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:email@example.com]
Sent: 22 July 2013 16:00
To: Tom Harper
Subject: I need to know your intentions Tom
22 7 2013
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.
From: Tom Harper <T.Harper@independent.co.uk>
To: robert henderson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, 22 July 2013, 16:10
Subject: RE: I need to know your intentions Tom
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.
From: robert henderson <email@example.com>
To: Tom Harper <T.Harper@independent.co.uk>
Cc: Mark <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, 22 July 2013, 16:53
Subject: Re: I need to know your intentions 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.