Tag Archives: security services

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 be a witness.

Regardless of whether or not I end up as a witness, the hearing was far from being a waste of time.   I was able to put my case  before a sizeable number of people (probably 50), including  lawyers  representing various people  who have been mistreated by the media, other applicants for core participant status and members of the public, some of whom were  mediafolk.  In addition, the negligent  and superficial way the applications for core participant status were treated showed the Inquiry in a bad light.

Leveson began the proceedings by blithely announcing that he had not read any of the submissions  for core participant status.  Consequently, he made his decisions purely on the oral testimony given at the hearing by the applicants for core participant status.   This was not only odd in itself,  but became doubly so when placed in the context of the advice given to Core Participant applicants before the directions hearing:

“Dear Sir
You have made an application for Core Participant status for module 2. The Chairman will consider your application at the directions hearing which is listed for 2pm on Wednesday 25th January.  It is not necessary for you to attend the hearing, but you may do so if you wish.  If you do propose to attend, please let me know by 2pm on Tuesday 24th January.
Sharron ”

If an applicant had chosen not to appear, it is probable their application would have been dismissed without their submission being considered.

Leveson  further hamstrung  the applicants by saying that he would not get into the detail of individual cases. I did manage to overcome this restriction  but as a method of proceeding it was absurd for an inquiry into press misbehaviour. The final shackle he  put around the applicants was the  danger of  jeopardising   legal action outside of the Inquiry.  Although there was no question of sub judice  because no charges had been brought, I decided not to name  the ex-editor who had committed perjury before the Inquiry by denying any knowledge of receiving information illicitly from the police.  I did this because  I wish Leveson to refer  to the police the perjury, the receipt of information illicitly from the police and the failure of the police to investigate meaningfully the receipt of information illicitly given by a police officer and illicitly received by the ex-editor and his staff.   If I submit the complaints the likelihood is that the police will repeat their behaviour and refuse to investigate meaningfully or at all.  Nonetheless, if I do not get a positive indication from Leveson I shall submit the complaints.

Despite all these seeming grave handicaps to free expression I managed to get a good deal of embarrassing material  into my testimony.  This included the Blairs’ attempt to have me prosecuted in 1997 (that produced a real murmur); the Mirror’s libelling of me and failure to offer me any right of reply and  the PCC’s abject failure to deal with my complaints honestly .  I also, without giving names,  described the perjury of the ex-editor, his admission of having received information illicitly from the police and the police’s refusal to meaningfully investigate the ex-editor’s admission that he had received information illicitly from  the police.  I emphasised that the Inquiry had been in possession of all these facts for more than a month and that if I was not to be a core participant I certainly wished to be a witness.

All that ensured that there are now substantial numbers of people who know that the Leveson Inquiry  has facts which by definition must fall within  the ambit of the Inquiry. Leveson himself acknowledged that  the receiving of illicit information from the police was  indisputably pertinent.

After the hearing  I discussed my situation with the Chief Solicitor to the Inquiry Miss Kim Brudenell.  I got her to agree to a number of actions.  These are:

1. to ensure that my submissions are brought to the notice of Lord Leveson.

2.  to advise me if a formal witness statement  is required after you have reviewed what I have already submitted.

3. to advise me  when and  how  the evidence I have of  the ex-editor receiving  information illicitly and his subsequent perjury before the Inquiry should be  reported to the Metropolitan Police.  I am  willing to make the complaint myself, but  I think it would be most appropriate for the this to be done  under the auspices of the Inquiry, not least because the perjury was committed at the Inquiry. (I wrote to the Inquiry on 22 December advising Lord Leveson of the perjury).

4.  to  advise me when and  how the failure of the Metropolitan Police to meaningfully investigate my complaint to them that the ex-editor had admitted receiving information illicitly from the police – the investigating officer told me that no one at the paper  had been interviewed – should be reported to the Metropolitan Police as a complaint of a perversion of the course of justice.

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

Leveson Inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice


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 received by the Inquiry  because an acknowledgement was sent to me.

My submission included a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC in which he admitted that the Mirror had received information from the police illicitly. I include  a copy of that letter below with the relevant passage highlighted.  As Morgan refers to it in his letter to the PCC, I also send you a copy of the article I wrote in response to the Mirror which Morgan refused to publish.

Because Morgan gave his evidence to the Inquiry under oath,  he added perjury to his original criminal offence of illicitly receiving information from the Metropolitan Police.  I ask you to take action against Morgan for this perjury and to recall him for questioning about his receipt of illicit information from the Metropolitan Police,  both in terms of that he admitted to in the letter to the PCC  and the extent  of the practice generally during his editorship of the News of the World and the Daily Mirror.

In my submission I asked to give evidence in person.  You have failed to answer that request to date.   However, I see from  the Inquiry website that you are seeking, amongst others things, the following for module 2 of  the Inquiry:

“The Inquiry would be interested in the experiences of the victims of crime and the public more generally, who feel that they have been adversely affected (perhaps through a data leak or breach, or through the reporting of a case) by the current relationship between the press and the police, with examples where possible. The Inquiry would also be interested to receive submissions in relation to this issue on whether it is felt that the current investigation and complaint regime are adequate to properly address instances of this type”. http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Key-Questions-Module-2.pdf

The evidence which I have already  given the Inquiry  relating to Piers Morgan and the subsequent failure of  Scotland Yard to meaningfully investigate the crime – the officer responsible Det Supt Jeff Cutis admitted to me that the “investigation”  had been closed without  anyone at the Mirror being questioned – indubitably falls into this category  of information.  This case has the great advantage for you of having objective and categoric proof of both the Mirror’s receipt of illicit information from the Metropolitan Police and the failure of the Metropolitan Police to meaningfully investigate my complaint about the illicit disclosure of information.  The full details of these events  were supplied in my submission of 25 November.

You are asking for applications for Core Participant status for Module 2 of the Inquiry to be made by 13 January.  Please treat this email and my original submission of 25 November as an application for Core Participant Status.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email by return.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson


RE: Morgan committed perjury at the Inquiry/Application for Core Participent statusWednesday, 4 January, 2012 17:12

From: “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Add sender to ContactsTo: “‘robert henderson'”, “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”

Dear Mr Henderson

Your e-mail of 22 December requesting Core Participant Status has been passed to the Legal Team.  As you may be aware Rule 5 of the Inquiries Rules 2006 deals with Core Participants in these terms:

‘(1) The chairman may designate a person as a core participant at any time during the course of the inquiry, provided that person consents to being so designated.

(2) In deciding whether to designate a person as a core participant, the chairman must in particular consider whether—

(a) the person played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates;

(b) the person has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the inquiry relates; or

(c) the person may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report.

(3) A person ceases to be a core participant on —

(a) the date specified by the chairman in writing; or

(b) the end of the inquiry.’

As you will see, Core Participants are those considered to be those closest to the issues being considered by the Inquiry with the consequence that a Core Participant will have a more active role in the Inquiry than a participant who is only a witness. They are usually (although not invariably) represented and the legal representatives provide the point of contact with the Inquiry.

Before your application is placed before the Chairman, I would be grateful if your would confirm in writing how, considering the matters set out above, you consider you fall within the definition of a Core Participant for Module 2.  Please let me have your confirmation by 13th January.

For the avoidance of doubt, you can in any event, submit evidence to the Inquiry and you do not need to be a Core Participant to do so.  The inquiry will consider the evidence you provide although this does not necessarily mean that you will be called to give evidence.

Kind regards

Sharron Hiles

Senior Assistant Solicitor to the Inquiry


Sharron Hiles

Senior Assistant Solicitor to the Inquiry

Leveson Inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice


London WC1

9 January 2012

Dear Ms Hiles,

Thank you for your email of 4 January. I indubitably fall within the definition of a Core Participant for Module 2. This is because:

1. I provide irrefutable proof of Piers Morgan’s   receipt of  information illicitly from the police when editor of the Mirror – the Piers Morgan  letter to the PCC which  I have already released to the Inquiry

2. The proof of  Morgan’s  receipt of information illicitly demonstrates that Morgan committed perjury when he appeared before the Inquiry.  Morgan’s response to questions about receiving information illicitly from the police begins at line 20 of page 86 of the Inquiry  transcript. It runs

.            20   Q.  Okay.  Can I ask you, please, about paying police

21       officers.  Is that something which happened at the

22       Daily Mirror whilst you were editor?

23   A.  I have no reason to believe so, no.

24   Q.  Are you saying by that that it was not brought to your

25       attention?

Page     87

1   A.  I’ve never been made aware of any evidence for that at

2       all.

3.   I am directly involved because the  information Morgan received illicitly concerned me.

4. I have provided evidence to the Inquiry  that the journalist who  received the information from the police initially was Jeff Edwards,  chief crime correspondent of the Mirror and Chairman of the Crime Reporters’ Association.  How do I know it was him? Edwards  wrote the Mirror story about me which led to me to my  complaint to the PCC which in turn prompted Morgan’s letter to the PCC in which he admits receiving information illicitly from the police. I supplied by email a copy of the Mirror story with my original submission to the Inquiry of 25 November  2011  and a paper copy was sent on 28 November 2011.

5. I have provided evidence to the Inquiry of  police corruption in the investigation of  my complaint to the police that Morgan, Edwards and the Mirror received information from illicitly the police .  D-Supt Jeff  Curtis  of Scotland Yard supposedly investigated my complaint  but failed to interview Morgan, Edwards or anyone else at the Mirror. Ergo, no meaningful investigation was carried out despite the police having Morgan’s letter in which he admitted receiving information illicitly from the police.

All of these matters fall categorically within the Core 2 remit.  I can also, if required, testify to every matter  covered by the Inquiry bar the phone-hacking.   I have been the subject of vast media abuse, the PCC have utterly failed me and the police have refused to investigate meaningfully  or at all other complaints of criminal behaviour  I have made about the Mirror. These matters are covered in detail in my original submission of 25 November 2011.

I must be just about the best witness you could have.   I have fundamentally  important evidence to give,  I can  prove what a say beyond any doubt  and have direct and personal experience of most of the media abuses the Inquiry is addressing. As a bonus, if I am called you will not run into the problems you have encountered with other witnesses where they have claimed they cannot answer questions because they might   incriminate themselves or reveal a source.

Your email worries me somewhat because it suggests that you may not have my original submission of 25 November. Therefore, I have re-sent this  to you by separate email.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email by return and confirm that you have my original submission of 25 November.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson


RE: Morgan committed perjury at the Inquiry/Application for Core Participent statusMonday, 9 January, 2012 11:48

From: “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Add sender to ContactsTo: “‘robert henderson'”, “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”

Dear Mr Henderson

Thank you for your e-mail and your further e-mails.   Your application will be considered by the Chairman in due course with the other applications for Core Participant Status.

