With so much happening right now – multiple wars, revolutions, civil unrest, mass public protests and general strikes, not to mention the never-ending tragedy at Fukushima juxtaposed by our own government’s efforts to push ahead with the construction of more reactors, or the votes in parliament that further the deconstruction and sell-off of the NHS – there is just so much that is happening that the scandal surrounding the relationship between the Secretary of State for Defence, Liam Fox, and businessman, Adam Werritty, has mostly been passing me by. In the bigger scheme it barely seemed newsworthy…
An eternal triangle involving a politician, his closest buddy and filthy lucre was surely just one more example of the kinds of backslapping cronyism we’ve come to expect. And with Fox resigning from office on Friday, the whole sorry spectacle appeared to have come to its inevitable, if rather speedy, conclusion. But it transpires that there’s more, much more, to Liam and Adam’s fall from grace than immediately meets the eye –
“To many, it always appeared an unlikely friendship. When Liam Fox met Adam Werritty, one was a middle-aged politician well-established in public life and the other a student just starting out in adult life.”
was the strapline to The Telegraph Political Correspondent, James Kirkup’s delve into Fox and Werritty’s friendship from a week ago [Oct 10th].
They’d met by chance at Edinburgh University. Fox the guest speaker, and Werritty, a student with big ambitions. In 2002, after their friendship had developed, Werritty moved to London, and took up residence in Fox’s London flat. He moved out again in 2003, but by then their friendship was firmly cemented. And then, in 2005, Werritty was chosen to be best man at Fox’s wedding. So that’s the background for anyone who doesn’t already know it, but of course there’s more, much more:
[Werritty’s] first business interest was health care, and he registered both UK Health Group Ltd — in which Dr Fox once owned shares — and UK Health Supply Services Ltd. By coincidence, Dr Fox was the Conservative shadow health secretary between 1999 and 2003, writing his party’s health policies and influencing national debate. […]
As Dr Fox settled into married life, Mr Werritty’s business empire grew. One of the companies he subsequently registered was Security Futures, a defence consultancy. By another coincidence, Dr Fox in 2005 became his party’s defence spokesman.1
And this was just the beginning. Kirkup continues:
It was in that role that Dr Fox’s friendship with Mr Werritty appeared to spill over into his professional life as a leading politician.
Yes, Fox and Werritty were soon travelling everywhere together. Meetings with security think-tanks in Dubai (2007), at high-level conferences in Israel (2009), as well as trips to Sri Lanka the same year, officially to help out with the peace process after the country’s civil war. Not that Werritty had ever actually been appointed by Fox to work in any official capacity, as his special adviser; Werritty was never more than ‘a friend’. But the story gets much stranger again:
Some details of their friendship remain unclear, but it is known that Mr Werritty visited the Ministry of Defence’s secure Whitehall headquarters 14 times in 16 months. He has also visited the minister’s official residence in Admiralty Arch by Trafalgar Square.
Still, Dr Fox has insisted that their friendship has no official dimension. “Mr Werritty is not an employee of the MoD and has, therefore, not travelled with me on any official overseas visits,” he told MPs last month.
Click here to read James Kirkup’s full article.
But my own interest in the story was really piqued when I came across a post on Craig Murray’s blog from Thursday [the day before Fox announced his resignation]. Intriguingly, it began as follows:
This information comes straight from a source with direct access to the Cabinet Office investigation into Fox’s relationship with Werritty.
Murray then goes on to outline how Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary – a man who apparently prefers to be called by his initials: GOD – “has fixed with Cameron” to narrow the investigation, by only considering, as Murray puts it, Werritty’s “little grubby money-making for introductions to Fox”, and entirely overlooking something “much worse and much more serious”. So what could O’Donnell and Cameron be trying to keep under wraps? Murray, who draws a direct comparison to the Profumo Affair in the 1960s, says he knows:
The answer is that Werritty is paid by representatives of far right US and Israeli sources to influence the British defence secretary. It has been discussed within the MOD whether Werritty is being – knowingly or otherwise – run as an agent of influence by the CIA or Mossad. That is why the chiefs of the armed forces are so concerned, and why there is today much gagging at the stitch up within the Cabinet Office.
