Tag Archives: authoritarianism

Sorting out the mess after the Euro collapses

Robert Henderson

17 of the 28 EU states make up the Eurozone. If the Euro collapses 17 new national currencies will have to be established. A conversion rate for Euros to each re-established national currency will have to be agreed.   The weaker a country’s economy,  the less favourable the conversion rate.

That  will be painful for the weaker Eurozone economies, but it will be administratively relatively simple because the transaction can be made  bilateral,  just as the assimilation of the East German Ostmark into the Deutschmark was accomplished at the time of German re-unification, although this would be more complicated.

The bilateralism would  have to come through a system something like this:   the Euro coins and notes issued in each country’s name  and the Euro bank deposits of each country held at a certain date would be convertible only into the re-established national currency.  For example, this would mean that those holding Euros issued by France and Euros in French bank accounts  at a designated date,  would have their Euros converted to Francs at whatever the agreed rate was.

Unless such a system was adopted almost everyone holding  Euros would  demand that their Euros were converted to attractive currencies  such as a re-established Deutschmark rather than a new drachma or escudo, regardless of how attractive the conversion rates were for the weaker re-established Eurozone currencies.  This would happen because the weaker re-established currencies would be viewed by most as potentially worthless at worst and likely to devalue severely and quickly at best.  There would also be no guarantee that all the newly established currencies would be freely convertible.

The domestic administrative complications will be daunting enough,  but  they will be nothing compared to those that arise for  those holding the Euro as a reserve currency.  As the Euro is a supranational creation,  there can be no neat conversion of Euros held as a reserve currency to another currency as there was at German re-unification. Instead, each holder of Euros as a reserve currency would probably  have to receive a basket of currencies made up of all the 17 Eurozone’s new national currencies with the amounts  of each currency determined by some criterion such as the size of population of each Eurozone country. This would mean substantial losses for Euro reserve currency holders,  because most of the basket of 17 currencies they received to replace the Euros they held would be currencies which were weak and hence undesirable internationally.  Only the new Deutschmark would probably be considered genuine  reserve currency material.

In 2011  currencies held in reserve throughout the world amounted to about $10 trillion (http://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/13/reserve-currencies.asp). The Euro makes up just under a quarter of that, say $2.4 trillion.  The effect of a Euro collapse would be massive, not just on the EU or even the developed world generally,  but on the entire world because the developing countries hold around two-thirds of the $10 trillion, much of which will be Euros.

The potential damage the collapse of  the Euro would wreak may be the primary explanation for the ruthless treatment of Eurozone countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal in the struggle to maintain the Euro, although the contemptible desire of the EU elites  to save face at any cost  is  doubtless also in play.

A subsidiary problem is how  non-reserve currency holders of Euros (individuals, business, other corporate bodies) outside the Eurozone would be treated. It would scarcely be a practical proposition to hand them a basket of currencies like the reserve currency holders because the vast majority would be holding only a small or relatively small number of Euros. For those holding just coins and notes there would not be a problem because those notes and coins would be identifiable as having been issued by a particular state and could be converted at the agreed Euro/re-established currency of the particular country rate just as the notes and coins held by those living in Eurozone countries could be converted. Ditto any Euros held in banks in Eurozone countries regardless of the nationality of the holder or their place of residence, the state in which bank account is held being the determining factor.

But a  severe problem would arise with those holding Euros in bank accounts outside of the Eurozone. How those Euros could be allocated to any Eurozone member by any rational or objectively fair scheme  I frankly cannot see. I suspect that they might have to settle for either  a basket of  Eurozone re-established national currencies as the holders would do (impractical for small amounts) or whatever (almost certainly decidedly penal) conversion rate each ex-Eurozone member might be willing to offer.  For example, France might offer a better rate than Germany. The foreign holders of Euros in bank accounts   could of course  simply be cut adrift and lose the entire value of their Euros.

Then there is the problem of what to do with contracts drawn up in Euros. What value would be put on the Euro cost of the contract?  I suppose it might be dealt with by using the conversion  rate  of the Euro to each Eurozone ex-member’s  re-established currency  with the place where the contract was to be carried out  determining to which newly  re–established currency  the contract would be converted. Or perhaps the contract could be converted to another currency such as the US dollar or pound sterling with payment either being made in that currency (which the contracting party doing the paying  would have to purchase using their own currency or any other foreign currency reserves) or in a newly re-established national currency at whatever  the exchange rate  between  that currency and  what might be termed the third party currency was at a moment in time. For example, suppose the third party currency was the US dollar and the ex-Eurozone state was France.  Francs would have to be given to the value  of whatever the exchange value of the Franc against the dollar was,  either at ts value at a given date or at an agreed conversion value.

The potential mess is colossal. What if a newly established currency is simply too weak to be able to either buy sufficient of a currency such as the US dollar or to make payment  in a new re-established national currency because the exchange rate was so penal it made the completing of the contract impossible?  What if  the contractor who  is  to be paid refused to complete the contract because they had no faith in  the newly re-established national currency? What if a newly  re-established currency was not strong enough to be fully convertible?   The outcome could be very severe because of the potential for a large shrinkage of economic activity across a  healthy slice of the world’s economy. What will happen generally if the Euro collapses?  The stark  truth is that no one knows because there is no historical example of a currency union on the scale or type of the Eurozone  failing .  The nearest example is the Latin Currency Union which lasted from 1865-1927, but that was small beer compared to the  Eurozone ,based on precious metals and not involving a reserve currency. Nor of course was international trade and finance developed to anything like the extent  it is today.

The architects of the Euro, whether intentionally or not, have behaved with a criminal recklessness in venturing where no one had gone before.

A Diary of the Hutton Inquiry

It is ten years since the suspicious death of the British weapons expert Dr David Kelly who disagreed with the claims of the dossier used  by Tony Blair to justify committing the UK to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  His death has never been satisfactorily explained. The journalist Andrew Gilligan, who was a central figure in the furore over the Blair dossier’s claim that Saddam Hussein could have nuclear weapons in the air within 45 minutes has looked back at the years since Kelly’s death in a recent article:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10192271/The-betrayal-of-Dr-David-Kelly-10-years-on.html

I wrote the diary  below day by day during the Hutton Inquiry.  Particularly noteworthy are these general matters:

1. The frequent contradiction of evidence.

2. The eagerness of Kelly’s wife and daughter to support the suicide theory.

3. The thinness of the suicide theory.

4 No  public  enquiry has every fingered a  serving  PM  as  being seriously at fault.  That alone told you the Hutton inquiry would be  a charade.   Hutton’s willingness to sell-the-pass on honest enquiry  was confirmed  when  he failed to recall Blair for  re-examination  in  the second  half  of  the  hearing.  The failure  to  publish  the  further submissions    confirms Hutton’s tacit complicity in protecting  Blair.

Robert Henderson 2 August 2013

=====================================

The Hutton Inquiry

Preliminary statement 1 8 2003

Lord Hutton opened the inquiry today, 1 August. He made a statement detailing  how  he  would proceed generally,  the  sequence  of  events leading  up to the inquiry and the detailed agenda of witness  hearing.

The main points are:

1. He and he alone will determine the way the inquiry is  conducted, citing Lord Scarman’s words in the 1974 Red lion disturbances inquiry.

2. He will hold public hearings except where national security prevents it.

3. A transcript of the   public hearings will be available to the public.

4. Lord Hutton delayed a decision on the issue of televising the proceedings until the inquiry reconvenes on 11 August.

5. Lord  Hutton  will allow cross-examination where  he deems it necessary.

6. Those called before the committee will be allowed to use legal representation.

7.  Lord  Hutton will call, amongst others,   Blair,  Straw,  Campbell, Hoon,  MoD civil servants,  BBC members including Gavin Davies  and  Dr Kelly’s widow to give evidence.

8. Lord Hutton has the post-mortem report compiled by a Dr Hunt.  This suggests  death was due to bleeding.  However,  it also  revealed  that Kelly  had  serious coronary disease and this may have  contributed  to the  speed of his death.  Intriguingly,  Kelly had four electrode  pads such  as  are  used  for  ECGs on his  chest  (I  have  ECGs  performed regularly. Occasionally the technician will forget to remove an odd pad but it is pretty rare.  Moreover,  if they do forget it is very obvious that they have done so – RH ).

9. Dr Kelly’s wrist was described as having several cuts and the watch had been taken after bleeding had begun. Dr Hunt, rather oddly, took this as an indication that it was suicide.

10. Lord Hutton will call both medical evidence on Dr Kelly’s physical state and psychiatric advice as to what his state of mind might have been.

11. Lord Hutton will seek details of what  religious tenets the Baha’i faith  might  have  which could have affected Dr  Kelly’s  attitude  to death.

12. Lord Hutton will consider submissions from anyone who thinks they have useful information to give. (This is my note taken directly from his broadcast address. RH)

-Note: I rang them today and attendance for the public is first come first served on the day. I know court 73. It is not large. There will be places reserved fro the  media, so public seats will be very limited.

No schedule of hearing dates is yet available.  RH

http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk

Hearing Dates

For public attendance enquiries, please contact the Hutton Inquiry team on 0207 855 5295 .

For Press attendance enquiries, please contact Mike Burrell on 0207 210 8692.

Unless otherwise noted all hearings will take place in Courtroom 73 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

At the opening of the Kelly Inquiry, Lord Hutton  stated that the four ECG electrode pads  found on Kelly’s chest had been placed there by the ambulance staff  who had attended the discovery of his body. They supposedly put them on the chest to allow them to test for any heart action.

So, we are asked to believe that it takes three weeks for this explanation to come to light  – surely the ambulance staff  would have come forward rapidly?  Moreover, would paramedics check for heart activity in this manner? Is it normal practice? Opinion in the main British ngs seems to be that it is within the competence of paramedics but not routine practice.  RH

Whose in for a grilling this week from the Hutton Inquiry ?

http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/

The inquiry does not sit on Fridays. Day 5 will be next Monday.  During WC 18 Aug  Alastair Campbell and Tom Kelly (No 10 spokesman  who called David Kelly a Walter Mitty) will appear. RH

THE INQUISITORIAL PHASE

WEEK  1

The Hutton Inquiry day 1 – 11  8 2003

At the opening of the Kelly Inquiry, Lord Hutton  stated that the four ECG electrode pads  found on Kelly’s chest had been placed there by the ambulance staff  who had attended the discovery of his body. They supposedly put them on the chest to allow them to test for any heart action.

So, we are asked to believe that it takes three weeks for this explanation to come to light  – surely the ambulance staff  would have come forward rapidly?  Moreover, would paramedics check for heart activity in this manner? Is it normal practice? Opinion in the main British ngs seems to be that it is within the competence of paramedics but not routine practice.

Two other important points.

(1) It was confirmed that  Kelly was a high level state employee who  was THE British expert in his field,  who had  top level  security clearance  and   who  worked  with the  security  services  of  various countries. Ergo, he had every reason both to know what the WMD evidence was and to have knowledge of intelligence service dissatisfaction with the dossier.

(2) he was a disappointed man who may well have felt moved to tell  the truth to Andrew Gilligan out of pique at what he saw was a lack  of official recognition. RH

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The Hutton Inquiry day 2 – 12 9 2003

The BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan, stood by his story that Kelly had raised  the subject of the dubious nature of some of  the  intelligence and the name of Campbell but admitted some of his language in one Today interview  was unfortunate – he  suggested that the government knew the 45-minute warning was wrong when it was merely dubious because it came from a single source.

The  Newsnight  reporter,   Susan  Watts,  also  gave  evidence   which supported Gilligan’s story in its main details,  the 45-minute  source, Campbell’s involvement etc.

Watts’ tape of her meeting with Kelly is to be broadcast to the Inquiry today. RH

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The Hutton Inquiry day 3 – 13 9 2003

The main entertainment of the day was the Newsnight presenter Susan Watt’s  tape of a meeting she had had with Kelly. Unfortunately the tape was of poor quality  and even with technical enhancement was unclear in parts.

An  interesting  development  was   conflict  between  Watts  and   her employers  (the BBC).  The BBC had a transcript of the tape made  which Watts  was  not  satisfied with and she made  her  own  which  differed places  where she used “her recollection of the meeting”  to  “clarify” indistinct passages.

Watts  claimed that BBC management had tried to  pressurise her into massaging  her  story  to agree with Andrew  Gilligan’s   and  she  had refused   to   do  so.   (Interestingly,  Watts  has  her   own   legal representation at the hearing, reputedly paid for by the BBC).

Despite Watts claims about BBC management’s attempts to tailor her story, the odd thing was that the tape  essentially told the same story as Gilligan had told – Kelly is to heard saying that the British intelligence bods  are unhappy with the treatment of their material and that No 10 is the point at which it was  mistreated –  with the exception of claiming directly that Campbell had doctored the story.

Even here the difference is  less  than decisive.  On the tape Kelly is to  heard  saying  that  the NO 10 press  office  was  responsible  for altering  the dossier.  When Watts asks him if Campbell was involved, Kelly says he cannot say that but adds that  the No 10  press office is “Synonymous with Campbell” because he runs it.

Bizarrely,  Watts interprets  this as a clear statement  that  Campbell had  not  part  in altering the balance and tone of  the  dossier  with regard  to the 45-minute warning.  To  most people,  including me,  it looks  like a routine oblique finger-pointing at Campbell by  Kelly  “I can’t name him but nudge, nudge, wink, wink…”

Very odd behaviour by Watts, suggesting she had been got at by either the security services or NuLabcur.

The  question also has to be asked,  if the BBC did try to get  her  to massage  her  story,  why  on earth did  they  bother?  Her  story  and Gilligan’s  did not contradict one another in any fundamental  way  and her  tape   supported   Gilligan’s  on all the  major  points   of  his original story. RH

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The Hutton Inquiry day 4 – 14 9 2003

The main interest  on day 4 was the involvement of the Government, MoD and by implication, the intelligence services, in exposing Kelly to public scrutiny.

The permanent under secretary at the MoD, Sir Kevin Tebbit, advised that Kelly appear only before the Commons Security and Intelligence committee – which meets in private – and not before the Foreign Affairs Committee which holds public hearings. He was overruled by Geoff Hoon, the Defence Minister.

Kelly  was  called to two internal MoD disciplinary  meetings.  At  the first  he  was “read the riot act” .  The second took  place  after  Blair wanted  a further examination of the  discrepancies  between Gilligan  and Kelly’s account of what was said.  Mr Velveteen’s  wishes were committed to paper in a letter from Sir David Omand,  the  Cabinet

Office  co-ordinator  of  intelligence.  At  the  disciplinary   second interview, Kelly was interviewed by the MoD head of personnel,  Richard Hatfield.

The head of the Joint Intelligence Committee , John Scarlett, wanted Kelly subjected to a “security-style” interview to “clarify” inconsistencies in Kelly’s remarks. This never took place. Kelly was told at his first disciplinary interview that if further details came out which contradicted his original story, he could face further disciplinary action. However, on 14 July, three days before Kelly’s death,  a friend of Kelly’s a  foreign office employee, Patrick Lamb,   phoned Kelly to assure him that his pension was safe and added “David, the worst is over. You have nothing to fear.

Kelly was receiving phone calls and emails from the MoD hierarchy right up to his death, including one from his line manager Brian Wells, after Kelly had gone for his final walk.   RH

Other Kelly news in the week:

The Kelly Inquest was resumed yesterday, 14 August, by the Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, to hear medical evidence not available at the previous hearing.

An amended cause of death was submitted. This stated that Kelly’s death was from a  “massive haemorrhage”  from the left wrist, compounded by furred arteries, which Kelly probably did not know about. An overdose, but not a fatal one, of co-proxamol was found in his body.

One can understand that tests for drugs would take time, but why would death through massive haemorrhaging not have been immediately obvious from the post mortem?

Also, how likely is massive haemorrhaging likely to take place from a cut to a single wrist? RH

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WEEK 2

Monday, 18 August

Pam Teare Ministry of Defence Press Office

Jonathan Powell Prime Minister’s Office

David Manning Prime Minister’s Office

Tuesday, 19 August

Alastair Campbell  Prime Minister’s Office

David Manning Prime Minister’s Office

Wednesday, 20 August

Sir Kevin Tebbit Ministry of Defence

Godric Smith Prime Minister’s Press Office

Tom Kelly Prime Minister’s Press Office

Thursday, 21 August

Donald Anderson MP Foreign Affairs Select Committee

Nick Rufford Sunday Times, journalist

James Blitz Financial Times, journalist

Richard Norton-Taylor Guardian, journalist

Tom Baldwin The Times, journalist

Lee Hughes Hutton Inquiry Secretariat

The Hutton Inquiry Day 5 –  18 8 2003

– Jonathan Powell, Blair’s  chief of staff appeared, Sir David Manning,  Blair’s chief foreign policy advisor and Pam Teare, MoD director of news, appeared.  Main points:

1.  Powell admitted no consideration was given to  the effect on  Kelly on being forced into the public fold – failure of an employer’s duty of care.

2. An email sent by Powell  before the  Sept 2002 dossier was published and referring to an earlier draft, ran: “The  document does nothing to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.

In other words it shows he has the means but it does not demonstrate he has the motive to attack his neighbours, let alone the West.”  Clear evidence that the original draft was altered to demonstrate a political point rather than an interpretation of the raw intelligence.

3. On Sept 5 2002 Alastair Campbell chaired a meeting of the Iraq Communications  Group.  Afterwards Powell emailed Campbell asking  what was going on. Campbell replied: “Re dossier, substantial rewrite,  with JS  [John  Scarlett,  chairman of JIC] and Julian M [Miller ,  head  of Cabinet  Office  Assessment staff] in charge…Structure  as  per  TB’s[Tony Blair's] discussion.”

4. On July 7 2003 Balir  called a meeting of Sir David Manning, Sir Kevin Tebbit (MoD permanent Secretary), John Scarlett (chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee), Jack Straw (Foreign Secretary), Alistair Campbell, Jonathan Powell and others to discuss the matter.

5.Blair  was concerned about Kelly might say before the committee, ie that he would say something at odds with the official Government  line on the dossier –  Powell: “The Prime Minister asked what do we know of Dr Kelly’s views on weapons of mass destruction?” Kelly was probably only allowed to go to the FAC after Balir  had been reassured that Kelly was a supporter of the invasion.

6.  An email from Tom Kelly, the No 10 press spokesman,  was introduced to the evidence.  It read ”  It is now a game of chicken with the  BBC. The only way they will shift is if they see the screw tightening.”

7. Kelly reviewed the final draft of the Sept 2002 dossier with defence intelligence staff.

8. Powell admitted that Kelly’s identification to the media was done to disprove the BBC story. At the time  Blair and co.  were unaware of Kelly’s   deep  involvement in the intelligence side of the  dossier.

Because of this No 10 believed exposing Kelly would discredit  Gilligan as  Kelly could not possibly have known what the dossier  contained  or the  disputes which had arisen between the intelligence people  and  No 10.  If true,  it reveals an incredible ineptitude by Blair and co.  in not establishing Kelly’s true status and knowledge before throwing him to the media.

Further material:

From:  Jonathan Powell

Sent:  17 September 2002 19.41

To:  Scarlett John – SEC – A

Cc:  Alastair Campbell; David Manning

Subject:  Dossier

The  dossier  is good and convincing for those who are prepared  to  be convinced.  I have only three points,  none of which affect the way the document is drafted and presented.  First the document does nothing  to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat to Saddam.

In other words it shows he has the means but it does not demonstrate he has  the  motive to attack his neighbours let alone the west.  We  will need  to make it clear in launching the document that we do  not  claim that  we have evidence that he is an imminent threat.  The case we  are making  is that he has continued to develop WMD since 1998,  and is  in breach  of  the  UN resolutions. The  international  community  has  to enforce those resolutions if the UN is to be taken seriously. Second we will be asked about the connections with Al Que’ada.  (The next section is blanked out but seems to start with) The dossier says nothing  about those  and TB will need…?  ( it continues) Third,  if I was Saddam  I would take a party of western journalists to Ibn Sina factory or one of the  others  pictured in the document to demonstrate there  is  nothing there. How do we close off that avenue to him in advance.

