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second from right, British Ambassador to Israel, who was pictured speaking at a meeting of the Leeds Zionist Federation

Gould-Werritty: the Continuing Cover-Up

Matthew Gould second from right, British Ambassador to Israel, who was pictured speaking at a meeting of the Leeds Zionist Federation

Evidence continues to mount that, rather than simply pursuing commercial interests with then Defence Secretary Liam Fox, Adam Werritty was involved centrally in working with the British and Israeli intelligence services to try to engineer war against Iran. His official contact in all this was Matthew Gould, now British Ambassador to Israel.

Gould met with Werritty on 8 September 2009. At the time, Gould was Principal Private Secretary to then Secretary of State David Miliband. It is very unusual indeed for the Private Secretary to hold policy or lobbying meetings with outsiders in this way. Still more extraordinarily, nine months later, on 16 June 2010, Gould met with Werritty again, now as Private Secretary to current Secretary of State William Hague.

A Private Secretary only acts directly for his minister – the Private Secretary has no other role. For a Private Secretary to meet a lobbyist on behalf of two different Secretaries of State from opposing political parties is so very strange as to be almost inexplicable.

The government is extremely set on hiding what was happening. The existence of these meetings was revealed in the 22 December 2011 FCO reply to my Freedom of Information request.

Thank you for your email of 24 November 2011 asking for “all communications in either direction ever made between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty, specifically including communications made outside government systems”. I am writing to confirm that we have now completed the search for the information which you requested.

I can confirm that the FCO does hold some information relevant to your request.

There are entries in diaries indicating that there were two meetings at which Mathew Gould and Mr Werritty were both present while he was serving as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary on 8 September 2009 and 16 June 2010.

Since Mr Gould was appointed as HM Ambassador to Israel on 11 September 2010 there were three further instances on 1 and 27 September 2010 in London and a dinner on 6 February 2011 in Tel Aviv. The meeting on 1 September and the dinner on 6 September are already matters of public record as they are included in the report by the Cabinet Secretary “Allegations against Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP” published on 18 October 2011. Mr Gould attended the Herzliya Conference in his official capacity. Mr Werritty was also a participant. This is already a matter of public record.

The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point.

The strange thing about this, is that normally in response to a Freedom of Information request you are given documents, not just told about them. In fact, that is a specific entitlement under the Freedom of Information Act.

I therefore replied on 23 December

For Anna Bradbury,

Thank you for your most helpful response. Am I not entitled to copies of the documents (diary entries) to which you refer?
Best wishes, Craig

I received no reply, so I wrote again on 23 January,

Neil,

Thank you. You refer to diary entries. Kindly send copies of those diary entries, which I believe the FOIA entitles me to see rather than simply be told of. This is not a new request, merely seeking a full response to FOI 1243-11.
Very many thanks, Craig

On 27 January – after five whole weeks – I received this reply:

Dear Mr Murray
Please be assured that we are looking into this request and we will get back to you shortly on this.
Best wishes, Anna

It is a very simple request indeed – copies of two diary entries. But the FCO is extremely anxious not to give them out. FCO Legal Advisers were consulted and said that, under the FOI Act, the FCO was legally obliged to release them. The FCO has now gone to the Justice Department and Treasury Solicitors looking for a different answer. I have this from a sympathetic source in FCO Legal Advisers (which is a large department, and miffed to be overruled in this way).

My source has not told me what the diary entries say, but has said it appears that these meetings between Werritty and Gould were taking place without the knowledge of other FCO officials. That opens up one particularly interesting possibility. The Secretary of State at the FCO is the head not just of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office but also of MI6. His Principal Private Secretary is his right hand man for both roles. Was Gould therefore meeting Werritty on behalf of first Miliband and then Hague, with the MI6 hat on rather than the FCO hat on? The diary entries may give that away, particularly if they list the other participants in the meetings – or if they were held in Vauxhall Cross.

It is also worth reflecting whether other ministers or others in the Labour Party generally knew what Miliband was up to with Werritty. This is a particularly apt question given David Miliband’s New Statesman article today arguing that New Labour needs to move further to the right and be more big business-friendly.

