Sunday, April 29, 2012

Whitewashing, laundering and retirement

It may come as a surprise to some that there is a policy of commandeering establishment figures to oversee uncomfortable inquiries, get these figures  to deliver the outcome required by the establishment, and then pension them off. Or in at least one case, ‘retire’ them even before they can preside.

When the weapons inspector who revealed that the famous ‘dodgy dossier’ had been ‘sexed up’, to use the epithet most widely applied to it,  was found dead in the countryside, Prime minister, Tony Blair, instructed the soon to be retiring Lord Brian Hutton to hold an Inquiry into Dr David Kelly’s death. There should have been an inquest. Indeed an inquest had been started but that was abandoned, the coroner was almost instructed to quickly find a verdict of suicide, and the Hutton Inquiry ‘whitewashed’ the case. Thames Valley Police have still not released photographic evidence in their possession, despite freedom of information requests. Having done his duty to the establishment that had supported him throughout his life Lord Hutton retired.

There was some very seedy stuff going on at the highest level when Liam Fox was forced to resign. The devious dealings were conducted through a bogus charity which Fox founded, Atlantic Bridge, through which neo-con/Zionist funds were being laundered, if that is the right word. This so-called charity, of which Margaret Thatcher was honorary president, included in its rank some of the old boy network at the very heart of government. Before the Charity Commision shut it down for malpractice other cabinet and government members as well as Liam Fox served on its advisory panel. Among these were George Osborne, William Hague and Michael Gove. Lord Astor of Hever, father-in-law to the prime minister, David Cameron, was a trustee of Atlantic Bridge and was himself involved in defence discussions which included Adam Werritty, a friend of Fox, and best man at Fox’s wedding.

Werritty’s involvement, and the whole seedy defence affair, was whitewashed with a big two-handed brush by Gus O’Donnell (commonly referred to as GOD because of his initials and not due to any divine gifts). Almost immediately after he cleared the guilty of any serious misdemeanour  Gus O’Donnell retired. However a rather more devious retirement took place connected as a result of the whitewash which was only discovered by response to a letter from Paul O’Flynn, a doughty M.P. representing Newport West. As well as questioning Gus O’Donnell’s ‘inquiry’ O’Flynn hinted ‘that the Prime Minister may have broken the ministerial code’ in not engaging Sir Philip Mawer to conduct the Inquiry presided over by Gus O’Donnell.
Sir Philip Mawer himself believed he should have led this Inquiry as he was the ‘sole enforcer of the code’. So why did GOD preside over it? The prime minister alone dictates who presides over an inquiry and O’Flynn suggests:

There is powerful evidence that using Sir Gus O'Donnell to carry out the swift investigation was a decision taken to hide the whole truth in order to satisfy political expediency and avoid political embarrassment to the Coalition.’ 

The whitewash was particularly sketchy about the number of meetings at which Werritty was present and sketchy too about the presence of other figures at many more meetings, including the Israeli ambassador Matthew Gould, substantially more than the O’Donnell Inquiry said had taken place − more than twice as many in fact. But the retirement of Sir Philip Mawer was done so surreptitiously that most people were unaware it had taken place, and it was only when a letter from Paul O’Flynn to Sir Philip was responded to by Sir Alex Allen that it was apparent that Sir Philip had been replaced. 

Another inquiry is being called because of the O’Donnell botch-up. A House of Commons public administration committee presided over by Mr Bernard Jenkin is asking for issues to be readdressed. Reading between the lines it looks like Sir Philip Mawer was ‘pushed’ and the cynical among us might consider the reason for this is to replace him with someone as compliant to the establishment as Gus himself.

This ‘deliver and retire’ policy applies not just to inquiries. High Court cases which are seen to be of detriment to the establishment are dealt with similarly. One such case is that of Babar Ahmed. He has been held in prison without trial for 8 years and now faces extradition to the United States thanks to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. Ahmed was beaten by police and in a civil case awarded £60,000 damages for his injuries. A criminal case was brought before the courts and those policemen who beat Ahmed up walked free. The jury had not been informed of the damages award and the Judge, Geoffrey Rivlin QC, retired the month after this verdict was announced. Draw your own conclusions,

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