Flynn has made it clear that there may be nothing in these allegations, but it is important to have put it on the record. Be careful how you phrase questions.

Paul Flynn:> Indeed. The two worst decisions taken by Parliament in my 25 years were the invasion of Iraq—joining Bush’s war in Iraq—and the invasion of Helmand province. We know now that there were things going on in the background while that built up to these mistakes. The charge in this case is that Werritty was the servant of neo-con people in America, who take an aggressive view on Iran. They want to foment a war in Iran in the same way as in the early years, there was another—

Chair:> Order. I must ask you to move to a question that is relevant to the inquiry.

Q Paul Flynn:> Okay. The question is, are you satisfied that you missed out on the extra four meetings that took place, and does this not mean that those meetings should have been investigated because of the nature of Mr Werritty’s interests?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> I think if you look at some of those meetings, some people are referring to meetings that took place before the election.

Q Paul Flynn:> Indeed, which is even more worrying.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> I am afraid they were not the subject—what members of the Opposition do is not something that the Cabinet Secretary should look into. It is not relevant.

But these meetings were held—

Chair:> Mr Flynn, would you let him answer please?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> I really do not think that was within my context, because they were not Ministers of the Government and what they were up to was not something I should get into at all.

Chair:> Final question, Mr Flynn.

Q Paul Flynn:> No, it is not a final question. I am not going to be silenced by you, Chairman; I have important things to raise. I have stayed silent throughout this meeting so far.

You state in the report—on the meeting held between Gould, Fox and Werritty, on 6 February, in Tel Aviv—that there was a general discussion of international affairs over a private dinner with senior Israelis. The UK ambassador was present. Are you following the line taken by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who says that he can eat with lobbyists or people applying to his Department because, on occasions, he eats privately, and on other occasions he eats ministerially? Are you accepting the idea? It is possibly a source of great national interest—the eating habits of their Secretary of State. It appears that he might well have a number of stomachs, it has been suggested, if he can divide his time this way. It does seem to be a way of getting round the ministerial code, if people can announce that what they are doing is private rather than ministerial.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> The important point here was that, when the Secretary of State had that meeting, he had an official with him—namely, in this case, the ambassador. That is very important, and I should stress that I would expect our ambassador in Israel to have contact with Mossad. That will be part of his job. It is totally natural, and I do not think that you should infer anything from that about the individual’s biases. That is what ambassadors do. Our ambassador in Pakistan will have exactly the same set of wide contacts.

Q Paul Flynn:> I have good reason, as I said, from constituency matters, to be unhappy about the ambassador. Other criticisms have been made about the ambassador; he is unique in some ways in the role he is performing. There have been suggestions that he is too close to a foreign power.

Robert Halfon:> On a point of order, Chair, this is not about the ambassador to Israel. This is supposed to be about the Werritty affair.

Paul Flynn:> It is absolutely crucial to this report. If neo-cons such as yourself, Robert, are plotting a war in Iran, we should know about it.

Chair:> Order. I think the line of questioning is very involved. I have given you quite a lot of time, Mr Flynn. If you have further inquiries to make of this, they could be pursued in correspondence. May I ask you to ask one final question before we move on?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> One thing I would stress: we are talking about the ambassador and I think he has a right of reply. Mr Chairman, I know there is an interesting question of words regarding Head of the Civil Service versus Head of the Home Civil Service, but this is the Diplomatic Service, not the Civil Service.

Q Chair:> So he is not in your jurisdiction at all.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> No.

Q Paul Flynn:> But you are happy that your report is final; it does not need to go the manager it would have gone to originally, and that is the end of the affair. Is that your view?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> As I said, some issues arose where I wanted to be sure that what the Secretary of State was doing had been discussed with the Foreign Secretary. I felt reassured by what the Foreign Secretary told me.

Q Chair:> I think what Mr Flynn is asking is that your report and the affair raise other issues, but you are saying that that does not fall within the remit of your report and that, indeed, the conduct of an ambassador does not fall within your remit at all.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> That is absolutely correct.

Paul Flynn:> The charge laid by Lord Turnbull in his evidence with regard to Dr Fox and the ministerial code was his failure to observe collective responsibility, in that case about Sri Lanka. Isn’t the same charge there about our policies to Iran and Israel?

Chair:> We have dealt with that, Mr Flynn.

Paul Flynn:> We haven’t dealt with it as far as it applies—

Chair:> Mr Flynn, we are moving on.

Paul Flynn:> You may well move on, but I remain very unhappy about the fact that you will not allow me to finish the questioning I wanted to give on a matter of great importance.

It is shocking but true that Robert Halfon MP, who disrupted Flynn with repeated points of order, receives funding from precisely the same Israeli sources as Werritty, and in particular from Mr Poju Zabludowicz. He also formerly had a full time paid job as Political Director of the Conservative Friends of Israel. It is not surprising that Shai Masot evidently views Halfon as a useful tool for attacking senior pro-Palestinian members of his own party.

But despite the evasiveness of O’Donnell and the obstruction of paid zionist puppet Halfon, O’Donnell confirmed vital parts of my investigation. In particular he agreed that the Fox-Werritty-Gould “private dinner” in Tel Aviv was with Mossad, and that Gould met Werritty many times more than the twice that O’Donnell listed in his “investigation” into the Werritty affair. The truth of the Werritty scandal, hidden comprehensively by the mainstream media, was that Werritty was inside the UK Ministry of Defence working for Israel. That is why it was so serious that Defence Minister Liam Fox had to resign

Of the eight meetings of Fox-Gould-Werritty together which I discovered, seven were while Fox was Secretary of State for Defence. Only one was while Fox was in opposition. But O’Donnell let the cat much further out of the bag, with the astonishing admission to Paul Flynn’s above questioning that Gould, Fox and Werritty held “meetings that took place before the election.” He also referred to “some of those meetings” as being before the election. Both are plainly in the plural.

It is evident from the information gained by Paul Flynn that not only did Fox, Gould and Werritty have at least seven meetings while Fox was in power – with no minutes and never another British official present – they had several meetings while Fox was shadow Foreign Secretary. O’Donnell was right that what Fox and Werritty were up to in opposition was not his concern. But what Gould was doing with them – a senior official – most definitely was his concern. A senior British diplomat cannot just hold a series of meetings with the opposition shadow Defence Secretary and a paid Israeli lobbyist.

