Derek Pasquill, the lying mandarinate at the FCO, and the curious cse of Mr Mockbul Ali and his fascinating ideas on penetrating Islamists
The ridiculous (unelected) Attorney General and champion spectacles fiddler and adjuster, Baroness Scotland had that Derek Pasquill, 48 up in Westminster Magistrates Court On October 11th last year.
Suspended from his job at the Foregn Office and arrested the same day in January last year - he was charged on On Sept 27, with 6 offences of exposing Jack Straw
as a liar and a complete twat under the Official Secrets act with disclosing a letter entitled "Detainees" - which refers to "rendition" or rather " official or State kidnapping" of terrorist suspects without charge or due legal process, representation and contrary to any legal rights of habeas corpus they may have , plus 2 curious letters "Engaging with Islamists" and "Hearts and minds and Muslims".
This extrordinary charge sheet also includes reference to two memos entitled "Egypt: the Muslim Brotherhood - terrorists?" and " Egypt: contact with the Muslim brotherhood".
Remanded on unconditonal bail until October 26th , the case was described as "complex" by Mr Pasquill's solicitor.
Lord Patel said at the time that it "would end in tears before bedtime" the principal difficulty being that Martin Bright had exposed / printed the aforesaid documents in a Policy Exchange pamphlet. Helpfully dedicated ....
Well on Wednesday (Jan 9th) at the Old Bailey all charges were dropped at the Old Bailey after senior figures within his own department had privately admitted no harm was done by his leaking a series of Whitehall documents.
Mark Ellison, counsel for the government, told Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London: "There is no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction in this case."
FCO papers that fatally undermined the case were written shortly after Pasquill's arrest two years ago, and only revealed to police and prosecution lawyers last month and the defence on Wednesday morning.
Neil O'May, Pasquill's solicitor, was incandescent (well as much as lawyers ever are) : "The prosecution was a scandal. It was a case where the government was shooting the messenger. It is clear that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office took the view that Derek Pasquill's disclosures were not damaging to international relations. Nevertheless, they let [him] suffer an investigation and arrest, a charge and a full criminal prosecution for two years before they disclosed their views."
This may or may not have been not entirely unconnected with the fact that former communities secretary, Opus Deist Ruth Kelly, her successor, leather clad tap dancer and blow up sex doll impersonator, Hazel Blears, and "The Boy" David Miliband, Foreign Secretary would have been called as witnesses.
As one of the documents Pasquill leaked revealed how little British officials knew of the US "extraordinary rendition" programme and that the practice, in the view of at least one FCO official, "is almost certainly illegal"... it is unlikely that the Ministers would have welcomed disclosing their ignorance nor their endorsement of rendition/ interrogation etc., or the fact that " .. we (do not) know whether those our armed forces have helped to capture in Iraq or Afghanistan have subsequently been sent to interrogation centres? We have no mechanism for establishing this ..."
The Observer today discloses that the FCO document that was withheld from Police and prosecution and defence was an e-mail that claimed that the disclosed documents stated ...'under no circumstances was national security threatened'.
The Observer claims that at the centre of the case is the remarkable Mockbul Ali. "An ambitious young civil servant accused by his critics of being an apologist for extreme Islamist views within Whitehall".
Jack Straw lolling on his scarlet Ottoman in his office next to Lord Levy Middle East plenipotentiary for Nu labour (fixer and purveyor of coronets for cash) , "Ali, Pasquill believed, had soft-soaped organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its spiritual leader, the controversial Islamist preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who had expressed his support for Palestinian suicide bombers and whom Ali suggested should be allowed to visit the UK. He had offered similar support for Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, a Bangladeshi MP who preaches violent hatred against the West, proclaiming him to be 'mainstream'."
It eventually penetrated Straws concrete brain that embarrassed by the exposure of Ali as being too close to the Islamists, and worried at the failure to prosecute, at a time when Whitehall was awash with documents about the war in Iraq whose leaking could prove damaging inititate action.
Sir Michael Jay ,Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office was exceedingly upset. Ali reported to Pasquill at a meeting discussing the leaks that "Jay wants whoever leaked this stuff boiled in oil."
Despite the dissent expressed in the (later sup[p[ressed e-mail) instructions from on high were to push ahead regardless.
Even Baroness Dame Lady jane Pauline Neville-Jones, has been roused from her holiday slumbers demanding reviews of the Official Secrets Act - apparently ( an unbeleivanly) she was expected to be called as a witness by Pasquill's defence team to rebuff claims that his actions had damaged the UK's international relations.
In the light of the persecution by the FCO of Craig Murray and the nasty vindictive treatment of Derek Paswuill one has to wonder about the honesty, probity , not to mention the intellect and judgemnent of senior members of the FCO - and the Ministers responsible.
Meanwhile Derek Pasquill has two lost years an a tarnished reputation.
Observers might note a curious Parliamentary question that the repulsive (and fixture on Newsnight) Michael Gove raised when Mr Mockbul Ali was employed by the FCO.
...To be Continued