———————-

Second email

———————-

From:  Jonathan Powell

Sent:  5 September 2002 14.41

To:  Alastair Campbell

Subject:  RE

what is the timing on preparation of it and publication? Will TB have something he can read on the plane to the US? —original message— From: Sandra Powell On Behalf Of Alastair Campbell

Sent:  5 September 2002 14.38

To:  Alastair Campbell

Subject:

Re dossier, substantial rewrite, with JS and Julian M in charge, which JS will take to US next Friday, and be in shape Monday thereafter.

Structure as per TB’s discussion. Agreement that there has to be real intelligence material in their presentation as such.

—original message—

From:  Jonathan Powell

Sent:  5 September 2002 13.50

To: Alastair Campbell

Subject:

( A blank section, then)

What did you decide on dossiers?

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The Hutton Inquiry day 19 8 2003

The Inquiry  devoted  most the day to questioning  Alastair Campbell. Campbell’s performance can be summed up  as  er, didn’t see that… er can’t remember… er… if I’d known them what I know now… er… 1. References to dossiers in emails to Campbell, from Campbell, between other No 10 staff,  before a meeting  on 5 Sept 2002 between Campbell and various MoD and FO officials were, Campbell said, not references to drafts of the dossier but, wait for it, “documents”.

2.  At the meeting of 5 Sept 2002,  Campbell claims that it was decided to create a new dossier. Challenged by Lord Hutton – “It looks like a fairly detailed draft dossier [Mr Campbell]” – about his email to Jonathan Powell of 5 Sept that ran “Re dossier, substantial rewrite, with JS [John Scarlett, chairman of JIC] and Julian M [Miler, head of Cabinet  Office  Assessment staff] in charge…Structure  as  per  TB’s [Tony  Blair's] discussion…”  Campbell replied “I don’t  recall  this document  forming a substantial part of our discussions [on  writing  a new dossier].  In other words, a an earlier draft dossier did exist and Campbell must have had sight of it.

3. Various emails relating to the early drafts of the dossier  were introduced into the evidence,  for example,  an email from David Pruce, an FO press officer working in no 10, called for the dossier to be “personalised” and concentrate on Saddam Hussein. In another mail to Philip Bassett, a special adviser in Downing Street, Pruce  wrote ” I think we are in a lot of trouble as this stands.” Campbell claimed that he had either not seen  the emails or they were disregarded because the people sending them were acting above their station.

4. A week before publication, Campbell asked the Joint Intelligence Committee for 15 changes to the re-written dossier.  The JIC accepted some and refused others. The question has to be asked, if intelligence is to be trusted, why should politicians and their creatures have any influence into its presentation?

5. Campbell admitted that it was in his interest for Kelly to have been identified.

6.  Campbell said that with out old friend hindsight things could have been handled better in presenting Kelly to the media.

7. Campbell claimed that Blair had told him to “stand back” from the question of what to do about Kelly after Kelly had admitted that he might be Gilligan’s source.

8.  An email from the BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan to a Lib Dem  member of  the  Foreign  Office  select  committee,  David  Chidgey,   MP  for Eastleigh,  has come to light.  This suggested that Chidgey  ask  Kelly certain  questions  when he appeared before  the  committee,  including Kelly’s assessment of the threat  from Iraq saying with Gilligan saying that  :   “If  [Kelly  is]  allowed  to  answer  frankly  it  will   be devastating.”  RH

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The Hutton Inquiry Day 7  20 8 2003

No 10 mediafolk Tom Kelly and Godric Smith official (title: The Prime Ministers   Official  Spokesman)   and  Sir  Kevin  Tebbit,   permanent secretary at the MoD, provided the main entertainment of the day.

Tom Kelly

1. Kelly was the No 10 creature who called David Kelly a “Walter Mitty fantasist”.  Asked why he had described him so, Kelly said: “it was a mistake to be sucked into that conversation  in that climate.” Not ashamed or morally wrong, but simply an error of tactics. Kelly claimed he had been speaking off the record.

2. Asked if he was trying to plant an impression in journalists minds, Kelly said:” I wanted journalists to be aware of possible questions and issues from the government’s perspective.”

Godric Smith (Smith has already announced that he would be leaving No 10’s employment before the Kelly story broke).

1. Smith related how he had overheard a conversation between Alastair Campbell  and the defence secretary Geoff Hoon (on speaker phone) in which Campbell suggested that  “the news that an individual had come forward who could be  the possible source be given that evening  to one paper”.  This rather destroys Campbell’s claim in evidence yesterday that he had kept well away from the Kelly affair on Blair’s orders.

2. Asked why drafts of the Sept 2002 dossier had landed on the desks of relatively junior press officers when it was supposedly “owned” by the intelligence services, Smith said “It is not unknown fro drafts of documents to be circulated”.  Compare this with Campbell’s assertion that the oversight of the dossier was kept within senior advisors and civil servants.

Sir Kevin Tebbit

1. Tebbit confirmed that  Geoff Hoon had overridden his wish to keep away from the Foreign Affairs select committee. On being asked how he felt about it, Sir Kevin replied: ” I acquiesced. It’s perfectly reasonable for ministers to decide who appears before  committees, not for officials. That was the secretary of state’s prerogative and I accepted that.”

2. Tebbit advised ministers that Kelly should not be treated as a “windfall bonus”.

3. Lord Hutton asked why, after the Foreign Affairs committee had exonerated Campbell  of the charge of deliberately putting in false

evidence and the BBC  had accepted that Campbell had not done so,  that it  was necessary to expose Kelly to public view.  Sir  Kevin  replied: “The pressure and strain issue was not one we were aware of in the sense you are implying,” A clear failure of an employer’s duty of care.

4. Sir Kevin said that he had had no input into the dossier whatsoever, an amazing thing if true as he is in charge of the MoD.  Taking his statement as true, it means the dossier responsibility  was kept strictly within No 10 and the intelligence agencies.

Other news

Documents released by the Inquiry yesterday showed that Campbell had urged a change to the text of the “45-minute warning”, changing a “may” to an “are” in the original se text.  The change was ostensibly to ensure that the summary and the main text agreed in sentiment.  Compare this  with  his  claim  to  the  Inquiry  that  he  had  no   influence “whatsoever” in the wording of the claim of 45 minutes deployment.

The Foreign Affairs committee have also complained that Campbell only mention  11  of  his   15 suggested  changes to  the  dossier  when  he appeared before them. RH

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The Hutton Inquiry days  8 – 22 August 2003

The main players were Donald Anderson, the chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) and a surprise witness, David Broucher, a British FO diplomat who is Britain’s permanent representative to the Conference of Disarmament in Geneva, an ambassador rank posting.

Donald Anderson

1. Anderson said that his instincts were against calling Kelly at all because he did not want to get involved in the dispute between the Government and the BBC. He agreed that  Kelly should appear after Blair and Campbell made it clear they were determined he should appear.

2. Anderson revealed that the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon had imposed conditions on the questions David Kelly  could be asked if he appeared before the FAC. These included the issue of Iraq’s WMDs. Anderson said that he agreed to the request because he thought it reasonable and also feared Kelly would not be allowed to appear at all if he refused Hoon’s request.

3. Anderson claimed that the briefing of an FAC member (David Chidgey) by Gilligan was “unusual and unprecedented” (Chortle). 4. Anderson said that he though the interviewing of Kelly by the committee had been fair overall.

David Broucher

1.  Broucher  met David Kelly in February 2003 before the  decision  to go to war had been officially made. 2.  Broucher  said that at that meeting Kelly ,  far  from  being  100% behind the war as previously claimed,   was seriously disturbed by  the prospect of war.

3. Broucher said Kelly had been telling Iraqi contacts working for Saddam  Hussein that if  they persuaded Hussein  to cooperate  with the weapons inspectors then no invasion would take place. By February Kelly doubted this and feared he would had put his contacts at risk if and when an invasion occurred because Hussein would see them as traitors.

4. Just before the end of their meeting Broucher asked Kelly what he thought would happen if an invasion took place. Kelly replied ” I will probably be found dead in the woods”.  Broucher said he took it as a throwaway  remark  and  thought  little of it,  thinking  if  it  meant anything Kelly feared reprisals by Iraqis against him. Broucher did not mention  it to anyone else at the time,  and only revealed it  to  the Inquiry recently – see email at the bottom of the post.

Assuming Broucher is telling the truth, and there is no obvious reason why  he  should not be,  what are we to make of Kelly’s  statement?  It could  be  indicative  of   either a deep  feeling  of  pending   moral betrayal  by  Kelly  of  his Iraqi  contacts,  he  could,  as  Broucher surmised,  be  afraid of reprisals in the event of an invasion   or  it could simply be a flip remark without Kelly meaning anything serious by it.

If Kelly was in a  suicidal mood or feared for his life from Iraqi  before he became embroiled in the Gilligan affair, he both resisted the urge to kill himself and had the reassurance of not having been attacked for months after the invasion. The suicide and fear  would surely have been diminishing if they existed at all. So,  why would he kill himself in July after he had ostensibly got through the worst of whatever would happen to him? The answer may lie in the “dark actors”

Kelly referred to shortly before his death. Could he have been threatened  by  someone  representing the British state  or  a  foreign power?

Other points

The second  page of Gilligan’s email to LibDem MP David Chidgey   was released. It showed Gilligan trying to steer Chidgey away from Kelly as his source.

David Broucher’s memo to FCO

Text of ‘death in woods’ e-mail

This is the text of an e-mail sent by senior diplomat David Broucher to Patrick   Lamb,  deputy head of counter-proliferation  at  the  Foreign Office on 5 August,  2003, marked confidential and personal.

Patrick,

Is the FCO preparing evidence for the Hutton Inquiry? If so, I may have something relevant to contribute that I have been straining to recover from a  very deep memory hole.

In  a  conversation  in Geneva which took place in  late  February,  he explained to me that he thought that the weapons inspectors could  have a good idea what  the  Iraqis had built and destroyed because they were inveterate keepers of written  records, something they had, he thought, learnt  from  us.  There was a paper file on  everything  down  to  the smallest item.

He said that his Iraqi contacts had pointed out to him that revealing too  much  about their state of readiness might well heighten the  risk that they would be attacked. To gain their trust he had been obliged to assure them that if they  complied with the weapons inspectors’ demands they would not be.

The implication was that if an invasion went ahead that would make  him a liar and he would have betrayed his contacts,  some of whom might  be killed  as a  direct result of his actions.  I asked what would  happen then  and  he replied in a  throwaway line he would probably  be  found dead in the woods.

I did not think much of this at the time, taking it to be a hint that the Iraqis might try and take revenge against him,  something that  did not  seem  at  all  fanciful then.  I now see that  he  may  have  been thinking on rather different  lines.

This aspect has not come out at all in the press, though for all I know it  may  be common knowledge amongst his colleagues,  in which case  my contribution would add nothing. But if it is a new thought,  perhaps it should be fed in.

——————————————–

WEEK 3

The Hutton Inquiry day 9 –  25 August 2003

The  Joint  Intelligence  Committee  (JIC)  chairman,   John  Scarlett, provided  the  main event of the day.  Labour MP  Andrew  Mackinlay,  a Foreign  Affairs  Committee (FAC)  member,  and Sir David Omand  of  the cabinet office also appeared.

John Scarlett

Note:  Scarlett’s   evidence  should  be read  in  the  knowledge  that Alastair Campbell described him to the inquiry as “a mate”.   It should also be remembered that Scarlett is a senior civil servant. Such people do not rise to their positions unless they are thought to be compliant personalities  as  far as politicians are concerned.  The  Yes  Minster  portrayal  of   politicians being terrified of civil  servants  is  the exact reverse of the truth. (I write as an ex-head office civil servant in one of the largest departments). Newspaper reports also describe Scarlett as being very close to Blair and  being a “moderniser” within MI6 when he worked there.  (Moderniser = Blairite)

Scarlett’s approach to the Inquiry is essentially keep repeating the mantra “I was placed under no pressure by No 10″ whilst conveniently forgetting evidence to contrary.

1.  Scarlett  denied  feeling any pressure from No  10  to  alter   the wording of the Sept 2002 dossier.

2.  The Inquiry’s chief counsel,  James Dingemans QC,  referred  to  an email  sent  by  an (unnamed) member of  Scarlett’s  staff  which  ran: “Unsurprisingly, they [No10] have further questions and answers they want expanded… No 10 wants the document to be as strong as possible…”   Scarlett denied that this was pressure on intelligence services to come up with  something good.

3. Scarlett claimed he found it “quite useful to have presentational advice” from various Whitehall press officers such as John Williams, head of the FCO press office.

4. Alastair Campbell has told the inquiry that with regard to the 45 minute WMD claim,   he had “No input, output  or influence at any stage of the process” . Scarlett contradicted this by admitting that a memo from Campbell on 17 Sept 2003 – seven days  before the dossier was published – amounted to requests for changes such as changing the use may  in the sentence “the Iraqi military may be able to deploy chemical or biological weapons with 45 minutes”. Scarlett  replied the next day to Campbell saying the language had been “tightened”.  Scarlett denied that such changes were more than presentational and fell into the realm of intelligence assessment.

5.  Scarlett received several more emails from Campbell with further suggestions. 6. The 45 minute claim first appeared in an intelligence assessment from MI6 on 30 August and appeared first in dossier in the draft of 5 Sept 2003, ie before Alastair Campbell denies seeing any form of the dossier.

7. In the published dossier the 45-minute claim was unqualified stating that the Iraqi military “are able to deploy chemical and biological weapons with 45 minutes of an order to do so.”

8. Scarlett denied that there had been any dissent  within “the intelligence community” over the dossier  despite the claim by a former JIC head, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, that the dossier had caused “turbulence” within intelligence circles.

9. During his questioning, reference was made to a Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) meeting to discuss the strong terms in which an early draft was  couched.   David Kelly attended that meeting  which  supports  his claim to have inside and detailed knowledge of the dossier  development and the opinion of intelligence officers of the dossier and the way  it was being changed.   Kelly;s involvement at such a high level conflicts with Scarlett’s  claim that Kelly could not have given the information Gilligan claims he gave.

Andrew MacKinlay

1. Mackinlay  was the MP who described Kelly as “chaff” at his  FAC appearance.

2.  MacKinlay defended  his  aggressive FAC questioning  because  Kelly was prevaricating.

3.  MacKinlay described Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon’s  restriction  on what could be asked of Kelly  by the FAC as ” monumental cheek”.

4. He criticised Gilligan’s contact with a FAC member to influence him in his questioning of Kelly.

Sir David Omand

1. Omand revealed that Geoff Hoon had originally wanted Kelly to appear before the Commons  security and intelligence committee in public session, a procedure absolutely out of the ordinary for this committee which almost invariably sits in camera.

2. Omand admitted that the MoD owed Kelly a duty of care as their employee.

What has the Inquiry shown so far?

1.  The complete absence of cabinet involvement in either  the  dossier

or

the Kelly affair before his death.

2. Blair’s utter reliance on an unelected circle of favourites.

3. No  obvious trigger for Kelly to kill himself has emerged.

——————————————–

The Hutton Inquiry day 10 – 27 8 2003

The Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon provided the main entertainment of the day.  Having  arrived  to a crowd of demonstrators  outside  the  Royal Courts of Justice singing “You ain’t nothing but a Hoondog,  lyin’  all the  time”,   Hoon  proceeded  to  unwittingly  engage  in   the   most excoriating  exercise in self humiliation as he comprehensively  denied having  any  meaningful  function within either the Government  or  the ministry of which he is supposed to be in  charge.  His performance can be summed up as “I am a British cabinet minister… I know nothing”.

Others to appear were  a friend and work colleague, Wing-Commander John Clark and a Labour MP, Ann Taylor, who is a member of the Commons Intelligence and Security committee to which David Kelly gave evidence in camera.

Geoff Hoon

1. Hoon said that he had first learned of Kelly’s name on 4 July from Sir Kevin Tebbit, permanent secretary at the MoD.

2. Hoon claimed that he had not wanted to name Kelly before it was certain that he was the BBC source and that was not certain until after Kelly’s death.

3. Hoon said that the only person outside government to whom he had revealed the name was the chairman of the BBC,  Gavyn Davies, and that revelation was

4. Hoon denied he was involved in a proposal by Alastair Campbell to leak  Kelly’s name to the media. Godric Smith gave evidence that he had overheard  a conversation on speakerphone between Campbell  and Hoon in which Campbell suggested leaking to a paper.

5. Hoon denied he had been involved in  the MoD decision to interview Kelly after he had admitted talking to Gilligan.

6. Hoon claimed that the decision to issue a public statement revealing that an unnamed civil servant had been identified as the BBC source was made in Downing St and the Cabinet Office.

7. Hoon denied that as far as he was concerned, “there was some sort of conspiracy, some sort of plan, some sort of plan to covertly make his [Kelly's] name known [to the media]“.

8. Hoon claimed that he had not seen the instructions issued to MoD press  officers   instructing them to confirm a name if it was  put  to them by the media,  although under questioning  he admitted knowing  of its existence; “I was obviously aware of the advice that I had received that  if the right name was given to the MoD press office  they  should confirm it”.

9. Hoon admitted he had overridden the advice of the MoD permanent secretary, Sir Kevin Tebbit, that Kelly should not give evidence in public before the Foreign Affairs Committee, but, bizarrely, tried to evade responsibility by saying that his private secretary. Peter Watkins,  had written the letter overruling Tebbit, not Hoon himself.

John Clark

1. Clark shared an office with Kelly at the MoD. He is an expert in counter  proliferation and arms control.  He described Kelly  as  being THE EXPERT when it came to understanding Iraq’s WMD status.

2. Clark said  that Kelly  had not, as Downing Street and the MoD claimed, resigned to his name being made public.

3. Clark said that Kelly was much disturbed by having to appear before TV cameras.

4. Clark said that the Kelly’s were  greatly unsettled by  the media attention which forced them to flee to Cornwall.

5. Clark said that even after Kelly’s  appearances before the Commons committees, he [Clark] and other MoD officials were forced to harry

Kelly  with further questions  sent to them by the Foreign Affairs Committee.

6. Clark said that Kelly was utterly thrown by the FAC question about the Newsnight  journalist, Susan Watts, because he had not expected her name to come up.

Ann Taylor

1. Taylor said that in evidence given in camera to the Intelligence and Security Select Committee, “He [Kelly] did describe the dossier as accurate  – as a fair reflection of the intelligence available at the time.” RH

——————————————–

The Hutton Inquiry day 11 –  28 8 2003

The appearance of  Tony Blair and  Gavyn Davies (BBC Chairman)

Tony Blair

Balir arrived with his usual small  army of bodyguards in a bullet-proof car (very wise) and passed a group of demonstrators with a tasteful array of Blair  masks with Pinocchio noses and BLIAR placards.

His evidence is best  summed  up as  “I take full responsibility for everything  but none of it was my fault. “

1. Blair gave evidence for two and a half hours.  His answers showed he had been intimately involved in the strategy to deal with the Kelly affair after Kelly admitted he had spoken to Andrew Gilligan – Blair convened at least 3 meetings   in four days of senior defence and intelligence staff to deal with the matter.   Compare this with http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=438133

“Just over five weeks ago, on learning of Dr Kelly’s apparent suicide during  an  official  flight  from Shanghai to  Hong  Kong,  the  Prime Minister had  “categorically” and “emphatically” denied he had played a part in revealing  the scientist’s name…

“But the Prime Minister, under questioning, conceded that no one was even  present from the MoD at a crucial meeting on 8 July, chaired by him, in which the decision was taken to issue a statement about a civil servant  coming forward as Mr Gilligan’s contact. He also acknowledged there was no such thing as “normal MoD procedure” in this unusual situation.”

2. Bizarrely, Blair claimed that the MoD had been left in charge of dealing  with  Kelly  while  admitting  that  he  had  been  intimately involved.