All of this underlined the pernicious influence that Israel has in the political class, which is founded on the Israeli lobby’s shameless use of cash for influence – as witnessed in the discussion between Shai Masot and Labour Firends of Israel and his flaunting of a million. Attitudes towards the plight of the Palestinians are an extreme example of the disconnect between public opinion and the views of the political class, and Al Jazeera should be congratulated heartily on giving us a peek into that.

No further evidence is required. There could be no more conclusive evidence of Israel’s undue and pernicious influence than the astonishing fact that Shai Masot has not yet been expelled.

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Never Trust a Man without a Waistcoat

Contrary to the usual mainstream media inaccuracy, Sir Ivan Rogers has not resigned from the FCO as he was a Treasury civil servant. The clue is in the phrase “resigned on principle”. FCO people are not big on principles.

Indeed, the FCO was almost as strongly against the Iraq War as it is against Brexit. Yet the only two British diplomats who resigned on principle over the War on Iraq/Terror, those disastrous Blair/Bush policies which have devastated the Middle East and multiplied a hundredfold the terrorist threat, were Carne Ross and myself. We were also among the very few British diplomats I knew of at the time who always wore waistcoats. Which just goes to prove that the lack of a waistcoat is definite evidence of deficient moral character. (I have not forgotten the resignation of Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who was an excellent FCO lawyer but not a diplomat).

Brexit is a disaster for the UK, but probably will not spread as much harm across the entire globe as the invasion of Iraq. I do not expect to see any FCO resignations over it, much as they may mutter in the canteen. The government continuing to pay the fees for their children at the UK’s most expensive boarding schools, continues to be the main motive in life for the vast majority of British diplomats. It is strange to think that 15 years have now passed since my first Ambassadorial appointment, and had I not suffered from a conscience I would now be on my final, and probably very senior, Ambassadorship. Tim Barrow, who takes over as British Ambassador to the EU, joined the FCO two years after me and I knew him slightly. He was a very humorous though somewhat earnest young man. Crucially, I recall he wore a waistcoat.

My two autobiographical books, Murder in Samarkand and The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, rather give the impression that the FCO is full of nasty bastards. In fact this is not true at all. I was just extremely unlucky in my two last postings. Before that I had some really admirable bosses including Brian Barder, Michael Llewellyn Smith and Christopher Hum. Like them, many other prominent FCO types including Jeremy Greenstock, Christopher Mayhew and Charles Crawford (who turns up to criticise this blog from time to time) are among the nicest people you could wish to meet. I am pretty certain all of them are horrified by BREXIT, but I am equally sure the institutional culture is such that their successors will all work on at the FCO to try to make the best of an appalling job. It is rather like a determination to slit your own throat neatly and accurately.

Ivan Rogers’ strictures on the lack of government planning and preparedness are quite correct. Brexit is a seat of the pants exercise resulting from a ruse to hide political divisions in the Tory Party. The only definite principle appears to be that the preservation of a pure stream of racist thinking on immigration is sacrosanct, and every other interest or policy must be sacrificed to that. In Liam Fox and Theresa May, the political leadership lies in the hands of two people lacking totally in the required intellectual capacity, while all the senior civil servants who support them – including Tim Barrow – are engaged in a policy with which they fundamentally disagree. I think we are about to see a pig’s ear of a policy with a pig’s arsehole as a result.

I am now back from holiday, and starting working again, though as you may have gathered still in somewhat whimsical mood.

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sikunder-burnes-3245635-1-2


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The Disgraceful Far Right “Journalist” Stephen Daisley

I shall blog about last night’s Panorama shortly. But first I should like to draw attention to STV’s disgraceful Stephen Daisley, who I last mentioned joining in a mainstream media Twitter hatefest against me for revealing that MI5 were targeted on the SNP.

Well Daisley has been at it again, this time with a seriously nasty tweet about the mysterious murder of Hilda Murrell. It was sent to Murdoch shill David Aaronovitch, to whom Daisley tweeted

Yep. “Hilda Murrell. How the State silences dissent one elderly rose grower at a time.”

Whatever you believe about the Murrell murder, it is not something Daisley – a broadcast journalist – should be making jokes about. It is also fascinating that both Daisley’s tweet about me and his tweet about Hilda Murrell were both in defence of the security services and both sent to David Aaronovitch.

Aaronovitch found the Murrell joke so hilarious that he retweeted it at 3am on 25 September. Which is a pity for Daisley, as he apparently woke up, remembered he was a broadcast journalist, and deleted it. At any rate the retweet is on Aaronovitch’s twitter stream but the original not on Daisley’s.

It is however instructive to look at Daisley’s twitter stream. It is amazing to me that a supposed “journalist” working for a broadcaster would be so completely open about their anti-SNP, unionist, anti-Corbyn and far right agenda. Daisley is only very small beer, a stinking, sweating foot-soldier of the forces of reaction. But if you can stand it, the way the unionist establishment interacts and thinks is revealed very clearly from a study of his twitter feed. Messages are exchanged with Aaronovitch of Murdoch, Nick Cohen of the Guardian, with John McTernan of the Blairites and with J K Rowling of the 1%, and a great many others. The SNP and Corbyn are smugly derided by all. These well-paid state supporters live in a cosy Panglossian paradise and have contempt for anyone who is not “in”.

The other thing that comes out of the feed is this peculiar obsession with Israel. Of all the media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s “anti-Semitic connections”, Daisley’s attack is the most astonishing. STV should be deeply ashamed to carry this; it breaks every rule of good journalism. It is a bizarre hotch-potch of mostly deliberate lies and misrepresentation, and crucially there has not been a single attempt to contact any of the people named to obtain their side of the story.

To tackle just two of about sixty wild inaccuracies. Daisley accused Raed Saleh of a “blood libel” which Saleh has repeatedly denounced and stated that he has never said, and which a British court found there was no evidence that Saleh has ever said. Nonetheless Daisley regurgitates this Israeli propaganda.

Daisley quotes Paul Flynn as questioning the loyalties of Matthew Gould, appointed as British Ambassador to Israel. But this is gross misrepresentation by Daisley. What Flynn queried was Gould’s avowal that he was a “committed Zionist”, not his ethnicity. Would we appoint an Ambassador to Cuba who declared himself an avowed communist?

Daisley also perniciously omits what Flynn had said at the start of his remarks which sets the entire context, which was that Gould had held eight secret meetings with Liam Fox and Adam Werritty, of which the FCO refuses to disclose the subjects discussed and who else was present. Daisley knows that, and his censorship of that context is inexcusable as it completely distorts what Flynn was saying in order to portray Flynn as an anti-Semite.

