Daily Archives: May 6, 2012

Winter to last until June

express.co.uk | May 5,2012

By Nathan Rao

A man wraps himself up in the chilly weather yesterday

THE bitter Bank Holiday weather could last for weeks, forecasters warned last night.

Icy winds will send temperatures plunging today before torrential rain returns next week.

This weekend looks set to be the coldest start to May for more than 70 years and the Met men say the miserable weather, more like winter than spring, could drag on until June.

It is a stark contrast to this time last year when crowds flocked to parks and beaches as the mercury soared to 77F (25C) and farmers with parched fields were praying for rain.

Yesterday’s forecast was very different – weeks of snow, harsh frosts and heavy rain. Temperatures could hit the lowest ever recorded for May with freezing gusts from the North Pole making it feel like a chilly -9C.

It is likely to be colder than the Arctic with Honningsvag, Norway, the most northerly village in Europe, falling to just 0C overnight.

The last time it was this cold here was on May 4, 1941, when the temperature fell to -8.9C in Braemar, Scotland.

Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services, said: “It is difficult to believe we are a few weeks away from midsummer. It is going to feel more akin to the end of November.

“We are looking at a bitterly cold weekend and Bank Holiday with temperatures woefully shy of where they should be for the time of year.

“Bracing Arctic winds are going to flood in from the North and this is going to continue throughout May.”

He said temperatures would plunge today, staying well below normal for the rest of the weekend.

“We are expecting frosts, mainly in the North, although it is going to feel cold everywhere. With the wind chill it is going to feel very cold indeed.” Temperatures in the South will touch freezing at night and struggle to get into double figures during the day.

The grim forecast comes exactly a year after Britain basked in glorious sunshine. The Met Office recorded highs of 77F in London and Norfolk and Britons were looking forward to weeks of warm, dry weather as the Daily Express reported the country was set to sizzle for a month.

In contrast, this May Bank Holiday will be cloudy, cold and miserable.

Met Office forecaster Charlie Powell said parts of Scotland could see snow settling on higher ground.

“Temperatures will be quite a bit below average for the time of year. We are going to wake up to frosty mornings on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and the days are going to feel very chilly.”

He added the outlook for the next 30 days was below-average temperatures and persistent rain. “Things will start to return to normal by the beginning of June.” Piers Corbyn, of WeatherAction, said Britain was in the grip of what could turn out to be the coldest May for 100 years.

Intelligence expert Crispin Black on why sex games feature in so many spy deaths

dailyrecord.co.uk | May 5 2012

By Crispin Black – former government intelligence adviser

SITTING at the Gareth Williams inquest this week, listening to the more lurid details of the case, it occurred to me the death of spooks in bizarre circumstances involving sex games or women’s clothing is hardly an unusual event.

Disposing of an enemy and making it look like a perverted fantasy gone wrong is in the training manuals of every spy agency from MI6 to Mossad.

Codebreaker Gareth, from Anglesey, north Wales, was found dead in a locked bag, in a flat full of women’s clothing and wigs and with his internet browsing history conveniently featuring bondage sites, sparking a flurry of allegations which horrified his parents.

But the fact the 31-year-old’s death scene was organised in such a way as to suggest a sex game gone wrong should make us more suspicious, not less.

The sex game cover is a very useful mechanism in a murder. Not only does it provide a disguise for the actual means and method of death, it trashes the reputation of the victim and blunts the energy of any subsequent investigation.

And it appears to explain the astonishing number of spies, and other people who step into their murky world, who turn up dead in circumstances similar to Gareth.

Take GCHQ personnel for instance, those that work at the vast electronic doughnut in Cheltenham that is responsible for intercepting and decoding secret electronic traffic of interest to Her Majesty’s Government. And Gareth’s ultimate employer.

MI6 dirty secrets.. why do sex games appear to feature in so many spy deaths?

Sex, spies and seven suspicious deaths: The murky waters of the intelligence world – coincidence or conspiracy?

In 1983, 25-year-old Stephen Drinkwater, who worked as a clerk at GCHQ, was found dead at his home with a plastic bag over his head. In 1997 another worker, Nicholas Husband, 46, was found dead at home dressed in a bra and panties – with a plastic bag over his head.