This has parallels to the Christine Keeler case but is much, much worse.
That the British Defence Minister holds frequent unrecorded meetings in the Ministry and abroad with somebody promoting the interests of foreign powers is much, much worse than a little cash-grubbing. That the person representing the foreign powers is actually present, apparently to all as a ministerial adviser, at meetings of Fox with important representatives of foreign nations is simply appalling.
Click here to read Craig Murray’s post entitled “The Real Werritty Scandal”.
By Friday [the day of Fox’s resignation] some of the mainstream media were catching on. Here is a report in the Guardian, which mentions claims that Fox was “conducting what a senior Whitehall source called a ‘maverick foreign policy’”, and that “what government officials are stressing is what they call Fox’s separate – “maverick” – foreign policy interests”, and that:
Craig Murray adding in a post, also on Friday:
As I have been explaining, the real issue here is a British defence secretary who had a parallel advice structure designed expressly to serve the interests of another state and linked to that state’s security services. That is not just a sacking offence, it is treasonable.
Murray, in his efforts to get the story out, had also managed to get a short slot on Peter Oborne’s Radio 4 show “Week in Westminster”.
Click here to listen (Murray is about 9 minutes in) — Back in his blog, Murray says of the broadcast:
Incidentally my single sentence reference to Mossad was edited out, but I think my meaning remains clear.
Then yesterday, just a day after his Radio 4 interview, as Murray put it himself, the mainstream media finally woke up:
A week late, but the mainstream media has finally learnt (not least through my telling them) that it was the Mossad link that was really worrying Whitehall about Fox.
Click here to read Murray’s post.
Indeed, The Independent on Sunday actually ran with a front-page ‘exclusive’ : Werritty ‘plotted with Mossad to target Iran’:
Mr Werritty, 33, has been debriefed by MI6 about his travels and is so highly regarded by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad – who thought he was Mr Fox’s chief of staff – that he was able to arrange meetings at the highest levels of the Israeli government, multiple sources have told The IoS. 3
And the Mail on Sunday granted Murray space to present his own account.
Click here to read it.
Back on his own blog, Murray has again called on Matthew Gould, British Ambassador to Israel, to answer the questions he has put to him. After all, the real scandal is only beginning to be uncovered.
And Murray also takes a sideways swipe at the news media, writing:
The Indie on Sunday story of a Fox-Israel plot against Iran is a great deal more credible than Obama’s announcement of a plot by Iranian used car salesmen to employ the Canadian Mounties to assassinate Justin Timberlake outside the Won-Ton Chinese restaurant in Champaign-Urbana (I may have got some of the details of Obama’s fantasy wrong, but what’s the difference?)
So congratulations to Craig Murray on finally turning the mainstream media’s attention to such important revelations. It takes some doing these days, because unless a story is officially sanctioned, as was the case with Obama’s Won-Ton restaurant fantasy (see my previous post), it seems they just don’t want to know.
Click here to read more from Craig Murray.
1 From an article entitled “Liam Fox and Adam Werritty: an unlikely friendship” written by James Kirkup, published in The Telegraph on October 10, 2011. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/conservative-mps-expenses/8817267/Liam-Fox-and-Adam-Werritty-an-unlikely-friendship.html
2 From an article entitled “Rightwing Tories rally to Liam Fox’s side” written by Patrick Wintour, Rupert Neate and Richard Norton-Taylor, published in the Guardian on October 14, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/13/rightwing-tories-rally-liam-fox
3 From an article entitled “Revealed: Fox’s best man and his ties to Iran’s opposition” written by Jane Merrick and James Hanning, published in The Independent on Sunday on October 16, 2011. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-foxs-best-man-and-his-ties-to-irans-opposition-2371352.html