Kind regards

Sharron Hiles

Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man

Note by Robert Henderson: Below is  the article I wrote in response to a Daily Mirror story about the Blairs and me which was published at the beginning of the 1997 General Election campaign (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/).

The Mirror published the story after the Blairs had tried and dismally failed to get the police to investigate me for alleged offences under the Malicious Communications Act. The Mirror refused to publish the article or make any retractions from their story despite the fact that they had no evidence to support their wondrously libellous claims about me. The full story of the Blairs attempts to intimidate and harass me can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/


Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man

Robert Henderson

The Mirror story on 25 March ‘Pest targets Blairs’ contained one correct fact, I have been in correspondence with the Blairs.

The article states that I have been incessantly bombarding the Blairs with letters. False. Beginning in March 1996, I have written Blair nine letters and his wife four. My last letter to his wife was dated 25th February: to Blair 27th January. This year I have written one letter to Blair.

I wrote to his wife as a last resort after Blair had persistently refused to deal with my serious complaints against two members of his party, my MP, Frank Dobson and Diane Abbott. The complaints concerned Dobson and Abbott’s behaviour towards me. I have only written as often as I have because of Blair’s persistent refusal to act honourably.

My letters to him all dealt with legitimate political subjects, namely the obligations of an MP to his constituents, Diane Abbott’s hypocrisy towards me (she got on her “antiracist” high horse after the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’), the publicly demonstrated anti-white racist behaviour of some Labour MPs, the misbehaviour of the media towards me, my inability to gain redress from both the Press Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and, lastly, the committal of perjury by a barrister and a well known firm of solicitors.

My letters to his wife were primarily a conduit to Blair – this I made clear in my first letter Mrs Blair. Nowhere in my letters have I made threats. Never have I attempted to force my physical presence on either of the Blairs. Let me put the fears of this extraordinarily nervous couple to rest. You are not nor ever have been in any physical danger from me. (Terrified of beggars, terrified of me. This is a man to be prime minister?)

The Mirror quotes the Walworth Road insider as saying that my letters are full of “graphic racist filth” and “sewer language”. This is utterly untrue. There is a simple way to resolve the matter. I challenge the Mirror to first publish the letters upon which the article was based and then my correspondence with the Blairs in its entirety. Let the public judge.

The Mirror’s misrepresentation extended to completely fabricated quotes such as “If he gets in elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians”. It will come as a surprise to your readers to learn that I did not address the subject of Labour immigration policy in any of my letters. Frankly, I do not believe that a Blair government will make any substantial difference because Britain has not operated a meaningful immigration policy since we joined the EU. However, it would be nice to know one Labour policy before the election. So what is Labour policy on immigration Mr Blair?

I have expressed my personal opinion of the Blairs in my letters, but that is legitimate because they are public figures. The referral of the correspondence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is shameful and sinister: the opening of a Special Branch file on me ludicrous.

My judgement of Blair is that he is not intellectually or temperamentally equipped to be prime minister because he possesses a subordinate personality – by which I mean he is not one of Nature’s number ones – and is at once extremely nervous and intellectually vacuous. Like all weak men in positions of authority, he acts in an authoritarian manner to hide his deficiencies. I am also not ready for the embarrassment of a prime minister with the voice and manner of an overly earnest fifth former. (“I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe,pipe, pipe”).

People may disagree with my interpretation of Blair’s character, but it cannot be legitimately argued in a democracy that public judgement of the personality of a potential prime minister is illegitimate. Blair’s referral of the letters to the CPS is reminiscent of his authoritarian treatment of dissident Labour MPs and party activists. The man is simply unable to handle contrary opinion or criticism. (Still dreaming of a 1000 year Blaireich young Tony?) In a stable political environment such as ours, only weak men need to suppress dissent.

As for his wife, all I have done in one of my letters is point to the distance between her lifestyle and traditional Labour values and express my disgust at the hypocrisy of the decision to send her son to a school outside the borough. (Why should your children not be educated in the type of school the murdered white schoolboy Richard Everitt had to endure, Mrs Blair?) His wife is a public figure both by her association with Blair and her active political past. Ergo, criticism of her is licit.

I would add that more vicious and vulgarly expressed criticism of the Blairs appears regularly in the National Press. For example, on  4/2/97 the Daily Telegraph printed a story recently under the heading “Blair like a scared child says US interviewer”  and a Barbara Amiel article of  24/2/97 ‘I prefer my Cherie sour’  depicted his wife as a curious mixture of the churlish and the submissive. As for vulgarity, how about computer simulations of a bald Blair?

That an ill-written sensationalist comic as the Mirror is become – I remember when it was a bona fide newspaper – should accuse anyone of sewer language is a joke in extremely bad taste. As for “graphic racist filth”, what about the Mirror story on 26 March headed “She should be hanged” showing a photograph of the black murderess, Sharon Carr? That type of presentation is grossly inflammatory as any black will tell you.

By referring the matter to the CPS, Blair is saying in effect that there will be two standards, one for the media, one for private citizens. This is incompatible with both the principle of equality before the law and democracy.

The article mentions assault through correspondence. The Mirror article was infinitely more damaging than my correspondence with the Blairs. If anyone is to be charged with this novel idea of assault it is the editor of the Mirror. Speaking of which I come to a more conventional form of assault.

The Mirror photographer, who gave his name as Simpson, began firing off shots before either he or the accompanying reporter, Graham Brough, had introduced themselves. That broke the PCC code of Conduct. I then told him that I suffered from an illness which included exceptional sensitivity to light. He continued snapping. That is an assault.

I also told the reporter and photographer that I did not give my permission for the use of the photographs. The Mirror has used one. That breached the PCC code of conduct.

Perhaps the most contemptible part of the article was the claim that I had the mentality of a stalker. I suggest that the Mirror looks at the beam in its own journalistic eye. It is papers such as the Mirror which harass people for no better reason than to provide copy that possess the mentality of a stalker.

The decision to print this article is better described as deranged than reckless. The matter is made worse because the writer of the article, Jeff Edwards, claimed during a telephone conversation with me (which I have on tape) that he had seen my correspondence with the Blairs before writing the article. Moreover, I recently sent copies of my more recent correspondence with Blair to both the Mirror editor and political editor. The awful truth is that these grotesque libels were committed deliberately not through recklessness. I can only suppose that recent Mail accusations of murder in the Stephen Lawrence case have removed the last vestiges of restraint from Fleet Street.

Because of the deliberate fabrication and the seriousness of the libels, I have asked the DPP to instigate proceedings for criminal libel against the Mirror editor, Edwards and the anonymous Walworth Road informant if he or she can be identified. Readers should note that Walworth Road have refused to allow me to speak to anyone with real authority within the Labour party.

The Mirror’s behaviour since the article has been as cowardly as that of Labour. Neither the editor nor deputy editor has been willing to speak to me. Obviously the Mirror has no confidence in their story.

I have written to Blair asking him to(1) identify the Walworth Road informant before sacking them and expelling them from the Labour party and (2) issue a statement making clear that your article was a tissue of inexcusably vicious lies.

As for refusing to comment when the Mirror reporter called at my flat, this is untrue. I told him I was happy to comment in writing but was unwilling to give an interview. I refused the interview because my experience since the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’ has left me in no doubt that no person working in the media can be trusted to behave honestly. It is not that mediafolk operate a different code of morals when dealing with the private citizen, they do not operate any code of morals at all.

I cannot but feel that my offences are ones unknown to English law, namely the heinous crimes of not taking Tiny Tone immensely seriously and failing to grant him fawning respect.

Let me summarise your article in words which your readers will be able to understand with the aid of a dictionary. It was a cargo of ancient male gonads.

Watch out : the Coalition is laying the ground for a national identity system

The Coalition Government is creating the basis for a national identity system which could evolve into a full blown compulsory identity system including identity cards, although identity cards are not in themselves the main threat to liberty, that being the creation of a database with a great deal of personal information on it. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8526946/Coalition-builds-new-national-identity-system.html.

How is this potential replacement for Labour’s ID Card system being developed? It is ostensibly part of the Coalition’s cost cutting programme. Their ultimate aim is doubtless to restrict access to public services and benefits through websites. In pursuit of this end the Coalition proposes that people wishing to access public services should create a unique personal identifier, with either mutual organisations or private companies such as VISA providing “identity assurance” services. The individual would choose their identity assurance provider. Here is the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude explaining the Government’s position:

“The UK coalition government plans to introduce the identity assurance model in August 2012. If all goes well, the government plans to come up with a working prototype of the model in October this year.

“Online services have the potential to make life more convenient for service users as well as delivering cost savings. However, currently customers have to enter multiple log-in details and passwords to access different public services, sometimes on the same website,” said Maude, The Register reports.

“It acts as a deterrent to people switching to digital channels, hampers the vision of digital being the primary channel for accessing government information and transactions, and provides an opportunity for fraudster,” he added. Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/2011/05/20/uk-government-plans-id-assurance-marketplace/#ixzz1Nfqa4pWo

A pilot scheme is due to start in October 2011 and will include “the Department for Work and Pensions’ universal credits, NHS HealthSpace and HMRC’s one click programmes.”   (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/19/cabinet_office_id_assurance/)

The scheme has nothing like the ambition of Labour’s ID Card scheme, but it is easy to see how it could grow into a fully fledged identity scheme which would be every bit as intrusive as that proposed by the Labour Government. Personal details will be held on the databases run by the identity assurance suppliers and the universal identifier will allow state departments to readily link the data held on an individual by various government departments and databases. It is also likely that every child will have an identifier from birth because they need to access
services such as the NHS and education.

That would be the immediate authoritarian danger. Move the story along a year or two and we see it being made more and more difficult to gain access to public services without using a website. That will mean a universal identifier becomes ever more necessary. Eventually a future government will announce that as, say, 80% of te people eligible for public services have unique personal identifiers, in a ear or two everyone must have them if they wish to access public services. Once hat is done, not having a unique personal identifier will seem odd at best and suspicious at worst. A government will then make the case that it is essential for everyone to have a unique personal identifier so that terrorism, crime in general and immigration can be tackled. They will then make a unique personal identifier compulsory. At that point we are potentially at the scenario envisaged by the Labour Government; a universal database system contain vast amounts of personal data. All that would be lacking is a physical identity card.