3. Blair claimed that Kelly’s name would have come out regardless. This is nonsense. Had Kelly kept quiet, Gilligan would have done and nothing could have been established. Had the MoD and No 10 kept quiet after Kelly came forward (I have my doubts whether he did this – I suspect he was  already  under  surveillance and  suspicion  by  Special  Branch), Gilligan  would  have kept quiet and no one outside  Government   would have known Kelly was involved.

4. Blair said the Sept 2002 dossier was produced after he had spoken with Bush about Iraq and they had decided “something must be done”.

5. Blair had the same  memory lapses as Campbell, Hoon et al. He had no recollection of seeing any draft dossier before  10 Sept. He had no recollection of John Scarlett (JIC chairman) wanting Kelly to be subjected to a “security interview”. He had no knowledge of any scheme to leak Kelly’s name to the media. In fact he could remember precious little of anything which happened.

6. Blair denied categorically that he or anyone else in NO10 had inserted the “45 minutes” notice of biological and chemical attack into the Sept 2002 dossier.

7. Blair said that if the charge of tampering with intelligence, in particular the 45-minute charge,  to justify action against Iraq  had been true he would have had to resign because it was “an attack that went to the heart of the office of prime minister, but also …to the credibility of the country.” (Note to  Mr Velveteen: you must resign immediately because this has been objectively  established).

8. Blair claimed the  dossier did not make the case for war but merely laid out the then position regarding Iraq’s WMDs.

9.  On  four  occasions Blair he said  he  took  “full  responsibility” without saying what it was exactly he took full responsibility for, but claimed  that all the decisions  he was responsible for were the  right decisions:  “I take full responsibility for the decisions…I stand  by them; I believe they were the right decisions.” (I suggest readers have a quick lie down after reading that).

10. Blair admitted he was the first person to  tell someone in Government that  a  source had come forward when he spoke to Gavyn  Davies.  Blair said that he felt that the only way to resolve the dispute with the BBC was for the BBC to issue “a clear and unequivocal# statement that the original story was wrong.

11. Blair was disconcerted by an email sent by Godric Smith, his official spokesmen, to his private secretary, Clare Sumner on 9 July, the day after the MoD had announced it had identified the possible source of Gilligan’s story. . Miss Sumner claimed that she had not opened the email until w/c 18 Aug. The purpose of the email appeared to be to instruct Labour members of the FAC to insist  David Kelly appeared. The text of the email runs:

“In the light of the new evidence from the MoD last night and the BBC’s own statement in response we believe we need to see AG [Andrew Gilligan], RS [Richard Sambrook, the BBC news chief] and source.

“If the individual who has come forward is the same source as the BBC source then we know he is not a senior intelligence source, which we believe could be material to our inquiry.

“”AG  said in answer to John Maples [a tory on the committee]  that  he had  only discussed the WMD dossier with one source before   the  story was  broadcast.  We  now  know from the MoD  statement  that,  if  this individual  is not the source,  that statement cannot be correct.  This too could be material to our inquiry.”

There  was  no indication on the email to whom it had been  sent  apart from Miss Sumner,  but the wording is clearly intended to give the  FAC reasons to call Kelly. Blair denied any knowledge of the  email.

Gavyn Davies

1. Davies apologised for the conduct of Andrew Gilligan in suggesting questions to a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  The matter  is to be referred to the BBC board of governors.

2. Davies said it was wrong for a journalist to reveal a source of another  journalist’s  work  as  Gilligan  appeared  to  have  done  by revealing Kelly’s link with Susan Watts, the BBC Newsnight presenter, in his email to  a Lib Dem research assistant  who passed the information to Lib Dem MP, David Chidgey. Davies offered a partial excuse for Gilligan’s behaviour by saying that Gilligan was under great pressure and thought the  FAC was trying to discredit him as a journalist.

3. Davies blamed Alastair Campbell for keeping the story running and expanding it with his belligerent appearance before the FAC.

4. Describing his phone call with Blair on 7 July, Davies said that Blair wanted to come to an agreement with the BBC to lower the temperature. This did not happen because the BBC stood by Gilligan.

5. Davies said it was reasonable for the BBC to report a source who was trusted on the basis that it was simply their opinion and not that of the BBC.

6. Davies accepted that Gilligan had made a mistake in his first broadcast  of 29 May when he claimed that the Government  had  inserted the  45-minute claim into the dossier.  Asked by Lord Hutton   why  the BBC had not offered a qualified withdrawal,  Davies replied that it was up to people to make their assessment of what was said.

7. Davies said that Gilligan reporting style was one written in primary colours not in shades of grey.

8. Davies did make a reasonably convincing display of regret at Kelly’s death, unlike anyone on the NuLabcur side to date. RH

——————————————–

WEEK 4

The Hutton Inquiry – Day 12 – 1 9 2003

The  day  was  taken up by David Kelly’s widow,  Janice,  58,  daughter Rachel  and sister,  Mrs Sarah Pope.   Mrs Kelly and Rachel gave  their evidence via audiolink.

Janice Kelly

I.  Mrs Kelly said that it was part of her husband’s job to talk to the media.

2.   Mrs Kelly noticed a change in her husband’s behaviour towards  the end   June – the same time when he began to suspect people  thought  he was  Gilligan’s source.  (It is worth noting that  Kelly’s   subsequent claim  that Gilligan’s report bore little relationship to what  he  had told him  sits ill with the suspicion that he was being fingered as the source.  After all, if he had merely given Gilligan innocuous technical information,  why would Kelly have been suspected or thought himself to be suspected?).  Eventually,  Kelly told his wife  one evening that  he was going for a walk to “think something through”.  Soon after he  made his admission to the MoD.

3.   Mrs Kelly contradicted the claim put out by both No 10,  Blair and the MOD,  that Kelly expected to identified. According to Mrs Kelly the first  he suspected it was when he heard on the TV news of 8 July  that the  MoD  had  admitted that someone had  come  forward  as  Gilligan’s source.   Kelly told his wife at that point that he was the person  who had come forward.

Mrs Kelly asked whether his job or pension were threatened.  Kelly said they could be if things got worse. Note:  Kelly was told before he died that his pension was safe.

4.   On 9 July,  a Sunday Times journalist Nick Rufford  visited  their home.   He  spent  four or five minutes with Kelly  before  Kelly  said “Please leave now”.  Kelly then told his wife that Rufford had told him his name was about to be made public and the media would be  on the way en  masse.    Kelly   then  said  Rupert  Murdoch  had  offered   hotel accommodation   for the Kellys away from the then media if Kelly  would write  an  article for them.  Rufford subsequently wrote up  his  brief meeting with Kelly as a full blown interview.  Kelly commented: “Thanks Nick,  the  MoD will think I have been talking to the  papers  after  I expressly said I wouldn’t.”

5. Mrs Kelly said that the first Kelly had known of his name being made public was when Rufford  told him.   The first he knew of the MoD press statement was after the event.

6.  The MoD then rang and told them to leave in five minutes. They left within ten minutes and went to a hotel in Weston-Super-Mare. At no time did the MoD provide them with any active support.

7.   Mrs Kelly said that her husband had felt “let down”:  “He told  me several times that he felt totally let down and betrayed … by the way the  MoD  had  let his name be known.”  Note:  we  know  from  previous evidence   that the MoD  wanted to keep Kelly’s name out the media  but were overridden by No  Blair.

8.  Mrs Kelly described how, after Kelly’s name came out,   he appeared more and more unhappy and “diminished”. He was not only angry about his “outing”  by the MoD but regarded his description  as a middle  ranking civil servant as demeaning.

9.  Mrs Kelly said that on the day of his death,  17 July,  David Kelly worked  in  study  until the early afternoon.  Mrs Kelly  said  he  was subdued  and looked “wretched”…I just thought he had a broken heart ,  he  had  shrunken  into  himself.    He  couldn’t  put  two  sentences together”.

Note: I wonder if I am alone in finding the evidence of Mrs Kelly and her daughter a little Mills and Boonish?

10.  The police informed her of Kelly’s death on the 18 July and showed her  a photocopy of a knife which she identified as an old  Boy  Scouts knife he had had since childhood.

Rachel Kelly

1.  Rachel  said  that  her  father  was  “really  very,  very   deeply traumatised by the fact that [it] would be televised. It was playing onhis  mind.”    When he arrived at her house the day before he  appeared the  Commons committee  she could “see in his face [that] there  was  a lot of distress and anxiety…  he seemed childlike and I was conscious that our roles had reversed, he needed me to look after him.”

2.  Rachel said that when she saw her father  on 15 July soon after  he had  given his evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs (FAC)  Committee he  was  angry at his treatment describing one of the  MPs  –  probably Andrew MacKinlay who accused him of being a “fall guy” and “chaff” – as “an utter bastard”  for the manner in which he had asked his questions. All  he would say generally about the experience was that it was  “very hard”   and blame himself for memory failures.

3.  Rachel said  that  her father  expressed incredulity at  Gilligan’s report being based on what he had told him. Here we know, from the tape made by the Newsnight reporter, Susan Watts,  that Kelly lied,  just as he  lied to the FAC.   Doubtless he was trying  to create a  protective fictional shell to protect himself, both emotionally and to sustain the story he had told since his admission to his MoD line manager onwards.

3. Rachel described how her father had been rather thrown by the change in his schedule in the Commons.  He was scheduled to appear before  the Intelligence  and  Security  committee (ISC) in camera  before  the  FAC public hearing and had hoped to use the ISC appearance as a dry run for the FAC.  In the event the ISC meeting was put back until the following day  and  Kelly had to go before the cameras with the FAC  without  any “practise”.

Sarah Pope

1.  Mrs Pope said  that David Kelly had,  a  ten years or so after  the event,   given  her  some  sketchy  details  of  his  debriefing  of  a biological weapons expert,  a task Mrs Pope suggested which would  only have been given to someone who was absolutely trusted.

2.   Mrs  Pope pointed to  a possible discrepancy between  the  British Diplomat, David Broucher’s recollection of his meeting with David Kelly at which he said Kelly had claimed that if the Iraq invasion went ahead he would be found dead in the woods. Broucher put this in February 2000.  Mrs Pope said that David Kelly’s diary put it a year earlier.

Further notes

1.  The painkillers found by Kelly were Mrs Kelly’s which she used  for her arthritis.

2.  Judging by a photograph published in the Daily Telegraph on 2 Sept, the  Kellys  own  a substantial detached house.  The  house  is  in  an expensive  area. It must be worth 500,000 plus. Hence, the Kellys were not without assets.

——————————————–

The Hutton Inquiry – Day 13 – 2 9 2003

A  medley of witnesses,  the main among them being Prof  Keith  Hawton, Professor of Psychiatry at Oxford University, Ruth Absolom, a neighbour who met him on his final walk,  Louise Holmes,  a volunteer dog handler in  the  local search and rescue team who found Kelly’s body,  Det  Sgt Geoffrey Webb of Thames Valley Police and Barney  Leith,  the secretary of the emanational Assembly of the Baha’i faith (in Britain).

Prof Keith Hawton

Note:  The kindest and most accurate  description of psychiatry is that it  is  institutionalised quackery.  As the psychologist  Hans  Eysenck never ceased to enjoy pointing out,  psychiatric treatment has no better record  in  curing  those with psychiatric  problems  than  the  simple passing of time,  ie, the evidence is that psychiatrists have no effect and  their claims of cures and alleviations are simply attributable  to the natural process of circumstances changing over time.

1.  Hawton claimed that Kelly’s death was almost certainly suicide:  “I am well-nigh certain.”

2.  Hawton believed the trigger for suicide was Kelly’s  sense of being publicly disgraced,  his fear of losing his job (he was very near civil service   retirement  age)  and the continuing pressure  he  was  being placed  under by the MoD to answer questions,  including  questions  by MPs.   On the day he vanished, he received an email from the MoD asking for  further  information  to answer a question from  the  Tory  Shadow Defence spokesman, Bernard Jenkin, about his links with the media.  Ask by counsel to the inquiry,  James Dingemans,    to describe the factors leading  to his death,  Hawton said: “The major factor was  the  severe loss  of self-esteem  resulting from his feeling that people  had  lost trust in him  and from his dismay at being exposed to the media.”

3.  Hawton said that Kelly had swallowed approximately  30  co-proxamol painkilling  tablets.

Note:  These are meant to his wife’s.  How many tablets did she normally have,  how many were left in the bottle  found by him  and how many would the bottle hold?

4. Hawton said a majority of suicides did not leave a suicide note.

5.  Hawton  claimed  that  a lay person would not  have  been  able  to anticipate Kelly’s suicide from his behaviour.

6. Faced with evidence such as Kelly’s arrangement with his daughter to meet  her on the 18 July and an emails sent at 11.18 am on the  day  of his disappearance which expressed optimism for the future,  Hawton said this pointed to Kelly’s decision to kill himself came late in the  day: “It is my opinion that it is likely that he formed the intention  either during  the morning,  or during the early part of the afternoon  before that walk.”   Dontcha just love the way psychiatrists fit the facts  to

their opinion?

Ruth Absolom

1. Absolom is the last  person known to have seen Kelly alive.

2. Absolom described Kelly as “his normal self”.

3.  “See  you again,  then Ruth”.  The last words of Kelly as  he  bade Absolom goodbye.

Louise Holmes

1.  Holmes said that her dog discovered Kelly shortly after 8am on the day  after his disappearance.   Note: This means the  paradmedics  must have seen Kelly’s body some time later. It is odds on that Kelly  would have killed himself before dark the previous day. If so,  he would have been  dead  for 12 hours or more by the time the  paramedics  saw  him.

Rigor mortis would have begun to set in. Why did the paramedics not see that he was obviously dead and put the ECG pads on him,  if indeed they did?

2. Holmes approached the body until she “stood within a few feet of the body…  He  was  at the base of a tree  with almost his  head  on  his shoulders,  just slumped back against the tree.  His legs were straight in front of his, his right arm was to the side of him, his left arm had a lot of blood on it and was bent back in a funny position.”

Note:  why the “funny” position?

3.  Holmes said that she was convinced the body was Kelly’s and that he was dead.

Note: compare this with the paramedics behaviour.

4.  Holmes checked for signs of life,  found none and the went back  to raise the alarm.  She estimates her time at the scene of death to  have been “probably a couple of minutes”.

5.  A  subsequent  police  search of the scene  revealed  a  flat  cap, glasses,  a wristwatch, a scout knife and a bottle of painkillers.  The police said there was no sign of a struggle.

Det Sgt Geoffrey Webb

1.  Webb interviewed the Kelly family before the body was found.:  “The Kelly family were very upbeat at that time.  They were hopeful that  no harm  had  come to Kelly  and genuinely believed that  perhaps  he  had become ill somewhere.”

Note:  compare this with the evidence yesterday

of Mrs Kelly and Rachel Kelly that David Kelly had been most  disturbed in the days leading up to his death.

2.  Webb told the Inquiry that a photograph dated to 1993 of  Dr  Kelly outside  the  parliament building in Moscow standing with  someone  who looked very like Andrew Gilligan was removed from Kelly’s study.

Note: if  it is Gilligan,  it would mean both Kelly and Gilligan  were  lying about how long they have known one another.  The BBC issued a statement on  Gilligan’s behalf (2 Sept)  saying that Gilligan had never been  in Moscow. No denial from Gilligan himself.

Barney Leith

1.  Leith  said that there was nothing in the Baha’i faith to encourage suicide.

Other notes

1.  Kelly was authorised to speak to the media but in theory only  with official permission.

2.   Kelly  began  “using  his  discretion”   to  speak  without  prior permission,  with the unofficial agreement of his bosses.  According to a  letter from one of Kelly’s line bosses, Patrick Lamb,  this  worked well until the past year, with Dr Kelly telling the Foreign Office (FO) press office about his   contacts after the event. By the beginning  of 2003  Kelly began talking to journalists without telling the  FO.   The MoD also complained that they were not in the picture.

3.  Kelly was only supposed to give technical information or  objective details about individuals engaged in the WMD world, ie,  what their job was.  Section  6  of  the  MoD personnel  manual,  under  the  heading “Principles governing disclosure of information” the manual states “You must  not  comment  on,  or  make  disclosure  of:  classified  or  ‘in confidence’   information;   relations  between  civil   servants   and ministers,  and  advice given to ministers,  politically  controversial issues…information that would conflict with MoD inter-state or  bring the  Civil Service into disrepute…anything that the MoD would  regard as objectionable about individuals or organisation.”  As the  Newsnight reporter, Susan Watt’s tape showed, Kelly had gone way beyond this.

4.  It follows from 3. that Kelly  clearly lied to his superiors in the MoD, the two Commons Committees he gave evidence to and his family.  It also  explains  why he was so disturbed the Foreign  Affairs  Committee member,  Andrew MacKinlay,  pressing him on his other contacts with the media.

5.  Kelly  denial of meeting another journalist,  Gavin  Hewitt,   also comes into the category of a lie.

6.  Kelly was receiving no medication from his GP,  who had very little contact with him in the past few years. No history of depression.

7.  An  unopened  letter  from the MoD’s  head  of  Personnel,  Richard Hatfield containing an official reprimand was found in Kelly’s home. It was sent some days before Kelly’s death. The police opened the letter.

——————————————–

The Hutton Inquiry – Day 14 – 3 9 2003

The  Inquiry  heard  evidence from Brian Jones,  the  recently  retired assistant  director  (nuclear,  chemical  biological)  in  the  Defence Analysis staff and a Mr A (The names A,  James A).  a chemical  weapons analyst  who  was  to chemical weapons what  Kelly  was  to  biological weapons.

Brian Jones

1. Jones said that David Kelly provided expert advice to his staff. He, Jones, had a friendly relationship with Kelly.

2.  Jones  said that the term WMD had become a  “convenient  catch-all” and that it was difficult describe most chemical and biological weapons were dubiously described as such.

3. Jones described disquiet within  his staff and other people involved in  intelligence gathering at the  way  the information supplied to  No

10   had  been  used.   He  described  the  use  of  the  material   as “over-egging”, ie the material was not invented but overemphasised.  As a regular visitor to the department, Kelly was aware of the disquiet.

4.  Jones said that reservations amongst his staff were not  heeded  by the JIC and left out of the dossier.   Jones said of   Mr A (see below) that    “He  was  very concerned that some of  the  statements  in  the dossier did not accurately represent his assessment of the intelligence available to him.”

5. Jones was so concerned at this failure to accept expert opinion that he  wrote  a  formal memo to the MoD’s  Defence   Intelligence  Service putting his disquiet on the record.

6.  Jones  contradicted  Alastair Campbell’s claim  that  he  had  only suggested presentational changes to the dossier.   He  said some of the changes  suggested by Campbell to John Scarlett,  the chairman  of  the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC),  such as the  successful request to strengthen  the  word  “may”  in the  45-minute  claim,  were  normally discussed  between intelligence staff:  “These are the kind  of  things which  we spend  hours  debating.  They are  very  important  in  this business.  The use of a might or a may does convey some uncertainty  in the information you are trying to present.”

7. Jones said that when he went on holiday in 2002  work on the dossier lacked urgency.  When he returned from  holiday on 30/8/02 he found the mood  had changed and it was all hands to the dossier wheel.  “”One  of the  first  things  that  my staff told me was  that  the  dossier  had suddenly become very active and that they had been very busy working on it,  looking at several drafts and responding to drafts in a very short timescale. It really had dominated their workload.”

8.  Jones said that Kelly was one of the first people he  saw  when  he returned from holiday. He asked Kelly his opinion of the dossier. Kelly said he “thought it was good”.

9.  Asked by James Dingemans, chief counsel to the inquiry, whether the extra  workload  had causes complaint amongst  his staff,  Jones  said: “There  was  certainly higher pressure than we normally relate  to  any particular  single piece of work.  My staff were being pressed  to  get their comments back to the assessment staff very quickly indeed.”

10.   Jones  said  neither  he  nor  his  director  had  seen  the  new intelligence  which  supposedly  backed up  the claim   that  Iraq  was producing  chemical and biological weapons.