The last few paragraphs of this attack on Corbyn beggar belief in their lack of balance. There is no nod whatsoever to the plight of the Palestinians, the illegality of the Israeli settlements he names, or the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The Israeli government itself would not dare publish anything so unsubtle and totally one sided. That STV should do this, in the context of an attack on Jeremy Corbyn, is absolutely incredible.

I know Daisley is a very, very insignificant figure. But the humdrum media enforcers of the establishment are vital to their ability to keep the 99% working for the 1%. That such a hate-filled and crazed right-winger as Daisley should be employed by mainstream broadcast media says a huge amount about the society we live in.

UPDATE HOW THE UNIONIST ESTABLISHMENT WORKS

As if to confirm the thesis outlined below, at 10.57am today, Duncan Hothersall, Labour’s New Media Czar in Scotland, retweeted Stephen Daisley’s approving tweet of an extract from Tory Secretary of State David Mundell’s Tory Conference Speech:

Good Stat: More people voted No in Indyref than have ever voted for any party in any election in Scottish history.

The tweet carried the Conservative Party Conference hashtag, so there is no doubt Red Tory Hothersall knew he was spreading Blue Tory Propaganda. The seamless web of Red and Blue Tories and mainstream media functions as usual. It is delightful to be proved so completely right so quickly:

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Werritty’s Chum Gould Cheers on Gaza Genocide

Where is the British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, who has put so much effort into promoting himself as a self-proclaimed “Jewish Zionist”? What has he to say while the people in Gaza are being massacred even as they shelter in UN facilities?

Well two days ago he was attending the swearing in of new Israeli President Rivlin, together with a British delegation of weird right wing folk, including Baroness Pauline Neville Jones, favourite “security expert” of the BBC, Stuart Polak of Conservative Friends of Israel, and New Labour public school and Oxford right winger Paul Spellar.

But surely the British Ambassador to Israel has spoken out in public about the terrible carnage in Gaza?

He most certainly has. Gould has reflected the massive indignation of the British people by stating that:

“This was a conflict triggered by Hamas raining down on Israel hundreds and hundreds of rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli towns and cities. Israel has a right and even an obligation to defend it citizens.”

Gould paid a pro-Israeli propaganda visit to Sderot, the Israeli chosen destination for media reports about Hamas rocket attacks, and the place where Israelis hold parties to watch people being blown apart in Gaza. Gould spoke of having to take his own family into the bomb shelter in Tel Aviv when sirens sounded from Hamas attacks.

Matthew Gould was a long term collaborator of Adam Werritty, having held meetings with him over a decade in Tehran, Washington, Israel and London, at most but not all of which Liam Fox was also present. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office refuse to list these meetings or say who was present and what was discussed, even though Gould met Werritty including when Gould was Private Secretary to both David Miliband and William Hague.

I have no hesitation whatsoever in stating that what is happening in Gaza is a part of a continuing process of deliberate genocide of the Palestinian people by the Israelis. When I have previously stated this, some commenters have taken issue with the word genocide. I see no other word that fits.

This chilling article by Martin Sherman, Head of the Israeli Institute of Strategic Studies, calling for Gaza to be ethnically cleansed of all Palestinians, should open the eyes of some of those who refuse to see that Israel is no longer a morally defensible entity. The 3,600 Facebook shares of this evil are evidence of how the madness of fascism has overtaken the citizens of Israel.

fascism

This banner on Herzl Boulevard expresses what has become the catchphrase for the extermination of Palestinians “There are no innocents in Gaza“. This justification of the extermination even of women and children should evoke parallels for Jewish people which are too obvious for me to emphasise. Yet this extraordinary slogan, justifying genocide, is supported and repeated by huge sectors of the Israeli populace.

I wonder how long it will be before we hear it from Matthew Gould?

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A Most Peculiar Triumph

According to the ebuzzing (formerly wikio) rankings, this is the third most influential political blog in the UK – and the fifth most influential blog of any kind. It beats, hands down, the heavily funded ConservativeHome and Labourlist propaganda operations.

Of the two political blogs ahead of it, Guido Fawkes has permanent paid staff, whereas Liberal Conspiracy is a collective of 32 high profile ultra politically correct guardianistas; many of whom are paid by mainstream media.

Yet this blog has total funding of precisely nil and is only me, an ageing and disillusioned man sickened by the growing gap between rich and poor, the domination of mainstream political parties by corporate interests, and the continual promotion of aggressive war.

This blog does everything wrong. There are frequent gaps between posts, sometimes of weeks on end, because I get too depressed at instances of the callous disregard of the powerful for ordinary people.

I do not tweet, except that the start of each blog entry automatically gets tweeted, which someone set up for me.

This is an SNP supporting blog based in Ramsgate, Kent, written by a manic depressive sacked diplomat of eclectic views, whose guiding lights are the deeply unfashionable John Stuart Mill and William Hazlitt, whose favourite book was written by Michael Foot, and who is still metaphorically on his knees begging forgiveness for advising people to put Nick Clegg into government.

This blog, like all the other top blogs, could make substantial money from advertising, but is the only one not to carry advertising because it does not desire money.

It is webhosted for free, and kept running by a team of techies and moderators who do it for free also, not because they support a party or policy line or everything I say, but because they like the blog. It has the most free, well nigh anarchic moderation policy of any major blog. You can say what you like, including being very critical of me. Racism is pretty well the only red line. Opposing voices are very welcome.

I don’t do political correctness.

Even more heretically, this blog succeeds despite the fact the ebuzzing rankings show the majority of its posts are about international relations. Not only is it interested in foreigners, it tends to concentrate on Africa, Central Asia and other places the mainstream media scarcely believe exist. This blog succeeds so well because the mainstream media leaves unmet an active desire for information by very large numbers of people who are not as stupid as they think.

I have been lucky to have led a fascinating and varied life and as a result not only have a large number of high level contacts who would be the envy of any journalist, but am prepared to publish facts that mainstream political discourse finds uncomfortable.

To give just a few examples, this blog made public that Adam Werritty and Liam Fox had eight meetings with Matthew Gould, now British Ambassador to Israel, not the two reported in Gus O’Donnell’s whitewash “report”. At least two included Mossad, and the purpose throughout was to coordinate on the ramping up of official support for an attack on Iran.