The absence of a physical identity card would not in itself be a great check on an authoritarian government because identification by biometrics such as iris scans or fingerprints could be done by machines – it is not unreasonable to imagine technology advancing enough within the next few years to provide the police with biometric scanners linked to a central database which they can carry with them. But before we get to the stage where the holding of a unique personal identifier is compulsory, identity cards may have been issued because the government thinks (rightly) that a physical object will tie people to the idea more than a system held in cyberspace.

There is also the private and mutual sector dimension. A reliable means of identifying people would be very attractive to private companies and not-for-profit organisations (many of which are effectively sub-contracted state agencies). Once the identity assurance system is up and running, there will doubtless be lobbying for the unique personal identifier is extended to them. The likelihood is that the wish would be eventually granted. This in turn would increase the speed of the take up of the unique personal identifiers as it would become increasing difficult
to exist without one. It is also likely that once possession of a unique personal identifier became the norm, insurers who deal with insuring businesses dealing directly with the public will insist on such companies requiring a unique personal identifier before granting insurance. Alternatively they would up the premium for companies which refuse.

The other risk is that data is lost, stolen or sold illegally. That could have immense personal consequences. The greater the need for a unique personal identifier, the greater the opportunity for amassing information about individuals. Imagine a world in which most or all of these were linked: work record, health record, spending patterns, details of civil law actions, police record (which could simply be an arrest from which no trial or caution resulted) and tax details. Should you have a spouse and children, their records might well end up linked to yours.

The Coalition Government will make promises that none of these things will happen, but we all know how worthless such promises are. Nor can any Government bind its successor  because we have no superior constitutional law. All a future government would have to do is introduce new legislation to allow them to do whatever they want.

The time to protest about such possibilities is now, not when the system is up and running. Create the same stink about this as was made about Labour’s ID Card scheme. See  it off now because it will never be seen off once the basic system, is in place.  A national identity system whether officially compulsory by law or made irresistible by public and private administrative  demands becomes a licence to exist in the jurisdiction which insists upon its use.

Below is an article I wrote in 2004 about the proposed Labour system. Its message is still relevant to this new threat to personal freedom.


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 has 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 , i.e. 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, i.e. 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, eg, the wrong middle name. At  best that would be extremely inconvenient for the individual. Or suppose your health  records have the wrong blood group inputted 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 “in daily 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.

David Kelly, NuTory Boy, Norman Baker and me

The determination of the British political elite to prevent any meaningful investigation of Dr David Kelly’s death continues unabated. At Prime Minister’s Questions on 18 May 2011 a Conservative MP Sir Peter Tapsell asked  “Now that there is to be an investigation into the abduction or murder of Madeleine McCann, isn’t there a much stronger case for a full investigation into the suicide or murder of Dr David Kelly?” Cameron replied : “On the issue of Dr David Kelly, I thought the results of the inquest that were carried out and the report into it were fairly clear and I don’t think it is necessary to take that case forward.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8521641/David-Cameron-rules-out-further-inquiries-into-death-of-Dr-David-Kelly.html)

This was surprising as the Attorney-General is still considering whether to order an inquest (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/13/david-kelly-death-inquest), the original inquest having been suspended when superseded by the Hutton Inquiry. The Attorney-General responded with:

‘The remarks appeared to catch the office of the Attorney General off-guard, with officials suggesting that nothing had change. A spokesman for Mr Grieve’s office said he would announce “in due course” whether he will ask the High Court to order an inquest.

She said: “The Attorney General is still considering representations made and we will be making a decision in due course.

“He has not consulted any of his Cabinet colleagues on the issue and is undertaking the review in his public interest role. He is still considering the material and the representations made and will make his decision in due course.”’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8521641/David-Cameron-rules-out-further-inquiries-into-death-of-Dr-David-Kelly.html)

Cameron’s determination to elite elite mischief sleeping dogs lie is made more toxic than usual by the presence in his Government of the Lib Dem Transport Minister  Normal Baker who believes Kelly was murdered, viz: “In 2007, Baker, the Lib-Dem MP for Lewes, published a book called The Strange Death of David Kelly, in which he concluded that Dr Kelly was murdered. Baker continues to believe this and has spoken frequently of the need for a full coroner’s inquest into the death because he says the public inquiry into it, chaired by Lord Hutton, had no proper investigatory powers. Some at Westminster are saying Baker is now facing a career-defining choice: serve in a government which is apparently happy to suppress the truth as he sees it, or quit. Which will it be?” (http://londonersdiary.standard.co.uk/)

I had an exchange of letters with Baker in 2006. I reproduce these below.


To: Norman Baker MP

House of Commons

07 September 2006

Dear Mr Baker,

I have read your Mail on Sunday article and watched your TV interview on the Sunday Programme (GMTV – 3 7 2006) which also contained an interview with Tom Mangold. I agree that Kelly’s death is highly suspicious and commend you for re-opening debate on the matter.

I see that Rowena Thursby is asking for help in carrying the investigation forward. I do not have any inside information but I think I might be able to help you in terms of your general investigative thrust and strategy for drumming up sustained interest within the media. You will find comments under the following heading:

General investigative thrust

Points to consider and questions to ask

The murder hypothesis

Tom Mangold

Andrew Gilligan

The behaviour of the Kelly family, the media and politicians since


Mai Pedersen

General investigative thrust

I suggest you concentrate primarily on two things: contradictory statements made by those whose words have been recorded publicly, e.g. family, workmates, and ascertainable facts such as whether Kelly left handed (see below).

The problem with using arguments based on such things as medical judgements is that they are just that, judgements, not fact. Moreover,in the case here, there is no conclusive physical cause of death, or at least, not one which can be proved on the available evidence. The general public (and many MPs) is also unlikely to follow technical details.

The advantages of concentrating on contradictory statements are:(1) the general public can readily understand such information, (2) it is not a matter of opinion but fact whether someone has contradicted themselves at different times or contradicted another person and (3) if the people and organisations involved can be challenged about the discrepancies they have no meaningful wriggle room, because they are faced with objective facts – any refusal to answer would be pro-murder thesis circumstantial evidence.

Points to consider and questions to ask

I suggest you raise these matters publicly (you do not appear to have done so from the publicly available material – my apologies in advance if you have):

1. Kelly was within months of drawing a civil service pension. He had a sick wife who needed treatment which was not available under the NHS and he was thinking of taking up a new job in the US after he retired from the civil service to make money to pay for treatment for her. Dr Kelly had a daughter about to be married in a few weeks.

2. Kelly would surely have known that suicide would mean that his widow would at best get a widow’s pension. He would also know that any life assurance he had would be invalidated by suicide. By committing suicide, he would have been leaving his sick wife with considerably less support than he could have provided had he remained alive and continued working for someone other than the British government.

3. Slashing the wrists is a very painful way to die. If you have ever had blood taken from the wrist for testing you will have some vague idea of the excruciating pain a deep cut would engender. Death through cutting a wrist is not an obvious way to commit suicide if the person wishes to definitely kill himself. Why not use pills or drive the family car to a quiet spot and run a tube from the exhaust to the closed car interior? All perfectly simple and requiring far less nerve than slashing a wrist deeply.

4. Check whether Kelly owned a gun. If he did, the question would have to be why not use that?

5. Check whether Kelly was right or left handed. If he was lefthanded it is improbable in the extreme that he would have used his right hand to cut his left wrist. I suspect he may have been left handed simply from the way he held himself when he was before the Commons Select Committee. That is just the sort of detail a killer might overlook, ie, he or she would assume Kelly was right handed and cut the left wrist.

6. Check whether Kelly had any medical condition, such as arthritis or rheumatism, or injury which would have prevented him either using his right hand or so impaired it he would not have been able to make the cut in his wrist.

If Kelly was left handed or incapacitated by a medical condition, that alone would scupper the suicide claim.

The murder hypothesis

You have been very circumspect to date about who might have done it or why. I realise that such matters are pure speculation but to maintain media and public interest I think it important for you to lay out publicly the possible motives for murder and the possible players in a murder. You would not be accusing anyone of anything merely putting forward the possibilities.

Why would anyone wish to kill Dr Kelly? The short easy answer is because he held information which could terminally damage politicians or members of the security services. The politicians and security services could be either British or foreign. Suppose, for example, Kelly could prove that the dossier had been deliberately enhanced far beyond any intelligence appreciation of the evidence. Perhaps Kelly had been threatening privately to go public with something fundamentally damaging or that someone simply feared he might do. It could even be that Kelly did not hold damaging information but someone feared he did.

A more Machiavellian possibility is that Kelly was killed to deliberately destabilise Blair and his Government. This could have been a foreign government, a foreign security service or the British security services. John Reid claimed not long after the Kelly death that “rogue elements” within the security services were attempting to destabilise the government with dirty tricks.

Conceivably Kelly could have been killed by a single individual in government or working in the security field, who feared he would reveal something to compromise them.

Kelly was killed by someone with a personal grudge against him which had nothing to do with his work or the information he gave the BBC.

The last would seem to me to be improbable going on absurd. The others are plausible to a greater or lesser degree.

Tom Mangold

As you know from our meetings regarding the Data Protection Tribunal and MI5, I am a retired Inland Revenue officer. Part of my Revenue career was spent on investigations. When you do that kind of work you become very sensitive to the signals, verbal and non-verbal, which people give out, especially people under stress – posture, facial expression, speech delivery, content of speech etc.

During the GMTV programme to my mind Mangold was giving out signals that he was frightened and pretty frightened at that, viz: face lacking variety of expression, tense posture, nervous hand movements, eyes constantly looking slightly away from the camera – very odd for an experienced BBC journalist.

As for his language, it is a curious mixture of the sort of over emphatic speech which one commonly encounters in a saloon bar well into the evening (“Ludicrous”, “shadow of doubt” etc) and Mills and Boon (“This was a man with a very fine mind who thought, ‘Oh God I can’t get out of this “….). His statement also had all the hallmarks of being well-rehearsed rather than spontaneous. It would be interesting to see Mangold challenged by an interviewer because someone with a prepared statement which does not fit reality will struggle for lying is more demanding than telling the truth.

Here are some Mangold statements from the GMTV interview:

“I think Mr Baker could save his time and energy and should have stayed on the front bench. An enquiry into the Kelly Affair to find out if there is the possibility of murder and if so by who is a complete and utter waste of time. ”

“Nothing ever happened by accident with David, you know. What he did was always calculated…”

“I am sorry to say to my mind there is not a shadow of doubt that he committed suicide, not a scintilla of doubt…”

“Something awful happened around 11.00 o’clock…”

“This is a man who had a very fine mind… who thought ‘Oh God, I can’t get out of this’…”

“I think Janice realised something awful had happened to David mentally She went upstairs and was sick a couple of times. She laid down. I think she had already decided that she was beginning to lose David…”

“The question of the possibility murder is so ludicrous you only have to think about it for a couple of minutes…”

“This case was investigated by the local police, the county police, Scotland Yard, Special Branch, MI5, MI6 had a man present and the CIA had a man present because the Americans were very interested in this. So, we are taking about seven top flight agencies investigating this, never mind Hutton, put Lord Hutton to one side. Are we to believe that all these agencies fooled by the murderers or that they conspired together to cover up the murder? It is too silly to contemplate, too silly to contemplate.”

