Monday, April 18, 2011

Murdered Moira Anderson cover-up....

Pressure on police to release paedophile dossier...

The Franklin Cover- up : Bush Senior...

The Franklin Cover-Up: Videos...

The Franklin Cover-Up....

Famous cottagers

As a new play opens examining the shock conviction of actor Sir John Gielgud for cottaging in the 1950s, we remember other famous frequenters of the 'tea room'.

Early public toilets, normally in small outbuildings, resembled cottages and British gay men – whether out of necessity, pre-legalisation and scene, or due to basic fetish – have been cottaging ever since they first appeared in the Victorian era.
Britain's inaugural public convenience, in any meaningful modern sense, was opened on 14 August 1852, somewhat aptly opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in London’s Fleet Street - an especial 'convenience' for any randy judge, yet also a timely reminder that, in the words of gay commentator Johann Hari, "Apart from Oscar Wilde, the only gay people who come to attention in the history books are mass murderers, spies, child abusers - and men entrapped by the police in public toilets."
Although legalisation, a gay scene and the web now offer a host of other ways for men seeking sex with men to hook up, many closets - or those who simply enjoy the thrill - still meet for sex in WCs. Whole websites (for example exist highlighting cottage locations. Yet, despite UK police guidelines about “only responding to pubic complaints” and reform of the law in 2003 that said that outdoor sex is unlikely to lead to prosecution if there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, horny men can still get arrested - or beaten or killed - whilst in a lav.
But, without further ado, who were those famous cottagers? Read on and find out!

Sir John Gielgud
actor (1904–2000, convicted for cottaging in 1953)
When recently knighted and acclaimed classical actor Sir John Gielgud was caught cottaging (“persistently importuning for immoral purposes”) in a public toilet in Chelsea in October 1953, he was fined £10 by a magistrate and advised to see a doctor. He feared his career was over. However, when he next appeared on stage, he was cheered to the rafters – perhaps indicating that public opinion was about to shift.

The incident is the subject of a new play, Plague Over England, by Evening Standard theatre reviewer Nicholas de Jongh, who argues that Gielgud's arrest played a small but distinct part in the battle to make homosexuality legal, helping turn the tide against the well-nigh hysterical anti-gay witch hunts and repressive attitudes of 1950s Britain. While Gielgud never hid his homosexuality, neither did he discuss it publicly – apart from acknowledging his long-time lover Martin Hensler, in 1988.

Sir Alec Guinness
actor (1914–2000, rumoured to have been charged with cottaging in the mid 1940s )
After his death in 2000, the story emerged that celebrated stage and screen actor Sir Alec Guinness may have been charged with committing a homosexual act in a public lavatory in Liverpool in the mid 1940s. He supposedly - the unconfirmed story goes - avoided publicity by stating his name as Herbert Pocket, the character he was about to play in his screen debut in David Lean’s adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1946).

However, whilst numerous other rumours about the sexuality of the married father and latterly-devout Catholic circulate - many from well-placed sources, including Sir Ian McKellen - there appears to be no trace of this particular case in public records.

Sir Edward HeathBritish Prime Minister (1916–2005, rumoured cottager)
Although long whispered to be gay, former baton wielding bachelor PM Sir Edward Heath’s private proclivities were fanned into flames by his own party recently when openly gay Tory London Assembly member Brian Coleman claimed, in an article for the New Statesman, that it was "common knowledge" amongst senior Conservatives that Ted was warned by party grandees, back in the 1950s, that his cottaging habits could harm his career. Heath went on to hold the country’s highest political office from 1970 to 1974.
However Derek Conway, Sir Edward’s successor as Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup since 2001, has dismissed the claim whilst agreeing that Teddy was indeed “absolutely wedded to politics”. Retorts Coleman: “A huge percentage of Conservative councillors, professional staff and association officers [in London] are [and always were] gay” and “the average voter could not care less if their MP visits Hampstead Heath at midnight as long as they get the holes in the road mended."

Joe Orton
playwright (1933–1967, self confessed cottager)
There is absolutely no doubting controversial British playwright Joe Orton’s lavatorial proclivities as they were described in all their gaudy glory in his own hand throughout his now published diaries, which became the basis for the graphic posthumous 1987 biopic Prick Up Your Ears ('ears' being an anagram of 'arse'), scripted by Alan Bennett, directed by Stephen Frears and with a rampant Orton played by Gary Oldman. The gay dramatist admitted frequenting cottages throughout North London, from Hampstead to Holloway Road, from Finsbury Park to Islington and often engaged in large group orgies in these public facilities.

Famously, he was never arrested for such erotic exploits but rather for defacing library books for which he and his partner Kenneth Halliwell each received six month sentences. As Orton became famous, the older and less successful Halliwell – seemingly also aggravated by Joe’s blatant toilet habits - grew increasingly jealous and, on 9 August 1967, Halliwell bludgeoned Orton to death in his sleep in their Islington flat in North London and subsequently swallowed a lethal dose of sleeping pills.

George Michael
singer (born 1963, convicted for cottaging in 1998)
Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou - or George Michael to you and I - is a multi-Grammy Award winning megastar crooner who has sold over 85 million records worldwide and was once presumed by many, despite persistent rumours, to be straight. Yet, on 7 April 1998 he managed to dramatically out himself when arrested by an undercover cop for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public toilet in a park in Beverly Hills, LA, California. "Well, I was followed into the restroom, and then, this cop — well, I didn't know he was a cop at the time, obviously — he started playing this game. I think it's called 'I'll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I'm gonna nick you'!" recalls Michael.

After pleading "no contest" to the charge, the super-star was fined $810 and sentenced to 80 hours community service and was, de facto, more open about his sexuality, even suggesting a part of him hoped he’d be caught cottaging to end speculation. Michael subsequently made a video for his single ‘Outside’ clearly based on the episode, prompting the seemingly sensitive cop which it depicted to sue him for damages, a case the courts dismissed. In 2006, the singer was photographed emerging from bushes on Hampstead Heath, London in the wake of a sexual encounter with a 58 year old, jobless van driver.