This blog made public the deal whereby the US obtained Arab League support for the attack on Libya in return for US support for the Saudi invasion of Bahrain.

This blog revealed Lord Taylor of Blackburn’s role as bagman for New Labour, and for Jack Straw personally, in collecting from the defence industries, and BAE in particular.

This blog revealed the dirty deal between the British government and the Karimov regime to resume arms supplies and military training in return for logistic support for Afghanistan.

You would be surprised by how many people actually embedded in the establishment, including Members of Parliament and very senior mainstream media journalists, have told me they regularly read this blog to see what is really happening. it is an antidote to the model of single propaganda narrative that now characterises mainstream media.

The stratospheric rise of this blog up the industry rankings is not actually caused by a sudden increase in popularity. That popularity has been there for years. But at last it is being measured.

The old wikio rankings measured the number of links from other blogs; in the case of political blogs, only from other political blogs. So clusters of New Labour, Tory and Lib Dem blogs, by constantly linking to each other, could collectively drive themselves up the rankings.

But over 70% of incoming links to this blog are from outside the UK; they did not count for anything at all in the rankings. Nor did the frequent links to this blog from the sites of major newspapers and broadcast companies in the UK and around the globe.

Ebuzzing now has abandoned the old wikio algorithm in favour of a much wider measurement, which draws on more reference sources, including twitter and newspaper sites. The result reflects much more the actual readership and influence of a blog than did the old wikio rankings:

More than 2 million sources are catalogued and analysed. The semantic content ranking is performed automatically. Blog and article popularity are calculated using our algorithm, which takes into account content shares and recommendations on Twitter, Facebook and the primary content exchange platforms.

I think it is hilarious that the huge wedges of cash put by Lord Ashcroft or Unite into the Tory and New War Criminal blogging propaganda arms cannot see off this old chap with his ancient laptop.

The internet remains a great leveller, and that remains reason to hope.

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Gould-Werritty: the Continuing Cover-Up

Evidence continues to mount that, rather than simply pursuing commercial interests with then Defence Secretary Liam Fox, Adam Werritty was involved centrally in working with the British and Israeli intelligence services to try to engineer war against Iran. His official contact in all this was Matthew Gould, now British Ambassador to Israel.

Gould met with Werritty on 8 September 2009. At the time, Gould was Principal Private Secretary to then Secretary of State David Miliband. It is very unusual indeed for the Private Secretary to hold policy or lobbying meetings with outsiders in this way. Still more extraordinarily, nine months later, on 16 June 2010, Gould met with Werritty again, now as Private Secretary to current Secretary of State William Hague.

A Private Secretary only acts directly for his minister – the Private Secretary has no other role. For a Private Secretary to meet a lobbyist on behalf of two different Secretaries of State from opposing political parties is so very strange as to be almost inexplicable.

The government is extremely set on hiding what was happening. The existence of these meetings was revealed in the 22 December 2011 FCO reply to my Freedom of Information request.

Thank you for your email of 24 November 2011 asking for “all communications in either direction ever made between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty, specifically including communications made outside government systems”. I am writing to confirm that we have now completed the search for the information which you requested.

I can confirm that the FCO does hold some information relevant to your request.

There are entries in diaries indicating that there were two meetings at which Mathew Gould and Mr Werritty were both present while he was serving as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary on 8 September 2009 and 16 June 2010.

Since Mr Gould was appointed as HM Ambassador to Israel on 11 September 2010 there were three further instances on 1 and 27 September 2010 in London and a dinner on 6 February 2011 in Tel Aviv. The meeting on 1 September and the dinner on 6 September are already matters of public record as they are included in the report by the Cabinet Secretary “Allegations against Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP” published on 18 October 2011. Mr Gould attended the Herzliya Conference in his official capacity. Mr Werritty was also a participant. This is already a matter of public record.

The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point.

The strange thing about this, is that normally in response to a Freedom of Information request you are given documents, not just told about them. In fact, that is a specific entitlement under the Freedom of Information Act.

I therefore replied on 23 December:

For Anna Bradbury,

Thank you for your most helpful response. Am I not entitled to copies of the documents (diary entries) to which you refer?

Best wishes,

Craig

I received no reply, so I wrote again on 23 January,

Neil,

Thank you. You refer to diary entries. Kindly send copies of those diary entries, which I believe the FOIA entitles me to see rather than simply be told of. This is not a new request, merely seeking a full response to FOI 1243-11.

Very many thanks,

Craig

On 27 January – after five whole weeks – I received this reply:

Dear Mr Murray

Please be assured that we are looking into this request and we will get back to you shortly on this.

Best wishes

Anna

It is a very simple request indeed – copies of two diary entries. But the FCO is extremely anxious not to give them out. FCO Legal Advisers were consulted and said that, under the FOI Act, the FCO was legally obliged to release them. The FCO has now gone to the Justice Department and Treasury Solicitors looking for a different answer. I have this from a sympathetic source in FCO Legal Advisers (which is a large department, and miffed to be overruled in this way).

My source has not told me what the diary entries say, but has said it appears that these meetings between Werritty and Gould were taking place without the knowledge of other FCO officials. That opens up one particularly interesting possibility. The Secretary of State at the FCO is the head not just of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office but also of MI6. His Principal Private Secretary is his right hand man for both roles. Was Gould therefore meeting Werritty on behalf of first Miliband and then Hague, with the MI6 hat on rather than the FCO hat on? The diary entries may give that away, particularly if they list the other participants in the meetings – or if they were held in Vauxhall Cross.

It is also worth reflecting whether other ministers or others in the Labour Party generally knew what Miliband was up to with Werritty. This is a particularly apt question given David Miliband’s New Statesman article today arguing that New Labour needs to move further to the right and be more big business-friendly.

There is still a very great deal which the FCO is holding back. In particular, we do not know if the eight Gould/Werritty meetings of which we now know, constitute the whole number, or if there are more. See for example this answer to a Parliamentary Question from Caroline Lucas MP:

Hansard 10 January 2012 Column 73W

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Islington North of 31
October 2011, Official Report, column 374W, on Adam Werritty, how many
meetings in his official capacity Mr Matthew Gould has attended at which Mr
Adam Werritty was present since the commencement of Mr Gould’s employment at
his Department in 1993. [87577]

Mr Lidington: The Department does not hold information listing all meetings
held by officials. However, based on diary records in this case, we are
aware of Mr Matthew Gould attending four meetings in his official capacity
(8 September 2009, 16 June 2010, 1 September 2010, and 27 September 2010) at
which Mr Adam Werritty was present. In addition to this, though they were
not meetings, Mr Gould also attended the Herzliya conference in February
2011 and, as listed in the Cabinet Office report on the allegations against
my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset
(Dr Fox) of 18 September 2011, attended a dinner on 6 February 2011. Mr
Werritty was present at these events.