I particularly enjoyed the sight of a supposedly sceptical leftist journalist putting his trust in the likes of M15 and the CIA.

Mangold’s performance overall I would describe as blustering. He not only uses the inflated language quoted above, but his conjectures about David and Janice Kelly’s states of minds are thin at best and bizarre at worst – his ” I think she [Janice Kelly] had already decided that she was beginning to lose David…” is truly odd.

His claimed necessary scenario for a Kelly murder – abduction from his home – is all part and parcel of his over-eager desire to rubbish the idea of murder. Quite clearly Kelly could have been (1) either abducted by people simply waiting for him to go on what appears to have been a favourite walk or (2) the phone call he received at 11.00 am may have resulted in him going out to meet someone, perhaps someone he knew, and then being abducted. The e-mail he sent to Judy Miller, a New York Times writer who had used Kelly as a source for a book on biological terrorism, in which Kelly wrote of “many dark actors playing games” (Daily Telegraph 20 7 2003) may well have been sent after he received the 11.00 am phone call. Perhaps the phone call prompted the phrase, perhaps the call came from Mai Pedersen.

So outlandishly out of character is Mangold’s behaviour that it could be interpreted as someone trying to signal that what he was saying he did not believe by being so over the top as to be absurd.

There is something called microexpressions. These are fleeting expressions which pass over a person’s face so rapidly that they are either barely discernible at the conscious level or not discerned at all. I suggest that you have the Mangold interview played in slow motion, the slower the better, and see what his microexpressions were during the interview. (I do not have access to such super-slomo equipment myself. Someone friendly to you in the media would be your best bet). I would be willing to bet that Mangold’s microexpressions during the interview were of high anxiety verging on panic.

I also suggest you get hold of other Mangold TV performances and compare the micro-expressions and non-verbal behaviours on those with Mangold’s performance on the GMTV Programme.

Andrew Gilligan

Gilligan’s article “Those who say David was murdered are so wrong” (The Evening Standard 24 July 2006) is, if anything, even odder than Mangold’s TV performance. Gilligan begins the article by suggesting why Kelly was not an obvious suicide candidate, viz:

“As well as being upset, I was very, very surprised. I hadn’t known David all that well – I’d never met his family, for instance – but he didn’t strike me as the suicidal type, if there is such a thing.”

“He was quite used to confrontation and pressure: he’d been a weapons inspector in Iraq, for goodness sake. I thought his famous grilling by the Foreign Affairs Committee had been distasteful, and symptomatic of the committee’s stupidity, but it hadn’t been that bad.

“And anyway, the affair was basically over: Parliament was about to break for the summer recess, the BBC had refused to confirm or deny whether David was my source, and the battle between Downing Street  and the BBC had reached stalemate. Politics was closing down for a month. The row between the Government and BBC was essentially a  diversion. All those spin-doctors, toady New Labour journalists and compliant MPs who had helped to keep it bubbling for the previous few weeks were about to disperse to Tuscan poolsides.

“All David had to do was keep his head down and it would go away. The Government, I thought, was unlikely to discipline him for the partial admissions he had made about his contacts with me. They needed him more than he needed them. If anyone was going to find Tony Blair some weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it was David Kelly.

“Such were my thoughts on that morning of 18 July 2003, thoughts that made me, at first, question whether David did actually kill himself…”

All fine and dandy, but then Gilligan proceeds to give a string of arguments for why suicide is the best bet to explain Kelly’s death. These always either take the official line or adopts a line which explains inconsistencies and anomalies away, viz:

“Even if the motives for David to kill himself do not, on the face of it, seem quite strong enough, the motives for anyone else to kill him are far, far weaker. In whose interests can it possibly have been to murder David Kelly? The Government’s? But his death plunged the Government and New Labour into the greatest crisis in its history, a crisis from which it has still not recovered, a crisis that has some claim to be the turning point in the Blair premiership.

“The intelligence services? But even if you accept the (wildly false) premise that MI5 and MI6 are rogue states within a state, popping off their own citizens whenever they feel like it, why on earth would they want to kill Kelly? His death didn’t do them much good, either.

“The Iraqis? The Saddam regime had dissolved weeks before and its members were hiding in holes. The Americans? Not without British permission, surely – and, again, where’s the motive?

“Looking at Baker’s dossier, I notice that most of the “new questions” it raises are actually quite old. The most important piece of evidence questioning the official explanation is a letter written by three (later five) doctors to The Guardian newspaper as long ago as January 2004, providing statistics which showed that it was unlikely for death to be caused by slashing a minor artery, as David had done, and questioning the toxicity of the co-proxamol painkillers in his blood.

“Baker has gone a little further, revealing the important fact that only one person – David Kelly – died in this way in the UK during the whole of 2003.

“However, Chris Milroy, professor of forensic pathology at the University of Sheffield, points out that “the problem with the use of statistics in any single case is that ‘unlikely’ does not make it impossible”. Furthermore, he said, “the toxicology [on Kelly] showed a significant overdose of co-proxamol”.

“There is also the argument that there was very little blood around David when he was discovered. Two ambulance workers who attended him, Dave Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt, said they would expect to find several pints of blood around someone who had died through slashing a wrist. They believe it “incredibly unlikely” that David died from the wound they saw.

“David Kelly’s place of death was, however, a field. Professor Milroy and another forensic pathologist, Professor Guy Rutty, suggested that the blood could easily have seeped into the ground.

“Another explanation, said Professor Milroy, might be that David’s heart condition may have made it difficult for him to sustain any significant blood loss.

“Baker also says that calls to David’s mobile were not checked by the police.

“If the evidence of the police to Hutton is to be believed, they were checked. There is also some confusion about the position of the body, with different accounts from different witnesses. But eyewitnesses, as we know from the Jean Charles de Menezes case, are seldom consistent and not always reliable…

“Lord Hutton had many failings. But the verdict of suicide on David Kelly was almost certainly one of the few things he got right.

Some of these arguments are absurd, for example the claim “…even if you accept the (wildly false) premise that MI5 and MI6 are rogue states within a state…” By definition Gilligan cannot know whether they do or not. Or how about the idea that Kelly could not have killed by the state because it embarrassed the Blair government? Kelly might well have been in a position to do far more than embarrass Blair and co. Ditto the intelligence services British and foreign.

Other arguments, such as those regarding blood soaking into the turf where Kelly was found, improbable – even if the blood had soaked in it would still have left a large surface stain. Gilligan always takes an explanation against suicide whether it is probable or not. One or even two improbable arguments might be accepted as reasonable as part of an explanation, a string of them cannot be,

As with Mangold’s behaviour, Gilligan’s article could be interpreted as someone trying to signal that what he was saying he did not believe by making it so over the top as to be absurd.

The behaviour of the Kelly family, the media and politicians since


The behaviour of the surviving members of the Kelly family has been of the same general quality as that of Mangold and Gilligan: ostensibly they have bought into what might be called the elite version of his death. This version has two strands: the “suicide” and the misbehaviour of the Government leading to Kelly taking his life. Mrs Kelly and her daughter accepted both strands early in the investigation into his death and by their evidence to the Kelly Enquiry were strident about the Government driving David Kelly to his death.

I wonder if I am alone in finding this behaviour more than a little odd. First of all, one might have expected some members of Kelly’s family to have different views. Second, would not any family in the circumstances have had at least suspicions that his death was not suicide?

Soon after Kelly’s death his wife Janice the New York Times reported that: “Mrs Kelly told the paper her husband had been under enormous stress ‘as we all had been’, but she had no indication he was contemplating suicide.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3080795stm – 19 7 2003). If she did think that, why on earth would she so readily accept the suicide story when there were so many features about it which suggested otherwise?

The same willingness to accept the “suicide version” is found amongst politicians and the mainstream media.

Why is almost everyone who could be and should be expressing public doubts so determined not to? It is one of two things: either people have been directly threatened by the state or agents working covertly for the state – I suspect this has happened to the Kelly family, Mangold and Gilligan – or people are being driven to keep quiet because of the natural fear people feel when faced with the powerful, i.e., they feel instinctively that to question Kelly’s death is dangerous.

Mai Pedersen

During the Hutton Enquiry there were persistent reports that the CIA operative Mai Pedersen might appear at the hearings. She never did despite being someone who would in all probability have been a valuable witness. Here is what the Times reported (“American was Kelly’s spiritual mentor”, 1 September 2003) at the time:

“The role of Mai Pederson, a US military linguist, in bringing Dr Kelly to the Baha’i faith was highlighted by Mrs Marilyn VonBerg, who was secretary of the local Baha’i assembly in Monterey, California, when Dr Kelly converted there in 1999.

“Mrs VonBerg said Sgt Pederson was “very close” to Dr Kelly’s family and had visited them some time before his death. “He and Mai were friends because she had taught him the faith. She is high security so we never asked them questions. But I am sure she was his translator at one point.” The VonBerg family received a call from Ms Pederson, an Arabic-speaker who holds the rank of senior staff sergeant, to inform them of Dr Kelly’s apparent suicide on July 17.

“All she said is: ‘Don’t believe what you read in the newspapers,” John VonBerg said. “I do not know which direction she was coming from. It’s very mysterious to us.”[ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7813-00123,00.html]

If she did say that, it is not merely intriguing but it shows she is not exactly the tight-lipped spy. If you could get an interview with her I suspect you might find her rather indiscreet.

If there is anything else I can do to help your enquiry I shall be more than happy to do it.

You may reproduce, circulate and make public any information I send you.

Your sincerely,

Robert Henderson


Norman Baker MP

(LibDem Lewes)



Dear Mr Henderson,

Thank you very much for you long and helpful email, concerning my investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly.

I am determined to get to the bottom of this matter, but I am sure you, more than most, will understand that it would not be prudent for me to set down my thoughts in too much detail on paper at this point. To do so I fear might preclude further progress in my enquiries, at least in so far as certain directions are concerned.

You may be interested to know that I am due to see Tom Mangold shortly, at my request, and I am sure the meeting will be an interesting one. You ask if there is anything you can do to help. You do in fact make some points about the use of microexpressions and it might be helpful if you were able to carry out the sort of analysis you refer to in your email. I do not in fact have the equipment and it is clear that you know more about what ought to be looked for than I do. If you were able to do this then that would be a helpful contribution to my enquiries. If however you are not able to then I would quite understand.