Senator Larry Craig
US politician (born 1945, pleaded guilty to cottaging in 2007)
On 11 June 2007, Republican Senator for Idaho, Larry Craig, was arrested in a public restroom at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport for allegedly soliciting sex. The undercover officer claims to have observed Craig lingering outside his stall and frequently peeking through the door crack before entering the neighbouring cubicle, tapping his feet, moving one of them so it touched his own and then waggling his hand under the divider.

The senator later pleaded guilty to “disorderly conduct” and announced his intention to resign from office – an intention he later retracted. Twist upon twist, Craig has since tried to bring the matter to trial to contest his initial guilty plea claiming, amongst other things, that he always adopts a “wide stance” when going to the bathroom, but thus far has had little success.


It has been alleged Blairs friends are members of the Wonderland Club...

Margaret Hodge...

Tony Blair...


assassinating a prime minister's reputation: ten ways to blackmail blair
Part Two of the Blair/Brown Succession Story

Like John F. Kennedy thirty-seven years earlier, Tony Blair came to power with a clean-cut, charismatic image that promised 'safe' change, more social justice, and a strong head on his shoulders. But also like JFK, the youthful leader of 'New' Labour had more than a few skeletons trailing behind him. True or not, they remain the subject of intense gossip - and a number of incontrovertible facts - to this day.

They cover not only his early years as a barrister and MP, but also key moments when he was at the height of his power and reputation as an international statesman and warlord.

The wayward lawyer
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair married Cherie Booth on 29th March 1980. Just four years out of University, Blair was trying to establish himself as a barrister - but not with much success.

"He wasn't very good" says a retired commercial lawyer who hired him at the time through Derry Irvine's Chambers. "Frankly he didn't listen to the brief, and he caved in to the the fury of my clients. So I fired him. I told Derry, 'Don't ever send that twat to me again'".

The solicitor was appalled at the ease with which Blair betrayed his clients "for a quiet life". Betrayal (as we shall see) is an amoral spine running through Teflon Tony's life-story.
We interviewed the lawyer at some length. "When I watched him give in to the EU about the eight billion quid" he said, "I thought of that day in Court".

Close friends of the Blairs agree that Tony was a washout as a barrister....and that Cherie was without doubt the superstar. But in turn, while specialising in wealthy and commercial clients, for a young man supposedly interested in left-wing ideas Blair defended some odd people. notes that
'In the case of Nethermere v. Gardiner, Blair acted for employers that had refused holiday pay to employees at a trouser factory. He unsuccessfully defended the employers.'

Election to Parliament in 1983 provided a more promising career path.

Ugly Rumours
While researching Blair's early Parliamentary career, The Slog (or Not Born Yesterday as it then was) received the following email content:

'In the autumn of 1983, a young well-dressed man presented himself to Bow St Magistrates' Court on a morals charge. He was given a conditional discharge and bound over to keep the peace. The young man gave his name as Charles Lynton. He is now among the highest in the land.'

Blair's middle names are Charles and Lynton. I have asked for the records of the period (the Court no longer exists) but failed to trace any mention there of the 'case' - if indeed it ever existed. Although I found the general attitude of information suppliers to be obstructive, there wasn't any strong feeling of hiding stuff; frankly, I'd be amazed anyway if something incriminating about Tony Blair hadn't been removed by now. Another source wrote to us as follows:

'He was caught importuning in a Westminster toilet. It was all covered up.'

Two things are, however, relevant. Gossip did abound about Blair's sexuality during his time in the rock band Ugly Rumours at Oxford. And while nobody has ever stood them up, it is widely accepted that Derry Irvine (Blair's boss in Chambers) regularly referred to him as "the star closest to Uranus".

Would an indiscretion relating to bisexuality have worried Blair enough to do anything to cover it up?

Perhaps it would in 1983....but probably not by 2006.

 A great many people have teen-and-twenties doubts about the side for which they bat. Thankfully, in the Twenty-first century such things are rarely if ever a matter for blackmail.

Editor's Note: For those who find this far-fetched, it is worth noting that Edward Heath was saved from homosexual importuning charges no less than four times by MI6 in the late 1950s.

The Rising Star

Blair networked among Labour's soft-Left to get the Sedgefield seat that remained his throughout a long Parliamentary career.

Using his father-in-law Tony Booth's Labour contacts (and Booth's girfriend Pat Phoenix as a star performer during the campaign) he was selected for and won it in 1983, after boundary changes had changed its makeup.

Once in the Commons, he rose quickly, giving himself a brief to depict City types as incompetent, overpaid and "morally dubious" - an ironic way to start, given what came later.

The stock market crash of October 1987 thus raised Blair to prominence.

He got minor government posts, but then became the Shadow Employment spokesman. At the time, the EU's employment charter ran contrary to Labour's preference for 'closed shop' trade unionism.

Seeing this instantly as a contradiction, Tony Blair promptly dropped the commitment - and enraged the Left. It was another betrayal - this time of those who had given him his chance.

From this point, the ambitious Blair didn't get on with his sister-in-law,who had by now spotted the opportunist in him.

 Lauren Booth (like her father, on the Labour Left) decided Tony was 'a prat', and is alleged to have made her dislike obvious at family gatherings.

"Lauren thinks Tony is a disloyal creep" one acquaintance told us, "Always on the make and out for himself.

 She gives him a hard time and sets out to embarrass him whenever she can".

 In 2008 - in direct opposition to the policy on Gaza established by her brother-in-law - Lauren went on a Human Rights mission to Gaza, and was photographed enjoying the company of Mahmoud Abbas. This didn't help Blair, who was by now a 'peacemaker' in the Middle East.

Political Allies

By 1988, Tony Blair had already formed his two strongest alliences: one with the Party's spin-doctor Peter Mandelson (just like him in many ways) and the other with Gordon Brown (unlike him in almost every way imaginable).

Brown and Mandy disliked each other on sight.

John Smith's sudden death in 1994 should (given the gentleman's agreement between them) have led automatically to Brown's election as leader.

But on seeing an opinion poll showing himself to be more popular, Blair dumped his close companion. Over dinner at the end of May that year, some kind of long-term promise was made to Brown. We will probably never be certain of its exact nature: the only certainty is that Blair has reneged on it.

A former Cabinet Minister told the Slog, "Both sides differ on what precisely was said, but by trying to shaft Brown during the Iraq War Tony broke it, period. And once he refused to announce a departure date, well...everyone thought 'nice'".