11.   Jones said the 45-minute claim would have been acceptable to  him with the qualification “intelligence indicates”.

The  executive  summary  to the dossier said  that   the  weapons  “are deployable”. Jones  thought that was  “too strong.”

12.  Jones said he was aware that people within No 10’s  communications department were making suggestions about the dossier. Under  questioning  by Mr Dingemans, admitted that  pressure  had  been brought to bear by No 10.

13. Jones said that to the best of his knowledge the final draft of the dossier had not been discussed by the JIC.

Mr A

1. Mr A said he was a friend of Kelly.

2.  When he read the draft dossier  for the first time Mr A  concluded:  “There were errors of detail and errors of emphasis in my view.”

3.  Mr A was most disturbed by the inclusion of a chemical plant at  Al Qa’Qa which he did not view as a WMD threat.   Mr A was so disturbed by this  inclusion  that  he emailed Kelley on Sept,  the  day  after  the publication of the dossier saying”:  You will recall [blank - who  he?] admitting they were grasping at straws.  Another example supporting our view   that you and I should have been more involved in this  than  the spin  merchants  of this administration. Let’s hope  it  [the  dossier] turns into tomorrow’s chip wrappers.”

Further points

The  evidence  of  Jones and Mr A are utterly at odds with  the  No  10 version  of disquiet over the use of intelligence.    Blair  and  Straw before  the Foreign Affairs committee (FAC)  have denied  categorically that  they  were  aware of any dissent  from  within  the  intelligence services,   while   Alastair Campbell  told the FAC that   “I  remember being  called  out of a breakfast with the Prime  Minister  and  Polish prime  minister  because  I  had to speak  to  John  Scarlett  just  to absolutely  double/triple  check  there was nothing in  this  idea  the intelligence  agencies  were somehow unhappy with the  way  we  behaved during  the thing.  John said,  ‘Absolutely.  It is complete and  utter nonsense and you can say that with my  authority.'”

Scarlett  told  the   Inquiry a week later:  “I was not  aware  of  any unhappiness within the intelligence community about the contents of the dossier and the judgments we were making in it.”

However,  such denials are a little difficult to square with John Reid, the  then leader of the Commons, saying earlier this year that   “there have been uncorroborated briefings by a potentially rogue element –  or indeed  rogue  elements – in the intelligence services…  “I  find  it difficult to grasp why this should be believed against the word of  theBritish  Prime  Minister  and  the  head  of  the  Joint   Intelligence Committee”.

——————————————–

The Hutton Inquiry – Day 15 – 4 9 2003

A  short  day  – Lord Hutton ended the  proceedings  around  1pm.   The Inquiry is now adjourned until 15 Sept. The main players in the abbreviated day were Richard Taylor,  a special adviser  to the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon,  and The  journalist  Tom Mangold and   a UN arms inspector Olivia Bosch.

Richard Taylor

1.  Taylor said that Kelly was never told his name would be made public in the way it was made public.  Note:  This raises questions about  the truth  of Hoon’s claim that he had never seen the document  instructing MoD press officers how to react to media questions.

2.  Taylor  revealed that Geoff Hoon,  chaired a meeting on 9  July  at which  the  decision to confirm Kelly’s name to journalists  was  made. Hoon  failed  to mention this meeting in his evidence.  Others  at  the meeting were Pam Teare, MoD director of news, and Peter Watkins, Hoon’s permanent secretary.

3. Taylor said that the decision to put Kelly’s name in a letter to the BBC  chairman,  Gavyn  Davies,  was made  at  the  same  meeting.  This contradicts Hoon’s claim that it was Jonathan Powell, chief of staff at No 10, who had made the decision.

4.  Taylor  confirmed  the  name of Kelly  to  a  journalist  from  the Financial Times later in the day (9 July).

5.   Taylor agreed with James  Dingemans, chief counsel to the inquiry, that  he  had never previously confirmed a civil servants name  to  the media in such a manner.

Tom Mangold

1. Mangold used Kelly extensively in preparing his book Plague Wars. He knew Kelly well.   He described Kelly as a “Decent honourable and  well informed man”.

2. Mangold related a conversation he had with Kelly about the 45-minute claim:  We  gossiped  about the 45-minute claim because  I  thought  it seemed risible to me.” Kelly agreed that it was risible and “He [Kelly] did not think that the weapons could be deployed or activated within 45 minutes.”

3.  Mangold  said that identifying Kelly as Gilligan’s source  was  not that  hard  for those interested in the subject because “It is  such  a small  world,  the biological weapons world, and there aren’t many  UK inspectors …I only know four or five. Of those, only he [Kelly] spoke to the press.”

4.   Mangold  emailed  Kelly  before  his  name  was  public  knowledge suggesting  he  might  be Gilligan’s source,  suggesting  it  might  be “Someone i know and admire.”  Kelly replied: “Tom.  Thanks.  Not a good time to be in communication.”

Olivia Bosch

1. Bosch is a former Unscom inspector who got to know Kelly well during that   work.    She  currently  works  for  the  Royal   Institute   of international Affairs and has dealings with the MoD.

2.  Bosch  related  a conversation she had had  with  Kelly  about  his meeting  with Gilligan on 22 May 2003:  “He [Kelly] said he  was  taken aback by the way Andrew Gilligan tried to elicit information from  him. I said:’Yes,  but that is what journalists do.’ But he said that he had never  experienced it in the way that Gilligan had tried to do so by  a name game.”

3.  That “name game”,  Kelly said,  consisted of Gilligan putting names for him to confirm or deny. The first name was that of Gilligan.  Kelly claimed that he merely said “Maybe”.

Note:  this directly  contradicts Gilligan’s  account which has Kelly mentioning Campbell’s name off  his own  bat.  As  Kelly has been shown to be a  liar  before  the  Foreign Affairs  Committee,    and  we  have  the  evidence  of  the  Newsnight journalist  Susan  Watt’s tape in which Kelly mentions  Campbell,   the odds  are  he  lied  to  Bosch  and  was  simply  trying  to  create  a psychologically comfortable version of what happened.

4. Bosch claimed to have had daily conversations with Kelly in the days leading up to his death, during which up to his death.

Note: a possible relationship  between the two?  He mentioned that his pension  and  job might be affected.

We know that Kelly had been told his pension was  safe  before  he died and that he was only months  away  from  the normal civil service retirement age of 60.

5.  Bosch said that Kelly had told her that the question of his  naming had  been raised at in meetings with MoD and that he had been asked  to comment  on  the  press  statement  before  its  release.

Note:   this contradicts  Janice  Kelly’s evidence that Kelly had told  her  he  had assurances  that  his name would not be made public and  that  he  knew nothing  about  the  press release until a few minutes  before  it  was released.   The possibilities that Kelly was either a pathological liar or more probably a man driven to systematic lying by pressure,  have to be considered.

Lord Hutton’s closing statement

1.   Hutton will now spend the next week digesting the evidence to date and  deciding  which  witnesses  should be  recalled  and  whether  new witnesses should be called.

2. Whether witnesses are recalled or not will not be evidence of itself of whether Hutton intends to criticise them in his report.

3.  Hutton has written privately to those witnesses whom at this  stage he intends to criticise.  If they accept his criticism they will not be ecalled unless there is a specific reason for doing so,  eg to clarify a point of fact.  Witnesses who wish to dispute criticism will be given the chance to do so by being recalled.

4.   Hutton stressed that he might well change his view of a particular witness between now and the end of the enquiry depending on what  fresh evidence was given.

Other points

1.  Documents released yesterday included  minutes of a Cabinet  Office meeting  on 18 Sept 2002.  The first item in the minutes is  under  the heading  “Ownership of the dossier”.  It states “Ownership lay with  No 10″.  This contradicts the Joint Intelligence Committee  chairman  John Scarlett’s  claim that ownership of the dossier lay with him until  the approved final text was handed over by him on 20 Sept 2002.

2.  The  minutes were not supplied to the Inquiry when  the  Government  submitted  its  original papers.  A covering note by  the  Government’s solicitors  stated  that  it  was  not  included  because  it  was  not considered “relevant”.

Summary of the four weeks

The first phase of the inquiry is now complete.  What are we to make of it?

1.  It is important to realise the limitations placed on the Inquiry. Hutton  does  not  have the power to compel witnesses  to  appear  or documents to be disclosed. The  documents  released by  No 10, the MoD et  al  are  only what they are prepared   to  release.    Think  how different  it would be if this was a police investigation  with   the power  to  enter premises and seize whatever documents  and  computer equipment they  alighted upon.

2.  The other  serious restrictions are  the fact that witnesses  are not compelled to give witness statements or give their oral  evidence under  oath.  This greatly increases the ability of witnesses to  lie and evade because the witness knows that they cannot be charged  with perjury.   Nor can they be held in contempt.

3.  The absence of  the oath also has had an important  side  effect. The  inquiry  has taken over the  function of the  coroner  and  will perform the inquest on Kelly. This means that unlike a normal inquest the evidence relating to his death will not be taken under oath.

4. Hutton’s hands may have been tied in the matter of oaths,  calling witnesses and seeking documents,  but I also think he has handicapped the inquiry by deciding that the first stage would  be inquisitorial, ie,  witnesses would be allowed to tell their story with a minimum of questioning.

5.  It  is all very well to get people  to  commit  themselves  first before  trying  to  pick  holes in  their  story,  that  is  standard interrogation technique. But it is necessary to pick holes as soon as possible  after the telling of the story to prevent the person  under interrogation being given time to think about what they have said and to  fabricate a defence of any weak points.  Hutton has  allowed  the witnesses ample time to do just that.  The question is why did Hutton decide on this way of conducting the inquiry?

6.  The other administratively weak point so far has been the failure to call people from No 10 who were involved with the dossier but  are further down the pecking order than the likes of Campbell and  Godric Smith.  Subordinates will often panic in such circumstances and spill the beans.

7.  Finally,  apart from John Scarlett,  there was a curious lack  of intelligence  witnesses.  In particular why was the head of  MI6  who gave evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee on the day of  Kelly’s disappearance (17 July), not called?

When  the inquiry resumes,  cross-examination will be allowed.  Counsel not only for the inquiry but for the government,  the BBC and Mrs Kelly (and possibly others) will be allowed to into the proceedings. RH

===============================================================================================

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 – week 5

Day 16 – 15 9 2003

Phase 2 of the inquiry will allow cross-examination by  counsel for the government, BBC, MoD, Mrs Kelly and others,  eg representing the various witnesses. Apart from James  Dingemans QC, counsel for the inquiry, Jeremy Gompertz QC  will appear for the Kelly family, Andrew Caldecott QC for  the BBC, Heather Rogers, QC, for Andrew Gilligan and  Jonathan Sumption QC for the government. All will be paid  for, one way or the other, by the taxpayer – Mrs Kelly’s  legal expenses are being covered by the taxpayer, while the  BBC is using licence payers’ money to pay their own and  Gilligan’s legal expenses. God alone knows what the cost  will be.

Before witnesses were called counsel for the inquiry, James  Dingemans, outlined the manner in which matters would be  handled. From this statement it is clear that the  cross-examination will be tightly controlled and that the  inquiry will attempt work to a strict timetable, although the  timetable could be breached if Hutton thinks it necessary.  The suspicion must be that any really awkward questions for  the government will suddenly be discovered to be “not  relevant” to the inquiry and cross examination on them  forbidden.

The weakness of the general structure of the inquiry –  information gathering first, followed by a long gap before  cross-examination is obvious, giving as it does plenty of  time to prepare defences to weaknesses or contradictions in a  story.

The people to be recalled will include Alastair Campbell,  Geoff Hoon and John Scarlett (chairman of the Joint  Intelligence Committee) but not Blair. It is possible but  improbable that he could be yet called if further information  is unearthed in this stage of the inquiry suggest he should  be recalled, eg if evidence is brought forward which  contradicts what Blair has said or points to his direct  involvement in something relevant and damaging.

The fact that Blair has not be recalled to be cross-examined  despite the ample evidence that he had a central role in  deciding what to do about Kelly and the BBC is a strong

pointer to the way Hutton will approach the writing of his  report – unless some really dramatic and unambiguous evidence  is unearthed fingering Blair, I predict it will  criticise the likes of Hoon, Campbell and the BBC, but say  nothing about Blair.

The witnesses

The main entertainment of the day was provided by the head of  MI6, Sir Richard Bingham Dearlove, and the Director General  of the BBC, Greg Dyke. Supporting roles came from Tony Cragg,  former deputy chief of defence intelligence, and Sir Joe  French, the chief of defence intelligence.

Sir Richard Dearlove

1. “C” as Dearlove is known (I will leave readers to imagine  what the “C” stands for), gave evidence as a disembodied  voice over an audiolink.

2. Dearlove was not cross-examined – he could in theory be  recalled for it. This points to one of the great weaknesses  of inquiry, its disjointed nature. Dearlove should have been  called in the first stage of the inquiry and then, if he was  to be recalled, cross-examined yesterday before the recalled  witnesses reappear. That would have given the inquiry the fullest information to tax the likes of Campbell with when  they are cross-examined.

3. The appearance by Dearlove is (I think) the first occasion  where such a senior intelligence officer has given evidence  in public. His appearance, together with the considerable  amount of MI6 data made public gives the lie to the claim  beloved of all British governments that security data must be  kept secret. In fact, the vast majority of it, and especially  the analysis, could be made public with no damage to agents  and sources.

4. Dearlove criticised Kelly for having unauthorised contact  with the media declaring himself horrified to discover what  Kelly had done, describing it as a severe disciplinary  breach.

5. Dearlove defended the “45-minute” single source claim,  saying it was from a strong source and that much of  intelligence was “single-sourced”. The original source was  claimed to be a senior Iraqi officer (a brigadier) whose  statement was reported by another Iraqi source.

6. Dearlove denied having any knowledge of dissatisfaction about the dossier within the intelligence services.

7. Dearlove accepts, with the benefit of our old elite friend  “hindsight” , that the “45-minute” claim might have been both  misinterpreted by some as referring to long range weapons and  have been given too much prominence in the dossier.

Tony Craig and Sir Joe French

1. Craig and French admitted they ignored the concerns of  two members of their staff. They also disclosed under  questioning that the concerns went beyond those two, Dr Brian Jones and MR A, a memo of 16 Sept 2002 objecting to the  passage on Iraq’s chemical and biological capacity at that  time as “too strong”.

2. Cragg said that he had not passed on his staffs’ doubts  because he thought they had been resolved at a meeting between  Defence Intelligence Service staff, Cabinet Office officials  and MI6. Consequently, the doubts were never passed to John  Scarlett and the JIC.

3. French supported Cragg and attempted to play down the  significance of the staff who had objected, a rather  difficult thing to do considering the positions they held and  the work they did.

Greg Dyke

1. Dyke adopted the “I am in charge of the BBC; I know  nothing” as a general tactic.

2. Dyke admitted he had not heard Gilligan’s broadcast or  read a transcript of the broadcast until weeks after it was  broadcast – he read a transcript on 5 July 2003.

3. Dyke said that he had been on holiday at the time of the  Gilligan broadcast and he was not really aware of any great  difficulty until after Gilligan and Campbell had appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee.

4. Asked by James Dingemans how many times a BBC journalist  had given evidence to a Commons select committee in recent  years, Dyke said “I do not know”.

5. Dyke said he believed Alastair Campbell’s general attack on BBC news reporting was pre-planned and that he heightened  the tension by writing to Richard Sambrook, head of BBC News.

6. Dyke said, with our old elite friend hindsight in close  company, that he should have ordered a full investigation  of the matter before responding to Campbell.

Other points

1. A document released by the inquiry headed “Note for the  record”, stated that the writer of the note, the BBC chairman  Gavyn Davies, had been told by an unnamed MP that Alastair  Campbell had hardened up the dossier. The MP claimed an MI6 official had told him this.

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 week 5

Day 17 – 16 9 2003

A rather quiet day with Martin Howard, the deputy chief of  defence intelligence at the MoD, Kate Wilson, MoD chief press  officer, Nicholas Hunt, pathologist and Det Con Graham Coe,  the first policeman on the scene.

Martin Howard

1. Howard prevented the views and doubts of Dr Jones (A  Defence Intelligence Analyst staff scientist) and those of Mr  A (a chemical weapons specialist) from being presented to the Intelligence and Security Commons Select Committee  (ISC). Asked by Caldecott why  this had been done Howard  replied: “My feeling was that this dealt with internal  correspondence in the DIS [Defence Intelligence Service]  which happened last September… it would not be appropriate  to reveal what was internal correspondence to the ISC.”

Note:  feeble in the extreme. The whole point of the ISC meeting in  public is that it can hear anything.

2. Eventually, after Kelly death, Howard did supply the  information to the ISC. Asked why, he admitted it was simply  due to the establishment of the Hutton Inquiry.

4. Questioned by Gompertz about the procedure for confirming  Kelly’s name to the media, Howard said that he thought  Kelly’s name would have come out regardless of the MoD  procedure, which he justified on the grounds that it allowed  the MoD to be avoid telling a direct lie. He also pointed out  that the failure of Kelly’s name to come into the public  realm would have led to others being suspected by the media.

Gompertz suggested that the MoD was “playing Russian roulette  on Kelly”. Howard unsurprisingly did not agree.

Kate Wilson

1. Wilson denied Andrew Gilligan’s claim that he had warned  the MoD of the story before it was broadcast.

2. Wilson denied that clues to Kelly’s identity had been  given to the media by the MOD.

3. Wilson denied of how the Q and A MoD material was altered.

Nicholas Hunt

1. Hunt described five cuts to the left wrist, with one,  presumably the last, cutting the main artery. Other cuts were  tentative according to Hunt. In Hunt’s opinion the nature and  development of the cuts was consistent with a normal  suicide’s pattern.

2. Hunt said that the overdose of painkillers hastened the  death, as did the hardening of the arteries.

3. There were no signs of a struggle on the body.

4. Hunt described the removal of the watch and spectacles as  also typical of suicide.

Note: The only problem with this  argument is that the first cut or cuts to Kelly’s wrist were  made while, apparently , the watch was still on – blood was  found on the strap.

5. Hunt said that the type of private spot in which Kelly was  found was “often favoured by people intending self-harm”.

Graham Coe

1. Coe found Kelly’s body lying on his back by a large tree:  “I saw blood around his left wrist. I saw a knife like a  pruning knife and a watch.”

Note: how difficult would it be  to cut the artery with such a knife?

2. Coe said that no other part of the body was bloodstained.  The body was fully clothed, wearing a Barbour jacket,  trousers and cap. A small water bottle was nearby.

Other points

1. Friction between the BBC Governors and BBC management is  reported. In particular a Governor Dame Pauline Neville Jones  apparently believes the BBC management  “betrayed” the  Governors . Dame Pauline has denied that she has said this.

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 – week 5

Day 18 – 17 9 2003

The day was dominated by Andrew Gilligan, Richard Sambrook  (head of BBC News) and Richard Hatfield, director of  personnel at the MoD.

Andrew Gilligan

1. Before his cross examination, Gilligan made a number of  admissions which removed much of the potential venom from his  cross examination.

2. Gilligan admitted making a mistake in his initial  broadcast (at 6.07am) when he claimed that the government had  probably known the 45-minute claim was false. However, by  7.32am the wording had been changed from “wrong” to  questionable”.

Note: this is an unnecessary admission because  it is a reasonable conclusion from both the political  circumstances surrounding the dossier and what we now know  from the disclosures to the inquiry, that Campbell and Blair  had every reason to doubt the intelligence.

3. Gilligan apologised for his description of Kelly as a “intelligence service source:”It was not intentional, a kind of slip of the tongue. It is something that does happen in  live broadcasts. It is an occupational hazard.”

Note: This is a reasonable apology – Kelly should have described as  long the lines of “a source familiar with the preparation of  the dossier and the intelligence community”.

4. Gilligan apologised for sending an email to a member of  the Foreign Affairs Committee:”It was quite wrong to send it.  I can only apologise. I did not know for sure that David Kelly was Susan Watt’s source. I was under enormous pressure  at the time, I was simply not thinking straight so I really  want to apologise for this.”