Consider this bit of the response:

The Department does not hold information listing all meetings
held by officials. However, based on diary records in this case, we are
aware of Mr Matthew Gould attending four meetings in his official capacity

Then compare to this bit of the reply to my FOI request:

I can confirm that the FCO does hold some information relevant to your request.

There are entries in diaries indicating

The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point

The extraordinary thing is that Matthew Gould remains an employee of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but it is plain from these replies that the FCO have not taken the simple step of asking him how often he met Werritty and what communication there was between them. The FCO has instead limited itself to releasing either to me or indeed to parliament only that information which they were legally obliged to release because it was written down in an official FCO document.

It is a simply astonishing fact that, of the eight meetings between Gould and Werritty we do know of, not one was minuted or recorded or resulted in any correspondence. For anybody who knows the FCO’s insistence on recording all non internal meetings, it is simply not believable that eight meetings can be held and not a single word recorded. The only possible explanation is a deliberate and active policy of concealing what was happening.

Remember, if Gould had not made the mistake of noting some of these appointments in his official diary, we would never have been told that these meetings happened at all. How many other meetings with Werritty did Gould not put a reminder for in his official diary? We just do not know.

All this is a part of what seems to be a major policy of keeping from democratic scrutiny the activities of officials in dealing with the political classes’ most shady financiers. See for example the refusal to answer this question from yet another parliamentarian, Kevan Jones:

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether (a) he, (b) any Ministers and (c) officials of his Department have met (i) Mr Michael Hintze, (ii) Mr Tony Buckingham, (iii) Mr Michael Davis, (iv) Mr Poju Zabludowicz, (v) Jon Moulton and (vi) Stephen Crouch; and where any such meetings took place. [78653]

Miss Chloe Smith: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.
A list of ministerial meetings with external organisations is published quarterly on the HM Treasury website.

Jones has listed a choice set of complete villains: we are not allowed to know of officials’ dealings with them. I have long argued that there is little point in a parliament dominated by three neo-con parties. But where even MPs are not allowed information about what taxpayer-funded officials are doing, I really wonder how MPs can put up with this charade and maintain any sense of decency and self-respect. The expenses help, no doubt.

Tension over Iran continues to be stoked for the next neo-con war. Werritty’s role as a go-between with MI6, Mossad and Iranian pro-Shah groups came briefly into view as a result of what the press thought was a ministerial gay scandal, but government and a complicit media and opposition have sought to bury it as quickly as possible, before the real truth is revealed. I am not going to let that happen.

The investigation continues. Do not get your news from TV or newspapers – only on little blogs like this is there any chance of catching a glimpse beneath the propaganda story.

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Werritty/Miliband: They Were All In It

David Miliband and William Hague are implicated in three entirely new Adam Werritty/Matthew Gould meetings admitted by the FCO in response to one of my FOI requests. Gould’s meetings with Werritty, in his capacity as Principal Private Secretary to first Miliband and then Hague, were entirely left out of Gus O’Donnell’s “investigation” into Werritty’s activities.

I have now received the following FCO response to my Freedom of Information request on Gould/Werritty:

Thank you for your email of 24 November 2011 asking for “all communications in either direction ever made between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty, specifically including communications made outside government systems”. I am writing to confirm that we have now completed the search for the information which you requested.

I can confirm that the FCO does hold some information relevant to your request.

There are entries in diaries indicating that there were two meetings at which Mathew Gould and Mr Werritty were both present while he was serving as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary on 8 September 2009 and 16 June 2010.

Since Mr Gould was appointed as HM Ambassador to Israel on 11 September 2010 there were three further instances on 1 and 27 September 2010 in London and a dinner on 6 February 2011 in Tel Aviv. The meeting on 1 September and the dinner on 6 September are already matters of public record as they are included in the report by the Cabinet Secretary “Allegations against Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP” published on 18 October 2011. Mr Gould attended the Herzliya Conference in his official capacity. Mr Werritty was also a participant. This is already a matter of public record.

The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point.

So Gould attended one meeting with Werritty as David Miliband’s Principal Private Secretary, and one as William Hague’s Principal Private Secretary. Private Secretaries in the civil service do not hold meetings on their own account. It would be very peculiar indeed for a Private Secretary to meet an outside lobbyist on his own, or to formally meet on business anyone outside the civil service without his minister’s permission. Even then, I cannot stress too much how rare this would be; the FCO has batteries of civil servants covering all subjects and geographical areas; private secretaries do not normally meet outsiders except when accompanying their minister.

What was Miliband’s business with Werritty? Does it relate to the later meeting between Werritty, Gould, Fox and Mossad at the Tel Aviv meeting? Does David Miliband’s involvement with Werritty explain the ludicrous charges of anti-semitism levelled at Paul Flynn from within his own party when he tried to dig deeper into what Gould and Werritty were up to?

Those who can count will realise that the FCO letter refers to two instances where Gould met Werritty before he became Ambassador to Israel, and three after being appointed Ambassador, but actually lists four not three – 1 and 27 September 2010 and 6 February 2011, plus the Herzilya Conference from 4-6 February 2011 (this is not the same event as the Tel Aviv dinner as it took place in a quite different town).

Either the meeting on 1 September or 27 September is a new admission. The O’Donnell report refers to only one September meeting, the infamous “briefing meeting” for Gould in the MOD between Gould, Fox and Werritty. Just before Christmas, Caroline Lucas obtained a parliamentary answer that stated there was no MOD official present at that meeting and no record was taken. The FCO letter above is the first admission of a second September meeting.

The FCO list omits the “social occasion” in summer 2010 to which Fox invited both Gould and Werritty, despite the fact that this had already been revealed in a parliamentary answer to Jeremy Corbyn. Presumably it is omitted from this Freedom of Information request because there is no written record of it within the Foreign Office. That might also explain the extraordinary omission of the “We Believe in Israel” conference in London which Fox, Gould and Werritty all attended shortly after the Herzilya Conference in Israel. In this context, am I the only one to find the formula: “The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point” somewhat unconvincing. Have they even asked Gould about communications outside the FCO system?