Two years later, Kevin Allen, 31, a language expert at GCHQ, was found dead in his bed with a plastic bag over his head and a dust mask over his mouth. One wonders what the Gloucestershire Constabulary make of it all.

To be fair, the kind of higher mathematical ability that many GCHQ codebreakers have is rare and it sometimes comes with some personal eccentricities attached.

Alan Turing, the Cambridge academic and founder of modern computer science who became the greatest of the wartime Bletchley Park codebreakers was a distinctly odd fish – a loner with sexual hang-ups who seemed to spend most of his waking hours dreaming of obscure mathematical theorems.

The point was amusingly made in 60s film The Italian Job in which Charlie Croker, played by Michael Caine, recruits computer genius Professor Simon Peach – Benny Hill – to pull off a daring bullion robbery.

But the whole scheme nearly comes unstuck as Prof Peach is unable to control his powerful urges towards large women. MI6, who recruit a more worldly-wise type than the boffins of GCHQ, have not been immune.

In 1994 ex-MI6 man turned journalist James Rusbridger, 65, was found hanged at his house in Cornwall – in a green chemical protection suit including rubber gloves, gas mask and black plastic mackintosh. Bondage pictures completed the tableau.

And of course, according to the pathologist, it turned out he probably did it himself as part of a sex game.

The same year Stephen Milligan, the Tory MP for Eastleigh, was found dead with electrical flex tied round his neck, a black bin liner over his head and wearing stockings and suspenders.

The 45-year-old was also tied to a chair and had a satsuma stuffed into his mouth.

His boss at the time, then junior defence minister Jonathan Aitken, has since denied suggestions Milligan had links to MI6.

Even if you are not a spook you need to be careful. In 1990, ex-RAF helicopter pilot and editor of Defence Helicopter World Jonathan Moyle, 28, was found hanged in the wardrobe of his hotel in Chile with a pillow case over his head.

At the time his demise was widely thought to be an auto-erotic accident. He was in fact almost certainly murdered after uncovering links between Chilean arms dealers and Saddam Hussein.

The last person to give evidence at the Gareth Williams inquest was Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire – the senior investigating officer in the case.

She stated confidently that she was sure she and her team would be able to unlock the mystery in the end. But she also felt that this, her final appearance in court, was an appropriate time to remind the assembled audience of Williams’s internet browsing habits.

The last website he accessed probably just a few hours before his death was connected to cycling – a photo of him competing in a cross-country cycling race has been seen frequently in the national newspapers.

But then she went on to deal with the browsing information that had been made much of in the media over the last 20 months. Williams had accessed bondage websites on four days over a two-year period.

He had never accessed so-called “claustrophilia” sites which cater for people who get a thrill out of being confined in small spaces.

There we have it – the view of the woman in charge of the probe. Williams may have had a passing interest in bondage but no more than that. Even this passing interest may have a perfectly innocent explanation.

All MI6 officers get extensive training before they are allowed out on to the streets. Much of this takes place at Fort Monckton near Gosport in Hampshire – a Napoleonic era fortress surrounded by barbed wire and accessible only by a drawbridge.

It includes instruction in basic entry and exit procedures – buildings and cars mainly. If you ever get locked out of your flat and know a friendly spook from school or university give them a ring.

They should be able to get you back inside and could save you a fortune on locksmith’s fees. The instruction also includes some counter-surveillance techniques – how to make sure you are not followed.

And instruction on what to do if you fall into the wrong hands – resistance to interrogation and crucially, what to do if you are restrained – tied or chained up.

It is possible Williams had some of this training and it might well account for the episode when he was discovered tied up in his room by his landlady.

That the sex game angle was a simple smear is a view certainly not ruled out by the Westminster coroner who said, “it is still a legitimate line of inquiry” Gareth died at the hands of MI6.

In her narrative verdict, Dr Fiona Wilcox said: “I am sure a third party placed the bag into the bath and on the balance of probabilities locked the bag.

The cause of death was unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated. I am therefore satisfied that on the balance of probabilities Gareth was killed unlawfully.”

I was impressed by Dr Wilcox. She had good judgment and wisdom as can be seen from her verdict in the case. She played down the bondage question and the interest in female fashion – Williams had an expensive collection of women’s clothing nearly all of it unworn and most of it not in his size.

