Daily Archives: October 18, 2011

World’s Thinnest Whitewash

My mole told the truth – the delay was the reformating of a four page A4 report (merely 2,700 words) to spread it super-thinly over ten pages, using line spacing, large font and paragraph breaks.

It is a work of breathtaking insouciance. It brushes over Werritty’s meetings with other defence ministers on the pretext that, as this was in the context of Atlantic Bridge, that makes it OK! In fact, that is precisely what makes it unacceptable.

It also mentions only the Fox-Werritty meeting with Matthew Gould, UK Ambassador to Israel, in the MOD and fails to mention that they met him at least once again in Israel, or to answer a single one of the questions I asked about how this meeting was set up or what other contacts Gould had with Werritty.

The statement that the Cabinet Office were unaware of Werritty’s existence is a downright lie. Also interesting that it makes no mention of other government departments, particularly the FCO. And no mention at all of Werritty’s Israel Lobby funding or Mossad.

This is less whitewash, more transparent bollocks.

My investigation continues…

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New Stronger Whitewash

The Guardian has for the last ten hours had an over-optimistic live blog entitled “Liam Fox Report Published.” Four hours ago the BBC told us rather hilariously the delay was caused by technical difficulties putting it on the Cabinet Office website. I bet the photocopier is jammed too.

A Murray Mole has struck again!! What was already a very sparse report on very narrow terms of reference had huge chunks hacked out of it by Number 10. The result was so obviously pathetic that it is being bulked out with guff and waffle, large font, line spacing and paragraph breaks.

I kid you not.

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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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Prisoner Swaps

I am ganuinely glad to see Gilad Shalit go home, and to see so many Palestinians reunited with their families. In conflict resolution we tend to refer to such events as “confidence building measures”, and there is no doubt that prisoner releases have to be a part of any eventual solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. But this is hardly an unprecedented event – I can remember three or four similar ones, with no long term effect. Still, on balance a good thing.

I find the wall to wall media coverage so laughably one-sided that I am surprisingly relaxed about it. Anybody likely to be paying the slightest attention to a news channel is going to know some background on the Israeli occupation and the plight of the Palestinians, so the ludicrous one-sidedness of the BBC and Sky News is much more likely to provoke derision than to have the desired propaganda effect.

I had the peculiar thought this morning that the crazed extremism of the Netanyahu government, with their walls and accelerated settlement building, may not be a bad thing in the long term. Another year or two of this kind of land grab and a two state solution will become patently impractical, and unacceptable to all Palestinians. As someone who has always favoured a single, secular democratic state in Israel/Palestine, I am hopeful that the two state idea, which is a Zionist trap into which well meaning but despairing liberals fell, will lose support when it becomes clear that the proposed Palestinian state is becoming an ever shrinking, increasingly disconnected series of tiny waterless and resourceless bantustans.

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