5. Questioned by Mrs Kelly counsel, Jeremy Gompertz, Gilligan  denied that he had suggested the name of Campbell (or any  other name) to Kelly and insisted Kelly had come up with the  name off his own bat. Gilligan pointed out that he had  mentioned Kelly’s name to Susan Watts, the Newsnight  journalist, as well.

6. Gilligan directly contradicted Kate Wilson, MoD chief  press officer, who had claimed that Gilligan had given  neither her or anyone else in the MoD advance notice of the  story. Gilligan said that he had told the MoD the night  before the story went out to enable them to brief Adam  Ingram, Armed Forces minister.

Richard Sambrook

1. Sambrook said that Gilligan was a reporter who painted in  primary colours rather than more subtle shades. Good at  finding stories, weaker on presenting them.

2. Sambrook criticised Gilligan for not giving Downing  Street an opportunity to respond to allegations.

3. Sambrook said that the story should have been checked by  lawyers before it was broadcast but was not checked.

4. Sambrook denied he had given clues to Kelly’s identity  during a lunch at the offices of the Times newspaper.

5. Sambrook said that he had not know about Gilligan’s email  to the FAC committee member until it was revealed to the  inquiry. He described it as improper.

6. Richard Hatfield

1. Hatfield directly contradicted Mrs Kelly’s evidence that  the MoD had shown every consideration towards Kelly and  protected him as well as any employer could be expected to defend an employee. “The MoD gave outstanding support to Dr  Kelly”.

2. Hatfield said that Kelly had no power to veto the release  of his name to the media and had “not specifically discussed”  with Kelly the plans for naming him.

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 – week 5

Day 19 – 18 9 2003

Richard Hatfield (MoD head of personnel) and Andrew Gilligan  continued their evidence. Pam Teare (MoD chief press officer)  and William Wilding (computer expert) were the main items on  the menu.

Richard Hatfield

1. Hatfield claimed that Kelly had only himself to blame for  becoming exposed to public scrutiny , because he was guilty  of a very serious disciplinary breach.

2. Hatfield criticised Kelly for failing to prepare his wife  for the media interest which he, Hatfield believed, must  have known would happen if his name became public.

3. Hatfield admitted that Kelly had not been told that he had  been identified to the media for two and a half hours after  it had happened.

4. Hatfield claimed that Kelly had been warned 24 hours in  advance of the press statement that it was to be made.

5. Hatfield admitted that no counselling had been arranged  for Kelly.

6. Hatfield said that had he known that it would come to an  inquiry such as this one, he would have asked Kelly if he was  happy to have his name given out.

7. Hatfield said with hindsight he would have instigated  disciplinary proceedings against Kelly.

Pam Teare

1. There were three versions of the Q and A drawn up by  Teare for MoD press officers if they were challenged on the  question of Kelly’s (then unknown to the media) identity.  The first refused to identify him, the second allowed him to  be named only after he had been contacted by the MoD, the  third allowed his name to be disclosed without contact.

Teare said the various drafts were simply a “work in  progress.”

2. Teare gave more details of a meeting she had with Geoff  Hoon, Defence Secretary. She said that contrary to his  denials, Hoon might have seen a copy of the Q and A briefing.

3. Teare denied having discussed with Alastair Campbell the  naming strategy. Confronted with Campbell’s diary entries  which said they had discussed it, she accepted that she had.

William Wilding

1. Wilding appeared on behalf of Gilligan. He had examined  Gilligan’s personal organiser in which he had made notes of  his meeting with Kelly on the 22.

2. Wilding found two versions of the notes, one dated 21 and  one date 22 May. Wilding said that judging by other files he  had examined the date setting on the organiser was out by a  day .

3. Of the two versions of Kelly’s file with his notes, the  earlier did not contain the name Campbell, the later version did.

Andrew Gilligan

1. Gilligan explained the two versions of the notes as being  made at the same time and the second version being what Kelly had agreed to Gilligan using for his report. He denied he had created the second file on the following day of his  meeting with Kelly. Note: Even if the organisers date setting  was a day out of kilter the only way that Gilligan could  have created the two files on the same day with different dates is if the organisers date change from the 21 to the 22 came during his meeting with Kelly. Rather improbable.

2. Gilligan remained adamant that Kelly had been the one to  mention the name Campbell first during his conversation with Kelly.

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 – week 6

Day 20 – 23 9 2003

The defence secretary Geoff Hoon and Alastair Campbell were  back for cross-examination.

1. Hoon admitted approving the strategy to confirm Kelly’s  identity to the media and accepted that the strategy helped  the media to identify Kelly. He was not drawn on why he had  changed his evidence from his previous appearance.

Note: that  tells you what a farce this “inquiry” is.

2. Hoon’s change of evidence came after the publication of  extracts from Alastair Campbell’s diary which contradicted  his earlier evidence.

3. Hoon’s admission of responsibility for the strategy is the  first admission of responsibility for it.

4. Hoon said that he had overruled the Mod permanent secretary, Sir Kevin Tebbit, when it came to naming Kelly, but justified this on the grounds that civil servants merely  advised.

5. Hoon denied knowledge of the clues given to the media by Tom Kelly, the PM’s spokesman, to direct them to Kelly.

6. Despite the admissions, Hoon claimed that everything had been done “to ensure that Dr Kelly was properly supported.”

7. Hoon claimed that steps had been taken to keep Kelly’s name from the public and said that he had only revealed Kelly’s name to the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, in a private  letter.

8. Hoon denied that there was any Government policy to “out”  Kelly.

9. Hoon admitted allowing the country to falsely believe that  it was at risk from long-range weapons of mass destruction, a  misapprehension circulated by the media. Asked why he had  not corrected this misapprehension, he replied:”I have spent many years trying to persuade newspapers and journalists to correct their stories – – it is an extraordinarily  time-consuming and frustrating process.”

Note: an absurd  excuse in this reason as most of the media would have been only too anxious to point out weaknesses in the case to go to war.

Alastair Campbell

1. Extracts from Campbell’s personal diary contradicted his  and others previous evidence. They show that Campbell wanted  Kelly’s name out in the public sphere (“The biggest thing  needed…was to get the source out), that Kelly was to be  used as a weapon in No 10’s fight with the BBC and that, contrary to Blair’s claim, Kelly was coached by senior MoD officials before he went before the ISC and FAC Commons committees.

2. Campbell’s diary made clear the hysterical state he was in during the affair. He wrote of establishing Kelly as the  source to “f**k Gilligan up”. He also wrote of wanting a clear victory not a messy draw.

3. Campbell’s diary reported Sir Kevin Tebbit (Mod permanent secretary) as saying that Kelly was “a bit of a show off”.

4. Hilariously, Campbell’s lawyer tried to massage these highly damaging passages away by claiming that “The diary records Mr Campbell’s immediate reactions, which are not necessarily the same as the views he will take after a little time has passed fro reflection.” This is nonsense when it comes to the recording of facts rather than opinion. The sooner the writing after the event, the more accurate. Courts recognise this, treating contemporaneous notes and notes made shortly after an event by the likes of the police and the Revenue as of prime importance as records of fact.

5. Campbell was questioned again about his influence over the  dossier. Before the FAC Campbell claimed he suggested 10  changes, but in written evidence to the inquiry he admitted to 16. Campbell told the inquiry that he had not mentioned  the other six to the FAC because they merely “ironed out an inconsistency”.

6. Campbell insisted that his suggestions were merely  presentational and that John Scarlett (chair of the Joint  Intelligence Committee) was in control of the dossier.

7. Campbell denied that the 45-minute claim was an influential part of the dossier during the preparation of the dossier.

8. Campbell said that Blair would have resigned if it was shown that the dossier had been “sexed up”.

9. Campbell’s diary entries showed Blair to be arguing against extending the battle with the BBC and urging that the MoD deal with Kelly. Note: when were the diaries written?

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 – week 6

Day 21 – 23 9 2003

Tom Kelly (Blair’s official spokesman), Godric Smith (No 10  press officer) and John Scarlett (chairman of the Joint  Intelligence Committee – JIC) were recalled for  cross-examination.

Tom Kelly (TK)

1. TK was questioned further on his description of Kelly as a “Walter Mitty” character at a private briefing with journalists. TK claimed he could not recall the conversation related by Paul Waugh of the Independent and claimed Waugh had “misunderstood him” both in terms of whether the briefing was off the record and what he intended when he described Kelly as a Walter Mitty. TK claimed any reference to Kelly as “Walter Mitty” was merely raising a possibility, ie was Kelly exaggerating.

2. TK apologised again for using the term “Walter Mitty”.

3. An email from Jonathan Powell (Blair’s chief of staff) suggested that Kelly was a “rogue element”. Questioned by the Kelly counsel, Jeremy Gompertz, as to whether Kelly was regarded as a rogue element by No 10, TK replied: “categorically not.”

Godric Smith

1. Questioned on the Alastair Campbell diary extracts showing that Campbell wanted to use Kelly to damage Gilligan Smith said: “I think there is a qualitative difference between a desire for something to happen and actually taking concrete steps to make it happen.”

John Scarlett

1. Scarlett admitted that he had changed a passage in the dossier at the suggestion of Jonathan Powell (Blair’s chief of staff). A memo from Powell – sent 45 minutes after the deadline for comments on the final draft – pointed out that the dossier as it stood implied that the threat from Iraqi WMDs would arise only if an attack on Iraq was carried out. Scarlett removed this reference claiming the change” was as a result of the exercise of my professional judgement, not the intervention of Downing Street” and that he had changed the dossier after going “back to the intelligence assessments” and finding that the original comment was not justified. (Ho,ho).

2. Scarlett was also questioned further on the changes requested by Alastair Campbell, particularly the change of “may be deployed” to are deployable” in the claim that Iraqi MDs could be deployed within 45-minutes. Scarlett denied the changes were anything other than intelligence driven: “In one way or another, all these points had a presentational angle to them, the question of clarity of language and the way things were expressed. At no point did I feel that there was a an attempt to question the editorial judgement or the intelligence judgement.”

3. Scarlett admitted that no final meeting of the JIC took place before the dossier was finally agreed. Scarlett said that such a meeting was not necessary because any member of the committee could have raised objections to the final draft and none did.

4. Contradicting his evidence in the first phase of the inquiry, Scarlett admitted he knew of concerns within the intelligence community about the dossier but said that he believed they were dealt with before publication of the dossier.

5. Questioned on the BBC’s counsel, Andrew Caldecott, about why battlefield weapons had been allowed to be described as WMDs, Scarlett said that they were WMDs. He was unable to explain meaningfully how these battlefield weapons could have threatened British bases in Cyprus or why the media misrepresentation of the weapons had not been corrected by the government.

Other points

1. When is Jonathan Powell to be re-questioned? He keeps popping up as the main mover after Campbell in this matter.

2. Kelly’s dental records disappeared from his dentist’s shortly after his death. The records turned up in the cabinettwo days later. The police said they could find no signs of a

break-in.

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 – week 6

Day 22 – 24 9 2003

Gavyn Davies (BBC chairman) and Bryan Wells (Kelly’s line manager at the MoD), Nick Rufford (reporter on The Sunday Times), Keith Hawton (professor of psychiatry at Oxford) and Patrick Lamb (Kelly’s contact at the foreign office) were recalled.

Gavyn Davies

1. Davies admitted that the Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, had tried to stop the BBC governors publicly criticising editorial managers for their handling of the Andrew Gilligan story.

2. Davies based his defence of the Board of Governors robust stand against the government because “We were faced with such an unprecedented attack on our integrity. I think it was  perfectly reasonable for me to take the view that the public would look to the governors to stand up for the independence of the BBC.”

3. Pressed on why the Governors did not directly investigate what Gilligan had been told by his “source”, Davies said that the governors had been reassured by the BBC’s director of news, Richard Sambrook, that the source was credible and that Gilligan stood by his story. Davies made the point that the governors were not there to duplicate the work of the management and to have interfered directly over Gilligan would hav duplicated the work.

4. Davies said that several Governors wished to stop BBC journalists writing for the newspapers.

5. Davies claimed the Governors were all tough minded and independent figures who would not be bullied by the Government.

Note; The Board of Governors is the routine run of the great and the good.

Bryan Wells

1. Wells retracted evidence he had given when he appeared in the first phase of the inquiry. Wells said it was not true, as he had claimed, that Kelly had been warned at an early stage that his name might be made public. This possibility was not raised until Kelly’s second MoD interview on 7 July 2003 and even then, according to Wells, his naming was not treated as inevitable.

2. Wells informed Kelly that his name was to made public in a 46 second telephone conversation between Wells and Kelly – the call was made while Wells was travelling on a train. Wells claimed that Kelly took the news without expressing concern. This contradicts Mrs Kelly’s evidence of Kelly’s response to the news.

3. Questioned by counsel for the inquiry, James Dingemans, Wells said that Kelly was not involved in discussions about how his name might emerge. This contradicted the head of personnel at the MoD, Richard Hatfield’s evidence.

Nick Rufford

1. Asked about the offer of Murdoch newspapers to pay for the Kelly’s to go to a hotel, Rufford said: “It was a light-hearted context – when we met for a drink or a meal, Dr Kelly would always want to ensure that I did not pay personally and would say ‘Is this on Mr Murdoch?'”.

Keith Hawton

1. Asked for further comments on Kelly’s possible motive for suicide, Hawton said “I think one major factor was the immense loss of self esteem that he had from feeling people had lost trust in him and from his dismay – maybe that is an understatement – of being exposed to the media.”

Note: A weak piece of armchair psychology to say the least. In fact, the inquiry has signally failed to show any plausible cause for him to commit suicide when it is born in mind that he knew that his pension was safe, his daughter was about to be married, he was getting a good deal of private support from friends and colleagues and had a crippled wife to look after.

Patrick Lamb

1. Kelly had wanted Lamb to accompany him to the FAC hearing but he had had to refuse because Kelly was under MoD control.

Further points

1. Kelly’s 1985 vetting report contained a note that Kelly’s mother probably committed suicide in the 1960s.

The Hutton Inquiry phase 2 – week 6

Day 23 – 25 9 2003

Officially the final day of the inquiry, although Sit Kevin Tebbit, permanent secretary at the MoD, is slated to give further evidence after the inquiry has formally closed. 22 days of evidence and 70 witnesses.

The day was taken up by the various QCs, all paid for by the taxpayer in one way or another. They were: James Dingemans QC, counsel for the inquiry, Jeremy Gompertz QC will appear for the Kelly family, Andrew Caldecott QC for the BBC, Heather Rogers, QC, for Andrew Gilligan and Jonathan Sumption QC for the government.

James Dingemans

1. Dingemans said that Kelly had stepped into a maelstrom when he admitted his contact with Andrew Gilligan to his MoD superiors.

2. Dingemans said the inquiry must address the question of whether Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell had crossed the line of presentation to “making a case”.

Jeremy Gompertz

1. Gompertz said that Kelly had been used as a political pawn by the Government:”This was a cynical abuse of power which deserves the strongest possible condemnation.”

2. Gompertz accused the Government of failing to support Kelly and his managers at the MoD of displaying “a total lack of care”.

3. Gompertz accused the Government of misdescribing Kelly “to suit the needs of the hour, as a middle ranking official…”

4. Gompertz contrasted the Government’s We have made no mistakes or blunders approach with that of the BBC which had admitted mistakes.

5. Gompertz described the claim of Richard Hatfield (MoD head of personnel) that Kelly had received “Outstanding support” as “risible” if the events were not so serious.

6. Gompertz rejected strongly the idea that Kelly was the agent of his own misfortunes.

7. Gompertz claimed that Kelly had not committed a disciplinary offence. Note: this is simple nonsense. He had undoubtedly breached the MoD confidentiality code and arguably had committed a criminal offence under the Official Secrets Act.

8. Gompertz characterised the denials of Government use of Kelly to discredit Gilligan, including Blair, Campbell and Geoff Hoon, as “hypocrisy”@ “It was out of the question that

the Prime Minister should have no say in a document for which he had to be personally responsible to Parliament.”

9. Gompertz referred to an email received only yesterday and hence too late to be used in cross-examination. The email was dated 9 July and was sent by Hoon’s private secretary, Peter Watkins, to Mrs Wilson in the MoD press office. Part of it read: ” Jonathan Powell has separately suggested to the S of S [secretary of state, Mr Hoon] that we should simply name our man [Kelly], but left the decision to Mr Hoon who has not yet reached a final view.” This document showed again Hoon’s lack of candour to the enquiry. Note: Powell cropping up yet again.

Andrew Caldecott

1. Caldecott said that the BBC admitted mistakes had been made in the reporting but stood by the essential truth of the report.

2. Caldecott said that the public had the right to know about Kelly’s concern about the dossier. Caldecott said the BBC

defended its right to broadcast Kelly’s concerns absolutely,

3. Caldecott pointed out that concerns about the dossier had been justified by the evidence given to the inquiry.

4. Caldecott stressed that only the MI6 head, Richard Dearlove, had expressed concern about the way the public were mislead over the nature of the 45-minute claim, ie that it referred to battlefield weapons: “The reaction of Mr Hoon and Mr Scarlett borders on cynical indifference. The Government’s failure to correct is wholly indefensible.”

Heather Rogers

1. Rogers said that Campbell and Geoff Hoon behaved like “playground bullies” in their pursuit of Andrew Gilligan.

2. Rogers said the extracts from Campbell’s diaries showed a desire to “get even” with Gilligan.

3. Rogers pointed out that Gilligan had admitted errors in his initial reporting, but the story was true in its main substance, ie that serious unrest amongst intelligence bods existed: Andrew Gilligan will ask this inquiry to consider that he was right to talk to Dr Kelly, he was right to ask about the dossier, right to regard what Dr Kelly said was worth reporting and right to report it.”

4. Rogers said the concentration on Gilligan’s initial reporting was distracting form the main issue, the nature of the dossier.

Jonathan Sumption

1. Sumption said that Kelly had no right to anonymity because he was a civil servant. This is pedantically true, but it is a convention that civil servants are not put in the public fold except in exceptional circumstances such as permanent secretaries reporting to Commons committees. I think it would  be impossible to find a precedent for Kelly’s treatment. Normally politicians are only too glad to “protect” their civil servants because they are afraid of what the civil servants may reveal about politicians’ bad behaviour.

2. Sumption claimed that Kelly had known since 4 July that his name would probably be made public.

Note: This clashes with evidence given by Brian Wells, Kelly’s MoD line manager, yesterday, that the matter was not discussed with Kelly until his second interview of 7 July.

3. Sumption claimed that Blair, Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell had every reason to comment on the dossier for reasons of “basic constitutional principle.”

Note: Oh yeah?

4. Sumption defended Alastair Campbell’s memo suggesting 16 changes to the dossier as points amounting to “proof reading”.

5. Sumption dismissed the dissent of the likes of Brian Jones, a senior analyst, and Kelly as unimportant because they did not have access to the underlying intelligence material.

Note: As Jones and Kelly were the technical experts, one might think they had a better understanding of the weapons than any ordinary intelligence officer.

Note:

1. No calling of the women who converted Kelly to the Baha’i faith.

2. No recalling of Jonathan Powell.

3. No recalling of Blair.

Operation Eleveden, Tom Harper, The Independent and the censoring of elite criminality

Robert Henderson

On 11th July 2013 I met the  journalist Tom Harper  who works for the Independent. I was introduced to him by the lawyer  Mark Lewis who has represented many of the phone-hacking victims.

The meeting was to discuss Operation Elveden’s refusal to investigate my complaints about  Piers Morgan  and Jeff Edwards receiving information from the police in circumstances that can only be illegal, Morgan and Edwards’ perjury before the Leveson Inquiry and the failure of the police (led by then Det Supt Jeff Curtis) to investigate my original complaints against Morgan and Edwards; this  despite my supplying them with a letter from Morgan to the PCC in which he admits the Mirror received the information from the police. The details of my dealings with Elveden are at  (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/operation-elveden-piers-morgan-et-al-the-dpp-advised-of-elvedens-refusal-to-investigate/).