New Tony, New Labour

Now leader, Blair set about rapidly betraying almost everything Labour stood for.

 With the repositioning help of obscure adman Phil Gould, he basically gave Thatcherism a human smile and a soft edge - 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime', for example....although Brown continues to insist that he came up with the soundbite.

Once in power after 1997 (say both Party colleagues and civil servants) The Prime Minister and his Chancellor fought non-stop.

"They each had entourages" says one Mandarin from the period, "whose sole job was to leak, destabilise and generally rubbish the other. It was a disgraceful waste of time, and very unsettling for everyone".

But by this time, Tony Blair seems to have consciously settled on a way of working that took no notice whatsoever of the Party machine, the House of Commons - or indeed the Cabinet.

 He ran a 'knitting circle' consisting of Alistair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and various other cronies who entered the gatherings from time to time. One remark - from a Treasury official who had previously briefed Blair (quite properly) when in Opposition - is very significant:

"When I first met him, Blair oozed charm....he was decidedly full of himself - but very quick on the uptake. By 2000, when I next had to deal with him, he had a quiet reassurance that he could do what he wanted, without constraint. It was more than arrogance. He was drunk with power, loving the adulation and always looking for ways to become a Messiah.

 This was the first time I heard him talk about legacies and historic victories...."
The second victory came in 2001 - at which point 9/11 rapidly arrived to change not just the world in general, but the focus of Blair's attention. A colleague at the time explains:

"I think this is when Tony first lost it. It was partly his faith, and partly his desire to lead a crusade. Having persuaded Clinton to listen to him, Tony began to believe he could persuade anyone to do anything. He saw himself as a world leader - even more perhaps, a historical figure. It went to his head"

A prominent (now disillusioned) Blairite of the period goes further:

"Campbell and Mandelson were a terrible influence on Tony around this time - more so Campbell, because Peter was going through one of his disgraced periods. Alistair Campbell showed himself to be without ethics of any kind. I felt he was capable of anything. And Tony knew he could, as Prime Minister, literally do anything. There was no sign of them being likely to stop and think about their actions. They gave me the shivers."

All impressions like these of course come with a health warning.

 Both the above sources have some reason to feel bitter. But these plus the Mandarin's view tend to give a consistent picture of Blair showing signs of self-worship. And it is about this time that reports of the alleged skeletons in his cupboard begin to mount up.

Family problems

By 2000, there are signs that Tony Blair's family life is under great strain.

His son Euan was detained by the police for being 'drunk and incapable'.

Also by this time Blair was doing anything to avoid seeing his sister-in-law - again, a woman who is alleged by some to have 'had a go' about his personality several times in front of the children. One source claims that the father's 'emotional absence' from the home was especially resented by his teenage daughter Kathryn.

In mid-May 2004, Kathryn took an overdose and was rushed to hospital.

Only sixteen at the time, she recovered quickly and is now a bright young woman who seems to have put that period well and truly behind her. We are now in no doubt that the event took place. A film-maker contacted us earlier this week to say that

'...we were due to film Blair for a PPB [party political broadcast] on the day it happened - I think the 13th May. We were set up and ready to go and then the shoot was cancelled. His daughter Kathryn had been rushed to hospital. We all knew about it...'

Her father clamped down on media reporting of the event; the only reason we raise the issue now is because of two related factors:

1. Several sources cite this as the period when Blair allegedly had a 'brief dalliance' with another person. And

2. Others allege that there were 'some unpleasant' aspects to the case....and that Gordon Brown knew of these.

To his credit, the Prime Minister accepted the cold slap across the face.

 Several people note that he began talking of spending more time with his family - even telling one colleague that 'all the other stuff' was secondary to his children.

 Either way, he didn't make any substantive moves to hand over the Leadership. (He had already decided that Gordon Brown would be a disaster in that role).

I think it unlikely that some incriminating aspect of the affair was used by Brown to heave Blair from office in September 2006.

 It was old news by then anyway; and why wait three years when you knew about it at the time - which Brown did, without doubt.

As one Commons source told The Slog last week:

"We're pretty clear on the fact that whatever Brown used on Blair in 2006, the Chancellor had only recently found out about it. Brown is not a patient man. If he has dirt, he gets it out there, without hesitation".

Other ticking time bombs

Having already discounted two (perhaps three) alleged subjects for blackmail, it will be useful at this point to list the others bandied around by gossips, bloggers and genuine insiders. In no particular order they are:

* The Donorgate Scandal of March 2006

* Corrupt property dealings supposedly conducted by both Tony Blair and his wife Cherie

* A cast-iron 'deal' with President Bush (dating back to late 2001) to 'get Saddam'

* Bullying advisors and misleading both Cabinet and Parliament on war legality immediately prior to the Iraq invasion of 2003

* Corruption relating to the Saudis from which Blair is said to have benefited personally on a massive scale. ( The BaE arms-supply bribery scandal, dating back to a deal in the mid 1980s)

* The death of senior MoD civil servant David Kelly following leaks about the 'dodgy WMD dossier' to the BBC

* A new allegation of which The Slog was made aware last month.

This latest allegation has largely inspired The Slogger's consistent blogging on the subject in recent weeks.

Compiling a shortlist

As we wrote in yesterday's posting, Donorgate had already been the probable subject of Brown's March 2006 threat to 'bring down' Tony Blair...but it didn't.

The Blair family property dealings were widely known about anyway: by 2006, those who had already decided that Tony Blair was a crooked phoney (whose wife had some decidedly dodgy advisors) were unlikely to be impressed by more of the same.

 And Blair's glib response to all attacks on his personal greed suggest, once again, that such revelations would not have made him beat the hasty retreat he did.

The Bush 'deal' (and there seems little doubt now that this did exist) and the bullying of advisors/misleading Parliament charges might have been known by Brown.....and known later than other people, because - as both he and Clare Short have asserted - he was 'sidelined' during the Iraq War.

 However, in recent weeks we have seen Blair brazen out both subjects effortlessly in front of a televised official inquiry.

He was hardly likely to have believed Brown could nail him in such arcane areas (where there was no written evidence) in the Court of Public Opinion.