There is still a very great deal which the FCO is holding back. In particular, we do not know if the eight Gould/Werritty meetings of which we now know, constitute the whole number, or if there are more. See for example this answer to a Parliamentary Question from Caroline Lucas MP:

Hansard 10 January 2012 Column 73W
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Islington North of 31 October 2011, Official Report, column 374W, on Adam Werritty, how many meetings in his official capacity Mr Matthew Gould has attended at which Mr Adam Werritty was present since the commencement of Mr Gould’s employment at his Department in 1993. [87577]

Mr Lidington: The Department does not hold information listing all meetings held by officials. However, based on diary records in this case, we are aware of Mr Matthew Gould attending four meetings in his official capacity (8 September 2009, 16 June 2010, 1 September 2010, and 27 September 2010) at which Mr Adam Werritty was present. In addition to this, though they were not meetings, Mr Gould also attended the Herzliya conference in February 2011 and, as listed in the Cabinet Office report on the allegations against my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox) of 18 September 2011, attended a dinner on 6 February 2011. Mr Werritty was present at these events.

Consider this bit of the response:
The Department does not hold information listing all meetings held by officials. However, based on diary records in this case, we are aware of Mr Matthew Gould attending four meetings in his official capacity. Then compare to this bit of the reply to my FOI request:
I can confirm that the FCO does hold some information relevant to your request.
There are entries in diaries indicating
The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point.

The extraordinary thing is that Matthew Gould remains an employee of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but it is plain from these replies that the FCO have not taken the simple step of asking him how often he met Werritty and what communication there was between them. The FCO has instead limited itself to releasing either to me or indeed to parliament only that information which they were legally obliged to release because it was written down in an official FCO document.

It is a simply astonishing fact that, of the eight meetings between Gould and Werritty we do know of, not one was minuted or recorded or resulted in any correspondence. For anybody who knows the FCO’s insistence on recording all non internal meetings, it is simply not believable that eight meetings can be held and not a single word recorded. The only possible explanation is a deliberate and active policy of concealing what was happening.

Remember, if Gould had not made the mistake of noting some of these appointments in his official diary, we would never have been told that these meetings happened at all. How many other meetings with Werritty did Gould not put a reminder for in his official diary? We just do not know.

All this is a part of what seems to be a major policy of keeping from democratic scrutiny the activities of officials in dealing with the political classes’ most shady financiers. See for example the refusal to answer this question from yet another parliamentarian, Kevan Jones:

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether (a) he, (b) any Ministers and (c) officials of his Department have met (i) Mr Michael Hintze, (ii) Mr Tony Buckingham, (iii) Mr Michael Davis, (iv) Mr Poju Zabludowicz, (v) Jon Moulton and (vi) Stephen Crouch; and where any such meetings took place. [78653]

Miss Chloe Smith: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

A list of ministerial meetings with external organisations is published quarterly on the HM Treasury website.

Jones has listed a choice set of complete villains: we are not allowed to know of officials’ dealings with them. I have long argued that there is little point in a parliament dominated by three neo-con parties. But where even MPs are not allowed information about what taxpayer-funded officials are doing, I really wonder how MPs can put up with this charade and maintain any sense of decency and self-respect. The expenses help, no doubt.

Tension over Iran continues to be stoked for the next neo-con war. Werritty’s role as a go-between with MI6, Mossad and Iranian pro-Shah groups came briefly into view as a result of what the press thought was a ministerial gay scandal, but government and a complicit media and opposition have sought to bury it as quickly as possible, before the real truth is revealed. I am not going to let that happen.

The investigation continues. Do not get your news from TV or newspapers – only on little blogs like this is there any chance of catching a glimpse beneath the propaganda story.

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2 Responses to Gould-Werritty: the Continuing Cover-Up

  1. Somoe Hatimy February 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Good on you, Craig Murray! I applaud your stand in shouting loudly about the duplicity endemic in british politics today, continuing to shine a light on the shadowy goings-on in the vacuums of Parliament. I completely agree that British TV and msmedia are completely useless if you want to know what’s really going on – they are censored beyond belief and pure propaganda.

  2. Jonathon Blakeley February 3, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Coincidentally I have met the guy on the far right when I worked for a Printing firm in Leeds, forget his name, but a top Leeds Zionist/Mason. My Sales Director had been employed for his Jewish masonic connections to the Printing world and they were good friends.

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