We now have these Gould/Werritty meetings:

1) 8 September 2009 as Miliband’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)
2) 16 June 2010 as Hague’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)
3) A “social occasion” in summer 2010 with Gould, Fox and Werritty (omitted from above and omitted from O’Donnell report)
4) 1 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
5) 27 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
6) 4-6 February 2011 Herzilya Conference Israel (omitted from O’Donnell report)
7) 6 February 2011 Tel Aviv dinner with Mossad and Israeli military
8 15 May 2011 “We believe in Israel” conference London (omitted from above and omitted from O’Donnell report)

Only two of these eight were recorded by Gus O’Donnell in his pathetic “investigation” into the Fox Werritty affair.

It is simply impossible that Matthew Gould, a senior British diplomat, attended all of these meetings and events, yet no formal minute or note of any of them exists. Yet that is what the FCO appears to be claiming. In particular the meetings as Principal Private Secretary on 8 September 2009 and 16 June 2010 simply must have been minuted. The FCO admit they hold diary entries detailing participation, but so far have not responded to my request to release them.

I have no doubt that the near total blackout on serious media investigation into what Werritty was really up to, relates directly to the fact that he was meeting with Gould as Private Secretary to both Miliband and Hague, in this sense. There is a silent cross-party agreement among the political establishment to ally the UK strongly with the interests of Israel (and thus against the interests of the Palestinians). Werritty’s activities were therefore countenanced by both New Labour and Conservative leaderships, and the nebulous “Establishment”, including the mainstream media, have closed ranks around this.

My sources within the civil service remain adamant that the purpose of all this activity was diplomatic preparation for an attack on Iran. When those sources first contacted me, and told me to look at Gould Werritty, I genuinely had no idea that Gould and Werritty had any connection. Getting the information has been extremely difficult, but I have proven that the Gould/Werritty connection was indeed far more extensive than the Establishment were prepared to admit, and directly implicated Miliband and Hague with Werritty. It was deliberately underplayed by Gus O’Donnell’s report, in a blatant act of political lying by the then Cabinet Secretary.

I still do not have positive evidence that the purpose of this activity is an attack on Iran, but I trust my source and his or her tip-off that the place to dig was the Gould-Werritty relationship has proven to be entirely accurate. It ties in with information I have received from another source, this time a senior journalist whom again I trust, that Werritty met with Robert Gates on two occasions. I would be grateful if any of my US-based readers could try to track that down using FOI.

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Matthew Gould and the Plot to Attack Iran

This is Matthew Gould, second from right, British Ambassador to Israel, who was pictured speaking at a meeting of the Leeds Zionist Federation that was also the opening of the Leeds Hasbarah Centre. The Leeds Zionist Federation is part of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, motto “Speaking Up for Israel.” A collection was made at the meeting to send packages to members of the Israeli Defence Force.

On 29 May 2011 The Jerusalem Post reported: “British Ambassador Matthew Gould declared his commitment to Israel and the principles of Zionism on Thursday”.

Remember this background, it is unusual behaviour for a diplomat, and it is important.

The six meetings between British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould and Minister of Defence Liam Fox and Adam Werritty together – only two of which were revealed by Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell in his “investigation” into Werritty’s unauthorised role in the Ministry of Defence – raise vital concerns about a secret agenda for war at the core of government, comparable to Blair’s determination to drive through a war on Iraq..

This is a detective story. It begins a few weeks ago, when the Fox-Werritty scandal was first breaking in the media. I had a contact from an old friend from my Foreign Office days. This friend had access to the Gus O’Donnell investigation. He had given a message for me to a trusted third party.

Whistleblowing in the surveillance state is a difficult activity. I left through a neighbour’s garden, not carrying a mobile phone, puffed and panted by bicycle to an unmonitored but busy stretch of road, hitched a lift much of the way, then ordered a minicab on a payphone from a country pub to my final destination, a farm far from CCTV. There the intermediary gave me the message: what really was worrying senior civil servants in the Cabinet Office was that the Fox-Werritty link related to plans involving Mossad and the British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould.

Since I became a notorious whistleblower, several of my ex-friends and contacts have used me to get out information they wanted to leak, via my blog. A good recent example was a senior friend at the UN who tipped me off in advance on the deal by which the US agreed to the Saudi attack on pro-democracy demonstrators in Bahrain, in return for Arab League support for the NATO attack on Libya. But this was rather different, not least in the apparent implication that our Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, was engaged in something with Werritty which went beyond official FCO policy.

I was particularly concerned by this because I knew slightly and liked Matthew Gould, from the time he wrote speeches for Robin Cook. I hoped there was nothing much in it. But then Gould’s name started to come up as professional journalists dug into the story, and reported Werritty’s funding by pro-Israeli lobby groups.

I decided that the best approach was for me to write to Matthew Gould. I did so, asking him when he had first met Werritty, how many times he had met him, and how many communications of every kind there had been between them. I received the reply that these questions would be answered in Gus O’Donnell’s report.

But Gus O’Donnell’s report in fact answered none of these questions. It only mentioned two meetings at which Fox, Gould and Werritty were all three present. It did not mention Gould-Werritty bilateral meetings and contacts at all. To an ex-Ambassador like me, there was also something very fishy about the two trilateral meetings O’Donnell did mention and his characterisation of them.

This led me to dig further, and I was shocked to find that O’Donnell was, at the most charitable interpretation, economical with the truth. In fact there were at least six Fox-Werritty-Gould meetings, not the two given by O’Donnell. Why did GOD lie? I now had no doubt that my informant had pointed me towards something very real and very important indeed.

Matthew Gould was the only British Ambassador who Fox and Werrity met together. They met him six times. Why?

The first meeting to which O’Donnell admits, took place in September 2010. O’Donnell says this was

“a general discussion of international defence and security matters to enable Mr Gould better to understand MOD’s perspective.”

O’Donnell says Werritty should not have been present. An FCO spokesman told me on 21 October that

“Mr Gould’s meeting with the Defence Secretary was arranged by his office as part of his pre-posting briefing calls.”

All Ambassadors make pre-posting briefing calls around Whitehall before taking up their job, as you would expect. But even for our most senior Ambassadors, outside the Foreign Office those calls are not at Secretary of State level. Senior officials are quite capable of explaining policy to outgoing Ambassadors; Secretaries of State have many other things to do.