As for the rest, for all kinds of personal and 'legacy' reasons, they might have been more than enough to push the Prime Minister into a resignation corner. We shall examine each in turn.

Is this scenario believable anyway?

It's important before going any further to establish clearly that the 'blackmail' possibility is a real one, as opposed to just the product of a fertile imagination. There are three key reasons why the possibility is entirely credible:

i. Tony Blair has demonstrated dubious, unethical behaviour on several occasions - as well as a talent for serial betrayal and misleading claims. Whether one regards these as vital equipment for any Prime Minister or not, there seems little doubt that, as a man with 'a past', he was open to blackmail by a betrayed colleague obsessed with taking his job.

We have collected information from well-placed sources who all attest to the reality of Blair's growing megalomania after 2000. Many people in and around Westminster are (without a trace of drama queenery) convinced that he was 'capable of anything' during a period which ran roughly up to 2004.

There was still a trace of this last year, when Tony Blair uttered his astonishing "without WMD, I'd have to have found another reason" to invade. To all appearances, he is a man who believes he can rationalise any action....except one which was provably done for his own material gain.

Such people are, indeed, potentially capable of anything.

ii. Brown has form going back many years as a mudslinger. This has been more than amply demonstrated by Peter Watt's Inside Out account of Brown having his little exercise book and siphoning off Party funds with the sole objective of finding damaging material to use against his boss.

iii. Yesterday's Slog timeline analysis (strongly pointing to one two-hour period of Blair cave-in) is impossible to explain without something very big and deeply incriminating having landed on his head. We have received nothing so far - either from official or journalistic sources - ridiculing, contradicting or denying the nature of that analysis.

Remember: Peter Watt arrives at Number Ten in the early eveningof that day, and finds Blair 'grey and shell-shocked'.

What might Brown have discovered late on that horrified Blair?

A good many observers have their money on the Blair's interference in the BaE bribery scandal inquiry - something in the news again of late following the decision to fine BaE via an out-of-Court settlement.

Blair took this amazing step - one that even Lord Goldmith vigorously opposed as 'entirely unjustified and inappropriate' - with a degree of urgency because he had been personally and bluntly informed by the Saudis that they would arm terrorists sufficently to wreak havoc in Britain if Blair didn't stop the case proceeding. We understand Lord Goldsmith did not know this at the time .

All Blair has ever admitted to is a fear of 'security cooperation' being removed. But we have had the Saudi threat asserted and corroborated by three sources - none of whom, it seems to us, has an axe to grind.

There is a further reason for our confidence:

Brown wouldn't have had access to the dirt, even if there was any. Tony Blair installed his loyal ally John Reid at the Home Office....and Reid delighted in foiling every attempt by the Brownshirts to dig something up on the case. (Needless to say, when Brown was 'crowned' Leader, Gnasher Reid resigned instantly).

We understand from sources close to senior Libdem figures that, although Nick Clegg's main concern was to establish Brown's role as a cheque-writer, others in the Party felt Brown's 'Iraq dirt' on Blair had more chance of success. (Events are suggesting they may well have been right).

The David Kelly affair remains one 'conspiracy' about which even the upright, respectable and doubting majority have severe doubts.

There are very good reasons for suspicion.

 Here was one man about to potentially screw up the whole Iraq operation; a credible expert with impeccable credentials, the BBC (as the national broadcaster) giving credence to his claims; and a chap who seemed completely unwilling - even when outed by those close to Campbell - to shut up.

A good man to silence, then. But a bad man to kill and make it look like suicide: he had no history of depression, had nowhere near enough pills in his body, and used the most unlikely instrument (a blunt garden fork) to 'commit suicide'.

Therefore an important case to cover up: hence the slapping of a seventy-year gagging order on the case....and a refusal so far to reopen the case.

There are some facts we can assemble with minimal doubt. Alistair Campbell seems to have orchestrated the smear campaign against Kelly. Further, he must have said some pretty disturbing things to the BBC hierarchy as to what was at stake. A central media figure in the drama told The Slog last week:

'You wouldn't have believed it could happen outside the pages of a bad novel. Campbell was like a Mafia don....raving and swearing. He scared the Governors shitless. We were left in no doubt, no doubt at all, that the BBC was, as he put it, "out of it's fucking depth". The chilling thing was that his threats were all totally believable.'

Following Campbell's insistence on the Marr show last weekend that Tony Blair's preparation of the dossier was 'meticulously careful', another senior media figure observing Blair at the time said:

'The idea is laughable. First off, Tony's not made that way. And more to the point, he was going through his I Walk on Water phase. Everything was being done at breakneck speed and with complete ruthlessness. Blair wasn't interested in the truth,he wanted a guilty verdict on Saddam and he didn't care a fig how he got it. I can fully believe that he really did beat up Goldsmith to get him to change his mind.'

This was obviously a pivotal life-moment for Blair. By all accounts, he believed in what he was doing: and like so many people who believe, he felt the ends justified the means. (See once again the Fern Brittan interview of 2009).

But on the other hand, doubts can be cast over this as a weapon Brown might use.

 In the last two weeks, the Government has shown itself quite willing to release the Kelly autopsy evidence to the 13-man group of doctors bringing a private case to overturn the suicide verdict. This would seem odd behaviour for an Establishment trying to cover up a murder plot.

Further, extensive Slog enquiries have failed to come up with the 'colleague' to whom Robin Cook is alleged to have confided about 'Cabinet involvement in Dr Kelly's death'. (Cook is also, conveniently, not alive to deny the claim).

But once more, we have to ask ourselves how Gordon Brown might come into possession of information linking any Government figure (let alone Tony Blair) to a murder which, we must surely assume, was carried out by the security services with no written orders or other evidence to prove it one way or the other.

And if you were an MI6 or MI5 maverick, why on earth would you tell Gordon Brown? Six months later, he might be your boss: surely it would've been leaked more discreetly and effectively to a security specialist in the media.

I retain an open mind about Kelly's death. I think at such a crucial time in British history, the security services would have carried out a hit without a second thought. But would a Prime Minister leave his prints on the garden fork - and could Gordon Brown have proved that? I think not.

The answer?