We spent more than an  hour together. Our discussion expanded beyond Operation Eleveden  to the refusal of the Leveson Inquiry to call  me as a witness or use any of the information  I supplied to the Inquiry (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/).  From there it went to the Blairs’ attempts to have me prosecuted and the use of Special Branch and MI5 to keep me under surveillance after failing to do persuade the  CPS to sanction an investigation of me.  (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/) That in turn led to the story attached to the publication in Wisden Cricket Monthly  of my article  Is it in the blood?  in 1995. (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/is-it-in-the-blood-cmj-and-the-hypocrisy-of-the-media/)

During our conversation I supplied Harper with a good deal of material and the next day I emailed him with the other information he requested such as the responses to my  Data Protection Act requests to Special Branch  and MI5. ( The major evidence is listed in my first email to Harper reproduced below.)  Thus Harper  had all the information he asked for by 12th July.

Throughout our  meeting Harper was very enthusiastic about the material I gave him and the story I had to tell.  At the end of the meeting he said he was definitely going to run the story and wanted to do so quickly.

I rang Harper on 12 July and asked what was happening. He was still adamant the story was going to be used soon. I asked whether it would come out that  weekend . Interestingly, he responded in panicky fashion by asking me if I was going to offer the story to someone else. I assured him I had no plans to do that but did need some action soon. Harper promised to come back to me when publication was scheduled.

A week later I still had not heard from him. When I tried to ring him I always went to voicemail. I left messages but got no reply. Eventually on the 22nd July I emailed him and copied the letter to Mark Lewis. That shamed him into action and I received the email from him which I reproduce below.

Harper’s email is utterly at odds with both his behaviour at our meeting and the phone call of 12th July. My further email to him reproduced below deals with this transmutation of his attitude.  Harper did not reply to this email.

The most plausible explanation for his change of heart is that he has been leant on by someone in a position of authority, most probably his editor.  Whatever the reason, Harper can be added to the list of journalists and broadcasters who have censored the stories I have to tell, all of which are by any standard of prime public interest.

———————————————————————————–

From: robert henderson [mailto:anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk]

Sent: 22 July 2013 16:00

To: Tom Harper

Subject: I need to know your intentions Tom

Tom Harper

The Independent

22 7 2013

Dear Tom,

I have given you gratis  at least four  major stories:

1. The Blairs misuse of the security services against me

2. Unshakeable evidence of Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police.

3. The failure of the police to twice investigate the Mirror’s illegal receipt of information.

4. Leveson’s corrupt behaviour in failing to call me as a witness or using  any of the evidence I supplied to him including the Piers Morgan letter – see below.

Most importantly, I have not simply asserted these things happened. Instead  I have given you absolute proof that they happened by supplying you with, amongst other things:

a) Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC admitting he received information from the police in circumstances which can only be illegal.

b) A tape recording of Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard promising to interview Morgan and Edwards, something he failed to do.

c). My correspondence with Operation Elveden showing their utter refusal to investigate my complaints against Morgan, Edwards and Jeff Curtis despite the fact that they had cast iron evidence of the alleged offences.

d) Correspondence with Special Branch and MI5 relating to my use of the DPA which demonstrated (1) they held data on me and (2) there was data that the y refused to release. This despite the fact that the CPS ruled the Blairs’ complaints against me as “NO CRIME” within hours of receiving the papers from Belgravia police.

e) A copy of the Belgravia Police report on the Blairs’ complaint which clearly showed the “No Crime” ruling.

f) Correspondence between the Met Police and me relating to the Belgravia Police report. This shows (1) that I managed to get the report significantly changed using the DPA and (2) that the Blairs had referred to me as “an irritant like Henderson”, a distinctly sinister phrase  from a man who was on the brink of becoming PM.

When we met You assured me that you were going to use the information and that it would be used quickly. You have now had the information the better part of two weeks,. No story has appeared and my attempts to contact you by phone have proven fruitless.  I need to know ASAP whether you intend to use the story and if not why you have changed your mind.

All political ills flow from censorship and most particularly censorship of the misbehaviour of the powerful.   Milton put it beautifully:  ‘And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose upon the earth, so truth be in the field [and] we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter…’ [Areogapitica].

Only those who are uncertain of their case ever wish to suppress information and argument.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————————————————————————-

From: Tom Harper <T.Harper@independent.co.uk>

To: robert henderson <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

Sent: Monday, 22 July 2013, 16:10

Subject: RE: I need to know your intentions Tom

Dear Robert,

Apologies for the delay in responding to you. I have been tied up with other stories that were on the go before I met you.

I have reviewed the information now. I am very grateful to you for taking the time to come and meet me and show me your dossier.

However, I do not think I can use it for a news story in The Independent.

I do not doubt that what happened back in 1997 was wrong, inhuman and had a deleterious effect on your health. I am truly sorry you had to go through those awful experiences.

But I do not think the information you have provided proves the stories that you say. Although it is mildly embarrassing that Morgan has admitted The Mirror got the info from a police source, there is no suggestion any money changed hands. That is the allegation that would create my “top line” – and it is flawed.

I know you will strongly disagree and I am sorry about that. But if you read some of my past work, you will see I am not afraid of having a pop at the police and/or the press and I am not being censored. I just do not think the evidence stacks up in quite the way you suggest.

However, I do think that some of it could be used as background material for a wider piece, but sense you want to try and get maximum impact so I would suggest approaching other journos.

Thanks very much for meeting up with me and good luck.

Warmest regards,

Tom

——————————————————————————————-

From: robert henderson <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

To: Tom Harper <T.Harper@independent.co.uk>

Cc: Mark <mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk>

Sent: Monday, 22 July 2013, 16:53

Subject: Re: I need to know your intentions Tom

Dear Tom,

Your response literally makes no sense. You had the all information by the end of our meeting. Your attitude throughout our meeting was very enthusiastic. Not only  that but you promised me you would be using the story. You said the same when I spoke with you  a week ago. Now suddenly you pretend it is no story. Do you honestly imagine, Tom, that any disinterested third party would believe that you have rejected the story because it is not of great public interest?  If you had run it not only would it have brought down  Piers Morgan and several senior police officers, but it would have put the Blairs in a very awkward position.

I will address the particular point of Piers Morgan letter. I explained the relevant law to you during our meeting. Whether or not Morgan, Edwards or any other Mirror employee paid for the information is irrelevant to whether a criminal offence was committed.  The offences of misconduct in a public office, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, breaches of the DPA and   breaches  of the Official Secrets Act  (there is a reciprocal offence for those knowingly  receiving material in circumstances covered by the Act regardless of whether they had signed the Act – the police do sign the Act)  were committed. Conspiracies to commit the other offences could conceivably also be brought. You will recall that Damien Green was investigated for conspiring  to commit misconduct in a public office in 2009 (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/leading-article-misconduct-in-public-office-1669922.html).  Of course, the odds are that the Mirror did pay for the information and that needs to be investigated as well.

As for Jeff Curtis and Operation Elveden, a failure to investigate an alleged serious crime when there is clear evidence of it constitutes a perversion of the course of justice.

You have thrown away a most tremendous story. I will not speculate here as to why, but I think we both know why.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

The surveillance state – The practical problems and implications of biometric identities

Note: I wrote this piece at a time when a British identity card seemed a very real possibility because the Blair Government had produced a consultative Green Paper and was pushing the subject hard in Parliament and the media. The Blair scheme was very intrusive because it envisaged not merely government collected data being tied to the ID card but also data collected by private organisations such as the large supermarkets.

Such a card did not materialise then but the threat of it has not gone away. Perhaps it will not come overtly as an ID card but covertly, almost as an emergent property, through the ever expanding government databases (which are in the process of being linked) and the rapid government move to doing all government business online only which not only increases the data held but makes operating with some form of digital ID next to impossible.

Although the essay was written nine years ago, the problems raised still hold true.

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Published in The July 2004 issue of The Individual, the journal of the Society for
Individual Freedom (www.individualist.org.uk).

The practical problems and implications of biometric identities

Robert Henderson

The libertarian and moral implications of ID cards have generated a great amount of newsprint, but much less attention has been given to what biometric based ID cards will mean in practice or to their practicality. This is a serious deficiency because a biometric-based ID card will be an entirely different animal from any
non-biometric-based ID card.

If it is successful, such a system will give a government unprecedented control of the lives of the individual – the ID card would potentially be a licence to legally exist – and if flawed in operation, cause untold disruption and personal misery.

How effective are biometric data as identifiers?

Biometric identifiers are generally presented to the public as foolproof, Big Brother, sci-fi-style technology. The reality is that there is no biometric identifier which is anything like foolproof, nor, as we all know to our daily cost, any computer system which does not regularly crash.

What would be the most likely biometric data to be used? Iris scanning, fingerprinting and facial parameter recognition are the frontrunners, either singly or in combination. Facial parameters are far from foolproof, while fingerprinting, despite what is generally thought, is far from conclusive being decided on points of similarity rather than an absolute individual singularity. One suspects that iris print recognition has similar drawbacks, whatever the “experts” tell us.

Take the expert on biometric testing Professor John Daugman, who is based in Cambridge University. He developed the algorithm for iris recognition. In the Daily Telegraph (12 5 2004) he is reported as saying: ” “The key point is the relative complexity of the iris, compared to, say, the fingerprint,” explains Professor Daugman, who is based at Cambridge University. “The iris is much more random and much more complex, so it Is much more likely to be truly unique.

“Randomness is measured in degrees of freedom. The face bas less than 20 degrees of freedom. Fingerprints have 40 degrees of freedom, but the iris has 200 degrees of freedom. “If we wanted the face to be as complex as the iris, we would need to have five mouths and seven noses…”

Prof Daugman goes on to say that “The technology has never yet given a false match and we have made millions of comparisons so far,” then unblushingly admits there have been problem with eye lashes and eye malformations. I think we should translate his remark as “The technology has never given a false reading where we have been able to get a readable iris print.”

The Home Office Commons select committee recently went to a demonstration of iris-scanning. The Daily Telegraph (7 5 2004) reported: “Members of the Commons home affairs select committee who tried out the technology yesterday were told that up to seven per cent of scans could fail.”

I heard a member of the committee, Liberal Democrat Bob Russell, on Radio 5 (6 May) telling of his experiences. His iris test failed because his eyes watered profusely. Russell also said that the test was as intrusive as a visit to the opticians with lights being shone directly into the eye. He found the experience physically unpleasant.

DNA analysis – which would be more certain – is a theoretical possibility, but whether it would be technically possible now or within the foreseeable future to have a system which could analyse DNA samples quickly enough is dubious. The person checking an identity would have to have a means of checking within minutes a DNA sample taken from a suspect and then comparing that with the DNA record in the central database.

As things stand, the most likely biometric identifiers on the card and database will be fingerprints and facial profiling, the latter to act as a decider if the fingerprint test does not produce a positive identification. The reason why facial profiling will be probably be chosen in front of iris recognition is that the International Civil Aviation Authority is pushing for it in machine-readable passports.

The problems of damage and biometric impersonation

A fingerprint could be damaged by scarring or a temporary injury. Ditto an iris print. As for facial parameter recognition, how effective is that going to be as a person ages? Doubtless the ”experts” will claim that basic facial parameters – breadth of forehead, distance between eyes and such forth – remain constant enough, but as the system is far from foolproof to begin with – Prof Daugman puts it as the least effective of the three biometrics being considered – can we honestly be sure that ageing may not produce sufficient change through, say, muscle relaxation or gum shrinkage, to distort the face sufficiently to cause a false non-recognition result?

Biometric impersonation could conceivably occur with people wearing contact lenses to give a false iris print (the experts such as Prof Daugman swear blind this would not fool a scanner because it uses infra red which would show up a flat plate , ie the contact lens, over the iris, but you know what experts are like) or having fingerprint ”masks” of someone else to wear on their fingers. Further down the line surgical techniques, including genetic surgery, could be used to alter someone’s biometric data.

There is also the question of technological advance generally. We simply cannot envisage what advances may be made which will breach what is now seen as a seemingly secure system.

What of the robustness of the Government’s computer system? Will it break down or even ever get to a stage of development where it can go live? We all know what a mess large government computer projects have been. Why should this, which is even larger and more complicated than those now in existence, be anything other than a mess.

Could biometric cards be successfully forged?

Could biometric cards ever be foolproof in even the narrow sense of being impossible to forge? Could forgeries exist? If biometric data are to be stored on a central database which can be immediately accessed it would be pointless to get a false card if the system would pick up duplicated biometric data. However, someone, for example, a foreigner, whose details have never been on the database, could get a card in a false name using false initial documentation – the initial identification of the person can only be done by good old fashioned methods such as passports and driving licences. There is also, of course, the opportunity for bribery of those operating the system.

If the database programme does not have the facility to check new biometric data against that already on the database, multiple applications for cards under different names could be made.

If there is not immediate verification of the biometric data by reference to the database, forged cards could be used because all the card would do is provide whatever data the forger chooses to put on the card when the card is put into a reader. Moreover, if the card is simply put into a reader and verified with the data held on the database, all that tells you is that the card is in agreement with the database. It does not tell you whether the person who holds the card is the same person. Thus the identities of legitimate cardholders could be copied onto forged cards. The only certain way of stopping this would be to read the data directly from the cardholder and compare it with data held on the central database.

Another problem would be the possibility of a card forger placing a programme on the card which would surreptitiously override the application to the central database and place data contained on the card in the reader in a form in which looked as though it came from the central database, a trick akin to placing videos in security systems to give the impression that a surveillance system is working when it is not.

The initial identification of those applying for cards

A basic problem of false identification exists at the point where the person’s identity is to be established before the identity card is to be issued. Forged documents will be of the type which are now forged, ie without biometric data. Over the generations this might become a smaller problem as children are registered at birth, but for the foreseeable future it will be a major difficulty.

The initial registering of the 60 million people in Britain will also be a massive task. Even if new passports and driving licences are going to require biometric data allowing the database to be gradually built up over years, that will still leave millions of people who neither drive nor have passports. The administrative problems of ensuring all those are issued with cards will be immense.

What non-biometric data could be on the database It would be impractical to include data which will regularly change such as a person’s address or workplace. Yet that is precisely the type of non-biometric data which is most useful in identifying someone. And what will the police do if they pick up a suspect but have to rely on the subject to give them an address?

The administrative problems in the field

These are mind-boggling. Can one imagine the ordinary policeman or immigration officer comfortably or efficiently using complicated machines to read the data either from the cards or directly from the cardholder? Or how about every store or bank requiring one? Think of your average bored teenager serving in a shop and then let your mind boggle at the idea of them taking an iris print. One can all too easily imagine a situation where using the machine is simply not done because the operator cannot be bothered or does not understand the procedure. British passports have been machine readable since 1988. How many are ever machine read? Very few.

Equally demanding would be the mammoth task of maintaining literally thousands (potentially tens of thousands) of machine card readers around the country. The likelihood is that many would break down and in such circumstances identity checks would simply be made by a non-id card means.

The potential practical ill effects of a biometric-based ID card

There are potentially massive practical problems which could arise from such a card. What happens if a person’s card is lost or the biometric data used as an identifier is damaged, e.g. by scarring a fingerprint? How would they actually exist if the card is necessary for daily living?

The failure rate for recognition requests would not have to be large to make the security of the card and its practical use as an identifier problematical. With a database of 60 million (the UK population) even a one tenth of one percent failure would mean 60,000 potential failures, each of which could be repeated many times if the card is needed for a wide range of activity which is the Government’s intention. (A Home Office press release states “crucially, the cards will help people live their lives more easily, giving them watertight proof of identity for use in daily transactions and travel” – http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/n_story.asp?item_id=91). Imagine that you are one of the unlucky ones whose biometrics do not identify you positively, being faced over and over again with the need to prove who you are by other means.

There is also the strong possibility that false information will be put into the database. Governments will not be able to resist the temptation of going beyond the mere identification of someone. They will wish to store details of other things such as criminal records, health data and welfare take-up.

When an identity card was introduced in 1939 it had three purposes: to aid the function of rationing, help conscription and improve security and immigration. When a Commons committee examined the experience of the ID in 1950 (when it was still in force) the number of purposes had risen to 39.

One may be certain that something similar will occur if a biometric card is introduced. Indeed, the schedule 1 of the draft Bill currently doing the “consultation” rounds has a long list of information to be included on the ID register. This includes names, date and place of birth, photograph, fingerprint (and other biometric information), residential status, nationality, entitlement to remain in Britain and the exact terms of the right to remain and a National Identity Registration Number. It will also carry a record of any changes made to the Register.

The more information the more uses to which the card will be put. The more powerful computer technology becomes, the greater the ease and range of sharing information.

There is also the possibility that simple error will result in non-biometric data being entered which will make the identity of the person suspect, e.g., the wrong middle name. At best that would be extremely inconvenient for the individual. Or suppose your health records have the wrong blood group in-putted and you do not know. You have an accident and are taken to hospital unconscious and the wrong blood is used for a transfusion?

More generally, what would happen if the government computer system crashed, either through its own inherent weaknesses or from a malicious hackers attack? How would the world work if everything has become dependent upon the person’s state stored identity? The quick answer is the world would not work.

There is also the question of security. In principle a system could be set up whereby the machine card readers (or readers of biometric data directly from the individual) could have varying levels of access. All readers would identify you as the individual corresponding to the biometric data, but additional information such as health and credit data would be restricted to those with a legitimate reason to know them.

For example, you go to hospital and their reader will allow them to see what your health data is but nothing more. You go to get credit from a store and the shop’s reader gives them access only to your credit status.

Fine in principle, but does anyone believe that any of the information on the card would not rapidly become successfully “hacked” by anyone with the necessary IT skills? There is no reason to believe so because every other “secure” system to date has been hacked, even those with the highest security.

ID Cards are not the problem, the database is

Identity cards as such are a red herring. If the system is sophisticated enough to read from a database and check it immediately against biometric data taken directly from a suspect there would be no need for a card because the person would carry his own identification all the time, i.e. his or her biometric data. It is the database which is the problem.

The overt purposes of the proposed card

What effects would an identity card have on welfare abuse, crime, illegal immigration and security? If the card is voluntary or carrying it is optional, it will little if any effect on the last three items, for any person stopped who does not have a card will simply fail to appear with his or her card at a police station within the seven days as proposed in the draft Bill. However, let us assume that the carrying the card becomes obligatory. What then?

In theory, welfare benefits, including NHS treatment, housing and education could be better controlled, but there is the small matter of 400 million odd citizens from other EU countries to consider who have or shortly will have an absolute right to benefits in the UK. To those can be added millions more from around the world from countries such as Australia and Canada who have reciprocal welfare arrangements with the UK? Will they have to apply for a UK card before they get them?

Perhaps, but what of emergency health treatment? Would any government, when shove comes to push, have the will to deny treatment to those without a card? Moreover, what of failed asylum seekers who are not deported because it is deemed that their native countries are too dangerous to return the failed asylum seeker to? Will they be denied treatment even where the illness or injury is serious but not immediately life threatening, for example, if they are HIV-positive?

An ID card is no help in solving crime generally because the police can only arrest or investigate those people whom they have already identified. In theory a card might reduce fraud based on identity misrepresentation, but that assumes private companies will play ball with the Government’s stated intention that cards will be used “indaily transactions and travel”. As they all have their own cards and identification systems which are getting ever more sophisticated, it is extremely dubious that they will willingly add another layer of expensive security to their own.

As for illegal immigration, a government could make it impossible for a person to work legally in Britain unless they have a card. However, to enforce that would require an immense bureaucracy and a willingness to harass both employers and the general public severely. Employers would have to be regularly prosecuted and subject to stiff penalties for employing illegal labour, while the general public would find that they were essentially slaves requiring the permission of the state to gain employment. In fact, if a card was made necessary for not only employment but welfare and transactions such as opening a bank account or using a credit card, the individual would effectively require the permission of the state to live. Ultimately, the state could control people simply by discontinuing money in the form of notes and coins and making people use cards for all purchases.

