If the mishmash in the title doesn’t intrigue you then you’ve obviously not been keeping up with the UK news.
The story in short, as far as I can make out (and I admit that I find it hard to follow British politics nowadays since I’m not normally that interested) is that Dr. Liam Fox has just tendered his resignation as Secretary of Defence because of the unauthorised involvement of Adam Werrity, a close friend of Fox, in the activities Ministry of Defence (MoD).
So far so clear. Where it gets interesting, as well as intriguing and convoluted, is when one studies the various interests and influences of Adam Werrity, and even more so when one reads the spin put on the whole sorry saga by the various UK media outlets.
Funnily enough, the most neutral and factual reporting (so far) was produced by the Guardian.
Friday’s issue contained the article “How Werrity’s role as self-styled adviser to Liam Fox unravelled”. The article discusses Werrity’s background and how he became involved in the MoD in the first place. It talks about the prevarications of the MoD when asked by the Guardian for a reaction to the reports of Adam Werrity’s involvement with the MoD, and it also mentions the various countries and governments with which Werrity became involved.
The defence secretary added that: “Mr Werritty is not an employee of the Ministry of Defence and has, therefore, not travelled with me on any official overseas visits.” Given the defence minister’s not very transparent track record, was this really true? After trawling the internet for days the Guardian and the Observer came across photos and videos that showed the dynamic duo meeting the president and various ministers of Sri Lanka.
These were “not official” meetings, the MoD said. But by now things had started to smell, and Fox’s department was forced into releasing a record of every meeting the pair had ever had. There were 40 – 22 at the MoD and 18 overseas – where Werritty had been present including meetings with the forthcoming British ambassador to Israel and US General John Allen, who was soon to be appointed commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The Guardian has an earlier report from last Monday in which Werrity’s escapades in Dubai are also detailed.
The next report from the Guardian tells us how Fox’s resignation in the face of the scandal exposed the Tories’ links to the US right. It also mentions in passing Fox’s and Werrity’s connections to BICOM, a British-Israel lobbying group. The tone remains neutral:
Werritty, the group’s UK director, was funded by a raft of powerful businessmen including Michael Hintze, one of the Tories biggest financial backers whose hedge fund, CQS, has investments in companies that have contracts with the Ministry of Defence; Poju Zabludowicz, chairman of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, who chairs a US munitions company; and the Good Governance Group, a private security firm set up by a South African businessman, Andries Pienaar, who also has an investment firm, C5 Capital, focused on the defence sector.
A second article on the same day (Saturday) similarly mentions the connection to BICOM in passing.
Now we get to the juicy stuff: The Independent splashes it headline with “Fox’s best man and his ties to Iran Opposition“, with the sub-heading “The murky world of Adam Werritty: Self-styled adviser ‘had links to Mossad‘.” I’m ignoring the mention of his ties to the Iranian opposition, and instead I want to concentrate here on the Independent’s allegations of the influence of Mossad. (Cue scary music here…)
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.
In February this year, Mr Werritty arranged a dinner with Mr Fox, Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, and senior political figures – understood to include Israeli intelligence agents – during an Israeli security conference in Herzliya, during which sanctions against Iran were discussed.
Let us now examine these sinister links to the dastardly Mossad as reported by the intrepid Independent: Mr. Werrity arranged a dinner (gasp!) with the British Secretary of Defence AND the British ambassador to Israel (double gasp!) during an Israeli security conference, during which sanctions against Iran were discussed (triple gasp!). And the Israeli political figures at that dinner were understood to include intel agents!
Sarcasm aside, why does the Independent think any of this unusual? Why would a visiting Secretary of Defence NOT have dinner with his country’s ambassador? Why would local political, defence and intelligence people NOT meet with that visiting Secretary of Defence? The Independent does not clarify what is problematic with any of this, (besides Werrity’s unauthorized advisory role), and does not explain how “Israeli politicians” turned into “Mossad links”. Or is it simply that the words “Israel” and “Mossad” interchangeable in the Independent World View™?
The Daily Telegraph (the Telegraph!) takes the story a whole level further and turns the Guardians “connections” and the Independent’s “links” into a veritable “plot”. “Adam Werrity plotted with Israel to topple Ahmadinejad” screams the Telegraph headline. Ah, those dastardly Israelis!
However, the story itself simply rehashes the (bad enough) report from the Independent with no further details, and certainly no justification for the biased headline which is bound to lead to anti-Israel and even antisemitic comments.
Mr Werritty was so highly regarded by Mossad – who thought he was Dr Fox’s chief of staff – that he was able to arrange meetings with figures at the highest levels of the Israeli government, according to the The Independent on Sunday.
Some plot, meeting with Israeli government officials. How dare they!
And the Daily Mail raises the story right up to a genuine conspiracy theory with its nasty headline “Was Mossad using Fox and Werrity as useful idiots?“
my source told me that what really was worrying senior officials in the MOD, FCO and Cabinet Office was the possibility that Fox could be being used as a ‘useful idiot’ by Mossad, Israel’s far-reaching and extremely effective intelligence service.
Key funding sources for Werritty were from the Israeli lobby and a rather obscure commercial intelligence agency.
Might Mossad be pulling Werritty’s strings, with or without his knowledge?
On Friday, two senior Fleet Street journalists also reported hearing similar concerns from other Whitehall officials about possible Israeli intelligence service involvement with Fox and Werritty.
In all these stories and quotes, the only clear thing that emerges is speculation. If Israel is involved, could the Mossad be far behind? But note how the Guardian’s “ties” became links to Mossad in the Independent, which turned into a joint “plot” with Mossad and Werrity per the Telegraph, finally becoming a Mossad plot to “use” Werrity and Fox for its own nefarious purposes.
Realise too that there are no similar sinister suggestions or screaming headlines about links to the CIA, Sri Lankan intelligence, or Dubai’s intelligence agency. Only Israel is the subject of implications of malign influence on UK politics.
What is it about Israel that gets the UK media so het up? No prizes for guessing correctly.