Perhaps the question at issue here is better expressed as 'Who might have helped Brown....and been in a position to know the truth about something damaging via a position of authority?" With the supplementary, "And who might have wanted revenge?"
Justice Minister Jack Straw

There can be no doubt that in both the UK and the US, a huge amount of corrupt armed-services supply deals were done - with and without the knowledge of government. Somehow though, it's hard to stick (even on Blair) a charge of doing it for the money - and remain credible. People (with the possible exception of Mark Thatcher) don't invade sovereign states for the money. Oil, yes - quite probably: but not for a personal 'bung'.

However, there remains one very odd BaE equipment deal that Tony Blair personally forced through.

It didn't involve invading anyone, and it wasn't just before or during a war.

But it was done by Blair with a Head of State who was corrupt....and whom he knew personally.

The case involved the sale of very expensive radar equipment to Tanzania - a fairly insignificant country with neither army nor air force to justify the purchase. Clare Short explains:

"Every way you looked at it, it was outrageous and disgraceful. And guess who absolutely insisted on it going through? My dear friend Tony Blair.
"It was an obviously corrupt project. Tanzania didn't need a new military air traffic control, it was out-of-date technology, they didn't have any military aircraft – they needed a civilian air traffic control system and there was a modern, much cheaper one. Everyone talks about good governance in Africa as though it is an African problem. Often the root of the 'badness' is Europe."

Over many years of investigating graft in corporate life, I have discovered three things that are omnipresent: the flagrant avoidance of normal purchasing procedures; the lack of any real rationale for the purchase; and some 'fat 'in the price quoted....thus allowing for what US corporates sometimes call 'spreading around the goodwill'.

In the Middle East and Black Africa, a corporate or governmental supply deal without bribery and kick-backs is almost unheard-of. What makes this one interesting is Blair's personal - very personal - interest in it. Not as a man intervening for some 'higher' good: but as (seemingly) a facilitator actively involved.

Recently, The Slog has established the following:

1. The deal was vehemently opposed by senior cabinet members including Chancellor Gordon Brown. (My italics - source: Clare Short)

2. Jack Straw learned of the deal when he became Foreign Secretary after the 2001 election. According to two sources, he knows some startling details about it.

3. The police showed Clare Short documents showing conclusively that bribery had taken place.

4. When Tanzania's founding father Julius Nyerere died in 1999, Benjamin Mkapa paid tribute to Tony Blair and the British government for looking after the man who liked to be addressed as "Mwalimu", or "teacher". In 2001, Mkapa, by now president of Tanzania, was acknowledged throughout Africa as being 'even closer to Blair, after buying a British-made air traffic control system for Dar es Salaam airport'.

4. Mkapa later became one of the very few leaders to actively support the Blair/Bush Global War on Terrorism. By 2005, most of Tanzania's overseas debts had been mysteriously cancelled.

5. Jakaya Kikwete (Mkapa's successor) was voluble over many years on the subject of Mkapa's personal gain from the deal. As reported by The Guardian in 2007, British police flew out to investigate claims that as much as 30% of the radar's cost had been assigned for 'creaming off' by some of the key players.

6. Tanzania's Attorney General at the time, Andrew Chenge, resigned on April 20, 2008 after the Guardian reported that the minister had stashed away $1 million in an offshore account, and that the team investigating the sale of the military radar to Tanzania was tracing other accounts linked to the deal.

Earlier this year, a usually reliable Treasury source made this observation:

"There was talk that the (Tanzania) trail led back to Blair. Jack (Straw) was the one who knew some amazing stuff. Gordon (Brown) was genuinely appalled at the deal. The word is he picked up the trail and hit Blair between the eyes with it. I'm not sure about it. But that's what I heard".

Another interesting comment from a senior Labour backbencher late last year:

"Tony (Blair) has associated quite happily with some dreadful people - Bush for one, but also Berlusconi. Berlusconi is bent....but there's something about Tony, he loves these people - he's a bit like Peter (Mandelson) in that respect. There were rumours that Gordon was scrabbling around for dirt, and got lucky. The rumour put out was that it was the radar deal...with Tanzania. You should hear Clare (Short) on the subject...."

Several sources with whom we spoke confirmed that Jack Straw was 'quietly bitter' about being dumped by Tony Blair - allegedly following pressure from the Bush administration. The same backbencher:

"After Tony did the Yanks' bidding, Jack had both the weapon and the motive. I heard he struck a deal with Brown to get his preferred Cabinet post..."

The imputation was that Jack Straw had supplied Gordon Brown with his bombshell evidence. Another Westminster insider puts it like this:

"Jack is a chess player. He's cunning and he watches the wind direction. He definitely snuggled up to Gordon after he started pressurizing Blair in 2006.....the thing with Straw is that he knows where all the bodies are buried. I remember a Cabinet member said to me after Tony demoted him, 'that's a serious mistake'. Jack has always been a shadowy figure...."

Happy to sideline Brown during the Iraq war build-up, Jack Straw had done enough by the end of 2006 to gain Gordon's complete trust.

The Chancellor handed him the job of running his campaign for the Leadership...but thanks to serious and widespread smear-briefings against any and all who expressed a desire to stand, Straw's help was never required.

Perhaps he'd helped enough already. Certainly, he got the job - Justice Minister - he wanted in a Brown Cabinet. And not many Commonsologists would've predicted that eventuality in 2003.

And there (if we're to avoid a criminal libel charge) the trail ends....for now.

 As a sequence of events, it makes eminent sense and hangs together on almost every basis. Further, it is - if not widely believed in Westminster - certainly a view firmly held by some influential people in government, politics and the media- none of whom one could describe as 'lunatic fringe'.

I don't see this as even the end of the beginning of the process of finding out whether or not a Prime Minister succeeded another one undeservedly as well as unelected. And I must be careful not to suggest the 'proof' which Left-wing media and New Labour's smear-brigade always seem to insist on for negative stories about them - but never for their wild allegations about others.

The fact is, I don't have the proof any more than anyone else does. But three mysteries remain, and deserve further investigation:

1. Why was Tony Blair's decision to let the worst man for the job get it so very sudden?

2. Why are so many people in and around the Westminster village prepared to believe that both Blair and Brown are corrupt and ruthless?

3. Why did Tony Blair push through a sale of radar to an obscure country at an inflated price in the teeth of widespread opposition?