As an anti-terrorist measure it would be pretty meaningless because any visitor to this country will not have to have an identity card. As tens of millions of visits are made each year, any terrorist could operate without ever being asked to prove his identity by any means other than would now be employed. As for any home grown terrorist, they will be able to get a valid card and until identified as a terrorist, by which time identity is established, they will be able to use it to move freely in the UK. It is also true that once human beings become reliant on machine checks they tend to treat them as holy writ and become much less generally observant and suspicious.

What if the proposed UK system proves inoperable?

The proposed UK card will not begin to be implemented if at all until 2007 and, even by the Government’s estimates, it will take many years to establish universal coverage of the UK population. But even if the card is never fully implemented by further legislation the government will have a database with the biometric details of most of the population in a few years through their inclusion on passports and driving licences. This will be shared by government departments and other public agencies. It will be subject to hacking and the corrupt release of information by those working within the system.

If such a system is implemented I predict that all those who are pro-ID card will be converted to the anti-card camp the first time they are stopped by the police and asked for it, or the first time their biometrics are checked and show a false negative, or the first time the database crashes and makes transactions impossible because identity cannot be verified, or the first time that they lose their card and find their lives in limbo.

Those who are against ID cards on principle will need no urging to oppose them. But even those who are in principle supportive of the idea of an ID card – and regrettably polls consistently show 70-80% of Britons in favour – may still rationally reject the idea of this card because of the sheer impracticality of the proposed system and its palpable failure to meet the objectives which persuaded them to become supporters.

Operation Elveden dragging their feet over Piers Morgan

To DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

CC

Commander Neil Basu

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Gerald Howarth MP

Keir Starmer (DPP)

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

17 May  2013

Dear DC Rooke

It is now more than four months since I submitted to Operation Elveden cast iron  evidence of Piers Morgan’s  illicit receipt of information from the police, Jeff Edwards’ illicit receipt of information from the Met Police, the perjury of Morgan and Edwards before the Leveson Inquiry and Det Supt Jeff Curtis’ failure to meaningfully investigate Edwards and Morgan’s involvement in receiving information illicitly from the police.

To recap, the evidence I have provided includes a letter from Piers Morgan when editor of the Mirror to the PCC in which he admits receiving the illicit information, a Mirror story which  contains information which could only have been obtained illicitly from the police and a tape recording between Jeff Edwards and me in which D-Supt Curtis states that he will be interviewing Morgan and Edwards  and says the matter is straightforward because of the evidence I had provided. Curtis then failed to interview anybody at the Mirror or have any check made of their records for evidence of payments  for information.

With such rock-hard evidence in your possession, I think most people would be utterly astonished that no investigation appears to have commenced after 4 months. Yet that is, to the best of my knowledge, exactly what has happened.   I have had no substantive contact with Operation Elveden since I submitted the complaint and my requests to give a formal statement and meet to  discuss the matter further  with a senior officer have been ignored.  When you reply please tell me exactly  what has been done so far to investigate this matter .

I repeat my requests to give a formal statement and meet with a senior officer from Operation Elveden to discuss the progress of my complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

See also

http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden/

http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden-part-ii/

http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden-part-iii/

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Below  is the reply I received. When rank and file staff start saying they have to refer something up the line after they have been dealing with an issue for some time you know there is something fishy going on. RH

Received 20 May 2013
Dear Mr Henderson
I have forwarded your email to my line manager.
Kind regards

Paulette Rooke

ADS PAULETTE ROOKE

JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD

Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526
Mobile 07771 553043 (office hours)

 

Press regulation and the British constitution

Robert Henderson

The proposed regulation

The considerable constitutional implications of the proposed regulation of the  press by Royal Charter with  statutory restraints preventing the Charter’s  change and legislation creating different classes of plaintiff in civil cases seems to have passed our politicians by.

The proposal is for the normal ultimate control of a Royal Charter by politicians working through the  Privy Council to be circumscribed by a clause in a statute. In addition, further legislation to allow exemplary damages and costs. will be needed.  To demonstrate why this raises constitutional difficulties it is necessary to first understand what the proposed system will be and do. That requires a detailed examination of the draft Royal Charter.

The Royal Charter

There have been three draft Royal Charters: the original Tory Charter, the Labour/Libdem Charter and the third and latest which is the  draft  (published on 18th march) containing the agreed text by all three major party leaders. The  18th  March Charter  can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/142789/18_March_2013_Royal_Charter_on_self-regulation_of_the_press__for_publication_.pdf. A commentary on and full text of the previous draft Royal Charters produced by the Tories and  the combined efforts of the Labour and the LibDems can be found  at http://martinbelam.com/2013/royal-charter-diffs/.

The statutory underpinning

The statutory underpinning will be,  according to the BBC, a general instruction for all  new Royal Charters after a certain date in 2013, viz:

“Early on Monday a deal was struck, under which a clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill would be tabled in the Lords.

This would state that a royal charter cannot be changed unless it meets requirements stated within that charter for amendments.

It does not mention any specific charter, Leveson or the press – but the royal charter on press regulation would itself state that it cannot be amended without a two-thirds majority of Parliament. “(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21825823)

This statutory underpinning is intended to give absolute force to these provisions in the 18th March  Royal Charter:

“9.2. Before any proposal (made by any person) to add to, supplement, vary or omit (in whole or in part) a provision of this Charter (“proposed change”) can take effect a draft of the proposed change must have been laid before Parliament, and approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.

9.3. The Recognition Panel may only propose a change to the terms of this Charter if a resolution has been passed unanimously by all of the Members of the Board, who shall determine the matter at a meeting duly convened for that purpose.

10.1. This Charter, and the Recognition Panel created by it, shall not be dissolved unless information about the proposed dissolution has been presented to Parliament, and that proposal has been approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.”

The power to take or refuse complaints

The 18th March draft Charter gives  the proposed press regulator the power to take or refuse complaints as follows:

Schedule 3

“11. The Board should have the power to hear and decide on complaints about breach of the standards code by those who subscribe. The Board will need to have the discretion not to look into complaints if they feel that the complaint is without justification, is an attempt to argue a point of opinion rather than a standards code breach, or is simply an attempt to lobby. The Board should have the power (but not necessarily the duty) to hear complaints:

a) from anyone personally and directly affected by the alleged breach of the standards code, or

b) where there is an alleged breach of the code and there is public interest in the Board giving consideration to the complaint from a representative group affected by the alleged breach, or

c) from a third party seeking to ensure accuracy of published information.”

This gives both a very wide range of complainant and much subjective discretionary power to the Regulator.

The power to impose penalties

The penalties and procedures which the Regulator has to punish and enforce its judgements by the 18th March Charter are:

“15. In relation to complaints, where a negotiated outcome between a complainant and a subscriber (pursuant to criterion 10) has failed, the Board should have the power to direct appropriate remedial action for breach of standards and the publication of corrections and apologies. Although remedies are essentially about correcting the record for individuals, the power to direct a correction and an apology must apply equally in relation to:

a. individual standards breaches; and

b. groups of people as defined in criterion 11 where there is no single identifiable individual who has been affected; and

c. matters of fact where there is no single identifiable individual who has been affected.

16. In the event of no agreement between a complainant and a subscriber (pursuant to criterion 10), the power to direct the nature, extent and placement of corrections and apologies should lie with the Board.

17. The Board should not have the power to prevent publication of any material, by anyone, at any time although (in its discretion) it should be able to offer a service of advice to editors of subscribing publications relating to code compliance.

18. The Board, being an independent self-regulatory body, should have authority to examine issues on its own initiative and have sufficient powers to carry out investigations both into suspected serious or systemic breaches of the code and failures to comply with directions of the Board. The investigations process must be simple and credible and those who subscribe must be required to cooperate with any such investigation.

19. The Board should have the power to impose appropriate and proportionate sanctions (including but not limited to financial sanctions up to 1% of turnover attributable to the publication concerned with a maximum of £1,000,000) on any subscriber found to be responsible for serious or systemic breaches of the standards code or governance requirements of the body. The Board should have sufficient powers to require appropriate information from subscribers in order to ascertain the turnover that is attributable to a publication irrespective of any particular accounting arrangements of the publication or subscriber. The sanctions that should be available should include power to require publication of corrections, if the breaches relate to accuracy, or apologies if the breaches relate to other provisions of the code.

19A.The Board should establish a ring-fenced enforcement fund, into which receipts from financial sanctions could be paid, for the purpose of funding investigations.”

These powers are considerable and the fines  could cause genuine financial difficulty to lesser players in the press field because  fines are on turnover not profit.  The risk is severe because of the immensely broad definition of a publisher who is not a broadcaster:

Schedule 4 b) “relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:

i. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or

ii. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine);

The recklessly broad  definition will almost certainly make the system next to unworkable if the Regulator is genuinely to take complaints from both third parties and  complaints about everything from a blog run by a private individual to the largest circulation daily. The experience of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is instructive with the ICO regularly taking one to two years to complete investigations.

The penalties for not being registered with the Regulator

The proposal is that any publisher (as defined by the Royal Charter) who does not sign up with the new regulator will leave themselves open to exemplary damages plus costs if sued  successfully in the courts and may be liable for costs even if they successfully defend a suit in certain circumstances.

These penalties are not part of the Royal Charter or the statutory underpinning already described. Consequently further  legislation will be required. This will be direct statutory control of the press no matter how much politicians try to fudge the matter.  How far such law would be subject to successful legal challenge is debatable because the Human Rights Act contains this:

“Article 10 Freedom of expression.

1Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.” (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42)

The constitutional issues 

If the Charter cannot be amended or dissolved  with less than a two-thirds majority of both houses of Parliament  because a statute has been passed forbidding it,  this  is an  attempt at a de facto superior law, a law moreover, which is binding on future governments. As the two thirds  majority would be extremely difficult to achieve, it would in effect sabotage the constitutional principle that no Parliament can bind its successors by passing laws which cannot be repealed. This is even the case with treaties emanating from the EU. All the major British parties have at one time or another maintained that Parliament is sovereign and the treaties and legislation resulting from   Britain’s membership of first the European Economic Community and its successor the European Union could be nullified by Parliament’s repeal of laws and repudiation of treaties.

Unless a formal framework for such a superior law is introduced into our Constitution, the present  attempt would fail because the restrictions on change or repeal supposedly created by the statutory underpinning could be overcome simply by repealing the entire law in which the statutory restrictions  are  enshrined. That would apply even if a separate Act was passed dealing solely with  restricting changes to the Charter or its abolition. This is so because there could be no such restriction under present circumstances on repealing an entire statute because all statutes are equal and subject to repeal by simple majorities in the two houses of Parliament. In passing it is worth noting that the legislation to make the early calling of general elections difficult  suffers from the same insecurity of application because it requires more than a simple majority.

The next problem is the clash between the general rules governing amendments to Royal Charters and the proposed restrictions imposed by statute:

…once incorporated by Royal Charter a body surrenders significant aspects of the control of its internal affairs to the Privy Council. Amendments to Charters can be made only with the agreement of The Queen in Council, and amendments to the body’s by-laws require the approval of the Council (though not normally of Her Majesty). This effectively means a significant degree of Government regulation of the affairs of the body, and the Privy Council will therefore wish to be satisfied that such regulation accords with public policy. (http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/royal-charters/chartered-bodies/).

And

(d) incorporation by Charter is a form of Government regulation as future amendments to the Charter and by-laws of the body require Privy Council (ie Government) approval. There therefore needs to be a convincing case that it would be in the public interest to regulate the body in this way; (http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/royal-charters/applying-for-a-royal-charter/)

The Privy Council practices come  into direct opposition with the draft Royal Charter  where it touches on amendments  to or dissolution of the  Charter.  It is important to understand that  if granted the Royal Charter will not be an artefact of Parliament.  Technically it will be a Royal artefact although in reality a government artefact.   It might be thought that Parliament being sovereign could override the Privy Council procedures, but it is not as simple as that. The Privy Council procedures are separate from Parliament.  If Parliament wants them to be subordinate to Parliament that would make Royal Charters in effect artefacts of Parliament in the same way that secondary legislation such as statutory instruments and orders  in council  are semi-detached   artefacts of Parliament.

The third and last difficulty is the fact that the proposed Charter would create a quasi-judicial authority (I think that that would make it  unique amongst Royal Charters).  That quasi-judicial function would leave it open to legal challenge, both at the level of the Recognition Panel (RP) which appoints the regulator and the regulator itself . Because there is statutory underpinning  of both the RP and the regulator and the RP is  in receipt of public funds at least in the early years, it might well be that either body could  be subject to judicial review because either could be deemed a public body and  a regulatory body established by statute  (http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/judicial-review).

The other objection to the quasi-judicial status created by the proposed regulatory system is the fact that quasi-judicial powers (and very considerable ones) are being granted by a body other than  Parliament .

The likely outcome

The proposals are a cynical ploy to prepare the ground for serious interference  with the traditional press and the broader internet media because of the breadth of the definition of a publisher.   These are proposals which are incompatible with any society that calls itself free or has pretensions to be a democracy because by definition anything may be debated in a democracy.

The intended consequences of the proposals are clearly to manipulate the press and internet media both in instances of actual publication and through the deterrent effect of the possible consequences which publication of a story will bring. Moreover, anyone who believes that this will be the end of political interference with the press and internet publishers is credulous to the point of imbecility.  Once state regulation of any degree becomes the status quo  it will provide the psychological launching pad for further control. This will be difficult to argue against because the pass on press freedom will already have been sold.

The fact of such an agreement amongst the leadership of all our major parties is profoundly depressing because it means not one of them collectively understands the value of  free expression as a cleansing lotion for immoral behaviour, especially that by the powerful and influential.  To that is added the contemptible portrayal of the proposed scheme  by the major parties as anything but what it is, namely, grubby authoritarianism.

None of that is to  say that those abused by the press do not require protection.  A statutory right of reply (RoR) would do what was required without any chance of political interference. This is because it is a self-organising process which would involve only the newspaper and the complainant or, where an RoR was refused, the courts to enforce it.  The involvement of the courts would not require the courts to make a judgement on what the publication had written or what the subject of their story wanted to say in reply. All the court would be doing is forcing the publication to provide the RoR. The detailed arguments for an RoR  can be found at http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/curing-media-abuse-a-statutory-right-to-reply-is-needed/.

Is all lost? Happily there is some hope.  That exists not because there is likely to be any turnabout out of principle by our politicians. Rather, it exists because they have, as so very often,  not thought through the consequences of a policy.    Apart from the constitutional difficulties,  the practical difficulties are huge.  The great breadth of the definition of what is a publisher will potentially make the work of  the Regulator impossible simply because they will be overwhelmed with work.

In addition, there will be endless opportunity for the wealthier subscribers to the Regulator to pursue legal challenges to the rulings of the Regulator, not least because as I have described the legal position of the Regulator and the RP is a dog’s dinner.

Finally, there is the question of whether the  big press publishers will all sign up, even though that will protect them from exemplary damages and costs even if they have won a case in the courts.  There are signs that some at least  might well refuse.  If many refused that would kill the proposals stone dead. But even if they all signed up they could sabotage the intentions of the Royal Charter  by engaging in a barrage of legal actions against the Regulator.

The Bruges Group meeting From Here to the Referendum held on 12 February 2013

Robert Henderson

The Tory  MPs Peter Bone and Richard Shepherd were the speakers . (http://www.brugesgroup.com/eu/from-here-to-the-referendum.htm?xp=speeches).  Both are in favour of the UK leaving the EU, although that of course begs the question of on what terms.   Much of their speeches were not directly to do with the referendum . To get the parts which were go  into  the Peter Bone speech at 9 minutes 27 seconds and the Richard Shepherd speech at 11 minutes and 50 seconds to get to their views on the future and the prospective referendum.

The MPs were frank about why no referendum could be held in this Parliament:  a consequence of the lack of a Commons majority and the deadweight of the Lib Dems on the government. Both admitted that  prospects of a referendum being held  in the next Parliament  (the  audience was decidedly sceptical on this point)  were far from certain, but they were distinctly more optimistic than most of the people at the meeting.

The most positive move suggested by the MPs was for a campaign by Tory Eurosceptic MPs  to get Cameron to introduce a paving Bill for an in/out referendum  before the next General Election for a referendum in the next Parliament.  This would put both Labour and the Lib Dems in a difficult position because, if they did not support and pass such a bill,  it would allow the Conservative Party to go into the next election as the only major party promising a referendum. If such a paving Bill were passed, it would then be effectively impossible not to have a referendum in the next Parliament.   In principle, this is a sound tactic but of course it does beg the question of the terms of the referendum and how it would be done.  Reports appeared  in the media for precisely such a Bill on 17 February (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/active/9875024/Tory-MPs-want-new-law-to-lock-in-EU-referendum-pledge.html) .

Apart from the question of whether  a referendum will actually be held, there were two things of note  about the meeting: a widespread legalism which led  a number of the questioners from the audience to fret over the restrictions placed on a member state leaving by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and an  undue  concentration by both the speakers and audience on economics as the ground on which the anti-EU and pro-EU camps would fight. (Richard Shepherd in his general comments  did show himself to have a strong sense of  nation and to understand that the core issue at stake was being masters in our own house, but still fell back on economics when it came to his doubts about how the public would respond).

When I asked  a question I prefaced it with a refutation  of the idea that leaving the EU meant invoking  Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty .  I did this by pointing out that international law is no law,  but merely agreements between sovereign states. For laws to have meaning, they must be  applied equally within the jurisdiction. International law patently does not do this, a  fact due to  the absence of  any practical means to make all states abide by the law (who would invade China or the USA to enforce breaches or  impose sanctions? )  Richard Shepherd thanked me for making the point with which he agreed. After the meeting a number of people sought me out and did the same.  I suspect this would have widespread appeal in a referendum campaign.

As for the concentration on economics, this is simply playing into the hands of the Europhiles.  The general public simply will not take the detailed economic arguments  on board.  At worst they will simply hear the frightening false claims about millions of jobs being lost.  The campaign to leave the EU should be centred on the question “Do we wish to be masters in our own house?” That will be readily understandable to anyone of normal intelligence and will tap into the innate tribal sense of human beings.  If the stay-in camp have to fight on ground other than the economic they will have no sure footing, their only argument  being the demonstrably false one that the EU has prevented war in Europe for 60 years. (This argument can be readily punctured by pointing out that for its first twenty years there were only six countries involved and only until the 1980s.  It was the  Cold War that kept the peace).  The economic arguments must be addressed but they  should be subordinate to the political issue of sovereignty.

When I got to my question,  I took the subject  beyond the next election and painted a future in which   the  Tories had been returned with a working majority, the in/out referendum had been held and the vote had been to leave the EU. I then asked what confidence we could have that whoever was in power would not sell us down the river by renegotiating  terms which would in practice lock us into the EU through such things as the “Four Freedoms”  of the EU, the free movement of goods, services, capital and most importantly people not only within the EU states but the larger European Economic Area which includes the likes of Norway.   I particularly stressed the importance of regaining control over our borders when it came to immigration, something which got the loudest murmur of agreement of the night.   I got no meaningful answer from the MPs  on that point –  the best they could offer was the tactic already described of pushing for a paving Bill for a referendum.

Apart from the question of the EU, it was very interestingly to see how disenchanted both Bone and Shepherd were with Cameron’s leadership  and the issue of gay marriage in particular. Shepherd spoke of Cameron “racing against his party” (Go into his speech at 5 minutes).   The audience was very much in sympathy with both their general dissatisfaction and their opposition to “gay marriage”.

There were  approximately 60 people attending.

Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police, his perjury and Operation Elveden

Robert Henderson

On Monday 21 January I went to New Scotland Yard (NSY) with the intention of providing evidence to Operation Elveden  of Piers Morgan  and Jeff Edwards’ receipt of information illegally from the police and their perjury before the  Leveson Inquiry when they lied under oath.