For this meeting to happen at all was not routine, and Werritty’s presence made it still more strange. Why was this meeting happening? I dug further, and learnt from a senior MOD source that there were two more very strange things about this meeting, neither noted by O’Donnell. There was no private secretary or MOD official present to take note of action points, and the meeting took place not in Fox’s office, but in the MOD dining room.

O’Donnell may have been able to fox the media, but to a former Ambassador this whole meeting stunk. I bombarded the FCO with more questions, and discovered an amazing fact left out by O’Donnell. The FCO spokesman replied to me on 21 October 2011 that:

“Mr Werritty was also present at an earlier meeting Mr Gould had with Dr Fox in the latter’s capacity as shadow Defence Secretary.”

So Gould, Fox and Werritty had got together before Gould was Ambassador, while Fox was still in opposition and while Werritty was – what, exactly? This opened far more questions than it answered. I put them to the FCO. When, where and why had this meeting happened? We only knew it was before May 2010, when Fox took office. What was discussed? There are very strict protocols for senior officials briefing opposition front bench spokesman. Had they been followed?

The FCO refused point blank to answer any further questions. I turned to an independent-minded MP, Jeremy Corbyn, who put down a parliamentary question to William Hague. The reply quite deliberately ignored almost all of Corbyn’s question, but it did throw up an extraordinary bit of information – yet another meeting between Fox, Werritty and Gould, which had not been previously admitted.

Hague replied to Corbyn that:

“Our ambassador to Israel was also invited by the former Defence Secretary to a private social engagement in summer 2010 at which Adam Werritty was present.”

Getting to the truth was like drawing teeth, but the picture was building. O’Donnell had completely mischaracterised the “Briefing meeting” between Fox, Werritty and O’Donnell by hiding the fact that the three had met up at least twice before – once for a meeting when Fox was in opposition, and once for “a social engagement.” The FCO did not answer Corbyn’s question as to who else was present at this “social engagement”.

This was also key because Gould’s other meetings with Fox and Werritty were being characterised – albeit falsely – as simply routine, something Gould had to do in the course of his ambassadorial duties. But this attendance at “a private social engagement” was a voluntary act by Gould, indubitable proof that, at the least, the three were happy in each other’s company, but given that all three were very active in zionist causes, it was a definite indication of something more than that.

That furtive meeting between Fox, Werritty and Gould in the MOD dining room, deliberately held away from Fox’s office where it should have taken place, and away from the MOD officials who should have been there, now looks less like briefing and more like plotting.

My existing doubts about the second and only other meeting to which O’Donnell does admit make plain why that question is very important.

O’Donnell had said that Gould, Fox and Werritty had met on 6 February 2011:

“in Tel Aviv. This was a general discussion of international affairs over a private dinner with senior Israelis. The UK Ambassador was present.”

There was something very wrong here. Any ex-Ambassador knows that any dinner with senior figures from your host country, at which the British Ambassador to that country and a British Secretary of State are both present, and at which international affairs are discussed, can never be “private”. You are always representing the UK government in that circumstance. The only explanation I could think of for O’Donnell’s astonishing description of this as a “private” dinner was that the discussion was far from being official UK policy.

I therefore asked the FCO who was at this dinner, what was discussed, and who was paying for it? I viewed the last as my trump card – if either Gould or Fox was receiving hospitality, they are obliged to declare it. To my astonishment the FCO refused to say who was present or who paid. Corbyn’s parliamentary question also covered the issue of who was at this dinner, to which he received no reply.

Plainly something was very wrong. I therefore again asked how often Gould had met or communicated with Werritty without Fox being present. Again the FCO refused to reply. But one piece of information that had been found by other journalists was that, prior to the Tel Aviv dinner, Fox, Gould and Werritty had together attended the Herzilya conference in Israel. The programme of this is freely available. It is an unabashedly staunch zionist annual conference on “Israel’s security”, which makes no pretence at a balanced approach to Palestinian questions and attracts a strong US neo-conservative following. Fox, Gould and Werritty sat together at this event.

Yet again, the liar O’Donnell does not mention it.

I then learnt of yet another, a sixth meeting between Fox, Gould and Werritty. This time my infomrant was another old friend, a jewish diplomat for another country, based at an Embassy in London. They had met Gould, Fox and Werritty together at the “We believe in Israel” conference in London in May 2011. Here is a photo of Gould and Fox together at that conference.

I had no doubt about the direction this information was leading, but I now needed to go back to my original source. Sometimes the best way to hide something is to put it right under the noses of those looking for it, and on Wednesday I picked up the information in a tent at the Occupy London camp outside St Paul’s cathedral.

This is the story I was given.

Matthew Gould was Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Iran, a country which Werritty frequently visited, and where Werritty claimed to have British government support for plots against Ahmadinejad. Gould worked at the British Embassy in Washington; the Fox-Werritty Atlantic Bridge fake charity was active in building links between British and American neo-conservatives and particularly ultra-zionists. Gould’s responsibilities at the Embassy included co-ordination on US policy towards Iran. The first meeting of all three, which the FCO refuses to date, probably stems from this period.

According to my source, there is a long history of contact between Gould and Werritty. The FCO refuse to give any information on Gould-Werritty meetings or communications except those meetings where Fox was present – and those have only been admitted gradually, one by one. We may not have them all even yet.

My source says that co-ordinating with Israel and the US on diplomatic preparation for an attack on Iran was the subject of all these meetings. That absolutely fits with the jobs Gould held at the relevant times. The FCO refuses to say what was discussed. My source says that, most crucially, Iran was discussed at the Tel Aviv dinner, and the others present represented Mossad. The FCO again refuses to say who was present or what was discussed.

On Wednesday 2 November it was revealed in the press that under Fox the MOD had prepared secret and detailed contingency plans for British participation in an attack on Iran.

There are very important questions here. Was Gould really discussing neo-con plans for attacking Iran with Werritty and eventually with Fox before the Conservatives were even in government? Why did O’Donnell’s report so carefully mislead on the Fox-Gould-Werritty axis? How far was the FCO aware of MOD preparations for attacking Iran? Is there a neo-con cell of senior ministers and officials, co-ordinating with Israel and the United States, and keeping their designs hidden from the Conservative’s coalition partners?