Robert Wardle : Witness statement


Documents reveal that Blair urged end to BAE-Saudi corruption investigation

by The Corner House and CAAT
first published 21 December 2007
Documents released in the High Court on Friday 21 December 2007 indicate that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into BAE's Saudi arms deals was dropped only after the then Prime Minister Tony Blair sent a personal minute to the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. They show that Goldsmith did not believe that the case should be dropped in response to alleged Saudi threats to withdraw intelligence and security co-operation.
The documents are a witness statement from the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Robert Wardle, and nine redacted (words and sentences excluded) typed-up letters between the Prime Minister and/or Cabinet Office (the government department supporting the Prime Minister) and the Attorney General (which superintends the Director of the Serious Fraud Office) dating from December 2005 to December 2006.
The documents were released during a 'Directions Hearing' at the High Court to prepare for a judicial review brought by The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) against the UK Government's decision to cut short the SFO investigation into alleged corruption by BAE Systems in recent arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
They show that on 8th December 2006, Blair sent Goldmsith a 'personal minute' about the "real and immediate risk of a collapse in UK/Saudi security, intelligence and diplomatic cooperation".
Blair stressed in this 'personal minute' his concern about "the critical difficulty presented to the negotiations over the Typhoon contract", (a further proposed but unsigned deal for the sale of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft from BAE to Saudi Arabia).
However, on 11th December -- only three days before the investigation was dropped -- Goldsmith told Blair that halting the investigation on the grounds of Saudi claims to withdraw cooperation "would send a bad message about the credibility of the law in this area, and look like giving in to threats".
The released documents -- which are heavily censored -- do not contain any assessment of whether the Saudi threat to withdraw intelligence and diplomatic co-operation was real, credible or even imminent.
The decision made by the Director of the SFO, Robert Wardle, on 14th December 2006 to drop the investigation appears to have been based on Blair's personal minute and meetings with the UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
The government has not released any documents about the Ambassador's representations to Wardle nor about the Saudi representations to the UK government.
"From what we have seen so far, the evidence for any kind of genuine national security threat posed is threadbare", said Nicholas Hildyard of The Corner House. "The government's chief law officer was clearly advising it not to give in to the Saudi threats, but succumbed to pressure from Tony Blair."
The Corner House and CAAT believe that the government has held back many documents. Their lawyers argued today that key information should be released.
The Directions Hearing was adjourned until early January 2008.
To learn more about the legal challenge and the background to it, go to Control BAE.
  1. At a Directions Hearing, a judge gives 'directions' to both parties as to how evidence should be presented. CAAT and The Corner House served their evidence as part of their application for a judicial review. The Serious Fraud Office (the defendant in the judicial review) served their evidence to the Court outlining why it had decided to drop the investigation only once permission to bring the judicial review was granted on 9 November 2007.
    Lawyers acting for The Corner House and CAAT argued in court on 21 December 2007 that uncensored versions of the evidence; original rather than typed-up evidence; and further key documents should be released. The Directions Hearing was adjourned to be continued in early January 2008.
    The evidence of both parties will be scrutinised at the judicial review hearing itself, which is scheduled to take place on 14-15 February 2008 before a Divisional Court.
  2. The Serious Fraud Office is a UK government department that investigates and prosecutes complex fraud. The Attorney General superintends the Director of the Serious Fraud Office; both are supposed to act independently of government. The Attorney General is the chief legal adviser to the Government and is responsible for all crown litigation. The Attorney General is appointed by the Prime Minister and is a member of parliament. Under the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, decisions on corruption cases should not be made by political appointees. Decisions should be made only on the merits of the case and not other considerations.
  3. Time line of judicial review
    • 14th December 2006: The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into BAE's arms deals with Saudi Arabia was suspended.
    • 18th December 2006: The Corner House and CAAT wrote to the UK Government arguing that the SFO decision was unlawful and should be reversed.
    • 23rd February 2007: The groups began the judicial review process.
    • 19th April 2007: The groups lodged their full grounds for an application for a judicial review.
    • 29th May 2007: The High Court refused to grant permission for a judicial review hearing on the grounds that "national security must always prevail".
    • 9th November 2007: Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Irwin granted permission to bring a full judicial review hearing against the UK Government's decision to cut short the Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged corruption by BAE Systems in recent arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
  4. The basis for the judicial review brought by CAAT and The Corner House hinges on Article 5 of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The SFO decision was purportedly based on considerations of potential damage to relations with Saudi Arabia, and thus to the UK's national security, if the BAE-Saudi arms deals investigation continued. This is expressly forbidden under Article 5, which rules out the termination of corruption investigations on grounds other than the merits of the case. Signatory governments specifically undertake not to be influenced "by the potential effect [of an investigation] upon relations with another State . . . .".


