Matthew Gould and the Plot to Attack Iran 440

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.

440 thoughts on “Matthew Gould and the Plot to Attack Iran

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  • Autonomous Mind

    (Sorry, I accidentally posted while editing my previous comment. I’ll try again)

    While there is a great deal of information here there are two things missing.

    i) substantive evidence
    ii) context

    I understand how hard it is to obtain evidence when focusing on issues where there is so much at stake and you are dealing with the intelligence services. So this is not such a big deal.

    However, the absence of context here is somewhat concerning.

    While it would be folly for me to assume I know what the political class’ real aims and objectives are in respect of Iran, I would hope that substantial planning and preparation has been, and remains, underway to deal with the Iran’s apparent determination to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

    Iran represents a genuine threat to stability in the middle east. The world must not permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Iran is a country that has shown consistent hostility to Israel, is led by a fanatical and unpredictable regime, and has already used Hezbollah as a proxy to bring about conflict in southern Lebanon.

    While I do not want to see another war, I believe that a failure of diplomacy in preventing Iran developing nuclear weapons would make it a necessary evil. I also believe the responsible course of action is for the government to ensure it is ready to act if the situation demands it. Surely that is all that Craig is describing here.

  • Bike codes

    One has got to wonder – why have Private Eye or the Grauniad not picked this up yet? The others I can understand but I’m surprised by the silence from these two.

  • North by Stringvest

    Autonomous M:
    Iran represents a genuine threat to stability in the middle east. The world must not permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Iran is a country that has shown consistent hostility to Israel, is led by a fanatical and unpredictable regime, and has already used Hezbollah as a proxy to bring about conflict in southern Lebanon.
    Israel represents a genuine threat to stability in the middle east. The world must not permit Israel to develop nuclear weapons. Israel is a country that has shown consistent hostility to Iran, is led by a fanatical and unpredictable regime, and has already used the USA as a proxy to bring about conflict in Iraq and elsewhere.

  • Komodo

    Private Eye only comes out fortnightly: Guardian has been (I personally believe) subverted by recent cash injection from Israel-linked private equity firm. I posted details on other threads.

  • Johnstone

    Around about when was Gould writing speeches for the unfortunate Robin Cook? With friends like MG who needs enemies. What a snake!

  • Jiusito

    It’s interesting to read your comments about the pro-Israeli bias in the MSM. A few months ago, I said hello to Jon Snow after his interview of Gideon Levy at the Frontline Club in London. Simply to remind him who I was, I said I had sent him, pre-publication in 2008, my 7,000-word interview for Third Way of Khalid Mish’al of Hamas: I thought Jon might say, at best, “Yeah, I vaguely remember that; but I didn’t have time to read it.” Instead, he looked slightly embarrassed and said, “I’m sorry we didn’t do anything with it, but – believe it or not – my editor thinks the viewers are bored with stories about Israel/Palestine and will just switch over to another channel.” The director of research/former head of the Middle East programme at Chatham House had told me that the interview was “very interesting” and its timing “could not be better, given the Israeli-Hamas truce” – but still it was completely ignored by the MSM.

  • mary


    11th November 2011

    I used to think you were a friendly and interesting commentator putting forward a different view, but now I realise you are just a troll. Of course the article is properly sourced, and it follows proper journalistic ethics, ie those criticised have been asked for their viewpoint. As I plainly stated, several national newspapers have fact-checked it and the facts are fine.

    Do you see a single querying of fact in the above exchanges? If there is a fear of libel – and nobody has ever sued me for libel, unlike for example convicted libellers Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes – the newspaper calls you in to go through it with the lawyer. I have been there many times before.

    This is nothing to do with libel or with doubted facts. Now stop being an obvious arse.

  • Wiz

    The only concrete indication that an attack on Iran was on the agenda of any of these meetings, which clearly did take place, is obtained in a tent outside St Paul’s. Newspapers would want to know that person’s name and address, and would want a sworn statement. Being in with the neo-cons is a way of keeping in with the Americans, and Fox probably thought Werrity’s activities were keeping him in with them. Gould probably thought he had a better chance of being promoted if he kept in with Fox. But actually Werrity is a weirdo and it was all a souffle of piffle. It’s not conspiracy, it’s cock-up. Very interesting article, but it’s not taken me anywhere. And Werrity is still a mystery.

  • Rob

    Thank you for keeping these things uncovered and being honest.
    War is first and foremost about deception, and amidst all the information and disinformation, sometimes it is difficult to tell what is exactly going on.

    THIS :
    “And always remove the battery in your mobile phone when not in use!”

  • Stephen

    “You should be trying to avert any such illegal actions, not trying to find excuses.”