In any case, thank you very much for writing.

Norman Baker MP

11 September 2006

Our ref: HR1 109-Kelly Affair\cc

Norman Baker MP


Norman Baker MP

House of Commons

18 9 2006

Dear Mr Baker,

Thank you for your letter of 11 Sept. I would be more than happy to give an analysis of Mangold’s microexpressions but I regret that I do not have access to the requisite “slo-mo” equipment. If you can gain access to such equipment – a contact in broadcasting would be the place to start – I will give you an analysis. However, for public credibility you would need to get a professional working in the area (a psychologist most probably) to give you a “formal” assessment of Mangold’s microexpressions (or anyone else’s).

When you meet Mangold I suggest you concentrate on the two startling discrepancies in his evidence to Hutton compared with his later statements, most notably on the GMTV programme. First is his relationship with Kelly. In the GMTV interview Mangold claimed that he was a close friend of Kelly. In fact, he did not meet him until 1998 and so knew Kelly for five years at most. Then there is his testimony to Hutton, viz (he was questioned by Mr Knox):

11 Q. How frequently would you speak to him over the years?

12 A. It was not that frequent. I spoke to him whenever I had

13 a query about biological warfare or occasionally

14 chemical warfare subjects. But it was not a frequent

15 relationship.

16 Q. Would these be unattributable briefings?

17 A. Sometimes they were; but the major interview for the

18 book he came to my home and I spoke to him for about

19 eight hours in one day and that was on the record, that

20 was attributable.

21 Q. And his name is mentioned in the book.

22 A. Yes, yes.

23 Q. You would meet him sometimes. Would you be able to say

24 roughly how often you would meet him?

25 A. I would say, on balance, maybe twice a year.


1 Q. And when you spoke to each other, it was generally just

2 on professional matters —

3 A. Always.

4 Q. — or other matters as well?

5 A. But I spoke to him on the phone much more than I met

6 him.

7 Q. In those telephone conversations, what did you talk

8 about?

9 A. Biological warfare.”

Note that not only did Mangold say his relationship with Kelly was infrequent and professional, he ignores the double invitation from Knox to expand his answer from his claim that they discussed only “professional matters”, viz: “or other matters as well?” and “In those telephone conversations, what did you talk about?”

The second contradiction concerns his melodramatic claim during the GMTV interview that “I think Janice [Kelly] realised something awful had happened to David mentally. She went upstairs and was sick a couple of times. I think she had already decided that she was beginning to lose David…”

His evidence to Hutton runs:

8 Q. Did you speak to Mrs Kelly on 17th or 18th July?

9 A. Yes, I did, yes. I received a phone call on that day,

10 somewhere around 9 to 9.15, telling me that David Kelly

11 was missing.

12 Q. And you then spoke to Mrs Kelly?

13 A. Yes. I sat down and thought about that quite carefully;

14 and then I spoke to Jan, yes.

15 Q. And what did she tell you?

16 A. Well, I had very mixed emotions on that day. I knew the

17 moment I got the phone call at 9 o’clock in the morning,

18 I knew that he had to be dead because David Kelly did

19 not go missing. If he was missing, he was dead. So

20 I had a slightly difficult phone call with Janice. She

21 was still fairly upbeat and felt that he must have had

22 a heart attack or a stroke and was — she felt he was

23 lying in a field, you know, waiting to be found.

The phone call was only “slightly difficult” and Janice Kelly was “still fairly upbeat” and “felt he must have had a heart attack or stroke…”. No suggestion that she had given up hope in some mysterious way even before he went missing or that she believed him to be suicidal.

It might seem strange to you that an educated intelligent man such as Mangold would contradict himself in such a fashion. He must, you may argue to yourself, have known when he gave the GMTV interview that the contradictions would be obvious because both would be on the public record, so why put himself in such an awkward position?

Mangold’s behaviour is readily understandable. I used to see it regularly when I worked for the Revenue. People would tell me lies which they knew I could immediately demonstrate to be lies. For example, an employer would claim he did not allow overtime. I would find overtime sheets which did not appear in the wage records. I would then interview the employer again with the overtime sheets in front of me and ask whether he paid overtime. More often than not the employer would deny it again despite the fact that he was staring at the overtime sheets which he knew would immediately prove him a liar.

The reason that people behave in this seemingly bizarre fashion is simple: they become psychologically paralysed and are incapable of behaving rationally, because the acceptance of reality is simply too painful or frightening. That is what has happened to Mangold. Part of him knows that his latest story is unsustainable because of his previous public statements, but whatever is making him do what he is now doing – almost certainly pure undiluted fear – is simply too difficult for him to confront.

Because of all this Mangold will be in a delicate mental state when you meet him. If you keep banging away at these two central contradictions – his bogus friendship with Kelly and his varying accounts of the wife’s state after the death – over and over again from my experience there is a fair chance that Mangold will lose control. If he does, he will probably become either violently abusive or break down and tell you at least some of the truth, even if it is in a disjointed form. Either behaviour provides you will valuable information about Mangold.

Kelly’s “training”

I have also been foraging generally around on the Hutton website. Two emails from Kelly on the 5th and 8th of July 2003 – urls below – refer to “training” he was undergoing. It is probably a dead end but just possibly the “training” might be a pointer to his killer or add something useful to the circumstantial knowledge surrounding his death. I suggest you try to find out what the “training” was and who was involved. The urls are:



The Kelly Family

The behaviour of the Kelly Family suggests they have been frightened into going along with the suicide line. If so, a carrot or carrots have  probably been introduced to balance the stick of threat (the same applies to Mangold and Gilligan). I suggest you try to find out what Mrs Kelly has received by way of Civil Service widow’s pension and gratuity. These are standard figures based on years of service so cannot be fudged.

If Mrs Kelly has received anything more than her strict entitlement that would suggest foul play. You should be able to get the data, directly or indirectly, with a Commons question or use of the FOIA. If you cannot get details of an individual, put in a request for the anonymised details of all pensions/gratuities larger than those which are catered for in the regulations paid out the spouses of those in Kelly’s department who died in 2003.

Following the same track, try to discover what private insurances Kelly had against his life and whether these were (1) claimed by Mrs Kelly and (2) paid in full or part. The amounts he was insured for, if any, would be useful both as evidence of why he would not have committed suicide (commit suicide and wife loses X) and to compare with what Mrs Kelly (or any other member of her family) has received from the state (the state may have compensated Mrs Kelly for any lost private insurances).

In an ideal world you would also want access to all of Kelly’s bank accounts and those of his family, especially that of Mrs Kelly, to see if any unaccountable money has been introduced into them before or since Kelly’s death.

Finally, find out the value of Kelly’s estate – this will be public knowledge.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

How elites feed conspiracy theories

There are conspiracy theories and then there are conspiracy theories.  There are those who believe that Aliens were found in a crashed spacecraft at Roswell in 1947 and the truth  was hidden by US government or that humans are the result of a breeding program engineered by a group giant reptiles called Anunnaki from the Draco constellation as proposed by David Icke.  Then there are conspiracy theories  which arise out of hard facts and a reasonable interpretation of human behaviour and experience.  Two of the latter have been  in the news in he recent weeks:  the furore over Barack Obama’s missing birth certificate and the alleged murder of Osama bin Laden.

In the case of Obama he refused to perform the simple and reasonable act of producing a full birth certificate to prove he was born in the USA for more than three years.  Had he done so when it first became an issue during the 2008 Democratic Primaries it would in all probability have killed the issue.  (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53563.html).  Instead he chose to issue only an abbreviated version which was a computer generated document produced  in 2008. The consequence of this tardiness  is that  Obama still has a poblem, namely, doubters are asking why has it taken so long for him to produce the certificate if it is genuine.   It makes no political sense for him to have let the matter rumble on for three years.

The idea,  frenetically pressed by both Obama and his political and media supporters, that asking a candidate for the Presidency to prove they are qualified to stand is wrong or absurd is peculiar to say the least.  Indeed, if the US constitution is taken seriously, all candidates should as a matter of  course prove their qualification because the Constitution states  that  “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President” (Article  II section 1).  In the case of Obama, the fact that one parent was a foreign national gives such a request  greater force because of the increased possibility that he might have been born abroad. bearing in mind that presidential candidates make their medical history available to the public – a much more intimate set of data – it is difficult to see why any candidate should object to producing a birth certificate which if it shows the candidate is a” natural born citizen” at worst might reveal that they are illegitimate, something which is scarcely a  scandal to most Americans  these days.   However, in Obama’s case it is part of a pattern because he has been obsessive in keeping secret documentation of his life such as his educational records and his records as state senator in Illinois. (http://www.projectworldawareness.com/2009/07/obama-is-shielding/).   The record he did have to produce – details of his medical history – was minimal running to a single page.  This secrecy suggests that Obama is paranoid about reality clashing with his own version of his life and person in his books “Dreams from my father”  and “The Audacity of Hope”.  He probably has good grounds for his fear because much of his depiction of himself has been shown to be fantasy, for example, his inflation of the importance of  his first job after graduating and his practice of presenting vast tracks of dialogue as reality when they are clearly invention because, as far as is known, he has not kept a journal at any point of his life. (Those wanting a detailed examination of Obama’s tendencies to fantasy can find my The character of Barack Obama in his own words on the American Renaissance website  (http://www.amren.com/mtnews) .  The article is in three parts.  Just  put my name or the title of the article into the search facility).   The argument has been put forward that Obama did not release the full birth certificate for a long time because he was worried that it would provide a lever for demands that he release the rest of his unreleased records. This is nonsense. There is no constitutional requirement for a candidate to do anything other than prove they are a “natural born citizen”.  Hence, the only document which by implication is constitutionally required is a birth certificate.

It has been claimed that there is no  explicit provision for such a check  in the Constitution and consequently no authority or procedure to make such a check. . The answer to that is  simple, the Supreme Court adjudicates on whether the provisions of the Constitution have been breached. They are by implication the body to make the adjudication on presidential  constitutional qualification. That both the Supreme Court  has not intervened on their own initiative or accepted any challenge as having no standing and every  lower court which has  been faced with a request to  force Obama to prove his eligibility has also rejected it on the grounds of lack of standing is distinctly disturbing for how can any US citizen fail to have standing in the matter of whether the President is legitimately qualified? (Having standing in  US courts means having a direct interest in and/or being directly affected by the substance of the suit) .