Nailed: the two-hour period when blair finally caved in to brown
The screamed threat “I’ll bring you down with sleaze” that the fiery Scot is alleged to have launched at the Prime Minister has, understandably, hogged the headlines. However, what most people seem to have missed is that Chancellor Brown yelled this (with or without accompanying mobile phone we do not know) according to witnesses in March 2006….six months before Blair finally handed over the reins of power.
Sleaze is a potentially wide-ranging description, but there was only one known newsy bit of this grimy stuff at the time: the rapidly emerging Donorgate scandal – illegal donations via which New Labour hoped to reduce its massive £26.2 milion debt, run up largely during the previous year’s election. It seemed to many back then (including Brown and probably Jack Dromey too) that this was likely to lead straight back to Blair; but Teflon Tony didn’t earn the soubriquet by accident. Despite a brazen attempt by Dromey to finger the Blairites without warning on television, Blair stayed exactly where he was.
By now – despite Blair’s outline promise to retire - it was clear to the Brownshirts that they had a Prime Minister who would have to be pushed. Blair was under pressure from a vocal minority in the Party (especially the notorious Anyone But Gordon group) to resist Brown until another successor could be found. It is also probable that close exposure to the Chancellor in government had forced Blair to concur with his friend Peter Mandelson’s view – spelt out eventually in an email to Derek Draper during 2009 - that Gordon Brown was ‘insecure, self-conscious physically and emotionally, uncomfortable in his skin and angry’. In short, not the right man to take on a newly resurgent Tory Opposition under David Cameron.
There is some evidence that Brown first began to show signs of severe depression during 2006. As I wrote on my then blog Not Born Yesterday, I first heard Westminster chatter about the Chancellor’s use of anti-depressants in June of that year. I also heard regular tittle-tattle about him being ‘moody’, ‘brooding’, ‘down’ and so forth, but that was nothing new: I’d first been given a run-down (by a Treasury official) on Gordon’s personality flaws in 2004. The new element in this gossip was the allegation that he was on medication. Clearly, he wasn’t feeling up about the chances of forcing Tony Blair’s hand.
Depressed or not, it didn’t stop him winding up his supporters to sponsor any and all speculation about when Blair might leave Office. During the late Spring, as the BBC journalist Nick Assinder reported:
‘Westminster became gripped by talk of a resignation date, backbench rebellions and attempts to force Mr Blair out of office. Few doubted that this emanated from the Brown camp’
Peter Mandelson has since remarked (on David Aaronovitch’s visual history of the Blair years) that “Tony didn’t want to go”, but as ever with the man who is now Gordon’s new best friend, there was a ‘but’:
“..but he wouldn’t risk bringing the house down.”
In his video-history, Aaronovitch toed this line, depicting Blair as a selfless leader who decided in the end to make way for the good of the Party. Those who have watched Tony over time (and in the Chilcot chair last month) will make up their own minds about that version of events, and depiction of his personality. However, it’s no secret that Aaronovitch is probably his biggest media supporter, and a man who rubbishes all questions raised about Blair’s ethics as ‘conspiracy theory’.
The ‘graceful exit’ version of events is not what I was being told by sources at the time, and it isn’t borne out by Blair’s behaviour either. On 1st August, he delivered perhaps his best-ever speech to the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles. It bears re-reading today: in it he makes a passionate case for a united front against reactionary Islam. Its tenor is not that of a man deciding to give up within six weeks.
In the middle of the month, he was reported as approvinging long-term UK energy policy, and being strongly in favour of commissioning a new generation of nuclear reactors. In relation to Global Warming as a whole, he was committing Britain to long-term support for anti-warming energy measures.
But then – over a period of just six days at the start of September – everything changed.
On September 1, the Prime Minister stuck two aggressive fingers up at the Brownshirts by giving an interview in which he refused to name a departure date. He very specifically ruled out saying any more on the subject either before or during the Party Conference, due to open on September 24.
The Chancellor’s men decided to turn up the heat. On 5th September, 17 backbenchers sent Blair a letter saying it was time to go – and the following day there were five non-Cabinet and pps-level resignations. However, on that same day (September 6th) ) around lunchtime, author Peter Watt had a meeting Gordon Brown. Expecting Brown to be tense, he was amazed to find him relaxed and confident.
“Don’t worry” the Scot told him, “It won’t last long”.
In the early evening, Watt went to Number Ten to see his boss. He takes up the story:
‘He was standing up, looking the worst I’d ever seen him – old, grey and drained. ‘Tony, I’m so sorry about what’s happening to you. It’s so wrong,’ I said, meaning it wholeheartedly.
‘It’s just politics,’ he said, doing his best to sound unfazed, though it was obvious he was shell-shocked
The next day, in what was a big climbdown for him, he finally gave in to the Chancellor, and publicly confirmed that he would step down as Prime Minister within 12 months. It was the ‘bankable’ public statement Gordon’s henchmen wanted.’

It takes a lot to make Tony Blair look old, grey, drained and shell-shocked. But the Mandelson, Campbell, Aaronovitch apologist axis would have us all believe that - at some point over a four-day period – a gaggle of irrelevant resignations had been enough to break his will to resist the blandishments of a man he clearly didn’t want to succeed him.
What follows isn’t ‘conspiracy theory’: it’s informed observation of what happened. My contention is that it takes something very big to make Gordon Brown chirpy and Tony Blair shell-shocked. I think it entirely possible that the Chancellor threatened his boss with an ultimate weapon of destruction during those six days. And I believe one can narrow down the Blair change of heart to a specific two-hour period.
The tools I use for this dissection do not include wild speculation. Rather, I employ a careful analysis of timelines, utterances, responses, motives, contemporary reports, and known personality traits.
The 2nd/3rd of September 2006 was a weekend. On Friday 1st, the PM announced he was personally going to take the arguments against the break up of Britain up to Scotland . On the 4th he gave a speech committing himself to a major Social Exclusion Strategy….a subject he had cited several times as the reason he was unready to leave Number Ten. This doesn’t look to me like the behaviour of a bloke who has thrown in the towel.
On Tuesday 5th September, the seventeen (count them) rebellious backbenchers said their ‘go now’ piece. “I’m not standing for that” Blair is alleged to have said at the time. His wife Cherie told Blair that he should now “finally deal with Gordon”. According to the Labour blog European Tribune (not pro-Blair) posting of that day, the Blairites leaked a memo to the Press purporting to outline a ‘farewell tour for Blair basking in the glory of his country’s gratitude’. The blog described it on that day as Blair ‘with all guns blazing….the classic gangster movie cliché “You’ll never take me alive”…’
At this point, Blair favourite David Miliband (the BBC reported) tried to silence the exit calls by saying Mr Blair would quit in a year's time. Shortly afterwards, the Beeb added that Number Ten had issued a statement saying 49 MPs (rather more than 17) had pledged their unwavering support to Blair.
It’s clear from this that the Blair spin machine is still in full working order - and fighting back.
The low-grade resignations take place the follow midday. I doubt their influence not just based on common sense belief in Blair’s ability to ride bigger storms than this....but also based on what is alleged to have taken place between the two men early on that morning.
The ‘window of change of heart ’ is now some time between the aggressive Blairite response after midday on the Tuesday, and Watt’s meeting with Brown at roughly the same time the following day.
On Tuesday evening at 9.25pm, the BBC reported that David Blunkett was still urging the Brownshirts to back off and let Blair decide his own time to go. So although we can’t be sure, one could suggest that even at this late hour, the PM is still in the ring.
Enter another ‘witness by proxy’ – the BBC’s Nick Robinson. After the battle, on Friday 8 th, he writes
‘….One Blairite told me that on Wednesday morning before anyone had resigned that the Chancellor used the threat that they would resign to try to extract concessions from the Prime Minister….’
Now this is the crux of the issue. It’s 9.30 – 10.00 am (ish) on the Wednesday, and there’s Gordon saying before the resignations that he’ll unleash them unless Tony agrees to go.
Ergo sum, as the resignations are unleashed anyway, it means Blair is still telling Brown to stuff it.
But….by midday(ish) Brown is all smiles, and able to tell Watt “This (the resignations and infighting) won’t last long”.
So, at some stage between 10 and 12 on that fateful day, Blair is suddenly persuaded that he has to back down and let GB succeed him.
By 3.30pm that day, both men are urging their legions to back off. Robinson reports this in his blog…..and that corroborates exactly what a Party old-stager told me at the time: the game’s over, now let’s not give the Tories any more to go at.
So what could possibly have been said to Tony Blair to suggest that his Teflon coating might have a dangerous scratch in it?
I can offer you this interesting extract from Nick Robinson’s blog towards the end of the following day. It tells you not only who, but what he feared:  
Gordon Brown feared that he was becoming seen in a way he's desperate to avoid: at worst, as Tony Blair's assassin; at best, as someone demanding a private stitch-up to make him prime minister.’
Several theories have been advanced. But some astonishing new ones haven't.