The government could clear up these matters if it answered some of the questions it refuses to answer, even when asked formally by a member of parliament. The media have largely moved on from the Fox-Werritty affair, but have barely skimmed the surface of the key questions it raises. They relate to secrecy, democratic accountabilty and preparations to launch a war, preparations which bypass the safeguards of good government. The refusal to give straight answers to simple questions by a member of perliament strikes at the very root of our democracy.

Is this not precisely the situation we were in with Blair and Iraq? Have no lessons been learnt?

There is a further question which arises. Ever since the creation of the state of Israel, the UK had a policy of not appointing a jewish Briton as Ambassador, for fear of conflict of interest. As a similar policy of not appointing a catholic Ambassador to the Vatican. New Labour overturned both longstanding policies as discriminatory. Matthew Gould is therefore the first jewish British Ambassador to Israel.

Matthew Gould does not see his race or religion as irrelevant. He has chosen to give numerous interviews to both British and Israeli media on the subject of being a jewish ambassador, and has been at pains to be photographed by the Israeli media participating in jewish religious festivals. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described him as “Not just an ambassador who is jewish, but a jewish ambassador”. That rather peculiar phrase appears directly to indicate that the potential conflict of interest for a British ambassador in Israel has indeed arisen.

It is thus most unfortunate that it is Gould who is the only British Ambassador to have met Fox and Werritty together, who met them six times, and who now stands suspected of long term participation with them in a scheme to forward war with Iran, in cooperation with Israel. This makes it even more imperative that the FCO answers now the numerous outstanding questions about the Gould/Werritty relationship and the purpose of all those meetings with Fox.

There is no doubt that the O’Donnell report’s deceitful non-reporting of so many Fox-Gould-Werritty meetings, the FCO’s blunt refusal to list Gould-Werritty, meetings and contacts without Fox, and the refusal to say who else was present at any of these occasions, amounts to irrefutable evidence that something very important is being hidden right at the heart of government. I have no doubt that my informant is telling the truth, and the secret is the plan to attack Iran. It fits all the above facts. What else does?

Please feel free to re-use and republish this article anywhere, commercially or otherwise. It has been blocked by the mainstream media. I write regularly for the mainstream media and this is the first article of mine I have ever been unable to publish. People have risked a huge amount by leaking me information in an effort to stop the government machinery from ramping up a war with Iran. There are many good people in government who do not want to see another Iraq. Please do all you can to publish and redistribute this information.

UPDATE A commenter has already pointed me to this bit of invaluable evidence:

“My government absolutely agrees with your conception of the Iranian threat and the importance of your determination to battle it.” Dealing with the Iranian threat will be a large part of my work here.” Gould said.

From Israel National News. It also says that he will be trying to promote a positive atmosphere between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, but the shallowest or the deepest search shows the same picture; an entirely biased indeed fanatical zionist who must give no confidence at all to the Palestinian Authority. He must be recalled.

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Gould and Werritty Relationship

British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould has refused to answer my questions about his relationship with Werritty. With multiple Whitehall sources having pointed first me and then the Guardian, Times, Mail and Independent to a link between Fox-Werritty and Mossad, this refusal is unacceptable. Just what was the Ambassador’s relationship with Werritty and how much did he know?

This is the reply I received to my questions to Matthew Gould:

As the Prime Minister made clear in the House of Commons on Wednesday, the matter is being looked into by the Cabinet Secretary who is producing a report. We are working with the Cabinet Office on this and cannot prejudice its outcome by commenting in advance.

But I was not asking Gould for opinions, but rather for a series of simple facts. Knowledge of the facts of the case cannot prejudice a report – unless the purpose of the report is to be extremely selective about the facts allowed to come out.

These are the questions I put to Matthew Gould:

You are widely reported in the media to have met Mr Werritty with Liam Fox at a meeting in the MOD before your posting to Tel Aviv.

1) Was this part of your official series of pre-posting briefing meetings?
2) Who organised the meeting? Was it organised by another official, eg in Heads of Mission Section (if it still exists) or the geographical department?
3) At what stage did you know that Werritty would be in the meeting?
4) How was Werritty introduced to you?
5) Who did you think that Werritty was? In what capacity did you believe or presume or were you told that Werritty was at the meeting?
6) Was there any aspect of the discussion which you would normally view as classified? If so at what classification?
7) Was any note made or minute or letter written as a result of what transpired at that meeting? Did any other action arise?
8 ) What was the classification of any note, document, minute or letter arising from the discussion at that meeting?
9) Had you ever met Werritty before?
10) You and Werritty reportedly both attended an anti-Iranian conference in Israel, as did Fox. What contact did you have with Werritty at that conference or in its margins? What did you discuss?
11) Please list the total number of occasions on which you have met, corresponded with (including email), or spoken by telephone with Werritty.

I am willing to bet the report gives almost none of these answers. As it is apparently due out in the next half hour, let me remind you what my outraged Cabinet Office source told me a week ago had been stitched up in advance:

Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary, has fixed with Cameron the lines of his investigation to allow him to whitewash Fox. This will be done by the standard method of only asking very narrow questions, to which the answer is known to be satisfactory. In this case, the investigation into Werritty’s finances will look only at the very narrow question of whether he received specific payments that can be linked directly to the setting up of specific meetings with Fox. The answer is thought to be no; that is what Fox was indicating by his extraordinary formulation to the House of Commons that Werritty was “not dependent on any transactional behaviour to maintain his income”.

So O’Donnell will announce that Werritty received no specific money for specific meetings with or introductions to Fox.

But the deal between Cameron, Fox and O’Donnell is that O’Donnell will not address the much more important question of who funded Werritty and why. Having claimed there was no wrongdoing, O’Donnell will say Mr Werritty’s finances are private and should not be made public. It was on that basis that Werritty agreed to give financial details to Sue Gray in the Cabinet Office yesterday.

The Cabinet Office will only look for direct evidence of a little grubby money-making for introductions to Fox. But what is actually happening is much worse and much more serious. Who paid for Werritty’s eighteen overseas trips with Liam Fox and his stays in exclusive hotels in the World’s most expensive destinations? What does he live on?

The answer is that Werritty is paid by representatives of far right US and Israeli sources to influence the British defence secretary. It has been discussed within the MOD whether Werritty is being – knowingly or otherwise – run as an agent of influence by the CIA or Mossad. That is why the chiefs of the armed forces are so concerned, and why there is today much gagging at the stitch up within the Cabinet Office.

Newspaper revelations may have caused O’Slimebag to deviate the tiniest bit from this formula. but I am willing to bet this is still basically the stitch-up we will see,

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