Apologists for Obama have  suggested that the delay in releasing the full birth certificate was an act of Machiavellian genius to allow the birthers to become ever more demanding before deflating them by producing the document . I do not buy  this, not least because Machiavellian plots rarely succeed. I cannot see what  Obama would gain from delaying the document’s release. Those who think the birther claims are nonsense will not change their minds: the rest of the population will at best continue to wonder why he did not put the  latter to  bed before now and at worst suspect  the document is a forgery.  Not only that, but the birther claims started while he was running for president, a time when they could have  done him real damage.   If Obama did not have a cast iron reason for releasing the full certificate after his election he certainly had one during the primaries and election campaign.

The full certificate Obama has produced   will not convince many of the birthers  simply because of the delay.  It is also worth asking why he has not produced the  original birth certificate issued to his parents.  However,  there is a more general problem. With digital technology it  would be very easy to forge such a document.  The certificate would need  to be subjected to forensic analysis of inks, paper, the handwriting  (to see it is compatible with the person who supposedly filled in and  signed the  form) and so on.  (See  http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/obama-us-citizenship-and-the-presidency/).  Even a forensic test would not be absolutely conclusive because it is reasonable to presume that it would be possible to replicate ink types or use a blank certificate which has survived since the right period or to “wash” another person’s certificate of their details and impose Obama’s details on the cleansed certificate. An example of the sort of manipulation which can be done is at http://rightnetwork.com/posts/obama-birth-certificate-a-fakeHowever, a forensic test would probably catch any forgery because forgers tend to forget some details which give them away.

That brings us to the alleged murder of  Bin Laden. I say alleged not because there is any doubt about the crime of murder if the reports from the US government are true, but because there has to be a question mark over whether  Bin Laden has in fact been killed. More on the question of whether Osama was killed later.  First let us look at the oddities in the US government’s story.

It is very strange indeed that the body would supposedly have been disposed of so soon and  deliberately placed where it could not be recovered.  If the Pakistanis knew nothing about the raid, then the only people to have seen the body would have been American.  If they did know about the raid, the Pakistani government and security service would have a very good
political reason not to admit they knew anything because they cannot afford for both domestic and political reasons . As for releasing a photograph of the alleged body that would prove nothing because these can easily be forged . An example is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/02/osama-bin-laden-photo-fake.  It is also dubious whether a photograph of  someone suffering a massive would to the face is likely to be convincing. Nor is there an undisputed photograph or video of Obama since 2001. The appearance of a man, especially a sick ageing one, can change dramatically in ten years.  No one has a clue  of how he looked  in 2011. What the US could do but almost certainly will not do is release the video of the attack including the killing of the claimed Bin Laden.  The claimed DNA evidence would prove nothing because there would be no means of verifying it. Media reports say that the near match was with one of Bin Laden’s sisters.  It would be interesting to know if  she was a full or half sister of Bin Laden (Bin Laden senior had over 50 children by various wives).  If the latter, a match would be less conclusive.

The American government has  described the assault on the compound as resulting in “a fierce firefight”.  Yet they also claim that no American involved in the attack was wounded in the slightest  let alone killed.  Those two statements sit uneasily together. How exactly does a “fierce firefight” occur with one side not suffering any injuries? Nor are there reports of large numbers of casualties on the other side, most of which occurred it seems when the Navy  Seals shot unarmed people.

The initial description of Bin Laden’s death from  Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan painted bin Laden as a  coward using women as a human shield :  “From a visual perspective, here is bin Laden … living in this million dollar-plus compound … hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield. I think it really just speaks to just how false his narrative has been over the years.”  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8489236/John-Brennan-In-Quotes.html). The US government has since admitted that no women were used as a human shield.  As there was a live feed to the CIA and the White House of the raid itself plus debriefing of those who took part in the raid, it is difficult to see how the mistake could have been made.  Why did the story change? Perhaps it was because there is  a filmed record of the raid which shows the original claim was false and the propensity for computer files to be leaked these days persuaded the White House that they could not afford to continue the lie for fear of this file going AWOL.

Brennan also claimed  that “If we had the opportunity to take him [Bin Laden] alive, we would have done that.”  The US government has since admitted that Obama  was not armed,  yet they claimed that he had to killed because he was “resisting”.    Let’s examine that claim. We are told on the one hand that the Navy Seals who undertook the  raid are the cream of the cream of elite special forces. Are we to believe that such men found it necessary to shoot dead an unarmed Bin Laden, a man in his fifties  who is seriously ill and frail?   There is  also, as in the case of the claim of the use of a woman as a human shield, no plausible  reason why  it should have been claimed initially  that Bin Laden was armed.

Brennan also speculated that “It’s inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time. I am not going to speculate about what type of support he might have had on an official basis inside of Pakistan.“ This is a fair point, but an equally telling one, perhaps more telling, is why  the US military would not have identified the compound as being  worthy of suspicion simply on the grounds of its size and nature.  They have ample satellite surveillance and even if they did not have reason to suspect that Bin Laden was there, they should have been curious enough about it to make enquiries.

The other things which remain unclarified are three: (1)  how did the Navy Seals leave the compound; (2) why did  the local Pakistani military not respond to the attack and (3)  what has happened to the surviving members of then Bin Laden family who were allegedly living with Bin Laden.  The Seals arrived in two helicopters and left in one because of the claimed malfunction of one helicopter which rendered it useless and led to its destruction by the Seals. It would be interesting to know how many Seals were employed in total and what the lifting and carrying capacity  of a single helicopter was .  If a single helicopter could not evacuate all of the Seals then we need to know how they got away.  The failure of the local Pakistani military to respond to the attack despite the town crawling with army personnel and having forty minutes to respond is peculiar at best and indicative of collusion between the US and Pakistani  authorities at worst. Interestingly,  there are reports which say the local residents close to the compound were asked to turn off their lights an hour before the attack. As for the alleged surviving members of Bin Laden’s family, it will be interesting to see what happens to them.

Those are the oddities. How about the question of whether  it was Bin Laden who was killed?  Reports of his death date back ten years, for example,  Fox news carried a report in December 2001 claiming Bin Laden was dead. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,41576,00.html).  The last undisputed Bin Laden video dates from 2001. Since then  there have only been two videos in which purport to show Bin Laden talking.  The last was in 2007.  The authenticity of both these videos is  disputed.  The other  tapes have provided audio only.  (A good account of these and  the Bin Laden story since 911 can be found in the  2010 BBC programme  Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive . This is posted on YouTube in six parts and parts 2 and 3 are the most useful for the videos in which Bin Laden is purportedly seen speaking.  Go to  the url below  and you will find all six parts on the page  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLmG9mOxLn4&feature=related. )

It is also striking that there has been no  claimed definite sighting of Bin Laden since 2001 until now  despite the fact that his is a face which has been plastered all over the mainstream media and Internet in still photographs and videos  and the  $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or death offered by the USA.   The fact that it is now claimed that Bin Laden was living for a substantial period in a garrison town only 60 miles from the Pakistani capital makes  the failure to inform to claim the reward even more extraordinary if  the story is true.  It also stretches credulity that the Pakistani authorities at some level would not have known he was there .

If  Bin Laden  was not killed why the raid? Here’s a scenario for you. The US carried out the raid, thought they had Bin Laden, took the body away and then found to their dismay it was not him. They then got rid of the evidence. That would leave them open to Bin Laden putting out another  video but it would be impossible for the man  to absolutely prove he was still alive without exposing himself to capture or killing. There is also a decent probability that he died some time ago.

Here’s a second scenario. The whole thing was a charade. Bin laden was already dead, perhaps a long time ago, and the US knew it. They staged the  attack to provide a distraction from
the failure in Afghanistan, the disaster of Iraq and the new involvement in Libya and potentially the rest of North Africa and the Middle East.  In addition, the  claimed death of Bin aden brought down the psychological curtain on the USA’s original prime reason for attacking Afghanistan and provided a possible springboard to extract the USA from Afghanistan on the basis that it was “mission accomplished”.

As to the immediate political  value of the raid, Brennan rather gave the show away with  “It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people asembled here. The minutes passed like days….The president had to evaluate the strength of that information, and then made what I believe was one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory….I think the accomplishment that very brave personnel from the United States government were able to realise yesterday is a defining moment in the war against al-Qaeda, the war on terrorism, by decapitating the head of the snake known as al-Qaida.”  That is propaganda not a rational analysis of what the raid had achieved.

Whatever the truth of  Obama’s delay in producing his full birth certificate and the alleged killing of Bin Laden , there is a fact about them which cannot be denied: in both instances the powers-that-be in US politics have given  ample grounds for rational scepticism.  Examining official versions of events for contradictions and unanswered questions does not mean you are away  with the fairies. Blindly accepting the official version is the real bending of reality; accepting the official version while knowing it is questionable is worse than naïve, it is sinister.

What a tremendously thoughtful fellow Dr David Kelly must have been

What a tremendously thoughtful fellow Dr David Kelly must have been.  He supposedly committed suicide by slashing his left wrist, but  had the good manners not to bleed too much in case it made  a frightful mess. Not only that, doubtless through concern that he should  not create any unnecessary work for the authorities,  he  managed to handle without leaving fingerprints the pruning knife with which he cut his wrist,   the  three packets of co-proxamol   tablets he took to kill the pain, the water bottle he used to take the tablets,  his mobile phone and his watch which he took off and left close to his body.  As for his failure to  leave a suicide note, this can surely only be explained by a career civil servant’s desire not to cause embarrassment or worse to the Government and his civil service colleagues.  

Well, that is the class of  tosh which the British public has  implicitly  been asked to believe since Kelly’s death. Unsurprisingly,  many people have doubts about whether that the death was suicide. The BBC broadcast a programme on Kelly on 25 February 2007 as part of the series The Conspiracy Files (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/programmes/if/transcripts/david_kelly.txt) . The programme commissioned an Opinion poll to establish the views of the public on his death. 22.7% of those surveyed thought Kelly had not killed himself, 38.8% of people believe he had, and 38.5% said they did not know (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6366159.stm).  The doubters include the former Conservative leader Michael  Howard who in August 2010  called for the inquest to be re-opened (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1303190/Michael-Howard-leads-MPs-Dr-David-Kelly-inquest.html)  and the Lib Dem MP Norman Baker  whose book The Strange Death of David Kelly was serialised in the Daily Mail before publication in November 2007.

 A group of doctors who  have been trying since 2004 to get  the inquest which was adjourned before the Hutton Inquiry  resumed .  In December 2010 they submitted a petition to the Attorney–General Dominic Grieve asking  for the inquest to be re-opened. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1337661/David-Kelly-report.html)

Grieve asked for additional information and the doctors (Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox, David Halpin and Andrew Rouse)  submitted this to Grieve at the end of February 2011. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361953/Fingerprint-riddle-leads-new-Dr-David-Kelly-inquest.html). The additional  information, obtained by using the FOIA,  confirmed the lack of fingerprints on the knife,  drug packets, water-bottle, watch and phone.  The absence of fingerprints was not raised during the Hutton Inquiry , nor were any of the five items introduced as evidence.