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Lord Browne could now face charges
Wednesday May 2,2007

By David Pilditch

BP boss Lord Browne sensationally quit yesterday after losing a bitter legal battle with his rent boy lover.
The disgraced peer, one of the country’s most suc­­cessful businessmen, could now face perjury char­ges after admitting he lied in court over the affair.

Lord Browne, a close friend of Tony Blair, claimed he met Canadian Jeff Chevalier, who is in his 30s, by chance while exercising in a London park.

But the Daily Express can reveal that Lord Browne picked him out after surfing a sordid gay website called Suited And Booted. His error of judgment led to the degrading end of a glittering career which had seen Lord Browne turn the struggling oil giant into the most successful British company of the past decade.

The acrimonious breakdown of his four-year relationship with Chevalier also cost Lord Browne £15.5million in cash and shares which he gave up by resigning.

Recriminations from the case, fought out behind closed doors in the High Court, go right to the heart of Tony Blair’s Gov­ernment. Lord Browne, 59, is alleged to have talked to his lover about conversations he had with senior Labour figures including the Prime Minister and Gordon Brown. Chevalier claims he became privy to many of Lord Browne’s secrets, including those of Mr Blair, the Chancellor and EU Com­missioner Peter Mandelson.

Lord Browne, a regular visitor to Downing Street, is said to have shared much of what went on at No10 with his lover.
The extent of Chevalier’s knowledge of the inner workings of Labour is said to have included the Prime Minister discussing “life after Government and aspects of his own character”.

It was claimed that Lord Browne, who was knighted in 1998 and made a life peer by the Prime Minister in 2001, invited Chevalier to dinner with Peter Mandelson and his gay Brazilian boyfriend Reinaldo.

The BP chief executive also allegedly discussed confidential business matters with Chevalier and misused company funds to support him.
During their relationship, Cheva­lier adopted his lover’s jet-set lifestyle after Lord Browne lavished gifts and “substantial payments” on him.

It is alleged that the Cambridge-educated peer helped Chevalier to secure a visa to enable him to remain in Britain.

Offering a tantalising glimpse of the jet-set lifestyle he enjoyed, Chevalier in his court papers re­counts a shopping trip in Venice.

“Realising that my clothing was not formal enough for being in public with him, [Lord Browne] took me to the Venice Prada shop to buy me more formal wear.

“He would continue to buy me an array of clothing so that I could be presentable once he began to introduce me to his friends and acquaintances.”

Announcing his resignation, Lord Browne said: “In my 41 years with BP I have kept my private life separate from my business life. I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private.” The affair was revealed after it came to an end in 2006. Chevalier claimed he was “having to adjust to a drastically reduced lifestyle”.

He wrote to his former lover saying he was facing hunger and homelessness and asking for “some assistance”.

A judge described his approach as a “thinly-veiled threat”. When no money was forthcoming, Chevalier approached a newspaper to “spill the beans”.

This led to a court battle as the BP boss went all the way to the House of Lords in an attempt to silence him.

Lord Browne admitted he had lied to the court over the circumstances in which he met his gay lover. A judge yesterday ordered that Lord Browne did not have to reveal how he had met Chevalier. But the Daily Express can reveal he picked his lover from the gay website Suited And Booted.

The website boasts of being “London’s premier escort agency” and features dozens of semi-clad and naked models offering their services.

Last night a close friend of Lord Browne said the peer had been embarrassed about revealing the truth of how he met Chevalier and added that the couple had agreed they would never reveal the circumstances.

The friend said: “He felt ashamed and humiliated at the way he had come to know Chevalier and he did not want the world to know they had met on a gay website. When it came to the court hearing, Lord Browne stuck to that version but Chevalier chose not to.

“Lord Browne immediately felt guilty, knowing that he had not been honest. It was gnawing away at him and two weeks later he retracted his statement because he felt it was wrong to lie to a court.”

Lord Browne was forced to make a humiliating apology after ac­knowledging that he had not been truthful. He said yesterday: “My initial witness statements contained an untruthful account about how I first met Jeff. This account, prompted by my embarrassment and shock at the revelations, is a matter of deep regret.

“It was retracted and corrected. I have apologised unreservedly and do so again today.” But, in his judgment, Mr Justice Eady said the peer had used his status to try to convince the court his version of events was true.

The judge said Lord Browne had referred to “the honours he has re­ceived under the present Govern­ment when asking the court to prefer his account of what took place.”

The judge said of Chevalier: “A wholesale attack was being made on his credibility. It was said that he was a liar, unstable and adversely affected by dependence on alcohol and illegal drugs.”

It was claimed the allegation was largely based on Lord Browne’s butler saying his “wine stocks were diminishing”. Medical records later showed that the alcohol abuse claims were unfounded.

What do YOU think? Should Lord Browne be prosecuted for perjury, and should his lover be kicked out of our country? Comment NOW on Have Your Say.

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