After I protested internally and in writing about UK complicity in torture, I found myself suddenly faced with eighteen allegations against me by my employer, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including an allegation that I had criminally expedited visas for women in return for sexual favours, or to put the same allegation more bluntly, blackmailed visa applicants into sex.
My world collapsed. Like Strauss-Kahn, I ended up on suicide watch. I don’t know if DSK is innocent; he could indeed be a monster; but should he be innocent, I know the absolute hell he is going through.
After an official British government investigation, I was presented with the file of a single visa applicant, for a young lady named Albina Safarova. From her passport photo, she was very beautiful. On the back of her application, the visa officer had written “HMA [Her Majesty’s Ambassador] authorises issue.”
But if I had authorised issue, my signature should have been there; it wasn’t. What was there, was a letter from the lady’s visa sponsor, a man named Dermot Hassett. In his letter of support for the application, he stated that the circumstances of the application were known to the British Ambassador, Mr Craig Murray. On top of which, there was a letter from the visa issuing officer, Lorraine Clarke, who stated that she had issued the visa after being informed by two named British diplomats that Mr Hassett was a friend of mine.
So far, so damning. But I had never even heard of Mr Dermot Hassett or of Ms Albina Safarova. I had never met him. I had never met her. I was mystified. I eventually passed the papers on to a seasoned investigative journalist, Bob Graham. He tracked down Dermot Hassett, who told him that the British Embassy had advised him to add the phrase about my knowing the circumstances of the application to his letter of support. They said that would guarantee the visa would be issued.
I have no reason to believe that Dermot Hassett and Albina Safarova were anything other than unwitting dupes. But this application was directly and officially shown to me as evidence of my sexual inolvement in visa applications. I have no doubt at all that it was fabricated evidence to damage my reputation and lessen the impact of any potential public revelations I may make about UK complicity in torture or extraordinary rendition.
I was cleared on all charges, but that did not matter because the British government had damaged my reputation forever by promoting the allegations to the media. Those who deny the very possibility that modern western governments connive in quite deliberate conspiracies of injustice, have no idea what they are talking about. If you threaten them in any political way, they can certainly fabricate evidence against you.
I know; they did it to me.