She seemed to accept the view of Williams’s sister that these were a store of presents for his female acquaintances. Dr Wilcox pretty much dismissed the idea of any sexual component in his death.

Sadly that is the aspect many people will remember. Well, these kinky games with yourself or other people go wrong – what can you expect – becomes the prevailing attitude.

Occasionally the dark arts of postmortem reputation trashing are employed in a good cause and based on hard facts rather than a set-up.

The strange and squalid habits of Osama bin Laden before his death have been used to great effect by the US to make him a laughing stock.

Crispin Black’s espionage thriller The Falklands Intercept is published by Gibson Square on June 19.

Scotland Yard investigates transvestite smear against spy Gareth, but no disciplinary action will be taken

Victim: Gareth Williams was found locked inside a holdall at his home

Daily Mail | May 5, 2012

Detectives have investigated allegations that police smeared MI6 spy Gareth Williams – but have ruled out taking disciplinary action against any officer.

Scotland Yard’s internal investigation unit examined claims that officers leaked information which led to false media reports that Gareth Williams was a transvestite who was the victim of a sex game that went wrong.

The leaks shifted attention from the spy’s work with MI6 and GCHQ, the Government’s secret listening station, to his private life.

Last night, the Met confirmed its team had ruled out disciplining any officer over the leaks.

In 2010, Mr Williams’s family complained to officers they were learning more about the investigation from newspaper reports rather than from police briefings.

Coroner says British secret service worker was probably “killed unlawfully”

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, who is leading the investigation into Mr Williams’s death, told his inquest last week that the leaks diverted resources from genuine lines of inquiry.

The spy’s body was found on August 23, 2010, locked inside a holdall which was placed in the bath at his home in Pimlico, Central London. The victim had last been seen by his colleagues ten days earlier.

Last week, coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox questioned the motives of those who leaked details about Mr Williams’s private life, including his visits to bondage websites. His family say the visits could have been work-related.

Dr Wilcox said Mr Williams was not a transvestite and that his collection of £20,000 of unworn women’s clothes were probably gifts for friends.

She also dismissed claims that Mr Williams had entered the sports bag seeking sexual gratification.

The coroner said: ‘I wonder what the motive was for the release of this material to the media. I wonder whether this was an attempt by a third party to intimate a sexual motive.’

Scotland Yard’s internal investigations unit was asked to look at the leaks after concerns were expressed by Det Chief Insp Sebire.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘Concerns were raised that information relating to the investigation had been placed in the public domain.

The force initiated an exercise to assess the concerns. A decision was taken not to proceed further.’

Police wasted time on false leads generated by the leaks. Reports that Mr Williams went to gay bars in the Vauxhall area of London, and visited websites on sadomasochism and claustrophilia – the sexual pleasure of confined spaces – proved to be false.

Det Chief Insp Sebire told the inquest that she had seen at first-hand the
distress the leaks had caused the Williams family, but insisted: ‘They did not come from my team.’

A senior police source said that suspicions surrounding the source of the leaks initially centred on counter-terrorism police officers and MI6.

Last night a Whitehall spokesman denied MI6 was responsible for the smears but declined to say whether the Service was also investigating the claims.

A memo released to the inquest revealed that senior officials at GCHQ, where Mr Williams spent most of his career, were concerned about the leaks.

Last night, a GCHQ spokesman declined to comment on the memo or any investigation into the leaks.

MI6 and GCHQ were criticised by the coroner for waiting more than a week before raising the alarm about Mr Williams’s absence.

Dr Wilcox also hit out at counter-terrorism officers who liaised with MI6 and GCHQ, and police officers investigating the spy’s death.

She said evidence that could have helped the inquiry was only passed to detectives once the inquest was in its second week.

Last week it was revealed that police are planning to take DNA samples from up to 50 spies.

Dr Wilcox said the possibility that another spy was involved in Mr Williams’s death was a ‘legitimate line
of inquiry’.

At the end of the inquest, Mr Williams’s family criticised SO15, the Met’s counter-terrorism branch, for the ‘total inadequacies’ of its investigation into MI6.

The family said: ‘Our grief is exacerbated by the failure of MI6 to make even the most basic inquiries as to Gareth’s whereabouts and welfare.

‘We are also extremely disappointed at the reluctance and failure of MI6 to make available relevant information.’