The absence of  the fingerprints produces evidence that Kelly did not kill himself which is in a different category to all the other objections which have been raised. These  are either matters of opinion or rely on circumstantial evidence such as the failure to introduce seemingly pertinent and important evidence into the Hutton Inquiry . Medical experts may argue over such things as whether the loss of blood together with the ingestion of co-proxamol tablets and moderate heart disease were enough to kill Kelly;  whether the half litre water bottle out of which approximately half a pint of water had been drunk was enough water to swallow 29 tablets or whether Kelly was capable of using his right arm to cut himself because of he had broken it some time before his  death and it had not healed properly (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1050919/David-Kellys-closest-female-confidante-COULDNT-killed-himself.html)

As for what appears to be a blanket  desire on the part of the part of the Blair Government and all those officially associated with the death – the Lord Chancellor, the Oxford  coroner, Lord Hutton, the pathologist who conducted the post mortem and so on – to prevent an  inquest and/or  ensure that the Hutton Inquiry could have only one result, namely, that Kelly committed suicide, that in itself does not mean their motives were to prevent the discovery of a murder for there could plausibly be other reasons. Suppose, for example, at Kelly had received credible death threats from a security agency either foreign or British.    

The reported absence of fingerprints, if it is true,  is a fact. It cannot be gainsaid or argued away. Because no gloves were found at the site where the body was found, Kelly’s  fingerprints  should have been on these items, especially the knife which he must have held for some time if he committed suicide  because his  left wrist showed a number of cuts and cutting an artery in the wrist requires a fair degree of strength and perseverance.

Where does this leave us? Investigation work is best done by sticking to the hard facts and then following the logic from them to possibilities. The central  hard fact in this case is not that  Kelly’s  fingerprints were missing from the five objects , but the fact that the British authorities say they were not  on the various objects.  This gives us two possibilities, that the authorities are telling the truth or lying.  If they are lying  we are left with these possibilities:

1. Kelly’s prints are on all or some of the objects but there is some reason, such as someone else’s prints being on some or all of the items, especially the knife, for saying Kelly’s prints were not on them. This might seem odd but think about it. If there are other prints,  to admit that Kelly’s prints were on them would  open the way to admitting that other prints had been found. That  would be difficult going on impossible to explain if they were the prints of anyone other than those who had who might conceivably have handled  them shortly before his death. Kelly’s  wife would probably be the only person who falls into that category.  The worst case scenario for the authorities would be the finding of a third party’s prints which were identifiable as those of either a known hitman or an  agent of a security service either British or foreign.  If Kelly’s prints and those of a stranger were found, the suppression of the  evidence would potentially require criminal behaviour – perjury, perverting the course of justice, forgery – on the part of those who tested for prints and those who knew what had been found.  There would also be the problem of the possibility that the objects might be the subject of independent testing at some future date. The authorities  would then have to decide whether to wipe or destroy the objects.  

2. Kelly’s prints are on some but not all of the objects. For example, he might have been forced to take the co-proxamol.  This could have resulted in  fingerprints on the water-bottle and the packets of co-proxamol or simply fingerprints on the water-bottle if the killer(s) took the tablets from the packets and gave them to Kelly.  If the killer(s) then slashed Kelly’s wrist it is plausible that whoever did it cut a number of times with ever deepening cuts because they were unsure of how to do it. (It would be interesting to see the angle of the cuts. It made by someone other than Kelly they would probably be at an angle Kelly could not have achieved. The most probable mistake made by someone cutting Kelly’s wrist would have been from the left hand side because that would be most convenient. )  The fact that the watch has blood on it would fit in with this explanation,   because having blood on it after it was removed from the wrist suggests that whoever cut Kelly’s wrist  began cutting with the watch on, then took it off when they found it impeded the cutting. This could also explain why a number of cuts were made. Alternatively, if Kelly’s prints are on the knife, he could have been forced to make the cuts.

3. Kelly’s prints are on none of the objects,  but the prints of other people are.  This could mean that Kelly was restrained when taking the co-proximal tablets and the packets were opened by his killer(s) who put the tablets into his mouth then fed him with water to facilitate swallowing.

There remains the possibility that no fingerprints are on the items.  If so, that would mean the killer(s) did what that  described in (3) but wore gloves.

The objects, if they still exist, should be subjected to independent forensic testing.  Apart from determining whether there are any prints, this could potentially show if the items were wiped to erase prints – examine them under high magnification to look for wipe marks; test for chemicals which would indicate cleaning – and allow a check for DNA.   Even if the items were DNA checked at the time of death,  and I have been unable to find out whether they were, the technique for extracting useful DNA has advanced considerably since Kelly’s death and minute amounts of material can now be used.

If it was a murder why were so many loose ends left untied? The favourite explanation would be simple incompetence. The killers remembered not to leave their own prints but forgot to put Kelly’s prints on the knife etc. It does not do to imagine hired killers always behave as they normally do in films, that is, calm and calculating with no tendency to panic.

 If you want a Machiavellian explanation here are a few. The “suicide” might have been  deliberately botched to either embarrass the British Government or to send out the message to others “behave or else!” . Alternatively, suppose the murder was committed by a friendly power, for example, the US or Israel, who wished to disguise their involvement by introducing a bogus incompetence into the affair. Or how about introducing the incompetence simply to confuse matters so that  a number of  potential agencies with differing motives might be suspected?   It might even be that the murder was carried out by the British security services, but they were not  happy with doing it  and deliberately botched the job  in the hope that  the public would see it was a killing not suicide.

The thing we do not know is what was the cause of Kelly’s death.  The slashing of the wrist and the co-proxamol tablets could simply be a blind to cover another way to  death, perhaps by some difficult to identify poison.  This is suggested by the evidence of the doctors who have expressed doubts about whether the loss of blood, the co-proxamol and the heart condition would have been sufficient to kill Kelly. It could even  be that Kelly was abducted  and the shock  of either being forced to cut  his wrist or having it cut for him caused him to die.  This could explain why little blood was lost.  It could even be that the true cause of death was found and has been suppressed.

As for a motive for murder, it  makes no sense to try to assign probabilities to whether Kelly did or did not represent a threat to  the British Government or any other government or group because we do not  know.  What we do have reason to believe is that he did not die as the official version says. If the absence of his fingerprints on the five objects is true then someone must either have killed him or interfered with the evidence after his death. Either way that does not point to an innocent self-contained suicide. 

It is not certain that Kelly was murdered. What is certain is that the Hutton Inquiry was a woefully inadequate investigation into the man’s death.  An inquest is the least which is required. Kelly’s body was buried not cremated so a further post mortem could be carried out prior to an inquest. Amongst other things, another post mortem might give a certain answer to whether Kelly had the strength in his right arm to make the cuts which supposedly killed him.

Politically incorrect film reviews – Four Lions

UKCert (UK): 15

Runtime: 101 mins

Directors: Chris Morris

Cast: Adeel Akhtar, Arsher Ali, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay, Preeya Kalidas, Riz Ahmed

Bafta nominated (2011) for best British film

At the heart of this film lies a terrible cowardice. Four Lions has been promoted as a brave satire on Islamic fundamentalism, but it is the liberal equivalent of a schoolboy testing out a teacher to see how far he can go. Morris has a very good sense of what will be tolerated in these pc times.  

The story is inspired by the London bombings of July 2005, the 7/7 explosions. But instead of exploding bombs on the underground and buses, these terrorists intend to go ballistic during the London Marathon. The film follows their preparations to become suicide bombers and their actual attempt.

The cowardice is seen in the ethnic make up of the wannabe bombers – the Four Lions of the title – and the way they are depicted. One of the bombers Barry ( Nigel Lindsay) is white and English and the others are Asian  – Omar (Riz Ahmed), Waj (Kayvan Novak), Hassan (Arsher Ali). A fourth Asian member of the group Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) blows himself up accidentally before the attack on London. Blacks are conspicuous only by their absence, an omission which I suspect is indicative of an unconscious association of Islam with Asians, especially those of sub-continental origin, in the white liberal mind.

Compare that fictional group with the reality of Islamic terrorism in the UK. No native white Muslim has been convicted of actually trying to bomb any target within or outside Britain’s border or perpetrated a successful attack. Those who have died in a successful suicide attack or been apprehended during an attempt have been either Asian or black – one of the 7/7 bombers – Jermaine Johnson was black , as was the “shoe bomber” Robert Reid who failed to explode a bomb on a plane bound for the USA.

The purpose of making one of the bombers white and English is clear: to defuse the us- and-them nature of Islamic terrorism, the message of the character being that Islamic terrorism is not a matter of race or ethnicity,  but of belief and that such terrorists can be drawn from any part of the population, including those who are unequivocally indigenous. However, this effect is somewhat lessened by the failure to include a black amongst the bombers,

Having slanted the story through the ethnicity of the characters, Morris then reduces the seriousness of the subject matter to a Keystone Cops burlesque by making the bombers appear terminally stupid and grotesquely incompetent.

The white convert Barry is essentially a football hooligan who has found a new interest (Islam) and transferred his desire for mayhem to that. He is constantly belligerent in the most asinine way suggesting amongst other things that the group bomb the local mosque to politicize “their Islamic brothers”.

Of the Asian characters , Waj is the type who in real life would be described as having learning difficulties and the others are just routinely thick or  naïve. The nearest any of them come to normality is the group leader Omar who has a wife and child.  

Their incompetence is relentless. They all seem incapable of simply living independent lives, let alone organizing a co-ordinated suicide bomb attack. Whether they are at a training camp in Pakistan , testing out bombs in Br itain or engaged in the attack on the London Marathon they make slapstick errors. They move explosives and Faisal trips over and accidentally sets off a bomb which kills him. Omar and Waj go to terrorist training camp in Pakistan and fire a rocket at what they presume is the enemy. The “enemy” turns out to be some of their fellow Islamic terrorists whose numbers are considerably trimmed by the resulting explosion, which also brings enemy drones in to attack the camp.