I was unable to gain entry. Those on the entrance were insistent  that I would have to make an  appointment.  (I cannot help  but wonder what would have happened if I had turned up without an appointment to give, for example, evidence about a murder or terrorist plot: would it have been  “Sorry sir, we can’t see you without an appointment”?)  I  rang from outside the NSY   to try and arrange an immediate  appointment only to be told by the Met’s central switchboard that  no one was available to make the appointment. I left my details and a civilian worker phoned me later in the day and made an appointment for the local police  to visit me at 11.00 am on 22 January.  He gave me the case  reference CAD 3124/2/Jan.

Two uniformed PCs turned up from Holborn police station (I gave them the  details, but as they admitted themselves, the case was more than a little out of their normal range of work.   (That was precisely why I had gone directly to the NSY rather than ringing to make an appointment. I knew if I tried to make an appointment I would in all probability be  directed  to my local police station.  Some people may think it is a very curious thing that Operation Elveden does not have a direct phone line or public email address for those wishing to give information to use ).  In the circumstances I could do no more than run through the details  and pass on to the two PCs  the following documents:

1.Piers Morgan’s Letter to the PCC date 16 October 1997  in which he admits receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/)

2. A copy of the Daily Mirror  story about me dated 25 March 1997 which produced the complaint to the PCC  which caused  Morgan to write the letter in which he admitted receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/)

3. Copies of the then director of Presswise Mike Jempson’s correspondence on my behalf with the PCC relating to the Mirror story dated 23 December 1997, 9 January 1998, 20 January 1998, 18 February 1998, 2 March 1998.

4. My evidence to the Leveson Inquiry of  Morgan ’s perjury dated 23 December 2011 (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/referral-of-piers-morgans-perjury-to-the-leveson-inquiry/).

5. My evidence to  the Leveson Inquiry of Edwards’ perjury dated 25 March 2012 (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/leveson-inquiry-jeff-edwards-and-another-prima-facie-case-of-perjury/).

6. My original submission to the Leveson Inquiry dated 25 November  2011 (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/)

7. Sir Richard Body’s Early Day Motion 10th November 1999 which dealt with the general context of the events surrounding the Mirror story  with the role of the Blairs at its heart. (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/)

8. A copy of my Wisden Cricket Article Is it in the Blood? (from the July 1995 edition). It was my gross mistreatment by the mainstream British media after the publication of the article that led me ultimately to write to the Blairs asking for their assistance after all other available avenues of redress had failed me (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/is-it-in-the-blood-and-the-hypocrisy-of-the-media/).

9. A letter addressed to the new head of Operation Elveden Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh dated 21 January 2013.  A copy of this is below.

On the 23 January 2013 I received an email advising me that the information I had given had been forwarded to Operation Elveden and a message was left on my answerphone   asking me to contact Operation Elveden on Friday 25 January.

That the two PCs found the matter somewhat daunting is  unsurprising as  it has a very heavy political loading  because of the involvement  Tony and Cherie Blair who had attempted to have me prosecuted during the first week of the 1997 General Election campaign under the Malicious Communications Act. So weak was this complaint that,  despite the Blairs’ celebrity and Labour’s  almost certain  win in the election which would make Blair Prime Minister, the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaint with a  firm NO CRIME on the same day it was submitted to them by the police for guidance.

I have restricted my complaints to Operation Elveden strictly to that which is within their remit.  However, these examples of criminality and misbehaviour by those with power or influence are only a small part of the overall story of the Blair Scandal.   My experience from 1997 to 2007 when Blair retired was of being in  a Kafkaesque world in which,  despite being subjected to harassment which ranged from death threats and an internet campaign which attempted incite violence against me to regular interference with my post, the police did not solve any of the crimes which I referred to them. This was scarcely surprising as they ignored the evidence I provided, no matter how strong it was.  The most blatant example of this behaviour was the failure of Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  to question Piers Morgan and Jeff Edwards of the Mirror about receiving information illegally from the police even though they had the  letter from Morgan admitting he had received information from the police.  The Crown Prosecution Service and the Police Complaints Authority  backed up the failure of the police to investigate meaningfully or sufficiently by refusing any complaints of police inactivity which I referred to them.

The complicity of the elite went  far beyond crime. The mainstream media engaged in a conspiracy of silence after the publication of the Mirror story, neither allowing me a public voice nor even following up the Mirror story ;  The PCC repeatedly failed me; my MP Frank Dobson refused to help in any way, as did  institutions such as  Liberty  and the Index on Censorship. If I went to lawyers they would blanche as soon as they found the Blairs were involved and refused to act for me.

If I manage to get Operation Elveden to prosecute Blair and Edwards, it may be possible to bring the larger story to the mainstream media.    Let us hope so because one thing I can vouch for from long personal experience is that where people  with power and influence are involved the laws which govern us fall rapidly into abeyance.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

To

Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

(Tel: 0207 230 1212)

21 January 2013

CC Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

Dear Mr Kavanagh,

I submit conclusive evidence that (1) the editor of a national newspaper  received information from the  police illicitly and (2) when questioned under oath at the Leveson Inquiry committed perjury by denying that he had ever received information illicitly from the police .

Piers Morgan

The editor in question is Piers Morgan when he edited the Daily Mirror.  The evidence of his receipt of information is beautifully simple: he admitted this in a letter to the PCC dated  16 October 1997 in which  he wrote “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”.  If the information had been given legitimately there would be no reason for protecting the source.   Nor, because no charges were laid or investigation made, could there have been a legitimate reason  for releasing  the  information. A copy  of the letter is enclosed.

The  letter was sent to me after I complained to the PCC about a dramatically libellous article Morgan published about me on 25 March 1997  (copy enclosed).  The illicit information related to complaints made about me by Tony and Cherie Blair to Belgravia Police  in March 1997. I had written to them seeking their help and,  when they refused, I circulated copies of my letters and  the replies I received to the mainstream media at the beginning of the 1997 election campaign. The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent the letters, only after I circulated them to the media.  The  complaints  had so little substance  that they were dismissed by the CPS with the ruling “NO CRIME” within a few hours of them  being submitted to them for guidance by Belgravia Police.

The odds must be heavily on the  Mirror having paid for the information because it is difficult to see what other motive  a police officer would have for  releasing such information.  However, by accepting information illicitly from the police, whether or not money was paid, offences relating to Misconduct in a Public Office and  the Official  Secrets Act were committed, both by the police officer and Mirror employees including Morgan.  If money was paid by the Mirror to the police officer,  further offences arise under  the laws relating to corruption.

The evidence of Morgan’s  perjury before the Leveson Inquiry is contained in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated 22 December 2011 which I enclose.

I ask you to investigate both Morgan’s receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

Jeff Edwards

In addition to Morgan’s perjury, the Mirror reporter who wrote the story about me, their then  Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards, also committed perjury before the Leveson Inquiry by denying ever receiving information illicitly from the police.   The details are included in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated  25 March 2012 which  I enclose .

As Edwards was the reporter who wrote the story to which Morgan referred in his letter to the PCC, he must have been the person to whom the police officer referred to in Morgan’s letter gave the illicit information. .

I ask you to investigate Edwards for his receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

The original police failure to meaningfully  investigate my complaint

In 1997 I made a complaint about the illicit supply of information about me by the police to the Mirror. The case was handled by Detective Superintendent Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard .  No meaningful investigation was undertaken because, as Det Supt Curtis eventually admitted to me during a phone call, the  “investigation” was ended without anyone at the Mirror being  interviewed; not Morgan, Edwards or anyone else.   I enclose my final letter to  Det Supt Curtis dated 2 December 1999, Det Supt A Bamber’s reply to that letter 13 December 1999 and the PCA’s letter dated November 1999  refusing  to investigate further. This again is self-evidently absurd because of the  failure to question Morgan and Edwards.

I ask you to investigate Ian Curtis for perverting the course of justice by failing to investigate conclusive and incontrovertible evidence of  a serious crime.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Gay Marriage, political correctness and Newspeak

Robert Henderson

The commonly made objections to Gay Marriage are  (a) marriage is traditionally between a man and a woman, a fact underpinned for  many opponents by religious beliefs that only a man and a woman can be  married,  (b)  claims that  expansion of the definition of marriage to include same sex relationships will  undermine the family  and  (c) such a novel status creates a legal anomaly whereby homosexual relationships  become in some areas privileged over  close non-sexual relationships between people of the same sex, for example, two elderly spinster sisters  living together.

The problem with these objections is that although they have a considerable moral traction to the supporters of marriage as being between a man and woman ,  they are not intellectually conclusive.  Supporters of gay marriage can point to the  differences in what counts as marriage in different times and places – everything from pristine monogamy to polygamy and polyandry.  Religious justifications for opposition will cut no ice with those of no religion or  those of a different religion or strand of a religion. In addition  civil partnerships  already create much the  same legal as situation as gay marriage would do.  Unless the opponents of gay marriage also oppose civil partnerships,  and many do not,  they do not have much of a case if they wish to base their argument on the damage to the institution of  marriage deriving from the formal  legal equality gay marriage would bring. (http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/relationships_e/relationships_living_together_marriage_and_civil_partnership_e/civil_partnerships_and_living_together___legal_differences.htm).

But opponents of gay marriage need not despair. There is an objection which is far more powerful and  fireproofed against finessing and abuse.   It can appeal to people of  widely differing views because it is not attached to any of the direct arguments for and against gay marriage. It is also beautifully simple: in a free society language should evolve naturally through common usage.  If governments are allowed to change the meaning of words by redefining them in law  we are  in the realm of 1984 and Newspeak .

The purpose of Newspeak was beautifully simple. It was to make whatever thoughts were deemed undesirable by the party impossible to formulate. This was done most radically by removing words from the vocabulary.  For example, negative words such as bad and  poor were not available in Newspeak. To say something was bad or poor the Newspeak user had to say ungood which could be heightened to plusungood or doubleplusungood.  It was still possible to signify that something was bad or poor in Newspeak, but it could only be done using words which were much less emotionally potent because they were both new and had echoes of the positive word good.  (Orwell wrote an appendix to 1984 which developed the idea of Newspeak considerably to show how dangerous control of language can be.).

Newspeak also altered the meaning of words by simply  redefining them. Most famously the Party Slogans in 1984 are:

War is peace

Freedom is slavery

Ignorance is strength

That is what the proponents of gay marriage are doing. In England  marriage  has always  meant one man and one woman.     To alter the word to mean any sexual combination is to deny  its usage in England from time immemorial. Moreover, whatever the variations on marriage or sexual cohabitation that have existed and may exist today in other parts of the world, one thing is certain: marriage has everywhere been a heterosexual relationship. A more radical change in the meaning of a word  it is difficult to imagine.

If  gay marriage does pass into law it will  become unreservedly  illegal for any corporation or individual offering a product or service to treat a homosexual marriage differently from  that between two heterosexuals.   It is also probable in the increasingly authoritarian imposition of political correctness generally that a refusal to recognise relationships between two people of the same sex as a marriage  will be treated as a hate crime.

A re-definition of marriage also  leads to other related words –  adultery, divorce, consummation (of marriage)  – being  of necessity redefined  so that behaviours and events which now only concern heterosexual relationships also concern relationships between those of the same gender.  In addition, it will mean the removal of the terms mother and father from  many laws and legal documents.

Granting the right of marriage to homosexuals is  taking away something from  heterosexuals  not simply giving something to homosexuals. That something is  the institution of marriage being their  sole possession, of being something special to them.  Nors would there be true equality between homosexual and heterosexual marriages because  there can be no possibility of children in the case of the former. It is true that some marriages between men and women are childless,  but the possibility is there  and in the overwhelming majority of cases  also the intent to have children.  In addition, gay marriage would raise other awkward questions such as the question of  the prohibition against  siblings  marrying. As there would be no question of children the banning of  sibling marriage – either two brothers or two sisters  marrying – would have little force on rational grounds .

The drive for gay marriage is part of the general  plan of the politically correct to force their ideas onto society as a whole.   This  requires people to  deny reality and accept that which is abnormal as  normal.  Objectively homosexuality is abnormal because most do not practice it.  Objectively, men and women fundamentally differ because their biology and biological functions  are  different .   Objectively discrimination generally is not an evil but a necessary part of existence,  for all animals including homo sapiens because to make a choice is to discriminate. Objectively  discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity exists universally  and to suggest that this is the result of  social conditioning arising in every society across the world stretches credulity  far beyond breaking point.

A fundamental tool in enforcing  such ideas is the redefining of words by the exercise of power.  The push for gay marriage is simply a symptom of   something much more sinister: an  attempt to change not only the outward appearance of society radically but to persuade people to  believe that the wholesale calling of black white involved in political correctness is reality itself or failing that to come to believe that  denying the maxims of the creed is dangerous.  It is the stuff of Year Zero, a mentality that can lead to any abomination. .

Leveson Inquiry – Leveson makes me (and possibly others) a non-person

Robert Henderson

The Leveson Inquiry report was published on 29th November. The  executive summary   is at  http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0779/0779.asp

The full Report is at http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780.asp

I have only been able to have a quick glance at the 2000 odd page document but I have found something very strange. I have become a non-person in Leveson World. There is a long list of those making submissions to the Inquiry . I made very substantial submissions to Leveson – my initial submission can be found at http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/ .

Leveson’s report contains a long list of the names of those who made submissions – see – http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780_iv.pdf  page 1839 volume IV.    My name is not in the list.

Not content with refusing to allow me to appear as a core participant or an ordinary witness,  Leveson has deliberately excluded any evidence  that I made  submissions.  It would be interesting to know if any other people who made submissions  have had their names omitted.

Such an omission  is most irregular. Where submissions are solicited by an official inquiry,  the submissions,  or at least a note of who has made submissions,  are routinely included in an appendix to the report.

Why is Leveson so determined not to have my submission to his Inquiry suppressed? Amongst other things   I provided him with

1. A  letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC when he was Daily Mirror editor admitting that he had received in formation from the police in circumstances which can only have been have been illegal.

2. Evidence that Morgan and his one-time Mirror chief crime reporter Jeff Edwards had committed perjury under oath before the Inquiry .

3. Evidence that the police conducted an “ investigation” in the Morgan letter   to the PCC without questioning Morgan or anyone else at the Mirror.

4. The abject failure of the PCC to address  my complaints of the most serious libels against me.

5. Huge evidence of press abuse of me.

Details of these issues and my  extended correspondence with the Inquiry can be found at:

The Leveson Inquiry report was published on 29th November. The  executive summary   is at  http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0779/0779.asp

The full Report is at http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780.asp

I have only been able to have a quick glance at the 2000 odd page document but I have found something very strange. I have become a non-person in Leveson World. There is a long list of those making submissions to the Inquiry . I made very substantial submissions to Leveson – my initial submission can be found at http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/ .

Leveson’s report contains a long list of the names of those who made submissions – see – http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780_iv.pdf  page 1839 volume IV.    My name is not in the list.

Not content with refusing to allow me to appear as a core participant or an ordinary witness,  Leveson has deliberately excluded any evidence  that I made  submissions.  It would be interesting to know if any other people who made submissions  have had their names omitted.

Such an omissions  is most irregular. Where submissions are solicited by an official inquiry,  the submissions,  or at least a note of who has made submissions,  are routinely included in an appendix to the report.

Why is Leveson so determined not to have my submission to his Inquiry suppressed? Amongst other things   I provided him with

1. A  letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC when he was Daily Mirror editor admitting that he had received in formation from the police in circumstances which can only have been have been illegal.

2. Evidence that Morgan and his one-time Mirror chief crime reporter Jeff Edwards had committed perjury under oath before the Inquiry .

3. Evidence that the police conducted an “ investigation” in the Morgan letter   to the PCC without questioning Morgan or anyone else at the Mirror.

4. The abject failure of the PCC to address  my complaints of the most serious libels against me.

5. Huge evidence of press abuse of me.

Details of these issues and my  extended correspondence with the Inquiry can be found at:

Tag Archives: Leveson Inquiry

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Leveson Inquiry – Data Protection Act request for information

RE: Urgent – For Kim BrudenellFriday, 24 February, 2012 12:57 From: “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Add sender to ContactsTo: “‘robert henderson’”, “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Dear Mr Henderson Thank you for your email the contents of which are noted. I appreciate that you have long standing concerns regarding Mr Morgan. The Inquiry’s position was made clear in our emails [...]

Leveson Inquiry – the killer question Robert Jay QC is not asking

The leading counsel to the Leveson Inquiry  Robert  Jay  QC and his fellow barristers are being surprisingly inept in their questioning when it comes to the question of the police illicitly supplying information to the press.  It is noticeable that although some very damaging revelations have come out during the course of the Inquiry, to [...]

The Leveson Inquiry and the suppression of evidence

NB This article is also  on the Libertarian Alliance website http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/the-leveson-inquiry-and-the-suppression-of-evidence/  Robert Henderson The remit of the Leveson Inquiry into the British Press is clear: Module 1: The relationship between the press and the public and looks at phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour. Module 2: The relationships between the press and police and the extent [...]

Leveson Inquiry: sabotaging deniability

Robert Henderson To remove the defence of “I did not know”from those running the Inquiry, I have sent a fascimile copy of Morgan letter to the PCC to every barrister employed by the Inquiry via their chambers and to Leveson at the House of Lords —————————————– To:  Counsel to the Leveson Inquiry Robert Jay QC, [...]

Leveson Inquiry –  Wanted- people who have had their evidence ignored

The Leveson Inquiry are refusing to use my evidence of press, PCC and police misdoing. They will not even take up the matter of Piers Morgan’s perjury before them despite the fact that I have given them a letter from Morgan to the PCC  in which he writes “ The   police  source of our article [...]

The Leveson Inquiry – Robert Henderson’s evidence still being considered

Miss Kim Brudenell Solicitor to the Inquiry Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC1 14 February  2012 Dear Miss Brudenell, Confirming our telephone conversation of 14 February, you stated: 1. That my email to you of 27 January was received despite no acknowledgement being sent . 2.  That my various submissions to the [...]

Leveson Inquiry: Robert Henderson’s application for core participant status

The Leveson Inquiry- Note on the Directions Hearing 25 1 2012 in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice Robert Henderson I attended a directions hearing  for the decision on whether I would be designated  a Core Participant.  I shall not be Core Participant (unless I can somehow persuade Lord Leveson  otherwise), but I could [...]

Leveson Inquiry – the response to Robert Henderson’s application to be a Core Participant

Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC1 22 12  2011 Dear Lord Leveson, Piers Morgan indubitably lied to the Inquiry (20 December) when he claimed that he had never illicitly received information from the police.   On 25 November I submitted a series of complaints backed by documentation to the Inquiry.  These were definitely [...]

Referral of Piers Morgan’s perjury to the Leveson Inquiry

Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC1 22 12  2011 Dear Lord Leveson, Piers Morgan indubitably lied to the Inquiry (20 December) when he claimed that he had never illicitly received information from the police.   On 25 November I submitted a series of complaints backed by documentation to the Inquiry.  These were definitely [...]

Piers Morgan lied to the Leveson Inquiry

Piers Morgan lied to the Leveson Inquiry  (20 12 2011) when he claimed he had never illicitly received  information from the police when Mirror editor.   I can say this categorically because he admitted doing so in a letter to the PCC in 1997 when he wrote “”The  police source of our article (whose identity we [...]

The Leveson Inquiry: a shameless attempt to censor my evidence

RE: Submission to the Inquiry involving media abuse and the buying of police info Tuesday, 29 November, 2011 13:26 From: “Leveson Inquiry General Enquiries”View contact detailsTo: “robert henderson”Dear Mr Henderson, Thank you for your submission which has been received by the Inquiry Team.  You will appreciate that we have received a large amount of evidence [...]

The Leveson Inquiry: the Blairs, the Mirror, the police and me

generalenquiries@levesoninquiry.org.uk 25 November 2011 Dear Lord Leveson, I submit examples of misbehaviour  by  the media and  the  PCC plus collusion between the police and the media .   In every case I was the person who was directly affected by the behaviour.   For each case I enclose supporting documents which strongly support my accusation. I wish [...]

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