    Perhaps one way of averting miltary action against Iran is not to be so blind to the deficiencies of the regime in that country and seek to use other mechanisms – sanctions etc. to deal with them. On the other hand – you could just take the view that Iran is doing nothing wrong at all and that all the evil is on the part of the US, Israel, UK, Freemasonry etc. – and the result will be that those who want war will have no effective alternative been proposed to gross violations of human rights will win the argument.

  • John Goss

    Rather than accepting that Craig has written a superb article of investigative journalism this blog is becoming infested with apologists. Is this genuine personal commentary or a concerted effort to try to demolish the truth. I was expecting it. The truth hurts.

  • Komodo

    “But actually Werrity is a weirdo and it was all a souffle of piffle.”

    So it would have been much easier for GOD to say so instead of restricting his “enquiry” to areas free of awkward questions, no?
    The police were going to interview Werritty re. possible fraud charges. Not a peep. Not a peep from or about Werritty…gone to ground, and the only person who now appears to have known him is Fox. The BICOM backers of the fraudulent charity set up by Fox and Werritty are running in all directions. If the government wants to end interest in this, all it has to do is be transparent (!), on your assessment. Meanwhile, people are going to pay close attention to the holes in a very incoherent narrative, and wonder what’s been cut out.

  • Conjunction

    Excellent article as usual, thanks.

    I was particularly interested in the notion that political correctness made it OK to send a Jewish ambassador to Israel and a Catholic to the Vatican. Political correctness, of course, began to spread at exactly the same time as the massive upscaling of deregulation of the banks and development of globalisation. All of these things encourage uniformity.

    There is probably something to be said for political correctness, but it assumes the correctness of a single viewpoint and seeks to force it on others if we are not careful.

  • nuid

    “And always remove the battery in your mobile phone when not in use!”
    Am I correct in saying that it can not only be used to track you, but it can be used to listen to you?

  • sassoon

    Someone here asks why The Guardian wasn’t on to the story a while back?

    After all, Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian was present at the “We Believe in Israel” conference in May 2011, at which Fox and Gould were present. Pity his ‘journalistic radar’ wasn’t switched on.

  • MJ

    “Werrity is a weirdo and it was all a souffle of piffle. It’s not conspiracy, it’s cock-up”
    Do you have a source for this bombshell – you know, names addresses and sworn statements?

  • Pee

    Brave man, Craig. Sadly none of the exposed facts about that trio surprise me. I hope you gain widespread coverage.

    …currently reading ‘Working in the silence’: Maurice Hopper. An account of human rights witness in the West Bank.(2003) One photo is of a banner hanging in the Ultra Orthodox Mea Shearim district of Jerusalem. It reads…
    “Jews are not Zionists. Zionists are not Jews only racists. Judaism & Zionism are diametrically opposed. We pray to G-D for an immediate end of Zionism and their occupation”

    Admittedly they are waiting for the Messiah, then it will be no holds barred!

  • oldasiahand

    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?

    You bet there is. First up Gove. An openly and fully paid up neocon when he was writing for the neocon Murdoch Times faithfully parroting the Wolfowitz-Perle gaenda in the early days of the Bush Administration.

    Second Hague who is more discrete than Gove and Fox.

    They are all following the Thatcher, Major and Blair line that slavishly following the US assures a comfortable post UK politics retirement. Major didn’t have a pot to piss-in when he left office but eventually Bush41 got him a sinecure with Carlyle Group flogging arms to the Middle East.

    In addition, yesterday Sir David Richards mentioned on TV they had war plans for Syria and Iran, should they become necessary.

  • Rhisiart Gwilym

    Respect Craig. Pretty soon you’ll be getting the Prix Pilger for honest amateurs who show the spineless corporate media hacks how to do their job.

    Brilliant piece of work here. Exemplary of what real investigative journalism giving vital information to a — genuinely — free people should be.

    Many thanks! And yes, do watch out for the Kelly Supposed-Suicide Syndrome — what with your tendency to fall into depression fits and all…

    There are some very big global realpolitikal issues at stake here, and some of the world’s worst premier league hard-faced ruthless bastards in play. They think nothing of snuffing out inconvenient people, wholesale or retail.

  • John Goss

    Nuid, not just listen to you, phone conversations and general conversations, but if it has a camera what you are watching someone else can be watching, and even when you are not watching anything someone else can be.

  • John Goss

    Nuid, that link is frightening. It’s like a Muckden incident. No wonder they did not want to publish Craig’s article if this was on their agenda.

  • nuid

    Thanks John. Gave me the willies when I read something about that recently. Apparently turning it off is not enough. You must remove the battery. (I hope Craig is conscious of this.)

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