When they finally go to London to explode their bombs, they manage to do so but in the most farcical fashion. Hassan loses his nerve and goes to hand himself into the police only to be blown up remotely by Barry using a phone.  Barry then fights with Omar  to prevent him contacting Waj  because Omar is going to tell Waj not to kill himself. To prevent this   Barry swallows Omar’s SIM card. This makes  Barry begin to choke. A  passer-by seeing him choking begins the Heimlich maneuver on Barry and whilst doing this sets off  Barry’s bomb.  And so it goes on . Omar gets hold of another phone and attempts to talk Waj into giving himself up , but the line is lost as the police charge the kebab shop Waj has retreated to where he takes hostages. Waj panics and detonates his bomb . Finally, Omar in despair, goes into a chemist shop and explodes his bomb.  

This representation of the bombers as fools and incompetents is dangerous. It implies that such people are so idiotic that the threat they represent is, in the larger scheme of things, negligible. Not only that, but the film says look, only really stupid and inadequate people with an incompetence bordering on cretinism would engage in this type of activity.

The problem with this message is that the 7/7 bombers did manage to carry out a coordinated attack on London,. They had the wit to construct effective bombs (even the bombers in the film were given that ability which rather clashed with their general incompetence ) and the organizational abilities and discipline to carry out the bombing. Four Lions is attempting to do with Islamic terrorists what  was done with Hitler, represent the object of danger as a figure of fun.  That is a dangerous thing to do because it sanitises the enemy.

If Morris had wanted to make a truly courageous and honest film about Muslim terrorists in Britain, he would have left the indigenous population out of it, had a mixed group of Asians and blacks as the bombers,  shown the terrorists as something more able than blundering blockheads and, most importantly,  included in the screenplay the type of fanatical hatred of this country and its people which can be found on so many Islamic websites and not only on those sites commonly viewed as extremist.

The police are effectively colluding in violence

The police are effectively acting colluding in violence

By the use of “kettling” the police are ensuring that the violent elements amongst demonstrators can best attain their ends.  Groups such as Class War use the following  technique to maximise violence. They put members willing to start the rough stuff at the front of a demonstration to act as a vanguard. Other members are dotted about in the crowd to both give the impression the demo is generally set for violence and to incite others around them by example.  At the back of the demo is another wad of members to act as a rearguard to stop the demonstrators retreating.   That is the ideal.  If  there are not enough to people to meet the ideal most or even all will be put in the vanguard.

“Kettling” does much of the violent elements  work for them.  It traps people in a restricted area so that the violent elements can forget about providing a rearguard because no one can leave the demo.  Those in the crowd not naturally inclined to violence will become more so as their anger at being trapped rises and conditions more fraught. When violence does take place  in a confined and crowded space, it is difficult for  anyone not to become involved simply in self-defence . Because no one can leave the area,  the premise on which English law’s self-defence  is based – reasonable force including the need to retreat at the first opportunity from the violence or threat of it – is removed. 

The police must know all this. That being so,  their continued use of “kettling” begins to look like a deliberate attempt to provoke violence. That in turn makes them look like agents of the state, a fact recognised by  Sir Hugh Orde,  president of the Association of Chief Police Officers and erstwhile Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

“Asked if there was a danger to the police’s reputation by repeated clashes at demonstrations, Orde told the Guardian: “Yes, if it is allowed to be played as the cops acting as an arm of the state, delivering the elected government’s will, rather than protecting the rights of the citizen.

“We need to be clear we are doing it as operationally independent, and not subject to influence by anyone as to how we do it.”  http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/10/police-tuition-fees-protests-orde guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 December 2010 20.58 GMT

The implication of what is happening because of police tactics  is that any large-scale demonstration can be manipulated by the police to produce a violent response whilst at the same time allowing the violence to be contained within an area chosen by the police.  It is like a stage play being mounted with the police as the director. As violence  does not play well with the general public ,  any serious attempt to protest can be discredited if the police choose to act in this way.

The other effect of “kettling” is that groups who wish to join a demonstration cannot do so. This can in itself result in violence, or as an excuse for violence,  as was seen on Thursday 9 December when demonstrators  intent on going to Parliament Square filtered out instead to the Trafalgar Square/Regents Street area when they could not gain access to Parliament Square, an episode  which eventually resulted in an assault on a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife.

There is also the question of  the civil liberty not only to demonstrate but to move freely about.  Many people get caught up in demonstrations without meaning to as they go about their private business. Many more find that they cannot go to areas they want because “kettling” has occurred. Nor is it acceptable that demonstrators who wish to leave a demonstration cannot do so. Whether what the police are doing is illegal after the raft of authoritarian laws passed by the Blair and Brown governments is debatable. What is not debatable is the need for people in a free society to be able to move about freely.

The behaviour of individual policemen at demonstrations is also increasingly dubious. I think back to the Countryside March which saw considerable violence by the police against marchers who were about as law abiding a group as you could find. To see officers dressed in riot gear, frequently  more than one at a time, savagely beating an unarmed  protestor is not a pretty sight, and all too often seems to be action not to prevent disorder  but to sate the anger and desire for violence within the officer himself.  Those who think that the police cannot be willingly confrontational should think back to the miners strike in the 1980s when serried ranks of riot police banged their riot sticks in unison on their shields and taunted the miners.  Violence and aggression by police officers  allied to “kettling” will dissuade many from going on demonstrations simply from fear of what might happen. That is not healthy in a supposed democracy.

We are approaching a crunch point. If this type of policing goes on, large scale demonstrations will become increasingly difficult to mount  both from the point of view of public order and as meaningful vehicles to change public opinion. The danger is that large-scale demonstrations in Britain will go be default from being part of the democratic process.

Those who decry violence at demonstrations should reflect upon the words of the historian Lewis Namier who described the government of 18th Century England as “Aristocracy tempered by rioting”. There is something of that in every country and time and a great deal of it in modern Britain where the social elite have re-established a very firm hold on politics .  In England for more than a century  mass violence has been rare. If it is becoming common now it says much about the state our politicians have reduced the country to.  People are becoming desperate. That is the message the likes of Cameron and Clegg should take from what is happening.

Oh my aching sides …Stop it MI6

The  public attempts by the police  to explain the death  of the GCHQ  operative Gareth  Williams on secondment to MI6 hurtle towards  absurdity.  Their latest theory is that Williams died in an sado-masochistic sex game in which he allowed himself to be locked (with a padlock) into  a holdall to role-play a situation of complete helplessness, a situation which included the person who locked him into the holdall leaving him alone in the flat.  When the person returned,  the police surmise ,  he found Williams to be dead, probably of asphyxiation and dehydration.  That person then re-padlocked the holdall and fled leaving the body to be found.

Even from the details of the death which have been released this seems an explanation on the outer margins of improbable. The body was found in the holdall in the bath. Why on earth would the putative role-play have included being left in the bath? If the holdall and body was placed in the bath after the death, what could possibly have been the motive? If it was an accident presumably the person who discovered the body would have been in a panic and simply concerned to get out of the flat as quickly as possible.  Similarly, if the death  was an accident why would the person who discovered him re-padlock the bag?

Then there are the questions of whether the holdall would have been secure enough to both hold Williams if he wanted to get out  and airtight enough to either asphyxiate him and/or dehydrate him enough cause death. The holdall was made by North Face so it was reasonably robust. However, I doubt whether  it would robust enough to withstand a determined attempt by a very fit man (Williams was a fitness fanatic addicted to cycling) to break the seams or split the material, especially one driven by the manic energy of panic which he would presumably have experienced if he found himself suffocating. The largest North Face  holdall I could find on theNorth Face website is this :

Description The Rolling Thunder – Large with 138 litres of capacity is the big daddy of wheeled luggage built with robust TPE tarpaulin.
    86 cm x 43 cm x 36 cm

    Phthalate-free TPE fabric laminate, 840D Jr. ballistics nylon

    138 liters

If this was the holdall used, then the body would have had to be placed in the foetal position to fit. Even then it would be a remarkably tight fit because 86cm is a shade under three feet in length. If Williams was alive when he was put into the holdall, would he have been likely to agree to such an incarceration even if he wanted to play a bondage sex game?

As for the holdall being airtight,  that would seem  improbable.  The material of used by North Face is a laminate and that might be impermeable. However, there has to be an opening point which would be something like a zip or Velcro fastening which would allow air get in. Note that the bag specifications above have it as a top access bag which suggests a zip or velcro running along the entire top surface. Moreover, if there was insufficient air that would become apparent rapidly and the person would soon attempt to make an escape.   It is noteworthy that  there are no reports of evidence that he struggled to get out of the bag  such as damage to the bag or injury inflicted on him which could have plausibly been the result of such a struggle.  The police have suggested that he may have become unconscious without realising what was happening and died without regaining consciousness. However, if that is the case,  why the re-padlocking of the holdall after his body was discovered? It is worth adding that Williams was a very bright, scientifically inclined man into high-level  exercise who almost certainly would have assessed the likelihood of suffocation or  dehydration before voluntarily  allowing himself to be locked in the holdall.

Finally,   there is  the failure to identify the cause of death. Tests for alcohol and drugs have proved fruitless, there is no bruising suggestive of strangulation.

What is a plausible explanation for the body being found without obvious cause of death in a locked holdall in a bath? Try this for size.  Williams died  naturally, by accident  or was killed somewhere other than his  flat. The body was placed in the holdall to transport it. The padlock was used to make it secure during transit from where Williams died to his flat , especially during the  moving of the body  from the place of death to a vehicle and from the vehicle to Williams’ flat.

If that is what happened the probability is that he was murdered rather than died a natural death or died by accident. If  it was a natural death, there would have been reason to get rid of the body. If he died by accident in embarrassing circumstances such as a sex game,   it is unlikely that a person or persons who were simply ordinary people would have had the presence of mind to return him to his flat. Much more probable that they would have  at best attempt tried to make the death look like a natural one by a ploy such as saying he had been found dead in his bed or by calling 999 and saying someone had collapsed.  If an attempt to get rid of the body was made, it would most probably have been dumped in the nearest river or canal or buried somewhere.

If Williams  was murdered by someone other than a person or persons acting directly or indirectly for some security organisation,  it would again be most improbable that the body would have been returned to the flat, either because the people who killed him would not know where her lived – he was living in temporary accommodation – or because the killer or killers would have a similar panicked response as the normal person would who found the body after death from an accident in embarrassing circumstances.

The return of the body to Williams’ flat would have great advantages  for a killer acting for a security organisation.  It would greatly reduce the possible  forensic evidence because all  there would be from the site of the killing would be the body and the  bag itself. By leaving it in the flat the killers could probably rely on it not being discovered for several weeks. Placing it in the bath would have kept it out of sight of any casual inspection. (It would interesting to know whether a bath was run to cover the holdall with water to destroy forensic evidence. )

Alternatively,  if it was a security organisation killing, the body may have returned to the flat to send a message to our security services.

Facts taken from :


%d bloggers like this: